SkyWest Announces Flight Times

SkyWest Announces Flight Times

January 14, 2020 – SkyWest Airlines has announced daily flights times scheduled to being in March. SkyWest’s Daily United Express jet service will service flights between Decatur and Chicago Ohare starting March 5th The flight schedule includes a daily flight from Decatur at 6am, landing in Ohare at 7:05am and a departure from Ohare at 9:25pm, arriving in Decatur at 10:30pm. There will also be additional flights on Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday Departing Ohare at 10:45am and arriving at 11:40 in Decatur and Departing Decatur at 12:12 and arriving in Ohare at 1;18pm. You can now book flights through United Airlines.  

Illinois Ag Educator of the Year Finalist – Don Lockwood

Illinois Ag Educator of the Year Finalist – Don Lockwood

January 9th, 2020- A central Illinois teacher is being honored as a finalist for Illinois Ag Educator of the Year. After sifting through 1,000+ nominations for the best agricultural educators in five states, Nationwide will honor Don Lockwood of Sullivan High School in Sullivan as a finalist for Illinois’ Ag Educator of the Year through Nationwide’s Golden Owl Award. As a finalist, Lockwood will be presented with $500 and an individualized plaque and will be recognized during an award ceremony at the school. Nationwide stablished the Golden Owl Award in 2018 to honor contributions of Iowa and Ohio agriculture teachers and the importance of agricultural education for future industry leaders. The 2019-2020 Golden Owl Award was expanded to include California, Illinois, Iowa, Ohio and Pennsylvania. ­  

DAAC Grant Request Deadline

DAAC Grant Request Deadline

January 7th, 2020- The Decatur Area Arts Council’s grant program supports and promotes events that focus on creative learning experiences that center around the arts. Grant request applications are due Monday,February 3, 2020. Qualified applicants include schools and non-profit organizations in Macon County and the towns of Assumption, Clinton, Moweaqua, Pana, and Taylorville. Funds for these grants are made available through the National Endowment for the Arts, Illinois Arts Council Agency, Ameren Illinois, and Decatur Area Arts Council donor support. Download the Community and Education Grant Program Guidelines and Application online at www.decaturarts.org/grants. or pick it up at the Decatur Area Arts Council, 125 N. Water Street, Decatur, IL, or request by phone at 217-423-3189.

The List – The Top Influencers of 2019 – Natalie Beck

The List – The Top Influencers of 2019 – Natalie Beck

Natalie Beck

President and CEO, Community Foundation

Who was your first mentor in life?

My most influential mentors were my parents, David and Linda Doom. My parents lead by example and provided unconditional support and encouragement. What I have achieved and become as a person today is due to their guidance and support. I’m also extremely thankful for my in-laws, Darrell and Ursula Beck, who were “role mentors” in the evolution of my outlook on giving. The Becks gave in a way that was heartfelt and consistent. My husband Matt and I continue to emulate his parents in how we support our community through philanthropy.

What was your most memorable lesson?

Don’t hesitate when you should act. In 2007, I was blessed with the opportunity to donate a kidney to my father. There is no greater blessing than to save someone’s life. This experience taught me that life is short and the future is promised to no one.

What does community mean to you?

Community is tangible; community is cohesive; community brings people together in ways that allow them to do things they can’t do alone. Community means together, we can accomplish great things!

Why are you involved in the community?

This community is my home. I’m involved because it feels good to have an impact. I’m motivated by helping others. I’m inspired by all the goodness I see in Macon County.

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

Life is much more enjoyable when you give back. You may be able to give in the form of your time, advice, a smile, encouragement, or money. Giving doesn’t have to be a certain amount and it doesn’t have to be difficult. I encourage people to give kindness first, to be present in the lives of those they encounter. Find an organization or group to give their time and volunteer in a way that brings joy. Volunteering will connect you to others and strengthen our community.

Top Stories of 2019

Top Stories of 2019

December 26th, 2019- Checkout all of our Top Stories from 2019 below!

  • In February, Howard Buffett was once again sworn in as Undersheriff of the Macon County Sheriff’s Office, continuing his law enforcement service to the community. In 2017, Sheriff Thomas Schneider announced his retirement and appointed Undersheriff Buffett to the role of Sheriff of Macon County. Buffett served as Sheriff until the election of Sheriff Tony Brown in November of 2018. Brown then swore Buffett into the role of Undersheriff once again. a role he had previously served since September 2014.
  • In October, HSHS St. Mary’s Hospital opened the new Wiesemann Women’s Center.  The Center, which was made possible thanks to a generous gift from Bob and Kathy Wiesemann, houses all women’s imaging services at HSHS St. Mary’s Hospital. With a space designed specifically for women and their needs, the center includes 3D mammography, pre-natal ultrasound, recovery rooms and more.
  • After a rocky year, the show did indeed go on with the 34th annual Decatur Celebration.  In 2019, the Celebration announced a new revitalization effort as well as new producer Jarrod Cox.  An ad hoc revitalization committee was formed to seek sponsorship and community support to keep the event alive after financial hardships and the exit of previous producer Lori Sturgill.  The celebration was able to put together an impressive line-up in just a matter of weeks, rather than months. That lineup included Moonshine Bandits, Head East, Rehab and country acts Clay Walker and Sawyer Brown.
  • Both of Decatur’s hospitals welcomed new leadership in 2019. HSHS St Mary’s Hospital welcomed a new President and CEO.  Michael Hicks joined the hospital in April after spending more than two decades with UChicago Medicine: Ingalls Memorial, a non-for-profit in the Chicago area. Decatur Memorial Hospital also welcomed new President and CEO, Drew Early. Early previously served as vice president of operations for Memorial Medical Center. In October, Decatur Memorial Hospital cleared regulatory approvals and become the fifth hospital to join Memorial Health System and it’s  second largest hospital.
  • In June, the new expansion of the Z. O and O express was opened to the public, creating a new and exciting attraction in Decatur. The expansion was made possible by a 2.2 Million dollar gift from the Howard G Buffett Foundation and included a new engine.  The ride, which now extends between the Zoo and the children’s museum, was the largest upgrade to the zoo train since it’s installation in the 1980’s.  The expansion now features a stop at the Children’s museum as well as a bridge ride that overlooks lake Decatur.
  • In 2019, the community said goodbye to the longest running tournament on the LPGA Symetra Tour and the third longest running women’s golf tournament. The 35th Annual Forsyth Classic was held at Hickory Point golf Course in June, finishing it’s final year with an all time high purse of $200,000.  Jillian Hollis walked away with the win in June.  She had made her Symetra Tour debut as a professional at the Forsyth Classic the year prior.
  • In 2019, Illinois became the 11th state to approve marijuana for recreational use However, municipalities within the state were given the option to opt out of the sale of marijuana in their communities.  In late September, the Decatur City Council voted 6 to 1 to opt-out of the sale of recreational marijuana, a decision that would bar dispensaries from setting up shop within city limits. City leaders believe the cons outweigh the pros, including the increased cost in law enforcement, drug treatment and criminal justice. Council also voted 4 to 3 against allowing cultivation facilities for recreational marijuana.
  • Decatur Public Schools launched what is known as the BOLD Facility Plan, a five-year project that aims to improve current facilities, add air conditioning to schools, increase capacity for popular programs and decrease the number of facilities from 22 to 17. The $60 million project included renovation of Thomas Jefferson Middle School to serve as the new home for the district’s Montessori programs and combining Thomas Jefferson and Stephen Decatur Middle School. In addition to many other changes, Dennis will become a dual campus, moving some of the grades to the Current French Academy.
  • In September, 22 year old Twanka Davis was sentenced to 20 years after pleading guilty to the murder of her 2-year-old daughter, Ta’Naja Barnes, who died of neglect and starvation in February. Ta’Naja’s body was found after Decatur police were called to the home in the 1800 block of East North Street. Court documents said she had been sleeping in a cold room in a house was described as being filled with garbage and rodent droppings. Ta’Naja’s case was sadly one of several high-profile deaths in 2019 of children who had been in custody of DCFS, prompting lawmakers and advocates to call for reform.
  • The Northeast Community Fund opened the doors to their new facility at 839 N MLK Jr Dr and honored the charity’s former director by naming it the Jerry Pelz Center.  Pelz served the Northeast community Fund for 50 years before retiring this year. The new 17,000 foot facility is now able to better serve clients and features a food bank and clothing room as well as services such as financial support and the family investment program.
  • In 2019, the Devon G Buffett Lakeshore Amphitheater opened, offered a season of entertainment on the shores of Lake Decatur. The $4.25 million amphitheater was funded by the Howard G Buffett Foundation and was named in honor of Buffett’s wife. The venue opened Memorial Day weekend with 38 Special and became a destination venue for communities all over the region. The biggest acts to play the Devon this past summer included Trace Adkins, Scotty McCreery, Kip Moore and Heartache Tonight – Tribute to the Eagles. The Devon sold over $600,000 in tickets sales in it’s first season and hosted guests from over 25 states and Canada.
  • Mueller Water Products broke ground on a new state of the art brass foundry in Decatur. The company, which was founded in Decatur in 1857, broke ground on the 30-acre site in the 2700 block of North Jasper Street. The company’s foundry makes water and gas transmission products. In addition to the promise of workforce development assistance tied to the new operation, the Decatur City Council approved giving Mueller up to $96,000 to buy three acres of land to be used for the new foundry. The site is located within the city’s enterprise zone, which include such benefits as a sales tax exemption for construction materials.
LISTEN: The Adventures of the Cinnamon Bear

LISTEN: The Adventures of the Cinnamon Bear

Follow along with Jimmy, Judy, Paddy O’Cinnamon and their friends in their quest to find the Silver Star in time for Christmas! A timeless Holiday Classic for the entire family!  All episodes are available through the end of the year!  WSOY will also broadcast the program in it’s entirety on Christmas Day!  Happy Holidays!

The Cinnamon Bear is an old time radio program produced by Transco in 1937. The story focused on Judy and Jimmy Barton who go to the enchanted world of Maybeland to recover their missing Silver Star that belongs on their Christmas tree. Helping on the search is the Cinnamon Bear, a stuffed bear with shoe-button eyes and a green ribbon around his neck. They meet other memorable characters during their quest, including the Crazy Quilt Dragon (who repeatedly tries to take the star for himself), the Wintergreen Witch, Fe Fo the Giant and Santa Claus.

 

 

Listen to The Adventures of the Cinnamon Bear

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.