Ryan Myers is 36, a former Normal Community High student, for the past 15 years an employee of Stark Excavating of Bloomington. He lives in Farmer City now because most of his jobs are in the Champaign area.
A lifelong dog lover, too, he underwent an unusual occurrence the other day.
While at a construction site, a woman ran up, crying, to ask if someone could help dig a hole.
She and her husband, it seems, just had a vet come to their home to put down their dog, Roscoe, and they were unable to dig a hole to give him a burial.
Not wanting to get in trouble at his job, Ryan waited until his lunch hour.
That's then when, armed with a shovel, he walked over to the couple’s home and began digging.
"You looking for a gas line?" asked a curious fellow worker who happened to pass.
Ryan then went inside the couple’s home, helped wrap Roscoe in a blanket and carried him outside to his grave.
“A few years ago, I watched a golden retriever of my own be hit by a truck. I know that feeling. I could see these were good people. They just needed a helping hand,” said Ryan.
About a week later, finishing up on another job, he formed a bit of a headstone in some concrete, embedded “Roscoe” in it and next day, put it at the top of the hole he'd dug at the couple's home.
In awe of the kindness, they called Stark Excavating.
"I hadn't heard about this, until today," said company head Dave Stark. "But these are the kind of work stories you obviously like to hear. Ryan just did it because that's the kind of guy he is."
Police beat: On a traffic stop in west Normal the other day — after a driver said he’d only had two beers — a breath test revealed the driver was more than twice over the state’s legal limit. Said an officer later: “I guess I forgot to ask just how big were those two beers.”
Today’s deep thought: As mulled by Jack Secord, of Bloomington: “Who’d have believed that football pants would one day be shorter than the 'shorts’ players now wear in basketball?”
Basketball … and parents, too: Another high school boys basketball season launched this week, preceded by the head coaches from the Intercity schools appearing at a luncheon of Bloomington’s Young Men’s Club. Each year, before another season's start, coaches appear to vie for the legendary club's vaunted “Crying Towel.”
This year, an aside occurred when the coaches also talked briefly about the added pressures of coaching today and — good news, bad news — how parents are more “hands-on than ever” and fully their kids' best cheerleaders.
"That's probably the biggest difference I've seen in my 16 years. Parents can be an added element to the mix," said Dave Witzig of Normal Community, these days the longest serving of B-N head coaches.
As Duane “Moose” Roe, a funny, insightful former coach at Olympia High used to joke with sportswriters at this paper: "I wish I could just coach kids out of an orphanage."
Mr. Obama, in B-N?: Next time you want to vent on Barack Obama, you can, of course, send him a note at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., Washington, D.C.
But here’s a tip — he also gets mail now at 2005 Cabintown Road in Bloomington — at least from Comcast.
Just last week, another mailing came addressed to: “Barack Obama, McLean County Democratic Party, 2005 Cabintown Road, Bloomington IL 61701.”
The address is an old Laborers hall and, in years past, the Democratic Party used a small office in the building for its phone line, including the 2012 presidential election. So the phone is still listed for that address.
Why, of course, Comcast addresses mail to Barack Obama and thinks he is in Bloomington is yet another question.
“I haven’t tried to forward any of them,” says Mike Matejka, the local union leader who works at the hall. “I did call Comcast once and asked if they knew who the president was and where he lived. But they just hung up on me.”
Probably a little baffled by it all, too — or another miffed Republican — to say the least.