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Tag Archives: illinois

My Tiny Little Hometown in East-Central Illinois


greenup3
My hometown is a tiny little blip on the map. If you blink you will miss it. If you are familiar with country western music, this is your typical small town that is mentioned in there. We have one bank, one stop light,  one grocery store, one car dealership, and the more churches than restaurants. The biggest disagreements and fights started over  Miller Light vs Bud Light, Cardinals vs Cubs, or Ford vs Chevrolet.  A big truck with a loud exhaust was a status symbol for most young men.

greenu

Greenup, Illinois USA or “Village of the Porches”  is located in East-Central Illinois in the country of Cumberland and has a population of around 1600 people. It is far from a wealthy town.  The median income for a household in the village was $29,375, and the median income for a family was $36,902 according to the last census.

Greenup 13
Illinois has a total of 102 counties and has the most forms of administrative government in the United States of America with over 8,000. The Illinois Constitution of 1970 , created for the first time in Illinois, a type of “home rule” that allows localities to govern themselves to a certain extent. Each county is broken down into townships with  an elected board that makes local decisions.

Greenup received its name from National Road surveyor William C. Greenup, who platted the town in 1834. He was one of the supervisors hired to oversee construction of the National Road in Illinois.

The little town has one dark bit of history. It used to have something called a “Sundown Law” that required all African Americans to be out of town before the sun went down.

greenup 14
This sad part of my town’s history was mentioned in the book ” Sundown Towns: A Hidden Dimension Of American Racism” by James W. Loewe.

The times have changed and Greenup has turned into a great place to raise a little family or spend your retirement in a safe little place where everyone knows everyone. Growing up in a tiny little community has made me a kinder and more friendly person. It wasn’t uncommon for me to wave at every single car that drove past me or to say  “hi” to the majority of people that you bump into at the grocery store.

Greenup15

I went to school at Cumberland High School which is  located a few miles outside of Greenup, IL. Some of the best times of my life happened in the halls of this little high school. We were known as the “Pirates” and had some really good basketball and baseball teams during my tenure. I was a very loud and obnoxious hooligan at basketball games. A total of five schools banned me from their gymnasiums for being loud and disrespectful. One school, Kansas High School, even sent a letter to my parents telling them that I was banned for life from all sporting events in Kansas. Dad decided to bring out the belt after receiving that letter. 😛

The community has also been crucial in the two large donations of sporting equipment that we pulled together for Serbia. I was interviewed in our most popular newspaper about my time in Serbia and had many schools, people and businesses contact me to help. We pulled together all of this American football gear that was delivered last winter. The local teams really appreciated it and had a dinner in my honor in Zrenjanin. We also shipped over a big donation of baseball equipment the year before. The people in Greenup love to help those that might need a bit of help. We have another big donation that Ervin Equipment and Arcola Youth Football pulled together a few months ago. It will be brought over soon!

If you ever find yourself in East-Central Illinois, swing by “The Village of the Porches”. I took many of these beautiful pictures of my hometown from Jim Grey’s blog. He was kind enough to allow me permission to use them. Jenny Stewart from Greenup, Illinois was also kind enough to allow me to use the picture of her nephew.

greenup 5
Shot of downtown Greenup. There are tons of antique stores and very little else. You can see why they call it “Village of the Porches”

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another close up of the porches.

 

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This used to be the old bank. It was common for old banks to have the entrance on the corner.

greenup

This is the “American Legion” that is one of the few drinking establishments in town. This town used to be “dry” on Sunday. That means no alcohol could be purchased. That changed about 10 years ago.

 

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This is the old train depot that has been relocated into the downtown strip.

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Museum located beside the old depot.

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They claim our town is historic. 🙂 I know that Abe Lincoln supposedly helped dig a well in Greenup. He was raised about 20 miles from Greenup at the historic site of ” Lincoln Log Cabin

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This is our pride and joy. These covered bridges were very common in Illinois, Indiana and other places in the Midwest.

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Beautiful shot of the entrance of the bridge.

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The Cumberland County Fair is held every August and features lots of horse racing and a Saturday night demolition derby.

We should all be proud of our roots. I am no exception to that rule!

 

 

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4 Comments

Posted by on September 22, 2014 in Through my eyes

 

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Another One Cashing in on Kosovo


corruption_map2

What gives??? A few days ago I was reading up on Madeline Albright and her huge investments in the telecom company in Kosovo. That really bummed me out. How could I have been so blind? A few moments after posting my blog article on it, a friend messaged me this little tidbit of info.

General Wesley Kanne was born in Chicago , Il in 1944. His father died four years later and the family moved to Arkansas because  his mother didn’t share the Jewish faith of the Kanne family. She remarried a gentleman by the  name of Viktor Clark. She had her son’s name officially changed on the birth certificate to Wesley Clark. She failed to tell Wesley of his Jewish roots to protect him from the Ku Klux Klan that had a strong following in Arkansas.

 

220px-General_Wesley_Clark_official_photograph,_edited

Wesley Clark excelled in high school and eventually attended West Point. He served in Vietnam and was awarded many medals for his bravery. He ended up as a 4 star general and was chosen to head “Operation Allied Forces”. He had previous been military advisor in the Bosnian conflict and had a few close calls like this:

“While the team was driving along a mountain road during the first week, the road gave way, and one of the vehicles fell over a cliff carrying passengers including Holbrooke’s deputy, Robert Frasure, a deputy assistant Secretary of Defense, Joseph Kruzel, and Air Force Colonel Nelson Drew. Clark and Holbrooke attempted to crawl down the mountain, but were driven back by sniper fire. Once the fire ceased, Clark scaled down the mountain to collect the bodies of two dead Americans left by Bosnian forces that had taken the remaining wounded to a nearby hospital.”

General Clark on the left with General Mladic's hat on.... General Mladic on the right with General Clark's hat.

General Clark on the left with General Mladic’s hat on…. General Mladic on the right with General Clark’s hat.

He was also thrashed in the western media outlets for his meeting with Bosnian Serb General Ratko Mladic. General Clark and General Mladic were shown exchanging hats which led to outrage from both the Liberal and Conservative pundits. Some Clinton administration members privately said the incident was “like cavorting with Hermann Goring.”

General Clark led “Operation Allied Force” , the military intervention into Serbian lands. President Clinton came on tv explaining to the American people how Democracy was threatened and we must help those that are seeking freedom from oppression. -_- That is what we were told anyway!! Was it true???

June 6th, 2012…… The company that former General Wesley Clark heads, Envidity, has received the green light from the Kosovo Government to begin work on oil generation from lignite in Kosovo!  They are offering hundreds of millions of Euros in investments!!! Shouldn’t this be considered a conflict of interest??? We can start a war on some small country that has lots of resources and then privately invest in them to make millions of dollars! INSANE!!!!! You can never trust your government!! http://www.eciks.org/english/lajme.php?action=total_news&main_id=1250

i-believe-that-all-government-is-evil

IT IS TIME THAT WE ALL REVOLT!!! OUR LEADERS CARE NOTHING ABOUT US! THEY LOVE TO BLOW SMOKE UP OUR ASSES AND ACT LIKE WE MATTER, BUT WE DON’T!!! REVOLUTION!!!! They would sell us for a $5 bill!

I have friends in the majority of countries around the world. They are all dealing with the same corruption that is dripping from the top down. Check out my video from my  friends all over the planet that are sick and tired of the status quo! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BOBBBo71ClA

 
3 Comments

Posted by on June 22, 2013 in Through my eyes

 

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Greatest Serbian Leader and Hero


Srpski_Vojnik Feb. 1912 by Stefanovic

I have traveled to almost every corner of this great country. It amazes me to find such differing views in such a small place! Serbians are very open to me about their politics and their personal beliefs. I never judge anyone and usually just sit and listen. I am interested to get an idea of where my friends and followers stand.

Please vote on these two polls. I will study and read up on the winners and provide an interesting blog post about them. The “Serbian Hero” question was left with an option to add your own!

Thank you in advance!!! Please join our new Serbian website…… SAY SERBIA….. http://sayserbia.com/. We are trying to create a place to bring together Serbians, foreigners that are interested in Serbia, and create a place to find out about EVERYTHING Serbian! Feel free to click on a category and add your input, pictures, opinions, videos, etc.

 
35 Comments

Posted by on June 6, 2013 in Through my eyes, Uncategorized

 

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Sports Equipment Donations to Arrive in October


The day has finally arrived. The 800 lbs of baseball, softball, and soccer equipment that we gathered in Greenup, IL is officially gone! It is currently being loaded onto a semi trailer that is bound for a Maryland shipping yard. It will then be placed onto a barge where it will sail to Montenegro and then be trucked to Belgrade in middle October. This result couldn’t have taken place without the kindness and generosity of regular citizens. I listed EVERYONE that played a part in this remarkable feat at the bottom of the page. THANK YOU FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART!  Watch the video I made about all the equipment…http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YCyeu6c-4tQ

This idea popped into my head after watching my buddies from Gradnulica Beckerek play a baseball game. I was stunned when they had to go over and ask the opposing team to borrow a baseball bat!! Also… only a couple of the kids had baseball cleats!!! I thought of all the baseball gear that I had owned as a child. Most of it I used once or twice and disregarded. The average American household is not filled with endless streams of money like many people around the world like to think. We struggle with house payments, car payments, property taxes, high food prices, etc……. BUT, One thing I have noticed after living in Mexico and Serbia is we do have more LUXURY items than most other countries. I can remember having around 6 pairs of baseball cleats, 5 or 6 baseball gloves, ENDLESS amounts of baseballs, every new video game console that came out onto the market , etc. Many of these items I used a few times and stuffed them into the closet. This is not the case in many countries around the world. I found it interesting that in Serbia it is not considered rude to talk about your income. I was invited to many of my friends homes and got to meet their parents. They would tell me their monthly income and I would try to keep my jaw from dropping in dismay. How ANYONE could support a family with shelter, food, clothing, etc on $400 a month is beyond me!!! I heard this same story from numerous people throughout Serbia. That old saying about “not appreciating what you have” is so true! After seeing the kids ask the other team for a baseball bat… i wanted to ask ” Why the hell don’t you buy your own!” Then you think back to the $400 a month family income!!! A baseball bat is the LAST THING this family needs to be purchasing. The idea hit me!! I would contact my local newspapers in Toledo, Greenup and Charleston, IL.

My TINY hometown that a HUGE heart!!

September of 2011 the Toledo Democrat, Greenup Press and Charleston Times Courier published my story about Serbia and my desire to help bring unused sports equipment to the kids. The second it hit the papers my Facebook and email were flooded with requests from people who wanted to assist in gathering it, storing it, moving it, etc. I was blown away! Businesses, family members, friends, community members and total strangers were offering their help. My mom emailed me and said ” Where the hell are we going to put all this stuff! ” hahahaha… I should have informed them first. They are in the midst of building a new home and fighting some medical issues. They didn’t need the added stress of dealing with this big project. It is really hard to start something like this in your hometown community while you are on the other side of the ocean in Serbia! hahaaha..It stressed me out to no end. I would get updates from my mother on how many things were there. I would look up shipping prices on the internet and would shudder when I saw the prices!!! I thought to myself…. “THERE IS NO POSSIBLE WAY WE CAN GET THIS OVER THERE!” I was depressed and thinking what I would tell the kids, the community that gathered it , etc.. 😦 A couple great people donated some funds to help store it, move it, and help pay for the shipping BUT we were looking at THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS! The US embassy in Belgrade contacted me offering assistance with shipment if I could get it to the Ohio military base. They just needed weights, dimensions, etc. The problem was so much of it had not been delivered so i had no idea how many packages or what the weights were. I finally decided to go back the USA on May 29th of this year. I wanted to see how my mother was doing and help with the construction of their new home. I made manyyyyyyy phone calls, sent many emails, etc while at home to try to make something happen. I posted the email addresses for the guys at the US and Serbian embassies on my Facebook page with a message to all my friends to email them and ask for assistance. It wasn’t long before both embassies had contacted me asking me to please have the emails stop!! ahahahah… The gentleman at the Serbian Consulate was the BEST!!! He said that he found a Serbian/American businessman that loved my devotion to the kids of Serbia and said he would pay for all of the shipping! I just needed to get it to Chicago!! WOW!!!!!!!!!!!! This was exactly what I wanted to hear!!!! I packaged it all up and contacted my Chicago Serb buddy, Danijel Vukosavljevic.

My buddy, Danijel Vukosavljevic showing his Serbian flag after picking up all the donations. HVALA BRATE!!! Volim te!!!

He owns a trucking company in Chicago called P&D transport.inc  He was more than happy to drive the 3.5 hours down to my parents and pick up the equipment and drop it off at the storage facility! WHEW!!!! My blood pressure dropped a few points! 🙂 The best part about this….. the Serbian/American businessman is willing to continue paying the shipping for any donated items to his home country. I want to do more!!! This doesn’t have to end. I had some Serbian kids contact me about tennis equipment and rowing equipment too. OH!!!!! We will have one more shipment late this year or next year. My WONDERFUL cousin and her husband wrote me asking if I would be in need of 60 sets of American football pads and 50-60 football helmets! I told them that we would love to have them. The Serbian consulate asked me to assist them in locating more of it because they do not have the funds for this type of equipment and many teams are in need! I posted something about this equipment on my Facebook page and had 7 teams contact me asking for the equipment! THERE IS A LOT OF NEED!

I am very interested in starting a non-profit organization that would solicit used sports equipment for Serbia. Baseball, soccer, basketball, rowing, tennis, water polo, etc… maybe even help build sports facilities in some of the smaller towns. If anyone has any information about starting a non-profit in the state of Illinois let me know! This would let larger businesses and more people donate because they could write it off their taxes. 🙂 DON’T TELL ME I CAN’T DO SOMETHING!!!! 🙂

This goes to show that regardless of our governments past and current strife….the regular citizens can unite for a good cause!!!

Thanks to all of the following individuals that helped make this a success. Aqua Air deserves special mention!!! Milos was my contact and was so helpful and friendly.  The owner, Mr Jovan Babic has a special place in his heart for his country. He is paying the thousands in transport charges! Milos Bajic is a very proud Chicago Serb. He donated 4 boxes of soccer gear for the Zrenjanin soccer team!!! Love you man!!  I hate making a list because there is always someone I forget. A GREAT BIG THANKS TO JORDAN MOSER!! He is a very kind young man that wanted to donate his VERY nice equipment bag and equipment!! YOU ROCK!!  Here are the rest that helped make it happen:

The Serbian Consulate in Chicago,Tasha Shaffer, Jordan Moser, Shay Shaffer,Gary Hasgen, Gerry and Dordina Mixon, Amy Polic, Karen Blade,  Danijel Vukosavljevic, Amanda Black, Dan and Julie Ponce Brandon Miller, Adam Fifield, June Hayden, Jenny Morgan, Pilson Auto Center, P&D transport.inc, JK Mitchell, Toledo Democrat, Greenup Press, Charleston Times Courier, Vlasina Travel, Cumberland High School, Champaign schools, Salt Fork High School, Charleston High School,   Lake Land College, First Neighbor Bank, Casey State Bank, Danyel Reeve and to all of those listed below….

  • nik rhoades
  • Dragana Djordjic-Vidovic
  • Andjelko Jovanovic
  • Dario Debeljak
  • Milos Vukotic
  • Dušan Knežević
  • Andrija Dudic
  • Ivan Jelisavcic
  • Tiha Puaca
  • Angela Skocic
  • Marijana Stojadinovic
  • Mario Maric
  • Marko Nikolic
 
8 Comments

Posted by on August 25, 2012 in Through my eyes

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Sports Equipment Donations to Arrive in October


The day has finally arrived. The 800 lbs of baseball, softball, and soccer equipment that we gathered in Greenup, IL is officially gone! It is currently being loaded onto a semi trailer that is bound for a Maryland shipping yard. It will then be placed onto a barge where it will sail to Montenegro and then be trucked to Belgrade in middle October. This result couldn’t have taken place without the kindness and generosity of regular citizens. I listed EVERYONE that played a part in this remarkable feat at the bottom of the page. THANK YOU FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART!  Watch the video I made about all the equipment…http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YCyeu6c-4tQ

This idea popped into my head after watching my buddies from Gradnulica Beckerek play a baseball game. I was stunned when they had to go over and ask the opposing team to borrow a baseball bat!! Also… only a couple of the kids had baseball cleats!!! I thought of all the baseball gear that I had owned as a child. Most of it I used once or twice and disregarded. The average American household is not filled with endless streams of money like many people around the world like to think. We struggle with house payments, car payments, property taxes, high food prices, etc……. BUT, One thing I have noticed after living in Mexico and Serbia is we do have more LUXURY items than most other countries. I can remember having around 6 pairs of baseball cleats, 5 or 6 baseball gloves, ENDLESS amounts of baseballs, every new video game console that came out onto the market , etc. Many of these items I used a few times and stuffed them into the closet. This is not the case in many countries around the world. I found it interesting that in Serbia it is not considered rude to talk about your income. I was invited to many of my friends homes and got to meet their parents. They would tell me their monthly income and I would try to keep my jaw from dropping in dismay. How ANYONE could support a family with shelter, food, clothing, etc on $400 a month is beyond me!!! I heard this same story from numerous people throughout Serbia. That old saying about “not appreciating what you have” is so true! After seeing the kids ask the other team for a baseball bat… i wanted to ask ” Why the hell don’t you buy your own!” Then you think back to the $400 a month family income!!! A baseball bat is the LAST THING this family needs to be purchasing. The idea hit me!! I would contact my local newspapers in Toledo, Greenup and Charleston, IL.

My TINY hometown that a HUGE heart!!

September of 2011 the Toledo Democrat, Greenup Press and Charleston Times Courier published my story about Serbia and my desire to help bring unused sports equipment to the kids. The second it hit the papers my Facebook and email were flooded with requests from people who wanted to assist in gathering it, storing it, moving it, etc. I was blown away! Businesses, family members, friends, community members and total strangers were offering their help. My mom emailed me and said ” Where the hell are we going to put all this stuff! ” hahahaha… I should have informed them first. They are in the midst of building a new home and fighting some medical issues. They didn’t need the added stress of dealing with this big project. It is really hard to start something like this in your hometown community while you are on the other side of the ocean in Serbia! hahaaha..It stressed me out to no end. I would get updates from my mother on how many things were there. I would look up shipping prices on the internet and would shudder when I saw the prices!!! I thought to myself…. “THERE IS NO POSSIBLE WAY WE CAN GET THIS OVER THERE!” I was depressed and thinking what I would tell the kids, the community that gathered it , etc.. 😦 A couple great people donated some funds to help store it, move it, and help pay for the shipping BUT we were looking at THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS! The US embassy in Belgrade contacted me offering assistance with shipment if I could get it to the Ohio military base. They just needed weights, dimensions, etc. The problem was so much of it had not been delivered so i had no idea how many packages or what the weights were. I finally decided to go back the USA on May 29th of this year. I wanted to see how my mother was doing and help with the construction of their new home. I made manyyyyyyy phone calls, sent many emails, etc while at home to try to make something happen. I posted the email addresses for the guys at the US and Serbian embassies on my Facebook page with a message to all my friends to email them and ask for assistance. It wasn’t long before both embassies had contacted me asking me to please have the emails stop!! ahahahah… The gentleman at the Serbian Consulate was the BEST!!! He said that he found a Serbian/American businessman that loved my devotion to the kids of Serbia and said he would pay for all of the shipping! Thank you, Mr. Babic and Aqua Air Enterprises!!!! I just needed to get it to Chicago!! WOW!!!!!!!!!!!! This was exactly what I wanted to hear!!!! I packaged it all up and contacted my Chicago Serb buddy, Danijel Vukosavljevic.

My buddy, Danijel Vukosavljevic showing his Serbian flag after picking up all the donations. HVALA BRATE!!! Volim te!!!

He owns a trucking company in Chicago called P&D transport.inc  He was more than happy to drive the 3.5 hours down to my parents and pick up the equipment and drop it off at the storage facility! WHEW!!!! My blood pressure dropped a few points! 🙂

This doesn’t have to end. I had some Serbian kids contact me about tennis equipment and rowing equipment too. OH!!!!! We will have one more shipment late this year or next year. My WONDERFUL cousin and her husband wrote me asking if I would be in need of 60 sets of American football pads and 50-60 football helmets! I told them that we would love to have them. The Serbian consulate asked me to assist them in locating more of it because they do not have the funds for this type of equipment and many teams are in need! I posted something about this equipment on my Facebook page and had 7 teams contact me asking for the equipment! THERE IS A LOT OF NEED!

I am very interested in starting a non-profit organization that would solicit used sports equipment for Serbia. Baseball, soccer, basketball, rowing, tennis, water polo, etc… maybe even help build sports facilities in some of the smaller towns. If anyone has any information about starting a non-profit in the state of Illinois let me know! This would let larger businesses and more people donate because they could write it off their taxes. 🙂 DON’T TELL ME I CAN’T DO SOMETHING!!!! 🙂

This goes to show that regardless of our governments past and current strife….the regular citizens can unite for a good cause!!!

Thanks to all of the following individuals that helped make this a success. Aqua Air Enterprises deserves special mention!!! Milos was my contact and was so helpful and friendly.  The owner, Mr Jovan Babic has a special place in his heart for his country. He is paying the thousands in transport charges! Milos Bajic is a very proud Chicago Serb. He donated 4 boxes of soccer gear for the Zrenjanin soccer team!!! Love you man!!  I hate making a list because there is always someone I forget. A GREAT BIG THANKS TO JORDAN MOSER!! He is a very kind young man that wanted to donate his VERY nice equipment bag and equipment!! YOU ROCK!!  Here are the rest that helped make it happen:

The Serbian Consulate in Chicago,Tasha Shaffer, Jordan Moser, Shay Shaffer,Gary Hasgen, Gerry and Dordina Mixon, Amy Polic, Karen Blade,  Danijel Vukosavljevic, Amanda Black, Dan and Julie Ponce Brandon Miller, Adam Fifield, June Hayden, Jenny Morgan, Pilson Auto Center, P&D transport.inc, JK Mitchell, Toledo Democrat, Greenup Press, Charleston Times Courier, Vlasina Travel, Cumberland High School, Champaign schools, Salt Fork High School, Charleston High School,   Lake Land College, First Neighbor Bank, Casey State Bank, Danyel Reeve and to all of those listed below….

  • nik rhoades
  • Dragana Djordjic-Vidovic
  • Andjelko Jovanovic
  • Dario Debeljak
  • Milos Vukotic
  • Dušan Knežević
  • Andrija Dudic
  • Ivan Jelisavcic
  • Tiha Puaca
  • Angela Skocic
  • Marijana Stojadinovic
  • Mario Maric
  • Marko Nikolic
 
1 Comment

Posted by on August 25, 2012 in Through my eyes

 

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