Of wellness funding, pipelines & fried mouse

Rambling through central Illinois, pondering why we are more worried about pipelines now than we were when the last few hundred were put underground.

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For several years, the idea of a wellness center on the north side of Elmwood has been discussed and analyzed with little apparent forward motion. Behind the scenes, though, work has continued at an admittedly slow pace, delays due in large part to the pandemic. But last week, at yet another meeting about the wellness center, concrete news rose to the forefront.

According to members of the Elmwood Community Foundation, U.S. Rep. Darin LaHood has secured $3.75 million in federal funding for the proposed center, which would be built adjacent to the Graham Medical Clinic on the north side of Elmwood. And Graham Hospital President and CEO Bob Senneff said at the meeting, “We will write a big check for this.”

That’s a strong start toward a building that at one point was estimated to cost just over $10 million, but whose price tag has no doubt increased since. Where will the rest of the money come from? Last week’s meeting was an announcement that fundraising will now start in earnest.

Experts in this sort of thing have told us this project will generate enough donations from the community to become a reality. Up until the federal money arrived, I’ve harbored doubts.

But having toured a similar facility in Rushville, my view all along has been, “I sure hope it happens.” As old-manhood rapidly approaches, the idea of a local rehab center and an indoor walking area really appeals – enough so that even my stingy self plans to make a donation. Just don’t tell my wife.

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Another project that at first seemed to have a clearer path to completion was Navigator’s Heartland Greenway CO2 pipeline. But in January, Navigator withdrew its application for permission to build the 1,300-mile pipeline, which had been submitted to the Illinois Commerce Commission last July. Navigator says it plans to file an expanded project before the end of February. The new plan will apparently include an additional lateral route and at least one new sequestration site. An opposition group, The Coalition to Stop CO2 Pipelines, says Navigator is scrambling to find a new sequestration site after failing to acquire property rights in Christian County, the original sequestration site. Who is telling the truth? Considerable suspicion seems warranted after reading columnist Alan Guebert’s two columns on “The Great Carbon Boondoggle.”

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Kudos to several local realtors honored as being among the top 25 agents for Jim Maloof Realtor in 2022. Local agents recognized include Eileen Huber, John Leezer, Janet Rosecrans, Karla Skaggs and Jeff Wagoner.

… While on the subject of good news, mouse problems have died down in our storage container down in the French Creek bottoms. For now. But add this to the list of things learned since the New Year: The only thing worse than the smell of a dead mouse is the smell of a dead mouse burning somewhere on the motor of your side-by-side. … Tried my best to avoid the NFL conference title games Sunday, but couldn’t resist watching the last minute of the Chiefs-Bengals game. While cheering for Patrick Mahomes is just not possible for me, it’s hard not to at least appreciate a quarterback who is tough and skilled – and less caught up with GQ fashion than Cincy’s Joe Cool. Mahomes’ run to set up the AFC winning field goal on a gimpy ankle showed true grit that even Rooster Cogburn would admire.

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Saw several dire “Winter Storm Warnings” in the past week on my phone, and that got me to pondering what histrionics would have been issued by today’s melodramatic meteorologists if they had to experience the winters of 1977-79 again. Remember those years, shown above in a picture that apparently depicts a scene from between Trivoli and Hanna City in the winter of 1978-79? One day at work we started talking about snowstorms. Everybody who lived through those winters had an igloo story to tell. As kids after the Blizzard of ’77, we had one epic igloo that was even carpeted inside with remnants snitched from everybody’s basements. All was well until a nosy neighbor saw smoke billowing out of the igloo chimney. She called our parents and Mom didn’t buy the idea that it was just a safe, innocent fire. Eventually the plows came and scattered carpeting up and down the street.

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Parting shot: Who knew a raccoon hunt for charity could create such controversy? When Andrew Huber came up with a Coons for Cancer hunt, to be held Feb. 10-11 with registration and weigh-in behind Elmwood Tap, he figured folks would be happy to hunt for a good cause. Many are. But Huber was also flooded with calls and emails from anti-hunters who were decidedly unhappy that such an event was happening, never mind the charity. Did Huber bow to the pressure? Nope. He went out and got sponsors to donate prizes and vows “to make this thing even bigger.” I appreciate that kind of feistiness. Like it or not, hunting raccoons is still legal.

Contact Jeff Lampe at (309) 231-6040 or jeff@wklypost.com