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    The Decatur Navigator

In today’s newspaper details of the single high school concept in Decatur were revealed. I had heard rumors and suggestions of this before but this is the first detailed pitch we’ve been presented with. The Decatur Public School Board has suggested merging Decatur’s two remaining high schools, MacArthur and Eisenhower, into one campus. A sales tax is being proposed to fund the project – how much of an increase is needed is yet to be determined. The proposed location is in Decatur’s “central core” near the Wabash Crossing development.

There’s a lot of pros and cons to such a plan:

PROS:

  • A state-of-the-art building that could provide more educational opportunities in different subject areas.
  • Inner city revitalization – This is an area of town that needs redevelopment.
  • Community Pride – One thing that I’ve always noticed about small towns is the commitment and pride they feel for their schools. If you attend a sporting event in a small community, practically the whole town is there cheering on the kids. Decatur is divided in its’ loyalties and I think since Stephen Decatur High School closed, a lot of the pride has diminished for a lot of people – closing Stephen Decatur was a real kick in the gut to all us Stephen Decatur graduates who are now parents and grandparents living in Decatur! It feels traitorous to go to Eisenhower or MacArthur and cheer on the enemy! 😉 I say name the school Stephen Decatur High School and you got a winner!
  • College Prep – I don’t know if this is part of the plan but I’d love to see more college prep classes and even classes that count towards college be made available; possibly a deal with Richland Community College and Millikin University could get kids on the right path towards college in their Junior and Senior years. If a kid could graduate with a high school diploma, and a considerable amount of transferable college credits, that would be a great incentive for them to continue their education.

CONS:

  • Cost – Will Decatur residents be willing to pay a higher sales tax in a weakening economy?
  • Eisenhower and MacArthur’s buildings would be vacant. What would we do with those buildings? Are they marketable?
  • School Size – As a parent of a 5th grader, I would assume my daughter (and son) would be attending this high school, if it is built, and I’m concerned of the size of the school. Would it be overwhelming and a place where kids feel totally lost?

These are just some initial thought floating around in my brain after reading today’s article. I’m sure other pros and cons will be brought up in the community over the next several months!

Here’s a link to the Herald & Review article if you haven’t read it.

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The last of the old K’s Merchandise buildings is going down in Decatur. The only thing remaining is the elevator shaft – who knew that building had modern conveniences like elevators inside of it? The way the city talked about the condition of the building, I had the impression it was lit by candles and oil lamps! I’ve been watching this building go down over the past couple of months and I’ve come to the conclusion that it was kind of a waste to tear it down. I doubt that anyone else is going to erect a seven story building to replace it in downtown Decatur – I could be wrong but it would have been great if that building could have been remodeled. I thought it was some ratty, ramshackle building about to cave in on itself but it hardly looked in danger to collapsing to me, once I saw the guts of it. I think a nuclear bomb would have had a hard time knocking it down. Oh well, it’s too late now!

One thing I’ve noticed that I really like, since the buildings have come down, is that the once hidden part of Haines & Essick’s building can now be seen and with a little sprucing up – it’ll look great! I love the old fashioned arched windows and architecture!

Here’s the new building going up – not that impressive looking if you ask me, but it beats looking at abandoned storefronts and boarded up windows! I’m hard to please. I guess it’ll grow on me!

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I always find myself forgetting events that are coming up, even ones I intend to attend, so if I post them here – maybe I won’t forget! (And you won’t either!) Here’s a rundown of some of the Lincoln events that are planned for the Spring and Summer in Decatur:

The Decatur Area Arts Council will be hosting “Portraying Lincoln: Man of Many Faces” beginning June 5th and ending July 31st. This exhibit will feature artwork, with Abraham Lincoln the subject, from several different artists from the mid-19th century to today.

Of course the Shadows of Lincoln Festival is June 7th in Downtown Decatur from 10am – 4pm.

For more details on these and other events, click here.

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I ran across an interesting video clip on the Kirk-Out blog. This is a blog aimed at discussing fine arts in Decatur – a subject near and dear to my heart! Check it out. It speaks so true about the lack of art education in our public schools – especially grade schools! Just more failures of No Child Left Behind.

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Again, a Linda Ronstadt tune (parody) is in order after Hillary Clinton’s West Virginia blow out! (I sure hope Linda Ronstadt likes Hillary Clinton!) This will be the last parody, I promise!

Hillary asks, “When Will I Be Loved?”

I’ve been cheated
Been mistreated
When will I-I be loved?

I’ve been held down
I’ve been knocked ‘round
When will I-I be loved?

When i find a new state that I want for mine
If I win, I’ll still lose
It happens every time!

I’ve campaigned till I’ve turned blue
Bill and Chelsea have tried like mad dogs too
When will I-I be loved?

When I find a new state, that will…
vote for me
you can bet…the pundits will say,
my supporters…are just poor white dummies!

Whoa, I’ve been cheated
Been mistreated
When will I-I be loved
When will I-I be loved
Tell me, when will I be loved???

This is for you Hillary, you keep holding on tight to your dreams no matter what they say! Hey, look on the bright side, Barack might lose and you can try again in 2012! Uhm…isn’t that the year the world is supposed to end…sounds like our luck doesn’t it?

Hey, I finally found someone else out there as crazy as me! Go!

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