Today in Washington - March 17, 2009

Donelle Pardee Whiting

Today is St. Patrick's Day. And with warming temperatures, there are sure to be a lot of people out and about celebrating either being Irish, or their temporary Irish status with a wearing o' the green, feasting on traditional Irish fare and the drinking of green beer.

While we don't begrudge anyone a good time, be smart, readers. If you are joining other revelers out for a bit o' green libations, remember to be safe and do not drink and drive.

We want everyone to have a safe and happy St. Patrick's Day.

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Washington voters have a lot to consider this spring with two referendums on the April 7 ballot.

In addition to the much talked about Washington Community High School renovation referendum, voters will be asked to vote yes or no to a Tazewell County sales tax increase.

The Tazewell County Board plans to funnel the added revenue to Tazewell County schools.

This could benefit our schools seeing that the state is currently not in a position to increase funding into the state’s education system.

At the March 9 WCHS Board of Education meeting, Tim Custis said the sales tax revenue could help ease the property tax burden should both referendums pass.

He addded if both pass, the money from the sales tax would be applied to the high school’s renovation bill which would then lower the amount of the property tax increase needed to pay the bonds.

Be informed voters, dear readers, and check out the story by Nick Stroman in this week’s Washington Times-Reporter.

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By now, most of you may have noticed the Mountain Mudd kiosk is no more.

In its place will be The Blend Express.

Seeing a golden opportunity, owner Yvonne Andresen bought the drive-thru coffee hut.

She said she knows there are those coffee afficianodos for whom coming into the shop is either not feasible or desirable.

Therefore, instead of letting possible competition take over the small building in the parking lot near Washington Family Restaurant, she decided to expand and fill that need herself.

Read the full story in tomorrow’s Times-Reporter.

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Even though Abraham Lincoln’s 200th birthday has come and gone, Washington is not done celebrating.

“Celebrating Lincoln Today in Portraits Past” will be at 7 p.m. March 26 at Five Points Washington.

The evening is a collborative effor between WCHS, the Washington Historical Society, Washington Park District and Washington’s Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Committee.

There will be drama, music, civil war dancing, art, refreshments, historic maps and displays about Lincoln and his famous trials from when he was a lawyer in the Tri-County area.

There is a lot that Lincoln did when he was in our fair city that people may not know.

Judy Gross said there is a lot of interesting facts and stories about Lincoln’s pre-presidency days in Washington.

Tickets for the event are $5 for adults and $3 for students. Tickets are available online at www.fivepointswashington.org, and will be available at the door.

Sounds like an interesting night out. Hope to see you there.

•••

Last week, DeWayne Bartels, editor of the Peoria Times-Observer ran a story about the fight against drugs in Peoria and the effect the Mult-County Narcotics Enforcement Group is having.

This morning I caught up with Washington Police Chief Jim Kuchenbecker about his take on MEG and the ongoing drug battle.

Read DeWayne’s story and what Kuchenbecker had to say in tomorrow’s Times-Reporter.

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Today in Washington is a type of blog. I am using it on a daily basis to keep you posted on what I am working on or brief items of interest.

Through this feature, I can continually post updates when I have a computer at my fingertips. That said, I am not always at a computer, so I can’t get information to you until then. But, this is basically an online journal that I am sharing with the readers.

So far, it seems to be a popular feature for visitors. It has been the most-visited page on our site, as you can see on the “Popular Stories” list. Because of that response, I have decided to make this part of my daily routine, minus weekends, of course.

But, I want to include more information. This is where you can take advantage of me. Post a comment or send me an e-mail at dwhiting@timestoday.com if you have any news or information that would be of interest to our readers.

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