Daily dose: Local history, Tea party forum, state rep candidates to meet, Asian carp for dinner, Springfield wants to stay in gambling bill
In 1911, the Illinois Traction System has received word that the rails for the new double track on Main Street in Urbana have been shipped and it is hoped they will be able to begin work next week. It will be a fine piece of work, covering a distance of two blocks on Main Street from Market Street to the Flat Iron Building.
In 1961, channel 70, the new WTVP satellite station in Champaign-Urbana, came on “without a ripple on the water” for most local viewers, according to Bob King, vice president of operations for the ABC affiliate in Decatur. Channel 70 is transmitting from a tower about 11/2 miles west of Prospect Road near U.S. 150.
Memorable Tea Party exchange
From Sunday's column ...
Last Wednesday’s candidate forum in Danville, sponsored by the Illiana Tea Party, didn’t have fireworks but it seemed close to having firearms.
When the six Republican candidates were asked if they owned a gun, favored a conceal carry law in Illinois and if they were NRA members, it was if they had been asked who had the biggest weapon.
Alan Nudo of Champaign said he did not own a gun but backed conceal carry and the Second Amendment.
Tom Pliura of rural Ellsworth answered that he had been an NRA member since March 1976, then pulled out his NRA and his state firearms owner’s identification cards. Earlier in the debate he said straight-faced, “I might have a gun on me right here. I might. You don’t know that. But to have a bunch of Chicago politicians tell me that I can’t carry a gun while the criminal can, this is ludicrous.”
In response to the question, Pliura said, “Here’s my FOID card because if the FBI or somebody stops me I’ve got to have that on me. None of the criminals are going to have that on them but I’ve got one so that if I shoot that guy as he comes in my house I can show him that I was a legal gun owner as I killed this robber coming in my house.”
Sen. Shane Cultra, R-Onarga, showed his FOID card and asked, “Why should we be the only state out of 50 states that has to have a card?” More applause.
Rep. Jason Barickman, R-Champaign, displayed his FOID card and mentioned that he had been in the military and “is trained to shoot bazookas and M-16s and M-60s and everything else,” prompting more applause. And when he added that he had co-sponsored a conceal carry law, there was more fanfare.
Next up was state Rep. Chapin Rose, R-Mahomet, who said he had a FOID card and a .45 that is engraved, “Illinois NRA Defender of Freedom, Rep. Chapin Rose,” an award from the NRA for “killing a Mayor Daley gun-grab bill.” More applause.
Last came John Bambenek of Champaign who said that FOID cards, along with the regulation of baked goods sold at farmers markets was “proof that we’ve got a government that is too big,” concluding one grand final ovation.
State representative forum.
The four Republican candidates for state representative in the 106th House District — Tom Bennett, Scott McCoy, Josh Harms and Brian Gabor — will be guests at an Iroquois County Republican Women’s Club luncheon from noon to 1 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 13, at Celebrations in Watseka. Tickets are $15 and are available by calling Deb Monk at 815-265-4331.
Asian carp. Yum!
From The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel ...
It is a stark reminder that the Asian carp infestation that has overwhelmed stretches of river in the Mississippi River basin and is now threatening the waters of the Great Lakes isn't going to go away anytime soon: The Illinois Department of Natural Resources has hired a Louisiana chef for a made-for-media event this week to demonstrate just how good these fish can be to eat.
It's part of the Target Hunger Now campaign, a state-sponsored humanitarian effort to turn the jumbo jumping carp into "healthy, ready-to-serve meals" for the needy. The program also provides venison to the poor.
It already has provided thousands of meals to needy children and families, but this is about more than feeding the poor.
Illinois is in a protracted battle with its neighboring Great Lakes states over how to beat back the carp migrating up the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal, a man-made link between the carp-infested Mississippi basin and Lake Michigan.
Springfield officials want fairgrounds to stay in gambling bill
From The State Journal-Register ...
State Rep. Raymond Poe, R-Springfield, who has urged that harness racing, along with slot machines, be allowed at the fairgrounds for nine months of the year, said he will vote against any compromise that takes the fairgrounds out of the mix. State fair patrons already can bet on harness races during the fair itself.
After expenses, 50 percent of revenue from harness racing and slot machines at the fairgrounds would go to improve the site’s infrastructure. The other half would bolster county fairs and Future Farmers of America and 4-H programs.
“We’re always trying to get the state fairgrounds so it’s self-sustaining, and they come to the legislators continually and say, ‘Come up with an idea.’ Well, we’ve got an idea,” Poe said. “We thought we had some answers for how to help the economy in Springfield.”
Poe pointed to state fairgrounds in Delaware and New Mexico, which both have full-fledged casinos on the premises, as places that have used gambling to become largely self-sustaining.
“I wish the chief of staff for Cullerton would take a drive on the north end of the fairgrounds and look at how bad a shape those barns are getting in,” Poe said. “We don’t have any horses in there to rent (them) because they’re all went to New Jersey or Indiana or Kentucky. That’s how we maintained the fairgrounds for 100 years is renting those stalls out.”
(Cullerton's chief of staff, Andy Manar, is running for the Illinois Senate in the new 48th District, which does not include the fairgrounds.)
State Sen. Larry Bomke, R-Springfield, said he also was disappointed to hear talk that the fairgrounds could be left out of the gambling bill. Bomke noted that the bill, which provides for new casinos in Chicago, Danville, Park City, Rockford and the south suburbs of Cook County, also provides funding for soil and water conservation districts, historic sites and state parks.
If money for those items is deleted along with funds for county fairs and agriculture education programs, “that doesn’t leave much for a downstater to support,” Bomke said.
Bomke said he hasn’t received any phone calls from rank-and-file constituents about adding gambling at the fairgrounds. Bomke said he did receive calls from former Gov. Jim Edgar, Sangamon County Board Chairman Andy Van Meter, and horse breeders urging him to support gambling at the fairgrounds.
Springfield Mayor Mike Houston, who supports slot machines and more harness racing at the fairgrounds, said other cities stand to gain far more than Springfield from the gambling expansion plan.