Senator Ryan Spain?

Odds are State Sen. Darin LaHood will be elected to replace Aaron Shock as the 18th

District U.S. Representative come September. The heavy Republican district strongly supports LaHood who carries impressive credentials and knows how to wage a political campaign. Who then will be appointed to LaHood’s seat as the 37th District State Senator? The decision will be made by Republican county chairmen in that district. We’re told, however, that Gov. Bruce Rauner, the titular head of the Republican Party in Illinois, wants the chairmen to name Peoria City Councilman Ryan Spain. Spain also campaigned for LaHood in the recent Republican primary so he has his support as well. The popular Spain would be a good choice. He’s intelligent, experienced and articulate. Spain was elected to the city council in 2007. Look for LaHood to win in September and Spain to take his seat in the Illinois Senate shortly thereafter.

The shoe is on the other foot

Do you remember the fierce opposition the Peoria Park District experienced when it announced plans to build the Riverplex? Led by community activist Carrie Alms and Merle Widmer, now retired from the Peoria County Board, opponents complained about the location, construction costs, operating finances, use of taxpayer subsidies to compete with private health clubs like Landmark and public safety. Now the shoe is on the other foot as the Peoria Park District is opposing development of that 143 unit apartment complex, River Trails. The opposition continues even though the developer, Desmond Curran, has literally jumped through unnecessary hoops to appease Park Board members and the “tree huggers.” Right or wrong, Peoria has had an anti-business reputation for decades while East Peoria continues on a path of business development, especially along their riverfront. While East Peoria welcomed the Embassy Hotel and Bass Pro Shops and multiple restaurants, Peoria was busy spending millions for a tax-supported and non revenue producing museum and $720,000 for a wall of sandbags. Meanwhile, a developer with rocks in his head, presents a beautifully designed apartment complex for riverfront development that will provide thousands in tax dollars for the city. Such a development will enhance our side of the river now clouded by a manufacturing plant that rises high over-looking this so-called park, belching white smoke every now and then like an 1840 train in the wild west. Nearby is public housing where police spend time exercising the red and blue lights on their squad cars.

The Park District just closed a popular golf course, making it into another park. We have Glen Oak Park, Bradley Park, Detweiler Park, Sommer Park, Northmoor Park, Grand View Park, here a park, there a park, everywhere a park, and we still don’t have enough parks to satisfy the tree huggers. Not a single park produces a penny of tax revenue, but sure costs taxpayers. I know. I own property in Peoria, and have for years. I have one question for the opponents of the apartment complex. How many of you walk that trail along the

riverfront at night? The answer is zero.

While East Peoria packs in the tax dollars from Wal-Mart, Embassy Hotel, Pet Smart, Texas Road House, Costco, Holiday Express and others too numerous to list, Peoria inspires development of no-tax settlements like the Post Office, Riverplex, a park, a museum, with tax paying businesses like the Crab Shack and Hooters.


Woodruff High School and Bradley graduate Tami Lane has received another honor for her makeup skills. Winner of an Academy award for her artistry in “Chronicles of Nardia,” Lane has now been nominated for an Emmy for makeup in the TV series, “Sons of Anarchy,” which first aired on the FX network in 2008. The series ended in December of last year. Lane was also nominated for an Oscar for her prosthetic work in the movie, “The Hobbit.”

Ralph Lawler, who graduated from Peoria High and Bradley, has been selected for a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2016. Lawler has been the television voice for the Los Angeles Clippers for the past 36 years and recently inked a two year contract extension at the age of 77. He was a guest on “Breakfast with Royce and Roger” for the third time Thursday, July 16. During the exclusive half-hour interview, Lawler praised the education he received from Bradley and remembered fondly the days when his father managed Shakey’s Pizza on North University. His only regret in receiving the Hollywood honor, he said, was his mother and father are not alive to share the recognition.

Picking up the pieces

The appointment of Dr. Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat as acting District 150 superintendent has been well-received by most people according to my sources. The former Manual Academy and Whittier principal left the Peoria school system while managed by Dr. Grenita Lathan. She’s back and it’s generally believed she’ll receive the permanent appointment. However, she inherits some major problems from Lathan, including a $14 million deficit. Add to it issues like unpaid bills, or bills charged to the school district by Dr. Lathan last year for payment out of next year’s budget.


“Empty pockets never held anyone back; it’s only empty heads and empty hearts

that do that.”   –Dr. Norman Vincent Peale

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