em space, Where They Stand,
How We Stack Up,
Up With That?
on first? County board
decision Tuesday may not tell us
17, 2001] The
straw vote at last Thursdayís Logan County Board meeting shows us
that the change from at-large representation to districts is not as
easy as some would have us believe.
doesnít mean it shouldnít happen. How the county is broken into
districts, however, is probably more important than the decision to go
that route actually is.
a board that seems to have a strong majority for rescinding the
previous motion to retain the current system, but far less enthusiasm
for voting yes for districting, one has to ask if the board members
themselves donít already understand that voting for an abstract,
which is what districts are at the moment, could cause a further rift
between the urban and rural community. Several board members have
explained that without a defined plan as to how the county should be
segmented, it is difficult to just say: "Yes, letís go to
need to rescind the at-large continuance needs to be done
expeditiously. Until a plan for new districts is formed, studied and
meets approval by county residents as being fair and equitable, the
motion to become districts should wait in the wings.
movement to give voice to the nonbinding referendum recently mandating
districts is not something that can be ignored. Not if a person
believes in the voice of the people.
assume such a major change will be quick or simple, however, is
ignoring the point of the referendum in the first place. Residents
feel they have been left out of the county decision-making process. A
speedy decision to go to districts without vigilance to the boundaries
of such districts could cause an even larger problem with rural
[to top of second
column in this commentary]
the districts should be broken down is important. Should the city of
Lincoln actually be split into districts needs to be asked. Is
chautauqua to be part of the city or should it be in a western
district, which goes out to New Holland? Does Mount Pulaski deserve
its own representative, or will it be part of an area that encompasses
other small towns? One has to ask if proper districts can remain
within township boundaries or will some rural residents find
themselves going to two different polling places on Election Day.
Finally, the number of districts must be determined. Should the number
of board members, currently at 13, be lowered or increased by a few to
help balance representation?
these questions will take some time and thought.
Tuesdayís meeting the board should rescind its previous commitment
to remain at large. The district vote should be placed on hold until a
workable plan has passed through committee. Thatís the way it should
be. Unless you all had so much fun with the last referendum that you
want to see another one brought on by another group of disgruntled
residents claiming they still are not represented.
have time. Nothing has to be in place until this fall. Why donít we
give the new district system a chance to show itself? Then we can say
itís what the majority of us want.
(not for publication) to Mike Fak:
as a letter to the editor:
quick look at Lincoln
and Logan County issues
12, 2001] Forgive
me the pun, but it looks like the question of who should pay for the
future sewerage system upgrades is nothing more than money down the
drain. Potential expenditures of upward of $10 million tell all of
us that what we send down the drain or flush is nothing to take
the cityís general fund is flush at the moment, the costs of
refurbishing our system will mean borrowing funds from an agency such
as the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency to cover this huge
expense. With the need to maintain standards for waste removal as well
as having future capacity to lure new business, it looks like the
upgrade is something we need to do before the costs rise still higher.
found it amazing that a flow study showed our two prisons responsible
for 40 percent of the solid waste sent through our plant, but that
statistic should help in negotiations between the city and the
Department of Corrections regarding how much of the bill prisons
should foot. If the prisons use 40 percent of the system, they should
pay 40 percent of the monthly cost of operating the plant
seems there is an attempt to bring the old well on Fifth Street across
from the Postville Courthouse back into use. The well, now in front of
the VFW Hall, was once part of the landscape known to courthouse
visitors as Deskinís Tavern. In the mid-1800s, many a hot summer
afternoon found participants in the legal system taking a break to go
across the street and draw a cool drink of water from the well.
you figured it out. That means the city could have a tourist
attraction such as "Have a drink of water from the same well Old
Abe used." I can just see us bottling the water as well and
selling it to tourists to take home. I will leave a name for such a
product up to others, but Abe-aid comes to mind in a hurry.
[to top of second
column in this commentary]
not sure if any issue, save perhaps the Central School referendum,
caused more debate than the talk three years ago of consolidating our
grammar schools. In Chicago, where I grew up, neighborhood schools
were as much a part of the landscape as corner penny-candy stores. The
candy stores are now only memories, and in many parts of the country,
including Illinois, so too are the small schools. The principal reason
for consolidation was stated to be a reduction in administrative
costs. The chief reason for maintaining smaller schools was to keep
local control over a childís educational process. Both points have
validity; both points may soon be moot if the state Legislature
creates new laws requiring further cutbacks to small schools. Is the
concept good or bad? Let me know
what you think.
for the county board to rescind their vote on maintaining the at-large
system of deciding representatives. That is only the first move in a
process that will take some time and thought. Districting or
redistricting voter areas are never an easy process, but it appears to
be certain to occur in Logan County.
we will have to wait and see if county residents who have been stating
they have been left out of the county process do anything with their
newfound representation. Changing to districts will only benefit the
community if residents run for office.
forewarned, if the next election shows several seats having only one
candidate, I will scream. In the event we have good, solid choices
throughout the county, I will sing the praises of the referendum.
of what system we use, without active participation they are all
here to comment on this article.
to the em space, a staff writer's commentary section with observations about life experiences in Logan County and
beyond. Enjoy your visit.
A Mother's Day gift
a letter a few weeks before Mother's Day, my mom said that if I had time
for reading, I should get a certain book. She said I would enjoy it. She
explained that the story was about a young pioneer couple who settled in
an area familiar to me.
following Saturday I stopped at the local library to see if the book was
on hand. It was. I picked out a park bench and sat there to read in the
afternoon warmth. As the sun moved, I moved to the shadier end of the
bench and then to a different one. After about an hour and a half, with a
fourth of the pages turned, I decided that was enough for one day.
By then it
was 1869, and the young pioneer wife had two children to raise in a sod
house, while her husband tried to raise a crop on the prairie.
had begun when the mother was a girl of 8, traveling from Illinois with
her family to a new home in eastern Iowa. It was there that she met the
lad she would eventually marry. Crowded and feeling confined on his
father's farm after the Civil War, he decided they would move west, where
cheap land was available.
As my mother
said, the place names were familiar, from Chicago to Dubuque to Nebraska
City, and I had personal connections with each.
I thought I
would read more the next weekend, but somehow I didn't use the time that
way. It was more than 10 days before I got back to 1870 and the years that
family grew to five children in the face of drought, hordes of
grasshoppers, prairie fire, dust storm and blizzard, with financial
hardship as a constant. Along the way they did move into a frame house,
but with her husbandís sudden death and the continuing expenses for
their children's education, Abbie Deal repeatedly set aside her own wants,
by choice or by necessity, in order to provide for the family. The book
described her as a "born mother."
As the years
went by, the singing lessons she'd hoped for, the painting lessons, the
trip to see her relatives back in Iowa didn't happen. Instead, she saw her
children off to a boarding academy and then to university studies. One
daughter developed her painting talents, another became a professional
singer and the youngest a teacher, while the sons went into banking and
granddaughter turned out to be the one who could make experiences come to
life in writing. It was that part and the references to a clock that
sounded familiar to me. I thought it possible that as a fifth-grader I had
read the same story from a Lincoln library other than the one with its
name stamped inside the covers.
identify with many regional details in the story ó the poplars and
cottonwoods, the corn, alfalfa and winter wheat, the description of the
"majestic tower of the most beautiful capitol of them all," and
even the way a neighbor in the story spoke her English mixed with German.
over, lines in the narrative described the life and land just as I thought
them to be.
how my mother could have sensed that it would touch me as it did. My
native place was not hers. But mothers come to know how their children
will respond, and when she was my age, my home was her second home, the
destination of her own pioneering journey from Illinois toward the west
ó a trip not by covered wagon but in a car pulling a rental trailer.
The book my
mom suggested gave me another glimpse at my heritage, at connections I can
claim beyond basic family ties.
I read it
when I thought I had too many obligations. Finally I canceled them all for
one evening to finish the story. In just a few hours, I felt something of
the emotional impact of one motherís experiences in more than 50 years
of family life. She had traveled the same roads by horse-drawn wagon and
by automobile. She was born before the Civil War and lived to see
grandsons return from the first World War. Births, deaths, weddings,
Christmases, partings, accidents, laughter, youth and age were all there.
When I was done reading, no sense of personal burden remained.
Around Motherís Day though it
was, my mother and those in the story did the giving, as mothers do for a
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
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