Columbia City Council honors Kish

Pictured, retired Immaculate Conception School Principal Mike Kish addresses the Columbia City Council and attendees after being recognized by the city for his 50-year career.

The City of Columbia honored recently retired Immaculate Conception School Principal Mike Kish Monday night. 

In recognition of “the significant impact Mike Kish has had on the education of Columbia’s youth and his dedication to the community,” Columbia Mayor Bob Hill proclaimed June 8, 2021, as “Mike Kish Day” in the city.

Kish then addressed the council and attendees, saying “how blessed (Columbia is) as a community that cares about each other and takes care of itself.”

Kish thanked his late father for instilling a sense of civic duty in him. Kish spoke about his father leading by example, adding that all are now a part of the legacy of the “Greatest Generation” that “changed America for the better” and it is up to the current generation to “keep it going.”

Kish also thanked his family for their roles in making his career a success, noting that “without that kind of support, it just doesn’t happen.” 

He also thanked the council and city personnel for their time and dedication in “looking out for the best interest” of Columbia and making it “a great place to raise kids.”

“My only regret, standing here, is that I haven’t been able to do more for the city,” Kish concluded. “I wish I’d had more time,” he added, reflecting that he “jumped in with both feet in the school business” when he began as ICS principal in 1971.

Kish retired May 21 after 50 years at the school.

Monday’s meeting also marked the end of virtual public participation in city business. With the State of Illinois set to enter Phase 5 of the Restore Illinois plan Friday, the city will no longer provide meeting participation via video streaming programs as it has for over a year in accordance with COVID-19 mitigation efforts.

Columbia City Administrator Doug Brimm clarified that city meetings would still be available to view live online and will be archived through the city’s website.

As discussed during the May 17 council meeting, an ordinance was adopted to abolish all aldermanic committees except the Committee of the Whole.

During the previous discussion, Brimm noted the change would “clean up the (city) code” and also provide more efficient use of time among city employees and officials. 

Under the new language,  the Columbia mayor “shall appoint such special committees as he may deem necessary or as may be directed by the council,” allowing the city to still have the option “to form committees as needed to review items requiring special consideration.”

The council voted to accept appointments and set terms for several boards and commissions. Notable additions were Matthew Klopmeyer to the Columbia Plan Commission, filling the unexpired term vacated by current Ward I Alderman Doug Garmer. Columbia School District Superintendent Chris Grode was appointed to the Columbia Parks & Recreation Advisory Board, as was Kara Lamack. She replaced former board chairman Joe Sander, who resigned from the position in February.   

In other business, Columbia City Engineer Chris Smith presented an annual update on the city’s storm sewer system and gave updates on projects happening around the city.

Work on Quarry Road from Ghent Road to Palmer Creek Drive is wrapping up and the road reopened to traffic Tuesday when asphalt work was completed.

The second phase of work on Quarry Road, which includes work on a roundabout and resurfacing from Palmer Creek Drive to Rueck Road, is being appraised and right-of-way negotiations are beginning.

The council also voted to approve a $2,500 grant from the city’s tourism fund to Songs4Soldiers for advertising the event that is expected to bring “up to 10,000 people” to the Columbia during concerts in September.

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