WATCH: “Tomorrow” with the Decatur Parks Foundation

WATCH: “Tomorrow” with the Decatur Parks Foundation

Use your imaginations and dream about the possibilities of what the future of recreation, play, nature and health might look like by shaping and inspiring our community to commit to tomorrow. Supporting the Decatur Parks Foundation means believing in the Decatur of yesterday, today and tomorrow. Give today at behindeveryexperience.com or call 217-422-5911.

Jill Applebee and Rod Schanefelt of the Decatur Parks Foundation talk about the third video in a series that talks about the parks foundation. This third installment looks forward to the parks of tomorrow and the discussion highlights how special the parks are in Decatur and how they will evolve in the future.

WATCH: Macon County “Shop with a Sheriff” Brings Holiday Joy

WATCH: Macon County “Shop with a Sheriff” Brings Holiday Joy

December 11, 2019 – More than 40 area children got the chance to get some Christmas shopping done Wednesday night with helping hands and plenty of generosity from members of law enforcement. During the Macon County Shop with a Sheriff event at the Target store in Mound Center, kids could fill carts with up to $100 worth of toys and gifts with assistance from Sheriff’s Office personnel. The F.O.P. raises money for the event throughout the year, with citizen and business donations and the organization’s annual golf outing. Last year the event raised $17,000. Noting that “all the money goes right back to the community,” Flannery admitted that the $100 spending limit for the night wasn’t exactly a hard figure. About 30 members of law enforcement were on hand to help the young shoppers, including officers from the correctional division, court security and animal control.

 

The List – The Top Influencers of 2019 – Mike Wilcott

The List – The Top Influencers of 2019 – Mike Wilcott

Mike Wilcott

Manager of the Devon Lakeshore Amphitheater

Who was your first mentor in life?

I’ve had countless people guide me along the way, but my high school basketball coach, Mike Greenwell, played a big role in my life and taught me a lot about patience, dedication, life, faith and giving back. In the world of concerts and events, my friends Casey Blakeley and Billy Cowell were a huge help and taught me so much. We’ve worked together on many successful events for nearly 10 years now.

What was your most memorable lesson?

When I was about 10 years old, my Dad had let me use my BB gun unsupervised for the first time. Although I didn’t shoot my eye out, I did manage to put a hole in the large window in the garage. A couple weeks later my Dad approached me to ask me what I knew about it and I lied to him. He explained to me that he could tell it was a BB hole and that the hole was about the height of my right shoulder, so he didn’t have a hard time figuring out what happened. He proceeded to tell me that he more upset that I lied to him than he was about me putting a hole in the window. He taught me that once you lie, you will have to keep lying. I never forgot that and have tried hard in life to be as honest as I can at all times.

What does community mean to you?

Community to me is simply all the people that live in one location and what they are doing to make that place as great as it can. A lot of people want change and improvements, but not as many step up to make those changes happen. I try to do what I can to make Decatur a better place simply by trying to having a positive attitude about our town and what the future may hold and giving back of my time or money where I can too.

Why are you involved in the community?

As a Decatur native, this town has been a large part of my story. I’ve been part of the challenges we’ve faced over the past 25-30 years and believe that we are on our way back up. Tolstoy said, “Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.” I think those words mean that changing the world starts with one person doing what they can. Lead with positivity and others will follow. I want to be part of the change and part of the bright future I see possible for Decatur and Macon County. I have one motto in my life: Work hard and be nice to people.

What advice would you give to people who want to do more?

Don’t wait for opportunities to come to you. Opportunities are all around you in this town. There are several places where you can volunteer or donate that a lot of positive things for our community. If you don’t know where to begin, contact the United Way, Salvation Army, Community Foundation, Boys and Girls Club, CASA, Decatur Park District, Big Brothers & Big Sisters. There are so many organizations that in need of additional help, don’t be afraid to step in. And don’t be afraid to introduce an idea of your own either. You never know who might jump in!

The List – The Top Influencers of 2019 – Clay Gerhard

The List – The Top Influencers of 2019 – Clay Gerhard

Clay Gerhard

Director of Operations for the Decatur Park District 

Who was your first mentor in life?

As a child, I looked to my parents first in the role of “mentor”. I don’t recall recognizing anyone else in that role until I fully entered life as a professional. While at Richland Community College, I may have forced David Holtfreter (then the Director of Operations there) to mentor me with my constant barrage of questions and desire to be involved in various tasks of the Operations department. David had such a wealth of knowledge and could remember the smallest details about every mechanical system. I knew I could learn a lot from David and his years of experience, and I made the most of every opportunity that I could to learn from him. We still meet together for lunch from time to time and I run different situations by him to gain his valuable perspective. Often times he not only offers a different solution to a problem I’m facing but also gives me the encouragement I need to hear in that moment. That kind of personal perspective and experience is the greatest teacher and a resource you just can’t beat.

What was your most memorable lesson?

The most memorable lesson I have learned to date is that time is your most valuable asset. I truly believe we all have a predetermined amount of days on this Earth and it’s up to us to make the most of that time. Early in my career, I didn’t make my family a priority. I would spend my days on the job, and my nights working as well, and I missed a lot of the early years with my kids. I still struggle with the work/life balance but I try to get as much accomplished as I can during the work day so that I can be fully present and enjoy my family in the evenings. I’ve learned how to better prioritize what receives my time and attention to help make this possible.

What does community mean to you?

When I think of community, I instantly think of our Decatur Community. When I think of all the events and activities this community supports, it’s mind boggling. Every weekend there is an opportunity to be involved in something meaningful to help others, whether it’s the Community Food Drive, the Decatur Celebration, the Judy Mason Thanksgiving Project, or any other serving opportunity. Any time I hear of an organization in need or even a family in need, the generous spirit of people here shows up and they get in the game.

Why are you involved in the community?

I’m involved in this community because I love Decatur – I was born and raised here, went to school here, work here, was married here, and I am glad to now raise a family here and watch them all get connected to everything Decatur has to offer. I enjoy taking part in events that fight the stereotype that “there’s nothing to do in Decatur” and that heighten the sense of hope and pride in this place. I look at how many people rallied around the Decatur Celebration last year to ensure its success, while at the same time the community threw its support behind the new Devon Lakeshore Amphitheater, and it feels like anything is possible here. When we work together, great things happen!

What advice would you give to people who want to do more?

I would tell people to just start somewhere. Even if it’s thirty minutes a week, get involved in some initiative, church, school, event, or organization in our Community. There is no shortage of opportunities! Let’s face it – we are all getting older and you need new blood to come into organizations to keep them sustainable and relevant. Without new people and new ideas, we run the risk of going backwards as a community.

WATCH: ADM Animal Nutrition Center

WATCH: ADM Animal Nutrition Center

December 11, 2019  – ADM Animal Nutrition has opened a new Animal Nutrition Technology Center in Decatur. The industry leading facility builds upon ADM’s legacy of innovation in Animal Nutrition, offering capabilities to enhance customer collaboration and develop fully-tailored nutrition solutions. The technology center is designed to serve the needs of the broad animal nutrition market, with a focus on ingredient and nutritional solutions development for pet foods, pet treats and aquaculture feeds. Watch the video now.

Listen to the podcast with Ryan Lane, President of Animal Nutrition for ADM North America:

The List – The Top Influencers of 2019 – Karla Miller

The List – The Top Influencers of 2019 – Karla Miller

Karla Miller

Director of Marketing at Hickory Point Bank and Trust

Who was your first mentor in life?

My Dad was my first and most impactful mentor. He was just like George Bailey from It’s a Wonderful Life – always thinking of others and never himself. He would do the right thing, because it was the right thing to do.

What was your most memorable lesson?

I was taught gratefulness by my parents. When you look at all that is given to you instead of looking at what is missing, you realize things are pretty great after all.

What does community mean to you?

I believe that we are all connected, so community to me is making that connection to one another stronger.

Why are you involved in the community?

Because I don’t know how to be any other way. Growing up, my parents volunteered in church and school activities as well as local events and organizations, so it is very natural for me to be active. It would feel strange if I wasn’t involved.

What advice would you give to people who want to do more?

Don’t let grand gestures of giving money and time intimidate you or make you think you have to do something on a large scale. It takes just one person’s actions to make a difference, to inspire others, or have a positive influence on a community. One simple act of kindness can have a ripple effect.

City of Decatur Taking Appointments for Emergency Grants

City of Decatur Taking Appointments for Emergency Grants

December 10, 2019 – The City of Decatur has opened it’s Emergency Program for Applications.  The program provides grants up to $5,000 for repairs to address “life-threatening” or “sanitation” situations, such as hot water heater replacement, electrical issues, and furnace replacement. The program is open until set aside funds are exhausted. All applicants must be homeowners, meet the low-to-moderate income standards as set by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and reside within the corporate limits in the City of Decatur. The Emergency Program funding is provided by HUD and will be made available as an immediate grant. People interested must make an appointment with the city by calling 217-424-2797. 

Income Guidelines: