RANTOUL — Bank of Rantoul and Denny and Anne Long have committed to gifts totaling $130,000 toward the under-construction Rantoul Family Sports Complex.

The gifts were announced at last week’s village board study session.

Bank of Rantoul, which is celebrating its 100th year, will provide $100,000 to the sports complex, which secures the naming rights to one of the state-of-the-art video boards located on one of the championship fields at the complex.

The Longs have committed to a gift of $30,000 on behalf of the Jackie Long Foundation.

The gift will secure the naming rights to a scoreboard for one of the softball fields.

Mike Graham

Rantoul Village Clerk Mike Graham, who said he won't seek re-election next April. 

Said Denny Long, “Rantoul sports played a big role in raising our family, and this is a small way to say thank you.”

Long serves as chairman of the board and Co-CEO of Bank of Rantoul.

Anyone with questions regarding sponsorship opportunities for the sports complex may contact Ranae Wilson, director of sports marketing, at rwilson@myrantoul.com or 217-893-5732.

Election filing dates

Village Clerk Mike Graham said the next consolidated election will be April 6.

The filing period to pick up nominating petitions and to begin collecting signatures to run for village office begins Sept. 22. The election will be the first village board election in which the community is divided into six districts. Residents can vote only for the candidate(s) in their district. In the past, board candidates were elected at large regardless of where they lived in the community.

In the Nov. 3 election, residents will be asked whether the terms should be staggered — whether the trustees elected in the odd-numbered districts should initially serve four-year terms and those in even-numbered districts two-year terms initially. If the question fails, all trustee candidates will serve four-year terms initially. Graham said it has not been determined what the minimum and maximum number of signatures will be needed for nominating petitions.  

Petitions may be filed Dec. 14-21, followed by a seven-day period in which objections may be filed.

The mayor and village clerk will each run for four-year terms. Graham said he will not seek re-election.

In another matter, Mayor Chuck Smith asked the board to approve the appointment of Crystal Wilson to the citizens advisory committee.

Smith said Wilson was interviewed for a seat on the human relations committee. She said if she was not chosen for that committee, she would be open to serving the community on another committee.

Accusations made

In the public participation portion of the meeting, resident Timothy Odom made accusations of being bullied by a Rantoul police officer.

He said an officer broke the 6-foot social distancing barrier when talking with him, and said another officer who arrived later “showed up with a mask in her hand” that she didn’t put on and also broke the 6-foot barrier.

“I had a heart attack several years ago and am on meds and would be classified as high risk” of contracting the COVID-19 virus, Odom said.

He said he had reached out to a police lieutenant who had not “gotten back to me”

“I expect more professional conduct from higher-ranking officials in the department,” Odom said, “and was expecting the chief would get back to me, and he didn’t either.”

Police Chief Tony Brown said he has talked to Odom twice, and a lieutenant, three sergeants, an officer and a public service representative have talked to him regarding the issue, and all have told him the same thing. Brown said Odom never made a claim of being bullied or having a problem with social distancing.

He said Odom’s complaint is over a civil matter regarding a building tenant. Brown said Odom, in an effort to get the tenant to move out, had tried to have the tenant’s vehicle towed, saying it was inoperable. But the tenant moved it. Brown said Odom was advised he should contact the attorney representing the property to make sure any actions he wants to take against the tenant don’t violate the tenant’s rights.

Odom added: “This Crime Free Rental program is a great thing, but if they’re not working within the guidelines that have been set, I think we’ve got issues there. If anyone would want to reach out from the trustees and the mayor, I would be willing to talk.”

Brown said police explained to Odom that the Crime Free Housing ordinance deals with criminal activity and does not apply to this situation.

Flags taken down

Resident Loise Haines informed the board the flags were taken down downtown and on Borman Drive a couple of weeks ago.

She said some were tattered, and some were vandalized. Haines said some new flags would have to be ordered.

“They are in bad shape,” she said. “The American flag looked like it was twisted, and the POW one was broken and was sitting by the trash. I think that’s very disrespectful.”

The village helped with the cost of the flags. Smith said “quite a few” veterans had asked him where the flags were.

Haines said she believes high winds did some of the damage.

She said locations in town are being sought to place mini murals that have been created by high school art students.

Power outage response

Resident Debbra Sweat noted that in August she brought to the board’s attention several power outages in her neighborhood.

She said the power went out again since then, “but I do want to say Mr. (Greg) Hazel (director of public works) responded promptly and took care of the issue initially.”

She said it went out again two days later. Sweat said village employees were working on the problem most of one day and part of the following day. She thanked the village for its response.

dhinton@rantoulpress.com