Caterpillar rumor

It’s only a rumor. These days everyone repeats rumors especially if it’s about President Trump, someone in his family, or someone in his administration. However, this rumor is about Caterpillar and its announced plan to move some 200 global headquarter executives to “the Chicago area.” Allegedly, they’re negotiating with owners of land and buildings in the Schaumberg area.

No rumor though about the letter former Cat executive Jim Beard sent to all of the Cat board of directors. He totally and thoroughly ripped apart the news release the company sent explaining reasons for the move from Peoria. If I had the money, I would buy a full page in the Peoria Journal so everyone could read how irrational the board and new Cat CEO Jim Umpleby’s decision was. Space restricts the opportunity to lift some of Beard’s remarks. However, one of the best was when he said, “Your decision (to move to Chicago) will not increase productivity of any segment of the workforce or add to shareholder value.” Beard closed his excellent letter with this question: “Does your decision to relocate Caterpillar headquarters to Chicago pass the “how do you know test?”

Close encounters

The first encounter was Feb. 28. The second came April 4. I’m talking about two very close elections, reminders of the importance of voting. Just think, one or two votes either way made the difference between winning or losing for Robert Hanauer and Amr Elsamny in the primary and Denis Cyr and Rita Ali in the general election. Your vote does count regardless of the margin, but especially in a close race which is what Peorians recently had. The contest between Mayor Jim Ardis and a relative unknown, Couri Thomas, was surprisingly close. Why were those races so close? Good candidates of equal ability and stature? Perhaps. Or was it because of the poor turnout? I think it was about 18 percent. That’s sad. For all of the chest pounding about “How Great We Art,” when it comes to voting, we’re not great at all.

We make it so easy to get registered so we can vote. We literally kiss butt with door-to-door registration campaigns. That doesn’t motivate anyone to actually get out and vote. I think we should make it harder, not easier, for people to register. And if they don’t vote, they can’t vote in the next election, and/or they should be required to re-register. Crazy? What’s your answer for voter apathy? Coupons from McDonalds?

Remembering April

Four years ago April 11, the world lost one of the greatest creative comedians of all time when Jonathan Harshman Winters III passed away at the age of 87. I never met the man, but he became a dear and close personal friend the result of multiple and lengthy and wonderful phone calls. His comedic career started when he was just 23, and it culminated into great success in radio, television and movies. Jonathan appeared in every major entertainment venue in the world. Even in his 80s, he was doing voice-overs for the “Smurfs” which were exhausting as he would be driven to recording studios in Los Angeles from his rolling estate in Montecito. If you’re into numbers, consider Jonathan was born on the 11th of November, married on the 11th of September, and died April 11. Though I had been invited to visit him, unfortunately, the trip wasn’t made until his memorial service in Santa Barbara where I met his daughter, Lucinda, and son, Jay.

The loss of Jonathan was a sad day in my life, but it was devastating when Royce Elliott died 10 days later. Like Jonathan, Royce embarked on his amazing and highly successful comedic career as a young man. Some will say he started in high school. Many of us remember when Royce was knocked silly in a football game. Coach Virgil Boucher came on the field and kneeling down next to the prone Woodruff running back, asked, “Royce are you OK?” Royce replied, “How’s the crowd taking it?”

I won’t list all of his many achievements. There were many including as a headliner in Bally’s in Las Vegas, Reno, Atlantic City and Branson. He opened for major stars like Barbara Mandrell, Conway Twitty (he paid the best Royce said), Lou Rawls, the Statler Brothers, Gatlin Brothers, and so many others. He was my dear friend and I miss him. Big time.

Quote of the month

“My dream is of a place and a time where America will once again be seen as the last best hope of earth.”

—Abraham Lincoln

Roger Monroe

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