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The Friends of the Trails of the Jacksonville Park Foundation invites the public to tour the spot for a planned walk/run/ride bridge at Lake Jacksonville.

Volunteers will be on hand 5:30-6:30 Wednesday afternoon September 7 and 9-10 Saturday morning September 10 with plans for the bridge, and for a proposed bike transportation network. The final vote on the issue is expected at the city council meeting 6pm Monday September 12 (2nd floor City Hall). You can download lake plans via DropBox.

The designed and funded bridge is at the old West Lake Road crossing of Big Sandy Creek. The bridge plus the existing road bed would create a half mile of traffic-free path for families to walk or ride bikes, and enable people to run or ride bikes around Lake Jacksonville without having to travel on IL 267. Mountain bikers who made trails at Mauvaisterre Lake are chomping at the bit to put in trails at Lake Jacksonville that won’t flood. Plus fishermen will have easier access to shoreline close to the dam. And campers on the south side of the lake will have an option to get to the concession area without using their vehicles.

The area is city park land that you may visit at any time. Come during the tour time to get info, take a little walk in the woods to see the site for yourself and find out what you can do to make the bridge a reality. Use Facebook events for Wednesday and Saturday to spread the word. Or bring your dog and join in the simultaneous Dog Packs Wednesday and Saturday.

Directions from Jacksonville — take 267 south, turn left on New Lake Road, turn right on West Lake Road, go about 1 mile to parking lot.

Directions from Jacksonville — take 267 south, turn left on New Lake Road, after RR tracks and houses turn right on West Lake Road, go about 1 mile to parking lot.

westlakedam

Download plans. See the city’s comprehensive plan for references to a bike path around the lake. (Develop a trail system in Jacksonville for multi-purpose use around Lake Jacksonville on p 191, search the PDF for “bike” for other references.) Send feedback on the plans below. Thanks to Shawn Artis for creating the proposed bike transportation plan outline maps. Map of lake showing public land and existing/old roads ripe to be made into trails.

lakejax_hikebikelow

Protect the Melon! logo

Thanks to a generous sponsorship from the Morgan County Medical Society and Passavant Area Hospital all fourth graders in the Jacksonville community will receive helmets this year as part of the Protect the Melon! campaign.

The Jacksonville Park Foundation partners with Illinois College Professor Dr. Jeremy Turner in the Protect the Melon! campaign which encourages youth to wear a helmet when biking, roller skating, riding a scooter, skateboarding or any other wheeled activity. Illinois College psychology students help with a lesson on brain health, then everyone gets a helmet.

Links, tips and information on being a Melonhead is available at ic.edu/melonhead.

Illinois College student fits 4th grader with helmet. Photos by Darren Iozia

Illinois College student fits 4th grader with helmet. Photos by Darren Iozia

Dr. Jeremy Turner of Illinois College shows the result of a fall to an unprotected melon.

Dr. Jeremy Turner of Illinois College shows the result of a fall to an unprotected melon.

Student with helmet.

Student with helmet.

Thanks to Darren Iozia Photography for photos of the event. See more images on the Jacksonville Park Foundation – Town Brook Initiative Facebook page.  

 

The Jacksonville Park Foundation is working with the Pilot Club, Helmets First!, the Illinois College Psychology Club and others in the community to fund the program for future years. Contact Foundation President Steve Warmowski via jacksonvilleparkfoundation.com to help.

The Jacksonville Park Foundation focuses on health, recreation and families. Volunteers in the group have started several initiatives to improve the quality of life in the Jacksonville community such as youth health via the Jacksonville Children’s Garden; advocating for a bridge and path at Lake Jacksonville and a Town Brook recreational trail; creation of a new dog park through the Bark Park Initiative; assisting in fundraising for a new disc golf course; and other park enhancements. The foundation is a nonprofit, tax-exempt charitable organization and is solely reliant on private funding.

You can contribute by making a check out to Jacksonville Park Foundation and mailing to Laura Marks/JPF Treasurer, Jacksonville Savings Bank, 1211 W. Morton Ave., Jacksonville, IL 62650.

Note: due to end-of-semester scheduling issues not all 4th graders received helmets in the spring campaign. We will work with schools to hand out the remaining helmets when school is back in session next month.

Link to initial story.

Volunteers have built up great trails on the east edge of Mauvaisterre Lake in Jacksonville (On Woods Lane, first bridge south of Country Club Road). Cyclists from all over the region come ride, you should check them out, too.

Here’s a different way to enjoy the trails — at night. Rides start about an hour before sunset. The bravest riders will hang around until after the sun goes down, strap on lights and ride into the dark. Arooooooo!

Please check the Jacksonville Recreational Trails​ Facebook page before the ride to make sure they’re not too muddy. Please respect the work of volunteers and don’t rut the trails. Updates on the group’s Facebook event. No registration — no sponsor. This is a crowd-sourced event on park land.

First ride is Friday July 31st. If you can’t make it Friday, come out Saturday.

Later in the year rides can switch to Friday, or Friday and Saturday (depending on feedback). Come on out and enjoy the trails with friends. Here’s the full schedule for the year.

  • July 31-Aug 1 7pm – Alpha Dog Ride
  • Aug 28-29 7pm – Back to School
  • Sept 25-26 6pm – Harvest Moon
  • Oct 30-31 5pm – Halloween Ride (wear a costume)
  • Nov 27-28 3:30pm – Work off the Turkey Ride
Work Day Audubon Woods Lane Bike Trails Sunday 121202 TownBrook Town Brook Photos by Steve & Tiffany of Warmowski Photography http://www.warmowskiphoto.com 217.473.5581 EWRM/The Image Works

Work Day Audubon Woods Lane Bike Trails Sunday 121202 TownBrook Town Brook
Photos by Steve & Tiffany of Warmowski Photography http://www.warmowskiphoto.com 217.473.5581 EWRM/The Image Works

Edited — Ride scheduled for July 4th called off due to the wettest June in modern Illinois history. Please respect work of volunteers and don’t ride and rut muddy trails.

C&A Construction of Jacksonville has offered a challenge to help the community in the Bark for Your Park contest. C&A will donate a dollar to PAWS for every vote for Jacksonville from now until June 10th.

Help PAWS and all dogs in the community via our PetSafe contest entry by barking twice a day at 1) PetSafe http://bit.ly/1H4FII1 and 2) Facebook http://on.fb.me/1EFm19a — get background info at jaxbark.com.

Remi the labradors

Remi

PAWS (Protecting Animal Welfare Society) is a non-profit animal protection organization at 400 W. Walnut St., Jacksonville IL 62650. Follow PAWS on Facebook.

Thanks to owners Clint & Abbi Stevens for supporting PAWS and this effort to bring a new dog park to Jacksonville. Their lab, Remi, was killed in a tragic accident earlier this month — and their votes in the contest are in his memory. “Our dogs need a safe place to run, play, and enjoy themselves free from danger.”Be sure to like C&A Construction on Facebook. C&A Construction, 321 Finley St., Jacksonville IL 62650.

Posted by Abbi Bradish Stevens 05/25 in comments on Jacksonville page on PetSafe’s web site . . .
Voting daily in memory of our sweet boy Remi! RIP buddy, we miss you dearly. Our other 2 Labs, Harley and Koda, would love a safe place to run and play with other dogs. Keep up the votes Jacksonville, IL.!!!

Entry Period voting ends June 10, Finalists cities will be notified June 15. Voting in the final round starts June 17 and ends July 22. See rules for more details. Jacksonville is in the running for $100,000 or one of four $25,000 runner-up prizes offered by PetSafe in the contest.

By Harry Ford

The League of American Bicyclist was founded as the League of American Wheelmen in 1880. Bicyclists, known then as “wheelmen,” were challenged by rutted roads of gravel and dirt and faced antagonism from horsemen, wagon drivers, and pedestrians.

In an effort to improve riding conditions so they might better enjoy their newly discovered sport, more than 100,000 cyclists from across the United States joined the League to advocate for paved roads. The success of the League in its first advocacy efforts ultimately led to our national highway system.

Today there are 20,000 direct members and a total of 300,000 including affiliate organizations who share the League’s Vision and Mission:

The Vision is a nation where everyone recognizes and enjoys the many benefits and opportunities of bicycling.

The Mission is to lead the movement to create a Bicycle Friendly America for everyone. As leaders, our commitment is to listen and learn, define standards and share best practices to engage diverse communities and build a powerful, unified voice for change.

Anyone serious about improving cycling opportunities should consider joining The League—go to bikeleague.org/join.

By Harry Ford

The League of Illinois Bicyclists (LIB) is the statewide advocate for all Illinois bicyclists, promoting bicycle access, education, and safety.  Our vision:  “Illinois – Land of Safe and Enjoyable Bicycling for all.”
VISION STATEMENT — Illinois – Land of Safe and Enjoyable Bicycling for all.

MISSION STATEMENT — The League of Illinois Bicyclists is the statewide advocate for all Illinois bicyclists and bicycling; promoting bicycle use, access, education, and safety.

OBJECTIVES

  1. Maintain and increase access to public facilities for bicycles which will encourage their use for
    transportation, health and recreation.
  2. Educate bicyclists and motorists about their mutual rights and responsibilities.
  3. Educate bicyclists on safe cycling skills.
  4. Develop an active communications network at all levels of government throughout the state; to give voice to the needs of bicyclists.
  5. Increase the organization’s impact and effectiveness through strategic collaborations.

DHFandHeidionBike

The vision, mission and objective statements are, like most, a bit broad and abstract, but consider the following excerpts from LIB’s short- and long-term goals list to begin to see how they manifest in specific programs:

  • Ensure that all Illinois bicyclists and motorists are exposed to bicycle safety principles and “Share the Road” training, especially grade school and Driver’s Education students
  • Increase the amount of municipal bicycle planning assistance [to community planners].
  • Work for adoption of Complete Streets (routine accommodation of bicyclists and pedestrians) road design and development policies by local government agencies.
  • Work with IDOT to implement recommendations of the state bike plan.
  • Start a Capital Improvement Program campaign to review and provide bike-friendly suggestions to towns on their upcoming road project list.
  • Conduct a “mayors’ bike challenge” to enlist local officials to take the bikesafetyquiz.com quizzes and then encourage their constituents to do so.

In short, here is how LIB works for you . . .
LIB works with local, state, and federal officials on behalf of bicyclists.

  • Advocate bike-friendly road designs and policies
  • Promote trail development and funding at the local, state, and federal levels
  • Educate officials on why and how their towns can be bicycle-friendly
  • Develop bicycle safety education programs for cyclists and motorists
  • Serve on transportation policy-making committees
  • Propose legislation and other programs protecting cyclists’ rights on the roads

LIB works with individual bicyclists to guide their local efforts.

  • Make it easy for you to have an impact by distilling issues down to simple action alerts
  • For those wanting to get more involved locally, serve as technical, strategic, and organizing resource
  • Distribute information and answer questions on bike safety, bike laws, rides and clubs, and much more

Want to get involved in making Illinois – and Jacksonville – a “safe and enjoyable” bicycling place? Go to http://www.bikelib.org.

By Harry Ford

May is National Bike Month, sponsored by the League of American Bicyclists and celebrated in communities from coast to coast. Established in 1956, National Bike Month is a chance to showcase the many benefits of bicycling — and encourage more folks to giving biking a try.

The League was founded as the League of American Wheelmen in 1880. Bicyclists, known then as “wheelmen,” were challenged by rutted roads of gravel and dirt and faced antagonism from horsemen, wagon drivers, and pedestrians. In an effort to improve riding conditions so they might better enjoy their newly discovered sport, more than 100,000 cyclists from across the United States joined the League to advocate for paved roads. The success of the League in its first advocacy efforts ultimately led to our national highway system.

Bicycling has grown tremendously over the years. The number of Americans who ride bicycles is greater than all those who ski, golf, and play tennis combined (National Sporting Goods Association), and according to the National Household Travel Survey, nine million bike trips occur in the U.S. every day. Sounds like a lot of people doing a lot of riding, right? Absolutely. During the past two decades, cycling has increased in the United States. The number of bike commuters rose by 64% from 1990 to 2009. Most of us ride for recreation and fitness reasons and commuting is only a part of the bicycling story, but the statistics on bicycle commuting are an accurate indicator, not only of changing transportation patterns and choices, but also of the rise of cycling in general.

In Illinois, between 2005 and 2011, bicycle commuting grew 45%; in Missouri, 73%. But enough with statistics. Bicycling is simply good for the legs and lungs, the heart and the core, good for the environment, good for the community—economically and culturally, and it is good for the soul. There are many, many reasons that people ride bicycles.

Ask a bicyclist why he or she rides. All of the answers will be good ones. Here are a few from local cyclists:

One fellow (nameless by request) rides because he likes the quiet cruise through the countryside; he likes “sneaking up on” wildlife – turkeys, deer and a special sighting of a red-tailed hawk coming out of a wet spring ditch with a five-foot long shake in beak and talon: Only time – and the last time – that snake ever flew.” It’s not just sights and sounds though. Biking provides unique stimulation for all the senses: “I have only once smelled simultaneously the lovely thick aroma of pan-frying chicken combined with the acrid scent of skunk and that was on a bicycle while passing a farmhouse.”

Herschel Surratt, 79, of Chapin says that he started rides because it works out the soreness in his knees – his replaced knees. That, plus the exercise improves his overall health and helps combat cholesterol and blood pressure problems. That, plus “I see things I just don’t notice when I’m in a car.” And finally, “I like it.” Herschel recently has ridden as much as 50 miles in a day; and his “joke” with friends is that he’d like to ride 80 miles on his 80th birthday. Best guess is that it’s no joke, and, if it is, Herschel will provide an 80-mile punchline.

Bottom Line: Whether one bikes to work or school; rides to save money or time; pumps those pedals to preserve personal health or planetary and community environment; or simply to explore one’s surroundings, National Bike Month is an opportunity to celebrate the unique power of the bicycle and the many reasons we ride.

Each year the number and diversity of Bike Month celebrations continues to grow. Let’s add Morgan County to that list and work toward accelerating the momentum building around bicycling locally, as well as nationwide. Let’s celebrate the reasons we ride and invite everyone to find his or her own reasons.

More . . .

Bike safety quiz

Morgan Cyclists — rides every Wednesday at 5:30

Protect the Melon! — free helmets sponsored by Passavant Area Hospital, Morgan County Medical Society and distributed by Illinois College psychology students

The Jacksonville cycling community and the community in general is invited to join Morgan Cyclists and friends in the 2015 Ride of Silence. Indeed, join cyclists worldwide in a silent slow-paced ride (10 mph, no more) in honor of those who have been injured or killed while cycling on public roadways. Why? To honor those who have been injured or killed. To raise awareness that bicyclists are here. To ask that we all share the road.

May 20, 2015
Assemble: 6:30 pm
Ride: 7:00 (at the latest). Ride slowly. Ride silently. Ride respectfully.

Start/Finish: Passavant Area Hospital Courtyard. Enter hospital campus on Founder’s Lane, proceed to park on north side of campus. Brief ceremony in courtyard. Ride will begin at the North Entrance.

Ride Length: 8.3 miles
Ride Time: One hour

Route: START at Passavant North Entrance – right to Founder’s Lane – left on Walnut – right on Webster – left on State – around south side of square and continue on East State – right on Johnson – to Foreman Grove – enter park and loop around , then right on Johnson – left on College – across town – right on Westgate – right on Walnut – left on Founder’s Lane – FINISH.

The Story
On May 20, 2015 at 7:00 PM, the Ride of Silence will begin in North America and roll across the globe. Cyclists will take to the roads in a silent procession to honor cyclists who have been killed or injured while cycling on public roadways. Although cyclists have a legal right to share the road with motorists, the motoring public often isn’t aware of these rights, and sometimes not aware of the cyclists themselves.
In 2003, Chris Phelan organized the first Ride of Silence in Dallas after endurance cyclist Larry Schwartz was hit by the mirror of a passing bus and was killed. The Ride of Silence is a free ride that asks its cyclists to ride no faster than 12 mph, wear helmets, follow the rules of the road and remain silent during the ride. There are no sponsors and no registration fees. The ride, held during National Bike Month, aims to raise the awareness of motorists, police and city officials that cyclists have a legal right to the public roadways. The ride is also a chance to show respect for and honor the lives of those who have been killed or injured.
Last year: 315 events – 49 states of the U.S. – 22 countries – seven continents. Thousands of bicyclists riding in unison.
Join Morgan Cyclists. Join your friends and neighbors. Join the rest of the world.

See a list of rides for May, and links to join Morgan Cyclists bike club.

Ride of Silence – May 20, 2015 — Posted by Harry Ford of the Morgan Cyclists

Protect the Melon! logo

The Morgan County Medical Society and Passavant Area Hospital are partnering with the Jacksonville Park Foundation and Illinois College Professor Dr. Jeremy Turner to give away helmets to every fourth grade student in Jacksonville.

The Protect the Melon! campaign encourages youth to wear a helmet when biking, roller skating, riding a scooter, skateboarding or any other wheeled activity. “The importance of wearing a helmet has been shown to save lives and protect against brain injuries,” said Dr. Turner. “Being active is essential to being a healthy child, and with that comes falls and tumbles.”

Illinois College psychology students have been presenting the brain awareness program and giving away bicycle helmets to fourth graders at Lincoln Elementary for a number of years. Jacksonville Park Foundation founding board member Harry Ford had the idea to expand the program to all the schools in the community. This is the second year all 350-plus fourth graders in Jacksonville public and private schools will receive helmets.

fitting helmet on student

Illinois College student JJ Wang fits helmet during Protect the Melon 2014 at Lincoln Elementary School.

On Thursday, April 9, Illinois College students will travel to District 117 schools to give a lesson on how the brain works, show how a melon with and without a helmet fares when hitting the pavement, and distribute the helmets. Distribution to Our Saviour School, Salem Lutheran School, Westfair Christian Academy and Illinois School for the Deaf will be at a later date.

Links, tips and information on being a Melonhead is available at ic.edu/melonhead.

Test your knowledge and learn about relevant laws and skills – for both bicyclists and motorists – in the bicycle safety quiz challenge at bikesafetyquiz.com.

The Jacksonville Park Foundation is working with the Pilot Club, Helmets First!, the Illinois College Psychology Club and others in the community to fund the program for future years. Contact Foundation President Steve Warmowski via jacksonvilleparkfoundation.com to help.

The Jacksonville Park Foundation focuses on health, recreation and families. Volunteers in the group have started several initiatives to improve the quality of life in the Jacksonville community such as its youth health via the Jacksonville Children’s Garden; advocating for a bridge and path at Lake Jacksonville and a Town Brook recreational trail; and park enhancements. The foundation is a nonprofit, tax-exempt charitable organization and is solely reliant on private funding.

You can contribute by making a check out to Jacksonville Park Foundation and mailing to Laura Marks/JPF Treasurer, Jacksonville Savings Bank, 1211 W. Morton Ave., Jacksonville, IL 62650.

professor holds melon fitted with helmet

Illinois College Psychology Professor Jeremy Turner prepares to drop a melon fitted with a helmet during Protect the Melon! 2014 at North Elementary School.

Group photo of kids with new helmets

Students at Murrayville-Woodson Elementary School with their new helmets last year. Fourth graders at all Jacksonville schools will receive helmets again this year thanks to Morgan County Medical Society and Passavant Area Hospital.

2015 Passavant-Gatorade 5K & 10K is Saturday May 30

Thanks to all those who participated in our Premier Town Brook 5k last month! The event was organized by Dave McCollum, and we really appreciate all the work he did setting up the course and getting his buddies to run the finish line. He’s passed on the times . . .

  1. Jay Wessler 21:23
  2. Richard Cody 22:16
  3. Rachel Langdon 22:46
  4. Philip Langdon 24:07
  5. Tyler Stewart 24:09
  6. Emily West 24:16
  7. Rachel Antle 26:24
  8. Beki Allen 28:10
  9. Tyler Wood 28:13
  10. Jeremy Bell 28:21
  11. Anna Wagner 28:21
  12. Addie Boston 28:22
  13. Stacey Vaniter 28:46
  14. Sandy Ballard 29:35
  15. Tammy Bone 29:57
  16. Alicia Wood 31:04
  17. David Killebrew 31:26
  18. Amy Wilson 31:56
  19. Jennifer Taylor 34:19
  20. Julie Kunzeman 35:05
  21. Karen Sibert 35:10
  22. Linda Strubbe 35:18
  23. Amanda Hagloch 42:56
  24. Mary Gray 45:40
  25. Tina Vernor 45:40
  26. Becky Hartz 47:25
  27. Melisa Thomas 47:40
  28. Howard Bryant 47:40
  29. Rhea Drake 47:40

The event was a fundraiser for the Jacksonville Park Foundation to support health, recreation and families. Since the run volunteers have been busy with projects like the Jacksonville Children’s Garden, and advocating for a pedestrian bridge on West Lake Road (so people running and riding their bikes can circumnavigate Lake Jacksonville).

As for next year, the Downtown Celebration is moving to the last weekend in May. That conflicts with the Passavant-Powerade 5k and 10k Race, so we are exploring other options.