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Paul Osborne

     • OFFICIAL MACON COUNTY Historian Mark W. Sorensen has a very interesting feature in this week’s “Scrapbook” on pages 4 and 5 of the print and online editions, about Sculptor Ida McClelland Stout who grew up on Decatur’s near west side.
     Some of her work, such as “Goose Girl” pictured at left of this column, has been a familiar sight at Mary W. French School (before it closed last year) to thousands of students over the years.
     Sometimes we forget that so many incredibly talented people were, and continue to be, from Decatur and Central Illinois.

     • I LIKE AND AGREE with the last two paragraphs of Dr. Glenn Mollette’s column on page 8 of this week’s print and online editions, which state: “Each of us must demand from our local Congressional representation that they go to D.C. to work beyond party lines, embrace each other, and get things accomplished.
     “Those who serve us in D.C. must demonstrate to the American people what it takes to get things done instead of what it takes to fail.”

     • FORMER Decatur City Councilman Bill Faber has some interesting observations on the plans for downtown’s Citizens Building on page 7 of the print and online editions. That’s another interesting article among many in this week’s edition. Check them all out.
     If you are not a subscriber, you can subscriber to the print or online editions (or both) using your credit card by going to”subscribe” at the top of the home page for this website.  Or, you can send a check for $50.00 for $52 weekly issues mailed to your home or office each week to: Decatur Tribune, P. O. Box 1490, Decatur, IL 62525-1490.

     • I WAS entering the downtown post office the other day when, coming out the front door, was a familiar figure.
I paused to hold the door open for him and he told me to “come on in” because he had something to tell me.
The man was Tom Bowman who turned 100 years old on December 26, 1923.
     I published a photo and article about Tom’s big day in our October 25, 2023 edition and Tom wanted to thank me for publishing the article in the Tribune.
     I first met Tom many years ago when he worked at the Citizens National Bank as the Customer Service Manager.
Anyhoo, it was nice to see and chat with Tom and to know that he’s still going strong at 100-plus years of age!

     • CRICKETS at the polls! I mentioned in my last column that several people I talked with last week told me they were not going to vote in the primary election because there was so little to vote for in this election.
     Even considering that reaction, voter turnout was even more dismal than I had anticipated.
     For instance, in the only major county office that was contested — the race for coroner — out of 67,746 registered voters only 10.7% voted in the 3-way race!
     Michael Burkham, who won, received 3,003 votes to 1,968 votes for Jeffrey Kashefska and 1,870 votes for Whalen Vancil.
     I know all three candidates worked hard to earn the public’s vote, but even though Burkham won, how encouraging is it when you receive 3,003 votes out of 67,746 registered voters in Macon County?
     Candidates who step forward deserve more voter interest than what the coroner’s race, and others, received.
By the way, Burkham will now face Democrat Tiffany Hall in the November General Election, and even though Hall did not have an opponent in the primary election, she received 2,934 votes from the 67,746 registered voters in Macon County, which meant only 4.8% voted a Democrat ballot!
     If you are someone who doesn’t like to be around crowds, voting in last week’s primary election was the place for you to show up!

     • A RACE that attracted some attention, even though most of the district is not in Macon County, was the Republican primary race between Regan Deering and longtime McLean County Board member Chuck Erickson in the 88th Illinois House District.
     Deering overwhelmed Erickson with more than 70% of the vote, the last time I checked. As I mentioned during my appearance on WSOY’s Byers & Co. last Thursday, when we discussed the results of the election, Deering worked as hard as any candidate could work, maybe harder, and picked up a lot of endorsements. She also has a “conservative” perspective that appeals to a lot of voters in the 88th District. Plus, she had momentum from her name recognition in her losing Congressional effort against Nikki Budzinski less than two years ago.

     She is a hard worker and effective campaigner and, since the Democrats did not have a candidate, she has already won the race and November will be just a formality.
     In the Republican Primary for State Representative in the 107th District, which also touches part of Macon County, Brad Halbrook won over Marsha Webb.
     Those were about the only contested races of interest for Macon County voters and that was one of the biggest reasons for the low voter turnout.
     You can get the results of all the races involving Macon County and other counties by going to the website

     • BY THE way, the media source Wirepoints, that usually covers Chicago politics, complained about the low voter turnout in that city and then made this statement: “Elsewhere in the state, voter apathy was also in full display. Many outlets reported ‘shockingly’ low voter turnout, from Decatur to Mattoon to Rockford (just 12%!).”

     • LAST WEEK, I printed the comments of Cheryl Horne who was one of the few candidates who ran opposed on the Democratic ticket for Long Creek Township Committeeperson.
     She wrote, in part: “I am running because I think that voters should always have choices. When no one runs opposed there is really not much reason to vote at all. No wonder turnouts are so low…
     “…To that end, even though I am only running for committeeperson in one township precinct, I am proud that those voters are given a choice.”
     I appreciated Cheryl’s comments and she did win her race. She had to be disappointed that only 7% of registered voters turned out for that election.

     • THANKS to those responsible for sending me Howard G. Buffett’s book “Courage Of A Nation 680 Days Of War” which details what is happening in Ukraine and is filled with photos that Howard shot that give graphic evidence of what the people are going through as a result of Putin’s invasion and their perseverance.
     Howard has been to Ukraine 10 times in the past two years and wrote, in part, in the introduction of the book: “The war in Ukraine very quickly created the largest humanitarian crisis that I have witnessed in my lifetime and the largest food crisis in modern history.”
     Howard, and his foundation, have done so much good in the world and this book shows why “Ukraine’s fight is our fight”.
Thank you, Howard, for all you do, and have done, for our community and the urgent needs of those needing help in other parts of the world.

     • CHECK OUT all the stories and columns impacting Decatur and Central Illinois in this week’s edition of the Decatur Tribune.

     • I JOIN Brian Byers on WSOY’s Byers & Co. at 7:00 every Thursday morning for the “City Hall Insider”. I’ve enjoyed our conversations each week for the past 21 years.



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