Showing posts with label RURAL. Show all posts
Showing posts with label RURAL. Show all posts

Sunday, December 29, 2013

I'll always remember Charlie Moore

This morning on CBS Sunday Morning, one of the last vestiges of "good television," the usual end-of-the-year feature to honor those who have died in 2013 was shown.

I generally get a little choked up during this kind of presentation. To lose anyone who has touched us in some way, even if it is just through an infinitesimal connection, I always feel a sense of loss.

As I watched, I had a moment, where I almost expected to hear the name Charles Moore, a man whose loss touched me much more deeply.

Of course, Charlie wasn't a national figure, and he wasn't well-known by a huge television audience, but perhaps he should have been. The world would be a better place if he had been known beyond his rural Grant Park home. It would have been better if folks had listened to him and the common sense he uttered.

I know those of us that knew him were better because we knew him. His sense of humor reminded me much of my own dear father. He liked to make people laugh. I don't know anyone that wasn't fond of him. Most who knew him adored him.

I met Charlie and his late wife Arlene on a fall night in a parking lot outside the Beecher Community Hall, a small town gathering place that served as a venue for weddings, birthday parties, and as a polling place. We, along with several other families  lingered there, talking about what we witnessed at an FAA meeting about the State of Illinois' plan to build a new mega-airport less than a few miles from where we stood. We were drawn together by our opposition to the huge 23,000-acre airport that simply made no sense. That was in 1987, the day RURAL, (Residents United to Retain Agricultural Land) was born. RURAL still endures, in the organization STAND, (Shut This Airport Nightmare Down). In nearly 30 years, the state has still been unable to sell their idea, despite millions of dollars and a huge succession of politicians who have tried and failed.

Charlie and Arlene knew instinctively that building such a huge airport would change the face of their rural homestead and all they held dear. For a long time, they were fierce competitors. Together we attended meetings, held picket signs, and spoke out against the airport. Arlene was more vocal, but she spoke for Charlie too. They were always together, usually hand-in-hand or walking with her arm tucked into his. I'll never forget one day when at a public meeting, she sat in the front row.

She raised her fist as she scolded, “This is about dollar signs in the eyes instead of dirt in the hands!”

The first time I visited them at their farm, I was greeted by a couple of guard geese. When we finally went inside, they apologized for the disorganization. They were remodeling their kitchen. I didn't notice. There was a warmth about the place. Along the far wall was the kitchen table. It was completely clear except for a bouquet of wild flowers. Behind it were huge plant-filled windows that overlooked a blue sky that seemed to go on forever. The foreground was golden with rows of stubble from last year's corn crop. At that instant, I knew what they were fighting for.

I retired and moved away several years later, but the images of the people I cared so much about were never far from my mind despite no longer being in contact. When I learned that Arlene had died, it was like a jolt. Since I was still writing for the local newspaper, I wrote about her. I was surprised when Charlie called to thank me for writing it. We had a lovely talk. It was just like old times. That was the last time I spoke to him, though he had been in my thoughts.

About a year ago, their daughter Colleen and I became friends on Facebook. I was so happy to hear from her, anxious to hear about her dad. Then, almost a year later, on Dec. 10 of this year, I was stung by the news of his death.

It is hard saying goodbye to Charlie. Both he and Arlene tried to never say goodbye, because it was so final. Instead, they insisted on saying, "see ya." That was always our parting phrase. In March 2006 I said goodbye to Arlene. It is with such sad regret that I must also say goodbye to Charlie.

Obituary: Charles Moore

Charles Moore

Charles W. Moore Sr., 84, of Grant Park, passed away Tuesday (Dec. 10, 2013) at Riverside Medical Center in Kankakee.
Visitation will be from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday at Hub Funeral Chapel in Grant Park and again from 9:30 a.m. Monday until the 10:30 a.m. funeral services at St. Peter's United Church of Christ in Grant Park. Burial will follow in Heusing Cemetery, Grant Park.

Memorials may be made to the family's wishes.

Charles, known to many as Charlie, was born April 17, 1929, in Afton, Iowa, the son of Mable and Joseph Moore.

He was a Korean War veteran, having served his country proudly in the U.S. Navy from 1951-1954 as a gunner and ship baker. Returning from the Korean War, Charlie moved to Illinois, where he met his wife, Arlene "Maggie." They were married in Blue Island, where they started their family. Shortly after their marriage, Charlie began his career with Nicor Gas and became a systems operating supervisor, the position from which he retired in 1989 after 34 loyal years. Maggie and Charlie developed lifelong friendships through Nicor Gas. Maggie and Luke (the nickname Maggie gave her sweetheart) took their family to live the country life in 1970.

Charlie remained in the home Maggie and he created until his passing. Veggie and flower gardening were a passion for Charlie, as well as reading about his fellow shipmates in the military literature he received. Charlie loved the country living, the peaceful evenings with the coyotes "singing," and had a big heart for animals. He also enjoyed taking pictures of nature and attending the activities and events of his grandchildren, which kept him busy. Charlie was the beloved videographer at St. Peter's United Church of Christ, where he and his family attended for many years. After the love of Charlie's life and partner of 52 years, Maggie, passed away, he struggled to see joy in life and lost the twinkle in his eyes.

Charlie received a second chance at joy with Judy Lange. They brought laughter and companionship into each other's lives.
He was a past member of the Grant Park School Board, lifelong member of the Korean War Veteran's Association, active member of the American Legion and the U.S. LST Association. Charlie enjoyed playing on the dartball team at St. Peter's and serving on the memorial and pastoral relations committees. He was a proud participant in the annual Memorial Day Ceremony at the Community Park in Grant Park.

Surviving are two sons and daughters-in-law, Chuck and Elissa Moore, of Mazon, and Steve and Judy Moore, of Joliet; one daughter, Colleen Martin, of Grant Park; grandchildren, Jessie and Gina Martin, Adam Zickuhr, Andrew (Shelbi), Matt, Nick, Kayla, Anna, Kendra, Angela and Taylor Moore; special friend, Judy Lange; sister-in-law, Marcella Moore; many nieces, nephews, cousins and dear friends.

In addition to his wife and parents, Charlie was preceded in death by an infant daughter, Marie; a sister, Bessie June; and a brother, Joseph.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Happy 21st RURAL, a personal reflection

Happy 21st Birthday RURAL, a personal reflection

Twenty-one years ago, my life took a little jog in the road. I haven't been the same since. My daughter Jenny was only 8; my son Chris was 7. I'm a grandmother now. I have found peace in retirement, in the State ofArkansas where my husband John and I moved almost five years ago. But as much as my life has changed, the steadfast resolve that grew out of that day remains unyielding.

Aug. 2, 1988 was the day RURAL (Residents United to Retain Agricultural Land) was born. That was the official day, yet the real change had taken place weeks earlier — in the spring — when John and I attended our first airport meeting. John was so angry he rarely attended another one. I on the other hand can't count the number of meetings I have attended over the years. John's anger turned into pure hatred. Mine started that way too but was tempered, unbeknownst to me at the time, by a strong desire to mother a movement.

John was incensed when state consultants Marjorie and Suhailal Chalabi, who are still with the project painting a rosy picture of a successful airport with thousands of jobs and thousands of passengers eager to shun Chicago airports just to fly out of Peotone, argued that planes would not make noise in the future. That was the first time I ever laid eyes on Aldo DeAngelis, the late state senator, the beloved Italian who charmed everyone around him, as long as you agreed with him. I didn't.

There were 13 of us at that first meeting, who were all appalled at what we had heard. We stood in the parking lot at the Beecher Community Hall where we held our own little 'after the meeting' meeting. I later learned these were necessary to de-program after such a meeting where there was always a purposeful assault to our intelligence.

On this night, I suggested we pass our phone numbers around. Brenda Thunhurst., of Crete, whipped out a tablet and pen where we all scribbled our names and numbers. She typed the list at work and sent it to all of us. I wonder where that piece of paper is now? I had all that information on another computer—on a 5 1/4" floppy disk—which is no longer compatible with today's systems. If only technology hadn't moved so quickly, I could just search my computer for it.

Hah, if only transportation technology had advanced at a similar rate we'd be taking bullet trains to get from one point to another.

Or if Illinois politics would have matured past its historical pay-to-play mentality, eastern Will County would be a very different place today.

RURAL's guiding principles, formed during those early days of the opposition to build a new airpor never wavered. Still in tact, they were transferred to STAND (Shut This Airport Nightmare Down). The overlying fact is that if something already exists — airports in Gary on the east, Milwaukee on the north, Rockford on the west, and Kankakee on the south — why build a new one?

If a farm economy is working and contributing to the region, why destroy it for an airport that could turn out like the state's white elephant Mid-America at Mascoutah? To be fair, we didn't know about Mid-America then. But once we learned about it, what a great poster child it turned out to be for what not todo.

The Peotone airport project has seen countless promoters over the years, all state-sponsored, paid by tax dollars, who have come and gone. They have taken as much from the taxpayers as they could get before they moved on, probably for more steady work or bigger paychecks. They have never looked back at the chaos they helped create or the people, property, community, and more that they have destroyed.

Even the project has changed. It has changed boundaries, size and focus. The state is searching for a winnable solution and so far, has not found one. I doubt it ever will. I have said for 21 years that an airport will not be built. I'd like to stand by that statement. But I can't. I have learned that all things are possible when the equation includes greed, power, corruption, dishonesty, and lack of responsibility, integrity, and morality. There is money and power to be amassed, so they continue.

Not only was RURAL life-changing in itself, but it also sparked my career. On Sept. 2, 1988, after never writing any more than letters to the editor, I achieved my first byline on a story published in Kankakee's Daily Journal. I was a correspondent until 1997 when I went to work full time there. That was when I convinced George Ochsenfeld to take over RURAL. I entrusted him with something I considered very special, but I had been a volunteer long enough. My kids were getting older. Money was an issue, so I voluntarily gave up RURAL to work as a journalist. My association with the Journal continued for two years. In '99 I went to work for Russell Publications, the weekly paper that covers several towns. Because of Russell's stance against the airport, I was more able to write about what I knew about the project without having to kow-tow to the multitude of official press releases that touted unsubstantiated claims about the project. I continued to report the facts.

One of the hardest things I have ever had to do was walk that fine line. But to the best of my ability I never compromised my integrity as a journalist based on my personal feelings. I did however; inject facts I knew into stories. Over time, reporters went to other papers or other jobs and the real meat of the airport story became lost in all those press releases with a few quotes thrown in from our side. The knowledge of past events that shaped today's happenings had all been lost. At that point, I became an advocacy journalist, reporting from a historical perspective.

Laid off now, I continue to write on-line and in this and other blogs. I still consult with George and STAND. And I have a lot of time for reflection. Perhaps one day I will announce a new book in this very blog.