(Editor’s Note: The Post is profiling the two candidates running for mayor. The order in which they appear was selected randomly.)
By Jeff Smyth
Fran Thomas rattles off four reasons why voters should elect her mayor of Pinckneyville. The first three – she doesn’t have an ax to grind, doesn’t have a chip on her shoulder and doesn’t have any family to hire – are not so subtle references to the practices of past administrations and even some current candidates. That should play well with voters who long ago became fed up with the insider’s game of running the city. It is the fourth, however, that seems most compelling.
“I probably know more about the city than anyone else in Pinckneyville,” Thomas said. “I know what the people sitting at the table can do and what they can’t do.”
Thomas’s credentials back her up. At 32 years, she is the longest serving city clerk in the history of the town. She worked under seven mayors.
(The Post is profiling the city’s mayoral candidates. The order in which they appear was done randomly.)
By Jeff Smyth
Robert Spencer doesn’t refer to himself as a consensus builder, but the way he describes approaching his career, and his reason for running for mayor of Pinckneyville, it is easy to see that he is.
“I believe in serving the people,” he said. “We need to work as a group to make Pinckneyville the best it can be.”
By Jeff Smyth
I was going to describe the city of Pinckneyville’s beautification initiative as “putting lipstick on a pig”, but why drag the swine community into it other than to say that, at some levels, the project stinks to hog heaven.
The city council appropriated $350,000 from its Business District Fund to erect decorative street lamps around the Square and along Walnut Street south from Water Street. The lights will cost about $320,000. There will also be a Victorian-style pedestal clock, chiming in at $24,000, placed at the southeast corner of the Square on a portion of the Murphy-Wall State Bank parking lot.
By Jeff Smyth
PINCKNEYVILLE – Gorgi Naumovski was restless when we met at the St. Nicholas Brew Pub in Du Quoin Jan. 9, but gracious enough to take the time to do so anyway. The clock was winding down on Gov. Pat Quinn’s days in office and he had yet to sign off on approving licenses for 22 medical marijuana cultivation centers throughout the state. Naumovski and his partners in SI Farmacy were among the 369 applicants vying for either the growing centers or local dispensaries. In his company’s case, it had applied for both.
Quinn’s self-imposed Dec. 31, 2014 deadline to issue the licenses had long passed with no explanation for why a decision was delayed. Naumovski was certain that if the governor was to take any action, it would be by the end of the day. It was now close to 1 p.m. and with each text message or email alert, Naumovski scanned his smartphone in hopes of good news. None came.
PCHS students are holding bake sales and passing the hat to raise money for Sailor Gutzler, the seven-year-old survivor of the Jan. 2 plane crash that took the lives of her father, mother, sister and cousin. The effort begins this evening during the Panthers game against Waterloo at Thomas Gym. The team hosts Nashville Friday night at which time the money they raised will be donated to a trust fund set up in Sailor's name. Anyone wanting to give should contact the school.
By Jeff Smyth
Come sit near the fire with me, Virginia, and together we can discover the answer to your question, “Is there a Santa Claus?” That you, as a child, should ask is understandable, but you might be surprised to learn that many adults, including those from the capital of friendliest of little cities, Pinckneyville, have also grappled with it.
Our quest for the answer begins at the Perry County Courthouse lawn where the giant plywood Santa greets travelers driving north on Ill. 127. As benign as he may appear, Santa has been at the center of several controversies. Old timers recall that soon after it was erected in the early 1950s, someone from this basketball-crazed community made a wooden ball and nailed it to Santa’s raised mitt. This infuriated some people in the community who believed it was showing disrespect for old St. Nicholas. The ball came down.
Turn the calendar up 50 or so years, and a debate swirled again around the giant structure. This time it was the religious community who argued that Santa was nothing but an icon for crass commercialism. What should rightfully be a time to rejoice in the birth of Jesus Christ, they said, had become nothing more than over-the-top consumerism with Santa carrying that bag. Unless a Nativity scene could also be placed on the grounds, then Santa must go, they argued. The Nativity scene went up and the two have shared the grounds ever since.
There should be no debate that Christmas is a time to celebrate Christ. One can also make a case for over indulgence by Americans this time of year, but to throw Santa under the proverbial sleigh for this is misguided.
The gates to the Pinckneyville Zoo swing open Dec. 19 inside Thomas Gym in what is shaping up to be a raucous debut. The Zoo is the creation of the Blue Crew – a student led-pep club who has been mobilized to cheer on the Panthers when it faces cross-county rival Du Quoin Friday and other opponents throughout the season.
To help energize the group, First National Bank in Pinckneyville has become the official sponsor of the Crew and the Zoo which is located in the student section next to the Pep Band. FNB is giving away $25 Buffalo Wild Wings gift cards to the student who demonstrates the most school spirit during each home game. It is also providing Blue Crew tee-shirts to students, as well as “Big Heads” of Panther seniors and Coach Bob Waggoner.
By Jeff Smyth
A good way to describe Roger Morgenstern is that he is the “Dr. Frankenstein” of arborists. While not the “bu-wa-ha-ha-ha-ha” scary type like in the Mary Shelley novel, he can fuse limbs-to-limbs and limbs-to-trunks to create things that are not typically found in the natural world.
Morgenstern is a tree grafter and, while it was fascinating to listen to him passionately describe his talents for it; that was not my primary reason to visit him recently. I wanted to know what type of weather we were in for this winter and believe Morgenstern’s persimmon tree to be the defining indicator.
The St. Nicholas Brewing Company in Du Quoin opened its doors toAugust 9. Enjoy hand-tossed pizza, burgers and much more. Two beers from its vats are currently on tap with more to come. Overall, there is a wide selection of drafts to suit every taste. The atmosphere is the best with exposed brick from from this circa 1800s building that was once the St. Nicholas Hotel east of the railroad tracks and south of the main drag. The tables are recycled bowling lanes from Du Quoin's Ten Pin Alley. Enjoy