em space, Where They Stand,
How We Stack Up,
Up With That?
Why donít we protect them?
Another state law that doesnít make
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
[to top of second
column in this commentary]
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.
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.
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.
(not for publication):
to Fak's commentary:
the real Route 66
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.
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?
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.
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.
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]
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.
fact, one of the routeís primary websites admits that there are
still stretches of the original Route 66 waiting to be discovered.
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.
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.
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.
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.
(not for publication):
to Fak's commentary:
space is a staff writer's commentary section with observations about life experiences in Logan County and
Life without 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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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estimates in Logan County
||Rural population -
||Urban population -
||Persons below poverty
level - 11.8 %
||Average marriages per
||Average deaths per
County high schools: 1960-2000
High School consolidated with New Holland
High School became part of Olympia School District
High School consolidated with Mount Pulaski
High School became Warrensburg-Latham
High School consolidated with Lincoln Community High School
Jose High School consolidated with Illini Central (Mason City)