The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.
by Dessa Rodeffer, Quill Publisher/Owner
Stronghurst voters selected one incumbent Shane Reed, and two new trustees to the board on Tuesday, Randy Jarvis and Michael Swisher.
The new board will have their hands full. Almost everyone of their village board meetings for the last year has included discussion about issues with alcohol and many times policing issues.
The village was a dry town since it's creation in 1887, full of family activities, and four churches were full to the brim, and often there were parades, and family activities in the park. It was not until the last several years, that alcohol was brought into the grocery store, and the last village board overseen alcohol in restaurants which was, at first talk, to sell with their meals. But after more discussion, it quickly expanded into bars.
Now, with Monday night's board decision, alcohol related activities on the street and Polker Runs can happen with only the quick approval of the Stronghurst Village Board and the Mayor.
For "The Quill" who has always been "dedicated to the best interests of the county", we are concerned about the alcoholic related problems that occur as we are always receiving reports of issues.
Illinois State Police report there is an average of one alcohol-related traffic death every 51 minutes. I suspect we all knew someone who was killed in an alcoholic related crash. Just this past weekend Ill. State Trooper Gerald Ellis was killed at 3:30 in the morning in a head-on from a driver traveling the wrong way on the highway. State Police warns, "don't risk losing your license, your car, and your freedom. If you drive impaired, officers will arrest you."
Other family related problems occur as well. In Amboy, I remember a boy who ran away from home because their family wasn't celebrating Christmas. Why? Because their father spent all the time at the local bar while the kids and mom were home without much food, gifts or a tree. The kids were often seen admiring toys in the window of the local toy store. I know because my husband at the time was the state trooper that picked him up and took him back home to see the sorry problem at home.
Luckily for the boy, the police and fire departments got involved and brought the family a tree, food, and the toys they had been looking at in the local store. That year was a better holiday for the kids, but alcoholism ruins lives.
I have a friend who's father was an alcoholic and he grew up practically at the local library reading books, luckily for him, and he became an editor. His brother didn't, and he eventually took his own life.
Addictions are real and a struggle and a nightmare for families. Too many have memories of a troubled childhood, an abusive parent or spouse, or they themselves have been addicted to alcohol and have struggled with anger mangement issues.
We love to see people in town using restaurants, parks etc., but let's be careful what kind of problems we might be promoting along the way.
Hopefully, a new board will focus on other activities and ways, without alcohol, to attract family oriented safe activities they can enjoy.
So far, the ball diamonds, churches, and schools, the Stronghurst Village Park and the County Fairgrounds are good places for families. Let's hope they remain that way.
A glass of wine with a meal is one thing. Alcohol as a form of entertainment, or a passtime at the local bar is a whole other animal to contend with.
Good luck to the new board as they continue the work of our early forefathers.