The plans to improve the Northridge Golf Course were given a boost at this week’s city council meeting. The Jacksonville city council voted to approve a $125,000 loan to Rohn Investments, Inc. for their proposal. However, it almost didn’t happen.
At the last meeting, John Rohn made his formal request to the council for the loan. His initial request was for far more than the funds available in the Revolving Loan account, so the council discussed how much they wanted to approve. They settled on the $125,000 amount.
Prior to the vote to approve the loan application, Alderman Warmowski proposed an amendment to increase the loan amount by $20,000. After discussion about the actual amount of money in the Revolving Loan fund, the amendment passed 3-2-1. Now the proposal was for a loan of $145,000. This vote failed 2-3-1.
Suddenly there was a problem. Because the council had already voted on the issue, it would normally be inappropriate to vote on the issue again at the same meeting. However, seeing no objection, Warmowski motioned to reconsider the question at the original $125,000 amount. This vote did pass 4-1-1. Alderman Mike Wankel abstained in all of the votes to avoid a potential conflict of interests.
The council also voted against adding a stop sign at the corner of Michigan and Hardin. This proposal had been discussed at previous meetings, and was requested by South Jacksonville. The the vending machine proposal for Community Park was tabled.
The workshop session
The administration office wanted to lease a new copy machine. That may seem insignificant, but Jacksonville still conducts much of its business offline, including sending out bills. By leasing a more cost-effective copy machine, they expect to save over $200 per month in direct costs.
Superintendent of Administration Sally Long also took this opportunity to discuss the paperless options that the utilities department has been adding. She noted that they have not done a very effective job at spreading the word about this option. More consumers going paperless would save even more money for the departments. Those online options can be found at the link: https://jacksonville.merchanttransact.com
The second half of the workshop session was a presentation about the Lake Mauvaise Terra watershed project. This project was designed to limit the pollutants entering the lake, including manganese’s, phosphorus, nitrates, and sediment. The lake has been listed as “impaired” by the EPA due to these issues.
The recent project successfully reduced the amount of pollution entering the lake. While this was welcome news, it is only the start of what needs to be done for the watershed. As can be seen in the report, only a modest fraction of real goal has been achieved so far.
You can read the full report here. You can watch the full meeting below:
Mayor’s Youth Council holds first talent show
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.
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
Southeast honored at Springfield City Council
Southeast High School has had a lot to celebrate this year, and the Springfield City Council took notice. First, Wynton Gage was honored for his poetry reading. Wynton will soon attend the national Poetry Out Loud contest in Washington DC. After being recognized by the Mayor, he performed Emily Brontë’s “Often rebuked, yet always back returning.” You can watch it below.
The Southeast Basketball team was also celebrated. They made it all the way to the state final; the furthest the team has ever gone. Their season ended 26-4.
Other city business handled tonight was the TIFF district on Lumber Lane. Alderman McMenamin raised the issue of supporting a new business with TIFF support when that new business would compete with existing businesses in Springfield. Alderwoman Turner answered saying that the new business would actually be located within the city limits, while the competitors had fought to stay outside the city legally but not geographically. That vote passed 10-0.
Allen Reyne was formally appointed to the position of Fire Chief of the Springfield Fire Department. Alderman Theilen discussed amending either the language or the interpretation of the dog barking ordinance, due to complaints about noise. He also said that he was aware of the issues withe Chatham Road, and that it was being worked on.
Plans to add a tourism office on the Old State Capitol Plaza were also discussed. This office would be shared with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, which manages many Lincoln sites. It is thought that by having the office located more centrally, it will be better able to serve tourists.
In other Lincoln news, the fate of Lincoln’s internment document. This is the original handwritten document detailing Lincoln’s placement in his tomb in Oak Ridge Cemetery. The city owns this document. The presidential library was seen as the best place to protect the artifact, Alderman Theilen wanted to ensure the city did not lose de facto ownership of the item.
Gun owners rally at Capitol to support Second Amendment
A coalition of pro-Second Amendment groups rallied at the capitol Saturday afternoon. Despite the rain, more than 100 people attended the rally organized by the National Constitutional Coalition of Patriotic Americans (NCCPA). The Springfield rally was part of a nationwide event protesting recently proposed gun control legislation.
Tom Shafer and Corey Proctor spoke about three bills in particular that are especially worrying for gun owners, HB 1664, HB 1465, and HB 1469. HB 1664 would allow police to seize an individual’s guns based on an anonymous tip that the gun owner was a threat to themselves or others. Shafer described this as not only an attack on the Second Amendment, but also a clear violation of the Fourth Amendment which protects against unreasonable search and seizures. He laid out several cases where such a system could be easily abused by individuals with a grudge against a gun owner.
Other individuals from around the state spoke about their personal reasons for supporting gun rights and the Second Amendment. The need for self defense against random crime was a common theme, but the threat from a tyrannical government was also mentioned frequently. The Holodomor famines in the Soviet Union were mentioned, and Larry Williams from Peoria discussed examples far closer to home. You can watch his speech on the fate of Native Americans below:
The NCCPA event was the smaller of the two pro-Second Amendment rallies planned this week. In addition to the weather, Shafer blamed scaremongering in the local media for the lower turnout. He told me there was never any plan for open carry at this event, and no one did. The Illinois State Rifle Association’s (ISRA) Illinois Gun Owners Lobby Day (IGOLD) will be held at the Bank of Springfield Center this coming Wednesday, April 25th. Several thousand people are expected to attend IGOLD.
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