Still Watersthe em spaceWhere They StandBy the Numbers,

How We Stack UpWhat's Up With That?

Keeping things in perspective

By Mike Fak

[AUG. 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?

We 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.

Geez, 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.

Yeah, 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.


We 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

The 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 community.

The Idaho Falls Times writes about an arsonist who is burning the prairies and asks why the local law enforcement officials canít catch the guy.



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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.

We 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 protection.

I could write a book about other small towns facing strange but, to them, crucial issues. I trust I have made my point.

Yes, 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.

We 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 other.

[Mike Fak]

Reply to Fak (not for publication):

Response to Fak's commentary: 

Parking tickets need a little easement

By Mike Fak

[AUG. 3, 2001]  The handling of the handicapped-parking situation by citizen ticket writers is causing a schism in our community.

No, 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.

It 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 and regulations?

Changes 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.

Recently, 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.



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Our 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.

The 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"?

The 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.

The 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.

[Mike Fak]

Reply to Fak (not for publication):

Response to Fak's commentary: 

The em space is a staff writer's commentary section with observations about life experiences in Logan County and beyond.

ó Mary Krallmann

Water: An everyday wonder

Water 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.

Itís extra 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 psychological relief.

Beyond 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.

[Click 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.

Initially Iíd 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.

Fresh water 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 is polluted.

Our 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 devices.

Bottled 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.

Water does 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.

[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


By the Numbers

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
1979 Latham High School became Warrensburg-Latham
1988 New Holland-Middletown High School consolidated with Lincoln Community High School
1989 San Jose High School consolidated with Illini Central (Mason City)

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

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?


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