Report on Logan County Board meeting

Local help for job seekers, plans for airport contract, official recognitions

[FEB. 21, 2001]  The Work Force Involvement Act is not just another name for the same old program, according to Jan Gleason, representing the local office.

Formerly the Job Training Program Act, which was abolished by Congress on June 30, the program wasn't only renamed but has new policies, guidelines and methods to help people who are unemployed.


Gleason told members of the Logan County Board that her office, in coordination with the Illinois Training and Employment Center and the Illinois Department of Employment Security, now offers all services for people seeking employment.

"When you used to go to the unemployment office in Springfield, you would find job postings on a bulletin board," Gleason said.

"We now offer online job information that can be accessed from our office or from home," she added.

"People can come to our office and use the computer to find postings. If they aren't familiar with computers, we will work with them and show them how to find information."

Gleason also said that of the five-county consortium of which Logan is a member, this is the only county that has a representative from the Department of Employment Security coming Lincoln twice a week, every week to offer assistance.


"I credit this arrangement to the cooperation among all agencies involved," Gleason said.

Gleason also told the board that they offer assistance by going out on-site to places of employment that have had layoffs.

"We let them know what services we provide and how we can help them seek other employment or receive assistance if they are laid off," she said.

"People no longer have to go to the Springfield office to file for benefits. They can access the system by telephone, and we're available to show them how to do this," Gleason said.


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In other board action, Roger Bock, chairman of the airport committee, told the board that the new contract for the airport was going to be bid as three separate parts.

"One contract would be for an airport manager; one for the actual operations, which includes labor for upkeep; and the third contract would be for the use of the Quonset hut hangar," Bock said.

The current contract with Heritage-In-Flight has been extended until March in order for Bock to meet with the Illinois Department of Transportation to get their guidelines and views so that a workable contract can be let for bid.

Rod White, chairman of the finance committee, thanked Bock for his work and the amount of time he has spent in meeting with IDOT to resolve this issue.

Several ceremonial presentations were made, with Bill Hull of the State Bank of Lincoln presenting a copy of a book on the history of Logan County. State Bank commissioned Paul Beaver and Paul Gleason, local historians, to write the book.


Jan Schumacher, from Main Street Lincoln, presented a plaque to the board, thanking them for their cooperation in making the courthouse available again for the Festival of Trees.

Schumacher told the board that the added features of storytelling and choirs would be provided next year due to the success of the event.

The board itself recognized Carroll Catholic School girls basketball team for their success this season.

Also, Union Planters Bank received recognition for their efforts in making the purchase of the courthouse annex at Pekin and McLean streets affordable to the county. The annex will expand the county's services to the public.

[Fuzz Werth]

Local group seeks to save Scully Building

[FEB. 21, 2001]  It's been 36 days since a fire destroyed the roof of the historic Scully Building.  It's been 36 days since one of the busiest downtown shopping streets has been open to through traffic. Both Prairie Years and Abe's Carmelcorn, retail businesses supported by walk-in customers, continue to suffer from the loss of easy customer access as the building on the corner stands awaiting a declaration of demolition or salvation.

Rumors have been circulating through Lincoln about the fate of the historic landmark. While it appears that nothing is happening, such is not the case.   A group of Lincoln business owners is confident that the building will be preserved and saved.

Local accountant Mike Abbott has been advising those who are interested in preserving the building about available tax credits.  "Some have expressed interest in saving the building, and I have spoken to them about the rehabilitation credits available for restoring a building that lies within a historic district," says Abbott, "but no one has acted yet."


Lincoln dentist Larry Crisafulli and local builder Dale Bassi have inspected the building with Illinois State Historic Preservation architect Mike Jackson.  Crisafulli says that Jackson found the building's structure to be in sound condition with no leaning noted in the three standing gables.


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The construction of the Scully Building is unusual in that the floors are made of concrete. Only smoke and water damage was sustained on the lower levels. Constructing a new roof and rehabilitating the lower levels could be a costly undertaking, however. 

Abbott noted that even though 20 percent of the qualified expenses to rehabilitate the building can be used as a tax credit, the decision to restore the building is still based on economics.  "You have to find businesses and apartment dwellers who are willing to move into the building to make the restoration pay for itself," says Abbott. 

Lincoln Daily News will continue to bring you updates on the fate or fortune of this building and the businesses affected by the fire.

[Marty Ahrends]

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Look, up in the sky...

[FEB. 20, 2001]  Some daring men from the Illinois Valley Jump Club took to the sky this weekend over the Logan County Airport — literally. The club, composed of both men and women, though only men were here this weekend, normally jumps in Minier. Winter weather has left their airport in need of some repairs. With the unanimous permission of the Logan County Airport committee and the Federal Aviation Administration, they will conduct their operation at Lincoln for the next month.

The action started on the ground as they carefully packed their chutes, using rubber bands to hold the ends of zigzagged cords and folding the material of the chutes neatly. This important package then is rolled together and stowed away in the parachute pack.

As they fold and tuck, they can be heard sharing stories of past jumps and past victories. There is a strong, friendly sense of camaraderie among the jumpers. Getting ready for the ascent, they don ski masks, heavy parkas and insulated clothes to protect them from the near-zero wind chill factors as they exit the plane (it was only 35 degrees outside).


This reporter accompanied them on the exhilarating ride up on Sunday afternoon, wearing one of the 20-pound parachutes just in case I "fell out." Falling out is not too remote a concept, as I soon found out. An observer sits on the floor facing backward at the front of the plane, between the lift-up door and the pilot, with only a simple lap seat belt over the thighs. The parachutists must climb over the observer to get out of the plane. When the time came, I did not have the good grace to lean out and wave goodbye — as they fell away I clenched the pilot’s seat.

The plane ride up to 10,000 feet takes about 15 minutes. The plane banked and circled the field many times on a gradual climb to allow the jumpers to adjust to the changes in atmospheric pressure.

On the way up, the jumpers are seated on a foam rubber mat in the tight quarters of the small plane. Everyone has a window seat, watching as buildings and houses become patchwork plots and earth’s curve becomes apparent. Smiles and looks are exchanged occasionally. Because of the sound of the engine and the wind they have to shout to each other in order to be heard. There is an excited anticipation in the air. Everything is upbeat. Their plans have been carefully arranged and communicated before they got in the plane.

Nearing the right position, the lead man partially opens the door from time to time to look down and check their location, giving the pilot cues to adjust the plane’s position to get ready for the jump.

When everything is just right, he pushes the door all the way up, carefully climbs out onto the wing strut and is followed immediately by the other two jumpers. All three jumpers are out there in an instant, positioned on the strut; then quickly, on cue, they jump simultaneously.


The novice in the club has been jumping for more than a year, and the most experienced in the group, Mac, has jumped out of planes close to 10,000 times. Mac, a fireman from Peoria, received the award late last year for exceeding 100 hours of free-fall time (the first 45 seconds of the jump before a chute is opened).

During the free fall, they practice making and changing formations: holding hands, then changing to hold another jumper’s feet, making different formations during their quick descent toward the ground. One jumper had a digital camera attached to his helmet, recording their experience.


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As they fall, members of the jump party continuously check the altimeters on their wrists to determine when they must open their chutes to assure a safe landing. When they have fallen to between 3,000 and 2,500 feet, it is time to deploy their parachutes. The old phrase "pulling the rip cord" has become archaic. They now pull from their backpack a very small parachute that pulls the main chute out. The smaller chute opens the main chute quicker than the old still rip cord and the D-ring in front. As fabric unfurls, folds loosen, and suddenly the chute snaps open, fully cupping the air, followed by lengthening cords stretching out as the rubber-banded folds pull loose and reach full extension. The parachutist’s plummet is slowed with a great jerk.

Gone are the old days when round white canopies floated docilely down to the ground like puffs of cotton. The new-style chutes are rectangular and ribbed in sporty, brilliant tutti-frutti colors like raspberry and turquoise. The new chutes also appear to afford much greater maneuverability. The jumpers glide to earth with precision and grace as they steer their chutes with handles on each side, doing aerial acrobatics, flips in the air and dramatic movements that take your breath away (don’t try this at home, kids). Just about 6 feet above the ground, the jumper makes a last-second manipulation that slows him greatly and usually sets him down gently on both feet. The ride down on the chute is much quicker than the ride up in the plane.


For a variation, the Minier club does something called a cross-country. When the wind is very strong, usually in the spring, while miles from their airfield, they jump at 10,000 feet or higher and deploy their chutes immediately. Lincoln pilot Curt Fox recalled that about four years ago, in the days before he was flying for them, a crew went up, jumped when they were two miles west of Lincoln and made it back to the field in Minier about 25 miles away.

On this Sunday ride though, once the skydivers were away from the plane, and not having fallen out myself, the pilot did a startling dipsy-doodle maneuver to close the door, and then we began our quick descent. It was a very quick roller-coaster-like descent from 10,000 feet to the ground. I noticed that the continual change in air pressure does something to your head. Soon we were back on the ground, and I climbed out with jelly legs as the next crew of four jumpers quickly climbed in.

Thanks to Curt Fox for his information about this club and the subject matter. Thanks to pilot Marvin Shumaker from Bloomington for not letting me fall out, and thanks to the club members for sharing their love of the sport.

The Central Illinois Jump Club will be back again on Saturdays and Sundays this month to ride up to 10,000 feet and then bail out into the clear, cold sky over the Logan County Airport.

[Jim and Jan Youngquist]

Vehicle vandalism reported

[FEB. 20, 2001]  There has been an increase in vehicle vandalism this past week. The Lincoln Police Department is still investigating the crimes, so if you have any information, please contact the police.

In the early morning hours of Thursday, Feb. 15, someone stole two speakers, an amplifier and a noise-reduction unit from a Lincoln man’s vehicle. The automobile was parked at the owner’s residence. There is some damage to the vehicle’s locks, so that is the assumed means of entry.

Two amplifiers, four subwoofers and a portable CD player were stolen from a van between 11 p.m. Friday and 1:30 a.m. Saturday. The owner is a Lincoln man, and his vehicle was parked at Logan Lanes bowling.

Between 11:30 p.m. Sunday and 3:52 a.m. on Monday, someone slashed tires at Willamette Industries. Lincoln Police Department received a call at 3:52 a.m. that four vehicles were damaged at 101 S. Lincoln Parkway.

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Yesterday evening, two teenage boys were seen destroying four Ford pickup trucks — all belonging to the same Lincoln man — parked at Curry Ready-Mix lot on the 1600 block of North Kickapoo. At about 6:13 p.m. an individual heard breaking glass, saw two boys and called the police. The police have not found the suspects yet. A ’67 Ford’s windshield and headlights were broken. A ’78 Ford had the same damage, plus the side mirrors were broken. An ’81 Ford had the most damage: to the windshield, the driver’s side window, both headlights, both taillights, both side mirrors, turn signal lights and a reflector. An ’84 Ford had the windshield, the passenger window, both headlights, both side mirrors and turn signal lights smashed.

The police and owners would appreciate any information you have about these thefts and vandalism. Please call the city police at 732-2151 or Crime Stoppers at 732-3000.

[Jean Ann Carnley]



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Youths strike out in Lincoln

[FEB. 19, 2001]  The Lincoln Police Department announces the results of its citywide tobacco compliance checks conducted Feb. 7. These checks are performed to determine if local retailers are complying with local laws that prohibit the sale of tobacco to minors. During these checks, no retailers illegally sold tobacco to minors, leading to a 100 percent compliance rate in local tobacco sales.

The compliance checks are part of a $2,400 grant awarded to the city of Lincoln by the Illinois Liquor Commission for an education and enforcement program on minimum-age tobacco laws. The commission has awarded $1 million to Illinois communities to implement programs to reduce youth access to tobacco products.

For the last two years the Lincoln Police Department has been studying the problem of tobacco sales to minors in collaboration with DePaul University, Healthy Communities Partnership and the Illinois Liquor Commission.


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The Lincoln Police Department, along with the community of Lincoln, commends the following businesses for taking steps to better understand the problem of tobacco use by our youth: Green Oil Company, Quick Way Foods, Qik-n-EZ, GB Oil, Lincoln IGA, Kroger, CVS, Tobacco Warehouse, Clark Refining and Marketing, Ayerco Convenience Center, Walgreens, Fifth Street Food Mart, Wal-Mart, Eagle Country Market, Illico Independent Oil Company, Apollo Mart, Jackie and Charlie’s, Bruns Service Center, and Old Joes. Most important is their enforcement of minimum age and sales laws and youth tobacco possession laws. Thank you for your efforts.

[News release from Rich Montcalm,
community police officer, Lincoln Police Department]

Logan County Board report

Topics range from airport to astronaut

[FEB. 16, 2001]  The current contract with Heritage-In-Flight, which manages the Logan County Airport, was discussed with the Logan County Board at a work session Thursday night. Roger Bock, chairman of the airport committee, told members that the contract with HIF would be extended 30 days if approved by board vote Tuesday evening.

The extension would allow the committee to seek bids for the airport's operation. Notices would be published in two papers for a seven-day period. The bids, which would be due at 4 p.m. on March 30, would be opened at the regular airport meeting on April 2 and would be effective May 1.

The Feb. 5 meeting of the airport committee also discussed at length a proposal by Lloyd Mason, a local businessman, to rent the Quonset hut for airplane storage. A motion to accept Mason's bid failed since no one seconded the proposal.

Other discussion included an update by T.W. Werth, chairman of the chamber of commerce and economic development committee, about establishing a "recovery plan" to help businesses in the event of catastrophic loss, such as the fire in the Scully Building.

The board could establish such a plan, similar to one being developed by the chamber, but it would benefit businesses in the county if a fire or natural disaster occurred.


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Doug Dutz, chairman of law enforcement and the Emergency Services and Disaster Agency committee, told members that the liability of the county was significant in paying for medical care for individuals incarcerated at the jail.

"It's possible," Dutz said, "that our portion would be approximately 40 percent of the cost if we follow specific guidelines."

These costs are similar to and are based upon the same fees paid by Public Aid.

In other discussion, board member Cliff Sullivan told members that he had been in discussion with the aunt of Scott Altman, astronaut and former Lincoln resident. Sullivan said that he would like to see signs erected at the entrances to Lincoln, honoring Altman for his contributions and achievements.

The board adjourned into executive session.

[Fuzz Werth]

Monumental makeover begins

[FEB. 15, 2001]  In the quiet of clear blue winter skies with below-zero temperatures, two skilled craftsmen silently ascended and descended the cold marble tower of a Civil War monument in Mason City Memorial Park. Precise movements and calculated measurements were choreographed between the hoist of a crane, extension ladders, lowering straps and two men dedicated to their profession.  A 133-year-old tribute to Civil War soldiers was respectfully disassembled on the mornings of Feb. 2 and 5 and transported to Springfield.

Arnold's Monument Service of Springfield was recently commissioned by Mason City Historical Society to begin rehabilitation of the monument.  Consultations with Camp Butler, Oak Ridge Cemetery, Illinois Heritage Association and Washington, D.C.'s Save Outdoor Sculpture, along with other research, led the local historical society to the difficult but end decision.  There was only one way to do it and that was to do it right.

This piece of American history will be gently groomed during the next four months as it lies in the laboratory of Arnold's Monument Service.  The 10 individual pieces of Victorian marble will be buffed and smoothed to fill aged pores.  Intricate re-carving will be done on an eagle with its prey, a draped scarf with tassel, six wreaths, a shield with swords, plus leaves of laurel.  Most importantly, names and regiments of soldiers from this area will be re-carved.  The information will be burned into a stencil, which must be tediously proofed by the local society.  The approved names and inscriptions will be carved into the newly buffed pieces by the latest laser technology.


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Winter allows Arnold's the best opportunity to direct total attention to this time-consuming ordeal.  Winter freezing also offers the best time to move heavy equipment in and out of the park grounds.

The public paid little attention during the monument removal process.  Two retired gentlemen slowed or stopped to watch while passing through the neighborhood.  They were assured that proper authorities knew what was going on. It's the dream of Mason City Historical Society that huge crowds will give their attention when the monument returns after its makeover.

Scheduled for Memorial Day weekend, May 26 and 27, is Civil War Living History Weekend.  This second annual event continues to be the fundamental fundraiser for the monument project. Appreciated contributions to "Save A Site" can be mailed to Melanie Gordon, MCHSociety Treasurer, 407 N. Main St., Mason City, IL 62664.

[Mason City Historical Society news release]

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