Board authorizes airport golf course feasibility study

[AUG. 22, 2001]  The Logan County Board in its meeting Tuesday night voted to spend up to $9,500 to determine the economic feasibility of a golf course at the airport. THK Associates was hired to investigate whether the community can support a nine-hole public golf course built on the grounds of Logan County Airport.

Airport Committee chairman Roger Bock said the study could be completed in 30 to 45 days. After that, if the projection is favorable, a developer would have to be found and a layout planned. Bock acknowledged that some holes might have to be short to work around airport facilities.

Jim Griffin, Dick Logan and Dale Voyles voted against the resolution, which passed 8-3 with the full board present. Clarence Barney, representing the Lincoln Park District, said that once the course is built the park district would probably be interested in running it and hiring the firm that maintains it.

A collection of historical documents no longer in use by the county clerk’s office will be loaned to the Lincoln College Museum for archival preparation and cataloging. Paul Gleason explained that he and museum curator Ron Keller will open the documents, some of which have been folded since the 1860s, place them in acid-free folders, catalog and return them.

 

County Clerk Sally Letterly said the collection contains no Lincoln documents but some materials from his era, including warrants for payments to Civil War volunteers. Cataloging will make access to these materials much easier. Gleason estimated that the project will take two years.

In other business the board voted to:

•  Accept the $10,000 bid of Mark Gates to complete sidewalk repair at the courthouse.

•  Hire Industrial Appraisal Co. to reappraise all county equipment and buildings at a cost of $6,375.

 

•  Authorize a $40 fee to be applied to each tax sale. The fee is to pay interest and costs when the price paid in a tax sale must be refunded. County Treasurer Mary Bruns said at Thursday’s committee of the whole meeting that state law authorizes counties to charge up to $60 as a tax-sale-in-error fee. Jim Griffin was the lone dissenting vote.

•  Approve a holiday schedule of 12 days off for county employees. Dick Logan voted no.

•  Approve 12 fund-raising raffles for county organizations.

 

[to top of second column in this article]

Board chairman Dick Logan appointed a committee to negotiate a salary agreement with sheriff’s deputies. Members of the committee are Doug Dutz as chairman, Lloyd Hellman and Dale Voyles, with Logan as the alternate.

Logan called a special meeting of the board for Monday, July 27, to interview candidates for the unexpired board term of Phil Mahler and to select a replacement.

Finance chairman Rod White reported that in budget hearings the combined total of requests for senior citizen funds exceeds the maximum levy by 17 percent. The maximum is $93,000, with $67,500 being allotted in 2001. The Oasis has requested $53,300, CIEDC $46,900 and Rural Health Partnership $10,000.

Other requests so far include $35,000 for economic development and $385,900 for State’s Attorney Tim Huyett. Lincoln/Logan County Chamber of Commerce and Explore Logan County, neither of which received funds in 2001, have asked for $1,500 and $1,000 respectively. Budget hearings will continue on Wednesday and Thursday.

 

White said that the predicted decline of 10 percent in assessed valuation of county farmland in each of the next two years is expected to be offset by a slight rise in non-farm values. Non-farm assessed valuations have risen an average of 5 percent for the past few years, and that pattern is expected to continue.

Insurance chairman Dale Voyles said insurance carrier Roger Garrett verbally assured him that workers appointed or approved through the board will receive health insurance coverage like other county employees. In particular, Garrett affirmed that the Regional Planning Commission director, though appointed by the commission rather than the county board, is included. In response to a question from White, Voyles quoted Garrett, "The county board determines who is covered," and therefore should vote to approve employees hired by other agencies if it wants them included in the insurance plan.

[Lynn Spellman]


One-way traffic routes in effect
for balloon fest parking

[AUG. 22, 2001]  A new one-way traffic route will be in effect for those who wish to enter the fairgrounds for the balloon fest this weekend. Traffic will be routed south on Jefferson Street, which will be one way, then west on Short 11th, which will also be one way. Vehicles can enter at the south gate or turn north on Postville Road and enter at the west or northwest gates. Traffic coming north on Lincoln Parkway (Old 66) can turn at Postville Drive to enter the fairgrounds at the northwest gate. Traffic southbound on Lincoln Parkway will not be allowed to enter Postville Drive at the fairgrounds but will have to enter at Fifth Street. Click here for a Lincoln map. For a close-up map of the fairgrounds area, click here.


Click here for more information on the Lincoln Art & Balloon Festival
Aug. 24, 25, 26.



Council overrides planning commission, OKs Casey rezoning request

[AUG. 21, 2001]  "I feel for both sides, but I cannot sit here and say ‘no’ to business in this town," was the way Lincoln Alderman Steve Fuhrer put it.

Seven other aldermen agreed with him, one more than the number required to override the recommendation of the city’s planning commission, which Thursday evening voted 6-3 to deny rezoning the property at 314 S. Jefferson St. from residential to commercial so a Casey General Store could be built on the lot.

Along with Alderman Fuhrer, Aldermen Benny Huskins, David Armbrust, Pat Madigan, Verl Prather, George Mitchell, Bill Melton and Joe Stone voted "yes." The two "no" votes came from Glenn Shelton and Michael Montcalm.

Fuhrer said he feels for the people who go out of business because of competition, but he was elected to make decisions for the entire town, not just one neighborhood. "When I ran, I wanted to see Lincoln grow. We’ve lost a lot of business already. We already have an eyesore by Kroger’s purple and gold buildings."

 

He was referring to the site where an auto parts store once considered building. After protests from neighbors, the company withdrew its offer for the property, and the property owners subsequently painted the empty buildings in vivid colors.

Before the vote was taken, several of the aldermen spoke to explain their stand to the audience that filled the council chambers. Joe Stone spoke eloquently for the zoning change.

"I’m greatly disturbed. We have made it increasingly difficult for any developer to come in here and bring jobs and bring money.

"We are looking at a piece of real estate that’s a 10-foot-high mound of dirt. Anything you would put on that piece of ground would look better than what’s there now."

 

He listed the businesses presently along Fifth Street, from the Postville Courthouse west to Lincoln Parkway, an area Mayor Beth Davis wants to see become a historic preservation district.

"There’s a box factory, an abandoned gas station, a couple of other gas stations, an excavating company, a convenience store, beauty shops, a bank, a real estate office, empty stores. I say to Casey’s that if you want to come in here, I’ll vote ‘yes.’"

 

 

"There are legitimate arguments on both sides," Prather said. "I understand McCumber. I’m sure Graue Pharmacy didn’t like Walgreen’s coming in, either."

Cliff McCumber, who with his mother owns the Fifth Street Food Mart two blocks away from the proposed Casey store, had spoken to protest big corporations that come in and put small local merchants out of business.

Verl Prather, too, noted that the vacant lot has always been an eyesore. Replying to comments from those who opposed the Casey store next to the Postville Courthouse, he asked, "How long did that vacant lot sit there next to a historic site? This is an improvement."

Glenn Shelton, however, said he was surprised by the aldermen’s comments, as he thought the council’s priority should be with businesses already in the city. "Make sure they are going well and strong," he said. "Casey’s can only hurt established businesses."

 

Michael Montcalm echoed the comments of City Attorney Bill Bates, who reminded the council that the vote should be regarded as a zoning issue and not a choice of one business over another.

"It’s a zoning issue, and we got a recommendation from the zoning committee. That’s the way I’m looking at this."

 

 

[to top of second column in this article]

Before the vote, a Casey representative and several Lincoln residents outlined their positions.

Diane Ahern, Casey representative, said the Casey store would benefit the city, hiring 12 to 14 people with a $9,000 to $10,000 payroll every month and paying sales tax on an estimated $1,000,000 yearly.

She said the company has been looking for an appropriate site in Lincoln for three years, a desirable site was not easy to find, and if this site was not approved Casey’s would probably not locate in Lincoln.

She also said she had not heard about the proposed historic preservation district until a week and a half ago. Because the site is in close proximity to other commercial properties and not a desirable home site, she said the company believed it had the potential for a zoning change to commercial use.

Suella Tucker spoke for residents in the neighborhood. "I don’t want a Casey’s in my neighborhood. Do you want Casey’s? Do you want to sit on your deck and look at it? To me it’s that simple. It’s my neighborhood. Represent us, the people That’s what you’re here for," she told the council.

 

She also submitted a letter to the council signed by herself and seven others in the area.

Main Street Lincoln coordinator Wendy Bell, Jan Schumacher of the Looking for Lincoln steering committee, and Dale Bassi spoke to support the plan for making the area a historic preservation district.

Bell said that Main Street Lincoln is not anti-business and that a historic preservation district does not need to hinder growth. She read a letter from the director of the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency which said that "intense commercial use would be incompatible with the Postville Courthouse" and would have a negative impact on tourism there.

Schumacher said tourism is also a way to bring economic growth to Lincoln, and the Postville Courthouse is a vital part of the tourism program.

Bassi said that last year the state of Illinois spent more than $400,000 on improvements to the Postville Courthouse. Heritage tourism does bring people in off the highway, he said, and when the new Lincoln library opens in Springfield in two or three years, tourism in the Lincoln area could increase.

"There is some momentum going on. Casey’s would hinder rather than enhance the momentum we have gained."

 

Perry Harris, who owns two lots across the street, spoke in support of Casey’s. He objected to the idea that Casey’s doesn’t conform to the use in the neighborhood, citing a junkyard and an abandoned gas station.

He said if the city wants to use the property at 314 S. Jefferson for a parking lot for visitors to the Postville Courthouse, a suggestion made by Mayor Davis, they should make an offer and buy it.

"The problem in Lincoln is too little traffic and too many parking lots," he said.

Now the Casey corporation needs to get a variance for a setback requirement from the Zoning Board of Appeals, which will hear the request Aug. 23 at 6:30 p.m. If that approval is granted, the company would be free to begin construction.

[Joan Crabb]

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Sewer line to Campus View homes
must wait for funding

[AUG. 21, 2001]  Residents who live on Campus View Drive may get a chance to hook onto a city sewer line, but not in the immediate future. The Lincoln City Council voted 8-2 to put in a sewer line when funding becomes available.

Campus View Drive is a dead-end street that curves behind Lincoln Christian College. Homes on the street are in the city, but the street belongs to the college. Twelve homes at the far end of the street presently have septic systems, which create problems of flooding and sewer backup for some residents.

At present the council does not have the money to extend the sewer lines to the 12 homes, according to Grant Eaton, sewer plant manager. Putting in a new line and a lift station could cost as much as $350,000, he said. A possible alternative, using a lift station belonging to LCC, would cost the city only $150,000 but would require some or all homeowners to put in ejector pumps, which could cost the homeowners as much as $6,000.

If the city uses the college’s lift station, they might also be asked to maintain it, Eaton said. That would still be much less costly to the city than any alternate proposal. Eaton said he is pursuing grants and other funding sources, which are also needed for the mandatory sewer plant upgrade.

Bill Melton, chairman of the sewer and drainage committee, said he believed the homeowners were entitled to have city sewer service, but pointed out that the council would have the authority to reject any specific funding allocation for the sewer line in the future. The vote in favor of extending sewer service was 8-2, with Aldermen Glenn Shelton and David Armbrust voting "no."

Kevin Bateman, one of the 12 homeowners, said he was happy with the way the city voted. "It was a good-faith vote to put sewers there, to show us homeowners we have not been forgotten," he said.

Bateman and another homeowner, Mike Robbins, have been attending council meetings recently to ask for help with the problems they are having with their septic systems, which are backing up into yards and into the lower level of Bateman’s home.

In other business, the council deferred the request by Logan County for a fiber optic right of way on city property until the next regular meeting Sept. 4, so the city attorney can redraft the ordinance to reflect the final changes. The new agreement will run for 10 years at a nominal cost of $1 a year, and the county will provide the city with two drops which the city can connect to if it wishes. The county will maintain the lines.

The council also agreed to vacate an alley between Adams and Monroe streets, on property owned by Claude Brinner and being used as a trailer court. Brinner owns the property on both sides of the alley, which has not been used as an alley for at least 25 years. No city utilities, in fact no utilities of any kind, are located in the alley, according to city engineer Mark Mathon. Brinner has paid all expenses of the survey.

Fire Chief Robert "Bucky" Washam announced that the fire department will host an open house on Monday, Sept. 3. Parents and children are invited to come and tour the firehouse from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

[Joan Crabb]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Craft fair, car show, walking tour, souvenirs and class highlight history

[AUG. 18, 2001]  At Wednesday night’s meeting of the Looking for Lincoln Committee, Thressia Usherwood, executive director of the local tourism bureau, informed the committee of an 1800s craft fair planned in cooperation with the Lincoln Art & Balloon Festival.

The craft fair is scheduled at the Postville Courthouse from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 26. Entertainment will include Lee Slider as Professor Phineas Fairhead, practical phrenologist. A Civil War-period dance demonstration will be from noon to 3 p.m. There will also be traditional and folk music at various times. 

Period crafts will be demonstrated, such as flax to linen, "Great Wheel," cabinetmaking, quilting, blacksmithing, basket making, bobbin lace making and rope making. Admission is free and refreshments are available. If you need additional information, call (217) 732-8930.

Saturday, Aug. 25, the Lincoln Trail Porsche Club Charity Car Show will also be in progress at the Postville Courthouse, 914 Fifth St. The public is invited to come and see vintage Porsches from the 356 to current 996.

 

Jan Schumacher of the Looking for Lincoln Committee distributed copies of the folder "Walking on the Path of Abraham Lincoln — A Walking Tour of Historic Lincoln, Illinois." The folder has been distributed to many businesses in the county. Copies may be picked up at Main Street Lincoln, 303 S. Kickapoo St. The folder was produced by J.R. Glenn and Angie Couch, Lincoln Community High School students, and Ruth Sloot, instructor. The committee was very pleased with the work they produced.

 

 

[to top of second column in this article]

Linda Churchill, owner of the Mustard Moon, showed the committee a sample of glass sun- catchers picturing Postville Courthouse. She ordered blue, green, amber and other colors. Of the purchase price, 20 percent will go to the Postville Courthouse. The Mustard Moon is at 1314 Fifth St.

Paul Beaver, historian, reminded the committee members that Lincoln College offers a semester course "Life of Lincoln and the Civil War." The class meets from 6:30 to 9 p.m. once a week. Lincoln College also publishes a Lincoln Newsletter four times a year. Anyone interested should contact the Lincoln Museum for more information.

The next meeting of the Looking for Lincoln Committee is Wednesday, Sept. 19, at 7 p.m. in the Union Planters Bank conference room.

[Kathleen McCullough]

 


Lincoln Planning Commission
turns down Casey rezoning

[AUG. 17, 2001]  By a 6-3 vote, the Lincoln Planning Commission turned down a request to change the zoning on property at 314 S. Jefferson St., across from the Postville Courthouse, from R-2 (residential) to C-2 (commercial) use. The zoning change was requested by the property owner, Larry Riva, so a Casey General Store could be built on the site.

Voting in favor of denying the zoning change were commission members Ron Fox, Scott Cooper, Bob Wood, Leon (Micky) Martin, Dave Klug and Mayor Beth Davis. Voting not to deny the change were Don Miller, Mike Miller and commission chair Betty Gehlbach. The Casey corporation cannot build on that site without the zoning change.

The commission’s recommendation will now go to the Lincoln City Council. City Attorney William Bates, who was present at the meeting, said it would be his guess the council will bring up the issue at its next meeting on Monday, Aug. 20, even though it is not on the agenda.

Bates said the council would probably want to decide if they wished to let the commission’s decision stand, because the issue is scheduled to come before the Zoning Board of Appeals on Aug. 22. The Casey corporation would need a variance in the setback requirements which only the zoning appeals board can grant. If the council chooses not to change the commission’s decision, the board of appeals meeting will be canceled.

Before taking the vote, the commission heard from about a dozen members of the crowd that packed the council chamber. Some spoke in favor of the zoning change and others spoke against it, and not always for the same reasons.

Diane Ahern, representative of the Casey company, told the commission that the company would modify the appearance of the store to be more compatible with the historic Postville Courthouse. However, the company would not make a complete change in the store’s look because its appearance identifies it to customers.

She said Mayor Beth Davis, who wants a historic corridor along Fifth Street from the Postville Courthouse to Postville Drive, had approached her about making the building look like an old-time country store.

The Casey store would employ 12 to 14 people and probably pay a sales tax of about $1,000 a month, Ahern said.

She said Casey’s has been looking for a site in Lincoln for three years, and if this one is not approved, the company will probably not look for another location here.

Perry Harris, who owns property in the area, spoke in favor of the rezoning and allowing Casey’s to build.

"Lincoln seems to be going out of its way to discourage business," he said. He objected to making Casey’s conform to a historic pattern because "There’s a mix of stores down here that don’t conform to anything."

He also pointed out that the Postville Courthouse is a replica and therefore is not truly historic.

Cliff McCumber, who with his mother Judy McCumber owns the 5th Street Food Mart, a convenience store at 1302 Fifth St., objected to "corporate USA coming in and taking over our towns.

"Small businesses care about their communities. If the Little League comes to me they will get a contribution. If they come to corporate America they will get all sorts of red tape. I’ll cash people’s checks. Corporate America won’t."

 

[to top of second column in this article]

He said the Casey store would not pay good wages and would not really bring new business to town but would take business away from everyone else. "It’s like a pie. The more people you bring in, the smaller the pieces."

"I am here in support of our local convenience store, Cliff and his family," Pete Fredericks of Pete’s Hardware told the committee. "I think we as citizens of Lincoln should support and lean on one another. I think we can have economic development, but I don’t think Casey’s is the answer."

Larry Goodman of V. Goodman Transfer and Excavating and former owner of Riva’s lot, spoke to support bringing in the Casey store.

"We’re trying to get the property back into production. It’s not like we’re bringing in some sleaze store. This is a quality business. I don’t see many other people willing to spend $750,000 [to develop the property]. The jobs may be low-income jobs, but they’re better than nothing."

Homeowner Suella Tucker, who lives at 403 S. Madison, said she would like to see business in Lincoln but did not want Casey’s to go into that area. "I know it’s selfish, but I don’t want extra traffic, extra lights and extra music."

Jan Schumacher, a member of the Looking for Lincoln steering committee, spoke to support the historic corridor. She passed out brochures for the Postville Courthouse to commission members "as a reminder of the important part tourism plays. Tourism brings economic development. Other small towns are capitalizing on tourism and we need to do this, too."

She said Postville is open more days now that volunteers have been recruited to help staff it. "It had 21 visitors yesterday. Casey’s is not a complementary building. If you look out Postville windows and see gas pumps, that’s not historic."

Before the vote, Bates reminded the commission that they were there simply to vote on the matter of rezoning, not for any specific business. If the zoning is changed to C-2, any business permitted under the C-2 designation would be allowed on the site, he said.

"Is the requested change of zoning in keeping with the comprehensive plan of this community?" he asked.

Commission members called for maps to check zoning in the area. Riva’s lot has R-2 zoning on the north, east and west sides, and C-2 zoning running west to Lincoln Parkway.

Several commissioners said they had mixed feelings about the rezoning.

"I’m really torn on this issue," Mike Miller said before the vote. "I really think it should be commercial."

"I’m on the other side of that," Klug said. "I’m for economic development, and in a sense this tears me up. But I’m voting for my neighbors and friends."

[Joan Crabb]


Board discusses revenue, health coverage and golf course feasibility

[AUG. 17, 2001]  Anticipated decline in assessed valuation of land, clarification of who receives health coverage and a feasibility study for an airport golf course drew the most discussion at Thursday night’s work session of the Logan County Board.

Finance Chairman Rod White said next year’s budget will be affected by a significant drop in the assessed valuation of farmland. "The farmland in this county will go down by a full 10 percent," he said. "What I can’t tell you is what is happening to the rest of the economy, the other 50 percent. We’re fortunate that we have other sources of revenue," such as the sales tax, to take up the slack."

A proposal to extend health insurance coverage "to employees and those eligible participants employed by entities created by county resolution" was closely analyzed. The goal is to be sure that Phil Mahler, new director of the Regional Planning Commission, receives the same coverage as his predecessor. Mahler has recently been determined not to be a county employee. White said he feared excluding employees of bodies such as Job Training Partnership Act, which were not created by board resolution. "We’re trying to get somebody in but we may be excluding somebody," he said.

Insurance Committee Chairman Dale Voyles said he would meet with insurance carrier Roger Garrett and State’s Attorney Tim Huyett to clarify wording and inclusiveness.

Airport Committee Chairman Roger Bock presented a rough draft for an 18-hole golf course at Logan County Airport, showing hole holes on property not currently owned by the county. Bock acknowledged that a nine-hole or executive course is more feasible. "In reality," he said, "it’s probably going to be an executive course. This is the biggest thing that would fit [assuming land purchase]. It sucks up too much land."

Bock recommended proceeding with a $9,350 economic study to see whether an airport golf course could be supported by the county. The board has already set aside $9,000 for such a study. Federal Aviation Administration approval has not been applied for, but Bock noted that the FAA has approved other airport golf courses.

He said the Airport Committee is considering purchasing a credit card-operated gas pump for use when no attendant is present. Though the $2.55 price of aviation gas is lower than in surrounding cities, especially Peoria, sales have dropped as hours have been cut back

 

[to top of second column in this article]

Logan County Treasurer Mary Ellen Bruns asked for a tax-sale-in-error fee of $40 to be assessed for every parcel sold in tax sales. State law allows a fee up to $60 to cover costs incurred when tax sale proceeds are refunded after a judge decides an anomaly has occurred. Bruns said, "It’s advisable to have this so that we’re not taking money away from the county" for expenses such as postage and publication. She said larger counties have such a fee, and smaller counties with few tax sales do not. Logan County had 141 tax sales in 2000.

Dick Logan asked anyone seeking the board seat vacated by the resignation of Phil Mahler to contact him by Monday, Aug. 20.

White reported that budget hearings begin Aug. 17 at 9 a.m. Requests from senior citizens groups will be heard at 9:15, with all three who received funds last year expected to be represented: Central Illinois Economic Development Council, Healthy Partnership and Senior Citizens of Logan County.

Roads and Bridges Chairman Rod White reported that the work on Nicholson Road will be completed within a week. At the request of residents, the speed limit in the Oakwood West subdivision off Fifth Street Road is being reduced to 25 mph.

Board member Clifford Sullivan spoke in favor of erecting a marker along Interstate 55 to astronaut Scott Altman, a Lincoln native. He cited Altman’s many accomplishments, including stunt flying for the movie "Top Gun."

Mark Smith, director of economic development, urged those attending the Lincoln Art & Balloon Festival to visit the hospitality chalet, which is being used as a promotional tool to showcase Logan County. "So far the response has been phenomenal," he said.

[Lynn Spellman]


Real estate taxes come due

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 1˝ percent will be charged on any unpaid second installment of taxes. A penalty of 4˝ 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]

 


Logan County Board sets budget review

The Logan County Board started its FY 2002 budget review hearings Friday morning, Aug. 17. 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]


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