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"This morning I took my own field trip to Camp Butler.  If you have never been there, I highly recommend it.  It is on the National Registry of Historical Places and it dates back to 1861 when the War Department dispatched General William Tecumseh Sherman to Springfield to select a site for a military training camp.  Illinois Governor Yates tasked the state treasurer William Butler with assisting General Sherman.  The men selected the area outside of Springfield because of its high ground for camping and a lower, more level area for drills and training, as well as space for a cemetery. 

The first troops arrived at Camp Butler in August 1861 and numbered 5000 within a month.  Camp Butler also became a POW camp housing 2000 Confederate soldiers captured when Fort Donelson was surrendered.  Almost immediately, because of little food, smallpox, typhus and pneumonia POWs died at a rapid rate.  Many of them are buried there.  Along with soldiers who fought for both the Union and the Confederate sides during the Civil War, veterans who lost their lives in the Spanish-American War, the two World Wars, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War are buried at Camp Butler National Cemetery.


All the men and women who died in service to our country are notable.  But the Camp Butler website mentions two that are unique in other ways.  One is John Hugh Catherwood, who was awarded a Medal of Honor for his bravery as a Seaman with the US Navy during the “Action against Phillipine Outlaws” in 1911.  Part of the citation for is MOH says, he charged 20 enemy coming out of from concealed positions, he was struck down instantly by outlaws deadly fire, unable to rise he still came to the defense of his leader and fought desperately to beat off the hostile attack.  He actually lived through that attack and died 19 years later.  His son Alfred, who also served in the Navy, is buried next to him.
 
Also, buried at Camp Butler is Lt. Col. Otis Duncan.  He is the highest ranking African American to serve in the American Expeditionary Forces in Europe in WWI.  Duncan came from a prominent black family in Springfield.  His father was Abraham Lincoln’s barber and friend.  He joined the Illinois National Guard as an Infantry Officer and served with his regiment during the US Mexican expedition against Pancho Villa in 1916.

In a letter to his mother 'We had a fine time Thanksgiving day. Held services at regimental headquarters. Singing, preaching and prayer, and I tell you mother, we had much to be thankful for. To have survived this war in which we have been engaged, is nothing else but a blessing from God and we realize it fully. General Vincendon, French commander of our division, was present and after the religious services, we presented him with our regimental colors and I made the presentation speech. Will tell you all about it when I get home.'

In addition to his military service, Duncan worked for more than 20 years in the office of the Illinois Superintendent of Public Instruction. He also was active in Republican politics in Springfield, running twice (in 1898 and 1906) for alderman in the First Ward.

Camp Butler is a national veteran cemetery, but Memorial Day is a commemoration of those who died during war.  On my visit to the cemetery today, I walked past many a headstone with dates of death in the middle of wartime.  Their stories are unknown to us.  But the date of death, June 6, 1944, on headstone of F1C Leonard Janowicz tells us he most likely lost his life during the Normandy invasion.  And CPL William Challender who died on January 9, 1945 probably lost his life fighting at the tail end of the Battle of the Bulge.

It is important we always keep Memorial 'Decoration” Day' as a national holiday commemorating those who made the ultimate sacrifice to keep up free."

"In 1812, Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm first published their collection of stories known as the Grimm’s Fairy Tales. Most of their stories began with “Once Upon a Time” and ended with 'Happily Ever After.'

In 2016 Speaker Madigan published his Fairy Tale in a budget bill. It doesn’t end happily ever after. It ends as a horror story where taxpayers are destroyed. There’s no fair maiden locked in a room spinning straw into gold.

This is just the latest chapter in the story where the Democrats pass a budget out of balance and at the last minute. It’s been happening for 15 years now. And they never get tired of hearing the story again. But taxpayers are tired of paying for their forays into fairyland.

Instead of his promised 'compromise,' instead of working together for the people of Illinois, Speaker Madigan proposed the largest unbalanced budget in state history.

Rep. Ives joined fellow House Republicans talking to  the press about rules that were broken by Democrats who pushed through the House a 500 page, $40 billion spending plan that was dropped an hour before it was called.  We need to #reformIL.
"As the ongoing budget standoff in Springfield slowly moves toward a year of financial gridlock, state legislators from DuPage County and state Comptroller Leslie Geissler Munger said they are frustrated yet hopeful..." Read the full story here from Suburban Life.
The Chicago Tribune and the Daily Herald  have editorialized that legislation sponsored repeatedly in the House by Rep. Ives would provide much needed sunlight in the public contract process by making sure local taxpayers can review public employee contracts they'll be on the hook to pay for before the contracts are approved.

"...Here's a novel idea: Draw up the contract, dot the i's and cross the t's, then release it to the public before voting. State Rep. Jeanne Ives, R-Wheaton, has been trying for several years to make that the law..."  Read the Tribune editorial here.

"...All this reinforces the need for legislation filed four years ago -- but stalled in committee -- by Republican state Rep. Jeanne Ives of Wheaton that would give the public time to review public employee contracts and contracts of highly paid public officials before they are approved."  Read the Daily Herald editorial here.
Local Residents will have an opportunity this month to learn more about Illinois finances and the state budget stalemate at a special Budget Town Hall hosted by State Representative Jeanne Ives that will feature State Comptroller Leslie Geissler Munger.

Representative Ives’ Budget Town Hall will be held on Tuesday, April 26th from 7:00pm to 9:00pm in room 411 of Goodwin Hall on the Benedictine University Campus located at 5700 College Road in Lisle. Representative Ives and Comptroller Munger will both provide updates on the budget, and will take questions from those in attendance.

“We’re in our tenth month without an adopted state budget. Local taxpayers have a right to know what’s going on, and to be able to ask questions and to let us know how they’re being impacted. That’s the purpose of this town hall, and we’re very fortunate to be getting an update directly from Comptroller Munger. No one has a better understanding of our day-to-day financial situation,” Representative Ives said. “I hope everyone with concerns or questions will join us on the 26th.”

Representative Ives stressed that the Budget Town Hall is open to the public and no registration or RSVP is required.

For more information, contact Representative Ives’ office at 630.384.1108.