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Posted June 23, 2015
This is a station editorial, I'm Randal J. Miller, station president. Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner is proposing a 6-point-25 percent tax on radio, television, newspaper and Internet advertising in Illinois. This flawed policy will impose a tax on small businesses throughout Illinois that rely on marketing to reach their consumers. The proposed tax will destroy many small businesses in Illinois and will make Main Street Illinois a ghost town.
Small businesses are the backbone of Illinois' economy. From the family owned and operated car dealership to the real-estate agent, small businesses rely on advertising to drive sales. Simply put, less advertising will mean less sales and people will lose their jobs and their businesses.
A tax on advertising will mean that for every $100 dollars spent on advertising, over 6-dollars will now go to the government. A tax on ads is another nail in the coffin of Illinois small businesses.
If you own or work for one of the following industries your advertising dollars and subsequent revenue will dwindle if this tax goes into effect: Realty, Auto, Local Grocery Stores, Local Hardware Stores, Florists, Restaurants, Equipment Sales, Pet Grooming, Beauty/Cosmetic, Landscaping, Insurance, Law, Financial Services, Medical Care.
No state in the United States applies a sales tax to advertising and we need to send a message to Springfield that Illinois needs to create jobs, not tax small business to death.
We urge both our advertisers and our listeners, to contact your legislators and tell them that Governor Rauner's proposed advertising tax is a BAD IDEA.
That's our opinion. We welcome yours. Our e-mail address is editorial-at-randyradio-dot-com.
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Posted March 25, 2015
I want to express both my gratitude and feelings of a great loss not only to myself, but I am sure to the many of the listeners in the communities who have tuned in and have come to know the man behind the microphone , Matt McLemore.
I am left with a void and am sure I can speak for "WE".... are left with a void that I feel unfortunately cannot be simply be replaced.
About 15 years ago when I moved into the area and was driving in my car scanning the air waves in search of…..something , I found it ! It was the voice of a man who in time I learned to revere and on occasion take issue with and grow fond of. I had found a radio station that was different and rather rare when considering the fact that seldom in this day and age of broadcasting does a radio station actually listen and care about it’s listeners in such a personal fashion.
From that time l had the pleasure and opportunity to become part of a radio family of interests that spanned Religion to Politics, Music and Talk, and most importantly the enlightenment of discussion on a one on one basis. I am saddened to learn and will deeply miss the joy and anticipation of that experience every week in my life and for the rest of my life . I will never forget the man behind the mic who shared his heart and life daily interacting with us who tuned in to hear that "something" that we needed and wanted in our own personal way.
How can we replace that man behind the mic who gave us our weather forecasts in that special way, listened to our/the communities interests, concerns, whims and complaints about the areas and world issues on programs like open line?
How can we find a replacement who in such a personal manner shared in pronouncing our communities birthdays, anniversaries , and deaths, who told us of the news and sports, area activities and events, and promoted our businesses in such a caring fashion? I probably should go on and on about the
Heart and soul ,the caring fashion, and yes sweat the man behind the microphone put forth in his daily job but it would be such a huge task to list it all. So with a heavy heart I would like to thank everyone at your station who made it possible for this man , who we have come to appreciate on a personnel level to have been a part of our lives. There is no replacement for such a loss and thus this void I feel and certainly will be felt by all of us, your listeners. Goodbye and good luck Mr Matt McLemore wherever we may find you.
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Posted March 18, 2015
I would once again like to clear up some of the falsehoods brought about by “Clean Line’s” recent propaganda both in print and at the recent “public meetings.” One of the most upsetting “Clean Line” claims is their repeated statements that these high voltage power lines will save Illinois consumers money on their electricity bills. This is in no way true, as it is documented by the GAO (Government Accountability Office) that HVDC does provide lower costs for the consumers at the END of the line where electricity is received, NOT consumers living along these lines.
This line will END in states to the east of Illinois, NOT in Illinois. In order for consumers to even utilize these lines, costly converter stations would have to be built. “Clean Line” has made claims that a convertor station will be built in Clark County, however, the Clark County board has NOT signed any agreements.
“Clean Line” is obviously promoting “clean” energy, and claims that the “wind energy” produced by their projects will allow other generators to run less and burn less fuel. When in reality, wind energy is an intermittent resource (the wind doesn’t always blow), therefore, baseload fossil fuel generators will be required to run constantly, and the ramping up and down of these generators actually produce MORE emissions than running at a constant rate. Doesn’t sound so “clean” to me.
“Clean Line” continues to claim that there are no health risks associated with their high voltage power lines. You can find several articles that have found scientific evidence that high voltage power lines DO cause health problems, which I cited in my last article. Yet another study I have found (California Risk Evaluation on EMFs) concluded that “EMFs can cause some degree of increased risk of childhood leukemia, adult brain cancer, Lou Gehrig’s disease, and miscarriage.”
It is becoming more and more apparent that “Clean Line” is nothing but a smoke and mirrors act. In my interview with one of the “Clean Line” employees, I confirmed that Grain Belt Express DOES have the right to sell the easements. The entire project can be purchased, which of course includes the easements. Additionally, this Clean Line employee was not able to tell me how much money they have set aside for this project. In my research I have found that this project is nowhere near being fully funded, in fact, several investors are trying to pull out of the project.
Now I wonder, why would a company be so intent on getting eminent domain when they have no money to follow through on a proposed project? My guess would be that there are already plans to sell the easements to a foreign company for a project that we know nothing about. “Clean Line” is very focused on getting eminent domain. What they do not tell the public is that they have applied to the U.S. Department of Energy for “Federal Siting Authority”, which is Federal Eminent Domain. “Clean Line” wants eminent domain power for 60,000 acres across America. If they are successful, this means that 60,000 acres of eminent domain power could be given to a few billionaires to take land from thousands of farmers and landowners for their own private profit.
Another upsetting aspect of “Clean Line” is their total lack of acknowledgement about the definite land devaluation that would take place if these high voltage power lines were to be built. In fact, they tend to totally disregard the question and instead point to the compensation that they will supposedly offer. When I brought this up to a “Clean Line” representative (who lives in Chicago), she stated “well, I don’t think that will be a problem because when land is on sale it goes quick.” Really? Because I can make a pretty educated guess that my home and land is worth much more as it is now than with high voltage power lines running through the middle of it. Oh, and by the way, if your neighbor has the “Clean Line” high voltage power lines running through their property, you are in no way compensated for that, even though it will devalue your property and affect you in other negative ways.
People who are no longer on the route may no longer be concerned about opposing the “Clean Line” project. However, I encourage you to think about this. If “Clean Line” is granted eminent domain, how many companies will be right behind them using eminent domain for their projects? Once eminent domain is granted to one company, many other companies will have the same rights. You may not be on this route, but you may be facing this in the future.
I encourage everyone who opposes this project, and the possibility of future projects, to take just a few minutes out of your day to voice your opinion. Talk to your county board members, email or call your state senators and representatives, and email the U.S. Department of Energy (Secretary Ernest Moniz). This only takes a few minutes and can make a world of difference.
Thanks for reading,
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Posted February 25, 2015
This is a copy of a letter sent to Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner. It was provided by Taylorville Mayor Greg Brotherton:
February 25, 2015
The Honorable Bruce Rauner
Office of the Governor
207 State House
Springfield, IL 62706
All of us know that sacrifice and tough decisions come during hard times, but so do common sense, logic and reason. The state is dealing with a massive budgetary mess of its own making – made through years and years of putting off pension payments and borrowing and spending beyond its limits – none of which is the fault of local governments or their elected officials. In fact, during that same time, municipal governments balanced their budgets every year, provided for the health, safety and welfare of their residents, invested in infrastructure improvements, and were able to do all of that under the pressure of property tax limitations, declining revenues, unfunded state mandates, and pension benefit sweeteners sent out from the capitol building.
Now is not the time to penalize our city hall for their good stewardship of the local share of state income taxes. Why should our hometowns suffer the drastic cuts being proposed against local governments when they didn’t create the problem?
Based on the numbers reported, a 50% cut in the municipal share of income taxes would result in a reduction of $556,677.00 to my community. Along with a proposed property tax freeze and the likelihood of more unfunded mandates from the state, how are our elected leaders supposed to find the dollars to pay for critical local services? We have already made the tough decisions and we are already operating efficiently and effectively, especially when compared to the state. We balance our budget every year and we watch each dollar to make sure it is returned to the local taxpayers
through quality programs and services. When these cuts are passed down to the local level, the message being sent is: thanks for doing the right thing, now you have to pay again for our mistakes.
Please take a stand against the unnecessary and unrealistic cuts that have been proposed against local governments. This is not a case of “don’t cut my pet program,” this is a case of common sense governing. Thank you for your support.
Greg Brotherton, Mayor
City of Taylorville
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Posted January 14, 2015
Letter of Opposition to Grain Belt Express, Part 1
What is big, ugly, defaces land, demolishes animal habitat, has numerous health risks including cancer, and decreases land value? It’s the “Grain Belt Express Clean Line” of course!
Many of you attended the first “public meeting” held by “Clean” Line at the Pana Eagles. I was extremely proud to see such a large turnout of local people who are striving to protect their homes, their land, and their rights. The purpose of this letter is to address some of the FACTS that were not addressed by the “Clean” Line employees. The first point I would like to address is “Clean” Line’s claim that these high voltage power lines will save people money. What they DIDN’T mention is that the only people saving money are the people at the END of the line who are receiving the electricity, which in this case, would be people in states east of Illinois.
In fact, a study done by the GAO (Government Accountability Office) found that HVDC does provide lower costs for the consumers at the END of the line where electricity is received, NOT consumers living along these lines. In order for consumers along the lines to utilize the electricity, costly conversion equipment would have to be installed. Other disadvantages noted by this study included diminished economic and aesthetic value of the land, and lack of electricity benefits to consumers living along these lines. The bottom line is that it is cheaper to import power than to generate locally, which is why they are trying to use our land to send electricity to eastern states.
Another point I would like to address is “Clean” Line’s repeated, false claims that high voltage power lines do not cause health problems. In fact, a Bioinitiative 2012 report concluded that “power lines and other sources of ELF are consistently associated with higher rates of childhood leukemia and resulted in the International Agency for Cancer Research (an arm of the World Health Organization) to classify ELF as a Possible Human Carcinogen.” They also stated that “there is little doubt that exposure to ELF causes childhood leukemia.”
It saddens me to think the people behind “Clean” Line would jeopardize the health of children in order for them to make money. Would they want to expose their children to a possible carcinogen? I think not. Yet another study looked at what risks for cancer a child would have later in life, if that child was raised in a home within 300 meters of a high-voltage electric power line. For children who were raised for their first five years of life within 300 meters, they have a lifetime risk that is 500 percent higher for developing some kinds of cancers.
Before I close, I would like to inform the reader on who is investing in the “Clean” Line project. One of the top investors is ZAM Ventures and ZBI Ventures. These companies are based in Delaware and New York, and are classified as a foreign partnership. They were started by brothers Dirk, Robert, and Daniel Ziff, who have a fortune of more than $10 billion. Additionally, the investors and executive staff of “Clean” Line (based in Houston, TX) have a history of selling to international conglomerates – what would stop them from selling easements? If granted eminent domain, Clean Line would have the right to add to, sell, or lease the easements – in fact, National Grid of the United Kingdom already has an option to buy any or all of the Clean Line proposed projects.
Many people have been vocal about their opposition to “Clean” Line’s plan. For example, the Missouri Public Service Commission staff is opposed to the GBE project, stating that the project was not needed, nor economically feasible. In Illinois, the ICC recommended that the commission reject “Clean” Line’s petition to be treated as a public utility for Rock Island “Clean” Line. Rep. Jim Neely of Missouri stated “If it interferes with someone who’s worked years to build a farm or a home, that’s wrong. As a society, why would we want to disrupt that person’s dream?” I agree whole heartedly with Mr. Neely, and I wonder, if “Clean” Line is granted eminent domain, where does it end?
What limitations will there be on what other people can do with land that we worked for? Will anything be left unscarred for my children to enjoy? The possibilities are frightening. It is my hope that you too voice your opposition to “Clean” Line, at the next “public meeting” and at future meetings. Do not hesitate to write or call your local politicians and county board members and let your opinion be heard!
Thanks for reading,
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Posted November 25, 2014
While Chicago parents do their best to raise healthy, responsible children, the Chicago-based Female Health Company is marketing female condoms to 11 year olds through Chicago Public Schools’ new sex ed curriculum. Graphic pictures and step-by-step instructions show girls and boys how to insert them.
However, the fact is, female condoms don’t sell well to the public because they fail to prevent pregnancy, let alone STDs. Yet tax-funded government agencies buy them and promote them to young children. When confronted, school officials claimed the material was “accidentally” presented to parents at the Andrew Jackson Language Academy and was not part of the curriculum.
What?! Accidentally?! Parents should be outraged! They can thank the Illinois General Assembly for giving them “comprehensive” sex ed last spring.
Director of Operations
Illinois Family Institute
PO Box 88848
Carol Stream, IL 60188
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Posted November 13, 2014
Fortunately, it seems that citizens have voted to retain Justice Lloyd Karmeier on the Illinois Supreme Court. Because, however, there remains negative residue from the failed efforts to unseat him—efforts that tend to create long-term and unwarranted distrust in our judicial system—we write to give proper perspective to at least one case. Here are the facts.
The widow of a state trooper killed in a traffic accident filed suit in Madison County. The defendants asked to have the case moved to a different county, arguing that, under Illinois law, Madison County was not a proper place for filing the lawsuit (in legal terms, not a proper “venue”). The trial court denied the motion. The appellate court refused to hear an appeal. The defendants then brought the case to the Illinois Supreme Court, where, without any comment whatsoever on the merits of the appeal, all seven of the justices unanimously ordered the appellate court to consider the appeal. Almost a year later, after the appellate court reviewed the case, it held that the case was brought in the wrong county, rejecting what the appellate court saw as “unsupported arguments” of the plaintiff. Deatherage v. DOT Transportation, Inc., 2014 IL App (5th) 130364-U, ¶23.
Justice Karmeier was recommended for retention by the Illinois State Bar Association, this state’s largest lawyer group. He is an even-handed and fair-minded jurist. Given the facts spelled out above, to place a stigma on him for joining in a unanimous decision of the Supreme Court entered approximately a year ago—a decision that merely ordered the appellate court to consider which court should hear the case—is wrong. And the unanimous decision of the appellate court, in which Justice Karmeier had no role and which is available for everyone’s review on the Internet, establishes that the motion to remove the case to an appropriate venue was proper.
We should be concerned about what one newspaper called a “savage campaign of insinuation” against Justice Karmeier. Under no circumstances should we condone such tactics. Our greater concern, however, is the effect such tactics have on the trust we place (or refuse to place) in judges.
Very truly yours,
Gino L. DiVito
Tabet DiVito & Rothstein LLC
Retired Appellate Court Justice
Former President, Illinois Judges Association
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Posted October 14, 2014
With the recent discussions about the Fire Department Ambulance and the fact that my name has been brought up in news articles, I feel compelled to give my version of the story.
As most of you know, TFD is a first response agency, meaning that when you call 911 for a medical emergency, TFD will respond, as always. In my early years we had 3 ambulance companies that operated on a part time basis with on call personnel. This means that TFD personnel would arrive on scene long before an ambulance. We would have to treat the patient and then wait, sometimes 30-45 minutes. A trauma situation or cardiac arrest call would put our personnel at great risk, not to mention the patient who needed transported immediately. When Sutton’s and Dunn’s Ambulance went full time, it was like a godsend to TFD personnel. No longer would we have to wait extended times as the ambulance was normally right there with us immediately. As time went by, and as these ambulances became busier and busier, there were times when we were back to waiting again due to no ambulance being available. We either waited for one to become available or had to wait for an out of town ambulance to respond. These 2 private ambulance companies cover the whole county, not just the city of Taylorville, and it is really difficult and not cost effective for them to hire extra personnel in the event they “may” have extra calls.
When I was appointed Fire Chief, I believed that my job was to provide our personnel with the training and the equipment to do their job safely and be able to go home to their families. At the same time, I had to be fiscally responsible to the citizens of Taylorville. This can become difficult at times. After much discussion about the ambulances not being available at all times it was decided that we would explore our options. We could leave it status quo, leaving our personnel and the patient in a dangerous situation or we could do something about it. That is when the “back up ambulance” idea came about. Anyone who truly knows me would know that the last thing I ever wanted is to be in the ambulance business, but since we send personnel to every medical call anyway, it made sense to have an ambulance at our disposal in the event that there were none available. But how do we pay for it?
Since TFD already responds to medical calls, personnel would not be an issue. Since volunteers and off duty personnel respond to help on scene or cover the fire station, overtime would not be an issue. So that left the vehicle and equipment. The Taylorville Fire Protection District board of Trustees graciously offered to purchase a used ambulance and some equipment for us. Other equipment was purchased through federal and state grants or donations. There was very little cost to the citizens of Taylorville to do this. As far as maintaining the vehicle and equipment, we projected that with the income from the estimated 20-30 calls per year that the ambulance would be needed, it would cover any costs. We believed that this was the most economical way to solve the problem without taking anything away from the private ambulance services. If they couldn’t respond in the first place, how is TFD taking business away from them? I believe that it just makes good sense that if TFD personnel are going to be there anyway, why not have the benefit of being able to transport the patient immediately when necessary. When we need assistance for a fire or rescue call we always call on neighboring departments for mutual aid. I look at this as the same thing. We are providing mutual aid to the ambulances when they are overwhelmed.
When this was brought to the city council for approval, there was discussion that it would hurt the private businesses. I made it clear that we had no intention of hurting them, thus the “back up” idea. When I asked the question at an emergency services committee meeting if TFD personnel can utilize the TFD ambulance when injured at a call, I was told no. They would still have to use a private ambulance. I don’t believe this makes good financial sense. Forcing TFD personnel to use a private ambulance when hurt on the job would generate a bill for the city. Why pay for something when it could be done using city equipment and personnel? I believe that was when the discussion started about the “right to choose”. That was almost 3 years ago.
Fast forward to today. I believe the issue on the table is whether or not a citizen of Taylorville has the right to choose their ambulance service. It has nothing to do with the 911 ambulance rotation. There have been statements that if an individual has the right to choose their ambulance that it will put the private ambulances out of business. I don’t believe that is true. These ambulance companies have been in business for many years and have a regular following. They would still have all of the private calls, hospital transfers, and nursing home calls. The only thing that would change is that the few people who would prefer to use TFD as their medical provider would be able to do so. As Fire Chief, the last thing I wanted was to hurt the private ambulances. I believe TFD needs them, just as they need TFD.
The arguments being made that the having the right to choose ambulances will cause more expense for the city does not hold water. As I have said before, the overtime incurred may or may not be there anyway, as TFD will respond to the call anyway, ambulance or not. The statement that it will create more pension debt does not hold water, as the pension debt is set by number of personnel. TFD will not need more personnel to handle the few calls that this would bring. The statement that this will increase taxes does not hold water. First of all, taxes in Christian County are capped. Secondly, the personnel are already there, the equipment is already there, and the vehicle is already there. The fuel used by the ambulance would be used anyway by the medical response vehicle that will be there anyway.
I believe quoting a former Fire Chief from minutes of meeting that happened years ago in the newspaper and social blogs is a misrepresentation of the facts. Things change as time goes by and although I could have predicted this I don’t have a crystal ball. Some of the Aldermen that are against this keep bringing up that it will hurt private business. I ask you, does using the police department to unlock vehicles in a non-emergency not hurt a local private business? Does collecting trash at the Street Department not hurt some of the local trash carriers? Does the city doing street repairs not hurt the local road repair companies? Doesn’t having the right to choose between the two private ambulances hurt one or the other?
I believe that the city council should listen to their constituents. If the majority of the citizens believe they should have the right to choose or not, then that’s the way the Aldermen should vote. Personal agendas should be set aside. I for one would like to have the right to choose.
This is my opinion. I welcome yours.
TFD Fire Chief, Retired
Posted October 6, 2014 10:44pm
This is a station editorial, I'm Randal J. Miller, station president. In a one hour and 20 minute special session following their regular City Council meeting Monday night, Taylorville aldermen voted 6 to 2, to direct City Attorney Rocci Romano to draft an amendment to the city's code allowing city residents to choose the Taylorville Fire Department ambulance when calling 911. The city is currently served by 2 for-profit ambulance services, Dunn's and Sutton's Ambulance Services.
All but 2 of the aldermen were in favor of changing the Taylorville Fire Department ambulance an option for 911 callers, but Mayor Greg Brotherton was against the proposal citing increased employee and pension costs as more personnel are needed for the Fire Department to make ambulance runs.
The whole issue of changing present city policy on when the Fire Department ambulance runs, all started at the September 4th meeting of the Council's Emergency Services Committee meeting, when Fire Chief Mike Crews reported to the committee that one of the for-profit ambulance services took over 20 minutes to reach their call. Crews, in the minutes from that meeting, stated that the issue would be on the agenda for the next Emergency Services Committee Meeting, and that both for-profit ambulance services would be invited.
But, in the October 2nd Emergency Services Committee meeting, there was no discussion about whether the 20-minute ambulance call Crews reported on in September, was investigated, and instead, the proposal to make the Taylorville Fire Department ambulance an option for 911 callers, was discussed.
As one of those who provided comments to the Taylorville Council Monday night, I expressed to the aldermen that in my over 30 years in station ownership, I've owned and operated radio stations in over a dozen communities. In most cases, there was no for-profit ambulance service, and communities have to figure out how to provide ambulance service to their town either thru their fire and rescue department, or on a volunteer basis.
But, in Taylorville, we are blessed to have 2 for-profit ambulance services, and for the city to even consider putting the fire department ambulance as an option for 911 calls, will hurt the 2 for-profit ambualance companies who have put thousands of dollars into buildings, equipment, and people in this community.
The dirty little secret here, is that if this proposal is actually passed, you and I as Taylorville taxpayers will be paying more in taxes because 2 things will happen: Fire Department ambulance calls will take revenue from the 2 for-profits; and secondly, you and I's taxes will go up when it will just be the Fire Department ending up left providing ambulance service to over eleven-thousand people.
I hope you as Taylorville taxpayers, will express your DISMAY about this proposal, to your aldermen and Mayor Brotherton, because in the long run, 2 businesses will be put out of business and you and I will pay higher taxes when the City will be the only ambulance option left.
That's our opinion...we welcome yours. Our e-mail address is editorial-at-randyradio-dot-com.
Posted September 30, 2014
This is a station editorial, I'm Randal J. Miller, station president. I understand the Taylorville City Council Emergency Services Committee is considering a proposal to include the Taylorville Fire Department, in the rotation for 911 ambulance calls.
There are 2 for-profit ambulance companies in the community, Dunn's Ambulance Service and Sutton's Ambulance Service.
These 2 companies provide the Taylorville community with 24 hour ambulance service, and have invested heavily in people, equipment, and facilities.
I've personally wondered for the last several years since the Taylorville Fire Department established an ambulance, why the Fire Department was in the ambulance business since there are already 2 for-profit companies providing ambulance service to the Taylorville community.
For the city to put the Fire Department ambulance service, into the rotation, is in my view an attempt to take business from the 2 for-profit ambulance companies in the community, and that's wrong. The City of Taylorville has no business competing with 2 local ambulance companies, let alone potentially jeopardizing the jobs of those who work for those 2 companies.
We hope the City Council's Emergency Services Committee tables this proposal, so that our 2 locally-owned ambulance companies can continue to not only provide service to the Taylorville community, but to keep the jobs they have provided.
That's our opinion....we welcome yours. My e-mail address is email@example.com.
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Posted September 4, 2014
On behalf of Alderman Larry Budd and I; I would like to thank Mr. Hady, Mr. Olive, corporate executives, and the engineers of Ahlstrom for their hard work and effort in solving the noise problem there. They have kept in contact with myself, Alderman Budd and the city council as a whole through this process. The noise level is better than when the original equipment was there. We know that no industrial facility will ever be totally quite, but because of their hard work they have made it as quite as it can be. Thanks again.
Alderman Ray Koonce
Alderman Larry Budd
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Posted August 4, 2014
From April 15th thru July 31st, 2014, law enforcement officers did a great job reducing illegal drugs in Christian County. WTIM, WICS, WAND, and the Breeze-Courier did a good job keeping our honest citizens informed on drug corruption.
If the Chicago Tribune, Herald-Review and the State Journal-Register would have done investigative reporting on illegal drugs in the private and public sectors in the early 1980's, then the 21st century may have been safer. In Bogota, the cartel shot editors and reporters.
Over the last 45 years most Illinois governors got the 2nd place trophy in the drug war. During this time, our governors did not address affluent drug users and affluent money launderers. So far, current candidates for governor have been mute on the issue.
Therefore, from April thru July of 2014, law enforcement officers and WTIM, WICS, WAND, and the Breeze-Courier stood ground for the honest citizen.
In closing, some politicians blame labor unions and the N-R-A for America's economic and social issues, but never China and the drug cartel. Wonder why?
Thomas P. Strawn
This year Taylorville and Christian County are celebrating 175 years. The celebration will be October 4th and 5th. This is a series of articles on the history of Christian County and its townships. Most of the information came from the quarterlies and library of the Christian County Genealogical Society. Our library is housed in the Pence Building at the Christian County Historical Society. For more information, give us a call at 824-6922 or visit our facebook page.
Locust Township derives its name from a stream, which runs through a portion of this territory. Most of the early settlers stayed close to the timber along Locust Creek and its tributaries. Among the pioneer settlers were Wesley Westbrook in 1835, G. Wash Cheek and Mr. Harlick in 1838, Josiah Anderson in 1839, Thomas D. Chastain, Matthew Durbin, James Bradley and Thomas Bradley came in 1846 and Joseph P. Durbin in 1850. Other early settlers of this area were Martin Overholt, Elisha Logsdon, James Durbin, Elisha Durbin, W. H. Madison, James M. Painter, B. C. Cochran, John McCune, Edward Lawton, John White, William Hunter, Achilles Morris and William Lawton.
The lands for this township were originally surveyed in 1819 but the first land entries were not until 1836. W. S. Russel entered 160 acres in NE quarter Section 18, 82/100 acres in NW quarter, and 138 acres in SW quarter and 160 acres in SE quarter. Hiram B. Roundtree entered 39 acres that year in Section 5 and Zadoc C. Roundtree 52/100 acres in Section 6.
There were a few families living here when the county was organized, however most came after 1850. In September 1858 the county formed Locust Precinct with Joseph P. Durbin, James Bradley and Seth W. Benepe the first judges of election. The place of voting was at Benepe’s school house, located in Section 16. The first constables were G. Wash Cheek and John W. Hunter. Then a number of emigrants from Ohio and other areas settled here and the wild prairie was soon dotted over. In the early years the farmers grew corn and used it for feed for their stock. They would drive their hogs to market in St. Louis, one hundred miles away. Soon the railroads were built in the county and hogs could be shipped by rail. In the winter of 1855-56 the first lot of hogs was shipped by Dr. U. C. McCoy, Joshua Pepper and John White. They had six carloads from Pana and were the first on the completed Terre Haute, Alton and St. Louis Rail. In 1855 William Hunter brought the first threshing-machine to Christian County and it was used all over the county.
In 1866 when the township organized the first supervisor was B. C. Cochran and John W. Hunter and Philip Baker the justices of the peace.
The O & M Railroad ran diagonally through the township. It enters in Section 6 and leaves in Section 36. There are two stations on the line, Owaneco and Millersville.
The population according to the 1870 census was 825. In 2010 the population was 1,825 with 36.1 square miles.
This was a small settlement about 2 miles south of the present village of Owaneco. There were only a few houses in the area. The old grocery store and saloon was a popular place on a public road from Taylorville to Pana. It was located at an early date, on the north-west corner of Section 27 and was a lively place with races and shooting matches. As the population increased the demand for postal service did also. There was only then a tri-weekly stage carrying passengers and mail from Taylorville through Dollville to Pana. In 1857 the post office was established and was the first in the township. Judge Vandeveer suggested the name Owaneco. J. M Weaver was the first postmaster in a little frame building on the border of Locust Creek timber near the residence of Joseph P. Durbin. In the office were kept a few dry goods, groceries and an abundant supply of cheap whiskey. The house was sold once for failure to pay IRS whiskey tax. The post office changed hands several times. This settlement ceased to be in existence when the railroad passed in 1869 and Owaneco was established on the railroad.
The present town of Owaneco is located on the SW quarter of the SW quarter of Section 15 and part of the SE quarter of Section 16. It was laid out in 1869 and derived its name from the nearby post office.
In 1880 there was a physician and druggist, a flour mill, a saddle and harness shop, a grocer, a postmaster sold dry goods and groceries, a grain dealer and blacksmith and wagon maker.
By 1891, on the north side of the railroad there were two churches, hotel, harness shop, grain office, carpenter shop, mill and a depot. There were also 28 houses. The Owaneco depot was moved there from Campbellsburg in Buckhart Township. This depot in 1986 was saved and moved to the Christian County Historical Society grounds.
On the south side of the railroad was a schoolhouse, shoe store, wagon shop, blacksmith shop, meat market and butcher, six stores, the post office, grain offices, an elevator and crib, opera house and the doctor’s office. There were also 19 houses. Farther to the east of town was a tile factory.
Owaneco was incorporated in 1902. There has been a hardware store, men’s clothing store, grain, hay and lumber dealers, ladies hat and dress shop, harness shop, drug store, bank as well as the post office, depot, blacksmith ship and general store. They also had a newspaper with a wide circulation. Today it is but a small shadow of what it once was in the early years.
Millersville also is only a small part of what it once was. The town is located in Section 26 and was a shipping point halfway between Pana and Owaneco. It was laid out in 1873 and was built on the land owned by Thomas Miller. The town contained four blocks. Ballard and Miller each operated an elevator, Kirkpatrick operated a general store, Price and Wilkersons were the grain dealers. There was a school, church, blacksmith shop, several stores, a paint shop, stock yards, scales and coal yard, a depot and engine house and the post office. They also build an Anti-Horse Thief Lodge. By 1906 there were four passenger trains traveling through daily and a barber shop.
The O & M Railroad, formerly SE RR runs diagonally through the township, entering on Section 6 and leaving on Section 36. The part of the township lying south of Locust Creek forms an area known as Buckeye Prairie. It derived its name from the emigrants from Ohio, the Buckeye State, who settled in this prairie. Its first settler on Cottonwood Forks was Martin
Overholt, in the fall of 1851. He built the first house, and moved into it unfinished for the winter. It was situated on the west half of SW quarter of Section 29. It was near where the Buckeye schoolhouse later stood.
Lumber for building was not easily obtained. It was 4 miles to the nearest sawmill. In 1852 and 1853 several other families came from Ohio. Among them were John McCune, B. C.
Cochran and William Hunter. They built houses near Martin Overholt’s. There was nothing here. It was quite a difference from the land they came from. They eventually had a little colony of 22 people. Soon the Buckeye School house was built in 1856 in Section 31 near the head waters of Cottonwood Creek. By 1855 church services were being held at the cabins of Hunter, Witlow and Cowgill. Soon the Methodists held worship service at the Buckeye school and the Christian Society alternated their worship there after using B. C. Cochran’s residence.
Joshua Pepper, besides shipping hogs, in 1856 built the first dry kiln on the prairie. He succeeded with the difficulties of the clay cracking during drying and built the first brick house very near the center of the prairie, just over the line in Rosamond Township.
The Buckeye Church was built in 1867. One acre of ground was donated by James Maguire for the church site. As was the custom then, the men and boys used one door and the women and girls used the other end and sat on opposite sides of the church. This tradition was eliminated in 1920 after the church remodeling. This little white church, sitting on the SE corner of Section 31 in the center of Buckeye Prairie continues today.
This was a small village located on the railroad in the SW quarter of section 5 on land owned by Hiram Shumway. He built a store and kept the post office in the later 1890’s. The store changed hands several times. There was also a machine shop, elevator and the railroad station. Shumway named the town Velma in honor of his daughter. In 1930 the elevator burned. When Route 29 was laid to follow the railroad into Taylorville in the late 1960’s most of the town property was bought by the state for the right of way and the buildings were razed.
The Churches of Locust Township played a large part in the lives of the people. There was the Millersville Methodist Episcopal, Owaneco Methodist Episcopal, Buckeye Methodist and the Free-Methodist of Owaneco.
There are five known cemeteries in Locust. One Unknown in Section 20 and Durbin Cemetery, in Section 27, donated by Mrs. Logsdon, whose maiden name was Durbin, in 1853 and used until 1914. The Owaneco Cemetery and the Buckeye Cemetery are both still in use today. The Donner Cemetery is one of the oldest of the pioneer cemeteries in the county. It was set aside in 1837. It is located 2 miles west of Owaneco and contains the grave of a Revolutionary soldier, Jonathon Hincklin. It is still in use today.
The schools of Locust Township were many. The Johnson School in Section 18 was located about two miles west of Owaneco, on the Owaneco Blacktop Road. The Owaneco School was built in 1868 and soon an upper floor was built, paid for and used by the Masonic Lodge. It was also for the voting place, town meetings and church services before the Methodist church was built. In 1906 a new brick school was erected on the northwest corner of town. It was used as a grade and high school and closed due to consolidation. The old building was demolished in a tornado in 1974.
Resler School, also known as Tater Eye, was located two miles east of Owaneco. In Millersville the first school building burned and was replaced by a larger one. After consolidation of the Christian County schools, it became a part of the Pana schools. The building was sold and moved away.
Benepe, thought to be the first in the township, was a crude log structure. It was the place of the first voting in the township when the judges were Joseph P. Durbin, James Bradley and Seth W. Vermillion.
Madison School was formed in 1862 under the direction of three men. It was about 1 ½ miles south of Velma.
Pleasant Valley School was another early school. It was erected by John Ward. The school was destroyed by fire in 1909, rebuilt and later closed.
Lawton School was located 1 ½ miles north of Owaneco. It was known as Pumpkin Ridge also. It, like many others, was the gathering place for the activities of the early days.
Meyers School was located about ¼ mile south of Velma in the northeast corner of Section 8. Durbin College School, which had only one pupil when it closed in 1935 was another.
Buckeye School was built in 1856 on the northeast corner of Section 31. During the winter of 1855-56, three men, Overholt, McCune and Cochran met at the house of Joshua Pepper and arranged the Buckeye district in order to have a school built. They voted a tax for the building of the school house and it was built in the summer of 1856. It served as the center of the community and also for the place of worship until the Buckeye Church was built ten years later. The school operated until 1947-48. It was then purchased and moved to the George Wilhour farm across the road. For more than 30 years this old school building was used as a farm storage shed.
In 1981 the Christian County Historical Society purchased the building. It was moved, restored and is now on the Society grounds in Taylorville. The one room school house is preserved for all the future generations.
At first this territory was attached to Taylorville and Stonington precincts but in 1866 when townships were organized it was a separate township and named Smith Township. It was intended to honor Thomas Smith, who was at that time a resident of the township in Section 15. It was then changed to Howard, but as there was already a township by that name, it had to be changed again. It was named May in honor of Colonel May who served bravely in the artillery in the Mexican War.
The area was originally heavily timbered with several kinds of wood and forest trees. This timber was the supply necessary for fuel, building and fencing purposes for many years. It is well supplied with streams. This
Township was more favored that some of the other sections of the county at a very early time due to having milling facilities.
When the township was organized the Justice of the Peace was B. M. Burdick and the first supervisor was John S. Fraley. The pioneer settlers were John Shanock, John Estes, Benjamin Williams, William B. Hall, David Hall, O. Banning, Daniel C. Goode, Hiram Walker, Thomas Dawson, William Rolls, Gabriel McKenzie and their families. Some of the above were here before the organization of the county.
The first land records entered was March, 1833, Peter R. Ketcham, NW NE Section 3 for 40.45 acres, in February, 1834 was Daniel C. Goode the W ½ NW Section 19 of 69.19 acres and W ½ SW Section 18 for 74.88 acres and Joseph N. Bennefield in October 1834 the NW NW Section 17 for 40 acres.
Many of the residents of May Township are also old settlers of the county. Among them are William B. Hall who settled in this county in 1835 and his wife Eloisa Moore Hall who came here in 1838. Nancy Willey came to this county of 1844, while her husband Stephen Willey settled here in 1837. Robert A. Hazlett became a resident in 1827 and his wife Elizabeth Steel Hazlett came to Christian County in 1829.
Other old settlers were Silas Harris, David Rutledge, James S. Grant, James M. Galloway, Joseph Bugg, Thomas Smith, Thomas Bugg, John S. Fraley, J. D. Allsman, John Tedlie, Joseph Fund and William Tedlie.
The first mill was erected in the southwest part of the township, in 1836 about four miles east of Taylorville by Isaac Harris. This old mill house stood on Spring Branch for many years serving as an old landmark of the past. The Chatham saw mill also sawed native lumber of oak and walnut. George and John Harris owned a saw mill which was located in Section 20. B. F. Aiken’s grist mill was located in Section 12 and was run with old fashioned heavy mills stones that were bought in France.
The highest point in May Township is 630 feet above sea level and is located ¼ mile east of the Stonington road in Section 15. This is where many settlers obtained sand to make mortar to plaster their houses, to chink log cabins and to build chimneys. This sand has a slight amount of clay mixture in it from the second Illinois glacier and does not make a lasting plaster.
Abraham Morgret operated a cider press, molasses mill, saw mill, ice house and blacksmith ship, all of which were located on the west side of the Stonington Road just across Flat Branch.
In May of 1870 this township had a population of 681. The 2010 census lists the township with a total of 36.41 square miles and the population is 1581.
The area along the Assumption-Stonington Road in Sections 22 and 27 was known as the Waddell Settlement because of the number of families of that name who settled in the vicinity. One of the descendants states that at one time there were 12 families of Waddells living in May Township. The Waddell families and Closkey families purchased between two and three sections of what was then Smith Township in Sections 8, 22, 23, 26, 27, 28 and 34. The Illinois Central Railroad was built in 1851 and John Waddell was appointed the real estate agent. He settled a good many families in old Smith Township. Several of these families would be the Longs, Stephens, Wallaces, Coonrods and Atkinsons and others.
There was a settlement at the head waters of Spring Creek that ran northward through the east sections in Township 25 on the Taylorville to Assumption Road. Many travelers from Shelbyville to Springfield found lodging for the night there. It soon became a resting point in the travels across the prairie. There was no known post office, store or blacksmith shop. There were only a few houses in the vicinity and this place served as sort of an inn.
Nicholas Sanders came to Illinois in 1837 and settled in Section 1 of May Township. About 1851 he opened a store and it became considerably important and the center of a large trade. For a number of years he was the post master and served as a justice of the peace. When the railroads came through and were built business was drawn to other locals and the place soon diminished.
This was located on the east boundary of May Township, ½ mile north of the Assumption Road. These little country stores served the community with material items and as meeting places to learn the news of the day.
This was formerly called Willey Station after Israel Willey who gave the land for the town. He came here in 1844 entered the tract of land and lived there until his death. This town in located in Section 6 on the old Toledo, Wabash and Western Railroad. Stephen Willey laid out the town and built and owned the station house. There were several stores, an elevator, a depot, post office, school and several residences. After Israel Willey’s death the store was bought by F. F. Weiser and used as a mercantile business, as it was the only store then. Mr. Weiser also served as post master, was a grain dealer and was the agent for the Wabash, St. Louis and Pacific Railroad.
There were many schools in this township as it was an important part of the settlers’ lives.
The Washington School was located in Section 3 on the SE corner of a T road. The school house was moved to Stonington and made into a home. The only thing left was an old concrete storm cellar surrounded by a clump of brush. The Willeys School was located in the village. A teacher at the school, Miss Velma Waddle, taught 34 of her 42 years at that school. When the school was consolidated, the students were bussed into Stonington, Brushy Branch and Taylorville. The white frame building was used as a meeting place for several years afterwards.
The Pleasant Hill School was first called the Tedlie School and was located in Section 16 across from the Town Hall. The school was closed in the 1940’s and the site was used to stockpile road rock in later years.
The Willowdale Schools was located in the NW corner of Section 14. Spring Creek School was located in the NW corner of Section 34. It was separated from the Tedlie School when the new Pleasant Hill school was built.
The Fraley School was on the west side of old Route 29 in Section 31. It was named for the John Fraley family. It was later used as a home.
The Brushy Branch School was built on an acre of ground in Section 25, south of the Co. Hwy. 6. It is believed the first school was a log house about a mile to the northeast. The first frame building was built in 1864 close to the stream that bears the same name. In 1900 a new building was competed. In May 1927 a few days after dismissal of school for the summer, a tornado wrecked the building beyond repair. A new building was erected. It was one of the few rural schools left open during consolidation. Spring Creek was 2 miles away and Maple Grove school only 3 miles north east in Prairieton Township. They were moved in and attached to make the one room school a three room schoolhouse when the other two schools were closed. It too finally closed for consolidation.
One of the oldest churches is Old Stonington Baptist Church. In 1831, a North Stonington, Connecticut church sent three of their members to find a suitable location for them to expand to. By 1837 they had established their homes and organized the church at Stonington, Sangamon County, IL. There have been 4 church buildings on the site. The first three burned. The last church was built in 1925. It is still serving the community today.
The Willowdale Methodist Church was located in the NE corner of Section 12. It was built in 1887 and was disbanded in 1921 when it was moved to Millersville where it was used for the church that was destroyed by fire there. That church then closed in 1969 and the building was sold.
Spring Creek United Presbyterian Church was situated about 6 miles west of Taylorville in Section 22. It was on the SE corner of the intersection of Assumption Blacktop and the Owaneco-Stonington Road. The first sermon was preached in 1852 at the home of John Waddell and the church was erected in 1857. The church had occasional services until 1917.
Free Methodist Church was in Section 30 at the west end