em space, Where They Stand,
How We Stack Up,
Up With That?
the first lady of Arkansas
21, 2001] On
Wednesday, May 9, I had the pleasure of a whirlwind tour of
Springfield sites with Janet Huckabee, first lady of Arkansas. A fun
time, it was also a lesson in how effectively a title can open
was the featured speaker at the annual meeting of the Illinois
Manufactured Housing Association. Since last August, when she chose a
triple-wide house made by Champion Homes of Indiana as a temporary
residence during restoration of the Arkansas governorís mansion, she
has become an enthusiastic spokesperson for the industry.
Huckabeeís luncheon speech, association chairman Roger Huddleston
assigned Lucy Anderson and Dianne DeRosa, both of Springfield, and I
the delightful task of taking her "wherever she wants to
go." We were a party of six in the DeRosasí Lincoln. Dick
DeRosa, Dianne and Lucy sat in the front, and in the back were Janet
Huckabee, I and Dustin, whom we were told to introduce as "an
Arkansas state trooper."
first stop was the statehouse. Dianne had some trouble unfastening her
seat belt, and Huckabee ran around the car calling, "I can
help." Inside, IMHA Executive Director Chris Kratzer guided us
through the rotunda, the Senate legislative chamber and a meeting room
with a hearing in session. We met Sen. Larry Bomke, R-Springfield, in
his office. Then an aide to Gov. George Ryan escorted us to the
governorís office. Though Ryan was in Chicago, as we admired the
richly decorated office we were joined by former Gov. James Thompson,
who stepped out from a meeting to chat with us.
we exited the governorís outer office, Huckabee noticed an arm cover
had fallen off the chair by the door and stooped to replace it. We
then hurried to our car and drove to the Lincoln Home, with Lucy on
her cell phone making arrangements. "The first lady of Arkansas
is in town," she said. "Sheíll be at your facility in five
minutes and would like a tour." Meanwhile, the high-energy
Huckabee was on her own cell phone, checking on the status of a $2
million grant application. It turned out she had received only $1
million. "Thatís pretty good," she said, "except that
I know who got the other million."
[to top of second
column in this commentary]
of grade-school children waiting for tours watched as we immediately
entered the Lincoln Home. Our guide was especially skillful at
presenting the house from Mary Todd Lincolnís point of view, and
Janet Huckabee was liberal with her thanks, as she had been at the
governorís office. Our tour continued to the Dean House, where we
examined models of the Lincoln house in its various stages of
it was on to the Old State Capitol. In the car I learned that both
Gov. Mike Huckabee and his wife had grown up in Hope, Ark., and knew
Terry and Mickey Becherer, formerly of Lincoln.
we were met by an excellent guide who led us between school classes.
We moved quickly through the offices and legislative chambers but not
so quickly as to miss learning the origin of the term "red
tape." In Lincolnís day legal documents were folded and placed
in file drawers about 4 inches square on the end. When a drawer was
full, the documents were tied together in bundles using flat red
fabric tape because it did not cut as string did. So a person looking
for a specific document often had to go through a lot of red tape.
thanking our guide we considered a quick pass through Oak Ridge
Cemetery to see Lincolnís tomb, but it was 4 p.m. and the first lady
had to be ready by 5:15 to hostess a reception at the Illinois
executive mansion. Even she, with her ability to pack a great deal
into a few minutes, acknowledged that there wasnít time. We had made
our tour in about two hours, evidence of how much you can accomplish
when all the doors are open.
Huckabee, first lady of Arkansas, has the energy level to take
advantage of the opportunities available to her. At 8 p.m. she planned
to drive to St. Louis, fly to Little Rock, sleep briefly and be ready
to fly to Texarkana, Ark., for a full schedule of appointments the
it Illinois FIRST or
friends of the governor first?
24, 2001] Letís
go back in time for just a moment. Two and a half years ago when
George Ryan took the helm of governor of Illinois, I was at great
odds with his immediate change in stance from a campaign platform of
no new taxes to the largest fee increases in state history. His $12
billion Illinois FIRST program was not what we had believed would
occur when we went to the polls to elect Ryan. The governor stated
he had changed his mind. The fact that such a huge collection and
disbursement system was already in place told me that Ryan had not
changed his mind. He had from the beginning planned this whole new
program long before he was elected governor.
also was at odds with the fact that although Illinois FIRST claimed to
be a massive infrastructure, education, roads-and-highway
repair-and-rebuild program, the catchall phrase "quality of
life" was included in the Illinois FIRST guidelines. Such terms
as "quality of life" allow politicians to spend money on
anything without fear of breaking a rule. After all, buying oneself a
baloney sandwich could come under the heading of improving quality of
life. Giving money to political cronies for any purpose under the sun,
however, also fits under this wide-open guideline. From what I have
been reading, I fear that the latter is what is happening to a serious
amount of the Illinois FIRST funds.
am having a problem understanding why some requests are being granted,
such as a $150,000 grant to Waukegan to refurbish their fish-cleaning
station, while other requests, for economic development, sewer
upgrades and the purchase of essential city and county equipment, are
the event a person cares to understand the vastness of Illinois FIRST
and what $12 billion dollars can do, just go the website http://
www.state.il.us/state/ilfirst/ilfirstmap/default.htm. You will
find a site carrying more than a thousand pages explaining who
received money from the program, how much and under what program
heading the grant was considered acceptable. Unlike the state
treasurerís site or the state comptrollerís site, there is no
balancing of the books available to the reader. Nowhere in the
Illinois FIRST information is the dollar amount of what has already
been doled out made available to the reader. I again have to ask why.
With over a thousand pages of grants, it would seem to be only a
matter of course to define the current spending on the program.
Unless, of course, the amount is not desired to be part of the publicís
right to know.
am not against any community receiving financial aid to better their
surroundings. What I am saying is that in a state that has thousands
of miles of poor roads ó in a state that has school buildings
crumbling ó in a state that has hundreds of communities, including
Lincoln, in need of water and sewer upgrades ó why is it that items
such as parking lots in the districts of influential legislators
receive funds before the obviously necessary projects do?
County, home of the powerful state Senate President "Pate"
Philip has over 30 pages of Illinois FIRST financial gifts.
"Pate," of course, is a piker compared to what House Speaker
Michael Madigan of Cook County was able to get for his constituents
and special interests. Cook County takes up 197 pages of the financial
bonanza provided by Gov. Ryan and backed, of course, by both of these
it is obvious that counties with larger populations should receive
more funds than smaller counties. But some of the grants are for items
that should be so far down the stateís wish list that I have to
wonder how these items could have taken precedence over others.
of the sums and the purposes for these monies is disheartening to an
individual living in Logan County or any other community that seems to
be on the outside of the Illinois FIRST barrel. Again, without trying
to bore you with details, letís look at a few of these allocations.
Little League Baseball Association ó $100,000 for new ball diamonds
Park District ó $100,000 for landscaping
Ellyn Childrenís Chorus ó $50,000 to promote involvement
Symphony Orchestra ó $50,000 to build and promote website
of Hinsdale ó $350,000 to renovate old church
Museum of Chicago ó $250,000 to promote museum
County ó $5,000,000 to reconstruct the Oak Meadows Golf Course
[to top of second
column in this commentary]
I said, there are 30 pages of largesse going to friends and neighbors
of Philip, so I will leave the information as it is. Want to be more
disheartened? Just go to the site yourself.
letís look at what Cook County has been able to garner with the
support of Michael Madigan and, no doubt, the blessing of our
Lawn ó $501,000 to purchase land for business development
ó $300,000 to purchase land for an industrial park
ó $650,000 to pave city parking lot
neighborhood communities ó $1,000,000 for economic development
ó $1,000,000 for a new village hall
County ó $5,000,000 to employ full-time staff to aid distressed
Institute of Chicago ó $1,500,000 to renovate their front stairs
enough of that. The numbers are too staggering, and 197 pages of the
same is just too much for someone living in Logan County to deal with.
the Illinois FIRST website, the words "critical infrastructure
needs" are part of the explanation of the purpose of funding
allocations. The question has to be asked how something like
consulting fees or funds to build monuments have been deemed more
critical than road, sewer, fire and police equipment upgrades.
I wish to state that I am not finding fault with any of these
communities or agencies for getting back the fees their own residents
have been forced to give under the Illinois FIRST system. What I am
asking is what the regimen is that is used to decide who gets how much
and for what. It obviously is not based on dire community needs. Not
when a fish-cleaning station gets funding.
seems the question has to be asked if Illinois FIRST money is being
used fairly to repair the stateís infrastructure or is being used as
a financial tool to repay legislative power brokers and their
constituents for being a "friend" to what appears to be a
monstrous pork barrel. Is the governor being so clever as to grant
small sums to every community to cover up much larger sums for such
extemporaneous causes as building storage sheds for others?
Gov. Ryan has stated that a new Illinois FIRST program needs to be
implemented, funded by new fees and taxes, because Illinois FIRST
cannot handle all the needful projects in this state. These comments
came two days before he approved $75,000 in Illinois FIRST money to
fund a bass-fishing tournament.
(not for publication) to Mike Fak:
as a letter to the editor:
to the em space, a staff writer's commentary section with observations about life experiences in Logan County and
beyond. Enjoy your visit.
Between tomorrow and yesterday
to those who saw to it that Memorial Day comes with a three-day weekend
and thanks to those who like to remember that the observance used to be a
specific date (May 30) instead of a specific day of the week (Monday), one
of my calendars labels both. That leaves a nondescript day in between.
It's either one day after Memorial Day or one day before, depending on
your allegiance to current or past traditions.
To mix up
the situation a little more, the day with the older designation comes
after the newer, though older things usually precede the new. On the other
hand, I suppose it's natural for the newer to be ahead of the times and
for what's older to be a few steps behind.
in-between day is what interests me. I think it's a fitting symbol for the
regular transitions that happen about now. The exact times vary from
person to person and from year to year, but the period is typically in May
or early June. While the impact is strongest for people with school
connections, almost everyone can identify with the changes when academic
sessions end and graduations fill the calendar.
comes when the person who was a fifth-grader isn't attending fifth grade
anymore but not yet going to sixth grade either. A new graduate is finally
past student days but is still in the process of applying for jobs.
Another graduate has a job lined up but won't be moving to the new place
for a few weeks. Regular school activities wind down but summer activities
aren't yet in full swing. We've had a taste of hot weather, but there are
times when it feels good to wear a jacket. Some children have finished
with classes until fall, but, as a friend in a neighboring state wrote me,
her area had so many snow days that school there will extend through June
mixture of fulfillment and restlessness in the air. It's an unsettled
period, with people in different stages of the school-to-summer
transition, whether it's from school to vacation, school to work, or
simply a seasonal shift.
graduation ceremonies and parties, along with the holiday weekend, give us
ways to mark the in-between phase. When we're at the edge of what has gone
before and the verge of what's coming, it's comforting to pause before we
cross the bridge. It's a chance to just enjoy the present.
A few weeks
ago, when I thought about sending a note in response to a reunion
invitation, I looked up the graduation section in one of my scrapbooks. I
saw the graduation folder, an invitation, pictures of the 39 class members
and more cards than I remembered from people in that small community.
One page has
a copy of what a 17-year-old me wrote about the occasion. It explains that
the class chose the motto "In this ending is our beginning";
that the term "graduation" emphasizes the ending and
"commencement" the beginning.
continues to play itself out every year at this time. A part of the past
ends; a part of the future begins.
At the very
end of the scrapbook, after the page with the tassel taped on it, I copied
the Ecclesiastes section that begins, "To every thing there is a
season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven."
The endings and the beginnings
have their seasons, and they often overlap. At any given time, all we
really have is the here and now ó the link from the past to the future
ó the temporary in-between.
staff offers more than 25 years of experience in the
the corner of Woodlawn and Business 55
for 2 FREE votives
a friend about
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
vs. at large
April 3 ballot proposition:
"Shall Logan County be divided into districts equal in
population for the purpose of electing County Board members to serve
on the Logan County Board commencing in the year 2002?"
January of this year, citizens throughout Logan County circulated
petitions to place this issue on the ballot. That effort was
successful with more than 10% of registered voters signing within a
two-week period (2569 total/2000 needed). The referendum has been
certified by the Logan County Clerk and will be on the April 3rd
ballot throughout the county. The citizens were successful and will
be able to voice their opinion on this matter for the first time in
law states that every ten years each county in Illinois with a
township form of government shall determine whether board members
shall be elected "at large" from the county or by county
"YES" vote on this issue will indicate that residents of
Logan County want to have their County Board members representing
all areas of the county. Each district must be divided equally in
population and will guarantee that all areas are represented! The
present "at large" system allows for all 13 County Board
members to be elected from one area, while the remainder of the
county could end up with no one. In fact, the east side of our
county (from Mt. Pulaski to Atlanta) does not have representation at
the present time! All of the counties surrounding Logan are in
districts. Menard recently changed from "at large" to
"districts" with an overwhelming vote. The greater
majority of counties in Illinois are in districts and have been for
several years. We are not the only county with this issue on the
ballot. Bureau County recently passed a referendum to go to single
member districts. Champaign County has a similar question, as does
that this question asks how the make-up of the County Board should
be for the next ten years. Under a district system the voter is more
likely to know the person they are voting for. This is your
opportunity to voice your opinion and let your county governing body
know how you feel. If the referendum produces a result in FAVOR
of district representation, then measures will be introduced on the
floor of the Logan County Board to accomplish that goal.
White is a member of the Logan County Board.)
rather interesting and enlightening to note the places of residence
of people appointed to the Logan County Board to fill terms of
members who have died, moved away, or resigned.
Robert "Bud" Behrends was appointed to the Logan County
Board March 18, 1975, to finish out the term of Robert E. Downing,
and Lloyd Hellman was appointed November 15, 1994, to finish out
Robert "Bud" Behrends term on the board. Mr. Behrends grew
up in the Hartsburg area, and spent most of his life in Lincoln, and
Mr. Hellman, who replaced "Bud" has spent most of his life
in the rural Emden area. Mr. Downing was a rural Beason farmer.
emphasis on appointments was the type of person needed to
effectively function on the board; not where they resided. A Beason
resident (Mr. Downing) was replaced by a Hartsburg/Lincoln resident
(Mr. Behrends), who was replaced by Mr. Hellman, an Emden resident.
above appointments donít look like "district"
representation. It looks like desire on the part of the replacements
and their ability to effectively function on the Logan County Board.
H. Werth resigned from the board December 31, 1988. L. Buckles was
appointed to replace Mr. Werth, February 20, 1989. Both were from
rural areas -- Mr. Werth, rural area north of Mt. Pulaski, and Mr.
Buckles, rural area south of Mt. Pulaski.
Earl Madigan, who lived southeast of Lincoln, was replaced by Dwight
Zimmerman, who farmed for years just east of San Jose and later
lived in Lincoln. That certainly wasnít a "district"
appointment. That was an appointment based on the desire of the
person to serve and his ability to serve.
Edward L. Spellman, resigned from the board March 18, 1976, and Mr.
Don Smith was appointed to take his place. both came from Lincoln,
Both were successful business people and served well on the board.
Robert Welch died in office November 18, 1998. He was a resident of
rural Beason. Mr. Roger Bock of rural Williamsville was appointed to
replace him. Again, not a "district" appointment, but one
based on desire and ability.
my knowledge, no proponent of the district plan for electing members
of the Logan County Board has ever submitted a plan, so my question
is: If the at large system of electing county board members is not
flawed, why fix it?
the system is working well and the members are getting the work of
county government done, why change?
a district election plan, which apparently is only floating around
in the minds of a few people and has not been committed to paper,
better serve all the people of all the county?? I think not!!!
Hurley is a former member of the Logan County Board.)
fuel taxes paid in August 2000
figures are as follows:
County = $44,078.23
receive an allocation on the basis of motor vehicle registration fees, with the
exception of Cook County, which has a percentage allocation set by law.)
and road districts = $90,973.85
and road districts are allocated an amount computed on the basis of mileage in
of Lincoln = $38,003.84
receive an allocation based on population.)
Economic Development report]
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)
Lincoln High School history
School buildings in
school" in 1859
High school teacher,
Mr. January, in 1859
Central School opened
High school building
High school dedicated,
Cost of new high
community high school District #404
Dedication of new
Lincoln Community High School, 1000 Primm Road, in auditorium, on
in Logan County
in Lincoln City Police Department
in Logan County Police Department
in the Lincoln City Fire Department
Fire Departments in County
of Logan County Board
of Lincoln City Council
in Lincoln Public Library
in Lincoln College Library
in Lincoln Christian College Library
We Stack Up
This feature of the
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.
makeup of selected Illinois counties
Up With That?
[Road construction is taking place up and down
Back to top
Review | Teaching
& Learning | Home
and Family | Obituaries
Community | Perspectives | Law
& Courts | Leisure Time | Spiritual
Life | Health
& Fitness | Letters
to the Editor