Straight Talk | Bradley versus Peoria Journal



It’s a gigantic pissing contest between two of Peoria’s major icons.

Bradley’s basketball coach is ticked off at the PJ Star sports department.

Wardle’s team this year made it to the NCAA tournament and suddenly the coach decided to get even with the newspaper for what he perceives as a lack of praise for him and his players. Wardle has shut the door on sports writer Dave Reynolds for player interviews and the Journal isn’t happy about it. Wardle allegedly told the newspaper Bradley is going to be really good someday, and he’ll remember who his friends are. Good luck on that.

There seems to be an air of arrogance with some on the Hilltop with those who deal with the media. I’m not sure why. Last year I called the school’s public relations department headed by someone who didn’t make it in radio and television. Three calls and never a return call as I was attempting to learn more about Bradley’s plans for WCBU. Those plans are shrouded in secrecy despite the fact the station is licensed by the federal government and the FCC endorses transparency.

Coach Wardle needs to be reminded he needs the support of everyone. His reference in a TV interview about fans jumping on the bandwagon now that the Braves are winning was insulting. Attendance this year was again weak averaging little more than 5,000 compared to the years of Coach Jim Les at 9,000 plus. Everybody knows as a coach builds a winning program he also builds support from the community and you don’t do it by pissing off people, especially the newspaper.

POW/MIA flag to fly at airport

They may not like it, but the Greater Peoria Airport Authority will soon have to fly the POW/MIA flag at the General Wayne A. Downing Peoria Airport. Both the Illinois Senate and House unanimously passed a bill requiring all Illinois public airports to fly the flag. Gene Olson, airport director in Peoria, along with his board, had unanimously opposed support for prisoners of war and those poor souls listed as missing in action. Olson allegedly compared them to Girl Scouts, at least claimed if they flew the POW/MIA flag then the airport would have to fly their flag as well. Now they have to. Congratulations to Vietnam veteran Gary Hall. He led the fight and won, gaining support locally from Democrat Dave Kohler and Republican Chuck Weaver. The bill becomes law when Governor JB Pritzker signs it.

Two new faces to sit on city council

The general election is Tuesday, April 2. Ten people will seek the five at-large seats for Peoria City Council. One new face is guaranteed since Eric Turner is not seeking re-election. Based on primary results, odds are that new face will be Rita Ali. She “smoked” everyone with 10,461 votes. Ali can feel comfortable as she lost her last political race by a single vote to Dennis Cyr for 5th District City Council seat. The Feb. 26 primary saw incumbent Beth Jensen finish a distant second to Ali with 4,739 votes. Incumbents Sid Ruckriegel was third at 3,891 and Zach Oyler fourth with 3,783. It appears Beth Akeson will not be re-elected as she finished a distant eighth, more than a thousand votes behind newcomers Andre Allen and John Kelly. So, who will be the second new face? Don’t look for the five who were eliminated to be much of a factor. Together they only produced a little more than 1,800 ballots.

With ridiculous cumulative voting, anything is possible. Akeson with all her money could make a comeback, but don’t bet the mortgage she will despite chances are more people will go to the polls. Since there were just 18 votes between them in the primary, it should be a tight race for the final council seat between Allen and Kelly. I think Kelly will win by a hair and all the other incumbents will be re-elected except Akeson. Hopefully, the five at-large council members will lead the charge to eliminate cumulative voting; out-dated and unneeded in Peoria.

City manager forced to take a raise?

Did you know City Manager Patrick Urich refused to accept a raise for the past two years? It’s true. Urich said he didn’t think he should receive a raise while the city was having financial problems. This year, though, the council ordered him to take a raise of $3,787 bringing his annual salary to $270,652, not counting benefits. Urich is to be commended for being sensitive to Peoria’s budget struggles. The council should be horse-whipped with a real horse whip for being insensitive to taxpayers. If the guy doesn’t want to take a raise ordering him to take it is ludicrous. I’m surprised WEEK didn’t send that story to NBC news to share nationally.

Special thanks

Thanks to the special people who are a part of the staff of “Breakfast with Roger and Friends” on FM 90.7. We frequently have exclusives on breaking news stories. As an example, when the news broke about the safety of the Boeing 737 Max 8, we talked with Southwest Airlines pilot, Dick Crain.

Crain, a graduate of Manual High School and Bradley University, is a former U.S. Navy fighter pilot who flew F-18’s during the Gulf War. The day before he was on our show, Crain had flown a Boeing 737 Max 8. He was well-informed about the aircraft’s safety and discussed the plane’s features in detail, offering some thoughts about causes for the two airliner crashes.


“There’s no happiness in having or getting, but only in giving.” –Henry Drummond

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