Illinois Turns 200 continues in Ottawa where rails, rivers, and a canal tie Illinois together and where Douglas first debated Lincoln. The episode explores the impact of the Illinois and Michigan Canal on LaSalle County and the state as a whole; the ways Ottawa has become a model for flood control and prevention for the country; and the aspirations of a community radio station intent on revitalizing art and culture within historic downtown spaces. The episode also covers the founding of the Boy Scouts of America, the early years of a legend of the Old West, and the tragic story of the Radium Girls, proving that Ottawa’s story extends well beyond Illinois’s borders.
More about the Participants
Matthew Michael & Christina Marie
An acoustic duo emerging from their roots in the Midwest, Matthew Michael & Christina Marie approach music with reverence to the moment, regard for the past, and exploration of the future. From the heartland to the coasts, Matthew Michael & Christina Marie engage audiences with honest songs expressed in harmonically-rich layers of voices and strings. Both songwriters with their own perspective, Matthew Michael & Christina Marie write independently and collaboratively, complementing and contrasting each other’s creative voice. Matthew Michael & Christina Marie are currently in production on their first album.
Norman Moline earned his Ph.D. at the University of Chicago, focusing on the impacts of the automobile and good roads from 1900 to 1930. He taught for 45 years at Augustana College in Rock Island. His teaching and research interests included cultural geography, historic preservation, natural resource management, and East Asia. He was one of the founders and then director for 36 years of the College’s East Asia Overseas Term which in 1977 was the first group of American university students to be admitted into China after its opening. He is involved in civic and environmental activities in the Quad Cities.
Paul Osman is the Statewide Floodplain Programs Chief for the Illinois Office of Water Resources. He coordinates federal, state, and local floodplain development regulations as well as the National Flood Insurance Program for nearly 1,000 Illinois communities. His duties also included assisting with the coordination of floodplain mapping, flood disaster response, and flood mitigation activities in Illinois. Prior to joining IDNR/OWR, Paul was a Resource Conservationist with the Soil Conservation Service and served three years as a Resource Conservationist in Northwestern Kenya. Paul is a graduate of Augustana College and has done graduate studies in Resource Management at Illinois State University. Paul has served on the Board of Directors for both the National and State Associations of Floodplain Managers, has served as National Flood Insurance Chairman, has testified in Congress on floodplain issues, and has served on many national and international task forces regarding floodplain management issues. Paul is a recipient of the Illinois Flood Association Lifetime Achievement Award.
Mollie Perrot is the Executive Director of the Ottawa Scouting Museum, a privately-owned, not-for-profit organization administered and operated by volunteers. The Ottawa Scouting Museum was founded to promote and preserve the colorful and proud traditions of Boy Scouting, Girl Scouting, and Camp Fire, via exhibition of the past of these organizations with memorabilia from its vast collection and the development of a variety of educational programs for all youth. In June of 2002, the Museum proudly opened a new exhibit area, which has a re-creation of a room in the Boy Scouts of America founder W. D. Boyce home in Ottawa, a small theater to show videos from the Museum’s collection, a nature area, a Native American display, as well as other exhibitions.
Michael Sutfin has been the Building & Zoning Official for the City of Ottawa for the past eleven years. He and the City Engineer, Dave Noble and Matt Stafford share the responsibilities for floodplain and stormwater management. Together they have taken the City of Ottawa from being one of the worst repetitive loss communities in the state to a Class 5 CRS community with virtually no repetitive loss history in recent years. Mike was named floodplain manager of the year by the Illinois Association for Floodplain and Stormwater Managers in 2011. He received the NFIP/CRS award for excellence in 2013 and in October of that year was recognized for leadership in floodplain management on the floor of the 113th Congress. In June of 2015 the City of Ottawa took top honors in the Solution Search competition, which included a $25,000 first place prize. Currently, Mike chairs the Floodplain Management Committee for the Illinois Association for Floodplain & Stormwater Managers. In that capacity he has worked for the past four years with Senator Sue Rezin, 38th district in Illinois, to form a regional alliance. He has been an active participant of the Illinois River Coordinating Council under the Lt. Governor. Mike also sits on the federal CRS Task Force.
Katie Troccoli is the founder of Here and Again, a nonprofit that seeks to create economic and employment opportunities in Ottawa and LaSalle County through education and the arts. With the radio station WRWO 94.5 FM LP as a platform, Here and Again offers all community members regular opportunities to express their viewpoints on issues impacting LaSalle County to a wide network of listeners while simultaneously deepening knowledge of the arts, finance, and healthy living through classes offered at sites in Ottawa and Streator. Here and Again is also dedicated to the preservation of historic theatres and like properties in downtown locations within LaSalle County where the arts may be performed.
Chris Vallillo is a singer/songwriter and folk musician with a natural affinity for American roots music. A master of bottleneck slide guitar, he weaves original, contemporary, and traditional songs into a compelling and entertaining portrait of the history and lifestyle of the Midwest. In the 1980’s he conducted the Schuyler Arts Folk Music Project, documenting the last of the pre radio generation of musicians along the Illinois River. From 1990 through 1998 he served as the performing host and co-producer of the nationally distributed, award-winning public radio performance series Rural Route 3. His one-man show, Abraham Lincoln in Song, received the endorsement of the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission and the accompanying CD charted at #10 on Billboard’s Bluegrass Album Chart in March of 2008. Chris has twice served as the Illinois Scholar for the Smithsonian Institution’s traveling exhibit on roots music, New Harmonies and his 2016 project, Oh Freedom!, Songs of the Civil Rights Movement was released on Martin Luther King Day of 2017 and charted at # 6 of the National Folk charts. Find more about Chris Vallillo.
Kevin Wood has been portraying Abraham Lincoln since 2000, giving more than 450 presentations in thirteen states and two other countries. He spent much of his early life in Metamora, IL, which Lincoln often visited as a circuit-riding attorney. His varied professional background includes investigation and cleanup of Superfund hazardous waste sites, ministry and missions, teaching and coaching.
For more information about this event, please contact Paul Durica at firstname.lastname@example.org or (312) 422-5583.