A Different Chapter-Same Life

MikeBrothersOh Brother…

•September 2, 2015•

by Mike Brothers
NP Managing Editor

It seems like a hundred years ago when I sat down at the old Underwood manual typewriter at the Harrisburg Daily Register and cranked out my first story as a reporter.

Here I am some three decades later sitting down to a MacBook to crank out another story.

This is a different chapter of the same life.

A life where the road less traveled brought me out of southern Illinois to the great prairie to tend a batch of community newspapers for about 15 years.

Then I took a break from the newspaper business, learning during that time that the newspaper business hadn’t left me.

Once ink flows through a person’s veins they can never be the same.

There is something about the unpredictable nature of the news business that keeps it exciting. Read More

Understanding Illinois: Picking Up the Slack in Illinois

Nowlan•September 2, 2015•

By Jim Nowlan
NP Guest Columnist

Some readers might think this column a tad eccentric. I like to call it “thinking outside the box.”

I propose a plan for Illinois to dramatically increase volunteerism for the state’s educational and social services, as a way of picking up some of the slack that results from state budget cuts.

Here’s the situation. Illinois will be figuratively toting an anvil on its back for the coming decades, represented by the $110 billion, or probably more, in unfunded pension liabilities.

To right the situation, which the state high court has ruled must be done, will require about $7 billion off the top of each year’s state budget. That is equal to almost two percentage points in the rate of the individual income tax. The rate now stands at 3.75 percent but will later in the year, I predict, go up to about 4.75 percent to balance the budget for the coming year.

As a result of budget shortfalls over recent years, there have been cutbacks in funding for social services and a woeful failure to meet what the state’s own experts say is the minimal amount of funding necessary to provide an adequate education. Read More

Creating Safety Plans

•August 26, 2015•

by Althea Pendergast
Executive Director HOPE of East Central Ill.

A safety plan is a personalized, practical plan that includes ways to remain safe, whether you are in an abusive relationship, planning to leave, or have left that relationship.

If you are currently living with your abuser, think of safe places in your home to escape to if an argument occurs. Avoid rooms with no exits or rooms where weapons might be available. Stay out of the bathroom and kitchen areas, if possible. If an argument occurs, try to move to those safer areas of your home. Try to avoid rooms that your children are in, as your partner may hurt them as well. Teach your children how to get help. Develop a code word to use with your children, alerting them that they need to call for help or leave the house. Instruct your children not to get involved in the violence and teach them to call 911. Plan your emergency exits and share those emergency exit plans with your children. If you are being physically assaulted, curl into a ball to protect your head and your face. Memorize your safety plan and ask your local domestic violence program to assist and your children in developing your safety plan.
Read More

Lethality and Accountability of Domestic Violence

•August 19, 2015•

by Mary Hughes
Moultrie County Dove Inc., Outreach Coordinator

Studies consistently report victims are at a 75% higher risk of serious injuries and/or death once the victim has decided to end a relationship and/or while they are trying to leave.   The abuser believes he no longer has the power to get the victim back and under his control.  This is the most dangerous time for the victim and her children.   Although no one can accurately predict when or if a batterer will kill or escalate violence to a life threatening level, there are many indicators that can serve as warning signs that a batterer may be reaching that level.  It is important to note that while these indicators are a valuable assessment tool, the presence or absence of one or more indicators cannot definitively predict the behavior of a batterer.

The most important indication of life-threatening violence is the victim’s perception of her danger.  If the woman is very afraid and says she will be killed or may be killed, then the possibility of life-threatening violence is present.  National experts on domestic violence state that battered women are usually the best evaluators of the potential for lethal violence because they generally have more information about the batterer than anyone other than the batterer himself.  At the present time it appears that the best approach to screening for life-threatening violence is a combination of the women’s perspective and the domestic violence advocate’s assessment.

As long as the perception exists that the victims’ reluctance is the problem, efforts will be focused around what the victim should and should not do.  The question frequently asked is “How can we get victims to cooperate better?”  But that is the wrong question to ask since it is not likely to lead to greater perpetrator accountability or victim safety.  The questions most likely to lead to effective, long term solutions are:  “What can be done to hold perpetrators accountable? And who is in the best position to do that?” Read More

Children and Domestic Violence

•August 12, 2015•

Provided by
Prevent Child Abuse Illinois

Tommy isn’t doing well in daycare. He can’t sit still. He keeps running to the door and looking out the window. And yesterday he kept picking fights with the other kids. He’s normally such a good boy. What’s changed? Well for one thing, over the weekend, the police were called to Tommy’s house twice for “domestic disturbance.”

Domestic violence, also called intimate partner violence, is a pattern of abusive behavior that is used by one person to gain power and control over another person. The target of the abuse is usually the abuser’s wife or girlfriend but men may also be victims. In Tommy’s case, his dad spent all weekend yelling and screaming at Tommy and his mom. On Saturday night, the yelling was so load the neighbor’s called the police. Sunday night, Tommy’s dad was hitting and kicking his wife, and the police were called again. It wasn’t the first time this had happened.  Read More

What is Domestic Violence?

MaryA Message From Dove, Inc.

•August 5, 2015•

by Mary Hughes
Moultrie County Dove Inc., Outreach Coordinator

Domestic violence is when one person in a relationship purposely hurts another person physically and/or emotionally. Domestic violence is also called intimate partner violence because it often is caused by a husband, ex-husband, boyfriend or ex-boyfriend. Women can also be abusers. Domestic abuse strikes couples of all races, religions, social economic status and sexual orientation. Warning signs for individuals to consider if they suspect they are the victim of intimate partner violence include feeling demeaned, assaulted or excessively controlled by their partner. Domestic violence is a cycle with three phases. In phase one there is increased tension, anger, blaming and arguing (walking on egg shells). In phase two there is an explosion with hitting, slapping, and kicking, strangling, use of weapons, sexual abuse and verbal threats. In phase three the abuser may deny the abuse and or say he is sorry and that it will never happen again. Most victims do not recognize the cycle of abuse because they minimize and deny the abuse on a daily basis so they can cope. Statistics show that a victim may leave her abuser five to seven times before she is successful at staying away. There are many reasons for this including being sabotaged by the abuser, pressure from her family and or church, lack of finances, lack of support from the community, lack of accountability by the criminal justice system and hope. Hope that the abuser will change, hope that she can keep their family together and hope that the violence will stop. Domestic violence affects our whole community including our children. As a community we must take a stand and send the message that domestic violence will not be tolerated. That message then needs to be upheld by our criminal justice system including our police department, sheriff’s department, state’s attorney and our judges. Domestic violence is a learned behavior and without holding the abusers accountable and providing support and education to victims the cycle will continue. Read More

From the Editor

keith•August 5, 2015•

by Keith Stewart

You might notice that our page two is a little different this week. Well, it will be different the entire month of August, as we will be publishing our domestic violence awareness campaign.

It occurred to me earlier this year after a series of events that there is a real need for domestic violence awareness here in Moultrie County. For many, that may immediately allude to Sheri Randall, who was murdered in March and was a repeat victim of domestic violence. But, it wasn’t just Sheri Randall’s tragic death that brought to mind the effects of domestic violence. Week in and week out I have seen reports of domestic related battery and assault, all here in Moultrie County.

According to the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority, between 1996 and 2013, Moultrie had 610 reported cases of domestic crimes. And while that is not restricted to domestic abuse only, historically, nationwide most domestic violence situations go unreported. Read More

Understanding Illinois: A Pox on Both Your Houses

Nowlan•July 29, 2015•

By Jim Nowlan
NP Guest  Columnist

The relative handful who follow Illinois politics closely are captivated by the unresolved mano a mano tussle between Gov. Bruce Rauner and House Speaker Mike Madigan over the failure to enact a state budget.

The policy outcome is not in much doubt: a somewhat trimmed budget and a bump back up in the income or other taxes, to be hammered out sometime before Labor Day.

The open question is whether Rauner will, as part of the deal, achieve any of his “turnaround agenda” of business-friendly changes and votes on term limits and redistricting reform.

A related, more beguiling matter for political junkies is which combatant will come out of this adjudged the winner.

As a friend once observed, politics is “football without muscles,” so we love the political game going on.

At the moment, most of my political friends seem to think (worry?) that Speaker Madigan, the wily veteran, has the upper hand with Rauner, the feisty newcomer. But we are still in the early rounds of this contest, if I may mix metaphors.

To get an assessment of how the fight is playing out, I meandered from my home office in Toulon down the main drag to Connie’s Country Kitchen, the fount of all wisdom. Read More

Growing Up in Sullivan: Our Neighborhood

Ginther•July 29, 2015•

by Jerry Ginther
NP Columnist

Many of my age group will remember the two small grocery stores on Blackwood St. One of them was Jake Marble’s grocery located just east of Seymour St. and the other, first known to me as Murphy’s grocery, was located just west of McClellan St. There wasn’t much difference in their size or the items they offered for sale, and today they would probably be categorized as convenience stores. Then, they were just neighborhood groceries owned by local proprietors who either lived next door or on the same property.

From the time I was big enough to keep up with my grandpa, I would walk with him to Jake’s store where my grandparents did the bulk of their grocery shopping. Prior to that, I could go only when he could carry me, and what he anticipated carrying home pretty well dictated that. I was on one arm and the grocery bag was on the other. That was necessary because Grandpa never had a driver’s license nor owned an automobile.

As soon as we walked in we were greeted with something like, “Good morning, Tom. I see you’ve got your sidekick with you today. Has he been a pretty good boy this week, Tom?” Of course the answer was always yes. Read More

Understanding Illinois: Health Care Costs Overwhelming Budgets

Nowlan•July 22, 2015•

By Jim Nowlan
NP Guest Columnist

The overtime budget battles going on right now in Illinois and many other states are largely caused by relentless increases in health care costs that for decades have been growing faster than the tax revenues to pay for them. And it is only going to get worse, as the Baby Boom Generation moves into old age, where they will devour health care.
As a child in about 1950, I recall coming home from grade school with a flyer that encouraged my parents to buy health insurance for me at $1 per month from a new company called Blue Cross. Back then, few had coverage, and the cost to society of health care was modest.
But all that has changed, dramatically. For example, where is the commercial growth in your nearest city? At the hospitals, I will bet, which are also often the largest employers in town. And what occupations do you encourage your children and grandchildren to enter? Again, health care, I’ll wager, as that’s where the jobs are. Read More