Car Wreck

Just came from a wreck.  The small black car never stopped. It ran through a busy four lane road, jumped the curb, bashed down a small tree, and came to rest by running into a fence.

I was the first guy to get to him. He was incoherent, but breathing, although struggling a little. The poor hispanic guy was about 45 years old. I think he passed out, perhaps a stroke or seizure.  The car was up against the fence. I opened the car and with two other guys pushed it away so the paramedics could get at him.  

We made sure his airway stayed clear.  I have pretty good but rusty first aid skills from the Boy Scouts, Marines, and from driving an ambulance in my college days. But we left him in the seat - he was breathing ok, and I thought it best to get the paramedics before taking him out of the seat.

It always seems to take a long time to get the ambulance. The fire truck came first, and the ambulance later. 

Fortunately there was not much to do other then comfort him until the ambulance came.  Wishing him good luck, he is in my prayers.


Earthquake in New Zealand

Photos of Earthquake in New Zealand

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A very sad situation. Our prayers and support for the people of New Zealand.


My First Cartoon

This was my first political cartoon. I liked it, but thought they made my Butt too big.

It was for a development I proposed for the Peoria riverfront.



Drunkeness of Nations

According to Richard Florida, the United States is not that big of a drinking country.

Click to read

Doctors tell us that drinking one or two glasses of red wine is good for us. I figure if one or two is good, three or four is better, all for medicinal purposes, of course.


Civil Engineer Jokes

Like all City Planners, I enjoy telling Civil Engineer jokes. Planners and Civil Engineers work closely together. Their minds are typically very different. And they work very differently. Planners are always coming up with ideas to improve the city, and engineers are always coming up with all the reasons why the idea will cost too much and is from left field.

You can always tell and engineer. He won't understand what you said. He won't do what you ask. He will ignore you. But you can always tell him.

I have never met a Civil Engineer.

Some of my best friends are Civil Engineers. I have nothing against Civil Engineers. I would even let one of them marry my daughter, provided they agreed to raise the children in the City Planning Faith.

Here are some more sent to me by my friend Bernie Zarecki.

Understanding Engineers #1

Two engineering students were biking across a university campus when one said, "Where  did you get such a great bike?"  The second engineer replied, "Well, I was walking along yesterday, minding  my own business, when a beautiful  woman rode up on this bike, threw it to  the ground, took off all her  clothes and said, "Take what you want." The  first engineer nodded approvingly and said, "Good choice: The clothes probably wouldn't have  fit you anyway."

Understanding Engineers  #2

To the  optimist, the glass is half-full.
To the  pessimist, the glass  is half-empty.
To the  engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.

Understanding Engineers #3

A priest, a doctor, and an engineer were waiting one morning for a particularly slow group of golfers. The engineer fumed, "What's with those guys? We must  have been waiting for fifteen minutes!" The doctor chimed in, "I don't  know, but I've never seen such inept golf!"

The priest said, "Here comes the green-keeper. Let's have a word with him." He said,  "Hello, George.  What's wrong with that group ahead of us? They're rather slow, aren't they?"
The  green-keeper replied, "Oh, yes. That's a group of blind  firemen. They lost their sight saving our clubhouse from a fire last  year, so we always let them play for free anytime."

The group  fell silent for a moment. The priest said, "That's so sad. I think I will say a special prayer for them tonight."

The doctor  said, "Good idea. I'm  going to contact my ophthalmologist colleague and see if there's anything she can do for them." 

The engineer  said, "Why can't they play  at night?"

Understanding Engineers  #4

What is the difference between mechanical engineers and  civil engineers?

Mechanical engineers build weapons.
Civil engineers build targets.

Understanding Engineers #5

Three engineering students were gathered together discussing who must have designed the human body.
One said, "It was a mechanical engineer. Just look at all the joints." 

Another said, "No, it was an electrical engineer. The nervous system has many thousands of electrical connections."

The last one said, "No, actually it had to have been a civil engineer. Who else would run a toxic waste pipeline through a recreational area?"

Understanding Engineers #6

Normal people believe that if it ain't broke, don't fix it.
Engineers believe that if it ain't broke, it doesn't have enough features yet.

Understanding  Engineers  #7

An engineer was crossing a road one day, when a frog  called out to him and said, "If you kiss me, I'll turn into a  beautiful princess." He bent over, picked up the frog, and put it in his pocket.  The frog spoke up again and said, "If you kiss me, I'll turn back into a beautiful princess and stay with you for one week." 

The engineer  took  the frog out of his pocket, smiled at it and returned it to the  pocket.  The frog then cried out, "If you kiss me and turn me back into a princess, I'll stay with you for one week and do anything you want."  

Again, the engineer took the frog out, smiled at it and put it back into his pocket. Finally, the frog asked, "What is the matter? I've  told  you I'm a beautiful princess and that I'll stay with you for one  week  and do anything you want. Why won't you kiss me?" 

The engineer  said,  "Look, I'm an engineer. I don't have time for a girlfriend, but a talking frog - now that's cool."   

The Doctor, the City Planner and Engineer in a Bit of A Bad Spot

Once upon a time there lived three men: a doctor, a city planner, and an engineer. For some reason all three offended the king and were sentenced to die on the same day.

The day of the execution arrived, and the doctor was led up to the guillotine. As he strapped the doctor to the guillotine, the executioner asked, "Head up or head down?"

"Head up," said the doctor.
"Blindfold or no blindfold?"
"No blindfold."

So the executioner raised the axe, and z-z-z-z-ing! Down came the blade--and stopped barely an inch above the doctor's neck. Well, the law stated that if an execution didn't succeed the first time the prisoner had to be released, so the doctor was set free.

Then the city planner was led up to the guillotine.
"Head up or head down?" said the executioner.
"Head up."
"Blindfold or no blindfold?"
"No blindfold."

So the executioner raised his axe, and z-z-z-z-ing! Down came the blade--and stopped an inch above the planner's neck. Well, the law stated that if the execution didn't succeed the first time the prisoner had to be released, so the planner was set free.

Finally the engineer was led up to the guillotine.
"Head up or head down?"
"Head up."
"Blindfold or no blindfold?"
"No blindfold."

So the executioner raised his axe, but before he could cut the rope, the engineer yelled out:

"WAIT! I see what the problem is!"
Jane M. Gerdes, P.E.

Cartoons from 




National Main Street

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Main Street Conference in Iowa, May 2225 2011
Main Street 2011 Registration ButtonSustainability, smart growth, inclusion, local investment and job creation, independent and innovative businesses, social media and grassroots support – all of these are words you hear in major news outlets, and see on blogs, Facebook postings and twitter and ALL have been working on Main Street for years. Pundits and bloggers just need to take a trip (physical or virtual) to your communities and they can see the answers to these issues.
The 2011 National Main Streets Conference offers more than 50 classroom and mobile sessionsthat provide educational opportunities for individuals with all levels of experience in preservation-based economic development.  Join us in Des Moines, May 22-25, 2011 and head back home with new energy and plenty of tools and inspiration to continue your work.

Whoa! I didn’t know SHE was from Iowa!
Check out this impressive list of famous and influential people who all hail from Iowa. From the Oval Office to the box office and just about every major field from science to sports, Iowa has contributed some impressive and fascinating people to our world.

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Rooms are going fast. Check out our hotel accommodations page to read up on the three hotels and make your reservations.

Are you a vendor with a product or service for Main Street communities? Are you a manager who knows a vendor that could benefit from meeting 1000+ potential customers? Visit the Main Street Expo page to get more information on becoming an exhibitor in Des Moines

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More Roundabouts

Click to Read More about Roundabouts

After some initial confusion, they seem to be working well. Now it will take some study to make sure they perform better then conventional intersections. My guess is that the will be fine in most cases.



America continues to add roundabouts. They can serve to calm traffic and are safer then a conventional 4 way interchange. Click below to see a short video on a new roundabout in Sarasota, Florida.

Solar Powering Your Community–Seven Steps

"Solar power can offer communities a range of benefits, from increasing energy reliability and reducing carbon emissions to creating jobs and promoting economic growth. Most communities in the United States are well situated to harness the power of the sun. As a result, solar power offers communities a clean, reliable, and renewable alternative to fossil fuels that can help increase energy security and reduce a community’s carbon footprint. Local governments are uniquely positioned to address many of the barriers to solar energy adoption, including complicated and time-consuming permitting and interconnection procedures, financing challenges, and a lack of awareness about solar technologies among local stakeholders."

The Age of Man

Moving Back to the City?

The much anticipated and projected movement of people back into the central city is very proceeding very slowly.

"Metropolitan area results are beginning to trickle in from the 2010 census. They reveal that, at least for the major metropolitan areas so far, there is little evidence to support the often repeated claim by think tanks and the media that people are moving from suburbs to the historical core municipalities. This was effectively brought to light in a detailed analysis of Chicago metropolitan area results by New Geography’s Aaron Renn." 


Nice Design Blog

This is a very nice design blog. And interesting that the two women have never met in person. Our world is evolving rapidly.

A Canadian and an Australian Trying to Inspire the World One Room at a Time...

Kim and Jo have never met but there is a bond between them that is so strong that it can cross half the world and back again. You see Kim and Jo are interior design junkies. They go weak at the knees when they find that perfect room and they just have to share. It all started towards the end of 2006. They met on Flickr, shared images they had bookmarked and well that was that. Desire to Inspire was born.
Jo and Kim
Kim is a supervisor of a web development team from Ottawa, Canada. She may spend her days on a computer at work but in her own time she hunts the internet for that perfect room.  She should have been an interior designer. Jo, from Brisbane, Australia, trained as an interior designer but no longer practises and in her spare time also hunts the web for the perfect room. Their day jobs may be for the government (hey they have to pay the bills!) but their hearts belong to design. Desire to Inspire is their release, a showcase for their passion for all things beautiful around the home.
Whether highlighting interior designers and decorators, architects, stylists, photographers or their own readers' homes, Desire to Inspire aims to do just that ... inspire. Sit back, pour a cup of tea and enjoy!

Cool House

Cool house in Croatia

Click to see more photos


Borders Bankruptcy

Bookseller Borders helped pioneer superstores that put countless mom-and-pop bookshops out of business, Now they have filed for bankruptcy protection.

My wife and I spent a good deal of money in Borders and Barnes and Normal. But last year we bough an IPAD, a Kindle, and a Nook. We quit buying conventional books and started buying most of our books and magazines electronically. It was clear to me that both stores would face major problems.

Amazing how quickly our dynamic economy changes. This was a great company. Now it is not clear that they can survive, caused primarily from technological innovation.

This trend has negative impacts on our cities. Borders and Barnes and Noble pay local sales tax and provide a meeting place and vitality for our cities. That revenue and vitality will go elsewher.

Free Books

Free eBooks by Project Gutenberg

From Project Gutenberg, the first producer of free ebooks.
Project Gutenberg is the place where you can download over 33,000 free ebooks to read on your PC, iPad, Kindle, Sony Reader, iPhone, Android or other portable device.


TIF Incented Medical Clinic
TIF Works
Tax Increment Financing

Tax Increment Financing is a very effective but controversial method to help redevelop older areas within a city. It is poorly understood and often unfairly criticized. TIF is not a four letter word.

What is Tax Increment Financing?

The Illinois Tax Increment Financing Association http://www.illinois-tif.com/    provides an excellent explanation of TIF. Tax Increment Financing helps communities revitalize older and declining neighborhoods.  A District is created following the requirements of the law. The new property tax generated in the new District can be used to assist development in the district, helping the area revitalize.

Case Studies

The City of Peoria, Illinois has developed ten TIF Districts. The value of these areas was initially very low. The TIF helped these areas redevelop, and the value of these areas has gone up on average 23% each year, much faster than the city as a whole.  Nearby areas without the TIF have had little improvement in value.  And of course the redeveloped areas created jobs and vitality.

Depending on the rate of taxation, taxes paid by the new development may be as much as or more than one half of the fair market value of new and redeveloped buildings over the 23 year life of the TIF. The city can provide some or all of that increment back to the developer to help make the project a reality.

TIF Districts incent redevelopers, spurring revitalization of older neighborhoods and increasing jobs. Cities have stimulated substantial new investment through public/private partnerships.

The Illinois Medical Clinic Building shown in the upper right of this post received a 4 million dollar TIF incentive to construct in downtown.  The funds helped the developer pay for a parking deck.  But for the TIF incentive, this great job and tax producing building would have gone to suburban areas.  Instead it helps to revitalize the older central city.

TIF Is Effective

Redevelopment assisted by Tax Increment Financing (TIF) is very effective in the City of Peoria. The City created three new TIF's in 2007-2009 and approved twenty redevelopments - some during the "great recession".

Total investment in the buildings is estimated at$336,000,000, creating approximately 1,050 jobs. And there are many more buildings in the works, waiting for better economic conditions.

Completed *
Warehouse TIF
LaVille De Maillet, L.L.C. *
JP Riverfront Development Comp, Inc. (Sullivan) Sealtest
Iron Front, L.L.C., (Huber) 408 Washington
Iron Front, L.L.C., (Huber) 412 Washington
Iron Front, L.L.C., (Huber) 420 Washington
Edgewater Building (Huber) River
Fastenal Company *
Drumheller Properties L.L.C *
D and B Developers, L.L.C. (Waterstreet Solutions) *
B and L Sales *

Southtown TIF
Illinois Medical Clinic *
Long Term Acute Health Care Facility Cullinan *
Cancer Research Center

Hospitality Improvement Zone
Pere Marquette Mariott Courtyard Hotel

Behr Peoria, Inc. *
Martco, LTD (Laser Electric) *
Pulaski Express/Adams Street Supermarket *
JWE Properties/Engler Meier and Justice (Westmont) *

Caterpillar Visitor Center

Riverfront Museum

We believe these numbers support the continued use of Tax Increment Financing.  We want our older neighborhoods to thrive and improve, and TIF is one of the best ways to help that process.

More info at:

Illinois Tax Increment Financing Association  http://www.illinois-tif.com/
TIF Illinois     http://www.tifillinois.blogspot.com/
City of Peoria     http://peoriatif.blogspot.com/
Warehouse District     http://warehousedistrict.blogspot.com/

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