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Violence near Nelson Park

Several shooting deaths have occurred in the Nelson Park neighborhood over the past several weeks, the details brutal and, in two cases, distressingly random.

Caleb Witty, the 17-year-old killed early in the morning of the day Decatur Celebration started while walking his 14-year-old sister home, is the latest victim.

As Chief of Police Todd Walker said last week, these events aren't the only violence occurring in the city.  That so much violence is concentrated in an area of just a few blocks is cause for concern, though.

Johnson: "These challenges have not ever succeeded."

U.S. Rep. Tim Johnson, R-Urbana, will be representing Macon County under the new congressional district map unless somebody finds a way to end his seemingly immortal incumbency.  While his Republican colleagues in the Illinois delegation rail against the unfairness and partisan viciousness of the recent redrawing of the map by Democrats - again, in secret and approved mere hours after it was aired to the public - Johnson is ready to get down to the business of being elected again, according to the Champaign News-Gazette, who quotes his spokesman thus:

"While Congressman Johnson believes the redistricting process leading to this map was unfair and a distortion of the people’s wishes, these challenges have not ever succeeded, so he has decided to devote his energy and resources to his re-election campaign. He hopes that an impartial court will modify the map in a way that will better serve the voters of the state."

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One might applaud Johnson for refusing to sign on to a statement that will ultimately lead nowhere, particularly when the party that voted against the DREAM Act is issuing it and the same party is choosing to die on is the claim that the map disenfranchises Latino voters.

On the other hand, it would be nice if he put up at least a token amount of resistance to Illinois' shameful remapping process, a process which for 10 years lumped parts of Decatur in with the Quad Cities area.  We have only to look next door at our reliably no-B.S. neighbor, Iowa, to see how it should be done.  Is resignation really the right attitude to have toward the situation when we know there's something better?

Regional Superintendents still unpaid

Superintendents at the Regional Offices of Education are still waiting, without a paycheck, after Gov. Pat Quinn unceremoniously vetoed out the line item that pays their salaries.  In essence, Quinn did an end run around the General Assembly.  Now, the superintendents are approaching their third missed paycheck.

"It's clear our individual members are facing various growing personal difficulties and may have no choice but to take action on their own to deal with the situation," Bob Daiber, president of the Illinois Association of Regional Superintendents said in a statement Wednesday.

State law mandates the duties of regional offices of education, and school districts rely heavily on the specialized services they provide.  Cutting the funding of their leaders without figuring out what's going to take the place of the training and resources they provide is essentially the same as discontinuing a police department without any regard for who citizens might call in the event of an armed robbery. Which is to say it's irresponsible and bizarre.

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