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LETTER TO THE EDITOR
May 8, 2013
There are concerns about an individual Richard Meadows being jerked around by the Dewitt County Board. It appears he has been wrongfully harassed and judged by a board member, which has lead to him being brought before the Board/Public about his abilities in carrying on his duties as a trustee on the Kenney Fire Department, several times in the last few months and is going to be brought up again Thursday night 5/9/2013.
They are saying the last meeting/voting was illegal. Illegal doesn't that mean someone broke the law? It appears that this has become a legal matter! Why this is being allowed is beyond my beliefs. I feel that EVERYONE in the Dewitt County needs to be concerned who they elected to make these decisions, and why it has been allowed gone this far.
I would love for this to be ran as a letter to the editor - immediately - to give EVERYONE a chance to voice there opinons and/or show up for the Board Meeting Thursday Night at 7:00 at witness what and how the board is operating.
Mary Lisa Meadows
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
April 15, 2013
The month of March is traditionally known as Red Cross month. Our volunteers are always busy during this time, however due to the recent rash of devastating fires we have had in the last few weeks, our local Disaster Action Team has really kept busy. During this period we have received a lot of encouraging and complimentary remarks and articles from area residents. We want to say thank you for all of these kind words. We had a lot of assistance in performing our jobs from a lot of people who also deserve credit.
Probably some of the most unsung heroes in our community are the 911 operators. They work quietly behind the scenes to get everyone moving the instant an emergency call comes in. they do their job politely and effectively at all times even when I have to call them back to get clarification or further information about an event we have been activated for.
One of the first calls I make after assembling our DAT team is to call either the Shell station or Casey's, to order coffee. They are always willing to fill our cambros at a moment's notice and all the time it is sold at a reduced rate, and more times than not there is no charge at all.
At the fire call on Easter Sunday, the Shell station donated 2 full cambros of coffee to the first responders. This is the equivalent of approximately 3 gallons of coffee.
We called IGA and ordered a total of 90 sandwiches from their deli. They had our order filled and ready to be picked up in less than 45 minutes.
Hardee's donated 50 cheeseburgers and had them delivered to the scene of the fire. Later we had to return for more sandwiches, and they gave us a discount. One of their employees whose regular shift was over, stayed to help get the large order out before she left.
Every time we arrived on scene with more water or other supplies, bystanders from the community would step forward to help carry the supplies to our staging area, and many offered to hep deliver food and drinks to the firemen. We could only thank them for their generous offers, however we could not allow them to cross into the scene with us.
These are but a few examples of the way our community pulls together to help each other, and supports all of our first responders in times of a crisis.
Local Disaster Action Team Captain for the Red Cross
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
March 22, 2013
After attending the county board meeting March 14th I feel I must address some of the comments and actions of the board.
First of all I can not let Mr. Bill Spencer make his comments about the $1.27per ton fee on the landfill go unchallenged. Mr. Spencer knows that the $1.27 is a fee that can be imposed upon the landfill by the county in the absence of a host fee. This $1.27 can only be used for environmental projects. The county in 2007 amended the Host Agreement to its current form. In that agreement the host fee goes to $3.26 per ton for material delivered by truck to the landfill. The $3.26 is the highest fee paid by any landfill in central Illinois. This host fee generates $1.3 million per year and is deposited in the county general fund. This can be used for any general fund expenditure. This would include the operation of the jail and court house. It can also be used to pay salaries and benefits for employees. Economic development projects can funded. Finally it could even be used to fund environmental projects and to hire assistance in monitoring the landfill.
Mr. Spencer knows this to be true but chooses to let you believe that the county has let the landfill off financially. I am sorry but the last time I added it up, $1.3 million is a lot more than $500,000.
Mr. Spencer also asked where the money went. I guess that after requesting countless documents and having requested the budget, either he has not read them thoughorly or he does not understand a budget and financial statement. His comments about DeWitt County spending more per capita than any other county maybe true, but we have a balanced budget with all of our services funded.
I am glad that we have the power plant that gives us a very high assessed evaluation and that we have a sheriff that uses our surplus capacity at the jail to bring in funding that covers a large part of his budget. We also have the $1.3 million that the landfill pays to fund our county. Mr. Spencer questioned the need for the $1.3 million and asked where it is going. I would challenge you all to look at the long term finances of the county and consider the cuts that would have to be made in the absence of these funds. DeWitt County has a total tax rate from 10 to 50% lower than central Illinois counties of like population, even though we recently levied funds to pay for an animal control facility.
You may note that we have a modern jail and court house that is paid for in full, a sheriff’s department that is fully staffed, and a road system that is second to none in central Illinois. We were able to immediately replace vital bridge on the county road system because we had the funds available. We are able to pick up the slack when the state fails to meet its obligations. We do not have to lay off workers and cut services. Unless it is spent on operations, money is held in a depreciation account that will cover surprise expenses from our buildings. We have had money available to financially assist in getting new employers to our county. We helped clean up the ARAMARK property; we helped build the road for Trinty, provided entrances for Terminex, and rebuilt the frontage road for Monsanto. Many other projects have been funded that have helped bring new jobs to DeWitt County. None of this could have been funded without the county having surplus funds available after all required funding is made.
I am also here to comment on the decision to work without committees. While it keeps all of you on the same page, that page seems to be rather wrinkled. It would seem that under the committee system the PUBLIC as well as the board had the ability to get involved at the committee level and then again at the full board meeting. We now have a system that allows the county to discuss and act on an issue at a single meeting. I fail to see how this improves transparency. All of the power is placed in the hands of the county board chairman, I fail to see how this is a more democratic system.
Last week you praised Mr. Ballenger for making progress on the Marina issues as the chair of the committee. You then continued to muddle along with project requests and have again delayed action to improve the marina in order to have the State’s Attorney review the request to determine who shall pay for the projects. I believe those obligations are spelled out in the lease.
You also have a committee working on the animal shelter .This committee seems to be moving along well. I hope you will let this group finish the project.
In the absence of committees, where individual board members worked to specialize their experiences, you now have the need for all to gain an understanding of the entire county. Unless you are each ready to spend the time to get to know the workings of each department and of each contract, it is obvious that you will struggle to make any decision.
It looks to a lot of us in the county and to those in attendance tonight that this experiment has failed. Please consider returning to the committee system.
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
March 18, 2013
I write this letter as a voting tax-payer of Dewitt County. Recent events in the Dewitt County Board have commanded my attention, and I hope that other residents will join me when they find out some of the workings of our current County Board.
As Lincoln said in one of his speeches for election, "A house divided against itself will not stand." This is the most apt quote to describe the current situation with our County Board.
After election, Chairperson Sherrie Brown presented a plan to the board members for removal of our committee system. This system provided a board member as a contact and a channel of communication for the county department heads.
Fact: Sherrie Brown told us this elimination would provide more transparency to the Board and the voters.
Action: The board is now creating "Ad Hoc" committees for each department. Why not go back to the old system since you are appointing committees anyway? It does not make sense to remove this structure them replace it with one that is so similar.
Action: Sherrie Brown took authority over two county employees and gave each one a 3 day suspension. This is clearly a result of a break-down of communication between both parties and action taken by Sherrie Brown that was unwarrented. After deliberation in a closed session 3/14, these employeed were reinstated with all pay and time. Please not that pending litigation may be pursued by these employees to protect their future employment with the county. This could come at a cost to us the taxpayer.
Action: The elimination of the committee system has made communication from our county department heads to the board longer and sometimes at the expense of the county.
Fact: Our EMS department recieved late notices from bills that needed to be paid promptly. Late notices accrue late fees plus it gives the impression that we will not pay our bills on time. Money for some of these bills is already available. Sherrie Brown did not pay these bills when presented. This is available in the minutes of February Board meetings.
Fact: Litigation is pending against one of our County Board members for aggression shown during a meeting in that department. A current "stay" prevents this member from contact with this department head. Court records indicate that Terry Hoffman will be appearing before a judge on April 24, 2013. The judge and the attorney had to be found outside of our county to prevent a "conflict of interest" within our system.
Again, time and money being spent because of inappropriate actions being taken by a board member.
Fact: Board members are suing our county over taxation issues. Even though these same elected officials were told about their "conflict of interest" in suing our county and serving on the board, each one took their spot. (This is a public record, and may be obtained by contacting the States Attorney's office). Witnesses to this action are Dewitt County employees. An example of appropriate service to our citizens?
The people that have pending litigation against out county that are serving on our board in a direct "conflict of interest" position are:
Sherrie Brown; Chairperson Dewitt County Board
Terry Hoffman; Board Member representing my area, District C, Texas, Creek, Clintonia 7,8,9
Kelly Riggs; he has resigned.
Lawrence R. Savage: Board Member; representing my area District C, Texas, Creek, Clintonia 7,8,9
George Wismiller; Board Member; representing District B Wilson, Rutledge, Santa Anna, Harp, DeWitt, Nixon
By suing our county, these members have put themselves at risk for being sued by us, the taxpayers, making financial decisions for us the taxpayers that might give them unfair advantage, and it will cost us more as a taxpayer because I am sure that out States Attorney, Karle Koritz, will have a difficult time defending the taxpayers of the county against our own board!
Service in office means to serve. When you serve, you put your own agenda aside for the purposes of making balanced decisions that are for the best for the taxpayers of the county. I would suggest that these board members drop their suits or resign from the board. It is an unacceptable form of leadership and representation.
As a side note, please remember that Sherrie Brown was former employee of the County Assessment office. Could she be using her experience and knowledge from her former position to sue us for taxation issues to obtain her own financial gain?
Please join me in writing and calling these Board members and asking them to drop litigation or resign their positions. Then, we will know their true agendas.
Just a Taxpayer
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
February 21, 2013
On behalf of the American Red Cross in general and our local unit in particular, I would like to say a big thank you to all the people who so generously gave and pledged money to our local unit here in DeWitt county, to help us bid on the ambulance the hospital put up for public bid on Feb. the 15th.
Although we were unable to make the highest bid, we did give it a very respectable effort. All the donations, calls of support and well wishes were very gratifying. I learned a long time ago, that this county is filled with good and generous people who are willing to pitch in to help a good cause. I would also like to say thank you to the Board Of Directors of the John Warner Hospital for giving us the chance to bid on this ambulance.
Speaking on behalf and along with my co-captain Debbie Shull we are very proud to serve our local group. Each and every one of them are always ready and willing to do their part in times of emergencies, regardless of the time of day or the weather conditions they have to work in, to help a fellow human in their time of need. Along with great leadership and support we receive from our chapter office in Decatur we constantly strive to improve our service capability through training and making the public aware of the need for being prepared for whatever disaster is lurking in our future. The next disaster may not happen in New Orleans, New Jersey or in Joplin. It may be in Clinton, Illinois.
Our Disaster Action (DAT) Team is on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, and will always be ready to serve, the moment we get a call to go into action. At this moment we are prepared to respond to a fire, flood, or storm to help a family in immediate need of clothing, shelter and food. We also are there to provide mass care the other first responders whether it be a cold drink, cup of hot coffee, a bite of food or a friendly smile and kind word and ask nothing in return.
A thank you, a smile, a handshake and sometimes a hug is all the pay we need. That is why I am so proud to work with this group and why we do what we do.
Posted December 23, 2012
This is a station editorial, I'm Randal J. Miller, station president. Well, the United States is about to fall off a fiscal cliff, and while it isn't the same as the Mayan calendar telling us the world is coming to an end, the country won't disintegrate come January 1.
This is a direct result of the government that was elected on November 6th. The country voted to keep the same president, the same U-S Senate, and the same U-S House of Representatives, or put another way, deadlocked government.
So, as a result of re-electing the same people, we are getting the same result. Those on both ends of the political spectrum argue that any compromise is seen as weakness, so there is NO compromise and nothing gets done.
On the fiscal cliff issue, the President gets what he's wanted all along—more taxes and defense cuts without controlling spending anywhere else--by doing nothing, the Republican House can't get enough votes to vote for any compromise proposal, and to politicians in both parties, all is as it should be because they'll have about $3300 more of our money per family each year to spend, and they can blame the other party.
Plus, the President can continue his campaign to split the country down the middle with his class-warfare “rich against the middle class” rhetoric preparing for the 2014 elections. Ah, isn't it fun to be in campaign mode 24/7, much to the delight of those on the left, not to mention the media.
No, the country won't end on January First, 2013...but our pocketbooks will be a lot lighter.
That's our opinion...we welcome yours. Our e-mail address is email@example.com.
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Posted December 3, 2012
You hit the nail squarely on the head and drove it deep. I would add that a government big enough to give you everything you want, is big enough to take everything you have. (conformation - Just wait until you get the bill for Obama care. It has cost me $90+ a month for the last year, in addition to what I pay for my BCBS and Medicare, but they say I am over insured - go figure)
Lincoln, IL 62656-2066
Posted November 7, 2012
This is a station editorial, I'm Randal J. Miller, station president. The November 6th election showed that the electorate didn't want any change in Washington or Springfield. They want more of the same.
Just over 50 years ago, when Democratic presidential candidate John F. Kennedy was sworn in, he said this in his inaugural address:
Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.
20 years later, in 1981, Republican president Ronald Reagan said this:
Government is not the solution to our problem, government is the problem.
I'm not a big Bill O'Reilly fan, but something he said on Fox News on Election Night seemed correct to me. And that is this:
Our country has changed demographically in the last 50 years. Instead of having the idea that the government is governed by the people, and that less government is good government, the electorate now has the idea that since many can't get work, it's what government can do for them. 99 weeks of unemployment, free cell phones for family members, and soon free health care.
If you want government to do something for you, well, that's what you've got. But remember this: Once you give up control of your life to government, government won't give you control back when there's something you don't like.
And, just who is going to pay for all this? Washington and Springfield are both broke. I think you know the answer.
That's our opinion, we welcome yours. Our e-mail address is:
LETTER TO THE EDITOR: DeWitt County Board Meeting An Embarrassment
I attended the DeWitt Co Board meeting on August 30 to see the outcome of the vote regarding the future of the ambulance service. Regardless of your opinion on this matter, as a taxpayer and citizen you should have been appalled at the way a resident and fellow taxpayer was treated by certain members of the board for merely speaking his opinion.
A local citizen was one of three individuals listed on the agenda to speak about the decision made by the ambulance committee to recommend Paramedic Services of Illinois (PSI) of Schiller Park, as the selected county ambulance provider. The citizen began by informing the board that he was a member of the Dr John Warner Hospital (DJWH) Board, but he was speaking as a resident and was not representing the hospital or the board in any way. Once he completed his presentation, he was asked questions by a newly appointed board member, Kelly Riggs. The line of questioning that took place for the next ten minutes was something I have never witnessed in my many years serving on public boards.
The resident was interrogated and badgered by Riggs that led to nothing short of public humiliation. He was forced to defend his opinion which was often questioned and belittled by Riggs, who obviously held a different opinion on the subject. He was repeatedly asked loaded questions for the sole purpose of discrediting his opinion. The questioning was allowed to continue and soon changed to focus on his position as a hospital board member. He had to endure endless questioning and criticism from Riggs regarding the hospital board’s decision to cease providing the ambulance service. He reminded the board two different times that he was not there as a member of the board and even offered to meet Riggs sometime to discuss those issues. It was met on deaf ears and the badgering continued with board members Sherry Brown and Ed Young joining Riggs. He was asked to provide justification for the hospital’s decision and well as asked specific questions regarding hospital operations.
Citizens should feel free to attend any governmental meeting and feel comfortable addressing the board with their opinions and concerns without fear of reprisal and humiliation. The lack of meeting control and the actions of these board members, particularly Riggs, was disrespectful, unprofessional and inexcusable. I have served on Clinton City Council and currently serve on the DJWH Board of Directors with this gentleman. I have never witnessed a taxpayer endure what this gentleman was put through at this meeting. It was an embarrassment to DeWitt County and a slap in the face of democracy. County taxpayers should not tolerate nor accept this type of behavior by any elected leader.
DeWitt Co resident
LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Thanks to Clinton Ambulance Service for a Job Well Done
August 29, 2012
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Clinton Ambulance Service. I have been the ER manager at Dr. John Warner for almost 2 years. I came from 20 years in ER in Peoria, so I feel I have the experience to back my thoughts. I have been so pleased with the Clinton Ambulance Service in so many ways. I do what we call Call Backs and our patients also express gratitude towards CAS. They not only transfer here to the ER, but their care and concern for the patients of this community goes far beyond just dropping the patient off. They stay in the ER until they are sure the nurses have an accurate report, the help lift, they assist with technical task within their scope and they have even help bath soiled patients. I have never had a complaint about their care and patients even ask their names and want to personally thank them. They are always prompt to assist in transferring a critical patient to a higher level of care. Many of our critical patients, including traumas arrive by personal vehicle. CAS staff willingly help stabilize these patients and arrange transfers. I would like the community to know how blessed we are at Dr. John Warner ER to have the privilege to work side by side with the CAS.
Renee Kallevig RN,BSN
Emergency Department Manager
Dr.. John Warner Hospital
Clinton, Illinois 61727
LETTER TO THE EDITOR ON DOCTOR JOHN WARNER HOSPITAL WEB SITE AND PROVIDING DIALYSIS
August 13, 2012
I don't do Facebook, so I thought I'd just send this along via email.
In regards to the news report on DJWH, two suggestions-
Please consider adding an email address in the "Contact Us" page. I've been told that there are email address(es) for the Hospital, but I've never been able to find them. In this era, I would think this would be an integral part of the Hospital's communication network.
Secondly, I feel that there is a current, and in the future even more pressing need, for at least one dialysis unit at the Hospital. I've known of many people who have to leave Clinton for their dialysis treatments. They have to travel to Springfield, Lincoln, Champaign, or Decatur, and that basically takes the entire day for them and someone to transport them. And this is usually a three time a week trip which must be done regardless of the weather conditions. I was recently told by a kidney specialist that Davita (which currently has a treatment center in Lincoln), had been in talks with DJWH to come to Clinton as well, but they decided not to because they weren't filling enough spaces in Lincoln. Maybe it time to reconsider this once again.
RESPONSE TO STATION EDITORIAL ON CLINTON FIRE DEPARTMENT'S PROPOSAL TO TAKE OVER AMBULANCE SERVICE
August 10, 2012
Dear Mr. Miller,
I am writing in response to your editorial regarding why the Clinton
Fire Department would want to take over the ambulance service. I have
a question of my own for you. Why comment and ask why on your website
when you can just call the Fire Chief and find out? You sit and make
judgement that it doesnt make sense but you fail to try and educate
yourself on the facts.
The fire department has talked about taking over ambulance services
for some time. Not until the hospital announced that they would cease
providing the service did the fire department take a harder look at
the possibility. Yes as of now the service loses money, but with the
passage of the ambulance tax referendum, any entity that takes over
the service can at least break even. Hence the department would not be
taking over a money losing ambulance service.
Alot of hard work has taken place in determining a budget, talking to
other fire departments that also provide ambulance services, planning
on integrating the ambulance into the fire department command
structure, and formulating a plan of how it would be operated. But
bottom line is this. The Clinton Fire Department cares about the
community and its citizens as does every other fire department in
Dewitt County. It wants to see the best possible EMS service provided
to the people of Clinton, surrounding area, and citizens of this
county. Can other entities provide good care? Im sure they can. The
Clinton Fire Department just wants the chance to submit a proposal. If
not chosen, so be it.
The AFSCME union, which represents the ambulance personnel, supports
the fire department. They obviously believe in the fire department as
we do in them.
I have spent the last 27 years in the Fire and EMS profession and have
seen many fire departments transition to providing ambulance services.
It works provided it is managed correctly and has the
funding/manpower. The fire department proposal provides for all of that.
Fire and EMS go hand-in-hand. They compliment each other, support each
other, and have the same goal - saving lives. The fire department just
asks that it be given the chance to prove what we believe we can do,
provide top quality EMS service to the residents of Clinton and Dewitt
August 9, 2012
WHY WOULD CLINTON'S FIRE DEPARTMENT TAKE OVER CLINTON'S AMBULANCE SERVICE FROM CLINTON'S CITY OWNED HOSPITAL????
This is a station editorial, I'm Randal J. Miller, station president. As you've heard in our newscasts and read on our on-line daily newspaper dewittdailynews.com, the Clinton Fire Department is proposing to be one of the entities that wants to take over ambulance service for the greater Clinton area. I was quite surprised to hear this story on my radio stations, considering the fact that it's the Doctor John Warner Hospital, that's owned by the City of Clinton, that is getting OUT of the ambulance business. I don't understand why the Clinton Fire Department, which is also part of the City of Clinton, would want to take over a money-losing proposition. If the city hospital didn't want it, how would it make any sense for the city's fire department to run it?
I hope Clinton City Council members make the RIGHT decision on Monday night, August 13th, and vote NOT to allow the Clinton Fire Department to be among those in the running to take over ambulance service for Clinton. It doesn't make any sense.
That's our opinion...we welcome yours. Our e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
June 23, 2012
WOLVES IN SHEEP'S CLOTHING
This is a station editorial, I'm Randal J. Miller, station president. Well, the politicians have already begun promising that they won't cut this, they won't cut that, they'll leave all the federal programs that buy votes in place like Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.
And, so as to not ignore those seeking re-election for Illinois state rep or state senate, don't forget the 400-million dollars in NEW spending that was included in this year's Illinois State Budget, either, while the state is broke and still has a backlog of billions of dollars in bills.
Don't be fooled by wolves in sheep's clothing. Washington doesn't have the money, and neither does Springfield. Anybody that promises they won't cut a federal or state program is lying thru their teeth, because neither Washington nor Springfield have the money to pay for all those domestic programs they've passed over the many decades to buy votes.
If you want to see the country or state go bankrupt, go ahead, vote for any candidate that promises you a chicken in every pot. But, be prepared for an empty pot after the election.
That's our opinion...we welcome yours. Our e-mail address is:
Letter to the Editor on the Magill House
May 30, 2012
It takes many hands and hearts working together to transform a vision to a reality—one that seemingly could become a miracle.
The DeWitt County Restoration Association was on the receiving end of special help recently from a group of volunteers who brought their carpentry skills and dedicated their entire weekend to The Magill House project. Erick Harrington with Exelon Shaw Carpenters Local 63 recruited a crew to install a new ceiling in what will soon be a beautiful retail space on the first floor of Clinton’s historic hotel.
Bringing their special talents and labor to the two-day project were Erick Harrington, Tony “Clay” Reeves, Bob Irvin, Joshua Hibbard, and Steve Devore. Our own DCRA carpenter Doug Brisard with DCRA and Chris Notaro of Clinton also worked with the crew.
The DCRA thanks the entire crew for sharing their time, energy and talents to help bring an area of the Magill House back to life! Our gratitude is immeasurable—the ceiling looks amazing and just watching these men work was an incredible experience.
The DCRA is moving forward with renovations on the Magill House, in partnership with the city of Clinton and community groups and supporters. In the coming months, the hard work will be more and more obvious as exterior painting and work on the retail space is completed.
And you can follow our progress on the Magill House on Facebook at “DeWitt County Restoration Association.”
Donations of labor, materials and funds are tax deductible and may be made by contacting any of the DCRA Board of Director members found below. Any and or all donations can be made on line at www.dewittcountyrestoration.com
or at our official DCRA address:
DeWitt County Restoration Association
640 Kleemann Drive
Clinton, IL. 61727
The DeWitt County Restoration Association Board of Directors:
Becky Adams, Doug Brisard, Tim Jamieson, Sharon Snyder, Mark Killough, Marjorie Anderson. Craig Riddle
Letter to the Editor on Mental Health Month
May 9, 2012
As DeWitt County joins other communities to mark Mental Health Month in May, we recognize the work of dedicated professionals and volunteers whose efforts improve the lives of our friends, relatives and others who live with a mental illness or condition.
The DeWitt County Community Mental Health Board works with several agencies to provide services funded through a county tax levy. Residents with developmental disabilities, chronic mental illness and substance abuse issues receive help through the local funding sources.
The agencies funded in DeWitt County include the YMCA for services to families in counseling and residents with developmental disabilities; Children’s Advocacy Center for services for children who are victims of sexual and physical abuse; DOVE assisting victims of abuse; Growing Strong Sexual Assault Center services for young abuse victims and the DeWitt County Human Resource Center, provider of a wide array of mental health services.
During the month of May, the Community Mental Health Board will sponsor several events to raise awareness for the much-needed programs. A poster contest will give children a chance to express “What Makes You Smile” and the Clintonia Eagle Theatre will show a new documentary on Clinton’s Play for Peace program.
On June 2, Heads Up! Community Advocates for Mental Wellness will host a Community Play Day at Weldon Springs State Park for families.
Taking care of our residents with mental health needs requires the hands, hearts and talent of many people. Please join us in recognizing those efforts during May. With more than 26 percent of the general population living with a mental disorder, the stakes are too great to be ignored.
Edith Brady-Lunny representing
The DeWitt County Community Mental Health Board
Heads Up! Community Advocates for Mental Wellness
May 8, 2012
Letter to the Editor on Clinton Parking Ordinance
I’d like to take this opportunity to recognize a positive step that was taken at Clinton's city council meeting on May 7th. After almost two months of planning, an amendment to the existing Parking Ordinance was voted on and approved by all members of the council. The changes will take effect on May 21st, continuing through August 1st. (For an official list of the changes, please contact City Hall.) The Clinton Area Chamber of Commerce strives to promote shopping locally. Our hopes are that this amendment will encourage visitors to visit and shop in Clinton's downtown area.
Clinton Area Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau
Letter In Support Of National Volunteer Week
April 15, 2012, Sunday through April 21, 2012, Saturday, is National Volunteer Week. Dove, Inc ~ RSVP (Retired & Senior Volunteer Program) has been providing service to DeWitt County for over 10 years. RSVP volunteers from all walks of life have given freely of their time and talents. Sharing their knowledge. Each of them has been dedicated to making tomorrow better than today for all they serve.
RSVP volunteers exemplify the American idea that we can change things, make things better, meet challenges and accomplish our goals as we all work together.
During National Volunteer Week we celebrate the profound impact of volunteers making a difference. Every one of us has a role to play in making our communities stronger and building a brighter future.
We, the RSVP Advisory Board and Staff, wish to thank all the volunteers who graciously give of their time, talents and knowledge in order to make our community a better place.
WE SINCERELY APPRECIATE EVERY ONE OF YOU!
Lawrence Krall - President, Advisory Board Dove, Inc
Silvia Comfort - RSVP Volunteer Coordinator
Letter to the Editor Supporting Pam Barnes
March 20, 2012
As a voter myself I would like to see a position given to someone who truly deserves the spot. Running for DeWitt Country Circuit Clerk, Pamela Barnes is not only a trustworthy and dependable person but she is an incredible and strong woman. My mother is one of the best people I know and cherish. As her daughter I don’t want to come off as bias but I want to speak on behalf of how hard she has worked to gain the voters respect and support over the past several months. She has spent a lot of time out campaigning almost every single night and has spent all weekends out walking about getting to know the community better.
Honestly, she has not complained once. She enjoys talking to people and spending time with people in the community. She has always been involved in the community not only through church but through organizations and clubs. She is not only a hard worker but dedicated to what she does. As a probation officer for 13 years she not only cared for her staff but the people she worked with every single day. She sees everyone as equals and knew they deserved another chance. No matter what any offense was my mother treated them with the respect they deserved.
She never judged and she never discriminated. She also has A LOT of knowledge of the court system and would make a positive change for the better in that office. A lot of things have been said in the paper and a lot of people may have been offended by some accusations. All I can say is being around my mother and a lot of people from that office...the truth needs to be heard whether or not people like it. Give change a chance and vote for my mother you will definitely benefit from your choice!!!
Letter to the Editor: Support Pam Barnes
March 20, 2012
I just wanted the people of DeWitt County to please Vote for Pam Barnes as the next DeWitt County Circuit Clerk. I know some of you find it very hard to believe the stories in the paper about Lori Berger. But friends, they are not lies. I am not just an "unhappy" employee trying to get back at a boss, so to speak. Lori can be a very nice person, but as an authority figure she is not..
I was warned by several people before I started working for her in 2008 that she was a very different person to work for than someone to just work with. I didn't believe them and went ahead with my employment with her. After a few months I realized I should have listened to those people. Folks, coming from an insider and former DeWitt county employee, we really need someone else in that office, as well as some new faces for our County Board.
When going to the polls today, please choose your person very carefully, it will make a huge impact on this County, and we the citizens can make that change. I believe Pam Barnes will be a wonderful addition to the County as Our next DeWitt County Circuit Clerk.
Letter to the Editor: I'm Supporting Lori Berger
March 19, 2012
Running for public office is commendable in these times. Meeting the scrutiny and maliciousness requires real courage. The Constitution is guilty of irresponsible "journalism" and downright character assassination of Lori Berger. The conduct of certain individuals is reminiscent of junior high antics. Oversensationalizing non-existent claims and harboring disgruntled employees seems to be the theme. I'm forced to ask myself what is really going on.
This is not an attempt to discredit Pam Barnes. I'm certain she's lovely and competent. However, my experience with the current administration has been nothing short of excellent. I see through the flimsy allegations by devious intentions in print to discredit a woman who has served us well and somehow finds the class to take the high road. Anytime you are in a position of authority, you will have disgruntled employees. Obviously there are always two sides to the story. So called impartial journalism and alterior motives create propaganda designed to pursuade and manipulate "the people". Is that you? Are you buying into all the hype? Did they successfully manipulate you into believing that printing character assassination makes it true?
Then you may be considered naive. I have had encounters with other "elected officials" who were rude, obnoxious and worthy of an ousting. It was about time someone who knows Lori is willing to stand up and paint her as competent, caring and intelligent. She's been wonderful to my family in the toughest of times. Shelly Klinger eloquently stood up for Lori in the Enquirer.... err... Constitution and I second the motion. I wish both candidates the best and thank you for this opportunity to support Lori Berger!
Clinton, IL 61727
Letter to the Editor: Vote YES on Ambulance Referendum
March 18, 2012
On Tuesday, March 20th, the residents of DeWitt County will have the opportunity to choose the manner that ambulance service may be subsidized after December 31, 2012. It has been shown through countless research studies and actual case studies that delays in detection of an emergency, delays in accessing 911, and lack of quality Emergency Medical Services that outcomes are much poorer.
There are rural ambulance services closing across the State of Illinois and the Nation due to the lack of dedicated funding sources to help sustain operations. There are communities that are now 30 or more minutes away from their closest ambulance service. In critical medical conditions, there is permanent irreversible damage to the brain when it goes four to six minutes without oxygen. There are ways that can slow the permanent brain damage: learn CPR; have an intact 911 system and teach children how to call 911 in an emergency; early detection and recognition that there is a problem; and have an intact local tiered Emergency Medical Service response.
It is always beneficial to have a local ambulance service in a County. Please recognize that Emergency Medical Services is an essential service to help improve the lives of those individuals that live there. Many individuals may ask themselves when entering the voter booth, why should I vote for this. The answer to the question of why vote YES, “If I ever have a medical or trauma emergency, I want an ambulance service within my county to respond quickly and be staffed with trained and knowledgeable Paramedics.” I encourage the residents of DeWitt County to be informed and vote YES on Tuesday, March 20th for the county ambulance referendum.
Gregory Scott, R.N., EMT-Paramedic
Bloomington, IL 61701
Letter to the Editor: Support Clinton Ambulance Referendum
March 10, 2012
On December 31, 2012, the Dr. John Warner Hospital will cease providing ambulance service to the citizens of Clinton and surrounding areas. On Tuesday, March 20th, the voters of Clinton and DeWitt County have the opportunity to choose how a new ambulance service would be subsidized as well as the quality of ambulance service that could be provided.
No tax monies from the City of Clinton or the County of DeWitt are currently received by the Dr. John Warner Hospital to support the ambulance service which covers an area West of Route 48. This fiscal year, it is estimated that the revenue collected by billing the service will fall $400,000.00 short of meeting the expenses of its operation.
Because the amount of ambulance runs in the County are not sufficient to support an ambulance service solely, other sources of revenue are needed to supplement this service. In researching the state statues for options there is no provision for an ambulance district in Illinois. There are separate options for an ambulance tax levy/subsidy for a County that is Non-Home Rule (DeWitt County), a Municipality that is Non-Home Rule (All cities/villages in DeWitt County), or a Fire Protection District (DeWitt County has 5 along with others sharing county borders.)
In evaluating each option, a County tax/subsidy of .25% requires one resolution from a county board to put it on the ballot, requires one referendum to pass, and allows one entity to contract for the ambulance service. The County option spreads the cost to the taxpayers across the county. In DeWitt County, if the full .25% were assessed, the levy would generate over $1,000,000.00 which is not needed to supplement the service. The County would have the power to assess any amount up to the .25%. Only ½ of the levy or .125% which would generate $575,000.00 might be needed. Or depending on the subsidy needed, the levy could be lowered to 1/3 or .0833% which would generate $372,000.00. For someone who owned property assessed at $120,000.00, ½ of the .25% levy would cost the taxpayer $50.00 a year; 1/3 of the .25% levy would cost the taxpayer $33.32 a year.
The Municipality tax/subsidy cap is also .25%. Each city would need to have their governing board pass a resolution to put a referendum on a ballot, the levy would need to pass, then each city could contract with an ambulance provider of their choice. Because there are several options for providers, the county dispatch center might face a challenge in determining which ambulance provider to send to what location. This option does not take in to consideration how the unincorporated areas of the county would be covered and the county would have to create a solution. If all the cities/villages in DeWitt County were to pass a referendum with the cap of .25% and be taxed at the full rate, the levy would generate $194,000.00 which may or may not be enough to subsidize service to all the cities/villages. For a city taxpayer owning a $120,000.00 piece of property, the cap of .25% would cost the taxpayer $100.00 a year.
The Fire Protection District tax/subsidy cap is .30%. Each Fire Protection District would need to have their trustees pass a resolution to put a referendum on the ballot, the levy would need to pass, then each fire protection district could provide or contract with an ambulance provider of their choice. Here again, with several fire protection districts within our county, there could be several providers contracted which would be a challenge to the dispatch center when an ambulance is needed. If each Fire Protection District in DeWitt County passed the .30% levy, $467,000.00 would be generated.
The City of Clinton as well as the power plant are not in a fire protection district. If the Fire Protection Districts chose to provide or contract ambulance service for their areas, the City of Clinton would need to pass its own referendum at the .25% to have monies for a subsidy. A solution would need to be created to cover the power plant. In this option, the full amount of the levies also would not need to be levied, but because of the inequality in the levy cap of a fire protection district vs. a city (City of Clinton), there would not be equal taxation. For a Fire Protection District taxpayer owning a $120,000.00 piece of property at the .30% rate, it would cost the taxpayer $120.00 a year.
In evaluating these options, it is evident that the County levy is the less complicated option as well as the lowest cost to the taxpayer.
The county levy would give the DeWitt County Board control over the next step of the ambulance service in the choice of providers. It is important that the desires of the citizens be made known and considered when a final decision is made concerning providers.
Options for providers of ambulance service to our area include private companies, a non-profit corporation and fire departments. Some areas that need ambulance coverage either have no subsidy available or do not have the equipment/staff to provide the service, so their only option is a private company. Private companies need to generate a profit and they would set the quality and response standards by the amount of subsidy provided to their company.
A non-profit corporation created by local EMS workers based on the model of the Logan County Paramedics Association in Lincoln is being formed as an option for DeWitt County. The Logan County Paramedics Association provides paramedic level ambulance service to the citizens of Logan County. The DeWitt County Ambulance Association will be a non-profit corporation governed by a 9 member Board of Directors representing the service area. The Board of Directors would hire an Executive Di