The Week in Photos: November 21, 2013

The visual report for the week of November 21, 2013:

Debbie Short prepares a hamburger at Tom's Place in Tamms.  THe restaurant reopened Friday after being closed since late September due to a truck crashing through the kitchen wall of the establishment.  "We're so happy to have people coming back in," said Bonnie Riston, owner of Tom's Place.  The reopening featured drawings for prizes and a catfish dinner. -- George Lamboley | The Cairo Citizen
Debbie Short prepares a hamburger at Tom’s Place in Tamms. The restaurant reopened Friday after being closed since late September due to a truck crashing through the kitchen wall of the establishment. “We’re so happy to have people coming back in,” said Bonnie Riston, owner of Tom’s Place. The reopening featured drawings for prizes and a catfish dinner. — George Lamboley | The Cairo Citizen
Debbie Short takes a to-go order at Tom's Place in Tamms on Friday, November 15.  While customers passed through during the grand reopening on Friday take-out orders also kept the staff busy. -- George Lamboley | The Cairo Citizen
Debbie Short takes an order at Tom’s Place in Tamms on Friday, November 15. While customers passed through during the grand reopening on Friday take-out orders also kept the staff busy. — George Lamboley | The Cairo Citizen
Linda Mallert and Ellen Braggen order their lunch at Tom's Place in Tamms on Friday, November 15. -- George Lamboley | The Cairo Citizen
Linda Mallert and Ellen Braggen order their lunch at Tom’s Place in Tamms on Friday, November 15. — George Lamboley | The Cairo Citizen
Dessert items offered for sale sit on the counter at Tom's Place in Tamms.  The restaurant held a grand reopening on November 21. -- George Lamboley | The Cairo Citizen
Dessert items offered for sale sit on the counter at Tom’s Place in Tamms. The restaurant held a grand reopening on November 21. — George Lamboley | The Cairo Citizen
Volunteers in Brookport, Ill. sift through debris at the site where the H & H Feed Store stood for 27 years -- George Lamboley | The Cairo Citizen
Volunteers in Brookport, Ill. sift through debris at the site where the H & H Feed Store stood for 27 years — George Lamboley | The Cairo Citizen
Mark Harris fills a garbage bag with small debris as part of the cleanup effort in Brookport, Ill. on Monday.  Volunteers came out in large numbers to help clear streets and yards of trees and debris. -- George Lamboley | The Cairo Citizen
Mark Harris fills a garbage bag with small debris as part of the cleanup effort in Brookport, Ill. on Monday. Volunteers came out in large numbers to help clear streets and yards of trees and debris. — George Lamboley | The Cairo Citizen
Ron Henson repairs siding damaged by the tornado in Brookport, Ill.  The house, occupied by his mother, suffered only minor damage. "We had a few broken windows and some torn off siding," said Henson.  "I think we got pretty lucky" -- George Lamboley | The Cairo Citizen
Ron Henson repairs siding damaged by the tornado in Brookport, Ill. The house, occupied by his mother, suffered only minor damage. “We had a few broken windows and some torn off siding,” said Henson. “I think we got pretty lucky” — George Lamboley | The Cairo Citizen
Utility workers service the overhead lines on 4th street in Brookport, Ill. on Monday. -- George Lamboley | The Cairo Citizen
Utility workers service the overhead lines on 4th street in Brookport, Ill. on Monday. — George Lamboley | The Cairo Citizen
Dalton Wright and Bailey Durapau survey the damage to their grandmother's home in Brookport, Ill. on Monday.  A tornado passed through the town Sunday afternoon damaging several local businesses and homes.  Governor Quinn declared Massac county a disaster area along with six others throughout the state. -- George Lamboley | The Cairo Citizen
Dalton Wright and Bailey Durapau survey the damage to their grandmother’s home in Brookport, Ill. on Monday. A tornado passed through the town Sunday afternoon damaging several local businesses and homes. Governor Quinn declared Massac county a disaster area along with six others throughout the state. — George Lamboley | The Cairo Citizen
A child's Barbie doll lays in the roadway on 4th Street in Brookport, Ill. on Monday, November 18, 2013.  The town was hit by a tornado on November 17, leaving parts of the town in ruin.  -- George Lamboley | The Cairo Citizen
A child’s Barbie doll lays in the roadway on 4th Street in Brookport, Ill. on Monday, November 18, 2013. The town was hit by a tornado on November 17, leaving parts of the town in ruin. — George Lamboley | The Cairo Citizen
The ruins of the H & H Feed Store in Boorkport, Ill. on Monday, November 18, 2013.  A tornado touched down in the area on the previous afternoon leaving a path of destruction through the town. -- George Lamboley | The Cairo Citizen
The ruins of the H & H Feed Store in Boorkport, Ill. on Monday, November 18, 2013. A tornado touched down in the area on the previous afternoon leaving a path of destruction through the town. — George Lamboley | The Cairo Citizen
Members of the Varsity and Junior-Varsity Cairo Pilots met to play an exhibition game against each other on Friday, November 17 at Cairo High School. The Blue and White game brought out members of the community excited at the prospects of the coming season.  -- George Lamboley | The Cairo Citizen
Members of the Varsity and Junior-Varsity Cairo Pilots met to play an exhibition game against each other on Friday, November 17 at Cairo High School. The Blue and White game brought out members of the community excited at the prospects of the coming season. — George Lamboley | The Cairo Citizen
Members of the Varsity and Junior-Varsity Cairo Pilots play one another at the annual Blue and White Game at Cairo High School on Friday November 17.  -- George Lamboley | The Cairo Citizen
Members of the Varsity and Junior-Varsity Cairo Pilots play one another at the annual Blue and White Game at Cairo High School on Friday November 17. — George Lamboley | The Cairo Citize
Ruby Smith passes out prizes to raffle winners at the Delta Activity Center in Cairo, Ill. on Thursday, November 14.  Members of the community met for a buffet lunch of chicken and to support the PATH program.  The Program for Assistance in Transition from Homelessness helps support those who are or are at risk for being homeless.  The program helps participants by aiding them in their search for jobs and providing services such as counseling and medical care. -- George Lamboley | The Cairo Citizen
Ruby Smith passes out prizes to raffle winners at the Delta Activity Center in Cairo, Ill. on Thursday, November 14. Members of the community met for a buffet lunch of chicken and to support the PATH program. The Program for Assistance in Transition from Homelessness helps support those who are or are at risk for being homeless. The program helps participants by aiding them in their search for jobs and providing services such as counseling and medical care. — George Lamboley | The Cairo Citizen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Letter from the Editor

30a_isaacsmith3_web_ASTo my readers,

It is with a heavy heart that I must tell you this will be my last week as the editor of The Cairo Citizen. My wife has been accepted to graduate school in Indiana, so we will be moving there so she can pursue her dream of becoming a teacher. I told her when she applied, if she got in we would go with no questions asked. I guess she called my bluff.

Rest assured, though, there will be a replacement who will start work in the coming weeks and he will be just as vigilant and active in reporting the news as I have tried to be. I will let him make his own introduction, however.

It has been a tremendous honor being the eyes and ears of this community over the last year. I have enjoyed getting to know many of you and am sad I will not get to know many more. Thank you for accepting me and ushering me into your lives and for helping me tell the story of Cairo and southern-most Illinois. I will never forget my time here and will look back on it fondly.

Best,
Isaac

The Week in Photos: July 25, 2013

The visual report from the week of July 25, 2013

Shaneka Cannon, right, leads her two children Kamari Mow, middle, and Karmond Mow in reading the Bible July 21 at the First Missionary Baptist Church in Cairo. -- Isaac Smith | The Cairo Citizen
Shaneka Cannon, right, leads her two children Kamari Mow, middle, and Karmond Mow in reading the Bible July 21 at the First Missionary Baptist Church in Cairo. — Isaac Smith | The Cairo Citizen
Jarvis Woodson, left and Keyonte Graham formulate a rebuttal July 20 during the debate sponsored by the Dusable Museum of African American History and the Amistad Commission in the library in Cairo.--Isaac Smith | The Cairo Citizen
Jarvis Woodson, left and Keyonte Graham formulate a rebuttal July 20 during the debate sponsored by the Dusable Museum of African American History and the Amistad Commission in the library in Cairo.–Isaac Smith | The Cairo Citizen
D’Erik Menz, left, Mack Hicks, middle and Monte Ellis- Mitchell consult their notes during a debate July 20 regarding why Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves. Menz’s team argued he did it for moral reasons while Woodson’s team said it was for political reasons. Everyone came out a winner at the event. For their participation, each of the debaters received $150 from the debate’s sponsor, The Dusable Museum of African American History in Chicago. -- Isaac Smith | The Cairo Citizen
D’Erik Menz, left, Mack Hicks, middle and Monte Ellis- Mitchell consult their notes during a debate July 20 regarding why Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves. Menz’s team argued he did it for moral reasons while Woodson’s team said it was for political reasons. Everyone came out a winner at the event. For their participation, each of the debaters received $150 from the debate’s sponsor, The Dusable Museum of African American History in Chicago. — Isaac Smith | The Cairo Citizen
Actor Runako Jahi, left, speaks with Preston Ewing July 20 after performing the poem “The Promise” before the Cairo Junior/Senior High School debate at the Cairo Library. During his performance Jahi played an African American soldier fighting for the Union Army in during the Civil War, a role he said he has played several times. Jahi said he has been acting for the last thirty years, predominantly on stage. Jahi currently works as the creative director for the ETA Creative Arts Foundation in Chicago. -- Isaac Smith | The Cairo Citizen
Actor Runako Jahi, left, speaks with Preston Ewing July 20 after performing the poem “The Promise” before the Cairo Junior/Senior High School debate at the Cairo Library. During his performance Jahi played an African American soldier fighting for the Union Army in during the Civil War, a role he said he has played several times. Jahi said he has been acting for the last thirty years, predominantly on stage. Jahi currently works as the creative director for the ETA Creative Arts Foundation in Chicago. — Isaac Smith | The Cairo Citizen

Praying together

Shaneka Cannon attended church July 21 with her two children.

Shaneka Cannon, right, leads her two children Kamari Mow, middle, and Karmond Mow in reading the Bible July 21 at the First Missionary Baptist Church in Cairo. -- Isaac Smith | The Cairo Citizen
Shaneka Cannon, right, leads her two children Kamari Mow, middle, and Karmond Mow in reading the Bible July 21 at the First Missionary Baptist Church in Cairo. — Isaac Smith | The Cairo Citizenz

Acting out history

July 20, Runako Jahi got to play a part close to his heart.

Actor Runako Jahi, left, speaks with Preston Ewing July 20 after performing the poem “The Promise” before the Cairo Junior/Senior High School debate at the Cairo Library. During his performance Jahi played an African American soldier fighting for the Union Army in during the Civil War, a role he said he has played several times. Jahi said he has been acting for the last thirty years, predominantly on stage. Jahi currently works as the creative director for the ETA Creative Arts Foundation in Chicago. -- Isaac Smith | The Cairo Citizen
Actor Runako Jahi, left, speaks with Preston Ewing July 20 after performing the poem “The Promise” before the Cairo Junior/Senior High School debate at the Cairo Library. During his performance Jahi played an African American soldier fighting for the Union Army in during the Civil War, a role he said he has played several times. Jahi said he has been acting for the last thirty years, predominantly on stage. Jahi currently works as the creative director for the ETA Creative Arts Foundation in Chicago. — Isaac Smith | The Cairo Citizen

Cairo finally en route for road repairs

After more than a year in the making, Cairo is finally on its way to getting some much-needed road work done.

It was this time last year when Mayor Tyrone Coleman reached out to the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) asking that they repair a portion of Route 51 leading into Cairo. Coleman said the repairs to 51 will make travel safer for locals and out of town guests. He said his office regularly gets calls complaining about the condition of the road leading into town.

In his June 20, 2012 letter to Keith Miley, operations engineer for IDOT, he asked that the portion of 51 between Barkett Funeral Home and 34th St. as well as a portion near 18th street be repaired.

Coleman even had representative Jerry Costello on his side.

Costello also wrote Miley asking that Cairo be considered for their next repair season and said that his office would offer any assistance it could.

The letters worked.

Miley wrote back and said IDOT would add Cairo to its list of repairs.

“The proposed improvement begins at the interchange with Interstate 57 and extends southerly to the intersection with 34th St. This project is tentatively scheduled to begin during the 2013 construction season,” Miley said in his July 3, 2012 letter.

The 2013 construction season has yet to begin since IDOT has twice delayed its start. Whenever it starts though, Coleman said fresh pavement will be a welcome change.

“It will just be nice to drive on smooth pavement,” Coleman said.

–Isaac Smith can be reached at (618)-734-4242

One down, one to go

Alexander County is one step closer to starting the buyout process it began almost two years ago.

During the July 16 County Board meeting, Alexander County Engineer Jeff Denny announced he had received a granting agreement from the Illinois Emergency Management Agency. Denny said he signed and sent the document to Springfield to finalize that end of the process. However, the County is still waiting on the granting agreement from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, which is providing 25% of the $11.7 million grant. However, Denny has met with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources engineer to discuss the progress of their granting agreement and Denny said he expects to have their agreement in the next several weeks.

Denny said the County has been required by the state to wait on these two documents before they could begin the buyout process.

“The way the State of Illinois works is … if they are funding a project they will not let you start before your granting agreements are in place,” he said.

He said while it has not exactly been pleasant having to sit in wait, he understands why he had to.

“You have to have the legal framework, otherwise you are going to have problems,” Denny said.

Denny and his office have not sat idle these last several months, however. Denny said his office have done all they can do to expedite the process as much as they can. He said prior to getting the granting agreements. They posted job notices for appraisal companies and after receiving bids for the different jobs, made their decisions on who to hire so when the time came, they could make an official decision. Denny said had they waited until after the agreements were received it could have drug out the buyout process for weeks, even months.

During this time the County has brought in the Southern Five Planning Commission to administrate the grant. Regional planner at Southern Five Crystal Davenport will handle the project and said her office is there coordinate with the State and County to ensure property owners have a smooth ride through the buyout process.

Davenport said property owners need to understand that the amount they are offered  for their home or property will be based on pre-flood market value and to help the process along, they should be ready to show documentation for insurance or assistance received after for the flood and receipts for work and improvements made to their properties as this will help expedite their appraisal process and ensure they get a fair assessment of their property.

Once the process is able to start, Denny said appraisers will go to each property and assess its value and this may take time. He said it is not possible to get everyone done at once.

Denny said while it may seem like very little progress is being made at the present time, he is confident the start of the process is closer at hand than people may think.

“I think in the next couple of months you will start seeing some to the point of making offers,”he said.

– Isaac Smith can be reached at (618)-734-4242

Debate teaches history, life-skills

Jarvis Woodson, left and Keyonte Graham formulate a rebuttal July 20 during the debate sponsored by the Dusable Museum of African American History and the Amistad Commission in the library in Cairo.--Isaac Smith | The Cairo Citizen
Jarvis Woodson, left and Keyonte Graham formulate a rebuttal July 20 during the debate sponsored by the Dusable Museum of African American History and the Amistad Commission in the library in Cairo.–Isaac Smith | The Cairo Citizen

Cairo junior and senior high school students got the chance to argue in public July 20 and instead of posturing and raised voices, the kids were calm and used note cards to get their points across.

Eight Cairo students participated in a debate which centered around the theme of “The Colored Soldier and the Civil War, What Were They Fighting For.” The event, sponsored by the Dusable Museum of African American History and the Amistad Coalition, drew a crowd of nearly fifty community members to the Cairo Library.

The question was simple: Why did Abraham Lincoln free the slaves? Both teams had plenty of answers.

D’Erik Menz’s team argued it was a moral imperative that lead to the decision. They argued that because of his Christian beliefs, Lincoln made the order to abolish slavery.

It did not take long for Keyonte Graham and his teammates to find fault with this logic. It was their opinion Lincoln abolished slavery for political reasons only, citing a famous quote from the former president,” If I could save the Union without freeing any slave, I would do it.”

Menz and his team were quick to point out, however, this was not the entire quote. They reminded their opponents Lincoln followed this statement by saying, “If I could save it by freeing all the slaves, I would do it.”

The dialogue was lively and professional and Brian Brandtner said this was the point.

“You can disagree with people in the real world … but there is a way to go about it and exercises like this kind of reinforces that,” he said. Brandtner, Cairo’s high school basketball coach, trained one of the teams and he said he saw a lot of growth in his debaters in a very short amount of time.

The teams started practicing July 12 and had just over two weeks to get ready. Brandtner said in the beginning, it was a bit overwhelming but once they began to narrow their focus, the students began to get more involved in the research and put their own ideas out on the table for discussion.

“Once you get to the point where the kids are putting their thoughts into it, then you have done your job,” Brandtner said. He added that independent thought is the goal of any teacher.

“As a teacher, as a coach, you want the kids to be as independent thinkers as possible … You want the kids to think critically.”

Jomo Cheatham, project coordinator for the Dusable Museum’s participation with the Amistad Commission, said this kind of education through action is a big part of his group’s initiative.

“The Amistad Coalition’s participation with the museum is to integrate all forms of education so it is not just specifically focused on the subject, but looks at how it can interconnect to other real, live, relevant parts of society,” he said.

D’Erik Menz, left, Mack Hicks, middle and Monte Ellis- Mitchell consult their notes during a debate July 20 regarding why Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves. Menz’s team argued he did it for moral reasons while Woodson’s team said it was for political reasons. Everyone came out a winner at the event. For their participation, each of the debaters received $150 from the debate’s sponsor, The Dusable Museum of African American History in Chicago. -- Isaac Smith | The Cairo Citizen
D’Erik Menz, left, Mack Hicks, middle and Monte Ellis- Mitchell consult their notes during a debate July 20 regarding why Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves. Menz’s team argued he did it for moral reasons while Woodson’s team said it was for political reasons. Everyone came out a winner at the event. For their participation, each of the debaters received $150 from the debate’s sponsor, The Dusable Museum of African American History in Chicago. — Isaac Smith | The Cairo Citizen

He said each student learned just by participating in the debate and he said the results were clear.

“What we saw on display here … [were] some very intelligent young men who were able to speak really eloquently at times and in-depth in some instances about a topic that they probably did not know nearly as well, about a month ago,” Cheatham said.

Cairo superintendent of schools and team coach Andrea Evers agreed.

“I think both teams showed tremendous poise,” she said. “They had passion, they had reasons behind their decisions.”

Menz said through the process of preparing for the event, he realized there are strengths in disagreeing calmly. Graham said he learned it took a calm, clear point to be effective in arguing a point.

“It takes a lot to win … It takes a lot of information,” he said.

Menz said he really enjoyed participating in the debate and hopes he get the chance to hone his skills on a team. Evers said because of the success this first debate, she is strongly looking into starting a debate or forensics team at the Junior/Senior High School.

–Isaac Smith can be reached at (618)-734-4242

The Week in Photos: July 18, 2013

The visual report from the week of July 18, 2013.

Country Black, left, details his tires July 15 while his younger brother, Malik Reeves takes a break at The Wash in Cairo. Black said he and his brothers try to come out and clean his car once a week. He said the car was in need of some TLC after he and his brothers fished on the Ohio that afternoon. The crew gave the car a thorough cleaning, taking out all the mats to be scrubbed and vacuumed, wiped down and vacuumed the interior and gave the finish a good wash and polish.-- Isaac Smith | The Cairo Citizen
Country Black, left, details his tires July 15 while his younger brother, Malik Reeves takes a break at The Wash in Cairo. Black said he and his brothers try to come out and clean his car once a week. He said the car was in need of some TLC after he and his brothers fished on the Ohio that afternoon. The crew gave the car a thorough cleaning, taking out all the mats to be scrubbed and vacuumed, wiped down and vacuumed the interior and gave the finish a good wash and polish.– Isaac Smith | The Cairo Citizen
Guy Sutton takes his water bottle to be filled July 15 at D Mart in Cairo. Sutton said he does not know his exact age but believes to be in his 90’s. Though he cannot remember how old he is, he does remember where he was born: Memphis. He said he came to Cairo after working for the railroad. Sutton now spends his days riding through town on his bike.  -- Isaac Smith | The Cairo Citizen
Guy Sutton takes his water bottle to be filled July 15 at D Mart in Cairo. Sutton said he does not know his exact age but believes to be in his 90’s. Though he cannot remember how old he is, he does remember where he was born: Memphis. He said he came to Cairo after working for the railroad. Sutton now spends his days riding through town on his bike. — Isaac Smith | The Cairo Citizen
D’Eric Menz, left, listens to Brian Brantner July 12 during the first practice for the debate sponsored by the Dusable Museum of African American History and the Amistad Commission in the library in Cairo. Brantner assembled a team of his best minds and best arguers to debate with students from Chicago on the subject of why African American soldiers would have chosen to fight for the Union Army after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. The teams will compete July 20 in the library. -- Isaac Smith | The Cairo Citizen
D’Eric Menz, left, listens to Brian Brantner July 12 during the first practice for the debate sponsored by the Dusable Museum of African American History and the Amistad Commission in the library in Cairo. Brantner assembled a team of his best minds and best arguers to debate with students from Chicago on the subject of why African American soldiers would have chosen to fight for the Union Army after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. The teams will compete July 20 in the library. — Isaac Smith | The Cairo Citizen

Keeping it clean

Country Black, left, details his tires July 15 while his younger brother, Malik Reeves takes a break at The Wash in Cairo. Black said he and his brothers try to come out and clean his car once a week. He said the car was in need of some TLC after he and his brothers fished on the Ohio that afternoon. The crew gave the car a thorough cleaning, taking out all the mats to be scrubbed and vacuumed, wiped down and vacuumed the interior and gave the finish a good wash and polish.-- Isaac Smith | The Cairo Citizen
Country Black, left, details his tires July 15 while his younger brother, Malik Reeves takes a break at The Wash in Cairo. Black said he and his brothers try to come out and clean his car once a week. He said the car was in need of some TLC after he and his brothers fished on the Ohio that afternoon. The crew gave the car a thorough cleaning, taking out all the mats to be scrubbed and vacuumed, wiped down and vacuumed the interior and gave the finish a good wash and polish.– Isaac Smith | The Cairo Citizen