Council hears request
to remove R-rated videos

[JULY 11, 2001]  Citing a concern for the moral well-being of Lincolnís children, Christopher M. Bova asked the Lincoln City Council if it would look into removing R-rated videos from the cityís two video rental stores or at least put such videos where children do not see them.

Bova, a six-year Lincoln resident employed by Lincoln Christian College, addressed the council Tuesday night at its work session. He said he objects to video covers that depict nudity being displayed where children can see them.

"I would like them [R-rated videos] removed, but it would be a great improvement if they were just off the shelves," he told the council. As an alternative, he suggested that rather than have the R-rated videos "all over the store," they should be put all in one place to be out of sight of children.

Bova presented council members with petitions containing 183 signatures in favor of his plan. He said he collected the signatures in one day at two churches and several retail stores. The signatures, Mayor Beth Davis noted, were collected in 1999.

He said he had asked managers of Lincolnís two video stores why they displayed R-rated videos as they do and was told it was company policy. He said, however, that a Family Video store in Sherman, near Springfield, did not have R-rated videos on display. Employees of the store said a city ordinance prohibits it.

 

"You have the authority and the ability to improve the moral character of the city," Bova told the council.

Michael Montcalm, chairman of the cityís ordinance committee, referred the matter to City Attorney Jonathan Wright. "We will see what our options are, what the legality issues are and whatís constitutional," he said.

Mill Restaurant, Scully Building

The future of two buildings in Lincoln that are deteriorating or need repair was brought up by Alderman Steve Fuhrer. Wright said the city is seeking an order of abandonment for the former Mill Restaurant on Stringer Street on Lincolnís south side. He said the building is badly deteriorated, unsafe and needs to be razed. First, he said, notices must be filed with all those who hold liens on the property.

Work on the downtown Scully Building, whose upper floors were badly damaged in a fire last winter, has come to a standstill, according to building inspector Les Last. The owners of nearby retail stores say they are losing business because of the parking and sidewalk blockades, and there are also concerns about safety, he said.

 

 

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Fuhrer said the city has given the owners of the building time to decide what to do about the gables and chimneys that are still standing, and they have not responded with any plan.

"Unless we do something, we are going to be looking at the same thing for a long time," he said.

Last said he would like to get a commitment from the owners to either make the top of the building safe or demolish it. He and Wright will send a letter to the owners asking them to outline their plans for the building.

Problem box culvert

Alderman Bill Melton, head of the sewer and drainage committee, said the city has once again been asked to take over a problem box culvert in the Heitmann Park commercial subdivision near the Cracker Barrel restaurant. This time, he said, the owner, Eugene Burwell, plans to upgrade and repair the culvert before the city takes it over.

Last November the city refused a request to accept the culvert, on the grounds that it was deteriorating and could cause flooding. The engineering firm of Greene and Bradford, representing Burwell, said at that time they had had an understanding with Dennis Hartman, former city engineer, that the city would take over the culvert.

Grant Eaton, sewer plant manager, said he had been in touch with Hartman since that time, and Hartman said he never agreed to take over the culvert.

"If the city has to take that over, we need to be sure it is done properly," Melton said.

Hearing on appropriation ordinance

Before the council meeting, there was a public hearing on the 2001-2002 appropriation package, as required by law. At the brief hearing there were no questions from the public about the $9,884,138 ordinance. The ordinance will be approved at a later meeting of the council.

[Joan Crabb]

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Bakery closed

[JULY 11, 2001]  The Lincoln General Store and Bakery at 127 S. Sangamon was closed on Friday, July 6, because of unsafe electrical wiring, according to Les Last, city building code inspector.

Last said he and several electrical contractors inspected the bakery and found a problem with heat build-up in a box in the service entrance. He also said owner Cookie Wentworth and her staff had complained of mild electrical shocks from some equipment they were using.

Last said the 60-amp service is evidently not heavy enough to carry the load the bakery was using. The building is leased from Eckerts, Inc.

[Joan Crabb]


Elkhart Homecoming announcement

[JULY 10, 2001]  The Elkhart Homecoming this year will be Saturday, July 21. All events, food stands and entertainment will be downtown on the main street of Elkhart.

The day will kick off with the townwide yard sale starting at 8 a.m. There will be many first-timers this year, and the sale will include collectibles, crafts, antiques and much more.

From 10 a.m. till 3 p.m. there will be a cruise-in with all makes and models.

The St. Patrick's youth group will serve a rib-eye sandwich lunch from 11 a.m. till 1 p.m.

A parade at 3 p.m. will feature several exciting entrees.

From 4 till 7 p.m. the Elkhart Christian Church youth group will sponsor childrenís carnival games with prizes.

The kiddie tractor pull is scheduled to begin competition at 5 p.m. Prizes will be awarded to all participants.

 

 

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A fried chicken dinner will be served from 5 till 8 p.m. The dinner includes potato salad, green beans, applesauce, marinated cucumber salad, dinner roll and drink.

Entertainment on stage from 5:30 till 7 p.m. will include the superb hypnotist Kent Sorrels and the merriment of several local talents.

A street dance featuring the band Up Front will begin at 8 p.m.

The winner of the 50/50 $1,000 drawing will be announced at 9 p.m. Only 200 chances will be sold.

Sunday morning from 7 till 11 a.m. biscuits and gravy will be served.

Mark your calendars for July 2l and 22, and come to enjoy the events and food at the annual Elkhart homecoming.

[News release]


Deputy struggles with defense costs

[JULY 9, 2001]  Logan County Deputy Robert Spickard of Lincoln, exonerated of charges of battery and official misconduct last December, bears all the financial responsibility for his defense even though the incident occurred while he was doing sheriffís department business. Like some or all of his fellow deputies, he had not personally purchased legal defense insurance.

"People that Iíve talked to are surprised that Iím having to pay my attorneyís fees," Spickard said. "One on one, I have yet to find anyone who doesnít believe I was justified in what I was doing."

Between the incident for which Spickard was charged and his trial, the county changed insurance contractors from Roger Garrett in Lincoln to J.L. Hubbard in Decatur, according to Dick Logan, president of the Logan County Board. In February the board voted to ask Hubbard to pay Spickardís legal bills, but that request was denied because Hubbard had not been the insurer at the time of the incident. Garrett also declined to pay, based on the fact that the insurance contract did not provide such coverage in criminal cases.

According to Sheriff Tony Solomon, Stateís Attorney Tim Huyett advised the Logan County Board that the deputiesí union contract specifies payment for defense in civil but not criminal cases. That is in line with state law which, according to Ted Street of the Illinois Fraternal Order of Police, requires that police be reimbursed for legal expenses in civil cases but not in criminal ones.

Through Jack Knuppel, the countyís attorney for union negotiations, the Fraternal Order of Police, Lodge 78, requested in the spring that the County Board consider paying all or part of Spickardís legal bill, according to Doug Dutz, chair of the boardís Law Enforcement Committee. He said the committee sent the request to the whole board, but no motion has been made or other action taken at any board meeting.

 

Ted Street, field superintendent for the Illinois FOP Labor Council, said paying Spickardís defense bill is "the right thing to do" because he was performing his regular duties and did not violate any laws or any departmental policy, rules or procedures. He said the average deputy does not buy the supplemental insurance plan. "He was doing his job," Street said.

Spickard agrees that the context dictates who should pay for legal defense. "It would have been different had I committed that act as citizen Bob Spickard, not employed by the county to be there," he said.

Spickard says he has suffered financial harm in that he has had to take out a second mortgage on his house to pay the first half of his legal bill and lacks any assets that would enable him to pay the second half. The total bill was approximately $16,700 plus monthly interest since December 2000. Spickard, 47, and his wife, Sheila, have four children, Robby, 24, Ami-Jo, 20, Angela, 18, and Holly, 15. He said the deputiesí union has discussed holding a fund-raiser but that he personally finds it "very humbling to ask people for money."

Shortly after being restored to the force, Spickard became president of FOP, Lodge 78. The deputiesí contract expires in early December, Logan said, and negotiations on the new contract will begin in August. Dutz said Spickard has approached the Law Enforcement Committee to discuss insurance to cover deputiesí legal defense for any purpose. The insurance policy, available through the Fraternal Order of Police Labor Council, costs $150 per deputy per year. Sheriff Tony Solomon said he would support providing such insurance if it is part of the negotiating package presented by the FOP and if the county has the money. Solomon is present during contract negotiations but has no voting rights.

 

Spickard said that he does not know of any of the county deputies who had personally purchased a policy before his indictment but said that recently they have all have taken it out. City police also have the option to purchase supplemental legal defense insurance.

Spickard said his union lodge has not previously asked for this coverage because deputies did not expect to be criminally charged. When approaching a case they are focused on helping the victim, he said, not on their own legal exposure.

 

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The incident for which Spickard was charged occurred on July 25, 1999, when he and Deputy James Hays were called to Hartsburg on a complaint of a dog running loose and chasing a girl. The dog had bitten two people in the past. The complainant said that Matthew Gleason, then 14, son of the dogís owners, had used profanity in telling him to go inside to avoid being bitten. Spickard went alone to the Gleason home, where Matt and his parents, Mark Kevin and Cynthia, were all outside.

When Spickard asked about the profanity, Kevin Gleason said his son, as a minor, would not talk without an attorney. Gleason pushed Matt inside the house and began to follow. Spickard, who smelled alcohol on Gleasonís breath, said, "So are you an attorney, Mr. Intoxicated?" Allegedly because he feared that Kevin Gleason would flee inside, Spickard grabbed Gleasonís right wrist in a joint lock and asked if he wanted to go to jail for obstructing the investigation of the dog incident.

With his arm held behind him, Gleason walked backward down the steps, cried out about shoulder pain and fell to his knees. Spickard eased pressure on the joint lock when he saw that Gleason was in pain and released it entirely when Cynthia Gleason said her husband had had seven surgeries on his shoulder.

Kevin Gleason was taken by relatives to the emergency room. At the hospital he asked that the incident be investigated for use of excessive force. The first statements were taken that night by Sgt. Dan Fruge of the Illinois State Police, District 9, Springfield. Michael Galletti, special agent for the Illinois State Police, District 8, Peoria, conducted an investigation over several months and testified for the state.

 

Spickard originally employed a Lincoln attorney who advised him to plead guilty to battery, a misdemeanor, and save his job. Spickard objected because he believes himself innocent and because he feared a guilty plea would open him up to a civil suit. At that point he chose the more expensive alternative of hiring Michael Metnik of Springfield and pleading not guilty.

Circuit Court Judge Kevin P Fitzgerald presided at Spickardís trial, which was in Lincoln Dec. 13-14, 2000. Special prosecutor Charles Zalar of Springfield presented the case, and Spickard was defended by Michael Metnik and Richard Kim, who successfully argued that the joint lock is a technique commonly available to police officers when dealing with a resistant subject. The jury deliberated less than an hour before finding Spickard not guilty on all counts.

While under indictment Spickard was placed on paid suspension, as stipulated by the deputiesí union contract. After the verdict he was reinstated as a county deputy. He was formerly a K-9 handler, but his dog Castor died, and Sheriff Solomon said the department does not currently have the approximately $10,000 it would cost to purchase another police dog. While under suspension, Spickard says, he lost time he would have been paid to work in the dog kennel and lost some respect from fellow deputies. He says he has become more apprehensive on the job as a result of his experience.

Mark Kevin Gleason has filed a civil lawsuit asking more than $50,000 in compensatory damages plus punitive damages and costs from Spickard and Sgt. Henry Bartmann, his superior. Because it is a civil suit, county insurance is expected to cover any defense expenses if the suit is pursued.

[Lynn Spellman]


Countyís genealogical and historical society receives state grant

[JULY 7, 2001]  The Logan County Genealogical and Historical Society has been awarded a $10,000 state grant, according to an announcement by Sen. Bob Madigan before he left his legislative position.

"This award is good news for the society," said Madigan, R-Lincoln. "The money will be used to help purchase the building that is currently home to the society."

The organization recently moved from Arcade Court to 114 N. Chicago in Lincoln.

Society member Dorothy Gleason said the new location gives them much-needed breathing room.

"We were running out of space at our old location," said Gleason. "Our new home will help us expand our research capabilities. We receive inquires from all over the country from people who are tracing their family history. The extra room also means more space for historical displays, like our Ö display in honor of Flag Day."

Money for the grant comes from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Community Affairs in Springfield.

[News release]


Local branch of a national company brings 60 new jobs to town

[JULY 6, 2001]  Just when the economy and job market are in a slump all over the nation, the local branch of APAC Customer Services has broken the mold locally. APAC seeks to hire at least 30 full-time and 30 part-time telephone sales representatives at its Lincoln customer interaction center before the end of July. The additional employees will serve expanding business volume from a major financial services client that was assigned to Lincoln recently.

Both full- and part-time positions as telephone sales representatives are being offered at the 2500 Woodlawn Road facility. The jobs offer flexible work schedules. Newly hired representatives receive paid training and, after six months of full-time employment, are eligible for health care and dental benefits, a vision care discount program, paid vacation days and a 401(k) retirement program. The starting wage is $6 per hour, and wage increases are determined by length of service and job performance.

Job seekers are encouraged to apply in person at 2500 Woodlawn Road or call (217) 735-4067. Rich Krider is the center business manager. The 10,000-square-foot Lincoln center opened in May 1996 and operates two shifts Monday through Friday.

Nationally, APAC employs approximately 17,000 in a variety of positions. It operates 50 customer interaction centers in 14 states. Other APAC centers in Illinois are at Alton, Canton, Deerfield, Galesburg, Rock Falls, Jacksonville, Kewanee, Marion, Quincy, Pekin and Peoria.

 

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During 2000, the company handled 686 million customer interactions on behalf of clients. For the year ended 2000, net income was $17.2 million on revenues of $464 million.

APAC provides customer relationship management services for companies in the financial services, communications, retail, insurance, technology, utility, travel/entertainment, automotive and health care sectors. APAC develops and implements end-to-end inbound, outbound and Web-enabled, or "e-bound," customer relationship management programs via the Web or traditional call centers. Contracting with APAC for these functions offers a company cost savings, improved efficiencies, skilled representatives and instant access to complex, new technologies.

APACís customer information line is (800) OUTSOURCE. The website is http://www.apaccustomerservices.com

APAC Customer Services (Nasdaq: APAC) was founded in 1973 by Theodore G. Schwartz, chairman and CEO. The company merged with ITI Holdings in 1998. The executive headquarters of APAC is in Deerfield, a Chicago suburb.

[News release]


District 27 to receive grant for improvements to athletic field

[JULY 6, 2001]  Lincoln Elementary School District 27 will be able to proceed with improvements to Ralph Gale Memorial Field, thanks to a $60,000 state grant announced by Sen. Bob Madigan before he left his legislative position.

"The money will be a big help to District 27," said Madigan, R-Lincoln. "The grant will allow school officials to purchase bleachers for parents and fans and add new lights for nighttime play."

The grant includes funding up to $55,000 for the purchase of lighting and up to $5,000 for bleachers, according to the district superintendent, Dr. Robert Kidd.

"The improvements will allow us to make better use of the facility," said Kidd. "Adding bleachers, and reinstalling lights will allow us to take advantage of the cooler evening hours. Rescheduling games later in the day allows more parents to see their children perform. Weíll also have the ability to schedule more activities, which will provide additional opportunities for students."

Money for the grant comes from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Community Affairs in Springfield.

[News release]

 


Habitat for Humanity home
dedicated in Mount Pulaski

[JULY 5, 2001]  Community, friends, family, workers ó all gathered for dedication services July 4 at the newest Habitat house. Keys for the sixth completed Habitat for Humanity of Logan County home were turned over to the Cheryl Mittlesteadt family. Cheryl and her sons, James T. and Austin M. Berger, plan to move into their new home at 317 Vine St., Mount Pulaski, on Saturday.

[Click here to see photos from the dedication]

George Dahmm welcomed the crowd, expressing gratefulness for all those who had contributed to this recent project. Dahmm began with the city of Mount Pulaski, thanking them for deeding the property. He then recognized the intensive effort put forth by 17 LCC students during one week in the spring and then credited some of the major donors of supplies. Johnson True Value of Mount Pulaski furnished the interior paint at no cost; A-1 Seamless Gutter of Elkhart furnished and installed the gutters, also at no cost; North Tree Farm seeded grass and planted shrubbery; and the Garden Rake supplied shrubbery also.

Contributors and volunteer labor

City of Mount Pulaski

Christian Church of Mount Pulaski

Zion Lutheran Church of Mount Pulaski

American Legion Auxiliary, Mount Pulaski

Lincoln Christian College

First United Methodist Church, Lincoln

St. John United Church of Christ, Lincoln

Area Disposal

Lincoln Sand and Gravel

St. Peterís Lutheran Church of Emden

Larson Doors

Roger Mittlesteadt

Tom Funk, attorney

Hunter Blinds

Whirlpool Corporation

Eagles Auxiliary of Lincoln

Mount Pulaski Catholic Church

Methodist Church of Mount Pulaski

Mount Pulaski Rotary Club

ABWA, Mount Pulaski

Lincoln Christian Church

Zion Lutheran Church of New Holland

Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, Lincoln

Basset Plumbing and Heating

Zion Lutheran Church of Clinton

Linda Barrick, M E Realty

Eaton Corporation

Lincoln Courier

Lincoln Daily News

Bloomington Pantagraph

Yale Residential Security

The Garden Rake

Larson Doors

Douglas Hunter Blinds

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Suppliers

Mitchell Newhouse Lumber Co.

Pete's Hardware

Illinois Plumbing and Heating

Carpet House of Lincoln

Light House Appraisal Service

Cyrillic Construction

Johnson Lumber of Atlanta

Alexander Lumber Co.

Johnson True Value, Mount Pulaski

Lumberyard Suppliers Inc.

Whirlpool Corporation

A-1 Seamless Gutters of Elkhart

North Tree Farm Landscaping

Yale Residential Security

Dahmm concluded by saying how much he appreciated "anybody who in any way worked this project and brought it to completion."

Citing Christian values as the foundation for the organization, Petri concluded with these remarks: "We build the houses so that they might build homes. Weíre dedicated to seeing that all of Godís children have a decent place to call home."

Presenting the key to Mittlesteadt, Phil Dehner said, "We hope you find a great love and happiness in your new home."

Emotionally overwhelmed with gratitude, Mittlesteadt stated her feelings as such, and simply said a sincere, strong, "Thank you, thank you all!"

Habitat for Humanity of Logan County board members and officers

President George Dahmm

Vice president Phil Dehner

Secretary Leonard Krusemark

Treasurer Harley Petri

Bill Sahs

Terry Lock

Lyle Fout

Ken Benham

Don Begolka

Ken Tappendorf

[Jan Youngquist]


Middletown Stagecoach Inn dedicated

[JULY 5, 2001]  At the dedication of the Dunlap House in Middletown on July 4, historian Wayne C. Temple christened the ground with water from a local well. Dr. Temple, a Lincoln expert, said that he has at least two documented occasions that Abraham Lincoln stayed at the house; once was with his family.

The initiative to get the house moved back to near its original site began back in 1985. On the day of the move back to town from the country, it got stuck in mud and the move was delayed until the ground froze.

Funding, repairs and renovations have been slowly taking place. Sen. Madigan and state Rep. John Turner recently procured some funding from the state of Illinois. While the site is now officially open, there are still lots of renovations to be completed.

A large crowd that included officials, visitors and local residents stayed for the opening tours of the house.

[LDN]


Healthy Communities Partnership receives national award, provides update to community, spotlights youth programs

[JULY 5, 2001]  The climax of the Healthy Communities Partnership report to the community on Thursday was presentation of the National Outstanding Rural Health Practice Award to Dayle Eldredge, director of the Rural Health Partnership Task Force and of the overall partnership.

Among the projects of the RHP are the mobile health unit which provides primary and preventative health care throughout Logan County, educational seminars including one on prostate and testicular cancer conducted June 27, farm safety programs offered in conjunction with University of Illinois Cooperative Extension Service, and assistance to farm families with a disabled member.

 

The award from the National Rural Health Association was presented to Eldredge by Julie Casper of the Center for Rural Health, Illinois Department of Public Health. "I believe the entire county is benefiting," Eldredge said in summing up the work of the Healthy Communities Partnership toward its mission: "To protect, maintain and improve the health and quality of life of all residents of Lincoln and Logan County."

Thursdayís luncheon presentation, at Knights of Columbus before an audience of about 100, spotlighted youth programs. In one presentation Chief of Police Rich Montcalm recognized seven students for their violence prevention essays: Sam Chon, Justin Trago, Lia Jordan, Britney Colby, Kelly Knecht and Hannah McShane.

Teenagers in Snowball, whose members are committed to living and promoting a drug-free lifestyle, presented a pantomime in which a girl experimented with a variety of drugs ranging from tobacco to heroin, became trapped, escaped with the help of friends, re-embraced the drugs, hit rock bottom and finally succeeded in becoming drug-free. Cast members were Cara Brewer, Christopher Vaughn, Bradley Stoll, Cara Slack, Lindsey Dirks, Stephie Humble, Sam Huddelson, Laura Baker, Craig Erlenbush and Chuck Allen. Kristi Simpson, prevention specialist at Logan Mason Mental Health, directed the group.

 

Simpson also directed "Keep Off the Grass," a puppet show presented by recent Lincoln Junior High School graduates associated with HYPE (Helping Youth in a Positive Environment). In the story Dr. Crisis and Officer Ketcham meet Dexter Dreenís heart, stomach and brain and hear of the effects of marijuana and cocaine on them. Megan Prather, Kati Solomon, Chuck Allen, Bo Wright and Amanda Metz manipulated the puppets.

Simpson noted that Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drug Task Force events, including a bowling day and post-prom, are free to the public. An Illinois Department of Transportation grant enabled the awarding of such prizes as a DVD player, laptop computer and color television at post-prom.

 

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Ron Sillings of the YMCA announced upcoming events: a DUI Victim Impact Panel on July 25, a Family Fun Day on Sept. 22 and a mock DUI accident. Teen dances at the YMCA Activities Center at 720 Wyatt Ave. (former Odd Fellows gym) have been conducted monthly since September and will continue weekly throughout the summer except for a break during July.

In the fast-moving program each subdivision of Healthy Communities Partnership presented a report. Debby Cook of Logan County Health Department, speaking for the Domestic Abuse and Violence Task Force, announced that the Lincoln Police Department will now escort domestic violence victims to Sojourn House in Springfield, and she is working with Sheriff Tony Solomon to extend this benefit throughout the county. In another program, old cell phones, donated by P & M Communications and Lincoln Land Communications, are programmed to 9-1-1 and given to people in abusive situations who may need to make emergency calls.

 

Speaking for the Healthy Families Task Force, Marcia Dowling of the Logan County Health Department described various programs, including aid for grandparents raising grandchildren, education for teen parents, student mentoring and Baby Think It Over, which aims to prevent teen pregnancy. Several speakers reported an apparent decline in local teen pregnancy and pregnancy testing. In a survey conducted by Barbara Follis, one teen mother said, "The hardest part of being a young parent is the responsibilities you have as a parent, student, friend and daughter ó all your roles together. Also, a little of what people say and how they look at you." Another said that if she could go back in a time machine, she would not go out again the night she got pregnant.

The Academy for Health Services Research and Health Policy, which visited the local partnership on May 14, concluded, according to a draft copy of its yet incomplete report: "This is an accomplished community health network in every sense of the word with strong linkage to key community stakeholders. The network has had a long and successful track record in supporting innovative projects that directly address key community health needs."

[Lynn Spellman]

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