Have you noticed how quickly Peoria police are capturing the bad guys? One robbery after another and one killing after another, police wind up nabbing the culprits. And folks, these are really bad, bad, people. Too many young thugs are roaming the streets at night carrying “weapons of (mass) destruction;” strong arguments for passing concealed carry laws like most of the states now have. Anyway, it’s time for Mayor Jim Ardis, the City Council and Peoria County Board to recognize our police by passing and presenting resolutions of commendation for the outstanding work they’re doing!!!
JIM LES IS HISTORY, WHO’S NEXT FOR BU?
The rumors are flying on the Hilltop and in the community about the future of Bradley basketball coach, Jim Les. Everyone agrees, when the season is over so will the Les career as a coach in Peoria. The hottest rumor is the gum-chewing former Brave and NBA player will resign under administrative pressure. And chances are his first coaching job will be his last, but who knows. What is known is his record of 152 wins and 139 losses including terrible performances this season, losing to Quincy and Eastern Illinois and receiving key technicals near the end of hotly contested games against rival Illinois State and Northern Iowa. Fans who sit near the Bradley bench in the Civic Center have watched Les in what some have said is a constant barrage of verbal attacks on officials. Granted Valley officials are among the worst in the nation, but you rarely hear about other Valley coaches receiving technicals. Word is, Les has a reputation for berating officials. I can give him some slack on that. My problem is with his timing. It’s poor judgment and behavior to get a “T” near the end when the team is still in the fight.
Defenders of Les will point to the injuries this year to key players and to his success taking Bradley to the NCAA’s Sweet Sixteen with major upsets over Kansas and Pittsburgh. Those are strong arguments. Still, his record isn’t the best. This year was embarrassing especially the two close losses to ISU in a battle for last place. Attendance at the Civic Center, actual crowd numbers, are way down, and next year’s team doesn’t excite even the most loyal fans and that, I suspect, includes BU President Joanne Glasser. Here’s the real deal. If Bradley basketball doesn’t generate community and fan interest, as in buying tickets, the entire athletic program suffers, big time. And so will the Civic Center, big time. The rumors could be wrong, but most are betting Jim Les is history.
CONGRATULATIONS, PAUL HERZOG
Insurance salesman Paul Herzog is the guy with the friendly voice and entertainment style public address announcer at Bradley games. He was recently inducted into the Bradley Hall of Fame for his many years of volunteer service.
My Bradley public address hero was the late Bob Leu. For over 32 years Bob handled Brave games starting in 1938, succeeding of all people, Dave Owen. Bob had a deep, rich and resonant voice that made women swoon and guys like me envious. And it was A. J. Robertson himself who recruited Leu, a freshman student, to become the first p.a. announcer for Bradley football and then basketball at the Peoria Armory. Leu not only did the p.a. for Bradley games, but also introduced the starting lineup for another well-known Peorian, Jack Brickhouse, who was doing the play-by-play for WMBD.
Unlike today’s college and NBA announcers, Leu played it straight with polish and professionalism. He did the job, as Brickhouse said, “..in the smoothest and most capable manner it has ever been done.” Bob Leu later wrote a book on the history of Bradley basketball including the story of the “Famous Five,” titled, “Good evening Bradley basketball fans.” And that is how he began each Bradley game before introducing the lineup.
When Bradley moved its games to Robertson Fieldhouse, Leu went along, too. Few people know, and fewer could care less, but when Bob couldn’t make a home game, he tabbed me, a student, to do the games. What a thrill it was to turn in my front row seat, shut the lights out, and then wait as the spotlight shone brightly on the corner of the Fieldhouse floor before starting player introductions. It was exciting as hell and I loved every minute of every game I was asked by the great Bob Leu to do; another reason I thought he was the greatest. By the way, Leu’s book, written in collaboration with Henry Jacobs, is fascinating reading. Jacobs was sports editor for the Peoria Transcript. Leu also did sports on WMMJ in Peoria and then later on WIRL. Leu also worked for Mass Mutual as does Herzog. What a coincidence.
A TIP OF THE HAT
I congratulate and tip my hat to Peoria’s City Council for putting an end to the ridiculous historic preservation regulations that allowed a non-elected body to wreak havoc on the lives and properties of homeowners, businesses and even churches. Time was preservationists could designate landmark status on just about anything in the city without the owner’s consent. The most recent example was the Roanoke Apartments at the top of Hamilton Blvd. Owned by Trinity Lutheran Church, the apartment building was an eyesore. No, it was more; a dump. The church wanted to demolish it and had to fight and fight for that right. They eventually won the battle against so-called preservationists who have no money, just a fetish for old, dilapidated structures to their liking. Where were they when the city demolished the Rialto and Palace Theaters, community treasures? They also remained quiet and without cash or creativity to prevent the demise of another theatrical treasure, the Madison Theater. Have you seen it lately? It makes Big Al’s look like the Metropolitan Opera.
Things, thankfully, are different. As a result of a 7-3 council vote, preservationists have to get an owner’s consent before a property can be considered for landmark status. It’s now required. Voting against giving property owners such rights were Ryan Spain and Gary Sandberg, both candidates for re-election, and Barbara Van Auken. Homeowners take note of their votes.
Eric Turner, who could become Peoria’s next mayor, doesn’t need me or anyone else to defend him. Nor does any other member of the city council after the scurrilous attack by PJS columnist Phil Luciano. I don’t frequent bars, but I’ve been in a few. Invariably, I wind up sitting next to a guy who has had too much to drink, but drunk or sober, he has all the answers to everything; never served in public office or worked in a campaign and spends more time talking rather than listening, thus knows nothing. He’s loud and obnoxious and loves to be the center of attention, not knowing people are laughing at him, not with him.
On the one hand, you have Eric Turner, valued Caterpillar employee and long-time councilman and highly regarded citizen of Peoria. He’s also deputy liquor commissioner.
On the other hand is an alleged swingers’ club, 307, and an alleged porno store, Brown Bag, and I’m not talking about the Courthouse series of music each summer. The cheerleader for alleged swingers and porno folks is Luciano. His reputation needs no clarification. If it’s about a tavern or saloon, he’s been there, done that, whether it’s drinking or punching with his fists…… or fingers on a PJS computer. Phil has probably written more column inches about taverns and bars than a rookie reporter doing obituaries. Luciano was crying in his beer because Turner wouldn’t issue a liquor license to the guys sacking dirty things in brown bags. Good for Turner. Case closed.
ANOTHER GOOD GUY
Over at the County Courthouse, Democrat Andrew Rand has emerged as a real leader. He joined with Republicans to denounce Governor Pat Quinn’s measure to tax corporations and businesses. Rand wanted the County Board to pass a resolution asking Quinn to reconsider the heaviest tax in the nation during these tough economic times.
Rand is smart. He’s head of a big business and knows what taxes can do, such as job cutting. However, he was rebuffed by Democrat chairman Tom O’Neill, who’s paid by taxpayers …three times….as a city electrician, County Board member and a bonus as board chairman. Al Mayer also opposed Rand and the Republicans. He’s also without business experience or interest. Anyway, the effort by Rand was defeated. I commend him for recognizing Quinn’s bad judgment for all of the taxpayers and businesses in Illinois including those in Peoria County.
BAD TASTE, BAD THEATER, BAD JOURNALISM
I’ve never been to Cornstock’s Winter Playhouse and never will especially after learning some amateurs will join in trying to smear the record and reputation of Ronald Reagan. Apparently, some local folks will get their kicks performing in a play written by another left-wing goof-ball that features attacks on Reagan complete with nudity, gays and all kinds of things that would embarrass dancers at Big Al’s. This, after all, is how Peorians celebrate Reagan’s 100th birthday. Well, some Peorians. That includes the Peoria Journal. One headline read, “Reagan legacy debated amid 100th birthday.” Imagine ever seeing, “Kennedy legacy debated amid 100th birthday.” Reporter Gary Panetta, who botched a story about comedian Royce Elliott’s career in Las Vegas, headlined his story about the late president, “Making us think hard about the Reagan era.”
When will we see a play attacking Bill Clinton with a Journal headline, “Making us think hard about the Clinton era.”? Answer. Never. Save your money. Have a beer or pick your nose rather than attend Cornstock’s Winter Playhouse.
Regardless of your position on political developments in Wisconsin, no one can justify the profane and obscene language, verbal and written, voiced and written by union supporters. Comparing Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker to Adolph Hitler and Benito Mussolino was disgusting. So was the beating on drums, blowing horns, and all of the other ridiculous behavior exemplifying a lynch mob mentality and group insanity. And then to have the 14 Democrat senators flee the state like little children from the boogie man would be laughable if not for the sad precedent the action may set for the entire country. The action reminds me of the kid who takes his basketball home, ending the game because he was losing. It’s childish.
And how did the left-wing editors at the Peoria Journal respond? They attacked Governor Walker by irresponsibly and inaccurately writing, (Walker) “seemed to bask in the national spotlight,” and “he boasted,” and (Walker) apparently has a high opinion of himself,” and “Walker bragging about his strategy.” Not one word about the demonstrators’ behavior or the dereliction of fleeing Democrat legislators. Sadly, the newspaper was as wrong as MSNBC reporter Ralph, er, Rachael Meadow claiming in an “exclusive,” that Wisconsin had no budget financial short-fall.
QUOTE OF THE MONTH
“Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom.” —Thomas Jefferson (not Charlie Sheen)