Dear Bob, here are some photos of my life here on the campus of Concordia Seminary. I love kids, working with the grounds crew, swimming, playing with my dog friends, and especially my own family people.
According to the National Council for Home Safety and Security which combined data from the most recent FBI reports, population data and its own research, these are the 50 safest cities in Illinois and Missouri.
In Illinois, Waterloo is the safest and in Missouri Greenwood holds the top spot. You have to scroll down the page for each state's link in order to see the entire 50 charted in one spot.
I like the football playoffs and the baseball playoffs. But for me, the most fun as a fan is the college basketball tournament season. And it begins this weekend with some of the conference tournaments with the winner getting an automatic bid to the NCAA's and the rest sit home and watch. For us in Illinois this year could feature 3 teams-Illinois, Illinois State and Northwestern. I don't remember a year in which this has happened.
As an Illinois State alumni, I'm pretty excited for this team, they're the number one seed in the Missouri Valley Conference and play in St. Louis this weekend. I'm trying to talk Dale into going to one of their games, but I've been met with silence so far. If we can't go, hopefully all the games will be on a cable channel we actually get. And the firsts round games will be on Fox Sports Midwest which we get from Charter, but the semi's are on CBS Sports Network which we do not. However it looks like the final will be on the regular CBS. We'll see.
Whenever there is a winter weather event as the meteorologists call snow and ice these days, IDOT does a much better/faster/cleaner job of getting the roads drive-able than does MoDOT. I go back and forth to the Illinois side a lot each week and the difference is obvious as soon as I cross the bridge. A couple of weeks ago during that evening rush hour ice event, MoDOT admitted the next day they had not pre-treated the roads. IDOT had pre-treated. Both agencies get the same weather forecast so what is the deal with MoDOT?
This morning ahead of predicted evening ice MoDOT spokesmen announced they will be pre-treating all day. We can only hope.
Simply put, this ruling does not make a property owner liable if someone falls and is injured on a walkway which had some attempt at clearing it of ice and snow. What it does state is that if the ice is the result of property defects then the homeowner or business owner is responsible. For example, gutter extensions which flow water from the building to sidewalks would be a defect and not nature. They referred to this as negligent maintenance. Inadequate drainage and incorrectly placed downspouts are two more examples of liability.
This interests me because for years the urban story told by many who chose not to attempt to clear their sidewalks was leaving snow where it fell was weather not the homeowner's fault. But if a homeowner tried shoveling and then didn't do a great job or ice accumulated afterward, then they were liable. The theory believed by many was shoveling made you liable but leaving it did not.
So the court ruled that attempts at removing the wintry mix did not make you liable if someone fell on your property, but if your drainage from roofs or downspout extenders allowed water to settle and freeze on the walks, then you are liable.
Tomorrow night Illinois and Missouri will meet in the 47th basketball game known as the Braggin' Rights. Two teams from states sharing a border, and about equal driving distance to St. Louis, this has historically been a hard fought, fan favorite game. Of course the rivalry was more intense in past years than recently when both teams have had lackluster teams. But it is still one of those games to watch just for the fun of the two state competition.
From 1980-1993 the game was held at the old Arena and when that was demolished, it went to the Scottrade Center. Illinois leads in games won over these years, 30-16. This year so far Mizzou is 5-5 and Illinois is 9-3.
We've gone to a number of these games over the years and had lots of fun watching fans from each state rib each other. The game tomorrow night will begin at 6 pm on ESPN.
97 year old WWII veteran, Jim Schlegel, has been a lifelong Cubs fan and was able to go to the 1945 World Series when ticket prices were $7.50 but this year the cost is seeing tickets going for $21,000 on the secondary market. This was too high for him or for most people. But CNBC host, Marcus Lemonis had tickets and was looking for the perfect baseball fan to give them to.
Lemonis got in touch with the family and offered two front-row tickets to Game Three at Wrigley Field, where Schlegel could potentially see his Cubs come close to clinching the Series for the first time since 1908.
Ahead of this, Schlegel's family had set up a GoFundMe campaign to raise money so he could go to the game and that fund topped out at $11,000. Since they do not need this money for the game, the family is going to donate it to the Purple Heart Fund.
Schlegel will be sitting in the front row behind home plate tonight. Watch for him. And, it may just be that he will be sitting near Pink Hat guy who is always behind home plate at Wrigley.
The senate race in Illinois is very close as of this morning. Incumbent republican Mark Kirk is fighting to keep his position against Rep Tammy Duckworth and it hasn't been pretty.
Kirk has been a surprising disappointment to me even though I'm not voting in Illinois anymore. He has proven himself to be more of a democrat than a republican by his votes in the senate and whichever of these two wins, it won't make much difference.
The 2017 Rules of the Road manual in Illinois will include something new. If you have to take the test, here's a heads up. This will detail how to approach a crosswalk which has flashing lights and is being added after a suburban Chicago woman was killed while biking in a crosswalk.
The new rule hasn't been written yet but it will explain that when the crosswalk signal is activated and the lights are flashing, drivers need to stop until pedestrians and bicyclists have safely crossed the road. I'm not sure we have many of these crosswalks with lights down at this end of the state, but the advent of this law may see the addition of them. And, I would hope that just because the lights are flashing walkers and cyclists don't just head into crosswalks without looking left or right in case a vehicle is nearly in that area.
Funny thing is I see this with people walking out of grocery stores right into the traffic lane without ever looking to see if a car on the left or right may be right on them. They head boldly straight on and almost dare a car which is a foot away to stop.
The weekend Post Dispatch had a story on Casey, Illinois, and how they've made their town a stop along I-70 for travelers. Casey has placed the "world's largest everything" all around the small town. These include a golf tee, wind chime, mailbox, rocking chair, dinner fork and many more things.
This is quite comical, but it does draw you in as you see the billboards while driving in eastern Illinois on I-70. And, truth be told, we did stop once on our way to DC just to see the World's biggest golf tee. We didn't take the time to look at the wind chime and had no idea all these other things were there too. But it was a fun stop.
If you're ever somewhere between Effingham and the Indiana border of Illinois, take time to check this out.
A story I never imagined reading. A bridge over the Mississippi River on I-74 near Rock Island is being relocated and this involves a massive relocation of mussels which are now in the footprint of the new bridge area. "Three federally endangered species, and a couple of state-listed species and populations of many common species have been noted by surveys of the target area. About a million mussels are believed to be there, and the goal is to relocate about 500,000 mussels in coming weeks."
How are they going to accomplish this you may be asking? "Divers are going down, searching for mussels in the murky waters of the Mississippi and bringing them to shore so individuals of the endangered species can be identified and marked. Then they, and the other mussels, will be moved to new nearby locations where it is hoped they will thrive. The overall cost of the bridge project is estimated at $1.2 billion. The relocation is expected to cost $2.4 million, according to the Iowa Department of Transportation."