Still Watersthe em spaceWhere They StandBy the Numbers,

How We Stack UpWhat's Up With That?

A quick look at Lincoln
and Logan County issues

By Mike Fak

[APRIL 12, 2001]  Forgive me the pun, but it looks like the question of who should pay for the future sewerage system upgrades is nothing more than money down the drain. Potential expenditures of upward of $10 million tell all of us that what we send down the drain or flush is nothing to take lightly.

Although the city’s general fund is flush at the moment, the costs of refurbishing our system will mean borrowing funds from an agency such as the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency to cover this huge expense. With the need to maintain standards for waste removal as well as having future capacity to lure new business, it looks like the upgrade is something we need to do before the costs rise still higher.

I found it amazing that a flow study showed our two prisons responsible for 40 percent of the solid waste sent through our plant, but that statistic should help in negotiations between the city and the Department of Corrections regarding how much of the bill prisons should foot. If the prisons use 40 percent of the system, they should pay 40 percent of the monthly cost of operating the plant


It seems there is an attempt to bring the old well on Fifth Street across from the Postville Courthouse back into use. The well, now in front of the VFW Hall, was once part of the landscape known to courthouse visitors as Deskin’s Tavern. In the mid-1800s, many a hot summer afternoon found participants in the legal system taking a break to go across the street and draw a cool drink of water from the well.

Yes, you figured it out. That means the city could have a tourist attraction such as "Have a drink of water from the same well Old Abe used." I can just see us bottling the water as well and selling it to tourists to take home. I will leave a name for such a product up to others, but Abe-aid comes to mind in a hurry.

[to top of second column in this commentary]

I’m not sure if any issue, save perhaps the Central School referendum, caused more debate than the talk three years ago of consolidating our grammar schools. In Chicago, where I grew up, neighborhood schools were as much a part of the landscape as corner penny-candy stores. The candy stores are now only memories, and in many parts of the country, including Illinois, so too are the small schools. The principal reason for consolidation was stated to be a reduction in administrative costs. The chief reason for maintaining smaller schools was to keep local control over a child’s educational process. Both points have validity; both points may soon be moot if the state Legislature creates new laws requiring further cutbacks to small schools. Is the concept good or bad? Let me know what you think.

Look for the county board to rescind their vote on maintaining the at-large system of deciding representatives. That is only the first move in a process that will take some time and thought. Districting or redistricting voter areas are never an easy process, but it appears to be certain to occur in Logan County.

Then we will have to wait and see if county residents who have been stating they have been left out of the county process do anything with their newfound representation. Changing to districts will only benefit the community if residents run for office.

Be forewarned, if the next election shows several seats having only one candidate, I will scream. In the event we have good solid choices throughout the county, I will sing the praises of the referendum.

Regardless of what system we use, without active participation they are all worthless.

[Mike Fak]

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Let me say this about that — again

By Mike Fak

[APRIL 6, 2001]  With the old Mutual Bank building currently undergoing remodeling to handle county business, the question of whether it should be renamed is coming up. Board member Terry Werth doesn’t think a structure which houses county offices and thus handles county business should have the nomenclature "The Old Mutual Bank Building." I agree.

Werth is preparing to propose to the county board that the building be renamed the John A. Logan Building. His thinking is that something in a county called Logan named after John A. should have a least one structure named in his honor. His idea makes sense to me, but of course, I am only the messenger. Tell me what you think of the idea. By the way, did you know Abraham Lincoln christened Logan County in honor of John A. Logan? Abe really left his mark on this community, didn’t he?

There has been a great deal of press regarding the Shady Grove Mobile Home Court on the north side of Lincoln. Residents are being sued by a landlord due to the fact they have discontinued paying lot fees because of living conditions in the court. The landlord is facing penalties from the state’s attorney’s office because the Illinois Department of Public Health has refused to issue a license to the owners, making their continuing operation against the law. And through all of this the mobile home court is an eyesore to the community.

Who is to blame? Who is at fault? Personally, I believe there is enough guilt to go around to everyone.

Yes, the owners of the court have not kept the grounds up at all. A drive by shows that considerable trash litters the park even after the city paid to have four yard dumpsters placed in the court. The area is better than it was in February, but it is a long drive from being a bed of roses. It doesn’t take much observation for an outsider to notice that the landlord doesn’t seem interested in maintaining the grounds in accordance with the rental agreements or the state rules governing the ownership of a mobile home court.

But what about the residents of the park? In America, people are allowed the right to own. They also carry the responsibility of taking care of what they own, and believe it or not, trash is something that all of us own and have a responsibility to get rid of in a responsible manner. The fact that the landlord isn’t keeping his end of the bargain doesn’t mean that residents can simply throw their garbage out the door and tell the world it isn’t their problem. It is.


[to top of second column in this commentary]

Perhaps since residents are not paying lot rent, they can use those monies to rent "carry-all" dumpsters from a disposal company and clean up the neighborhood. They can use the mobile home court just three blocks away as an example of how well maintained a trailer court can appear.

While we are on the topic, the state’s attorney’s office having to deal with this issue is a hard ride for Tim Huyett and his staff. The law is clear. No license, shut the court down. It is also clear that displacing three dozen families is not a public relations coup for any politician. My only advice to Mr. Huyett is that the trailer court needs to be right or it needs to be gone. Perhaps Huyett can do something about the abandoned pigeon coop, formerly a restaurant, across from the Tropics while he is at it. Travelers from the north entering Lincoln don’t need to judge this community by either of these two views.

The voters have spoken. Well, at least a few of us have. By a 3-1 margin, the 18 percent of people interested enough in exercising their rights have stated that the county board should be apportioned into districts and members voted in accordingly. While 18 percent of the total eligible voters in our county is far removed from being considered a mandate, the 3,500 votes and the margin toward redistricting must be considered a solid sampling of the area residents’ wishes and needs to be looked at by the current county board.

Although the referendum is nonbinding, the board will be gauged during the next election by their decision to consider the referendum as valid or not. Then again, with only 3,000 residents interested enough to vote, maybe a board member having a large family over the age of majority doesn’t need to worry about what the few of us who will vote really think.

[Mike Fak]


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Welcome to the em space, a staff writer's commentary section with observations about life experiences in Logan County and beyond. Enjoy your visit.

- Mary Krallmann

The missing ‘s’

When I looked at an Internet site with links to sets of daily devotions, I noticed there was a typo in the link to one series. The title was singular instead of plural. It still made sense, because a collection includes individual elements, but from a lifetime of having the printed version of the publication around the house, I knew there should be an "s" at the end of the name. One day I scrolled down far enough to see an address to contact and decided to report the missing letter.

The address was an interesting one. Instead of the more common "webmaster," it said "webservant."

I sent a note to the "webservant" and received a fast response: "Thanks for the heads up." The message indicated that her official title was Website Administrator. I don't know if she had anything to do with choosing the webservant identification on her mail, but I liked the idea.

I’m not making an argument against the term "webmaster." The word follows the pattern of other job descriptions, such as a ringmaster, who keeps things under control, or a concertmaster, with a high level of expertise in another area.

Also, I wouldn't take the webservant term too literally, as though what's on a screen should take charge of a person instead of the other way around. That would be like the tail wagging the dog or people becoming enslaved to what they do.

The unexpected switch from master to servant does match what happens when people take the concept of servanthood seriously. It turns their priorities upside down. A well-known preacher who learned about that firsthand wrote a book called "Improving Your Serve" (it's not about tennis).

But service isn't just a theological topic. Serving is also found in the successful businessman's creed.

After making a major purchase from a local business, I received a complimentary gift; a tin of cookies arrived in the mail. A printed message just under the lid said in part: "You are the most important person in our business. You are not dependent on us, we are dependent on you. You are not an interruption of our work, you are the purpose for it. You do us a favor when you use us. We are not doing you a favor by serving you. You come to us with your needs, it is our job to fulfill them."

Determining whom and what we serve can be complicated. As people serve their customers, their managers, their families, their sense of right and wrong, conflicts arise. The major conflict, of course, is that we'd rather serve ourselves and our own interests.

Like seeing "webservant" instead of "webmaster," examples of servanthood sometimes take us by surprise. A pastor notices that the candles haven't been lit and does it himself. A client receives technical advice without charge. A seminary professor visits a small church and holds the door open for everyone else. A person selling parts at the counter of an auto supply store installs the wiper refills and puts the blades back on without any special request from the customer.

The disciples of Jesus were also surprised when he washed their feet before a final supper together. He asked if they understood and explained that he had given them an example.

The next day his servant role culminated in his death for all humanity. His coming back to life gives his followers an ultimate master to serve.

Along with observing those events of Holy Week, some people put its lessons into practice with special service projects during the time around Easter.

Ideally, all of life is a servant event, wherever we are, and if phrases like the currently popular "servant leadership" and the webservant address help to get the point across, they will serve their purpose well.

[Mary Krallmann]


Where They Stand

Where They Stand is a commentary section that poses a question about a specific issue in the community. Informed individuals present their position with facts, opinions or insights on the issue. The following commentaries have been printed, unedited, in their entirety, as they were received. If you have further comment on the issue, please send an e-mail message, complete with your name, address and telephone number to

District vs. at large

April 3 ballot proposition:  "Shall Logan County be divided into districts equal in population for the purpose of electing County Board members to serve on the Logan County Board commencing in the year 2002?"



In January of this year, citizens throughout Logan County circulated petitions to place this issue on the ballot. That effort was successful with more than 10% of registered voters signing within a two-week period (2569 total/2000 needed). The referendum has been certified by the Logan County Clerk and will be on the April 3rd ballot throughout the county. The citizens were successful and will be able to voice their opinion on this matter for the first time in 30 years!

Illinois law states that every ten years each county in Illinois with a township form of government shall determine whether board members shall be elected "at large" from the county or by county board "districts".

A "YES" vote on this issue will indicate that residents of Logan County want to have their County Board members representing all areas of the county. Each district must be divided equally in population and will guarantee that all areas are represented! The present "at large" system allows for all 13 County Board members to be elected from one area, while the remainder of the county could end up with no one. In fact, the east side of our county (from Mt. Pulaski to Atlanta) does not have representation at the present time! All of the counties surrounding Logan are in districts. Menard recently changed from "at large" to "districts" with an overwhelming vote. The greater majority of counties in Illinois are in districts and have been for several years. We are not the only county with this issue on the ballot. Bureau County recently passed a referendum to go to single member districts. Champaign County has a similar question, as does Adams County.

Remember that this question asks how the make-up of the County Board should be for the next ten years. Under a district system the voter is more likely to know the person they are voting for. This is your opportunity to voice your opinion and let your county governing body know how you feel. If the referendum produces a result in FAVOR of district representation, then measures will be introduced on the floor of the Logan County Board to accomplish that goal.

—Rodney J. White



(Rodney White is a member of the Logan County Board.)



It’s rather interesting and enlightening to note the places of residence of people appointed to the Logan County Board to fill terms of members who have died, moved away, or resigned.

Mr. Robert "Bud" Behrends was appointed to the Logan County Board March 18, 1975, to finish out the term of Robert E. Downing, and Lloyd Hellman was appointed November 15, 1994, to finish out Robert "Bud" Behrends term on the board. Mr. Behrends grew up in the Hartsburg area, and spent most of his life in Lincoln, and Mr. Hellman, who replaced "Bud" has spent most of his life in the rural Emden area. Mr. Downing was a rural Beason farmer.

The emphasis on appointments was the type of person needed to effectively function on the board; not where they resided. A Beason resident (Mr. Downing) was replaced by a Hartsburg/Lincoln resident (Mr. Behrends), who was replaced by Mr. Hellman, an Emden resident.

The above appointments don’t look like "district" representation. It looks like desire on the part of the replacements and their ability to effectively function on the Logan County Board.

Mark H. Werth resigned from the board December 31, 1988. L. Buckles was appointed to replace Mr. Werth, February 20, 1989. Both were from rural areas -- Mr. Werth, rural area north of Mt. Pulaski, and Mr. Buckles, rural area south of Mt. Pulaski.

Mr. Earl Madigan, who lived southeast of Lincoln, was replaced by Dwight Zimmerman, who farmed for years just east of San Jose and later lived in Lincoln. That certainly wasn’t a "district" appointment. That was an appointment based on the desire of the person to serve and his ability to serve.

Mr. Edward L. Spellman, resigned from the board March 18, 1976, and Mr. Don Smith was appointed to take his place. both came from Lincoln, Both were successful business people and served well on the board.

Mr. Robert Welch died in office November 18, 1998. He was a resident of rural Beason. Mr. Roger Bock of rural Williamsville was appointed to replace him. Again, not a "district" appointment, but one based on desire and ability.

To my knowledge, no proponent of the district plan for electing members of the Logan County Board has ever submitted a plan, so my question is: If the at large system of electing county board members is not flawed, why fix it?

If the system is working well and the members are getting the work of county government done, why change?

Will a district election plan, which apparently is only floating around in the minds of a few people and has not been committed to paper, better serve all the people of all the county?? I think not!!!

—Dick Hurley


(Dick Hurley is a former member of the Logan County Board.)

By the Numbers

Motor fuel taxes paid in August 2000

Local figures are as follows:

Logan County = $44,078.23

(Counties receive an allocation on the basis of motor vehicle registration fees, with the exception of Cook County, which has a percentage allocation set by law.)

Townships and road districts = $90,973.85

(Townships and road districts are allocated an amount computed on the basis of mileage in their jurisdiction.)

City of Lincoln = $38,003.84

(Cities receive an allocation based on population.)

[Source: Economic Development report]

Population estimates in Logan County
30,798 Total population, 1990
15,380 Rural population - 49.9%, 1990
15,418 Urban population - 50.1%, 1990
2,875 Projected births, 1990-1998
2,736 Projected deaths, 1990-1998
3,143 Persons below poverty level - 11.8 %
258 Average marriages per year
135 Average deaths per year

Alexis Asher

Logan County high schools: 1960-2000
1962 Middletown High School consolidated with New Holland
1972 Atlanta High School became part of Olympia School District
1975 Elkhart High School consolidated with Mount Pulaski
1977 San Jose High School consolidated with Illini Central (Mason City)
1979 Latham High School became Warrensburg-Latham
1988 New Holland-Middletown High School consolidated with Lincoln Community High School
1994 Beason High School consolidated with Lincoln Community High School

Alexis Asher

Lincoln High School history


Lincoln School District


School buildings in 1859


"Grammar school" in 1859


High school teacher, Mr. January, in 1859


Central School opened


High school building started


High school dedicated, Jan. 5


Cost of new high school


Election authorized community high school District #404


Dedication of new Lincoln Community High School, 1000 Primm Road, in auditorium, on Nov. 9

Alexis Asher

Lincoln/Logan County numbers
5 Wards in Lincoln
17 Townships in Logan County
29 Officers in Lincoln City Police Department
20 Officers in Logan County Police Department
22 Firemen in the Lincoln City Fire Department
16 Rural Fire Departments in County
13 Members of Logan County Board
10 Members of Lincoln City Council
3 Colleges in Lincoln
44,850 Volumes in Lincoln Public Library
40,000 Volumes in Lincoln College Library
126,000 Volumes in Lincoln Christian College Library

How We Stack Up

This feature of the Lincoln Daily News compares Lincoln and Logan County to similar cities and counties on a variety of issues in a succinct manner, using charts and graphs for illustration.

Racial makeup of selected Illinois counties


What's Up With That?


When you look around, you will probably find something interesting to look at here in Logan County.
For instance, sitting just north of Lincoln near I-55, this trailer home looks a little odd up on stilts.  But if you look closely, it makes perfect sense, as it stands above the expanding waters of the nearby barrow-pit pond.  

 Innovation is alive and well here in Logan County.


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