Still WatersBirdís-Eye View,  the em spaceWhere They Stand,
  By the NumbersHow We Stack UpWhatís Up With That?

Editorís note:

Mike Fak responds in this commentary to the Saturday, Nov. 3, commentary by Jan Schumacher in the Lincoln Courier.  The subject is the proposed industrial park.

This industrial park proposal is backed by the Logan County EDC, Main Street, Chamber of Commerce and just about every other organization that seems to have any concern for growth and jobs in the county. 

The Courier commentary came out opposed to the industrial park.

In an uncharacteristic fashion, Lincoln Daily News is running this rebuttal to bring balance to this subtle debate.

Most economic indicators show that we are currently in a national recession.  The definition of recession is that our economy shrinks back and no longer performs at previous or expected levels.  People lose their jobs, there is less money available for spending, and people generally feel downcast about economic issues.

Isnít this the best time to lead out and do something on a local level to make economics improve?  Recession will end when the national spirit improves and people once again believe that progress is possible.


Is it the right time for an industrial park?

A rebuttal by Mike Fak

[NOV. 7, 2001]  I appreciate this opportunity to respond to Jan Schumacherís article in Saturdayís Lincoln Courier.

Schumacher, as is her style, began her column with a quote from Joseph Epstein and his assertions on the ambiguity of courage. Although she doesnít tie the quote into her article, I assume she is trying to tell us that moving forward with industrial park plans is not necessarily a courageous act. I could rebut Epsteinís thoughts with a few quotes from Presidents Roosevelt and Truman about the virtues of being progressive in adversity, but have always found column inches available for an article too precious to waste on quotes from dead people who never lived in Lincoln.

Schumacher states that the country is in a recession and uses statistics gleaned from Wall Street Journal articles as her source. The statistics are of course valid. They are the same stats presented by the Chicago Tribune, Washington Post and every other major city paper in the land. Since Schumacher stayed with information credited to articles in the Journal, I will do the same.


She has stated that most economic indicators have left little doubt that American retail and industrial growth is in the dumper right now and that we should place plans to build an industrial park on hold until the Wall Street Journal tells us things are better and it would be appropriate to proceed.

I recall the Journal telling us all through the 1990s that things were great, with record economic growth all over America. All over America, it would appear, except in Logan County. We as an economic community contracted during that decade, despite what the Wall Street Journal told us. I believe placing faith in ourselves, our community and our desire to grow are all conditions that can again make us an exception to what is going on in the rest of the country.

For years I have written articles and openly stated that this community needed to build an industrial park before the economy went south. Nothing ever happened. The effects of Sept. 11 and other factors have produced a significant downturn in our gross national product, but I believe it is not too late for Logan County to become a growth community. In fact I believe the time has never been better.

A recent survey conducted by MSNBC of the Fortune 500 companies showed 60 percent of them are rethinking their positions on where to locate offices and plant facilities. It seems that corporate America is starting to believe the fifth floor of a Peoria office building might be a more attractive alternative than the 80th floor of the Sears tower. Now I donít expect this community to garner the attention of one of these industrial giants, but there is an old adage that where the big dogs go, the smaller dogs follow.



[to top of second column in this commentary]

MSNBC also conducted a poll of residents of major cities throughout America, and for the first time in decades, individual preferences of where families intend to live in the future showed only Denver and Los Angeles as having population growth in the next decade. I have to wonder if perhaps, with the proper incentives, Logan County could not become a new home to at least some of this urban-to-rural exodus.

In the past month I have enjoyed debating the validity of an industrial park with those opposed. I have argued over the choice of the site of such a park. I have debated the issue of how to fund such an endeavor without increasing the burden to taxpayers. Until Saturday, I had found no need to fend for the proposal because someone states that the Wall Street Journal tells us itís a bad idea to try and grow right now.

Americaís business is contracting. I donít need to read a specific newspaper to realize that. Logan County was immune to the growth of the í90s, I believe that with effort and support we can also be immune to the recession currently stagnating the American economy.

Presently there are two types of corporations planning on building offices and factories somewhere in America this very day. One of those types is the business that is recession-proof at this time. The other is the business that has enough faith in themselves and their product to go forward when others would tell them to wait a while. Personally I would welcome the opportunity to vie for either of these corporation types to come to Logan County rather than somewhere else. An industrial park will give us the most important tool to have a chance to persuade these entities to make Lincoln their new home. A sign in a cornfield saying "zoned commercial" wonít get the job done. Telling them we are planning on having a site once the Wall Street Journal tells us itís a good idea wonít work either.

[Mike Fak]

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Critics of LDC donít detail
alternatives honestly

By Mike Fak

[NOV. 5, 2001]  I continue to find it remarkable that criticism of the Lincoln Developmental Center continues to pour in from organizations with no firsthand knowledge of our mental health center. Outside special interest groups, guising themselves as not-for-profit agencies dedicated to helping mentally infirmed individuals seem only to have enough available time to collect donations and write criticizing letters, without doing any specific nor knowledgeable research.

These groups, who profess to speak for clients or their families who have gone on record as not wanting to be represented by these individuals, continue to praise the alternative of community living centers without telling us that some such centers have a worse track record of abuse and neglect in a month than Lincoln Developmental Center has had in its complete history. Telling both sides of an issue, of course, does not serve the intent of special interest organizations.

The ARC, a group from Maryland dedicated to closing state-run mental institutions throughout the country, have been quick to send letters to the editors but are not nearly so quick to send representatives to our city to see for themselves what our community is all about.

Since the ARC is interested in telling only their side of the issue, I will tell you what they do not want you to hear.

In the 1990s, the Washington, D.C. district closed the Forest Haven Mental Health Institution. It was closed because the 1,100 residents of the facility were treated with abuse and forced to live their lives in disgusting conditions. The residents were moved into privately owned community centers throughout the area, and according to a series of eight articles by the Washington Post, these gifted souls went from terrible living conditions to intolerable ones.


The group homes, manned by untrained and poorly paid employees, gave little importance to helping the homesí residents. Stories of neglect, filth and total lack of concern for the well being of the residents are documented in these stories. ARC doesnít write to us about this problem in their own community. That would be counterproductive to their principal goal, which is to close state-run facilities. Isnít it too bad their principle goal isnít to find out and then support what is best for the mentally infirmed instead?

In one such article it was also noted that the private companies running these sorry slums charged taxpayers $20,000 a year more per resident to house the handicapped individuals than it would have cost to place them in swank suites in one of the areaís most prestigious hotels. Thereís a good example of private over state-run, isnít it. Ooops, but wait. Since this information doesnít subsidize the primary goal of the ARC, we need to leave this out of the discussion. We do, that is, if you belong to ARC.


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In the event you would like to read the entire series of articles, e-mail me at and I will be glad to forward the bookmarks for these tales of private sector greed at the expense of the handicapped. Perhaps after you read these articles you can tell me where I missed seeing the ARC stand up for the abused souls in these community homes. I couldnít seem to find it.

The issue is simple. ARC is thinking LDC is as disgusting as Forrest Haven was in their own area. They have never taken the time to see that LDC is by no stretch of the imagination anywhere near the dump their own institution was. They do not know how beautiful the grounds of our facility are. They have never seen a supervisor walking a half dozen blessed souls around the campus reveling in the beauty of fall, as I have seen. They have never shared a cup of coffee or a soda with one of the institutionís graduates as have I. They have never talked to one of the area businessmen who have hired LDC grads and been told how hard they work, with such joy in their tasks. They never saw the three amigos, all LDC alums, walking around the county fair laughing about their buddy about to become married and thus officially being kicked out of the group. In reality this group knows nothing about us. Their own area of the country seems to have terrible problems with properly caring for mentally handicapped citizens.

I find it bizarre that they have the time to push their interests into an area of the country they know nothing about. To the ARC, I respectfully request you clean up the problems in your own back yard first. Then come visit us. Then know the truth.

[Mike Fak]

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Are we more afraid to get
our feet wet or to dry up?

By Mike Fak

[OCT. 31, 2001]  One of these days Logan County will have to jump into the economic development waters. It needs to be sooner rather than later, because the pond that American business plays in is drying up in a hurry.


A decade ago, while the rest of the country was growing, we stayed the same size. While communities moved forward, we stopped to complain about the roses. While industrial parks, growth incentive packages and new infrastructure popped up everywhere in America, Logan County sat with "zoned commercial" signs in the middle of cornfields, waiting for someone to beg for a chance to come to a community not offering what all the others were.

The economy isnít as good as it was just a year ago. Talk of recession is on the nightly news. Although immune to the growth of the 1990s, we are not, it seems, immune to the problems an economy gone soft can produce. There has been enough negative news about cutbacks and closures in Lincoln to make even a strong stomach churn with concern for the future.

There is a proposal before the city and county to become partners in a joint venture to create an industrial park on the northeast side of Lincoln. Critics say we donít have the $3 million it would take to turn the 63 acres of farmland into an industrial belt. Perhaps we donít have the money because our tax rolls keep decreasing while everyday expenses to run a city and a county do not. We actually do have the funds available, but they are kept by both the city and county in their rainy day funds, and neither body will acknowledge the drizzle of an economy gone stagnant that has been falling on this community for years.

I have heard skeptics say that we canít afford to spend that kind of money on a hope of interest from outside corporations. These people are the same ones who continually complain about high property taxes.

And should find solace in the fact that without some type of industry, taxes will continue to escalate.


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An industrial park is just like any other business except this one would be owned by the county and the city. In other words, by us. As in any new business, costs are incurred to build or remodel, purchase inventory and equipment, pay for insurances and employee programs. Every new business has its own particular costs before opening its doors. Every new business understands it has to spend this money in order to make money. We as the owners of an industrial park have to think the same way.

The funding to build an industrial park is not a cost or an expense. It is an investment. The numbers presented so far bear out that, as investments go, this one has the promise of an excellent return.

An industrial park in Logan County is long overdue. I hope that the city, county and all of us understand that if we donít look at this proposal as an opportunity to show faith in ourselves as an attractive enough community to lure new industry, then we all might as well be resigned to fewer and fewer of us paying more and more taxes. This park proposal is a chance to begin to grow. The alternative is to just do nothing again and sit on the town square waiting for the tumbleweeds to start to roll down the empty streets.

They are out there, just waiting for a few more economic ill winds to blow them into town.

[Mike Fak]

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A place that most of us wish didnít exist

LDC, an integral part of this community, an integral part of our humanity

By Mike Fak

[OCT. 24, 2001]  I wrote the following paragraph as part of an article I submitted to the Lincoln Courier in the summer of 1999. The paragraph was the lead to a story I wrote in support of LDC and its employees after a sad and disparaging report had come out regarding the death of one of the residents at the Lincoln Developmental Center.

The buildings are huddled together, like a sprawling college campus on the end of town. We drive by them almost every day, but we donít see them. We donít see them because they are part of a place that most of us wish didnít exist. We ignore them or choose not to ponder what they represent because the reality of what they are and who lives and works in those buildings is more truth than most of us can live with.

Two years later, nothing about LDC or the people who work there causes me to change a single word in that paragraph.

LDC is under a great deal of fire these days. It is under fire for many reasons that actually have nothing to do with the 700 employees who walk the halls of the institution.

LDC has been told that it has failed to correct administrative problems in a timely fashion. The state, or no one else for that matter, asks why a woman from the Department of Corrections was moved into the chief position of administration at a home for mentally handicapped individuals. She has been replaced, but no one has asked why this administrator was actually promoted to another office after having failed to handle the stated problems at LDC.

By the way, the employees at the center knew she couldnít do the job and voted "no confidence" in her administration. But that wouldnít be of any significance, would it.

We have heard that LDC is under scrutiny for not having enough staff to handle the patient load at the center, but no one has asked the state why their continued cutbacks in funding, which caused this understaffing, was not remedied in a timely fashion.

We hear press conferences by John Eckert, head of the Consortium of Illinois Disability Advocates, saying that the center should be closed down. No one asks the man if his consortium, which has a goal of shutting down developmental institutions in Illinois, has a truly objective view of the situation. No one has asked the man if he has ever visited LDC and seen for himself the claims he makes in front of a microphone. I can find no one who has ever seen him at the center.

Eckert has stated that the issue has nothing to do with jobs. An easy statement for someone to make who earns a living disparaging LDC and all the other developmental centers like it. I have to ask Mr. Eckert if, in the event he got his wish and all of Illinois no longer had these facilities, would he then be out of a job. Or would he perhaps find some other cause to ensure that he continues to earn a paycheck.


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Mr. Eckert claims that his organization represents the patients of LDC, but he has interviewed only those who agree with his position. He has nothing to say or do with the parents group, which Tuesday had their own press conference supporting the center and its employees.

Eckert, of course, has his own agenda that he claims is for the benefit of all the tenants of the center, but his actions and statements prove otherwise. His organization is intent on closing state care facilities, and with LDC on the ropes, he and his coalition are circling over the beleaguered center like verbal vultures waiting for the kill.

The coalition states jobs are not the issue, but jobs in any community always are an issue to be considered in an equation.

The employees of LDC have not discovered the great "cash cow." Working at that center is not some type of "died and gone to heaven" employment. These employees are making a living doing something that we and Mr. Eckert cannot do. That job is helping the mentally impaired have an existence in this world. The idea that all of them can have a coexistence with us is absurd. In the event Mr. Eckert walks away from a press conference long enough to visit LDC, he will find that a great many of the residents can never become our next-door neighbors. Many of these blessed souls need care 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

We could close LDC. All we need is for Mr. Eckert to pledge to bring these individuals into his home and neighborhood and to ensure, like the LDC employees do, that they are taken care of.

I find it disheartening that groups that profess their advocacy for disabled Americans have ulterior motives. No one should have to live in a home for developmentally disabled people. But the reality is, that is where some of us belong. We need to care for these individuals. We need to support the employees. Most of all we need to look in an honest and compassionate way at what God has dealt this world.

The Lincoln Developmental Center is an integral part of this community. More importantly, it is an integral part of our humanity. I donít need to hold a press conference to explain that.

[Mike Fak]

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Birdís-Eye View

The feel of loveÖ upside my head

By Colin Bird

"Love is an exploding cigar which we willingly smoke." ó Groucho Marx

[NOV. 1, 2001]  Walking along the city streets of Lincoln, thereís nothing greater than a man and a woman, hand in hand, alone, with only the company of warm smiles and fast-beating hearts to surround them. Nothing greater. Unless of course the above-mentioned man isnít meÖ in which case: I hate them. And I hope "Captain Cupid" switches over to a pellet gun and starts chasing íem up and down Woodlawn for at least eight hours.

Since the conception of love back in the early 1950s, many men had known no greater joy. Due to the fact that, that is when the remote control was invented. But this resulted in the sparking of a pivotal chain of events all of which lead back to the fact that men still forget to buy flowers on anniversaries. What happened first was in Websterís Dictionary. People instantly removed the phrase "Extreme Male Bliss" out from under the word "Super Bowl" and over to a new word that was created by those friendly, non-bitter ladies at the National Organization of Women. That word was LOVE. Which, I should like to point out, stands for "Losing Oneís Vital Enjoyment." Thus expiring the chain of events, along with those menís ability to ever again watch televised sports with their friends.

This has not deterred me. I have found out through my time in Lincoln that the relationship process here goes as follows: Man meets Woman; Woman ignores Man; Man meets Emergency Backup Woman; Initial Woman smacks Man upside Manís head; Man falls in love with Initial Woman. ÖItís true. I actually know this couple. They are extremely content now, currently living more happily than ever in separate states.

So I decided that road wasnít for me. Instead, I myself have taken on the role of Cupid, and hereís how it works. Weíll be dining out, my date and I, at one of Lincolnís fanciest eateries. Then typically only a short while after I order our Happy Meals, she is suddenly overcome with an unexpected epiphany: that there has not been, nor will there ever be, any greater love in her life than that of her former boyfriend or any future prospect she may have been considering. Often prompting her to hail down a cab, right there in the Playland, leaving me behind in a cloud of love-dust, wondering if I spelled epiphany right.

But now Iím faced with two problems, coinciding. The first being that I have met someone in town that I, in the future, may consider being left by. The second is that Iíve been repeatedly identified by many highly paid therapists as being dense. A rare disorder, they tell me, that only affects me when Iím thinking. Although recently, I was more accurately diagnosed by a good friend of mine from Springfield, Greg Hoffman, who is both my life insurance agent and my banker (thus making him more than qualified to make fun of me publicly), as having two forms of "Colin-itis."


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The first form is "Normal Colin-itis." This variation causes me to (even though I am, by my own admission, in no way capable, or even willing, to maintain a relationship that involves any more depth than that of having random discussions on the vast, ethnical differences between the smooth and the crunchy peanut butter) think that every time I meet someone new, an enduring love is in the air. The second form is "Acute Colin-itis." This is when, 30 seconds after basking in the air of newfound enduring love, I happen upon somebody new, and for whatever reason, cannot for the life of me recall a single thing about the previous, potential-enduring-love person. ÖI have issues.

This is not something Iím proud of. In fact, at times, I can downright loathe it. Partly because as I grow older, I find myself enjoying less and less the prospect of potentially eating my Happy Meals alone.

Over the past few months I have seen an elderly couple walking Lincolnís city streets, holding hands, redefining love. Perhaps youíve seen them as well. Beautiful, arenít they? Yes. Except I think theyíve been hired out by my mother, who has all but threatened me at gunpoint to get married and provide for her the Worldís Record for number of grandchildren to spoil.

I admire that couple. I took a picture of them the other day while they were walking together at sunrise. It reminds me that this prospective "someone special" Iíve stumbled uponÖ well, just might be worth overcoming the fear I own. The fear of following these feelings Iíve slowly been allowing myself to experience. Is she the one? Is Lincoln where Iíll find her? Who knows? But one thing is certain: Captain Cupid is apparently packing.

[Colin Bird]

The laws of natureÖ




[OCT. 25, 2001]  Itís getting cold again in Logan County. And not because itís fall and the air is expected to begin turning brisk and chilly this time of year, but rather, Iíd like to point out, because Mother Nature hates me.

For years I have been an avid runner. My favorite part of the day is early dawn, when I wake up smelling the crisp morning air, stretching out my tired body and then promptly going back to sleep for another four and a half hours, laughing at anyone dumb enough to

actually sacrifice sleep for exercise. So Iím a night runner. Or at least I was, up until the hour of Natureís evil turn. You see, the annual Harvest of Talents is coming up on Saturday, Oct. 27.

ÖFor those of you readers who donít know, this is a local festive event where many talented people gather together to talk about how talented they are. Plus there is Pie. Which is more than enough reason for me to attend. Well, that, and the 5K run.

So Iíve been in serious training mode for all of two days now (minus the one day I missed due to a severe cramp infection from the previous dayís training), in hopes of finishing the race before either the 30-minute mark or before the paramedics begin resuscitating me. Although training is not an easy process because, as any serious athlete will tell you, there is an absolute ton of movement involved. Something I successfully avoided until the third grade, when my parents began recognizing my astute laziness abilities and stopped bringing food to me, thus causing me to walk to the fridge on my own. Weíve been best friends ever since, the refrigerator and I. But now itís time to stay focused. Not just on food and all the glorious bliss it provides, but on getting ready to run. And trying to overcome the wrath of Mother Nature, her ruthless self, in the process. Let me explainÖ

As I said earlier, Mother Nature hates me. And as part of her abhorrence toward me, she has decided that I shall (1) Never Obtain Peak Physical Performance; (2) Never Obtain Average Physical Performance; (3) Never, Under No Circumstance Whatsoever, Survive The Harvest Of Talents, Annual 5K Run. She is seeing to this by not allowing me the opportunity to properly prepare. So far during my long, two-day training regime, I have already been the target of many vicious and pointed attacks.

First off, I began running the other day when it started to hail. Mere coincidence, you say? Well, thatís what I thought, until the hail cloud began following me. It was like one of those little cartoon clouds, chasing me down while I cried, fleeing it, similar to the way a stray cat meandering down a random Lincoln sidewalk might flee a charging bear. Only with more screaming.


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Before that I was nearly tackled by a large crow. Running out on Airport Road, just off Route 10, I saw it creeping toward me from the corner of my eye. Actually, before I saw it, I heard it laughing. Thatís when I turned just in time to dodge the psychotic bird, who, I believe, was packing.

Aside from the attacks, itís just getting downright cold at night. Except on nights when Iím too busy to run. In which case, the weather stays in or around the mid- to low 90s. Often even in December. And when I am able to hit the streets after dark, Iím forced to dress like a hypothermic Eskimo, wearing 14 layers of clothing, which is almost thick enough to protect me from the killer birds and death-crazed hail clouds.

So Iíve seen no choice but to hire myself a stunt double. The process is simple: He runs out a few feet in front of me, and after he goes down, I take off sprinting home. But even at top speeds (and using a special tactic I learned in a dream once where I was being chased by a Giant Maniac Smurf ó which is flailing my arms around my head frantically) when Iím out in the middle of town, in the wide open, itís then that Iím most vulnerable to these forces which have chosen to stop me.

So I contacted the proprietor of Kickapoo Creek Park, Scott Walker, a good friend of mine, and asked if I might perhaps use the parkís facilities to practice running after they close down at night. Scott, who is an active member in his church and an integrity-filled family man who recently returned from a trip in which he went to help out local missionaries, told me that if I wanted to run there after closing time, that he ó and this is a direct quote, I swear ó "Might not shoot me."

So now that I know my friends have been hired out by Mother Nature and that all other odds seemed to be stacked against me, I might just rethink entering this race. But then Iím reminded of all my hard work thus far and my two daysí worth of dedication. And Iím reminded of all that pie theyíll have there available for purchase, and thatís when I ask myself, "Why am I so worried?" The race begins at 8 a.m. I wonít even be up until noon.

[Colin Bird]


This is the em space, a staff writerís section with observations about life experiences in Logan County and elsewhere. Enjoy your visit.

ó Mary Krallmann

When all is said and done

With Thanksgiving in the offing, itís been smorgasbord time in the sports world. Seasons overlapped in professional baseball, football and basketball. College and high school volleyball seasons have been ending as basketball gets under way. Swimming and wrestling are also on the schedule, among other choices.

With all this athletic activity comes competition, and thatís like a balancing act on a tightrope. Winning feels good, but most teams donít win all the time, and then thereís the losing to deal with. Itís an issue for both participants and spectators.

The just-completed World Series gave us a unique taste of both sides. When there are seven games and it repeatedly happens that final runs arenít on the board until the very end, everyone gets in on the thrills and the disappointments.

Usually my sports interest isnít strong enough that the outcome of a game or even a season makes a major difference to me. I generally look at scores without much emotion. I might react more to the numbers in a temperature forecast. Sometimes Iím apathetic simply for lack of understanding the tactics of a particular sport.

On the other hand, if I do decide that Iíd like for one team or another to win, itís very trying, because obviously losses occur. Sometimes it feels too tense for me if I get involved. I donít want to be on the edge of concern over and over about whether someone will catch a ball or hit a ball, whether it will land fair or foul.

So I donít spend a lot of time watching sports competition.

It got to the point that I hadnít watched a complete game of anything for a while.

Then the Cub fan in the family came to visit, so we had to see how the teams that pulled ahead of the Cubs fared in the playoffs. I discovered it wasnít socially adequate in that situation to sit idly by as the innings passed. Responses were expected, and I needed to pay enough attention to make suitable comments.

With that appetizer course behind me, I started in on the main menu of World Series games. Iíll admit to skipping some completely. That saved time and spared me some stress.

As the week continued, a day that was special for unrelated reasons felt uncharacteristically subdued because of game losses. Conversely, a date with no particular significance otherwise turned out to be a favorite. My feelings were mixed up. For a while, I didnít want to look at Game 7 at all.

Along the way I copied a few coping mechanisms Iíve observed on a family basis. Iím assuming that it takes something special to follow the Cubs and that the techniques themselves are worth following. For example, itís acceptable to check in on the game now and then. If the team is doing all right, you can go on to something else for a while and check back later. If theyíre beyond help that day, thatís another valid reason to let them finish on their own. Doing two things at once is also highly recommended. Engage in a hobby while the game plays itself out.

Keeping those methods in mind, I managed to get a few dishes washed and work on letters while watching the World Series, especially by writing mainly about the games in progress.

At one point when I was worried about getting an important out, I noticed I was eating as fast as I could while the pitcher deliberated. I had to remind myself that at that rate the food would run out before the outs did.

All the while, I thought the final result was what I wanted to know, one way or the other. I could handle that. I didnít want the uncertainty leading up to it. I didnít want to go through the ups and downs.

To my surprise, the hoped-for conclusion was not the icing on the cake. My reaction was not about who won or lost. It didnít really matter to me anymore. I stopped siding with one team or the other. I identified more with individuals. I would have been reasonably happy with either winner and sad with those that came up short.

When everything was said and done, the process of intense competition ó the part I didnít want any part of ó proved to be the best part of all.

[Mary Krallmann]


Where They Stand

Where They Stand is a commentary section addressing specific issues in the community. Informed individuals present their position with facts, opinions or insights on the issue. The material is posted unedited, in its entirety, as received. If you have further comment on the issue, please send an e-mail message, complete with your name, address and telephone number to

Local teacher announces her candidacy for regional superintendent of schools

By Jean Anderson, candidate

[OCT. 31, 2001]  My name is Jean Anderson and I am announcing my intent to be a Republican candidate for the office of Regional Superintendent of Schools for Logan, Mason, and Menard counties.

I am a graduate of Lincoln College and Sangamon State University (now the University of Illinois, Springfield). I have a Masterís Degree in Educational Administration and hold the Type 75 certificate, both requirements for the position of Regional Superintendent. I am currently employed by Lincoln Elementary District #27 Schools as the eighth grade Language Arts teacher at The Lincoln Junior High School, a position I have held for the past seventeen years. I also serve that school as its Discipline and Attendance Officer.

A member of the First United Methodist Church of Lincoln, I was its organist for over 22 years and currently serve on the Board of Trustees. I am chair of the Communications and Bargaining committees and treasurer of the Lincoln Elementary Education Organization, and also belong to the Illinois Education Association, the National Education Association, and the Lincoln Junior High School Parent-Teacher Organization.

The daughter of Lincoln residents Paul E. and the late Helen Musa Rankin, I have resided in Lincoln and Logan County for my entire life. My husband of thirty-two years, Mike, is a Logan County Highway Department employee. We are parents of Jonathan Anderson, Director of Instrumental Studies at The Victoria College, Victoria, Texas; and James Anderson, a kindergarten teacher at Mt. Pulaski Grade School, Mt. Pulaski, Illinois. My sister, Susan Rohrer, and her family also reside in Lincoln.

Although I am a political novice, I believe I would be an effective Regional Superintendent. For one, I am a strong written and oral communicator, due to many years of teaching and music performance. I have a working knowledge of school law and the many issues educators currently face. Having spent seventeen years in the classroom, I am very much aware of the concerns felt by today's teachers. I have received formal training in negotiations, employer/employee team building, and conflict resolution, and have served as chief negotiator for our district's bargaining team. Our last three contracts have been settled amicably, without mediation or work-stoppage. In addition, I am organized and work well both independently and in group situations.



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Teacher recertification is an important new issue in the education field. I am currently serving as a member of my district's Local Professional Development Committee, a group responsible for overseeing and assessing the state-required recertification requirements of our teaching staff. I received training for this position through the Springfield Regional Office of Education. Part of my duties as Regional Superintendent will be to provide local training for the teachers of Logan, Mason, and Menard counties, and assist them in the recertification process. I also plan to work with local school districts that want to become Providers, a designation that allows them to bring on-site training for their staff rather than sending them to another location for training or paying an outside group for facilitating the process.

When elected, my intention is to continue in the professional and dedicated manner of our current Regional Superintendent George Janet. Not only has his leadership been outstanding, the fact that he is a resident of this county has been a definite advantage for all Logan County citizens, and he has represented the Republican party well. I believe that it is advantageous for this tradition to continue. Therefore, I feel that my party affiliation, my residency in this county, my strong ties with area schools and school personnel, and my knowledge and dedication to current issues make me a strong contender for the position of Regional Superintendent.


Jean Anderson


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


Whatís Up With That?


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