Straight Talk | Bullies? Are you kidding?



The Bradley basketball season is over after a surprising finish by Coach Brian Wardle and his Braves. They won the Missouri Valley tournament and gave nationally ranked Michigan State a run for the money before losing in the NCAA tournament on national television. I can’t forget the ending of the round ball season without a final comment about the irrational editorial that referred to the B.U. coach as a bully for seeking a more supportive sports reporter in Dave Reynolds. It was hard to believe the subject of bullying would come from all places, the local paper.

Consider a few years ago the newspaper’s bullying of the late Alicia Butler. The once Bradley student was royally trashed with no less than four printed, personal attacks on the poor woman for embellishing her job resume as she ran for e-election to the Peoria school board. Two of the stories were on the top of the front page with banner headlines. Another was by their poster boy columnist. So vicious were the bullying attacks, Alicia found it hard to find employment. The mystery remains. Why the attacks?

Then there were the shameful attacks on Mayor Jim Ardis after he was critical of a fry cook’s insulting and profane Internet stories. The newspaper gave birth to a new journalistic defense for people who engage in such untrue and exaggerated writings, calling them parodies. Ho ho.

Time to re-think highway speed limit

With the death of another Illinois state trooper by another truck driver who violated Scott’s law, I think it’s time for legislators to review the 70 mph speed limit for trucks. As I recall, when the speed limit was increased from 65 to 70, the original bill restricted the change to cars. The powerful trucking industry successfully convinced representatives and senators to include trucks. Bad decision. As I wrote years ago, if you had to stop suddenly, would you rather have a car behind you or a multi-ton truck? Meanwhile, with construction slowing trucks to 45 mph on I-474, more and more of the beasts of the highways are driving through Peoria and East Peoria on I-74 doing 65-70 in the 55 mph zones. Driving from Morton to Peoria in the morning hours, it’s not unusual for trucks to pass me doing 70 plus. I’m disappointed local police are not shooting radar to slow them down.

Radio notes

I’ve been a part of radio broadcasting for more than 50 years. Local news reporting is a thing of the past. One or two minutes of news isn’t news reporting, especially when it’s interrupted with commercials. The recent election illustrated how commercial and non-news radio has become. Time was stations competed to interview candidates running for public office. Not any more. WAZU-FM was the only station that aired the free interviews. Our morning show on FM 90.7 featured interviews of candidates for city council, park and school board. Interestingly, of the five who were elected for at-large council seats, four appeared on our program. We chatted with Rita Ali, John Kelly, Beth Jensen, and Sid Ruckreigel. They all won. Here’s another cheap plug for WAZU. Veteran high school play-by-play announcer, Dave Murphy, has returned to the radio microphones with high school baseball games. He’s been joined by former Peoria High School coach Mike Olson as analyst. Olson is an Associate Scout for the Seattle Mariners and coaches a summer amateur team. Murphy plans to do a complete schedule of area high school football and basketball games in the fall. Congratulations, Dave.

Dissent in the courthouse

Newly elected County Auditor Jessica Thomas is unhappy. The Democrat is not pleased with county board members for reducing her annual budget to $187,000. Keep in mind, the board is controlled by her own party. Jessica earns $95,000 of that budget and another $40,000 or so goes to her assistant. That doesn’t leave much for other expenses. She says before she was elected, the office once had three full-time employees and one working part-time. Thomas appealed for more money and fellow Democrats threw her a bone of $68,000, which will be used to hire another employee. She vowed to continue her battle for additional greenbacks.

Spy or surveillance?

I prefer to avoid national politics, but the latest political debate has to be one of the most ridiculous in American history. Attorney General Williams Barr, when asked about it at a congressional hearing, said the Trump campaign had been a target of spying. Gosh did that ever start a fire-storm in the media. F.B.I. director James Comey, cable and news networks complained that the use of the word “spying” was offensive and inaccurate, preferring that “surveillance” was a better word to use. I looked the words up in Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary and both were defined as “to watch.”


Certain months of the year have special meanings for everyone. May is special for me. My father was born May 4, and my late wife, Nancy, and I were married May 22, 1960. She died last November. So, I will observe our 59th anniversary alone, for the first time. Kenneth C. Hauck, in his booklet, “Experiencing Grief,” says, “There’s no way to avoid the firsts or keep them from hurting.” How true.

Quote of the month

“The greatness of America lies not in being more enlightened than any other nation, but rather in her ability to repair her faults.” –– Alexis de Tocqueville

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