Still WatersBirdís-Eye View,  the em spaceWhere They Stand,
  By the NumbersHow We Stack UpWhatís Up With That?


Commentaries posted do not necessarily represent the opinion of LDN.  Any opinions expressed are those of the writers.


A Christmas wish list

By Mike Fak

[DEC. 17, 2001]  Well, the story goes that residents and employees of the Lincoln Developmental Center have homes and jobs until at least the beginning of next year. Unless, of course, you are one of the families of the additional 43 residents being moved to other facilities. For you, LDC is forever closed. The survivors canít find much solace in those words, I am sure.

The remaining residents of this community have a special gift under their tree this year. Perhaps I should rephrase that and say there is a special gift hovering over our heads instead. It is a package that says: "Donít Open Till New Yearís." All of us, with them, will have to wait to see what the New Year package eventually is.

Is the time to catch our breath for the holidays important? Of course it is. But donít tell me we donít all feel like Iggy right now, walking around with a dark cloud over our heads.

I always have a small, modest list of gifts I ask for this time of year. A book or two, new socks, maybe some underwear. This year my list is even less costly than previous years. I donít want anything tangible. Rather I am hoping for just a few questions of mine to be answered. Let me tell you what they are.

First, I would like to hear thoughts on LDC from the morass of gubernatorial candidates planning on running for governor. To date, I have spoken to the OíMalley camp about this issue. No other candidate, it seems, wants to come out from under the bed until this is all over. We donít need any of these candidates next spring. We need them this winter.

Secondly, I would like the derogatory write-ups about LDC that have been sailing through the media to be inspected one by one for validity. Case in point. We have all read ad infinitum that a resident supposedly swallowed a game piece. We have not read that extensive testing of the resident did not show any such token inside her body. A trumped-up charge by a clipboard artist? Or was it a case of building as many negative reports against LDC employees as possible. Until someone gets to the bottom of this, I will call this the case of the immaculate digestion.

 

[to top of second column in this commentary]

Third, I would like to see all the advocacy groups shouting for LDCís closure to report on findings in other state-run institutions. Iím curious if they will spend the time noting alleged failings in other facilities. I would also like them all to spend a day at LDC. That way when they fly off the handle with words like abuse and neglect of residents I will be able to chalk their words up to intolerance rather than ignorance.

Lastly, I would like someone to explain how, with a hiring freeze in place, the governor can appoint Andrea Moore, R-Libertyville, to an executive post in the Department of Natural Resources at $96,000 per year. The governor says the post is outside the hiring freeze because it is deemed an essential job. I need know how such an essential job could have been vacant for almost seven years, and now with every state employee facing an unpaid furlough, this job needs to be filled right now. This reeks so badly of partisan politics that it feels almost criminal in my mind.

I could finish my little wish list by stating that Iím not asking for much, but maybe I am. I am asking state officials to be fair-minded and honest and decent in their actions. Those gifts are not very expensive, but they seem to be beyond the capacity of Springfield to offer.

[Mike Fak]

 

Reply to Fak (not for publication):

mikefak@msn.com

Response to Fakís commentary:

ldneditor@lincolndailynews.com 


LDC employees not the only ones that make mistakes

Governor and new administrator mistake employee for resident during tour

By Mike Fak

[DEC. 10, 2001]  Friday, Gov. Ryan breezed into Lincoln for a surprise executive visit to the beleaguered Lincoln Developmental Center. Accompanied by new facility director Peggy Davidsmeyer, the governor, by his own statement, visited "four or five of the buildings." George H. Ryan is an intelligent man, so I find it hard to fathom why he didnít recall if it was four or five, since he had just concluded his tour. Perhaps it was because employees blessed enough to see the whirlwind of suit coats, ties and bodyguards go flying by believe it could be difficult to determine what he visited at such a great rate of speed.

The Courier headlines blared that Ryan was not pleased with what he saw. According to my sources he must have reviewed it later in slow motion. One employee of the center looked for a number on the back of the governor, assuming he was an entrant in some marathon in Lincoln that no one had told him about. By all accounts, the 35-minute drive from the executive office to LDC lasted longer than the governorís visit. By all accounts, this executive "dog and pony show" would make the Animal Planet channel blush with envy.

The governor was quick to point out he saw a resident chewing on a pen. He went on to say the resident was unattended as he snacked on the Bic Click. It seems that "resident" actually was an employee of the institution. Cruising by, Ryan didnít stop to ask, and the new director didnít recognize the individual as a staff member of the institution.

Actually this error by both could be construed as a good thing for employees of the center. In the event Ryan wants not only residents but employees under constant supervision, LDC has a whole lot of hiring to do in the next few months.

 

 

[to top of second column in this commentary]

All the details of the visit were supplied by the governor, of course. Davidsmeyer, who was hired to replace an ill-suited corrections department official, has been as quiet as a church mouse through this entire ordeal. This constant silence and lack of openly defending her new employees asks this observer to wonder if part of her new job description wasnít to remain mute while all around her was assaulted as a debacle of human consideration. The previous administrator received a promotion for her lack of activity. One has to wonder what has been promised to Davidsmeyer for keeping an open ear but a closed mouth to the outlandish accusations draped on the shoulders of LDC employees.

It seems a shame that a few of the clipboard carriers were not present as the governor and director made such a serious mistake as judging an employee as a resident. I would have loved to have seen that write-up hit the newspaper. Hey, maybe it just did.

[Mike Fak]

 

Reply to Fak (not for publication):

mikefak@msn.com

Response to Fakís commentary:

ldneditor@lincolndailynews.com 


Birdís-Eye View

The feel of loveÖ upside my head

By Colin Bird

"Love is an exploding cigar which we willingly smoke." ó Groucho Marx

[NOV. 1, 2001]  Walking along the city streets of Lincoln, thereís nothing greater than a man and a woman, hand in hand, alone, with only the company of warm smiles and fast-beating hearts to surround them. Nothing greater. Unless of course the above-mentioned man isnít meÖ in which case: I hate them. And I hope "Captain Cupid" switches over to a pellet gun and starts chasing íem up and down Woodlawn for at least eight hours.

Since the conception of love back in the early 1950s, many men had known no greater joy. Due to the fact that, that is when the remote control was invented. But this resulted in the sparking of a pivotal chain of events all of which lead back to the fact that men still forget to buy flowers on anniversaries. What happened first was in Websterís Dictionary. People instantly removed the phrase "Extreme Male Bliss" out from under the word "Super Bowl" and over to a new word that was created by those friendly, non-bitter ladies at the National Organization of Women. That word was LOVE. Which, I should like to point out, stands for "Losing Oneís Vital Enjoyment." Thus expiring the chain of events, along with those menís ability to ever again watch televised sports with their friends.

This has not deterred me. I have found out through my time in Lincoln that the relationship process here goes as follows: Man meets Woman; Woman ignores Man; Man meets Emergency Backup Woman; Initial Woman smacks Man upside Manís head; Man falls in love with Initial Woman. ÖItís true. I actually know this couple. They are extremely content now, currently living more happily than ever in separate states.

So I decided that road wasnít for me. Instead, I myself have taken on the role of Cupid, and hereís how it works. Weíll be dining out, my date and I, at one of Lincolnís fanciest eateries. Then typically only a short while after I order our Happy Meals, she is suddenly overcome with an unexpected epiphany: that there has not been, nor will there ever be, any greater love in her life than that of her former boyfriend or any future prospect she may have been considering. Often prompting her to hail down a cab, right there in the Playland, leaving me behind in a cloud of love-dust, wondering if I spelled epiphany right.

But now Iím faced with two problems, coinciding. The first being that I have met someone in town that I, in the future, may consider being left by. The second is that Iíve been repeatedly identified by many highly paid therapists as being dense. A rare disorder, they tell me, that only affects me when Iím thinking. Although recently, I was more accurately diagnosed by a good friend of mine from Springfield, Greg Hoffman, who is both my life insurance agent and my banker (thus making him more than qualified to make fun of me publicly), as having two forms of "Colin-itis."

 

[to top of second column in this commentary]

The first form is "Normal Colin-itis." This variation causes me to (even though I am, by my own admission, in no way capable, or even willing, to maintain a relationship that involves any more depth than that of having random discussions on the vast, ethnical differences between the smooth and the crunchy peanut butter) think that every time I meet someone new, an enduring love is in the air. The second form is "Acute Colin-itis." This is when, 30 seconds after basking in the air of newfound enduring love, I happen upon somebody new, and for whatever reason, cannot for the life of me recall a single thing about the previous, potential-enduring-love person. ÖI have issues.

This is not something Iím proud of. In fact, at times, I can downright loathe it. Partly because as I grow older, I find myself enjoying less and less the prospect of potentially eating my Happy Meals alone.

Over the past few months I have seen an elderly couple walking Lincolnís city streets, holding hands, redefining love. Perhaps youíve seen them as well. Beautiful, arenít they? Yes. Except I think theyíve been hired out by my mother, who has all but threatened me at gunpoint to get married and provide for her the Worldís Record for number of grandchildren to spoil.

I admire that couple. I took a picture of them the other day while they were walking together at sunrise. It reminds me that this prospective "someone special" Iíve stumbled uponÖ well, just might be worth overcoming the fear I own. The fear of following these feelings Iíve slowly been allowing myself to experience. Is she the one? Is Lincoln where Iíll find her? Who knows? But one thing is certain: Captain Cupid is apparently packing.

[Colin Bird]


This is the em space, a staff writerís section with observations about life experiences in Logan County and elsewhere. Enjoy your visit.

ó Mary Krallmann


Excerpts from Decembers past

December is a special time for letters ó both the traditional letters accompanying Christmas cards and the notes of thanks our parents teach us to send after we open the gifts.

I recently came into possession of a set of letters saved for me by an elderly aunt, so I can share with you some selections from our December correspondence over the years.

= = = = = =

Handwritten on lined paper shortly before my 10th Christmas

From Route 1, Staplehurst, Neb.

Dear Uncle Ed and Aunt Marion,

Thank you very much for the story "The Other Wise Man." I like it very much. ...

Yesterday, Dec. 10, we had the first snowfall of the season. ... Soon the snow will be just right for making snowmen.

Sometimes I fall down in the snow. Then snow gets in my boots. This does not feel exactly pleasant but itís a good thing to laugh about.

The name of our Christmas service is "He Came." The words "He Came" are repeated quite often in the service. The name of a song in the service is "He Came." Also, in some of the childrenís parts every line starts with "He came."

= = = = = =

From one of the last letters from Uncle Ed

Dear Mary,

We think you are very wise to be taking typing for this is a skill which you certainly will find useful when you get to college.

Please keep the letters coming. We like them handwritten or produced on the typewriter and they are acceptable in English, Spanish, or German.

Uncle Ed

= = = = = =

Typed from Pomeroy, Iowa, on New Yearís Eve

Dear Uncle Ed and Aunt Marion,

Reports of the temperature reading this morning varied from 16į below to 20į below. At any rate it was cold. We made use of several of our Christmas presents in an effort to keep warm while waiting for and delivering papers.

Many thanks to you for all the Christmas gifts. The warm coat, the pretty pajamas, ... are all appreciated. "Instant Insanity" [a game] has already given us enjoyment as well as a little feeling of frustration. We were glad to receive your telephone call on Christmas Day.

= = = = = =

Handwritten on Christmas letterhead paper with a manager scene and lettering that says, "For unto us a child is born"

From San Jose, Ill.

Dear Marion,

Weíve started to make some cookies. The other day Mom was figuring out all the kinds she used to make for the choir. Also, Dad bought a big bag of nuts so we are all set. John and I were "appointed" to get a tree.

John is listening to Beethovenís symphonies. He bought the set last Christmas for us ó for him! It is Beethovenís birthday today so I guess heís in season. The Peanuts comic strip had some joke about the Strauss waltzes that Beethoven wrote.

Dad had a funeral to do today in Lincoln. Somebody from the nursing home had died.

It has been interesting to read some of the Christmas letters we have been getting.

I suppose John and Dad will put the new carburetor on one of these days.

= = = = = =

"In the year ending tonight, Americans sent a three-legged machine 500 million miles to Mars and a peanut farmer to the White House." [quoted from news report]

There was a record -8 reading this morning. It was -6 when I got to Lincoln.

Iíll finish this by wishing you a Happy New Year and saying "thank you" for the Christmas gifts ó savings account addition, top, Crunch ín Munch. Muchas gracias!

= = = = = =

Christmas Day

A special thank you to you for the lovely Christmas gifts. ...

We had a white Christmas, sunny but cold. The roads have been rather slick.

John has been entertaining us with plenty of Christmas music on the piano and on his computer.

= = = = = =

Are you dug out from the snowstorm yet? Lincoln had seven inches and Peoria somewhat less. Now itís really cold, but that fresh, clean air is invigorating...

Perhaps you would enjoy an ad I hear on the radio in the morning. The business advertises snowblowers and offers a trade-in on snow shovels. The line I particularly like is, "Bring in your tired, your poor, your wretched old shovel..."

John wrote that he plans to come home Saturday unless it "blizzards." Weíre looking forward to having him here. Now we just have to decide whether to assign him the washing, ironing, cooking, cleaning, bulletin printing or telephone answering! And here he just finished his finals and wants some vacation! Oh, he could do gift wrapping too.

Monday is a big day for Mom. ... She is to go down to physical therapy for a walking lesson or something like that. [She was recuperating from a fracture and came home from the hospital on Christmas Day.]

Fri. morning ó Itís 2 below zero!

= = = = = =

Hope you are enjoying the Christmas season. You have added to our enjoyment with greetings, gifts, phone call, etc.

It seemed like we had so many gifts to open this year. Ö Mostly John and Dad gave each other tools. Dad bought a hot air popcorn popper. He labeled it "to the family, for Dad." We all ate some for supper.

Right now Mom and John are working on a huge crossword puzzle.

Yes, I got quite a bit of Christmas sewing done. ... The robe turned out very nice. It doesn't fit Dad though. I washed the pieces after I cut them out and the material shrank. ... Well, maybe I can try again.

Dadís practicing the recorder [a gift from John to me]. He just played "Three Blind Mice."

It seemed strange to be driving through a thunderstorm on Christmas Eve.

On Christmas Day (afternoon) I bicycled to New Holland [from San Jose] and back and picked up my hymn numbers while I was there. It was windy.

Well, itís back to work tomorrow.

Happy New Year.

= = = = = =

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From a handwritten note

Hi ó

We have a new supply of "white stuff" on the ground here. Pretty. Supposed to be colder tonight. I tried stringing a wire out to my car to check if the heater for my engine block worked. It did! Might want to plug it in awhile tomorrow.

= = = = = =

Here am I back at home in Lincoln after a pleasant Christmas week spent enjoying the companionship of the rest of the family.

We enjoyed your phone calls as well as your gifts under the tree.

Yesterday morning John and I got down to business and ... divvied everything up Ö finally flipping a coin to decide who would get which little pitcher. ... Neither of us had a large serving bowl, so John took the cut glass bowl with the fruit design in the bottom, and I have the soup bowl and the ladle, as I didnít have one of those either. Maybe now I should have the "official" Grandmaís soup recipe. We each have two chocolate pudding dishes. I have the item with the pewter lid, and John has the vinegar cruet with the glass stopper. Dad said the cruets were always out on the dining hall tables when he went to St. Paulís College. ...

I liked all your little notes to explain what things were and what they meant to you. Ö Thanks for giving us a tangible bit of family history.

= = = = = =

Goodfarm Township

Dwight, Illinois

We were happy to receive your phone call last night. It was one of the pleasant traditions that we have come to anticipateÖ.

Iíd never seen a captioned TV show until Christmas Day. The first program we watched with everything hooked up was called "Newtonís Apple."

[The TV] box was about the size of the one my microwave came in, and I wondered, "Another microwave??" John had the remote control ... and other accessories ... in a number of separate packages. It was interesting and, as I said, rather overwhelming. "All this for me??"

Anyway, THANK YOU VERY MUCH!! ... At the push of a button I can have company in my living room and know what theyíre saying besides.

= = = = = =

Today I opened my early package and set Rudolph up on the piano. I already had a sprig of pine there, so he looks right at home amid the evergreen, as you said.

He says thank you for s ending him to his new home. He likes being farther north. He thinks the cold and snow are just right. ...

Rudolph says it is OK with him if you stay cozy inside sometimes when it is extra cold outside, but he hopes you will enjoy looking out your picture window at the snow ... and if you look closely at just the right moment, you might even see him go by.

I think he is just fantasizing, but reindeer are entitled to that now and then, especially when itís so close to Christmas.

= = = = = =

This weekend brought us a couple of outstanding days ó warm, sunny and more like October than December. I didnít even put a jacket on to go outdoors in the afternoon.

When I got back from church, I had enough time for jogging before I left for "The Nutcracker" in Springfield. ... I wore the challis scarf you gave me and my red "Christmas dress."

My balcony seat felt way up there at first, but the view was great... They had some neat special effects, including a Christmas tree that got bigger, radio-controlled mice (Iím guessing), lots of floor-level smoke or fog to introduce the dream sequence. ... I also thought it was cute when some mice got pulled off stage by their tails.

Iím supposed to see the orthodontist at 7:30 tomorrow morning, so Iíd better wind this up.

Good night.

Mary

= = = = = =

And, despite the limitations of age, the aunt who saved the letters sent a December note this year...

Thanks for pillow. Just what I needed.

Merry Christmas.

Love

Marion

[Letter excerpts compiled by Mary Krallmann]

Peace

Christmas will be different for most and very difficult for the thousands who lost family and friends this year. There will be children who, more than for presents under a tree, will be wishing that they could only see their mom and dad again. No doubt Sept. 11th and the tragic attacks on the twin towers, the Pentagon, and the story of those who died on the plane that fell short of its goal due to heroics by brave passengers, will forever affect our lives. Due to these events, our nation is at war in an effort to stop such acts from happening again.

During such a time as this, grief, anger, chaos, uncertainty and fear darken the spirits of many. There is a message that continues to be heralded with as much clarity and assurance as the first day angels proclaimed it to shepherds abiding in the field. "For behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David, a savior, which is Christ the Lord."

To accompany this declaration, an angelic host appeared and sang, "Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace, good will toward men." This is the heart of God for the world. Peace, true peace through Jesus the Christ. Peace that heals the hurting and causes wars to cease.

--Pastor Joe Bennett

A Spiritual Message from LDN and the following Sponsors:

Lincoln IGA;
713 Pulaski;
732-2221

Coy's Car Corner;
1909 N. Kickapoo:
732-1661

Harris-Hodnett Agnc;
119 N. Sangamon; 732-4115 
Gary Long, George Petro,
Barb Wibben, Sue Stewart

American Legion
Post 263;
Lincoln, IL;
732-3743

Meier Acct. & Tax Serv.;
519 Pulaski St.;
735-2030

Key Printing;
1112 Keokuk;
732-9879

Where They Stand

Where They Stand is a commentary section addressing specific issues in the community. Informed individuals present their position with facts, opinions or insights on the issue. The material is posted unedited, in its entirety, as received. If you have further comment on the issue, please send an e-mail message, complete with your name, address and telephone number to ldneditor@lincolndailynews.com.


Local teacher announces her candidacy for regional superintendent of schools

By Jean Anderson, candidate

[OCT. 31, 2001]  My name is Jean Anderson and I am announcing my intent to be a Republican candidate for the office of Regional Superintendent of Schools for Logan, Mason, and Menard counties.

I am a graduate of Lincoln College and Sangamon State University (now the University of Illinois, Springfield). I have a Masterís Degree in Educational Administration and hold the Type 75 certificate, both requirements for the position of Regional Superintendent. I am currently employed by Lincoln Elementary District #27 Schools as the eighth grade Language Arts teacher at The Lincoln Junior High School, a position I have held for the past seventeen years. I also serve that school as its Discipline and Attendance Officer.

A member of the First United Methodist Church of Lincoln, I was its organist for over 22 years and currently serve on the Board of Trustees. I am chair of the Communications and Bargaining committees and treasurer of the Lincoln Elementary Education Organization, and also belong to the Illinois Education Association, the National Education Association, and the Lincoln Junior High School Parent-Teacher Organization.

The daughter of Lincoln residents Paul E. and the late Helen Musa Rankin, I have resided in Lincoln and Logan County for my entire life. My husband of thirty-two years, Mike, is a Logan County Highway Department employee. We are parents of Jonathan Anderson, Director of Instrumental Studies at The Victoria College, Victoria, Texas; and James Anderson, a kindergarten teacher at Mt. Pulaski Grade School, Mt. Pulaski, Illinois. My sister, Susan Rohrer, and her family also reside in Lincoln.

Although I am a political novice, I believe I would be an effective Regional Superintendent. For one, I am a strong written and oral communicator, due to many years of teaching and music performance. I have a working knowledge of school law and the many issues educators currently face. Having spent seventeen years in the classroom, I am very much aware of the concerns felt by today's teachers. I have received formal training in negotiations, employer/employee team building, and conflict resolution, and have served as chief negotiator for our district's bargaining team. Our last three contracts have been settled amicably, without mediation or work-stoppage. In addition, I am organized and work well both independently and in group situations.

 

 

[to top of second column in this section]

Teacher recertification is an important new issue in the education field. I am currently serving as a member of my district's Local Professional Development Committee, a group responsible for overseeing and assessing the state-required recertification requirements of our teaching staff. I received training for this position through the Springfield Regional Office of Education. Part of my duties as Regional Superintendent will be to provide local training for the teachers of Logan, Mason, and Menard counties, and assist them in the recertification process. I also plan to work with local school districts that want to become Providers, a designation that allows them to bring on-site training for their staff rather than sending them to another location for training or paying an outside group for facilitating the process.

When elected, my intention is to continue in the professional and dedicated manner of our current Regional Superintendent George Janet. Not only has his leadership been outstanding, the fact that he is a resident of this county has been a definite advantage for all Logan County citizens, and he has represented the Republican party well. I believe that it is advantageous for this tradition to continue. Therefore, I feel that my party affiliation, my residency in this county, my strong ties with area schools and school personnel, and my knowledge and dedication to current issues make me a strong contender for the position of Regional Superintendent.

Sincerely,

Jean Anderson

 


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

1859

Lincoln School District

5

School buildings in 1859

1

"Grammar school" in 1859

1

High school teacher, Mr. January, in 1859

1870-71

Central School opened

1898

High school building started

1900

High school dedicated, Jan. 5

$20,000

Cost of new high school

1920

Election authorized community high school District #404

1958

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

 



Whatís Up With That?

 

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