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Thomas Clatterbuck

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Two new positions were created for Chatham at this week’s board meeting. The first was the Foreman for Water & Parks. This position was seen as necessary to handle the workload in those departments. Although the board was sympathetic to concerns about adding a new position, they said that the departments were under staffed, and that as a result there was work that was going undone.

The second was a revamp of the director position of the Chatham Emergency Management Agency (CEMA). Previously the CEMA director had been an outside consultant. Issues with that model arose when the previous director left unexpectedly. Because he did not formally resign, the position was left functionally vacant during the height of storm season.

In response, the board amended the old position to made the director either an employee or contractor to the village. After the amendment, Trenton N. Thompson was appointed to the director position. Mr. Thompson was highly recommended for the role, and is very experienced in emergency management. With Director Thompson on board, the board also hopes that the village’s emergency response plan can be finalized and approved.

You can watch the full meeting in the player.

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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.

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LIVE | Springfield City Council meeting February 19th

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Follow along live with the Springfield City Council meeting February 19th, 2019. The FY20 budget will be up for final discussion and vote.

DSI also discussed the plans for the upcoming concert series supported by the Levitt Foundation. Springfield won a nationwide Levitt AMP contest for a $25,000 grant.

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LIVE | Springfield City Council committee of the whole February 13th, 2019

Thomas Clatterbuck

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Follow along live with the Springfield City Council committee of the whole. This meeting was moved from the 12th for Lincoln’s birthday. Brian McFadden from Sangamon County spoke about the animal control situation and the county’s policies.

UIS baseball coach Chris Ramirez was recognized for his team’s achievements. Ramirez was awarded coach of the year.

This meeting was preceded by a special City Council meeting, where $1.2 million in TIF funding was approved for the Poplar Place Redevelopment Project. This money will go towards road infrastructure for the area. The council was unanimous in their support for the project, and looks forward to the multi-million dollar development.

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New Obama exhibit opens and African American History Museum

Thomas Clatterbuck

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President Barack Obama was the first African American president of the United States, and the fourth to have strong ties to Illinois. His two terms as president usually draw the most attention, but a new exhibit at the Springfield and Central Illinois African American History Museum focuses on the start of his political career. Before rising to national prominence as a US Senator and later as President, Obama served in the General Assembly right here in Springfield.

Obama worked with many people in the Springfield area, many of whom are still active in the community. At the exhibit opening, two of his former staffers and mentors, Beverly Helm-Renfro and Nia Odeoti-Hassan, shared their experiences working with the then Senator Obama. From the first time they met the future president, to Michelle Obama’s reaction to Obama getting his first bill passed, to his eventual move to DC, these two women spoke about a side of him most outsiders never got to see. You can watch their full talk in the player.

The Obama exhibit showcases memorabilia and other artifacts from Obama’s time in the General Assembly all the way through his time as president. Community members from Springfield provided their own items to share their link with the president.

The museum is located at 1440 Monument Avenue, near the entrance to Oak Ridge Cemetery, and is open from 12 PM – 4 PM Tuesday through Friday, and 10 AM – 5:00 PM on Saturday. You can also check out their website at spiaahm.org.

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