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Thomas Clatterbuck

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In 1987, CIPS unearthed a coal tar pit in Taylorville, Illinois. Despite being used in numerous consumer products, coal tar is extremely toxic. But despite the risks to the community, CIPS failed to deploy the proper environmental protections, and the town was exposed to coal tar dust and toxic fumes. Shortly afterwords, numerous children developed rare cancers, including neuroblastoma.

The botched cleanup was the cause of these cancers. Cost-saving choices made on the day of the cleanup resulted in ineffective measuring being taken to control the toxins. This lead to neighborhoods being poisoned. While that might seem obvious in hindsight, proving a major corporation was responsible would prove far more difficult. But private investigator and former Springfield alderman Bill Clutter was part of the fight to do just that. In his new book, “Coal Tar: How Corrupt Politics and Corporate Greed are Killing America’s Children,” Clutter shares the saga of fighting both CIPS and the Illinois EPA to prove just how dangerous coal tar really is.

During our discussion of his book, Clutter shared that the Taylorville is just one of many towns dealing with coal tar. Because coal gasification (the process that creates coal tar) was so common in the early 20th Century, coal tar pits are also common. Franklin, Indiana is currently dealing with a similar situation to what Taylorville went though. And a similar cancer cluster in Morgan City, Louisiana helped proved coal tar was the likely culprit in Taylorville as well. One bright point is Illinois has tighter regulations for cleaning up these sites because of the Taylorville case.

Corruption

Before becoming involved in the Taylorville case, Clutter was a politician in Springfield. He shares local history from his time on the city council, and gives an inside look at the political machines that dominated the city and state during the 1980s and 90s. It also helps showcase how corporations gain influence over the regulators that are supposed to be watching them. CIPS relationship with the Illinois EPA was a large part of the difficulties the Taylorville families faced in getting justice.

Although Clutter was ultimately successful against CIPS, he doesn’t sugar coat how difficult the fight was. Even with a strong community group pushing for answers, and their lawyer Tom Londrigan waving his fee, pursuing the case was still an extremely expensive and lengthy process.

The book

Clutter’s book was published by Investigating Innocence Media. You can purchase the book on his website, or on Amazon. Proceeds from the book will help go to Investigating Innocence, a nonprofit that helps fight wrongful convictions.

You can watch our full discussion in the player above.

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Senior strategist, statehouse reporter and political correspondent for Springfield Daily. Graduate of District 117 and UIS. Thomas covers stories in both Morgan and Sangamon Counties, as well as statewide politics.

Announcements

Bookstock coming back to Jacksonville for its third year

Staff Contributor

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The Jacksonville Public Library will be hosting its third annual Bookstock concert this weekend, September 22nd. Melanie Devaney, Chad Elliott, and Ben Bedford will be performing during the afternoon. There will also be a children’s concert in the morning with Kevin Farris, Duke Otherwise, and Mike Lockett. Bookstock will also include a craft market for children this year. In addition to selling items, kids can learn about running their own businesses.

These concerts are free to the public, and are part of the Friends of the Library Book Sale. This is one of their major fundraisers. That sale will be going on all day.

To learn more about the events, check out the events on Facebook, or the Library’s website.

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Announcements

Illinois State Fair to Host Inaugural Corn Dog Kickoff Party

Thomas Clatterbuck

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The State Fair might still be months away, but the festivities are already gearing up. On June 9th, the Fair will be hosting its inaugural Corn Dog Kickoff. This event will feature live music, fair food, giveaways, and many other activities. Broseph, one of the hottest up-and-coming bands from the Midwest, will also be playing from 12:00 to 2:30 PM.

There is a new 3K walk and 5K run this year. The races will trace through some of the fairgrounds’ most prominent attractions, including the Conservation World and the world’s fastest dirt track. Registration is currently underway and costs $25 per race with a free t-shirt for those who sign up before May 23rd.  100% of the proceeds from the race will benefit the Illinois Fairgrounds Foundation.  Registration can be done online: https://secure.getmeregistered.com/get_information.php?event_id=129995

The Corn Dog Kickoff Party will be held from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM and is free of charge. The State Fair Box Office will also be open that day from 9 am – 1 pm.  Attendees can purchase tickets to the fair’s Grandstand Summer Concert Series or our exclusive Stage Side pre-concert parties.

The 2018 Illinois State Fair will be from August 9th to 19th. Stay up to date with all the latest news and announcements from the Illinois State Fair by connecting with us via Facebook, Twitterand Instagram.

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Entertainment

Mayor’s Youth Council holds first talent show

Thomas Clatterbuck

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Students from around Springfield gathered last night to showcase their musical and artistic talents. Students from Springfield High, Lanphier, Southeast, SHG, Lutheran High, and even nearby Williamsville all came out for the friendly competition. The idea for the program came from the students themselves. They noticed that there is a “siloing” effect, where students only really get a chance to interact with others who attend the same school. This talent show was an opportunity to help build those inter-school connections.

In all, thirteen performers and six visual artists took part in the night’s events. Although music was the most common talent, there were also dancers and a juggler. The students performed in a packed room at the Lincoln Public Library. You can watch the full show in the player.

The Youth Council was one of Mayor Langfelder’s initiatives. These students meet with the mayor to discuss issues impacting them. Not all of the performers were members of the council. Developing today’s youth is valuable not only now, but also in ensuring young people wholeave the area for college want to return in the future.

Kennedy Green, SHG

Colin Gwillim, Lutheran High

Zoey House, Lanphier

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Although the competition was a friendly one, three winners were selected from the contestants in the performing and visual arts. Colin Gwillim, Kennedy Green, and Zoey House, placed first, second and third in the visual arts. Colton Schmidt (the juggler) and Gerald Cole (dance) were honorable mentions in the performing arts. Sydney Moore placed third, Walker Dial, placed second, and Wynton Gage placed first. All three are singers.

The timestamps for the performers are:

1:12 – Gerard Cole (Lanphier)
7:35 – Walker Dial (Lutheran High)
10:50 – Sydney Moore (Springfield High)
17:15 – Maria Harmon (SHG)
19:10 – Mika Henderson (Lutheran High)
22:40 – Regina Ivy (Southeast)
27:30 – Nia Tiller, Mia White, & Cody Flesch (Lanphier)
32:30 – O.P. Jones (Southeast)
38:44 – Hannah Garrad (Williamsville)
42:40 – Wynton Gage (Southeast)
48:00 – Colton Schmidt (SHG)
53:37 – Gerard Cole & Wynton Gage

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