Tom's Mailbag Jan. 17, 2014

Tom's Mailbag Jan. 17, 2014

Not much in the mailbag this week, which is a good thing because I am swamped with news these days. Keep reading The News-Gazette in the coming days for some pretty interesting news stories.


Here’s one leftover from last week, regarding the possibility of a White Castle in Champaign-Urbana. I received the following email from Elizabeth Ingram, White Castle’s president and COO:


“In immediate response to your inquiry, however, White Castle prides itself on growing slowly. White Castle and all its subsidiaries are privately owned and operated. The company does not franchise or offer stock options, and finances its expansion solely through retained earnings. For these reasons, White Castle tends to operate within the existing Midwest and Northeast regions where all our support facilities (meat plants, bakeries, etc.) are located.  We believe in this business practice so we can provide a stable company for the more than 12,000+ employees it supports.

“Due to these factors, as well as advertising efficiencies, we add only approximately 10 to 15 new restaurants every year to our existing market areas along with restaurant remodeling and building replacement as needed.  Based on our current expansion plans, it will be a few years before we open another new market area.”


Curious to know what is your opinion of Mike Frerichs’ bid to be Illinois state treasurer in 2014, especially in light of how he is trying to get an early jump on campaigning.


The reader also linked to a blog site where there was a complaint about the Frerichs campaign recently conducting a telephone survey about the voter’s attitudes and interests.

First, this is hardly a sign of early campaigning. Frerichs officially became a candidate on Nov. 25, 2013, although he let it be known about a year ago that he was interested in the position. Frerichs has been somewhat below the radar statewide because he doesn’t have a primary opponent this spring and hasn’t done a series of news conferences (although he’s apparently going to do that next week). But the groundwork he is doing, including polling and fundraising, is no different than what hundreds of other candidates in Illinois are undertaking these days. If you don’t like telephone surveys, hang up. If you don’t like TV or radio commercials, turn them off. But be forewarned: there are going to be a lot of them this year, especially for those of us fortunate enough to live in the 13th Congressional District, which will be a top national target for political parties and, especially, special interest groups.


The potholes on Mattis Avenue in Champaign are horrendous. Someone complained about the same problem on Windsor Road in Urbana but frankly Mattis is worse. Will Mattis get new asphalt in the future?


Not from the city of Champaign. Mattis Avenue, north of Springfield Avenue, is a state route and it would be up to the state to resurface it. The Illinois Department of Transportation website doesn’t show any plans to resurface Mattis but that could change. State lawmakers probably will consider a new capital bill, including millions of dollars for road construction, this spring. That’s something that could be mentioned in Gov. Pat Quinn’s State of the State address later this month. Who’s not for good roads, especially after this winter. The big issue will be how we finance the construction bonds? Expanded gambling, including a casino in Danville? Maybe.


Who is your favorite Danville Dan of all time?


I don’t think I have a favorite player, although I remember marveling at some guys like Danny Worth, Austin Nola and one of last year’s shortstops; I think it was Josh Miller. 

My favorite Dan, though, is Jeanie Cooke. She’s the co-general manager of the team (with Rick Kurth), a great person and a great ambassador for baseball and Danville. Can’t wait to get back to Danville Stadium this spring. The home opener will be May 27.


Thanks for reading.






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