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Kicking off 2011, Decatur City Council on Tuesday night got an update on early plans coming together for the city's 175th birthday celebration later in this new year.
On hand were the two men guiding the planning, Larry Isch and Max Miller, and Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Wez Kuntzman. Miller and Isch left later with $500 in "seed money" provided by council and Mayor John Schultz.
The celebration will be held in conjunction with the annual Kekionga Festival, scheduled August 26-28.
Isch said one reason for "piggybacking" the celebration with the festival was to save some expenses, but care will be taken not to "hamper" the festival. He said the festival had a budget of $8,200 last year, and the city's 150th birthday celebration 25 years earlier had a $100,000 budget
"We feel we can have a good marriage with (the festival) and save some expenses, too," Isch continued.
Isch and Miller head a committee which includes Louise Wolpert, Wylie Sirk, Rich Rumpe, Jean Brune and Greg Kitson.
According to Isch, the group wants to avoid "hitting up" local businesses for funding, and instead would like to have various organizations, clubs, and other groups sponsor events.
After he requested some "seed money," Schultz suggested $500 — $250 from the mayor's fund, $250 from city council's fund —and council quickly agreed on a 5-0 vote.
"This (the celebration) is a great opportunity to promote the heritage of our city, Kuntzman noted.
The mayor also asked for and received permission from council to have $500 from the mayor's fund be turned over to the Wellness Initiative coming together in the county. According to Schultz, the group has been meeting for the better part of 2010 and is planning an April 30 kickoff event.
Also at Tuesday's meeting;
• Councilwoman Barb Engle will serve another year as mayor pro tem, following a motion by Councilman Charlie Cook, a second by Councilman Matt Dyer and a unanimous vote.
• After Schultz said Don Tuszynski has agreed to serve another term, council appointed him to four more years on the Board of Zoning Authority (BZA), until December 31 of 2014.
• The mayor was scheduled to make an appointment to the housing authority, but since he had not had a chance to talk to the person, he said the appointment would be delayed until the next meeting, on January 18.
• Fire Chief Les Marckel said the department had 280 responses, up a bit, in 2010 and fire losses would likely amount to less than $1 million.