PAUL OSBORNE, EDITOR 

NEWS FROM HERE AND THERE

Jen McMillin announces candidacy for 101st District
Seat In Illinois House Of Representative











    On Oct. 17, local nonprofit and education professional Jen McMillin announced her candidacy for the 101st seat in the Illinois House of Representatives. McMillin, who currently works at Lincoln College, has lived in Macon County since 2008 and has worked closely with many area organizations through her work there and at the Education Coalition of Macon County.
    A graduate of the University of Illinois - Springfield with a masters in Public Administration, McMillin is focused on improving public education, growing job opportunities for the 101st district, and expanding access to healthcare in Central Illinois.    “I love this state, its history, its people, and our vibrant communities. But for several years, I’ve watched as political gridlock and partisan bickering have devolved into the current mess that we are in. The state of Illinois deserves better representatives and government officials that understand the impacts our families feel. I’m ready to fight for the future of Illinois, and to ensure a better outcome for my family and yours.”
    McMillin lives in Decatur with her husband Tim and 3 year old son Charlie, and has a 14 year old stepson in the Maroa-Forsyth school district. McMillin joins as the only Democratic candidate for the 101st seat; three Republican candidates are vying for a spot on the ballot in the March 2018 primary.

Publisher’s Clearing House Telephone
Scam Targets Macon County

    Macon County State’s Attorney Jay Scott has announced that area residents are being targeted with the Publisher’s Clearing House telephone scam. Numerous calls to the Elder Fraud Hotline have reported this scam in recent days.    
    The callers claim to be from Publisher’s Clearing House, tell their intended victims they have won a large amount of money, and state that payment upfront of a processing fee or tax is required in order to receive their winnings. The callers will request this payment be made by purchasing a pre-paid debit card or by wiring money.
    If you receive this call hang up. If you suspect a scam has been committed or attempted, please call the Elder Fraud Hotline at 217-615-7582. All calls are answered by State’s Attorney Jay Scott. To learn more about scams visit the State’s Attorney’s website at
www.sa-macon-il.us.

Millikin University to break ground on new
Center for Theatre and Dance in 2018

   





















 DECATUR, Ill. – Millikin University has announced  that it will break ground on its new Center for Theatre and Dance in 2018 with plans to open the building in fall 2020. The $25 million facility will include a convertible theatre in addition to well-equipped studios, classrooms, design labs and public spaces for the School of Theatre and Dance. The innovative facility will house all areas of study within the nationally recognized School. The architectural partner of the project will be the Decatur, Ill., firm BLDD.
"Millikin is ranked in the top ten for musical theatre programs in the country, including universities many times our size," said Millikin President Dr. Patrick White. "To keep our students and our program at this extremely high level we need a Center for Theatre and Dance to allow room for growth, to expand what we can accomplish, not only for the actors and dancers, but also to provide growth in the rapidly developing areas of arts technology, lighting and sound and costume design."
     Mary Black, director of the School of Theatre and Dance at Millikin added, "We in the School of Theatre and Dance are thrilled to see this project come to fruition. Many of the faculty in the School of Theatre and Dance have hoped and planned for a building of our own for many years. Currently, our performance venues, acting and dance studios, classrooms and offices are spread across a dozen buildings on Millikin's campus."
     The new building will house theatre support spaces as well as several production spaces for Millikin students to use. The center will also house faculty and staff offices, allowing faculty, staff and students to collaborate more easily.
     "Our programs have recently received several different national top ten rankings, placing Millikin among the most respected theatre programs in the country," Black said. "The new Center for Theatre and Dance will provide our students, faculty and staff with the facilities necessary to build on that success."
Thanks to visionary and generous alumni and community leaders, as well as the investment of University resources by Millikin's Board of Trustees, more than half of the necessary funding has been secured to complete this exciting home where imagination will flourish. Funds are still being raised to complete the vision and finish "building on dreams."
     "So many people have brought us to this exciting point," President White said. "We look forward to the help of alumni and community leaders to complete the vision and finish 'building on dreams' to create a place that will enrich and enhance our lives and mean so much to Millikin, Decatur and so many of our students and alumni."
     Caitlyn Garrity, a junior theatre design and production major from Decatur is looking forward to seeing what the new building will provide in terms of design and production opportunities.
"I am thrilled for the future Center for Theatre and Dance," Garrity said. "As a design and production student, I know the improvements in our technical theatre spaces will allow students to improve their craft. The new design studios will allow us to further develop our craft and enhance our experience as we prepare for our careers in technical theatre. These improvements to our work spaces will truly give us the difference that can put us ahead in the professional world."
     Mary Black noted, "The new Center for Theatre and Dance will do more than facilitate the needs of our current students and programs. It will also provide the spaces we need to continue to grow.  Over the last five years, enrollment in the Millikin School of Theatre and Dance has grown by 42 percent. We are home to nearly 250 undergraduate students, including 81 first-year students who will be among the first to study in the new Center for Theatre and Dance when it opens. This new building will allow us to continue to grow and excel as we prepare students for their lives as theatre artists."
     Recently, Millikin University's Bachelor of Fine Arts in Acting degree program was recognized as one of the Top 10 BFA Acting Programs in the country for 2017-2018 according to a recent survey published by the online theatre news and review blog OnStage. OnStage also named Millikin as one of the best institutions in the country to earn a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Musical Theatre, and named Millikin's School of Theatre and Dance as one of the 10 Most Underrated Theatre Colleges in the Midwest.
Millikin Theatre and Dance produces numerous performances in venues on and off-campus, including musicals, plays, operas, children's theatre and dance concerts, as well as productions through its student-run theatre company, Pipe Dreams Studio Theatre.
     Millikin's School of Theatre and Dance is a nationally recognized program, offering conservatory-style training rooted in a liberal arts education. The School of Theatre and Dance's approach to education offers students valuable insight and hands-on experiences that will prepare them for professional success. Nationwide, Millikin's respected theatre alumni are routinely hired for projects in television, film and live theatre, including top Broadway shows. For more information, visit millikin.edu/theatre.   
 

Illinois’ Republican Congressmen Endorse
Erika Harold For Attorney General










Erika Harold

    Attorney General candidate Erika Harold has announced the endorsements from the following Illinois Republican Congressmen:
    Congressman Mike Bost
    Congressman Rodney Davis
    Congressman Randy Hultgren
    Congressman Adam Kinzinger
    Congressman Darin LaHood
     Congressman John Shimkus
     “It is an honor to have the support from the members of our congressional delegation,” said Erika Harold. “As leaders from across our state, our congressmen know how important real reforms are to our state.  I look forward to continuing the fight for reforms that will put the people’s interests ahead of the interests of the powerful political class.”
    Congressman Davis stated: “Erika Harold is exactly who we need to take on the political machine. A Harvard educated lawyer and a national leader combatting school violence, Erika Harold tells the hard truths and always stands up for those in need. I know she’ll take on the corruption in state government.” 


​Central Illinois Regional Dispatch Center Announces New $4.2 Million State Of The Art 9-1-1 Dispatching Facility In Decatur


    The Central Illinois Regional Dispatch Center (C.I.R.D.C.) has announced a $4.2 million commitment by the Howard G. Buffett Foundation to construct a new 7,000 square foot 9-1-1 dispatching facility that will be owned and operated by the C.I.R.D.C. and designed to meet the needs of the entire Macon County community well into the future.
    The state of the art facility will be located on a parcel of land on US Route 51 South and Grove Road, adjacent to the $15 million Law Enforcement Training facility also provided for by the Howard G. Buffett Foundation. The new dispatch center will provide new updated technology and increased work space for the C.I.R.D.C. Emergency Communica-tions team. The center will also house the Macon County Emergency Telephone System Board (E.T.S.B.), bringing together for the first time the entities that provide 9-1-1 services to all of Macon County.
    “I have had the opportunity to serve as an auxiliary deputy, undersheriff, and now sheriff with the Macon County Sheriff’s Office” said Howard G. Buffett, chairman and CEO of the Howard G. Buffett Foundation. “During that time, I have observed the great work done by our entire 9-1-1 community here in Macon County. Working with the Macon County 9-1-1 professionals to build this facility is consistent with our foundation's goals of creating jobs and supporting local businesses in the Decatur area as well as enhancing the quality of life and public safety of the region as a whole.”
    The C.I.R.D.C. is a new 9-1-1 dispatch provider which will be assuming management of the dispatch center January 1st, 2018. It is the result of years of work initially prompted by past sheriff, Jerry Dawson, and supported by every first responder agency in Macon County. The organization is a user based organization, funded by the users based on volume of calls. The new facility will provide for a state of the art environment and a solid foundation for the future of 9-1-1 in Macon County, Illinois.
    This project was made possible through a collaborative effort by many individuals with support from the Macon County E.T.S.B., Macon County Sheriff’s Office, the City of Decatur, the Decatur Police Department, Macon County Rural Police Chief’s and the Macon County Fire Protection Association. “It has been a great opportunity to work with Mr. Buffett,” said C.I.R.D.C. Director, Jon Thomas. “His passion, support and leadership, coupled with his generosity have benefited the Macon County community in many ways and this is yet another one of his great community projects.”
    Construction is being led by Romano Company, working in conjunction with Trades and Labor and should commence in the near future, weather permitting. The facility is scheduled to be completed in the summer of 2018.

 

​​Seth Floyd Declares Candidacy For
Piatt County Circuit Clerk













Seth E. Floyd

    CISCO – Seth E. Floyd of Monticello officially announced his campaign for Piatt County Circuit Clerk Sept. 30, 2017, in front of a group of supporters at the Cisco Center.
    Floyd said: “I am proud and grateful to officially announce my candidacy for Piatt County Circuit Clerk, today. I feel that my military service and education give me a unique skill set that is especially catered to the operation of the circuit clerk’s office.         

     “That experience compiled with my operational style, and a keen sense of fiscal responsibility will not only be an asset to the circuit clerk’s office, but also will allow me to be the best possible steward of Piatt County tax-payer dollars.”
    Floyd, 33, is United States Army and Illinois Army National Guard veteran, Parkland College graduate, and has been employed by Piatt County since 2012. His military service includes vast experience in logistics and human resources. Civically, he is active in the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and other local veteran’s groups.
    For more information on his campaign visit
www.floyd4cc.com.


Amy Rueff Announces Candidacy 
For Macon County Clerk















  Amy Rueff

    Amy Rueff has announced her candidacy for Macon County Clerk to replace retiring, fellow democrat, Steve Bean, in next year’s election. 
    Rueff, 51, noted that her years of community involvement have put in her touch with Macon County’s di-verse citizenry.
    “I have made a career of advocating for working families,” she said. “I know that hard-working men and women want officeholders who can listen and can get the job done—just as they do every day in their lives.
    Rueff serves as Resource Director of the Illinois AFL-CIO and prior to that was the AFL-CIO Community Services Liaison with United Way of Decatur & Mid-Illinois. She began her working career with Illinois Power/Exelon at the Clinton Nuclear Power Station.
    She currently is a Decatur Township Trustee where she has been a consistent watchdog on public expenditures.
    “I have experience in assessing budgets, tax levies and other vital factors—all things the County Clerk has to do to ensure a high level of service,” she said. “I’ve worked in a bi-partisan manner and I believe all citizens, regardless of party, deserve fair and equal services.”
    The County Clerk is the head election authority in the county.  The Clerk also oversees vital documents, including birth and death certificates, as well as marriage licenses.  The current County Clerk, Steve Bean, is not seeking re-election.  His term ends November 30, 2018.
    The primary election is scheduled for March 20, 2018 and the general election is November 6, 2018.  For more information, go to Amy Rueff’s website, www.amyforclerk.com, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram accounts. 

April Kostenski Announces Candidacy

For Macon County Treasurer
















 
 April Kostenski


     Democrat April Kostenski announced Saturday her candidacy for Macon County Treasurer.
    Kostenski, who is financial administrator for Dr. Stuart Baker and treasurer for the Macon County Treasurer is running on a platform of “a change in leadership” in the treasurer’s of-fice.
    Present Macon County Treasurer, Ed Yoder, who has been in office since 2010, is running for re-election,


Police, Project AVA Holding Third
Annual Halloween ‘Bootique’
The Decatur Police Department will again partner with Project AVA for their 3rd Halloween “Bootique” program by being a local collection site for new or gently used Halloween costumes. 
    Halloween is such an exciting time for kids. It’s a time for them to run around carefree and collect candy, participate in their in-class Halloween parties, and attend parades in their communities and at their schools – all while dressed up as their favorite characters or as traditional Halloween icons.             Unfortunately for some children this is not the reality of this childhood “holiday.” Some families struggle with providing daily essentials, much less purchasing a Halloween costume. Often these children feel left out, or simply don’t participate, due to their family not having the means to purchase a costume.
    Now through Oct. 20, 2017, Project AVA will be collecting new and gently used Halloween costumes from size toddler through youth size large at various collections sites in Decatur to provide to children in need in these communities. 
    Project AVA will take the collected costumes and drop them off at local schools, early childhood and parent education centers, and food pantries that have been identified as having a need. The costumes will then be distributed to the children that the schools and organizations see fit to keep the identity of the children and families private.
    If you wish to donate a costume to Project AVA, the Decatur Police Department, 707 W. South Side Drive, has a collection box available in its front lobby from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm daily, Monday through Friday. 
    If you wish to donate financially, that can be done through the Project AVA website at www.project-ava.org or their Facebook page
https://www.facebook.com/AlwaysValueAnother.


Committee In Process Of Creating Plan
For Decatur Public Schools

    A Strategic Planning Committee is in the process of creating a strategic plan for Decatur Public Schools. School district staff along with Board of Education members, parents, local business leaders, elected officials and other community members began this process in August and have met five times to develop a draft of the strategic vision for the District. 
    The strategic planning process is being facilitated by Dr. E. Lindsey Gunn, a consultant from The Cambrian Group. 
    The strategic planning process examines the District’s current state, and provides a structure to determine and clarify the opportunities for future possibilities for DPS. By combining expertise within the District as well as the community, the strategic planning team created a vision that will set the direction for the District for the next five years.
    At the regularly scheduled Board of Education meeting on September 26, 2017 held at MacArthur High School’s auditorium, members of the strategic planning team presented on the work that has been completed to date. The team created beliefs, a draft mission statement for the school district, established strategic objectives, determined strategies and placed parameters to support the strategic vision for education at DPS.
    The next steps for the strategic planning process is to create a sub-committee for each strategy. These sub groups will be comprised of volunteers from the community and the school district to develop the action plans to achieve the proposed strategies. They will meet over the next six months to research and create the appropriate plans to attain the vision that has been created to this point.
    The five strategies are:
     1) We will ensure unique, innovative learning experiences for all students.
    2) We will ensure a student-focused environment that expands learning beyond the traditional expectations to engage students.
    3) We will establish a support network that will identify and address students’ physical, social/emotional, and mental health needs to allow each student to reach their full potential.
    4) We will attract and retain talented and invested staff by ensuring they feel valued and supported. 
    5) We will create and foster mutually beneficial relationships throughout the community.
    If you are interested in volunteering for one of the stragegy groups, email Marie Robertson at
mrobertson@dps61.org or by calling the Community Engagement office (217-362-3017) before October 15th.   Your name, number, email address, and which strategy you would like to volunteer and work on is needed for those wishing to assist the district in this important strategic planning process. 
    Meeting dates and times will be communicated to volunteers.


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