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Still Waters

Mir today, gone tomorrow

By Mike Fak

[MARCH 20, 2001]  Well, itís time for the world to say goodbye to the Mir space station. This old friend who has been harmlessly flying over our homes for the past 15 years is scheduled for the scrap heap late Wednesday evening. The 130-ton space station will be given an electronic nudge by Russian scientists, causing the old-timer to leave orbit and fall harmlessly to Earth. That's the Russian press release. It's their story and they can tell it any way they want.

The Russians are convinced the remnants of the station, scheduled to break up into hundreds of pieces from the size of a snow pea to that of an old Chevy, will fall harmlessly into the Pacific Ocean. Harmlessly, that is, if you are not a whale enjoying a leisurely swim in the area.

The inhabitants of Fiji Island are not so sure they are not part of a worldly bullís-eye with the Mir being the arrow. Remember, the Americans told the Fiji people some 50 years ago that there was nothing to worry about with those atom bombs being set off in their harbor. Some of them still glow in the dark. Under the circumstances it is explainable why Fijians are a tad skeptical that their huts won't have holes in their roofs come Thursday morning.

 

The Japanese, seemingly shell-shocked by a stock market that has fallen further than the Mir, are issuing statements over the airwaves that residents of the island nation should stay inside during the re-entry. No one in the Japanese press has explained how safe that will be if the whole station, rather than breaking up, lands in its entirety on someoneís chimney.

 

[to top of second column in this commentary]

The Russians, of course, don't have the best track record when it comes to endeavors in space. Throughout the early cold war the Russians sent cosmonauts up into space and then held meetings to devise a system on how to get them back. Perhaps it is this past performance that has caused the Australians to start laying slabs of sheet metal on their homes, their cars and over their children's heads.

It probably hasn't helped any of the fidgety Pacific Ocean dwellers that the Russians have taken out a 200 million insurance policy "just in case." Right now a good portion of the Earth is worried that they might be part of the "in case."

At least those of us living in central Illinois don't have to worry about the station landing on us. The Mir is scheduled to miss us by thousands of miles. Just in case, I'm getting an insurance rider on my homeowners policy.

[Mike Fak]

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the em space

Welcome to the em space, a staff writer's commentary section with observations about life experiences in Logan County and beyond. 

- Mary Krallmann


A kitchen checklist

Letters in my mailbox last week included two stories with kitchen connections.

One person wrote that she noticed a cup with egg whites still standing on the kitchen table right after she'd put a cake into the oven. So she took the pan out again, scraped out the dough, put it in another mixing bowl, added the egg, mixed it again, put it into another pan and put it back in the oven. She said the cake looked OK when baked, but she did cut out a sample to taste to make sure it was all right. It was a cake she planned to serve as refreshments for a group coming to her home.

The meeting went well, and she shared the remaining pieces of cake with neighbors. Later there was a phone call from one of the women who helped eat the leftovers. She commented on "how good the cake was and that it had an especially nice texture." After they laughed about the problem with getting the batter all together, the neighbor suggested it was "a new improved method for making cake."

Another letter, from someone more likely to make bread than cake, concluded with a toothpick report.

"Was running low on toothpicks," he said, "but couldn't find them in the store. Figured they would be near the baking cups, or possibly the dental floss. No luck. Finally stumbled across them in the paper plate section!"

When I tried to think where I would look for toothpicks in the grocery stores where I shop, I wasn't sure. Then I looked in the kitchen cabinet and found a good reason why I didn't know. According to the tags on the containers, my most recent toothpick purchase, two boxes for $1, came from Wal-Mart instead.

With hundreds of the little "square-center round" sticks remaining, I won't lose sleep over where to find more when I want some.

I don't remember how long ago I bought them. The text on the boxes mentions 1887, but it says that's when someone named Charles Forster started the first wooden toothpick factory in this country.

For more recent history from the kitchen cabinet, there are two containers of a salt blend. They were definitely not a "two-for" deal. In fact, I bought them years apart. The older one ó the shaker with a few hardened white chunks rattling around at the bottom ó shows a 1990 copyright on the label.

At home I learned to put butter and salt on roasting ears and popcorn, but since then I haven't added much salt to anything. A quick look at the table of nutrition facts on almost any processed food confirms that plenty of sodium is in there already. On the rare occasions when I bake and the recipe mentions salt, I've substituted from the aging container of "iodized lite salt blend" and usually cut down the amount besides. A 2-ounce supply lasts a long time that way.

It must have been the making of the most recent pumpkin pie that prompted me to start on a new container.

In spite of the age difference, the paper labels on the two looked almost the same, with white lettering surrounded by brightly colored markings on a background of black. The list of ingredients showed no change. The UPC numbers matched, except that the newer bottle had one additional numeral at the end. Instead of today's standard table of nutrition information, the older product presented a chart with vertical bars comparing the amount of sodium in various salts.

The difference that caught my attention was the change in identification. The older version was called "Lite-Lite-Lite-Salt." The label on the newer container says merely "Lite Salt."

Seeking an explanation, I checked the numerical details on each label but found no significant difference. Both indicate "85% less sodium than table salt." In both cases the serving size stated is one-fourth teaspoon.

The newer container says a single serving has 85 mg of sodium, while the older, triple-lite product has slightly more, at 90 mg. Following the same pattern, the newer label reports that regular salt has 590 mg of sodium per serving, while the older figure is 595 mg.

Evidently the difference between triple-lite and lite is measured more in years than milligrams. The new, improved version adds 5 mg and cuts back on two words.

In summary, if you have baking plans, remember the whites, don't take the "lites" too seriously, and be sure to allow enough time to stumble across the toothpicks.

[Mary Krallmann]

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217-735-2030

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Where They Stand

 

By the Numbers

Motor fuel taxes paid in August 2000

Local figures are as follows:

Logan County = $44,078.23

(Counties 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.)

Townships and road districts = $90,973.85

(Townships and road districts are allocated an amount computed on the basis of mileage in their jurisdiction.)

City of Lincoln = $38,003.84

(Cities receive an allocation based on population.)

[Source: Economic Development report]


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
1977 San Jose High School consolidated with Illini Central (Mason City)
1979 Latham High School became Warrensburg-Latham
1988 New Holland-Middletown High School consolidated with Lincoln Community High School
1994 Beason High School consolidated with Lincoln Community High School

Alexis Asher


Lincoln High School history

1859

Lincoln School District

5

School buildings in 1859

1

"Grammar school" in 1859

1

High school teacher, Mr. January, in 1859

1870-71

Central School opened

1898

High school building started

1900

High school dedicated, Jan. 5

$20,000

Cost of new high school

1920

Election authorized community high school District #404

1958

Dedication of new Lincoln Community High School, 1000 Primm Road, in auditorium, on Nov. 9

Alexis Asher


Lincoln/Logan County numbers
(2000)
5 Wards in Lincoln
17 Townships in Logan County
29 Officers in Lincoln City Police Department
20 Officers in Logan County Police Department
22 Firemen in the Lincoln City Fire Department
16 Rural Fire Departments in County
13 Members of Logan County Board
10 Members of Lincoln City Council
3 Colleges in Lincoln
44,850 Volumes in Lincoln Public Library
40,000 Volumes in Lincoln College Library
126,000 Volumes in Lincoln Christian College Library

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?

 

When you look around, you will probably find something interesting to look at here in Logan County. For instance, sitting just north of Lincoln near I-55, this trailer home looks a little odd up on stilts.  But if you look closely, it makes perfect sense, as it stands above the expanding waters of the nearby barrow-pit pond.  

 Innovation is alive and well here in Logan County.

 

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