DPS Launches Jerry J. Dawson Civic Leadership Institute Thanks To $2.3 Million Grant From Howard G. Buffett Foundaiton

DPS Launches Jerry J. Dawson Civic Leadership Institute Thanks To $2.3 Million Grant From Howard G. Buffett Foundaiton

January 14, 2020 –DPS61 announced the launch of the Jerry J. Dawson Civic Leadership Institute thanks to a $2.3 Million Dollar Grant from Howard G. Buffett FoundationThe Jerry J. Dawson Civic Leadership Institute will offer DPS students a pathway to pursue careers in public serviceincluding nursing, paramedic support, firefighting, law enforcementgovernment service, and legal professions.  

“Communities are strongest when the broadest cross-section of citizens are engaged and work together to improve the quality of life for everybody,” said Howard G. Buffett, Chairman and CEO of the Howard G. Buffett Foundation. “We believe the Jerry J. Dawson Civic Leadership Institute will give Decatur’s young people opportunities to see how they can pursue careers that allow them to engage, support and be the future leaders working to improve their community.”

The Institute is named for former Macon County Sheriff Jerry J. Dawson, who served the Sheriff’s Office for more than 30 years. Following his retirement in 2008, Sheriff Dawson served as an Adjunct Instructor of Criminal Justice at the Decatur Area Technical Academy and Richland Community College, in addition to eight years as a City Councilman. Jerry Dawson continues to live in and serve the Decatur community.

“Early in my career I worked directly with a number of young people who made mistakes,” said Jerry Dawson. “Those interactions opened my eyes to the support kids need to make good choices as they mature. Later I looked back on that experience and really tried to get to the root of things and understand where our challenges are. In Decatur we are blessed with resources to explore new ways of addressing these challenges. We’re fortunate to have community members invested in creating an environment that helps students grow into positive, productive citizens.”

The Jerry J. Dawson Civic Leadership Institute will launch in fall of 2020 for students at Eisenhower and MacArthur High Schools, and will also have ties to the current Public Service Academy at Stephen Decatur Middle School.

“The Howard G. Buffett Foundation continues to empower our students to reach their fullest potential,” said Dr. Paul Fregeau, Superintendent of Decatur Public Schools. “This investment, and the creation of the Jerry J. Dawson Civic Leadership Institute, will not only shape our students into capable leaders, but will also create a direct pipeline to meaningful careers that serve our community.”

In addition to creating the Jerry J. Dawson Civic Leadership Institute, the grant will also provide scholarships for eligible Institute graduates to continue their public service education. Scholarships will support students in the pursuit of certifications through Emergency Medical Services (EMS), nursing and nursing assistance, criminal justice, and political science programs.

The Howard G. Buffett Foundation continues to invest in the Decatur Public Schools Foundation, providing transformational programming for our students. A $1.65 million gift from the Buffett Foundation in 2017 established the Dwayne O. Andreas Ag Academy, designed to help DPS students explore careers in agribusiness. Prior investments from the Howard G. Buffett Foundation have also supported creative science programming, student leadership, and parent engagement activities.

Richland Community College Hires New Outreach Coordinator For Agricultural Programs

Richland Community College Hires New Outreach Coordinator For Agricultural Programs

January 11th, 2020- Richland Community College welcomes Dave Shiley as the new Outreach Coordinator for Agricultural Programs. Shiley will be working with the high school agricultural programs within Richland’s district to showcase the College’s agricultural offerings and recruit students into the program. He will also be working to expand the FFA career development events and other educational offerings conducted at Richland for high school students. Additionally, Shiley will be working with the agribusiness community to expand internships and other experiential learning opportunities for students. Student connection and involvement in the local agribusiness community not only provides “real world” experiences, but can lead to future employment opportunities after graduation. 

Flu Shots & Prevention

Flu Shots & Prevention

December 27th, 2019- The Illinois Department of Public Health says its not too late to get your flu shot. Flu cases are picking up in Illinois… but haven’t peaked yet says Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike. She says there’s still time to be vaccinated. Other things you can do to avoid spreading the flu include washing your hands frequently, covering your cough and sneezes and staying home when you’re sick.

 

State’s Attorney Warns of Frightening New Scam

State’s Attorney Warns of Frightening New Scam

December 16, 2019 –Macon County State’s Attorney Jay Scott is warning of a frightening scam that recently targeted a local resident. This scam comes in the form of text messages claiming to be from a member of a Mexican Drug Cartel threatening to kill the recipient and his or her family if a return call is not made to arrange payment. The text messages contain accurate personal information about the intended victim and the victim’s family. Scott’s office says all of the information can be accessed on numerous websites.  The texts contained graphic photographs of beheaded, dismembered, and mutilated corpses. Scott’s office says this is a scam and If you receive these text messages, to ignore them and contact authorities.

Manar Appointed to Childhood Education Commission

Manar Appointed to Childhood Education Commission

December 16, 2019 – State Senator Andy Manar has been named co-chair of the Governor’s Commission for Equitable Funding for Early Childhood Education and Care by the Governor. The commission will make recommendations on how to fund equitable access to high-quality early childhood education and care services for all children birth to age 5. Manar, who engineered the state’s Evidence-Based Funding (EBF) reform for K-12 schools in 2017, has advocated equitable funding for early childhood education programs. The 29-member commission will consist of child care providers, advocates, educators and legislators . 

The List – The Top Influencers of 2019 – Kevin Breheny

The List – The Top Influencers of 2019 – Kevin Breheny

Kevin Breheny

Community Leader and Past President, JL Hubbard Insurance and Bonds

Who was your first mentor in life?

In my younger and formative  years it was definitely  my mother, father and older brothers. I grew up in a large Irish Catholic family full of fun and love. In my adult years and since I’ve lived in Decatur I would have to say Jim Hubbard who hired me right out of college in 1978. He took me under his wing and taught me how to be fearless, to dream big  and to ask for God’s help. The other person who was a huge influence on me was Frank Tyrolt owner of Dunn Co. He too was an example courage, strength, generosity and faithfulness. He became me a very good friend and an important part of my life. May God rest his soul.

What was your most memorable lesson?

This is what Jim and Frank taught me.To Serve others and you will receive. To Focus on Revenue it solves a lot of problems. Learn from others and pick your friends carefully. Differentiate yourself.  Most importantly build a personal relationship with God.

What does community mean to you?

This community has given my family and me a great life. Sue and I have been accepted in Decatur and Macon County ever since the first year that we moved here in 1978.  It’s definitely our home and it always will be. We are thrilled that our three children have come back to Decatur/ Forsyth to live here too. The people are friendly, the schools are impressive, and the quality of life is just fine. We often brag about this great central Illinois city whenever we travel.

Why are you involved in the community?

Because Decatur is a city that gets things done. We have people who care, that gets involve, that donate large sums of money, and donates whatever time it takes to care of each other. I’m so proud to be a part of a city with so much character.  

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

Don’t be shy. Be visible and be willing to work toward whatever passion that you have in your heart. People in this community will embrace you, they will appreciate you and they will recognize you for your efforts. More importantly you will receive great satisfaction and happiness from knowing you made an important difference.

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.

LISTEN: Exemplary Citizen Awards

LISTEN: Exemplary Citizen Awards

December 6th, 2019- Everyday citizens play a vital role in assisting law enforcement in order to keep our community safe and to ensure justice for crime victims. Since 2014 our office has presented 79 Exemplary Citizen Awards to individuals and local organizations for going above and beyond in helping us fight crime. This year 26 citizens were honored as award recipients who assisted law enforcement and victims over the course of the past year. Check out the full list below of all who have been recognized with the exception of one of this year’s Exemplary Citizens who has requested no public recognition.

 

Mark D. Hunter, Sr.

In recognition and appreciation of the vigilance you displayed when, after having pieces of aluminum siding stolen from a residence you own, but being unable to prove that identical pieces that had been sold at a recycling facility came from your property, you returned to the house and placed identifying marks on the back of the remaining loose pieces of siding, which were then also stolen, were located at the recycling facility, and were identified by the marks you made, which led to the arrest of a career criminal and his prosecution, conviction, and prison sentence for the crime of Theft.

 

Julie M. Jordan

In recognition and appreciation of the dedication to public safety you displayed after observing a grossly impaired driver repeatedly striking curbs, swerving dramatically, and running red lights, by calling 911, keeping dispatch alerted to the location of the vehicle, and providing a statement to the police as to your observations, which resulted in the driver’s arrest, prosecution, and convictions for Driving Under the Influence of a Drug and Unlawful Possession of Controlled Substance.

 

Jacqueline Hollis-George

In recognition and appreciation of the dedication to public safety you exhibited when, after observing a vehicle swerving in the roadway and nearly colliding with two other vehicles, you called 911 and provided the location of the vehicle to dispatch, which enabled the police to quickly locate and stop the vehicle, and resulted in the driver’s arrest, prosecution, and conviction for Driving Under the Influence of a Drug.

 

Peggy Mennel

In recognition and appreciation of the dedication to public safety and justice you displayed upon witnessing a hit-and-run collision in following the fleeing vehicle, taking photographs of the vehicle, and returning to the scene to provide the information you gathered to the police, which resulted in the apprehension of the offender and his successful prosecution for Driving Under the Influence and Resisting a Peace Officer.

 

Brian Cravens

In recognition and appreciation of the dedication to public safety and justice you displayed upon passing a car which had come to a stop on the highway and hearing the female driver yell for help, by calling 911, following the vehicle until officers arrived, and remaining at the scene and providing a statement to officers, which terminated the attack on the victim, and resulted in the passenger’s arrest, prosecution, and conviction for Felony Domestic Battery.

 

Larry Cravens

In recognition and appreciation of the dedication to public safety and justice you displayed upon passing a car which had come to a stop on the highway and hearing the female driver yell for help, by calling 911, following the vehicle until officers arrived, and remaining at the scene and providing a statement to officers, which terminated the attack on the victim, and resulted in the passenger’s arrest, prosecution, and conviction for Felony Domestic Battery.

 

Terry Copeland

In recognition and appreciation of the commitment to public safety you exhibited when, after observing a vehicle being driven erratically, you called 911, followed the vehicle until it stopped after striking and breaking a utility pole, checked on the driver to see if he was injured, and remained at the scene until officers arrived, which led to the driver’s arrest, prosecution, and conviction for Driving Under the Influence.

 

Todd Martin

In recognition and appreciation of the vigilance you displayed when, having observed a vehicle leave the roadway, drive through a roadside stand, and come to a stop against a utility pole guy wire, you pinned the vehicle against the guy wire with your truck preventing the driver from fleeing the scene, which led to his arrest, prosecution, and conviction for Driving Under the Influence.

 

Joseph Wilkinson

In recognition and appreciation of your dedication to public safety in calling 911 when you observed a grossly impaired driver weaving in and out of oncoming traffic and nearly hitting mailboxes along the road, which enabled deputies to quickly locate the vehicle, and resulted in the driver’s arrest, conviction, and prison sentence for Aggravated Driving Under the Influence of a Drug.

 

Raymond B. Standerwick

In recognition and appreciation of the dedication to public safety you displayed when you observed a grossly impaired driver, called 911, followed the vehicle until it stopped, kept dispatch updated on the vehicle’s location, and remained on scene until the police arrived, who discovered that the driver was armed with a gun, which resulted driver’s arrest, prosecution, and convictions for Driving Under the Influence of a Drug and Aggravated Unlawful Use of a Weapon.

 

Sarah Knowles

In recognition and appreciation of the dedication to justice and public safety you displayed after observing an employee of a local business attempting to prevent her intoxicated former boyfriend from re-entering the premises, and witnessing him commit a battery upon her, in giving a statement to the police and providing crucial testimony at trial, which resulted in convictions for the crimes of Aggravated Battery and Felony Domestic Battery.

 

Jaice Hill

In recognition and appreciation of the dedication to public safety you displayed when, after observing a man yelling obscenities at an elderly female in a vehicle, threatening her with bodily harm, striking her vehicle several times with his hand, and attempting to enter her vehicle, you called 911, remained at the scene and provided a statement to the police, which led to the man’s arrest, prosecution, and conviction for the crime of Attempt (Vehicular Invasion).

 

Ken Frye

In recognition and appreciation of the vigilance you exhibited upon observing an occupant of the vehicle in front of you fire numerous rounds from a handgun at another vehicle, which was the culmination of a running gun battle between the two vehicles which covered several city blocks and resulted in two innocent victim’s cars and one home being struck with bullets, in pulling to the side of the road, writing down the license plate number of the car, and calling 911, which led to the identification of the driver of the vehicle, and his arrest, prosecution, and conviction for the crime of Aggravated Discharge of a Firearm.

 

Haley Emerson

In recognition and appreciation of the dedication to public safety you displayed after observing a grossly impaired driver swerving, running into curbs, and nearly striking your car, in calling 911 and providing the license plate number to police, which led to the quick apprehension of the Felony Revoked driver.

 

Nichole Biehl

In recognition and appreciation of the dedication to public safety you displayed upon seeing a vehicle being driven erratically and at high speed by calling 911, following and maintaining observation of the vehicle, reporting the location of the vehicle to dispatch, and remaining at the scene to provide a statement to the police, which resulted in the driver’s conviction for Driving Under the Influence of a Drug, and his conviction and prison sentence for Possession of Methamphetamine.

 

Randy Grigg

In recognition and appreciation of the vigilance you exhibited when you drove upon the scene of a traffic crash in stopping to check the welfare of the vehicles’ occupants, following the driver of one vehicle who walked away from the scene, attempting to convince the driver to return to the scene, and providing the location of the house the driver entered, which led to the driver’s apprehension, prosecution, and conviction for Aggravated Driving Under the Influence Resulting in Great Bodily Harm.

 

Timothy Frey

In recognition and appreciation of the vigilance you displayed when you heard a burglar alarm as you drove by a local business, observed a man bending over in front of the business then meeting up with a second man and placing items in the bed of a truck, by calling 911 and keeping dispatch updated on the men’s actions, remaining at the scene, and providing a statement to the police, which led to the apprehension and successful prosecution of both burglars.

 

Jessica Loeffler

In recognition and appreciation of the dedication to public safety you displayed after being notified by a customer at your place of employment that a driver was slumped over the wheel of a vehicle in the parking lot, in calling 911, going to the vehicle and waking the impaired driver, at which point another impaired person entered the driver seat, and remaining at the scene and providing a statement to officers, which led to the arrest and successful prosecution of one driver for Driving Under the Influence of a Drug, and the other for Aggravated Driving Under the Influence of a Drug.

 

Jason Largent

In recognition and appreciation of the commitment to justice you displayed when, after being approached while sitting in your truck by a man who demanded money from you, placed his hand in his coat pocket and pointed at you as if he had a gun, and threatened to “blow your head off,” you retrieved a baseball bat, exited your truck and confronted the unarmed would-be robber, and reported the incident to the police, which led to the apprehension, prosecution, and prison sentence of a career criminal for the crime of Attempt (Aggravated Robbery).

 

Antwan L. Gaddy, Jr.

In recognition and appreciation of the bravery you displayed, being twelve years old, when a man broke a window and entered your home, in calling your mother on the phone, arming yourself with a knife, and, when the intruder came into your bedroom carrying a flashlight and turned towards you, cutting and stabbing him causing him to flee the residence, and DNA analysis of the blood recovered from the scene determined the identity of the suspect, and resulted in his arrest, prosecution, and prison sentence for the crime of Residential Burglary.

 

Brian Wade

In recognition and appreciation of the commitment to public safety you displayed when you observed a vehicle traveling northbound in the southbound lanes of a divided highway after sunset, with only one headlight, and had to change lanes to avoid a head-on collision, by turning around and following the vehicle, calling 911, approaching the driver after he turned onto a side road and exited his vehicle, preventing him from driving from the scene, remaining at the scene until officers arrived, and providing a statement to the police, which resulted in the driver’s arrest and the determination that he had a BAC more than four times the legal limit, his prosecution, and his conviction for Aggravated Driving Under the Influence.

 

Randy Morlan

In recognition and appreciation of the commitment to public safety you displayed when you observed a vehicle traveling northbound in the southbound lanes of a divided highway after sunset, with only one headlight, and had to change lanes to avoid a head-on collision, by turning around and following the vehicle, calling 911, approaching the driver after he turned onto a side road and exited his vehicle, removing the keys from his vehicle so he could not drive from the scene, and providing a statement to the police, which resulted in the driver’s arrest and the determination that he had a BAC more than four times the legal limit, his prosecution, and his conviction for Aggravated Driving Under the Influence.

 

Darrell Sumler

In recognition and appreciation of the dedication to public safety you displayed when, having observed a woman screaming, running toward you with blood running down her face and being followed by two men yelling at her to get back inside of their truck, you stepped in, told the men to stay away and that the police had been called, and remained at the scene and gave a statement to the police, which resulted in the attacker’s arrest, prosecution, and conviction for the crime of Aggravated Battery.

 

Sandra Kraft-Sumler

In recognition and appreciation of the dedication to public safety you displayed when, having heard a female crying and asking for help, then observed her running toward you with blood running down her face and being followed by two men yelling at her to get back inside of their truck, you called 911, and remained at the scene and gave a statement to the police, which resulted in the attacker’s arrest, prosecution, and conviction for the crime of Aggravated Battery.

 

Michael Sullens

In recognition and appreciation of the commitment to public safety you displayed when you observed a driver at your place of employment to be staggering and falling down, and believed him to be intoxicated, by calling 911 and providing a statement to the police, which led to the driver’s arrest, prosecution, and conviction for Aggravated Driving Under the Influence.