em space, Where They Stand,
How We Stack Up,
Up With That?
things in perspective
8, 2001] Well,
fellow Logan County residents, what do you feel like chewing on this
week? Old buildings that need the subtle touch of a bulldozer?
Perhaps a few buildings that have a color palette that even a French
impressionist painter would say is a bit much? How about another
case of a business, say a Caseyís, trying to come to town but
being told not to build where they think they have a chance to make
a go of it?
can talk about being the only city in Illinois that thinks itís a
good idea not to give second chances to handicapped citizens for
parking violations, or we can ask why a county board canít get an
easement from a city council to enter the age of the Internet.
that should be enough for any cityís plate. In fact it looks like
we have our own buffet of problems in this city of 13,500 in a
county of 33,000.
it is. But you know what? In the event we decide to talk about these
issues, in the event we decide to actually determine the majority
opinion on what should and should not be part of our present as well
as our future, we might just get through all this. We might get
through all this until the next crop of strange and special problems
grows in Logan County.
are not alone, however, in living in a topsy-turvy kind of
community. In fact if we decide to take the boxing gloves off just
long enough to put our glasses on, we might read that strange and
divisive issues are the norm in small communities
Cullman Times in Alabama tells the tale of farmers in the Joppa area
trying to prevent a petroleum pipeline from going under their
fields. Urban residents ask how anyone can argue about a pipeline
and pumping stations that will bring new jobs to a depressed
Idaho Falls Times writes about an arsonist who is burning the
prairies and asks why the local law enforcement officials canít
catch the guy.
[to top of second column in
Wisconsin, the Chippewa Falls Herald reports with dismay that
"Americaís dairy land" has imported a record amount of
waste from surrounding states and worries about contamination as
well as landfill capacity becoming overburdened.
may choose to read the story out of the Morrisville News and Citizen
in Vermont. It seems that the rural area has one sheriff to patrol
several towns. It also seems that some towns donít feel this
one-man police force spends as much time in their town as anotherís
and says they wonít throw their money into the kitty to fund this
lone ranger. In an all-or-nothing agreement between the areaís
towns, removal of financial tithes could mean no one has police
could write a book about other small towns facing strange but, to
them, crucial issues. I trust I have made my point.
Lincoln and Logan County have their own special brand of problems.
But they are no more or less than other small communities, or for
that matter, larger ones as well.
will survive. We will endure. Just as long as we communicate with
each other and thoroughly chew on the issue rather than each other.
Remember, the day after tomorrow, we still have to live with each
(not for publication):
to Fak's commentary:
tickets need a little easement
3, 2001] The
handling of the handicapped-parking situation by citizen ticket
writers is causing a schism in our community.
it is not a chasm between those who are disabled and those who are
not. The monumental gap, and thus animosity, between handicapped
individuals and "normal" citizens isnít being caused by
those insufferable individuals among us who are too insensitive to
honor handicapped-parking places. It isnít being caused by the
countless numbers of individuals who have received legitimate
handicapped-parking privileges but should not have them. It is being
caused by handicapped individuals giving tickets to other
handicapped individuals for minor infractions of parking in
designated areas ó infractions that the trainers of ticket writers
have stated are not what the job should entail. Couple this with a
city administration that wonít allow a police chief to make
decisions on whether a ticket is valid or not, and you end up with
the situation we are now in.
seems that tickets are being written for having wheels just a few
inches over a yellow line. Forgive me, but my son who is handicapped
and learning to drive might be guilty of this infraction. Donít
for a second tell me that he should pay a $100 fine. Tickets are
being written for handicapped-parking cards being blown off a
rearview mirror onto a dashboard or a seat of a car. Can you
honestly tell me this is the essence of the handicapped-parking laws
need to be made in the "real" world. That quoted word is
from an intolerant school administrator, not me. But in order to
make changes we need to come together as one. Creating a war between
those who are and those who are not isnít going to help either
side. Creating a war between those who are handicapped and those who
are also handicapped will guarantee that the handicapped cause in
Lincoln will grind to a halt.
a contractor working on the Mutual Bank building, which has been
dormant for several years, was written up for having his vehicle in
a handicapped-parking spot in a lot that isnít open to the public.
One of the jobs the contractor was doing inside the structure was
building a handicapped-accessible bathroom on the first floor of the
building. A bathroom, by the way, that isnít required by the law
that is the law.
[to top of second column in
mayor has refused to allow our police chief to use his discretion in
throwing out some of these tickets. Tickets that I promise you will
be thrown out of court in a heartbeat.
result is tales such as the ones in Mondayís Courier of people
whom the laws were created to protect and give convenience to,
having to fight for justice. Is this what we want the city to
become? A war zone between those who legitimately park in
handicapped-access areas and still receive $100 dollar fines and a
city administration that gives a quote to the Pantagraph that
"the law is the law"?
mayor has been quoted as saying the city lost $10,000 in fines last
year due to the previous chiefís decisions to throw out many of
the citations. In the event they are anything like the cases
mentioned in the Courier, they should have been torn up, because
they are not deserving of adjudication. Instead we find citizens
needing to take the time out of their day to argue the injustice of
their tickets. All the while we tie up the police chief, mayor and
city attorney, who has recommended these tickets go in the
wastebasket anyway. I canít believe we all donít have something
better to do with our time.
complete, entire and total purpose of the handicapped-parking laws
in this nation is to create a deterrent to scofflaws from parking in
the closest areas to a storeís entrance, reserved for those among
us who need a little help. Nothing else is important. Nothing else
is what the law was intended for.
(not for publication):
to Fak's commentary:
space is a staff writer's commentary section with observations about life experiences in Logan County and
Water: An everyday wonder
is one of the delights and burdens of summer life.
When the air
is heavy with humidity, I wish for a little less, but when I walk past a
sprinkler on a hot day, I like to get close enough to feel the mist. Itís
tantalizing to catch the coolness without getting soaked.
work, extra expense to water flowers and vegetable gardens, to keep a
patch of grass looking green, or to handle irrigation equipment in fields,
but spraying water looks refreshing besides helping
to maintain plant life.
When a rain
temporarily breaks the heat of summer, the water is both a practical and
recreational activities in natural bodies of water and man-made pools, one
of the summer water pleasures that date from childhood is playing with a
garden hose. My family had several to reach where desired, especially
since young trees were part of the picture. Some older hose sections were more
brittle and sprouted impromptu fountains, especially around the faucet.
The best hose was a long, green conduit that came alive in my grasp as the
water pressure built up inside. I tried to drink from the end and make a
spray without a nozzle by holding my fingers across the opening as my dad
could do. With the adjustable nozzle in place, the possibilities for drawing water
designs in the air were endless.
here to submit your name for a Wednesday morning drawing for two
tickets to "The Wiz."]
A couple of
weeks ago as I passed several lawn sprinklers, I was reminded of childhood
play that didnít require water. In recess or after-school sessions when
we lined up to jump rope, older children worked with younger ones to
follow the turning rope and move into its circling pattern without getting
hit. As I watched a tall sprinkler moving back and forth, I wondered if I
could do the same there but concluded Iíd need to go around.
been annoyed to see the water in operation several places shortly after a
shower, but automated systems donít always check with the weather
station. After watching the sprinklers, I was glad I hadnít missed their
activity. One place I watched the interplay of various sprays as the most
distant ends crossed paths. Going by at intervals, I also noticed that
there had been a changing of the guard as some spigots shut down and
others were activated to cover different areas.
A song based
on the 23rd Psalm started going around in my head, and eventually I
realized there must have been a subconscious connection between the
spraying water and the "green pastures" in the text. I thought
of people in ancient cultures who settled around springs and dug waterways
to irrigate dry lands.
has always been highly valued, but keeping a clean supply for future use
is also a long-standing challenge. Most of the worldís water is salty.
Only about 3 percent is not, and much of that is locked up as polar ice or
awareness of water impurities is obvious. Not long ago I had trouble
finding filters someone wanted for a drinking bottle, but the last time I
checked one of the same stores, there was a large shelf area filled with a
selection of brands and sizes of dispensers for drinking water,
attachments for household plumbing, and replacement filters for all the
water has become increasingly popular too, although some sources indicate
that special features of spring water dissipate after a short time. Some
believe that water in its most natural state boosts the immune system and
helps fight infection.
have unusual properties. Itís found in the form of a solid, liquid and
gas under normal temperature ranges. Substances with similar structures
are vapors. In addition, most substances contract when they cool, but
water expands when it freezes, forming ice at the top of bodies of water
while life goes on underneath. Water can move through soil and in plants
by capillary action, against the flow of gravity. Water also has unusual
surface tension, allowing insects to walk on it. Given enough time, water
can dissolve almost anything, including rocks. Water can absorb a large
amount of heat without becoming much hotter itself, a fact that helps
maintain the temperature of our bodies.
For all of us, water remains a
necessity for life, a supply that has to be replenished. A loss of 20
percent can be fatal. Just as water covers about 70 percent of the earth,
the human body is about 70 percent water. Itís a good idea to like
water, since itís much of what we are.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
estimates in Logan County
||Rural population -
||Urban population -
||Persons below poverty
level - 11.8 %
||Average marriages per
||Average deaths per
County high schools: 1960-2000
High School consolidated with New Holland
High School became part of Olympia School District
High School consolidated with Mount Pulaski
High School became Warrensburg-Latham
High School consolidated with Lincoln Community High School
Jose High School consolidated with Illini Central (Mason City)