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Police protect us.
Why donít we protect them?

Another state law that doesnít make any sense

By Mike Fak

[JULY 16, 2001]  The LDN recently ran an excellent article by Lynn Spellman regarding the financial plight of Sheriffís Deputy Bob Spickard. Spickard, charged with battery and official misconduct while on duty, was exonerated of the charges by a jury of his peers in less than an hour. The costs Deputy Spickard faces defending himself are the kind of expense that for all working stiffs might take years to repay. That is flat-out wrong.

There is the possibility Deputy Spickard didnít do this whole affair the right way. Perhaps if he had gone to the County Board and asked for representation or simply asked the judge to appoint a public defender to represent him, Spickard would not be facing the monstrous attorney fees he now is faced with. That, of course, is easy for you or me to say. We were not facing the loss of not only a job but a career. We were not facing the possibility of being sent to jail to be among the very individuals we have spent our adulthood placing in incarceration. Can you really fault the deputy for erring on the side of caution? I canít. I know you canít either.

The point that really frustrates me about this whole affair is that a county officer, while performing his duties, was charged with criminal malfeasance by an individual and has to personally foot the bill to prove he acted according to the law. Regardless of the fact that state law says this is correct, I beg to differ.


Officers, whether city, county or state, should not have to pay their own court costs and attorney fees to defend themselves while performing their duty. Especially after they have been found not guilty.

It has been brought to light that city and county officers have the option of purchasing insurance to protect themselves from such financial duress, but is that the way it should really be? Are we not asking these people to protect us, place their lives on the line if need be for lousy pay, and then by Illinois law have the nerve to tell them: "By the way, if someone brings charges against you that a jury states are false, you are on your own financially." This is flat-out wrong.


[to top of second column in this commentary]

Now I want it clear that I am not blaming the County Board for not making this coverage automatic. I am not blaming the sheriff either for not making insurance protection a requirement. Who I am blaming is the Illinois legislature that doesnít see that officers of the law need basic, required protection from the expenses brought on by lawsuits, especially those that are adjudged inappropriate. I am blaming a union that doesnít think from Day One that insurance protection in a day and age of frivolous lawsuit after frivolous lawsuit should be a part of every negotiating session. I am blaming an Illinois governor who just made a big deal out of awarding medals to many brave Illinois police officers but also doesnít think they deserve to have mandatory insurance protection to prevent what just happened to patrolman Spickard. I have to ask those award-winning officers how long an attorney will represent them if the only collateral they have is one of those medals.

Deputy Robert Spickard performed his duties on July 29, 1999, as his training dictated. He was charged with criminal battery and official misconduct but was found not guilty in the time it takes to eat a sandwich. For his life to be under financial duress because of this just isnít right. It just isnít.

Tuesday night the County Board will vote on whether to assist the deputy and his family with the expenses he incurred due to this lawsuit. It may not be required by law for them to do anything in this matter. Regardless of this fact, I hope the board offers at least some financial assistance. Itís the right thing to do.

[Mike Fak]

Reply to Fak (not for publication):

Response to Fak's commentary: 

Promote the real Route 66

By Mike Fak

[JULY 12, 2001]  I really liked the question. A viewer on the show wanted to talk about Route 66. The gentleman asked why Route 66 isnít the real Route 66 anymore. Not being a native, I was unaware that the real route actually went through the heart of Lincoln and not around the beltline as the signs now direct.

The question was simple. In the event we are trying to promote tourism, why donít we want the nostalgia buffs associated with journeys along the historic road to go right through town? Secondary thoughts such as, "Wouldnít this cause travelers to use our gas stations, restaurants and other businesses?" immediately came into the conversation. The caller has a good question. Why donít we promote the old Route 66?

The history of the famous road is not as easy to determine as one would think. More than 7,000 websites are directed to an inquirer about the old highway. Many of them are in foreign languages, including Thai, showing an investigator there is a world interest in this concrete slab of Americana. A great many of the sites, unfortunately, are commercial. "Buy this souvenir or that trinket" fills the Web. Maps on the highway ó to be kind, in my words ó are poor at best. Descriptions of the highwayís incredible number of nuances as it snaked its way across the country are lacking in sufficient detail. It has been a chore to find what I have, but allow me to share my initial research with you.

The original road was 2,448 miles and stretched from downtown Chicago to Santa Monica, Calif. Crossing eight states and three time zones, this early 20th century roadway wasnít completely paved until 1937. Commissioned as a highway in 1926, the route used as many existing portions of road as possible to link Illinois with California. It is this meld of old and new that has given Route 66 its legend. With twists and turns that make no sense except to a 1920s federal road commissioner, the highway wriggles its way westward like a drunken sailor.

It is this nuance that gives the route its charm and attracts the lasting fondness of nostalgia buffs. Unlike the highways of today, which speed through or around the cities in this country, Route 66 caused motorists to actually visit the towns on the way to Santa Monica.




[to top of second column in this commentary]

It seems that in the 1950s, as America began its courtship with haste and as Eisenhowerís national highway program went into full gear, routes such as I-55, I-40, I-15 and I-10 were melded into the old route. This left parts of the original highway, as well as the towns it dissected, out of the nationís travel itinerary.

In fact, one of the routeís primary websites admits that there are still stretches of the original Route 66 waiting to be discovered.

Talking to Lincoln residents, I find that it seems we are still aware in this area of the original road. Coming into town on the north end, by Kickapoo Street, the road jaunted west on Keokuk until heading southwest by following Fifth Street until it reached Washington Street. A left turn snaked the road through the cemeteries and back out to the service road headed to Broadwell.

This makes it obvious to an observer like myself that a great deal of our community and its businesses could become part of the itinerary of travelers looking to relive a part of Americaís traveling habits. The fact that the original road went past Postville Courthouse as well as the soon-to-be-refurbished historic well across the street begs us to ask why Lincoln canít get at least our part of the historic road on the maps of perhaps millions of nostalgia buffs.

It wouldnít take a lot of time or money. Just a few interested citizens and a set of road signs are all that is needed. I will be happy to tell the world on the Web that Lincoln has the original road available for their travels through our area. In an electronic moment, 7,000 websites and millions of history buffs will know about us.

Isnít technology amazing? Perhaps thatís why things such as an old, meandering, time-consuming highway are becoming lost. Things are getting easier and quicker, including car travel. Iím not convinced that they are getting better.

[Mike Fak]

Reply to Fak (not for publication):

Response to Fak's commentary: 

The em space is a staff writer's commentary section with observations about life experiences in Logan County and beyond.

ó Mary Krallmann

Life without links?

Links are much more common than page numbers in my everyday work. Itís routine to make links, check links and fix the ones that arenít connected to the intended places.

The first few days of this month, several other kinds of links also came to my attention, some of them on a holiday when I didnít look at a computer screen and didnít visit a golf course either.

The first connection was at church on a morning when the Genesis record of creation was emphasized. Iím not sure if the phrase "missing links" was used, but thatís what came to mind when the sermon referred to long-term gaps in evolutionary theory.

A couple of days later, the links in question were not just theoretical, and they were only a few hundred years old at most. It was the best impromptu entertainment Iíd had in days when I found out about an exhibition and sale of these links. Since I donít want to offend the devotees, I should explain that it was the first thing in the morning and not at all the sort of material I expected to see just then. The more I read about all highlights of the event, the funnier it sounded. Until then I hadnít heard of collecting cuff links.

I shouldnít have been surprised at the idea, because people collect almost anything. I used to know of someone at work who collected pencils and attended conventions with other pencil collectors. If more than one of something exists, they can be collected.

Cuff links, of course, come in pairs, so one function of related organizations is to locate missing links and match up any singles. People can also get appraisals and find out whatever the experts know about cuff links.

Since theyíre small, cuff links are easy to store, and theyíre made of a variety of materials in a variety of designs for added interest. Collecting cuff links is described as affordable and as a hobby for successful people.

A late-night television screen brought up the next kind of link, the weakest one. I gathered that a person wouldnít want to be that kind, unless he or she enjoys unceremonious dismissal from the game.

A few links in my jewelry box had long since proved to be the weakest ones, but they werenít cuff links, although I did own a pair once by informal inheritance. I originally bought them myself in downtown Lincoln to fulfill a gift suggestion. When the sentimental value waned, I gave them away again, along with the shirt they fit, which didnít really fit me. The only links remaining in the jewelry box were in the chains of necklaces, two of them broken.

On the afternoon of the Fourth of July, those inexplicably became my top priority. Sitting with a pliers in hand, a magnifier nearby but no spare hand to hold it, and a bright light on the desk in front of me, I intended to put those broken links back together or at least give it a try. To justify the importance of the job, I had notes from a doctorís bulletin board copied on a piece of paper in the desk drawer. One of the tips for reducing stress and leading a healthier life is to fix anything broken. Never mind that these chains had been broken for months and that I had almost discarded the one my aunt brought back from Austria.

Trying to focus on those tiny metal connections and trying to hold my hands steady under the light bulb, I felt the perspiration running down my arms and noticed a big drop of sweat on the glass desktop. Talk about stress. At least half a dozen broken links later, both necklaces held together. (I didnít pull too hard when checking them.)

The money I saved by not buying a new chain could go toward a set of cuff links of my choice. I already decided against the $2,200 pair in gold and ruby. I didnít care for the appearance. Of course, there is one other fundamental problem. I donít have any cuffs that need links.

[Mary Krallmann


Where They Stand

Where They Stand is a commentary section that poses a question about a specific issue in the community. Informed individuals present their position with facts, opinions or insights on the issue. The following commentaries have been printed, unedited, in their entirety, as they were received. If you have further comment on the issue, please send an e-mail message, complete with your name, address and telephone number to


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


Lincoln School District


School buildings in 1859


"Grammar school" in 1859


High school teacher, Mr. January, in 1859


Central School opened


High school building started


High school dedicated, Jan. 5


Cost of new high school


Election authorized community high school District #404


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


What's Up With That?



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