Tuesday, May 29, 2012
Story and Photos by Publisher Ed Emmons
Memorial Day weekend in Pekin, is the time for people to be together and enjoy the freedoms that our men and women in uniform have given their lives for, they died so others may live. Pekin had 3 ceremonies this year, one at Prairie Haven Cemetery, Lakeview Cemetery, and at the Riverfront. Now here are some photos of what I saw this weekend in Pekin.
Thursday, May 24, 2012
Story and Photos by Publisher Ed Emmons
Monday night or early Tuesday morning must have been a fun night for a group of low life's who vandalizes Lakeside Cemetery, knocking over granite headstones, destroying concrete angels, creating a general path of destruction.
My opinion is that anyone who would do something like this less than a week before Memorial Day are low life's, and willing to do this kind of damage anywhere in town. My father is buried in this cemetery, but luckily his grave was untouched. There is a narrow path of destruction from north to south in the Cemetery towards the middle.
This large granite stone was toppled by low life's in Lakeside Cemetery
According to officials at the Cemetery, the Cemetery itself has insurance, but because these are private plots, they do not believe this damage will be covered. I personally believe that if the Cemetery wants to stay in the good graces of its customers, it will cover all damage. Even though the plots are privately owned, they are still within the Cemetery.
This concrete vase lays on its side after being kicked over during Monday night's rampage at Lakeside Cemetery
A fundraiser is being planned for the Cemetery on July 8, 2012 at the Avanti's Dome in Pekin. Donations and Raffle items may be dropped at 1310 Coolidge Ave. in Pekin. The Dome is located at 3401 Griffin Aven. Pekin, IL. 61554-6253. For more information you can go to the groups face book page, simply type in Fundraiser for Cemetery under search.
Lakeside Cemetery is Pekin's oldest Cemeteries and is located off Route 29 by the rail road tracks facing the Illinois River. Some of these stones are large, and could not have been toppled over by just one person. Unless some one who has knowledge of this senseless crime, my opinion is that this will go unpunished. If you know anyone who may have have knowledge of this crime, please contact the Pekin Police Department at 309-346-3132.
Sunday, May 6, 2012
Story and Photo by Publisher Ed Emmons
Since none of the media who have done stories about West Campus cannot seem to get the facts straight as to what groups are involved and who is doing what, here are some facts for you.
Although their have been various people involved during the 14 years which West Campus has sat empty, none have produced a taker for the (96) year old Historic Landmark in the center of Pekin. The school was purchased during an auction in 1998 by Merle Huff. He paid $60,000 for the school.
A developer working with Huff Tom Tincher who seemed to have some good ideas for the school was shot down by the Pekin City Council. Over the years the school has been an easy target for vandals, who have started fires, broken windows, graffiti, and other damage to the school. It also has been a home for animals over the years.
Here is some information from Barbara Brookings Heindelsman of the SAVE WEST CAMPUS GROUP. The original school was built in 1916, th West Wing was added in 1925, East Wing added added in 1929, boys gymnasium was built in 1936, Cafeteria was added in 1949, Industrial Arts building was built in 1946, and the red building or English building and the Leeway were built in 1955. The Stadium was built in1948.
Jamie Lee Hartley and Charlie Hutchison started the face book group known as West Campus around 2 years ago, since then the group has grown to over 6,000 past Alumni from Pekin High School using the site to share their memories of West Campus, especially when it was announced that the Historic Landmark would be torn down.
A group of SAVE WEST CAMPUS FACE BOOK was formed to start being pro-active to SAVE WEST CAMPUS, this is how the group led by Charlie Hutchison was formed, has been very pro-active in trying to SAVE WEST CAMPUS, has kept the grass mowed down around the school, and has held weekly meetings and collected petitions to save the school. There are currently around 19 members of this group which meet regularly to go over ideas of potential buyers for the school, and who work tirelessly scouring the internet for potential grants and other ideas to save the school.
Contrary to what the media is reporting Valerie Umholtz is NOT the spokesperson for this group. The spokesman would be Charlie Hutchison. Valerie Umholtz is the attorney who is in the lead on the Title holding entity that would assume the property, so in that regard she is a leader of a group trying to get the property, but is NOT the leader of the SAVE WEST CAMPUS GROUP.
For awhile former Tazewell County Sheriff Jim Donahue was active in trying to secure the preservation of West Campus, though he still would like to see the school preserved he stepped back from the spotlight, due to untimely circumstances.
The Council whose members seemed to want to work with the group SAVE WEST CAMPUS, were severely bent out of shape when the attorney working to help the group, without even consulting them, ask the Council and City for money the Council say it does not have.
West Campus Corp is Merle Huff's company and he is the President, but he does no own the property, the Company does. West Campus Corp is NOT, Valerie Umholtz.
Along with THE SAVE WEST CAMPUS GROUP, Pekin Main Street has been working to preserve the school as well. Director Melida Heien recently was successful in having West Campus designated one of the Ten Most Endangered Historical Places in Illinois. This gives the issue more press, and possibly help from Landmark Illinois.
Recently Pekin Main Street and members of the SAVE WEST CAMPUS GROUP, traveled to Springfield to witness West Campus being designated as one of Most Ten Endangered Historical Places in Illinois.
Melida Heien of Pekin Main Street nominated West Campus and did all the necessary work on that herself, but yet it was Valerie Umholtz who the local newspaper called to get statement from not Melida. Channel 25 reported that the school was 83 years old, not 96, and also contacted Valerie Umholtz for a statement. I mean Valerie's help is very much appreciated, but she is not, the LEADER of the SAVE WEST CAMPUS GROUP. Todd Thompson has also been very helpful, letting the group use the Speakeasy Art Center to hold many of its meetings.
A special thank you goes out to Kaibel Realty and Enviro-Safe in Pekin for using their signs to promote the preservation of SAVING WEST CAMPUS. Members of the SAVE WEST CAMPUS GROUP include: Charlie Hutchison, Deb Jensen, Debbie Esteppe, Mike Esteppe, Kathy Beal, Pat Sego, Susan Stone, Sheila Spradley, Barbara Brooking Heindelsman, Scott Jackson, Mike Taylor, Craig Horchem, Stella Link, Lisa Appleyard, Debbie Cather, Heidi Nestor,Erik Reader, and Ed Emmons. If I Forgot anyone I apologise.
All of the above mentioned groups are working to SAVE WEST CAMPUS, but I believe giving credit where it is due. I don't like seeing articles and stories being done where the information is not correct. We as a Community need to SAVE WEST CAMPUS, although the school has been open since 1916, and thousands have graduated from PCHS since then, only a handful have stepped forward in actively trying to save this school. Without the support of past alumni, Community, and the City of Pekin this job will not be accomplished, and what a shame that would be. Lets all work together to preserve West Campus, one of Pekin's truly last historical buildings left.
If you would like to become more involved in helping SAVE WEST CAMPUS, please contact Charlie Hutchison by emailing him: firstname.lastname@example.org or contact this website and I will forward the information to Charlie.
Saturday, May 5, 2012
Photos by Publisher Ed Emmons
The closest point the Moon will be to the Earth this year, produced what is known as a 'Supermoon'. This gives the effect of the Moon being 14x bigger than a usual full moon, and 30 times brighter.
Thursday, May 3, 2012
Photos by Publisher Ed Emmons
Spring has Sprung in Pekin, IL. The rain as of late, along with the humidity and warm temperatures has brought out trees and flowers out early in Pekin this year. The first set of photos are from my yard.
Flowers in bloom
Its hard to tell in this photo, but the Hosta on the left has leaves that are a foot in length and 10 inches wide
Most people call these Hens and Chickens, they are incredibly easy to grow and almost impossible to kill
Hens and Chickens
Our own little paradise. Behind the Canopy is a pond with over 50 fish
Mineral Springs Park
This beautiful shot near the Pavilion
This Goose seems to be enjoying the view and weather at Mineral Springs Park today
Near the Pavilion and Lagoon
Looking through Gazebo towards the Pavilion
This Goose takes a nap near the Pavilion today
The boats sit idle today on the Lagoon in Mineral Springs Park
This Memorial with rose bushes on both sides sits near the Pavilion and the Lagoon
A shot through a flower bed looking at the Pavilion of colorful flowers
Produce market on the corner of Broadway and 11th Street open for business