A Publication of WTVP

1874 Laws: A Glimpse of Life
by Mark E. Wertz Vonachen, Lawless, Trager & Slevin

Several years ago, while attending an estate sale at Roth Auction Service in rural East Peoria, I came across a leather- bound copy of the 1874 Illinois Statutes—laws enacted by the state legislature and approved by the governor. When I returned home, I perused the dusty and musty old book. What I found was a fascinating and somewhat humorous glimpse of life in Illinois only nine years after Lincoln’s assassination. Some 140 years ago…..

Laws provide a window to the times. One-hundred forty years ago, life and laws were simpler for Illinois. As things in our great state have changed to address the needs of the present day, I wonder if—in another 140 years—a look back at today will illicit the same humorous take on the law.

Mark E. Wertz is a partner practicing in personal injury, criminal litigation and workers compensation at Vonachen, Lawless, Trager & Slevin.

February… Through the Ages

1782 – February 4. George Washington, commander of the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War, is unanimously elected the first president of the United States by all 69 presidential electors.

1809 – February 12. Abraham Lincoln is born in Hodgenville, Kentucky. After attending school for just one year, he gained the rest of his education by reading books on his own. Lincoln spent much of his adulthood in Illinois, working as a postmaster, surveyor and shopkeeper before becoming an attorney and serving in the state legislature from 1834 to 1836.

1827 – February 27. A group of students wearing masks and costumes dances through the streets of New Orleans, and the city’s famous Mardi Gras celebration is born. Today, it boasts the grandest Carnival celebration in the country, complete with parades and parties, to celebrate Fat Tuesday, the Carnival’s last day.

1887 – February 2. Phil, the Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania groundhog, is declared the only true weather-forecasting groundhog in the U.S. Since then, cities across the country have relied on their own weather-predicting rodents—from Birmingham Bill in Staten Island to Peoria’s Gertie the Groundhog—to predict their remaining winter woes.

1895 – February 6. The legendary George Herman “Babe” Ruth is born in Baltimore, Maryland. In his lifetime, Ruth shared or broke 60 Major League Baseball records, including pitching 29 consecutive scoreless innings and hitting 714 home runs.

1911 – February 6. Ronald Reagan is born in Tampico, Illinois. Before becoming governor of California in 1966, he worked in entertainment for 30 years. He was elected to the White House in 1980 as the 40th president.

1929 – February 14. Four men dressed as police officers break into gangster Bugs Moran’s headquarters on North Clark Street in Chicago and murder seven of his henchmen. Now known as the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, the bloody event was the culmination of a gang war between Moran and Al Capone.

1933 – February 17. The First issue of Newsweek magazine is published, costing just 10 cents.

1965 – February 21. Black Muslim leader Malcolm X is shot and killed while speaking in a ballroom in New York City.

1970 – February 6. The Beatles U.S. album Hey Jude is released.

1982 – February 1. Late Night with David Letterman debuts. Bill Murray was the first guest on the first episode. He later appeared as the first guest on the Late Show with David Letterman premiere on CBS.

1990 – February 11. Nelson Mandela is released from prison after being incarcerated for 27 years. He remained the symbolic leader of South Africa’s anti-apartheid movement and a global advocate for peace and social justice until his death in 2013.

2014 – February 7. The opening ceremony of the 2014 Winter Olympics is held in Sochi, Russia. At $51 billion, the games well surpassed the original budget of $12 billion—the most expensive in history.




Forecasts in Food

Health and wellness, food sources, honesty, bold flavors and creative innovation are among the food themes of this year, according to Forecast 2015, a guide to emerging food trends by the international restaurant and leisure consulting group, The Next Idea. As American consumers become increasingly concerned about their health, food in general is under scrutiny this year.

Consumers want to know the source of their foods and show a preference for fair brands and unprocessed products—a trend that’s unprecedented in the past century. But a push for innovation in the culinary world will continue as well, with chefs striving for bold flavors: using fresh, organic ingredients and old-world cooking techniques like skewers, open fire, rotisseries and smoke to add depth to dishes. Here are some of the major trend forecasts:

For the entire list of predictions, visit


History: A Leadership Tool

An understanding of the past can be one of the most powerful tools for a company in shaping its future. Reviewing shared values and comparing them to current and future goals can help to better shape an organization’s sense of identity and purpose and suggest goals that will resonate, suggests the Harvard Business Review (HBR). “In its most familiar form… history is a rich explanatory tool with which executives can make a case for change and motivate people to overcome challenges. Taken to a higher level, it also serves as a potent problem-solving tool, one that offers pragmatic insights, valid generalizations and meaningful perspectives—a way through management fads and the noise of the moment to what really matters.”

So, how do you determine—and utilize—your company’s past moving forward? HBR recommends the following tips. Read the full article online at