COLUMNS

DeWayne's World - '09 just might be fun

DeWayne Bartels

Tis’ the time of year to make predictions. I have a few.

I predict in February, after 74 years in business, Steak N’ Shake will reach two milestones at its franchise on North University near Pioneer Parkway.

The first milestone is that the company, which has more than 490 locations, will get the 100th Takhomasak order right. Just one week later, the North Peoria franchise creates another company record when it takes the money from five customers in a month with less than a 15 minute wait.    

Merle Widmer, in March, will immediately resign from the Peoria County Board to become the director of the RiverPlex.

A city council meeting is held on April 1. At-large councilman George Jacob suffers a strained rotator cuff after city clerk Mary Haynes, as an April Fool’s joke, puts nothing but liquor license applications on the agenda and Jacob has to raise his hand 42 times to declare, “As a liquor license holder, I have to abstain.”

Just days later, Mayor Jim Ardis will be re-elected to a second term. It will be a narrow victory against General Parker. Ardis may have his own crime task force, but he does not know crime from quite the same perspective as his opponent. Parker will run an interesting ad campaign featuring pictures of him with Gov. Rod Blagojevich and the tag line, “General Parker — You don’t have to worry about what the power of public office will do to me. I already have a criminal record.”

In May, when the weather starts turning nice, the city will go to court and win a case of eminent domain on that portion of Prospect and Galena roads that lies within Peoria Heights. As soon as the judge’s order is signed, the city will begin a capital improvement project on Galena, Prospect, Knoxville, Sheridan, University, Big Hollow, Allen Road and Route 91 simultaneously.

Heartland Partnership director Jim MConoughey will declare, “I love Peoria. You can get from one end of town to the other in three hours.”

In June, Ken Hinton will resign as superintendent of District 150. The school board, in a surprise vote, will give the job to the newly resigned Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

Blago will set about solving the school district’s financial woes by trying to sell the school system to the Illinois State Lottery for $14 billion. He will also seek a legislative re-write of the state smoking ban to allow smoking in schools by students if they pay a smoking fee of $10/week. The measure, Blago says, will raise an estimated $50 million annually at District 150. 

In July, U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock and transportation secretary Ray LaHood will hold a joint press conference announcing the first major infrastructure project of the Obama administration will be the expansion of Pioneer Parkway to Omaha, Neb.

In August, the Pioneer Parkway extension will be completed but immediately closed because it is too icy to drive on, prompting Al Gore to come to Peoria to declare it is a symptom of global warming. 

In September, after the Obama administration fails to get the EPA off Peoria’s back about sewage discharge into the river, the city council will outlaw flushing on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Within a week, the river level will drop 11 feet.

In November, Comcast will be acquired by Steak N’ Shake. Service complaints will drop 192,000 percent the first day. 

In December, Pioneer Parkway — which by then is under 11 feet of ice — is named the Rush Limbaugh Polar Bear Preservation Habitat.

Within days of opening, however, the attraction will have to be shut down because all the polar bears — introduced to the VD capital of Illinois — will have become infected with chlamydia.