Recently, I saw the movie, "Cesar Chavez." It was about the labor leader's efforts to persuade consumers to stop buying grapes until workers out in the fields received the minimum wage. Millions of Americans joined the boycott, which started in 1965. Five years later, the growers agreed to the farmworkers' demands.
This movie reflected poorly on Dixon's favorite son, Ronald Reagan, with footage showing him calling the boycott immoral and eating grapes in protest. Conservatives are crying foul about the film's treatment of Reagan.
This movie isn't showing locally. Carmike Sauk Valley 8 in Sterling doesn't plan to include the film in its lineup, so that leaves the downtown Sterling Theater. When the theater opened last year, its owner said it would show films that would never play in this area.
But Sterling Theater's owner, Skip Huston, said there was no money in movies such as "Cesar Chavez."
"I think we found the winning combination at the Sterling Theater," he said. “It's really going mainstream and family films. We're not going to play [the movie about Chavez]. I know Carmike won't."
When the brew-and-view theater opened in August, it tried alternative, non-mainstream movies, but that didn't work., Huston said.
"It was a really rocky start. It didn't take off like we wanted to," he said.
It's too small a market for alternative films, he said.
'A bright red something under a bush'
Last Thursday, 100 students, faculty members, and staff at Amboy High School released balloons in honor of Mike "Paz" Pasley, 47, a social studies teacher who unexpectedly died a few days before.
Many of the balloons didn't make it far because of weather conditions, reported Brandon Albrecht, who writes for the yearbook.
But one traveled to Oregon, about 25 miles north of Amboy, he said.
Oregon resident Hannah Jones' stepmom found one 2 days after the release. She contacted Amboy student Megan Grady.
"It was a nice day, so the whole family was outside doing work around the house. It was my stepmom who noticed a bright red something under a bush," Jones said in Albrecht's story on the balloon discovery.
Her stepmom, Joni Willard, realized the balloon was for the Amboy teacher.
The note from the balloon read, in part, "Paz was not only a great teacher, but a great man."
I spoke with Albrecht about Pasley.
"He meant a lot to us," the freshman said. "He made a special connection with everyone of his students. He brought out the better in students."
David Giuliani is a news editor for Sauk Valley Media. You can reach him at email@example.com or 800-798-4085, ext. 525. Follow him on Twitter: @DGiuliani_SVM.