Years ago, I went to the Kentucky Derby. Recently, a downtown establishment hosted an event that came second to attending the Kentucky Derby. The turnout was great. It was a good business move on his part. After all, he is in business.
The event was fun, entertaining and worthwhile. The Kentucky Derby is an American tradition that we celebrated, in our own way, right here in our back yard.
It is businesses, organizations and individuals with ideas like this that make Alton a special place. It is something to appreciate when we don’t have to travel outside our city to make memories.
Alton’s growth is dependent on making things happen here that will elevate our city to the next level.
Derrick D. Richardson
At the end of a quiet road on the edge of South Roxana lies Wanda Cemetery, where 500 veterans are buried. This is also the resting place of slaves and Native American Indians.
Believed to have been founded in 1884, Wanda Cemetery has a rich history and continues to be a peaceful sanctuary for the lost loved ones of those in our community.
Here is just a little information about the history of Memorial Day. Originally known as Decoration Day, the important tradition began in the years that followed the Civil War. People in towns and cities, large and small, all over the country, decorated the graves of deceased Civil War soldiers with flowers in remembrance of the sacrifices they made. The first ceremony was said to have been organized by slaves on May 1, 1865, to honor 257 dead Union soldiers found buried in a mass grave in Charleston, S.C., in a Confederate prison camp. The slaves worked for weeks to clean the bodies and give them a proper burial as gratitude for fighting and dying for their freedom. The Civil War claimed more lives than any other conflict in U.S. history, requiring the government to commission land for the first national cemetery. The state of Illinois sent over 250,000 soldiers in manpower to Union Army military service. Barely a family in America was spared the death of a loved one. This heartbreaking fact was the beginning of decorating soldiers’ graves in even the smallest communities.
After a century of citizens celebrating Decoration Day, it was finally nationally recognized. In 1971, the last Monday in May was officially designated as a federal holiday and named Memorial Day in honor of all those who died while serving in our country’s armed forces in all wars and conflicts. The sacrifices of all our brave American soldiers must never be forgotten. Because of them we are free to live in this wonderful country and enjoy the rights and benefits they fought and died for.
Today, as we remember and honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice, I ask each of you to take the time and stop and thank a veteran or soldier for their service to our country and keep their families in our prayers always.
Helen M. Hawkins
County Board member, District 16
It is with great pleasure to announce that Ss. Peter & Paul Old Cathedral Catholic School in Alton will be “open for business” at 801 State St. for the 2016-2017 school year.
Be a part of history as the school begins the process of rebuilding the school after structural damage occurred in December 2015.
The week after Christmas of 2015, the Alton area received 15 inches of rain in a 48-hour period. This rainfall caused damage in the foundation of the school, forcing the students, faculty and staff to relocate to a vacant public school in January to finish the remaining school year. The Alton School District and Ss. Peter & Paul faculty, staff and families worked together in January to get the Mark Twain School building cleaned, decorated and filled up with desks, supplies, etc., in order for the children to complete the rest of the school year. The Alton School District has been very helpful during this transition, and Ss. Peter & Paul Parish is grateful.
Shoring of the Ss. Peter & Paul school building to prevent further movement was completed immediately. The Illinois Mine Subsidence Insurance Fund is conducting a study of the school building to determine if there is any indication of damage being caused by mine subsidence. It was determined in February 2016 that the school building is structurally safe.
Structural damage repairs were scheduled to commence May 26. Jun Construction was awarded the project earlier, and we are excited that the repairs will only take three weeks to complete.
We have been truly blessed, and we look forward to seeing our children, faculty and staff back “home” in the fall!
Business Manager, Ss. Peter & Paul Proto-Cathedral Parish
As of this writing, the state is beginning its 11th month without a complete budget for the 2016 fiscal year, and we are days away from the deadline for passing a budget for the next fiscal year. Though House Democrats continue fighting to fund critical state services, including breast cancer screenings, in-home care for the elderly, meals for homebound seniors and higher education, as well as funding for victims of child abuse and sexual assault, legislative Republicans and Governor Rauner block our efforts.
While House Democrats’ priority has been to pass a comprehensive, full-fiscal year budget using a balanced approach that includes spending cuts but does not decimate needed services, Governor Rauner’s priority puts his personal agenda first and attacks the wages and standard of living of the middle class. His insistence on passing his personal agenda has been the single roadblock to finding a true bipartisan budget solution.
However, since March 26, 2015, Governor Rauner has approved six budget proposals that did not include any part of his personal agenda. This reaffirms my previous statements that when the governor sets aside his personal agenda that hurts middle-class families, we can make progress on the state’s most important issue. The people of Illinois want to see progress. They want to see a comprehensive full-year budget. I, too, am committed to passing comprehensive budgets for fiscal years 2016 and 2017. I also hope the governor will look at his recent budgetary actions and see that we can come together to find reasonable solutions when he sets aside his personal agenda that will hurt middle-class families and has nothing to do with the state budget
Michael J. Madigan
Speaker, Illinois House of Representatives