Part 2
Logan County ready for
action if terrorist event occurs

[OCT. 5, 2001]  Even though the public may not have been aware of it, agencies all over the United States, including those in Logan County, were preparing for terrorist attacks well before the destruction of New York’s World Trade Center, and they are ready to take action if an event occurs.

[Click here for Part 1]

The approach to chemical terrorism is somewhat different from the approach to biological terrorism, Terry Storer explained. "Typically, chemical terrorism is an acute, fast-acting event, with people getting sick or injured quickly. Biological terrorism is of longer duration. We might not know about it until the population reported symptoms."

Although many people worry about chemical and biological attacks on the nation’s water system, Gary Bellafiore, operations supervisor at the Illinois American Water Company of Lincoln, says such attacks would not create nearly as much damage as people believe.

"Water companies have a lot of safeguards," he said at a recent meeting of the Logan County Local Emergency Planning Committee, an agency that works hand in hand with ESDA. "Pesticides, herbicides, metals, bacteria we look for these all the time. The water industry has been fighting this battle for 100 years. We monitor a host of chemicals on a routine basis.

"If anything foreign enters the water supply, we will notice a change immediately. Chemists are monitoring the water on a constant basis, at least every four hours around the clock, and that monitoring has been enhanced since the terrorist strike on the World Trade Center.


"It would be very difficult for an enemy to put enough biological or chemical agent in a water supply that the present treatment can’t take care of. We would catch it before there were many fatalities. To put in a sufficient amount of an agent to kill a large population, the enemy would have to back a truck up to the system and pump it in," Bellafiore said.

"The Environmental Protection Agency has a lot of standards for drinking water in this country that make it extremely safe from biological or chemical terrorism," he added. "A lot of government regulations and monitoring is required. Our water supply is safer than people think."

Debby Cook, director of nursing at the Logan County Health Department, agrees with Bellafiore that biological agents are not as easy to dispense as some people believe. Also, like ESDA, the Health Department has done a lot of work to prepare for a biological terrorism event.

"We have been looking at this issue for a long time two to three years," she said.

Like the local fire and police departments, the Health Department already has systems in place that can be used to combat a terrorist event.

"We deal with biological events every day at the Health Department chickenpox, strep throat, other communicable diseases. Although the agents we are talking about in the event of an attack are not the common things we deal with, the same systems will be utilized that are in existence now."

The Health Department also has quick access to help from state and even federal agencies, if necessary.

"One call to the Illinois Department of Public Health will activate the proper personnel," Cook said. "When we say we need help, they will give us access to the appropriate agency. They will even send people to consult with us, if necessary."

She pointed out that most biological events would be covert and that it would probably take some time for symptoms to develop.


[to top of second column in this section]

What Cook and the Health Department would like to see is a more efficient reporting system in place so the department can get immediate access to all available information.

She is starting to work on a system where schools, employers and others would report spikes of unusual illnesses to a central source. "Only if someone looks at all the information available can we figure out what’s going on. Also, it would be helpful to have a communication site, such as a website, to tell people what the facts are and what they should do.

"My true fear is that we are going to have more problems with panic or false information than with anything else," she said.

Barb Kline, director of public relations and risk management at Abraham Lincoln Memorial Hospital, says the hospital, too, has systems in place to take effect in the event of a biological terrorism incident.

"We have a response plan for citizens of Logan County that has two links," she said. "First we have an emergency response to ESDA and LEPC. They are linked to state agencies such as Illinois Emergency Management Agency. Depending on the type of event and the resources needed, our local agencies have access to outside resources.

"Second, on the medical front, we will be in touch with the Illinois Department of Public Health, which in turn is linked to federal health agencies such as the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta. There are systems set up nationwide."


These health agencies, she said, could within a matter of hours send medical personnel and medical supplies from stockpiles already in place in a number of locations to respond to a local crisis.

"These things have been thought of and discussed. We are not just going to put a plan together after an attack," Kline said.

Kline is a member of a subgroup of the Logan County LEPC that has recently been evaluating how the county’s position in central Illinois, 30 miles from the state capital, might make it vulnerable to attack, as well as how an event that occurs here might affect other places in the state.

"In recent months our specific subgroup of people from the Health Department, paramedics and those trained to respond to hazardous materials incidents have been evaluating where we are vulnerable, what plans are in place and what we need to do to improve our preparedness.

"We are learning about bio-terrorism, the resources available to us and especially how terrorists, people who have no regard for life, can think," she said. "We want to be sure we are prepared."

The attack on the World Trade Center was a shock, but not a surprise, to the world of emergency management personnel, Fulscher said.

"We are still horrified that it happened, but we knew it was coming some day. We have been more aware of the threat than the average man on the street.

"But now, the average citizen is just as aware as we in the emergency services are of the possibility of terrorism. That’s why people say America is forever changed."

[Joan Crabb]

Trauma discussion on WAND to feature Marcia Stoll

[OCT. 5, 2001]  Marcia Stoll, director of Logan-Mason Mental Health, will be a guest on WAND Channel 17 at noon on Saturday, Oct. 6, to discuss the emotional effects felt by people everywhere in response to the recent terrorist attacks.

Common reactions to traumatic events, according to Stoll, include feeling afraid, sad, horrified, helpless, angry, overwhelmed, confused, distracted, emotionally numb or disoriented. These are normal reactions to very stressful events and will be discussed.

Suggestions will be offered regarding how to deal with your emotions during this difficult time for both adults and children. WAND news reporter Zenobia Gerald will host the 30-minute presentation.

[News release]

Rep. Wright works to keep LDC open

[OCT. 4, 2001]  The Federal Department of Public Health has conducted an inspection that has found violations at the Lincoln Developmental Center in Lincoln that could lead to the facility’s decertification, taking away crucial federal funds. State Rep. Jonathan Wright said he’s committed to keeping the center open and operating.

The state has initiated the decertification process based upon alleged violations cited by the Department of Public Health. Rep. Wright, R-Hartsburg, says he is taking steps to work with the Illinois Department of Human Services to address all concerns, in order to keep Lincoln Developmental Center operating for years to come.

"Lincoln Developmental Center is a wonderful asset to the city of Lincoln and the surrounding area. It offers much needed services to people with developmental disabilities, while also providing quality employment opportunities," said Wright.

Rep. Wright has been in continued contact with key individuals within the Department of Human Services and within the office of Gov. George Ryan. "I am committed to exhausting all efforts to ensure that Lincoln Developmental Center remains a thriving facility for people with developmental disabilities," Wright said.


[to top of second column in this article]

In addition to the employment opportunities brought to the community by Lincoln Developmental Center, the facility provides excellent care for those people with developmental disabilities who are not able to function in a more informal setting, such as a residential care facility.

"I continue to receive many telephone calls from parents of residents at Lincoln Developmental Center concerned about the decertification process and how that will impact their child," Wright said. "The parents are committed to keeping the facility open based upon the excellent care their children have received over the years."

[News release]

LDC in danger of losing certification

[OCT. 4, 2001]  Federal inspection of the Lincoln Developmental Center has put the facility in jeopardy of losing its certification.

Sen. Duane Noland, R-Blue Mound, and Rep. Bill Mitchell, R-Forsyth, recently learned that the Lincoln Developmental Center is in danger of losing its federal certification. While minor, there were enough violations, mostly revolving around staffing and patient care programs, to bring the facility under closer inspection. It is believed that the problems began at the administrative level and filtered down.

"Lincoln Developmental Center is a facility with over 700 employees and over 370 residents. The center has a huge economic impact on central Illinois. In addition, the facility houses friends and family members of residents of central Illinois. The continual operation of this facility is a matter of great concern to me," said Sen. Noland. The center provides a vitally important service to the most vulnerable in our society.




[to top of second column in this article]

Several upper-level administrative positions have recently been changed in an attempt to enact new procedures and correct the weak areas of service. Peggy Davidsmeyer has been named the new director, replacing Gwendolyn Thornton. Davidsmeyer brings strengths of experience in the field as an assistant director at Jacksonville Developmental Center for seven years. She has worked with developmentally disabled people for 30 years.

"The Lincoln facility provides much needed services to the people of Illinois. It is a priority to keep it open and operating at full staffing levels," said Rep. Bill Mitchell

Noland and Mitchell are requesting a meeting with Secretary Baker and personnel from the Department of Public Health and the Department of Public Aid to brief them on the status of the Lincoln Developmental Center and the available corrective measures to keep the center open.

[LDN and news release]

Part 1
Logan County ready for
action if terrorist event occurs

[OCT. 4, 2001]  Even though the public may not have been aware of it, agencies all over the United States, including those in Logan County, were preparing for terrorist attacks well before the destruction of New York’s World Trade Center, and they are ready to take action if an event occurs.

"Logan County has been working on this," said Dan Fulscher, director of the Emergency Services and Disaster Agency for the county. "We recognized, and the state of Illinois recognized, that an attack was likely.

"We have been preparing very solidly for a year, with a task force that was formed in Logan County. Two weeks before the New York tragedy we had already made a request to the state of Illinois for specific equipment that would allow us to protect the citizens of Logan County better if there was a real terrorist event."

The six-year plan, which was submitted at the end of August, would provide more training and equipment for local agencies, including suits to protect fire and police personnel against chemical and biological agents, chemical detection kits, gas monitors, thermal imaging cameras, and decontamination equipment such as giant scrub brushes, cleaners and soaps to neutralize the chemicals.


The request also includes better equipment for the Logan County Health Department and for other government entities that could be involved in a terrorist attack, such as highway department personnel and emergency room workers, Fulscher said.

Terry Storer, assistant director of ESDA, said that area fire and police departments are well trained to respond to emergencies such as chemical leaks or spills, and that training would allow them to respond to a terrorist incident as well.



[to top of second column in this section]

"For us, it would be business as usual," Storer said. "If we had a terrorist attack using chemical or biological agents, it would be handled in much the same way that we would handle an industrial leak or spill.

"Emergency responders, members of the Fire Department, would be sent to the area of the attack. They would immediately treat any injuries and then would identify the chemical and make an action plan.

"Members of the Fire Department have been trained to identify chemicals and know what to do," he added. Also, they could get help from other agencies.

"The Health and Human Services Department has Metropolitan Medical Response Teams, primary response units that can move into any area that has been attacked. These teams have equipment caches with pharmaceuticals and other supplies that they can get very quickly.

"We are able to make one phone call to the Illinois Emergency Management Agency, and they can contact any state or federal agency that we may need, whether we have a terrorist attack or an ordinary emergency situation," Fulscher added.

(To be continued)

[Joan Crabb]


[Click here for Part 2]

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Two politicians speak at LCCS banquet

[OCT. 4, 2001]  Lincoln Christian College and Seminary has just finished its 2001 Strauss Lectures, named for Dr. James Strauss, a former professor and living legend at the school. The speaker this year was Nancy Pearcey, a Christian author and intellectual historian. Part of the lectureship’s schedule was a Tuesday evening banquet in Taylor Hall on the LCCS campus. The banquet featured two prominent politicians.

Sen. Patrick O’Malley from Chicago, a Republican candidate for governor, spoke about his background and family, stating that he felt it was important for his audience to know something about him. He talked about his parents and how they raised 14 children. He talked about his wife and about their two children. He spent a long time talking about his daughter Brigid. Because of a brush with infant death syndrome, she is able to do very little for herself, but she can smile. With love in his voice, he spoke of how that smile has changed his life. He spent a little time talking about his political background and views, but he left that mainly to the flyers and mouse pads his campaign associates handed out.

[Click here for related article, "Patrick O’Malley runs for governor."]

Bill Redmond, Lincoln Christian Seminary alumnus and former congressman from the state of New Mexico, was the main speaker for the dinner. He gave a sermon on the response that Christians must take to the Sept. 11 World Trade Center attacks. During that sermon, he told the story of the "Star-Spangled Banner" in a way that had most of the audience truly hoping that "the flag was still there." He said that early in the history of America, the country was thought to be an experiment, unknown from day to day if it would fall. And today, it is up to God whether we rise or fall. He said, though, that we must follow the words of the Bible, "If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land." (2 Chronicles 7:14). Redmond concluded the evening with a stirring reading of Isaiah 41.

[Gina Sennett]

Patrick O’Malley runs for governor

[OCT. 4, 2001] 

Campaign statement

By Patrick O’Malley,
candidate for Illinois governor

I come before you to share my candidacy for governor of Illinois. Today, I’m formally announcing my intention to seek that office in the March 2002 Republican Primary Election.

For almost a decade now, I’ve been honored to serve as state senator of the 18th District, in southwest Cook County. The 18th District is truly a microcosm of the state. As state senator, I regularly meet and listen to the people I represent. In recent months, I’ve had the opportunity to meet and listen to people from many other parts of the state. In the coming months, I intend to meet and listen to many more.


Patrick O'Malley

It’s hard, if not impossible, to describe the level of frustration I’ve encountered and continue to encounter. The citizens of Illinois are the true "shareholders" of state government, but these days one hears little, if any, pride of ownership.

Voters have lost confidence in both the integrity and credibility of those who seek and those who serve in public office. They look to their elected officials to say what they mean and do what they say. But, more often than not, they find that campaign promises and commitments end when terms of office begin.

To say more and more people are turning off and tuning out is an understatement. More accurately, they’re turned off and, for the most part, tuned out.

I’m running for governor because I believe I can change this. I believe I can get the citizens of Illinois to tune in and turn on. I believe that working together we can reshape the Republican Party and state government. Together, we can change politics in Illinois!

I believe I have a vision to share with those who feel their vote or their priorities no longer matter. I believe I have the ability to re-establish their confidence and engage people from all parts of Illinois to work with me for stronger families, better schools, more jobs with better wages, a healthier environment and safer neighborhoods.

I will provide leadership that all citizens of Illinois can count on. Working together, we can make things better, and in the process state government can begin to serve the many instead of the few.

In every office I’ve sought, I’ve received great support. I’d like to think this is because I’m one public official who says what I mean and consistently does what I say I’m going to.

As voters come to know me, they see this. My record as a public official and as a legislator is clear and consistent.


I’ve based my public service, as well as my professional and private life on the values learned and practiced in the homes, neighborhoods and communities of Illinois; the same values instilled in Ronald Reagan as a boy growing up in Illinois and the same values he employed to change the world. These are the values I will champion as governor of Illinois!

When I was growing up, there was a ballplayer who liked to say, "Baseball has been very good to me." My family and I would be the first to say this nation and this state have been very good to us. We have lived the "American dream." I look upon this campaign and subsequent service as governor as the greatest opportunity the people of Illinois can give to me "to give something back."

Make no mistake; I seek the office of governor to be governor. I’m not "maneuvering" to run for another office. And my candidacy does not hinge or rely on anybody else’s candidacy or non-candidacy. I’m in this for the long haul, and as my Irish ancestors would say, I fully intend "to play all the innings out and, in the end, to carry home the prize."

Today, we’re beginning a journey of more than 400 days. I’m inviting people from all parts of Illinois to join with me. It’s time for a new beginning. Working together, we can and will make a difference!

Patrick J. O’Malley biography


Born Oct. 22, 1950, in Evergreen Park; second-oldest of 14 children; graduated from St. Walter’s Grammar School and Marist High School; earned a bachelor’s degree in economics and a master’s degree in finance from Purdue University, a juris doctor degree from The John Marshall Law School; married to Mary Judith (Stump); residence in Palos Park; two children, Brigid and Patrick Jr.; a daughter-in-law, Elizabeth; and a granddaughter, Mary Elizabeth

State Senate

Elected in 1992 to represent the 18th District; reelected in 1996 and 2000



[to top of second column in this article]

Legislative committees

Chairman of the Senate Financial Institutions Committee; vice chairman of the Senate Education Committee; member of the Senate Insurance and Pensions Committee; member of the Senate Judiciary Committee

Public service background

Served as a member of the board of trustees of the Palos Fire Protection District (1985-1994), serving as board president since 1987; served as elected member of the board of trustees and chairman of the Finance Committee for Moraine Valley Community College (1989-1992)

Community service

Loyola University Health System board of directors; Saint Xavier University board of trustees; United Cerebral Palsy Association of Greater Chicago board of trustees; Veterans Outreach Program of Illinois (American GI Forum) board of directors; The Children’s Museum in Oak Lawn board of directors; Metro Southwest Alliance board of directors (founding chairman); Illinois State Crime Commission; Misericordia; Pregnancy Aid South Suburbs; American Heart Association; American Cancer Society; Southwest Metropolitan Family Services

Honors and awards

Republican Legislator of the Year, Illinois State Crime Commission; Champion of the Southland, Chicago Southland Chamber of Commerce; Putting Families First Award, Concerned Women for America of Illinois; Friend of Agriculture, Illinois Farm Bureau; Presidential Commendation (1999), Illinois State Bar Association; award from the American Association of Retired Persons’ Illinois office; Serving Illinois Families Award, Illinois Family Institute; Guardian of Small Business Award, National Federation of Independent Business; Frederick Milton Thrasher Award, National Gang Crime Research Center; Legislator of Year (1996), Suburban Area Agency on Aging; Leadership Award, Illinois Environmental Council; Environmental Service Award, American Lung Association; Golden Apple Award, Illinois Statewide School Management Alliance; Service Award, Illinois Veterans Leadership Program; Beta Gamma Sigma honor society

Legislative achievements
listed by Sen. O’Malley 

Statewide hearings on tax reform — Led the charge for the 1993-94 statewide public hearings to comprehensively study the state’s revenue system to lay the groundwork for meaningful tax reform.

1995 Chicago school reform — Sponsored the nationally acclaimed school reform legislation restructuring the bureaucracy-bound Chicago school system, thereby restoring local control and accountability.

Child support enforcement — As a leading advocate for improving the collection and enforcement of child support to keep children out of poverty, championed the new law to hold parents criminally liable for their willful failure to meet their child support obligations.

Repeal of the retail rate law — Led the fight to repeal the state subsidy program for garbage incinerator developers, saving Illinois taxpayers as much as $13 billion.

Project Exile Illinois — Authored legislation encouraging the federal prosecution of all persons who use firearms in crimes against others. With its implementation, by requiring a minimum, mandatory five-year prison sentence in a federal penitentiary, Illinois will be the toughest state in the Union in the prosecution of criminals who commit crimes with guns.

Cook County assessment reform — Sponsored numerous laws reforming the Cook County property assessment system and giving property owners more rights in appealing their property taxes.

Circuit Breaker program — Sponsored the 2001 expansion of this program, which provides pharmaceutical assistance and property grants, to benefit an additional 500,000 senior and disabled citizens.


State energy policy (SJR 34 and 35) — These resolutions frame the debate concerning the development of Illinois’ coal resources to provide reliable and affordable electricity throughout Illinois.

Railroad crossing blockages and freight train gridlock — Efforts to hold railroad companies accountable for blocked railroad crossings and related safety issues have put the spotlight on a national issue: the need to address the freight train gridlock in northeastern Illinois.

Tax relief — Sponsored the largest tax refund program in the history of the state, returning more than $250 million to payers of Illinois income tax.

[Patrick O’Malley campaign news release]

Expert on Islam will speak at LCCS

[OCT. 4, 2001]  In light of the recent tragedy that has touched America, Lincoln Christian College and Seminary President Keith Ray will host an open forum and presentation, "Islam, Muslims, and America: A Christian Missionary’s Perspective," featuring Dr. Robert Douglas, professor of intercultural studies. This free event, open to the public, will be in the Earl C Hargrove Auditorium on the LCCS campus from 7:30 to 9 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 8.

The purpose of the forum is to promote understanding and provide factual, expert information about Islamic faith and culture. The featured speaker, Dr. Douglas, is a recognized authority on Islam, having served for many years as a missionary to Muslims in the Middle East. After completing his doctorate in religion from UCLA, he served as executive director of the Zwemer Institute of Muslim Studies in California for eight years and taught for six years in the Central Asia Study Center in central Asia. He also is recognized by the National Association of Religious Broadcasters as a national authority on Islam.

The program will include a question-and-answer time with Douglas, as well as an opportunity for prayer and support for all who have suffered from this national tragedy.

[News release]

ESDA and LEPC conduct successful hazardous materials exercise
at water treatment plant

[OCT. 3, 2001]  Shortly after 9 a.m. on Saturday, smoke began to emerge from the Illinois American Water Company treatment plant at 1730 N. Jefferson St. in Lincoln. A Lincoln Police Department squad car appeared on the scene at 9:12, responding to what was believed to be a smoke problem. The first officer to the treatment plant door fell back gasping and coughing, calling to his partner to stay back. So began a Logan County ESDA and LEPC exercise testing emergency reaction to release of a hazardous material, in this case chlorine.

From the spectator viewing area, the unfolding scene seemed slow-moving and low key. White wisps substituted for the yellow-green plume of chlorine the scenario called for. Firefighters wearing standard response uniforms and masks pulled the victim to the street in front of the treatment plant and sat him up. The second police officer staggered from the squad car, and firefighters also assisted him. By 9:20 an ambulance had arrived and both victims were moved toward Feldman Drive by stretcher. Minutes passed as rescue workers checked chemical references and developed a plan of action.


Meanwhile, in the Crisis Management Center at the Public Safety Complex, the smoke was identified at 9:23 as possibly chlorine gas. Computer projections incorporating barometric pressure and wind speed and direction indicated that the plume of gas was moving at 10 mph and that those within half a mile were in imminent danger. Later the zone was enlarged to 1.7 miles.

A chlorine concentration of 40 parts per million can kill in 30 minutes, according to Logan County Health Department administrator Lloyd Evans. High concentrations can cause emphysema, permanent lung damage and cardiac arrest. Even 1 to 3 parts per million can mildly irritate mucous membranes and the upper respiratory tract, he said.

Emergency Services and Disaster Agency Coordinator Dan Fulscher assembled Local Emergency Planning Committee members to deal with the crisis. Fulscher and Lincoln Police Chief Rich Montcalm briefed Mayor Beth Davis and Logan County Board ESDA chairman Doug Dutz, acting for the board’s chairman, Dick Logan. The two elected officials decided to block all roads into the city, call in all sheriff’s deputies and issue a Shelter in Place order.


According to Patrick Keane of the Illinois Emergency Management Agency, when there is inadequate time to move people before a contaminant reaches them, it is best for people to stay in their homes, closing all windows and doors, shutting off air conditioners, and not drinking water. The closer a person is to an immediately hazardous substance, the better it is to stay inside, Keane said. It is unwise to evacuate a person into a higher concentration than is present in the home.

The team decided to use all methods available to inform the public: broadcasting through Civil Defense speakers, interrupting radio programming, overriding cable to insert a line of instructions and activating weather alert radios. Davis said the decision-makers were concerned about people out in the downtown and west-side shopping areas and so decided to phone a number of stores and have the message broadcast at Wal-Mart. These activities, as well as others away from the Jefferson Street scene, were not actually carried out.


The danger zone included Abraham Lincoln Memorial Hospital, and all three previously planned shelters not in the zone were in line with the moving chlorine. The team therefore decided to activate a shelter in New Holland and also to ask Lincoln Christian College for permission to set up a shelter and triage area. In addition to assessing the severity of injuries and beginning treatment, shelter personnel would help track victims for families who are looking for them.

Near the intersection of Jefferson and Feldman Drive a child’s swimming pool was set up for gross decontamination of victims. A spray of water can remove much chlorine from clothing, but that water is then contaminated and must be contained. Further decontamination would be conducted at shelters, to protect health-care workers as well as victims. The first two victims were decontaminated and in the ambulance by 9:28.


At 9:34 two firefighters crawled into the treatment plant and pulled out another victim, an Illinois American Water employee. At this point a miraculous glitch occurred. Planners expected the employee to be dead, since pure chlorine can kill in 7 to 10 seconds and he had been exposed to a heavy concentration for 25 minutes. Nevertheless, firefighters revived him. Speakers at the debriefing session after the exercise had a hard time explaining this.

Keane, who is Region 7 coordinator of the State Interagency Response Team, interjected several problems into the action. One was the change in wind direction that put ALMH in the danger zone. Another was a fire in the communications trailer. Members of the Macon County ESDA team then used ham radios to collect and distribute messages.

At 9:46 three firefighters returned to the plant to repair the chlorine leak, presumably caused by an operational accident in which one tank ruptured into another.


[to top of second column in this article]

The two who entered the building were wearing bright blue training suits simulating the Level A totally contained Tyvex suits needed in direct exposure to chlorine. Putting on the suits is a slow and cumbersome process because the firefighter must be careful not to damage the suit, according to Mark Miller, assistant chief of the Lincoln Fire Department. The suit is quite bulky because it must cover equipment such as the canister of purified air. In addition, all the firefighters moved deliberately so as not to waste air.

When the two entered the building, one reported that the smoke was so thick he couldn’t see his own hand. They then tried to enter through an attached shedlike structure but found that their key would not work. Finally by 10:10 they had entered the building and stopped the leak, shutting off the chlorine.


The Crisis Management Center resembles NASA Mission Control without the TV monitors. Seats are identified by title such as "CMC Assistant Manager" or "Coroner," and people are busy passing messages and conferring on issues. One question after the leak was fixed was how long to continue emergency procedures. Once the plume had passed and outside concentrations of chlorine were less than inside, people needed to open windows but still avoid basements because chlorine is heavier than air.

At 10:30 the Environmental Protection Agency found less than 1 part per million of chlorine in the air. By 10:52 water tested OK. At 11:07 roads were opened, and soon after, the Shelter in Place order was lifted. The scene was declared stable at 11:20, and city departments were finished and ready for other calls. Evacuees were released with written precautions from the Logan County Health Department for re-entering their homes. They were told to flush all faucets and clean all wet and damp surfaces before skin contact or ingestion. The boil order for water ended, and at 11:21 the exercise concluded.


In general, the approximately 40 participants who gathered for the wrap-up agreed that the hours of previous meetings had resulted in a successful operation. "I am very pleased with today’s exercise," Fulscher said, "and quite sure that in a real event everything will be done properly to ensure community safety." He said such exercises bring people together to discuss deficiencies and how to improve. Larry Adams, Montgomery County ESDA coordinator said also, "It is easier if you know the workings of other groups."

Fulscher emphasized the importance of having the mayor and county board chair participate. "It’s good that chief elected officials understand what a Crisis Management Center is," he said, because they play a pivotal role in decision-making.

One issue that came up repeatedly in the assessment was communication. One suggestion was to use common language such as saying the wind had shifted to the north-northwest instead of to 330 degrees. Warren Curry of the Logan County Sheriff’s Auxiliary said landmarks could also be used for directions. Another communication problem was cross-feeding of radio systems. Fulscher said communication would always be the biggest problem but that during several years of exercises it has been greatly improved.


Other recommendations included

—Setting up a central location for mapping information, such as ground elevations and locations of homebound people.

—Finding a few more ham radio operators.

—Purchasing compasses for fire engines and squad cars.

—Putting a warning diamond on the water plant fence to signal the chlorine danger.

—Using more field observers.

—Adding more volunteers to the disaster intelligence committee.

—Holding more "tabletop" exercises, limited to the Crisis Management Center. Evans said, "We know the firemen and police know how to do their job."

"Next year’s exercise will take off from the end of this one," Fulscher said. Keane elaborated that it could include such issues as directions to food handlers, verification that homes had been ventilated and long-term effects on victims. He praised the joint use of Logan and Macon County teams but said it would be good if the same work could be done simultaneously in both counties to prepare for a widespread disaster.

Keane was one of two exercise evaluators. Larry Adams, the LEPC observer, said his job was to ask, "Can Logan County implement their hazardous materials plan?" His answer was a strong yes.

[Lynn Shearer Spellman]

Middletown chosen as site for Smithsonian exhibits next summer

[OCT. 2, 2001]  The Illinois Humanities Council and the Smithsonian of Washington, D.C. have honored the Knapp/Chesnut/Becker Historical Society of Middletown by choosing the library-museum as one of the six sites in Illinois for the June 23 to July 28, 2002, exhibits of "Yesterday’s Tomorrows."

[Helen helps again! Helen Smith Staats (at left) presents a check for $2,000 to Shelly Dobey, chair of the Smithsonian exhibits committee, and to Bill Post, president of the Knapp/Chesnut/Becker Historical Society, hosts of the June-July 2002 exhibits at the library-museum in Middletown.]

Besides all of the pies, quilts and monetary gifts she has given in the past, Helen Staats has given a $2,000 check, which enables the K/C/B Historical Society to meet the requirement of matching the $2,000 grant awarded by the co-sponsors of the displays.

Plans so far include special events, focusing on themes suggested by the Smithsonian, to be at the Middletown Park pavilion on six Sundays. June 23 will be Transportation Sunday; June 30, Home and Country Sunday; July 7, Technology Sunday; July 14, Culture Sunday; July 21, Health Sunday; and July 28, Spiritual Sunday.

Shelly Dobey chairs the steering committee of Mayor Ken Davison, Jackie Sullivan, Kathy Sommers, Bill Post and Winnie Golden.

All-you-can-eat turkey supper

The annual "all-you-can-eat" turkey supper sponsored by the K/C/B Historical Society is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 20, from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Middle School in Middletown. This benefit is known for excellent food and historical displays.

[News release]

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Domestic abuse and violence awareness event Thursday evening

[OCT. 1, 2001]  Domestic violence hurts everyone. At a time when our country has been impacted by senseless violence and loss, we need to come together in a peaceful gathering and show of support for those in our own community being affected by violence every day.

In 2000 there were 147 reported incidents of domestic battery in Lincoln, according to a report compiled by the Lincoln Police Department. Sixty-three of these incidents occurred while children were present.

To increase community awareness of this problem, the Domestic Abuse and Violence Task Force of the Healthy Communities Partnership of Logan County is sponsoring its second annual candlelight procession and education event. The vigil and community gathering will begin at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 4, on the sidewalk surrounding the Logan County Courthouse and will feature a candlelight walk around the courthouse.

In the courthouse rotunda Timothy Huyett, Logan County state’s attorney, will speak on the legal issues surrounding domestic violence and its impact on the Logan County community. Shelley Musser, Sojourn shelter and services specialist, will also give a presentation.




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The "Silent Witnesses" and "The Clothesline Project" will be displayed in the courthouse rotunda during the day of the event. The Silent Witnesses are silhouette figures of individuals who have died as a result of domestic violence. The victim’s story is displayed on a plaque on each silhouette. The Clothesline Project consists of shirts and sweatshirts designed by victims of domestic violence and their families. These shirts tell the victim’s story in her own words. Information on available community services will also be available in the courthouse rotunda.

Please join the Domestic Abuse and Violence Task Force for this event. For more information or to find out how you can join the task force, you may call Debby Cook, chairperson, at the Logan County Health Department, (217) 735-2317.

[News release]

Task force will seek solutions for nursing home funding problems

[SEPT. 29, 2001]  State Rep. Jonathan Wright, R-Hartsburg, will serve on the House Republican Long-Term Care Funding Task Force. Illinois House Republican Leader Lee A. Daniels announced the formation of a special task force last month. Their mission is to research possible solutions to a looming funding crisis in the state’s long-term care industry.

There are currently 85,000 seniors and disabled people living in Illinois nursing homes. Sixty-four percent of those rely on public assistance to help pay for their nursing home stays. Nursing homes are to be reimbursed by the state for the costs associated with providing care for these individuals. According to industry experts, in many cases, Illinois fails to provide adequate reimbursement for Medicaid residents. The reimbursement shortfall has forced numerous facilities to transfer the costs of doing business to their private-pay residents, or, increasingly, to file bankruptcy.

"I am looking forward to working on this important task force," Wright said, "Nursing home residents and their families deserve the very best we can provide. This industry is providing an invaluable service to thousands of Illinois families. State government must recognize that, and assure that the industry has the resources it needs to remain viable."

[News release]


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