Sewer hookup decision near
for Campus View homes

[AUG. 16, 2001]  Lincoln Christian College has opened the way for the city to provide sewer hookups for 12 residents living on the far end of Campus View Drive, but the Lincoln City Council must now decide whether to foot the $300,000 bill.

Grant Eaton, sewer plant manager, told the council at its work session Aug. 14 that LCC has agreed to give the city an easement for the sewer line if the city will take over the sewer hookup for the other homes on Campus View Drive, estimated at about 20.

Although the homes on Campus View Drive are officially in the city, the street itself belongs to the college, and the city must have permission to put in the sewer line. The 12 homes at the far end of Campus View, which curves around the back of the college property and then comes to a dead end, have septic systems. Two homeowners, Kevin Bateman and Mike Robbins, have come to the council to complain about problems with sewage backup, because their lots are not large enough for an efficient septic system.


"I don’t think it’s a bad deal. It’s fair to the city and fair to the college," Eaton said, in regard to the easement the college is willing to grant. The other homes on Campus View Drive presently connect to the LCC waste disposal system.

Eaton suggested just running a line that would serve the existing homes, rather than a line that would allow for future growth. He said the existing line serving the other homes line is shallow and will require a lift station with a standby power system.

The question now is whether the council will decide to spend the $300,000 necessary to provide the hookup for the 12 homes, especially as City Attorney William B. Bates gave it as his opinion that the city is not legally required to offer the hookups.

Bateman said the way he read the ordinance, the city has an obligation to offer sewer hookups to an existing neighborhood with septic systems within seven years.

Bates, however, said the way he interpreted the ordinance is that homeowners who have septic systems but who have a city sewer line within reach have an obligation to connect to the city system.


[to top of second column in this article]

"If that’s the way you read it, I don’t know how you people are going to vote to spend $300,000 for 12 homes," Bateman said.

"I know I speak for all 12 homeowners, that not a soul in this town is going to buy any property out there the way it is," he added.

William Melton, chairman of the sewage and drainage committee, asked where funding might come from.

Eaton answered that the money is not available now but will be when money comes in for the sewer plant upgrade. He said more and more people are asking to be connected to the city sewer plant and that the council needs to consider raising rates to pay for this work and for the sewer plant upgrade loan from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency.

He also told Bateman and Robbins that even if the council approves the expenditure, it could take as long as six months before all paperwork is done and the IEPA approves the project.


Melton asked that the proposal be put on the agenda for a vote at the next regular council meeting Aug. 20. "We’ve waited as long as we can," he said.

In other business, Street Superintendent Donnie Osborne said he would like to go back to the original plan for work on the Hamilton Street garage. Rather than put up a new building, he said he would request the city to put a new roof on the present structure.

Alderman Glenn Shelton reported that many residents are concerned that the Illinois Department of Transportation is planning to wait until next year to upgrade railroad crossings at Tremont, Pekin and Broadway streets. He complimented Osborne on following up his request to contact IDOT to urge them to move more quickly on the upgrades.

[Joan Crabb]


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Two District 27 schools
may get academic warning

[AUG. 16, 2001]  Two District 27 schools, Jefferson and Northwest, will probably be on the State Board of Education’s Early Academic Warning List this year, Superintendent Robert Kidd told school board members at their meeting Aug. 15.

"This is a result of not having done as well on the ISAT (Illinois Standards Assessment Test) as we had hoped over a two-year time period," Dr. Kidd told the board.

At Jefferson the test results are for reading, writing and math at the third-grade level, and at Northwest for reading, writing, and math at the third- and fifth-grade levels, as well as social science and science at the fourth-grade level.

"This is not a shock," Kidd told the board. "We know that test scores correlate with income level, which we know by the free and reduced lunch numbers. We know Jefferson has 60 to 70 percent free and reduced lunch numbers, depending on the time of year, and Northwest always has 50 percent or greater," he said.

"This is not an excuse, but it is a challenge," he added.


Official results and actual tests scores have not yet been sent to District 27, Kidd said. "Until we get the actual scores we won’t know where the problem really is. Then we will try to come up with something more effective.

"We have never made this list before, but being on the warning list may allow us to get some funds to expand our summer school program," he added.

The ISAT tests have replaced the Illinois Goal Assessment Program tests formerly given to elementary school students. The reading, writing and math tests are being given for the third year, and the science and social studies for the second year.

Students in the district have not done as well on state standardized tests since the change from IGAP to ISAT, Kidd said. He said it takes a while for both teachers and students to "catch up" to the demands of a new test.

He also noted that the number of special education students at Jefferson, which is a small school, may have skewed tests results there as well.

Kidd also reported on the success of this year’s summer school. Of the 44 students mandated to attend summer school if they wished to be promoted to the next grade, 36 passed; five failed either for work, discipline or attendance; and three chose not to come to summer school.


Of the 79 students recommended, but not mandated, to attend, 62 completed the summer school program, Kidd said.

The board also heard the progress of improvements to the ball diamond at Ralph Gale Field. Kidd credited baseball coach Darrick Reiley and the crew of volunteers working with him for many of the improvements.

This year, dirt was added to the field so it drains better. New bleachers have arrived and are being assembled, and a new scoreboard, batting cage and dugouts have been added. New lights will also be installed.

Kidd said the hollow tree at the corner of Kankakee and Broadway has to be removed, but he hopes to move some smaller trees from the Central School grounds to Ralph Gale Field to provide shade for spectators.


[to top of second column in this article]

Board president Bruce Carmitchell also reported on the agreement with the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency. The IHPA wants to be sure the school district properly recognizes the historic significance of the buildings that will be demolished. The district has agreed to document the old buildings with photographs and videotape and to include in its curriculum information about the structures that were formerly there.

Architect Dave Leonatti and construction manager Bill Ahal reported that the design development for the new Central School is completed and the development of final documents needed before construction begins is 10 percent completed.

Construction drawings are scheduled to be finished by Oct. 20 so bids can be let. The project will be assembled in "bid packages," with foundation work being the first to be let.


Both Leonatti and Ahal said they hoped to see ground broken before the end of the year. The building program is behind schedule because of the extra time needed to bring the cost of the two new schools, Central and a new junior high school, in line with the funds available. Total square footage of the new Central School will be 47,375, slightly smaller than the original plans, and the cost estimates are in the range of $119 to $125 per square foot.

Ahal reported that the sewer line on the Central School grounds will have to be moved, as right now it runs under the site of the new building. However, he said that was "not a major problem."

Leonatti said that as work progresses it may be necessary to call special meetings of the board or the construction committee to approve plans as they are completed and expedite the bidding process. Board president Bruce Carmitchell said the board would be ready to act whenever it was necessary.


Both Leonatti and Ahal said the timing is right for the district to realize some cost savings. Contractors are finishing jobs on existing schools in time to meet fall school schedules and are looking for new projects, they said.

"The later in the year, the better off we’ll be as far as the market," Ahal said. "This has been true in all my 24 years of experience. I am seeing much more availability of materials."

Leonatti said he has had a larger than usual number of contractors bidding on projects right now.

[Joan Crabb]

City historic preservation
ordinance put on hold

[AUG. 15, 2001]  If the city of Lincoln is going to have a historic preservation ordinance, it won’t be soon.

"This is not going to be a quick procedure," said Pat Madigan, vice chairman of the city council’s ordinance committee, reporting on the proposed ordinance which council members received a week ago. "There are a lot of things to be ironed out before we are done.

"I don’t think we can resolve this in a couple of meetings and push it through," he added.


Madigan’s assessment of the 13-page document, which was shared by other members of the committee present, sounded like good news to a group of citizens who came to the committee meeting, most of them property owners on or near the Fifth Street corridor which Mayor Beth Davis has said she would like to see as a historic preservation district.

Larry Goodman, who owns V. Goodman Transfer, a trucking and excavating company at 1202 Fifth St., said he was relieved to hear the council’s consensus.

"I have a little more confidence since I’ve heard you speak that this will not be railroaded through," he told the ordinance committee. He said he had been wondering if he would be able to pass on his property to his children, so they could run the family business as the fourth generation.


Also he questioned whether there was anything historical in the proposed Fifth Street corridor.

"We’ve been on that corner since 1926. If there was any history there, I think I’d have been aware of it."

Mayor Davis assured him that the council had no intention of "railroading" the ordinance through. She said she saw it as a way to help property owners get grants to restore and maintain historic structures. She said she had also hoped to have several other historic sites on Fifth Street, a facade of the old Deskins Tavern where Abraham Lincoln stayed and some replicas of early homes in the nearby park.

Perry Harris, also a Fifth Street property owner, said it appeared that the ordinance was created to stop the Casey General Store from building a facility on Fifth Street.

"The speed this appeared before the council is troubling. It seems like the ordinance was created to stop Casey’s," he said.


The Casey corporation has been negotiating with Larry Riva, who owns a Fifth Street lot just west of the Postville Courthouse, to buy Riva’s property to put up a convenience store. A representative of Casey’s was present at Tuesday night’s meeting but did not speak.

"Why not table the ordinance until the Casey’s issue has been settled?" Harris asked.

David Morrow told the committee that the proposed ordinance for Lincoln was more sweeping and more restrictive than the requirements for getting a structure on the National Historic Register and should not be passed in its present form.

"A lot of businesses on Fifth Street are worried about it. They couldn’t even change colors on their buildings under this ordinance. The majority of people have no idea what this ordinance does.


"I can’t emphasize how much trouble this [type of ordinance] does in other communities. It enslaves the property of the citizens of Lincoln."

Under the proposed ordinance, if a property has a historic designation, changes to the outside or demolition of the property would have to have the approval of the historic preservation committee.

City Attorney William B. Bates pointed out that the ordinance had not been created by the council but by Main Street Lincoln. Wendy Bell, Main Street Lincoln coordinator, said the organization realized that the ordinance was just a "starting point."


[to top of second column in this article]

Outlining the problems he found with the proposed ordinance, Madigan cited the "power and autonomy" granted to the 11 members of the historic preservation committee, who would be appointed by the mayor.

"How much power do we want to give 11 people not even elected by the community? We may end up with a specialized committee that will have an over-zealous view."

He also objected to the power given the council. As the document is written, a simple majority would be able to ratify a decision made by the historic preservation committee. Madigan said he believed any such decision made by the council should be either a two-thirds majority or a unanimous vote.


David Armbrust disagreed with the provision that the committee would be able to nominate and vote on making a structure a historic landmark without the consent of the owner.

"It is the owner who should be asking [for the historic designation], not just someone who drives by," he said.

"If the owner doesn’t want to have the historic landmark designation, he shouldn’t be forced. He should be able to modify his home as he wants," Madigan agreed.

Armbrust and Madigan also agreed that they did not like the provision that one-third of the people in an area could nominate it as a historic district. "I’d hate to think one-third of the people in a given area could dictate to the others," Armbrust said.


Both also found the appeal process unsatisfactory. As it is presently written, a property owner can appeal a ruling on his property only to the commission, the same body that made the ruling in the first place.

"There is very little recourse for those that fall within the district," Madigan said.

Another objection Madigan cited was the "what if" criterion for historic designation. He cited one example from the proposed ordinance: "An area that has yielded or may be likely to yield, information important in history or prehistory."


"If we are going to designate a landmark, we need hard evidence. We can’t say ‘what if’ or ‘This is going to be an important site someday.’"

In spite of his objections, however, Madigan described the document as a "framework" that could be formulated to fit the city of Lincoln.

"Each page will have to be addressed," he said. "We need a better system of checks and balances. There are a lot of holes in this ordinance that we are not going to be able to patch up on a short-term basis."


Madigan, who took over for ordinance committee chairman Michael Montcalm, who is on vacation, did not schedule a future meeting for the committee. In the meantime, Riva will appear before the planning commission on Aug. 16 to ask for a rezoning of his lot from R-2 (residential) to C-4 (commercial), so that the Casey corporation could put up the convenience store. If the planning commission agrees to the zoning change, he will appear before the zoning board of appeals on Aug. 22. After that, plans for the Casey General Store will have to be approved by the full council.

[Joan Crabb]


Real estate taxes come due

[AUG. 14, 2001]  The Logan County treasurer’s office announces the following dates:

Sept. 5 — Final day to pay the second installment of real estate taxes without a penalty.

Sept. 6 — A penalty of 1½ percent will be charged on any unpaid second installment of taxes. A penalty of 4½ percent will be charged on any unpaid first installment of taxes.

Sept. 20 — Warning letters for any unpaid taxes will be mailed.

Oct. 4 — Certified letters will be mailed.

Oct. 15 — Listings of any unpaid tax will be published.


The Logan County treasurer’s office has been notified that E-Pay, the credit card option established by the state treasurer’s office for public fund treasurers, will not be available until Jan. 1, 2002. The local office had hoped this option would be available in time for the second installment; however, due to legislative action, the effective date was changed. The Logan County treasurer’s office has, however, installed a debit card scanner for all debit cards and ATM cards.


[to top of second column in this article]

Effective Aug. 17, the county treasurer’s office will be able to accept the Discover card. The Discover card company has a program for county treasurers that has been in place in larger counties for some time. County treasurers collect a user free from taxpayers who use the Discover card to pay their taxes, thereby creating no additional expense for the county.

As in the past, the county treasurer’s office is asking that banks do not collect any real estate tax after their close of business on Sept. 5. The banks will again collect taxes for the 2002 fiscal year tax cycle as they have every year.

Taxpayers are reminded of the drop box in the city parking lot on North Kickapoo Street.

Taxpayers having any questions are asked to call 732-3761 between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

[News release]


ALMH women’s health and family
birthing facilities ready for use

[AUG. 13, 2001]  The community was invited to Sunday afternoon’s ribbon-cutting, dedication and tours at ALMH. Lincoln/Logan County Chamber of Commerce ambassadors, ALMH medical and nursing staff and administrators gathered to celebrate newly completely renovation.

[click here to view photos of the Women's Health Unit]

ALMH President and CEO Woody Hester spoke saying, "On this, the 12th day of August, on behalf of — and in honor of — all of you and all of those before us, I dedicate the Women’s Health Unit and Family Maternity Suites to those we serve."

In describing the completeness of the transformation, Hester said the third floor went out the window, literally. A chute was placed at a window and all the debris was sent down it. The entire third floor was stripped down to the exterior brick. All that was left was the walls and floor.

Hester thanked the medical staff for handling the transition so well. For eight months they were temporarily located on the second floor. He was also thankful for all the community support. This kind of commitment means women will not need to go to Bloomington or Springfield for high-quality health care and child delivery.

Those touring the facility marveled at how much change has taken place from the old rooms to the new, higher-tech, more private and personable rooms. The nursing staff was even more enthusiastic. They were particularly pleased with the effective layout that has the nursing station centrally located to all the different sections: nursery, maternity suites, gynecology suites, surgery.

A lovely stained glass work depicting a mother and child highlights the center of the new Women’s Health Unit. The window was donated by Dr. Don Sielaff and his wife, Jan.

The new Women's Health Unit and Family Maternity Suites reflect Abraham Lincoln Memorial Hospital's (ALMH) continued commitment to recognizing and responding to the needs of patients, families and physicians, as well as the dynamic health care changes in the 21st century.

These state-of-the-art facilities are tremendous accomplishments for this community. ALMH has been dedicated to improving the health and well-being of the community through advanced technology, keeping patient comfort as a priority. The Women's Health Unit and Family Maternity Suites ensure that the hospital continues to provide excellence in health care to those it serves.


[to top of second column in this article]

Facts about the new Women's Health Unit include:

•  Construction began Jan. 3, 2001

•  Will begin seeing patients on the new unit today, Monday, Aug. 13

•  Five private rooms, each with private restrooms

•  New nurses’ station

•  Focuses on women’s inpatient gynecological surgical procedures

•  Women’s Health Unit is designed to:

•  Provide individualized care in a comfortable setting.

•  Promote the lifelong good health of women.

•  Provide the balance between a warm, caring environment and the most advanced technology.

•  Make women's health one of ALMH’s top priorities.

•  Provide quality care for women in any stage in their life.

Facts about the new Family Maternity Suites include:

•  Construction began Jan. 3, 2001

•  Will begin seeing patients on Aug. 13

•  Four single-family maternity suites and two private postpartum rooms

•  Surgery suite for Caesarean sections

•  State-of-the-art nursery

•  New suites feature:

•  Labor, delivery, recovery and postpartum care all in a spacious single room — no need for an uncomfortable move to another room after delivery.

•  Private bath and hand-held massage showers.

•  Color television, VCR and phone.

•  Homelike furnishings, including a sleep chair.

•  24-hour visitation for fathers or support persons.

In a time when small community hospitals are getting out of child delivery, Hester says he is proud of the hospital board and foundation in allowing these major renovations.

[LDN and news release]

Big Brother isn’t watching you,
he’s just moving traffic

[AUG. 13, 2001]  You may not even have noticed the four inconspicuous cylindrical cameras perched on top of the light fixtures at the intersection of Keokuk and Woodlawn streets in Lincoln. But if you have, don’t worry. Big Brother isn’t watching you. Nor is the police department trying to clock you to see if you are speeding.

The high-tech cameras are simply the newest technology for activating traffic signals, according to Bill Davison, traffic signal supervisor of District 6 of the Illinois Department of Transportation. The computer-like cameras scan the roadway and read the number of vehicles approaching the intersection. If no traffic is coming either way, the lights won’t change. If traffic is coming, the lights will change to accommodate it.


They were put in place Aug. 8 and 9 by a Decatur firm, Bodine Electric, and are now fully operational.

The cameras are passive devices, Davison said, not taking pictures and certainly not able to clock your speed or read your license place. They are doing nothing but controlling traffic, he explained.

"We could set them up to count cars if we wanted to record that data, but mainly they are just there to move traffic," Davison said.



[to top of second column in this article]

The cameras replace wire loops embedded in the pavement and are more efficient in detecting oncoming vehicles. Another advantage is that the pavement doesn’t have to be sawed open to install them. They will eventually replace the loops in most areas, although they are not appropriate for traffic lights on some hills or on streets with a lot of trees, he said.

The cameras at Keokuk and Logan are the first to be installed in Lincoln, although IDOT has been using them for the past eight years in the 15-county area that makes up District 6. Davison said the same devices may be installed when IDOT improves the roadway at Kickapoo and Keokuk next year.

[Joan Crabb]


New brochure outlines walking tour

[AUG. 10, 2001]  Visitors interested in local Abraham Lincoln sites can now find those spots more easily, with a new brochure developed by two local students and published by Main Street Lincoln.

"Walking on the Path of Abraham Lincoln: A Walking Tour of Historic Lincoln, Illinois" was produced by J.R. Glenn and Angie Couch, recent Lincoln Community High School graduates who undertook the project for Ruth Sloot’s American Government class last semester. The city of Lincoln paid for the printing.

The walking tour begins with the town christening site at Broadway and Chicago streets in downtown Lincoln. It continues with the Lincoln Railroad Depot, State Bank of Lincoln, site of the Lincoln House Hotel, Robert Latham home site, Logan County Courthouse, Lincoln lot site and Rustic Inn.

Other Lincoln sites away from the downtown area are also listed. They include the Stephen Douglas speech site, Postville Courthouse, Deskins Tavern, Postville Park and Lincoln College and Museum.


[to top of second column in this article]

"We’ve had such a demand for a walking tour brochure, we appreciate J.R. and Angie’s developing it for Main Street," noted Wendy Bell, program manager for Main Street Lincoln. "This is a great aid for visitors," she added. "It's also useful for educators who teach local history and for residents who are proud of our city's Abraham Lincoln connections."

Copies of the brochure are available at the Main Street office, 303 S. Kickapoo St., as well as the Lincoln Public Library, Lincoln College Museum, Postville Courthouse, Logan County Genealogical and Historical Society, and various downtown Lincoln businesses.

[News release]

[Click here to see the material in the new brochure "Walking on the Path of Abraham Lincoln."]

Logan County Board sets budget review

The Logan County Board will start its FY 2002 budget review hearings on Friday, Aug. 17, from 9 a.m. to noon. Sessions will continue Wednesday, Aug. 22, from 8 a.m. to noon; Thursday, Aug. 23, from 1 to 4 p.m.; and Friday, Aug. 24, possibly beginning at 8:30 a.m.

When all hearings are completed, the information will be assembled for analysis. After that the auditors will schedule and make a presentation to the full board.

All meetings are in the third-floor jury room at the Logan County Courthouse and are open to the public.

[News release]

Weather warning

It’s too hot!

During the summer months, heat waves can occur anywhere in Illinois and affect anyone. Young children, elderly people and people with health problems are most likely to be affected. This is a reminder to everyone.

  • Plan to check on the elderly and those with health problems at least once a day during hot weather.

  • Don’t leave children in a parked car.

  • Make sure you drink plenty of liquids during hot weather.

Doing small things can make a big difference.

This public service announcement is brought to you by Lincoln Daily News and the Logan County Health Department.

[News release]

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