The Dispatch and The Rock
Island Argus are once again seeking guest columnists for their Viewpoints page.
Up to 5 writers will be chosen to produce 1 column every 5 weeks and be paid for their work.
As a former guest columnist I
can say that it’s a great opportunity for any writer looking for more exposure
and experience. I dug out my entry for the 2008 call and reprinted it below and
left it as it was submitted.
I was lucky in that Governor
Blagojevich gave me the perfect pedestal to stand on. I could gather facts and
opinions just by walking down the street to get a cup of coffee. Distilling all
that information into a compact column of 600 words was a bit harder and I went
through a lot of rewrites in a short amount of time. Yes, I was pushing the
The deadline for 600 words is BEFORE midnight on Feb.5th.
Look for all the details in
The Dispatch and The Rock Island Argus newspapers.
Go for it!
Don’t Wait to See Bishop Hill
“You don’t know
what you got ‘til it’s gone,” a common refrain usually said with sad overtones
of regret. Well, it didn’t happen this
time around, at least, not yet.
Blagojevich’s amendatory penmanship stirred up some dust over here in Illinois
, maybe more
than anyone expected. Could be he
thought no one would notice or care if state parks and historic sites closed
their doors, barred the gates, and quietly went away. Wrong—it was noticed right away.
It got a lot of
people to rise up off their sofas, brush off the crumbs, and get active for
For some, it’s
been a crash course in Civic Activism 101.
For others, it was doing the work that was necessary; to sit by and do
nothing was not an option.
petitions to “save” the Bishop Hill State Historic Site in Henry County
got out so fast that they had to be rewritten when further details became
A committee formed
to coordinate the information that needed to be gathered. Petitions went out to all the surrounding
towns and letters of support were garnered from everywhere possible. The dry statistics that proved the financial
impact of the proposed closings were gathered and collected into a notebook
that grew in thickness as the days passed.
It was copied numerous times and passed around wherever possible.
it was working the telephones, talking to the right people, and getting
appointments in Springfield
to talk to even more people.
The response from
our local elected officials was fast, sincere, and as effective as possible. Rep. Don Moffitt came on short notice and
returned often. His support mirrored
that of thousands of others.
The result was
getting noticed and making a difference.
The closing date has been pushed back twice so far.
One might wonder
if any good can come from a mess such as this.
Well, there is good to be had aside from this new found activism and
When you live in a
small historic community like Bishop Hill, it can become easy to believe that
the world revolves around you. This
coming crisis of closing the state historic sites has proven that to be a false
belief. Yes, we have support pouring in
from local and international sources, but there are many more folks out there
who haven’t a clue what all the fuss is about.
These are the ones who will call or email to ask if anything is still
open, as if there’s a gate at either end of town that is going to be closed and
locked somehow, as if there is nothing else here besides the state sites.
resorted to posting signs in their windows to reassure their customers that the
majority of Bishop Hill is not going to disappear any time soon.
Losing the state
historic sites would be bad, but Bishop Hill is a unique little place that may
well have more museums per capita than Springfield
. The visitors that are returning for another
look know that.
And it looks like
Bishop Hill is attracting new visitors, while others are encouraged to
appreciate our historic treasures one more time. Judging by the number of cars in town, it’s
fair to say that visitation for Bishop Hill as a whole is up—at least for
now. Thank you, Governor, for that