At the December meeting of the board of Peoria School District 150, members discussed a variety of subjects including poor test scores with only 2 percent passing at Peoria High and 5 percent at Manual. Former Woodruff High School player, teacher and coach, Terry Knapp, delivered some thoughts and suggestions. A frequent critic of board members, Knapp in particular chastised Debbie Wolfmeyer for voting to close Woodruff. He noted that students from the Averyville neighborhoods are now bused to Peoria High. There was discussion about the possibility of busing kids from the city’s northside to Manual. Knapp pointed out such a decision would more than double time spent riding buses. He suggested consideration for reopening Woodruff since many are complaining about overcrowding at Peoria High. He said the various vocational programs could remain at the northside high school such as cosmetology and the culinary arts, but alternative and safe schools could be relocated. Knapp pointed out that the new Quest High School has less than 40 students in its Senior class, far from the 75 it had at the start of the school year. He wondered what happened to the other 39. So do we. However, Quest has been successful in fielding a basketball team with the help of Peoria Heights.
And Woodruff was closed for all of this?
They held a Grand Reopening ceremony at the Peoria Barber College, 1415 West Garden, Dec. 17. Mayor Jim Ardis was among those who heralded the reopening of the nation’s oldest barber school now owned by south side businessman, Melvin Murry. Missing from the event was the district’s council member, Denise Moore. Former city councilman and Township Supervisor, Zack O. Monroe, bought the school in 1953. Our family sold the business, founded in 1897 the same year Bradley University began, to Murry in August of last year. We wish him much success.
Publishing a daily newspaper is not easy. Among other requirements, there’s a need for experienced and talented writers and editors who use good judgment. Both were missing in a story about the relationship between Peoria County Board chairman Andrew Rand and newly appointed councilman Sid Ruckriegel. Nick Vlahos wrote, “Unless the sexual preference of public officials has a direct effect on their job, we usually don’t write about it.” So Nick, why did you write about it? Everyone I talked to thought it was strange and certainly unnecessary. So do I. Meanwhile, we extend our condolences to Rand following the death of his mother.
Administratively, Illinois Central College seems to be struggling. Earlier this year, popular president, Dr. John Erwin resigned, retired, and departed only to wind up as the new president at a school in Ohio. The ICC board of trustees appointed Dr. William Tammone as interim president and he lasted only a few months before leaving for a school in Colorado. Chris Grey, dean of Arts and Communication, resigned for a school in Vincennes, Indiana. And to add to the scenario, the board of trustees has appointed 19 people to serve on the search committee to select the next president. Nineteen people on a committee is, in a word, ridiculous. Bruce Budde, long-time financial officer for ICC, was named interim president, making him the third to hold that position this year.
Thanks to past and new listeners, our morning show, “Breakfast with Roger and Friends,” is off to a roaring start. Well, maybe “roaring” might be a slight exaggeration. The usual crew has returned including Alicia Butler with news, and sports guys Phil Salzer, Steve Young, Mike Olson and Brian Hulin. If you like morning news, weather, sports, and good music without 8-10 minutes of commercials every 8-10 minutes, you’ll enjoy our morning program. You can catch us on the Internet at PeoriaLife.com by clicking on Listen Now or Breakfast with Roger and Friends. New listeners include people from Chicago, Detroit, California and Florida. We love it!
OTHER MEDIA NOTES
WAZU-FM lost its contract with Illinois Central College and lost opportunities for local programming. With no studio, owner Jeremy Styninger has been relying on the Radio Pacifica Network for all programming. However, Jeremy has hired Louie Linder as his Operations Manager. Linder was the coordinator for radio at ICC. They’re busy building a studio in the East Bluff Community Center.
WEEK-TV is now owned by Quincy Newspapers, Inc. Family owned, QNI, now claims TV stations in 14 markets. Rumor has it, changes are a-coming. Already, advertisers and agencies are being billed from Quincy. Looks like some people will be losing their jobs. The new owners are planning to build a new set for the news, and viewers will see heavy emphasis on local news in the ratings battle with WMBD-TV.
People who know more about budgets and taxes than I do say the city had no alternative but to raise taxes. They did it on the gas we use, products we buy and the homes we live in. The most punitive, in my opinion, was the terrible increase in property taxes. Companies closing and downsizing, people losing their jobs, the economy in free fall locally and nationally, and the majority of our elected leaders decide now is the time to hit our billfolds and purses. The timing could not come at a worse time. But, hey, it’s only money. More bad news coming next year when the city must deal with pensions. Look for more tax increases in 2016.
QUOTE OF THE MONTH
“This nation will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the land of the brave.” –Elmer Davis