Woodford County Area News Briefs

Chronicle Media
Eureka artist first unveiled his Sky Trail II sculpture in 2009 and has traveled to different continents. It is now on display at the Eureka Courthouse. (Photo from Art Slant)

Eureka artist first unveiled his Sky Trail II sculpture in 2009 and has traveled to different continents. It is now on display at the Eureka Courthouse. (Photo from Art Slant)


Outdoor civic sculpture Sky Trail II dedicated

Renowned Eureka artist  Bob Emser saw his latest sculpture dedicated at the Eureka Courthouse corner of Illinois Route 117 and U.S, Route 24 in Eureka on Dec. 3. The 17-foot outdoor sculpture is called Sky Trail II. There also is a Sky Trail I, in Park Ridge and Sky Trail III in Olympia Fields.  The efforts to bring the artwork to Eureka began last year when city officials, led by former Eureka City Councilman Zack Sancken organized a fundraising campaign.  The campaign raised at least $20,000 to make that happen and the city contributed $1,500 to the project. Sky Trail II was originally unveiled in 2009 at an art show in Chicago, then was on exhibit in Australia and in the United States.  The sculpture came back to Emser’s studio in Eureka in 2012.

Emser, 61, taught art at Eureka College until 1995 when he left his position as associate professor to open Contemporary Art Center in Peoria with Preston Jackson. His extensive body of work dates back to 1978 and can be seen in cities, municipalities, sculpture parks, museums and institutions of higher learning. During his 30-plus year career he has served as a visiting artist and has taught at several universities, held a tenured professorship, and founded a not-for-profit art center that is still in existence. He has also served as the executive director of Chicago’s international sculpture exhibition, Pier Walk.

He is the founding president of Chicago Sculpture International, the local affiliate of International Sculpture Center, and has served on that board of directors.


District 60 looks for significant tax levy increase

The Roanoke-Benson District 60 School Board will be holding a truth-in-taxation hearing at 7 p.m. in Dec. 17 to put forth a property tax levy that is more than 5 percent higher than what the district received this past year.  Such hearings are required by law when a taxing body requests an increase in property taxes that exceeds a 5 percent increase from the year prior. Like many other taxing bodies, District 60 is anticipating a possible tax freeze coming from the state legislature which would  limit increases in property taxes to 5 percent or the increase in the national Consumer Price Index (CPI) for the year preceding the levy year, whichever is lower.  A higher increase would need voter approval in a special ballot question.  The hearing on Dec, 17 will be held  in the Sowers Elementary boardroom, 202 W. High St., Roanoke.


Majority support new law on bobcat hunting in state

Results of a recent poll of registered voters in Southern Illinois show support for the hunting and trapping of bobcat in the state. A slight majority, 54 percent of those surveyed, strongly favor or somewhat favor the new law that goes into effect Jan 1., according to the poll  conducted by Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Paul Simon Public Policy Institute, according to reports. About one third of those polled, 31.6 percent, said they either somewhat opposed or strongly opposed the new law, according to reports. The remaining of those surveyed said they were unsure or answered otherwise.  When broken down by political party affiliation, more than 60 percent of those who labeled themselves as  independents or Republicans strongly favored the policy. Among Democratic voters, the results were divided with 43 percent in favor and 41 percent opposed and 15 percent not responding. Hunting of bobcats had been banned for more than 40 years as they were once a threatened species in Illinois.  

ICC names new interim president, Polk award winner

The Illinois Central College Board of Trustees has unanimously appointed Executive Vice President of Administration and Finance Bruce Budde as interim president, effective Jan. 1. Budde replaces Dr. William Tammone, who recently resigned to take a position in Colorado. Budde has been at the college for nearly 23 years and has served as the director of human resources, controller, and most recently as executive vice president of administration and finance.  “Bruce brings a wealth of experience to the position through his many years here at ICC. We appreciate his willingness to serve as interim president,” said Board of Trustees Chair Sue Portscheller.  “The board has every confidence in Bruce and the current leadership of Illinois Central College to continue to move the college forward. The board will, as always, provide support and direction for the college during this transitional time.” Portscheller noted that the presidential search is on schedule and plans are to complete the process early next year.  

The college has also named its first recipient of the  James K. Polk Diverse Faculty Fellowship. The honor goes to Kamara Taylor, who received ICC’s 2015 Teaching Excellence Award and  teaches psychology and political science. She has a master’s degree in political science and is working on her doctorate. This is a two-year fellowship.

–Woodford County Area News Briefs–