TO BUY OR NOT TO BUY
That’s the question facing Peoria’s city council regarding the purchase of Illinois American Water Co. Those who support buying the water company believe it could be a gold mine for the city and those opposed feel it’s too costly. Seems like we’ve been down this road before. I think the only way it can be thoughtfully decided is to have a referendum. Let voters, the taxpayers, make the decision. After all, they’re the ones who’ll pay for it. Get it on the next ballot.
RIVER TRAILS STILL VIABLE
The folks who oppose that proposed apartment complex on the riverfront were on television recently announcing they were demanding documents from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. They want to know what’s going on, perhaps fearing that agency is going to give approval for the multi-million dollar project to proceed. I’m amazed that developer Desmond Curran is still eager to proceed given the move of Caterpillar’s global headquarters to Deerfield, Ill. I’m told he’s invested close to $600,000 and is planning to spend $30 million for the upscale River Trails Apartments. They’ll be located about a quarter mile north of the Riverplex, which by the way, was also opposed by some of the same people against the apartments.
Radio and TV stations are competitors. They compete for ratings, advertisers, on-air talent and for news. WMBD-TV general manager Kevin Harlan has to be smiling these ratings days. He recruited veteran and retired local news anchors Bob Larson and Tom McIntire to do some features on Channel 31. The stories they’ve done together have been excellent.
On the radio side of broadcasting, I continue to lament the lack of news coverage by local stations. There was a time when WMBD, WPEO, WIRL and WXCL had outstanding news coverage with news hawks like Phil Gibson and Bob Larson on WMBD, Ira Bittner and Ralph Smith on WIRL, and Rapid Robert Moore and this writer on WPEO. We provided news, local news and lots of it. Not today. On WMBD, you’ll hear 60 to 90 seconds of news with five to seven minutes of commercials before, during and after newscasts. On the print side, they’re changing writers at the Peoria Journal almost weekly. Check the bylines. Here today and gone tomorrow with pages and pages of full-page ads especially in the Sunday editions. However, the best source for local news remains our newspaper. They are the best! Next is our morning show, “Breakfast with Roger and Friends” on FM 90.7 from 6 to 9 a.m. Monday through Friday. Newscasts are typically five minutes in length and commercial free.
In other media news, the announcement of Lee Hall’s retirement from WEEK did not come as a shock. Going into TV sales was a surprise, though I had heard he had explored that possibility earlier. We wish him luck.
Mayor Jim Ardis easily won re-election, but there’s already talk about who will run for the job four years from now. The four top potential candidates are Chuck Grayeb, Beth Jensen, Jim Montelongo and Sid Ruckriegel. There’s a fifth possible candidate hiding in the political weeds, a prominent Republican, but he hasn’t made a decision, says my source.
A lot has been written and publicized about bullying in schools. Everyone knows it’s wrong and those who engage in it should be penalized. An 8-year-old in Cincinnati went home and hung himself in his bedroom because of it. A 15-year-old in Champaign allegedly died from injuries he suffered from a beating he took from bullies. It’s also time for the IHSA to put an end to players and coaches who encourage pitchers to throw at batters which is a bullying tactic. It’s been done for years. Recently, a high school player was hit twice by an opposing team. The second time in the head. The pitcher remained in the game. The umpires did nothing. After the game, the players, coaches and umpires went home. The “beaned” player went to the hospital. The IHSA needs to address this issue before someone is seriously injured. We know young kids don’t have great control. We also know kids throw at kids. The “beaned” player, hitting over .400, has been hit three times in four games against the same Peoria high school team (not Peoria High).
QUOTE OF THE MONTH
“Let us keep our mouths shut and our pens dry until we know the facts.” — A.J. Carlson