Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Attention Tazewell County Homeowners

According to the Tazewellassessments.com website:

The 2009 deadline for Board of Review appeals is August 10 for all townships in the County, with the exceptions of Groveland which is August 31, and Morton which is yet to be determined.

In other words, if you feel your property is assessed at more than it is worth, you have only until August 10, 2009 to do something about it.

Contact your Realtor for assistance in gathering comparable sales data that will support your argument for a lower fair market value.

The appeal forms can be downloaded here.

It is the homeowners responsibility to keep your property assessment fair and reasonable.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Astronaut Scott Altman talks space travel at Lakeview Museum

I've often said that anyone who complains there is not enough to do in the Peoria vicinity just isn't looking hard enough. Case in point - this evening at Lakeview Museum, Scott Altman, Pekin native and space traveler, shared his adventures with a large gathering on the front lawn of the Lakeview Museum.

For about 45 minutes prior to his talk, he signed autographs and posed for photo-ops with the crowd.

It was entertaining listening to the crowd share their impressions of him with him. OK I admit I was eaves-dropping.

Here is a bit of trivia. In the movie "Top Gun" there is a scene where Tom Cruises' character buzzes "the tower". Scott was the real pilot that flew the plane during that scene. He said it took 11 takes. How cool is that!

Scott used an overhead projector and shared some of his private video footage with the crowd. He explained the complicated nature of their latest mission in May, where they upgraded and repaired the Hubble Space Telescope. Scott was the Commanding Officer of that mission and he said his greatest thrill was landing the shuttle. Here is NASA's description of Scott's last mission:

STS-125 Atlantis (May 11-24, 2009) was the fifth and final Hubble servicing mission. The 19 year old telescope spent seven days in the Shuttle’s cargo bay undergoing an overhaul conducted over five back to back spacewalks. The crew overcame frozen bolts, stripped screws, and stuck handrails to complete all mission objectives. The refurbished Hubble Telescope now has four new or rejuvenated scientific instruments, new batteries, new gyroscopes, and a new Command and Data Handling computer. The STS-125 mission traveled over 5.3 million miles in 197 Earth orbits, and ended with a day landing at Edwards AFB following two days of wave offs due to poor weather in Florida.

He also shared the daily activities of the crew and the Q&A session with the crowd made for some hilarious fodder.

It was a really cool event and I'd like to thank Lakeview Museum for their cahuna's in getting him here. My understanding is that he spent almost the entire day with kids from the summer camp. What a great event! What a hero! What an experience!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Well heres a novel idea...

A District 150 board member actually engaging *gasp* the community! Get this - she wants to hear your *ideas* and solicit your *input*. OMG - some of the other board members are going to need their smelling salts!

Way to go Laura Petelle. Show them how its done.

Psst, Laura - D150 needs your pic. That gray outline just doesn't do you justice.

Debbie Wolfmeyers campaign promises

Update - I may be wrong about Wolfmeyers vote on the Edison project. I'm checking into this...

District 150 Board member Debbie Wolfmeyer is vying to become the President of the School Board tonight, after a 3 - 3 tie at the last board meeting. She was absent at that meeting, and will presumably vote for herself this evening, giving her the win unless one of the original three board members that voted for her changes their vote.

Our District 150 Watch group strongly supports Martha Ross for President, because we feel she is the most qualified in both education and experience. We also feel that through her actions, she has demonstrated a high regard for the needs of the community and the students. She consistantly votes on the side of the students over the nepotistic, self preserving, money squandering policies of the Central Administration that has left us virtually bankrupt.

Debbie Wolfmeyers performance on the school board has been, to be polite, disappointing. Most feel that she has not even remotely lived up to the promises she made to her constituency during her campaign for school board.

A quick check of the PJStar archives confirms we have good reason to be disappointed. On March 17, 2006, the Peoria Journal star issued the following endorsement of Ms. Wolfmeyer:

Wolfmeyer, 54, retired from District 150 in 2004 following 27 years as an administrative secretary in special education. For a decade she headed the district's clerical union. She says School Board members don't ask enough questions of administrators, that generally the district and board do a poor job of communicating with both staff and public, that she'd be a notable change on both counts.

Oh really?? That was what she said. Here is the reality:

From an e-mail:
Mrs. Vespa - I must respectfully decline your invitation to meet with you. It is not my role as a Board member to meet with individuals or groups. None of us as an individual Board member has any authority. Our authority comes as we work as a body. Also, I am not an educator. Therefore, it is important that any ideas, solutions, etc that are presented go through the administration so that they can assess them and report to us.

Another example of her disregard for the community she serves - At a recent board meeting, Ms. Wolfmeyer voted to decrease public input sessions from 2 sessions to 1, thereby reducing public input time from 40 minutes to 20 minutes - unless an extension is agreed to by the majority of the board.

PJStar writes:

She'd terminate the Edison contract on the basis that "I have a hard time catering to the 30 percent at the expense of the 70 percent." She wants a real alternative school for chronic discipline problems and believes vocational education must return to the high schools. She'd downsize central administration. She wants local schools to emulate best classroom practices.
Page: A4
Record Number: 0000727930
Copyright (c) 2006 The Peoria Journal Star, Inc.

The reality: She has voted to extend the Edison contract at least twice. Of course we still have NO alternative school, and Central Administration has grown like a toxic fungus under her watch.

Here is more:

From the PJStar, March 25, 2006

Wolfmeyer has said money is being wasted on administrative salaries, and she'd like to see the elimination of some positions. I don't know if we need four people with the word superintendent in their names. A lot of times School Board members don't ask enojugh questions of the administraiton, and I think it's sometimes because they don't know what to ask.

It's one thing to have a hunch that someone isn't walking the walk. It's another when it is right before your eyes! Ms. Wolfmeyer was elected by her district based on promises to do exactly the opposite of what she has been doing. For all the board members who vote FOR Debbie Wolfmeyer for President, I have to ask - What can you possibly be thinking? Her election as the representative of your body will be a bizarre tribute to everything that is wrong with you.