Still Watersthe em spaceWhere They StandBy the Numbers,

How We Stack UpWhat’s Up With That?

Proud to be an American…
or at least a ‘Lincolnian’

By Gina Sennett

[OCT. 6, 2001]  Central Illinois continues to amaze me. Ever since Sept. 11, I have seen nothing but giving hearts and unselfish attitudes in the people around me. This Sunday, I had the opportunity to witness not only the giving of time and money to families in New York, but the humble attitude of Lincolnites in giving to their neighbors.

As was reported, this past Sunday was the Lincoln auction for the Red Cross Disaster Relief fund. Dozens of people showed up, not only to give their money but to give their time and efforts. Tirelessly, these volunteers gave as much as two weeks of their time to the nationwide cause to help victims of the terrorist attacks in New York, Washington, and Pennsylvania. This, however, was not what touched me that day.

Early in the auction, I had the opportunity to speak with Philip Carver, one of the volunteers, who pointed me in the direction of what he thought (and I agreed with him on this) was the highlight of the auction. It was a framed poster of a print by Allan Albaitis entitled "Return to Glory."


The painting is of a burning building and firemen lifting a ladder to an upper window. Streaming from the window is a billow of smoke and fire that blends into an American flag where it touches the top of the ladder. Against the building is what at first glance appears to be the shadow of the firemen. Upon closer examination, however, it is actually a photo of the Marines lifting the American flag on Iwo Jima.

The picture’s beauty and simplicity amazed me. This was not the photo we are all so familiar with of the firemen raising the flagpole in front of the remains of the World Trade Center. It was just a picture of men doing what was needed to save lives.

What was most awe-inspiring was that this print was not made in response to the "Attack on America" or the subsequent "acts of heroism." The copyright date on the poster was 1997. Albaitis, himself a veteran Las Vegas firefighter, looked at firefighters and realized — long before America did — that they are modern-day heroes.

Of his piece, he writes, "As are all of my firefighter pieces, ‘Return to Glory’ is meant to convey the emotional intensity and unswerving dedication of the men and women with whom I have been blessed to work." More on Albaitis’ work can be found on his website,


[to top of second column in this commentary]

But my story is not over. I said that this would be about the giving spirit of Lincolnites. And that it is. You see, this poster was purchased and donated by one of our own firefighters on behalf of the Lincoln Fire Department.

When, at last, it was put up on the auction block, the bidding was furious. Two people wanted that poster. I don’t know why the man who did not buy it wanted it. I don’t know if he had a deeper purpose or just wanted it for his home. But William Dahman was the man who would not give up. He bought the poster for $100.

When I spoke with him afterward, he said that he was not alone. He said he knew of many people, mainly firefighters, who were going to pitch in to buy this poster, including Dr. Robert and Linda Shaffer. Dahman said that he and many others had helped move the donations into the gym on Saturday, had seen the poster, and knew exactly where it belonged. At Old Joe’s.


Old Joe’s is a bar on Sangamon owned by retired firefighter and chief Joe Poppish. According to Dahman, many of the local firefighters like to go there to relax. "Old Joe’s has been there for 50 years," he said, "and it’ll be there for 50 more. And that picture will hang there."

Now I have only lived in Lincoln a few months, but it really makes me proud to know that there are people in this town not only thinking of those far away in this time of need, but thinking of each other. The men of the Lincoln and Logan County fire departments know that heroes are not only found in times of crisis and cities of international stature, but they are found here — in the cornfields of Illinois — every day.

[Gina Sennett]



Shifting paradigms

Airlines, flags, prayer and the law

By Mike Fak

[OCT. 5, 2001]  I have been watching all the events that have entailed since the World Trade Center fell before our eyes and have noticed several strange and, in many cases, troubling issues coming before our eyes and ears.

I will tell you what stories have concerned me, and please let me know if you agree or have found other issues that you find out of place in the times we live in.

The airline industry will receive $5 billion in free federal funds plus an additional $10 billion in low-cost federal loan guarantees. I find no fault with helping an industry crippled by the events of Sept. 11, but question why the CEOs of these airlines continue to receive $4 million to $12 million a year in salary. In an industry that has laid off 130,000 employees, would not a significant pay cut by these executives have been appropriate? Could anyone say that cutting their pay from $12 million to $6 million would cause one of these executives to have to go on food stamps. All the Fed has stipulated in giving the billions is that CEOs of airlines don’t give themselves a raise for two years. Is that some type of hardship to an agency that has lobbied against the type of security actions that may have prevented their planes from becoming human bombs?

Six years ago, a national aeronautic safety committee headed by Vice President Al Gore had on the table requirements that all luggage be X-rayed, curbside check-in be stopped, and no baggage should be placed on a plane unless that person also is on the same plane. A dozen other security measures to ensure passenger safety in the air were recommended by the committee. The airline industry lobbied against these recommendations, stating they would cause hardships and delays in their flights. Gore made sure that all the recommendations were never approved. Two days after the recommendations were thrown in the wastebasket, $600,000 in airline industry political contributions made their way to the Democratic Party to re-elect the president. Doesn’t all of this sound wrong?



[to top of second column in this commentary]


CNN, that bastion of truth in the news, has directed all their anchors to not use the word "terrorists" in their description of the terrorists (I will use the word) or their activities, because these sick people have not been found guilty in a court of law. Are they serious? Do they expect me to ever watch their programs again?

Why is it that 80 percent of American flags are made in China? In a country that continues to export our jobs to other parts of the world to save a corporate buck, can we not have just one thing so simple and inexpensive as an American flag made in America? Maybe not. Our special forces, the Black Berets, have been getting their berets from China because they are 50 cents cheaper than a U.S. version would be. I personally have been forced on many occasions to buy items not made in this country. But I will promise you that my flags will always have a U.S.A. label on them, or I won’t have one at all.

Lastly, why is it that in the last three weeks in a country that sings "God Bless America," and pledges one nation under God at every event imaginable, in a nation that has a national day of prayer, a state day of prayer and city mayors throughout the land declaring a community gathering for prayer, that we still tell our children it is illegal to pray together in school. How does this concept make any sense?

Yes, after Sept. 11 we all are a little different than we were the day before. I’m a little sadder. A little more disheartened. And, it seems, a great deal more confused than ever.

[Mike Fak]

Reply to Fak (not for publication):

Response to Fak’s commentary: 



Water company, Illinois American,
tells city to butt out

By Mike Fak

[OCT. 4, 2001]  A few years back I wrote an article suggesting the city of Lincoln exercise the right of eminent domain and purchase the water company. Critics scoffed that I didn’t know what I was talking about and that there was no such opportunity for the city to regain control of this local utility.

Just about three months later the city of Peoria began proceedings to do just that, and I didn’t hear from anyone who thought I was crazy from that day on.

Now, a few years later, Lincolnites find themselves again in the midst of a sale of the water company to another mega-corporation. This time the potential purchaser has its base in Germany.

I am not an isolationist, but somehow mailing our checks to German businessmen just doesn’t seem right to me. In a country that continues to dissolve national ownership of skyscrapers and major corporations into holdings of foreign entities, can we not say no at least to local utilities being owned by foreign interests?

Personally, I like the idea of being able to catch the owner of a utility on the street corner and give that person either the praise or criticism I believe the company’s business practices deserve. Personally, I like the idea of the owner of a water company sitting next to me at a community function and seeing that person become involved in the community. Again, personally I like the idea of seeing the utility owner stand in front of the community and explain why a new higher rate for water is justified.

None of this will happen once a German corporation takes over our utility. We will be lucky if ever the day comes where anyone in the corporation’s hierarchy even visits this town.

Recall what happened a decade ago when Lehn and Fink was bought out by a British corporation. In a moment the factory was closed, jobs lost and buildings turned over to pigeons, based on decisions made by a board of directors 4,000 miles away. I am quite certain the new owners won’t just shut down and leave, but I have to ask what incentive is there for them to provide better service, improve infrastructure and maintain equitable rates for usage to a small town of strangers on the other side of the world. I don’t see any; maybe you do.


[to top of second column in this commentary]

Bill Bates, the city attorney, is an intelligent, meticulous man. His statement that the franchise agreement bears a right of first refusal clause allowing the city to step in on the purchase price is good enough for me. The question then needs to be asked if we as a city should take back our own utility. Yes, I know the skeptic in you asks how the city could afford, let alone run, a water company with all the other financial drains, such as a massive sewer project, already being argued before the council. I will answer those valid questions with a few of my own.

Regardless of the asking price, does not the fact that a foreign investor finds the possible return on investment lucrative enough to purchase something half a world away tell you that the business deal is a good investment? Why should we let a foreign corporation make that profit instead of the city of Lincoln? Why should we see a further erosion of state and federal corporate taxes as money goes to the governments of other countries instead of the United States?

I do have one other question. Where does our present water company owner, Illinois American, come off with the nerve to tell us to butt out of their affairs? The rights of the people of this city to become concerned and involved, if we wish, in the continued selling and escalation of the price of our utility is our right. Look it up if you want. The information is in the city, state and federal codes between the topics on democracy and self-rule.

[Mike Fak]

Reply to Fak (not for publication):

Response to Fak’s commentary: 

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

— Mary Krallmann

Smiles behind the screens

Knot all tied up

One summer day I saw an incoming typo, the "Untied States." I couldn’t resist sharing it and told the editor.

She had recently attended a ball during a weekend event with re-enactments from the Civil War era. "Oh no, untied states," she said. "I thought that was all a done deal years ago."

Someday comes fast

The morning after a local city council meeting, LDN received a report labeled "Sewer line someday." When the file reached my screen from another computer, the subject line had been extended to say, "Sewer line someday/ Tues," indicating when the report should run. It was Tuesday then, so the story went right in.

Looking at the subject line another way, I thought the diagonal mark could have a meaning like it does when someone writes "secretary/treasurer" to refer to the same person. It would have been good news indeed for the Campus View residents if "someday" for the sewer line would have been Tuesday. They can only wish for such speedy scheduling. As the article said, they "may get a chance to hook onto a city sewer line, but not in the immediate future."

Safe flight

An LDN staff member gathered her things and started to leave after posting for the day. Walking away from her desk, she heard something fall and turned back to see what it was.

She found that her cell phone had flipped out of her book bag and landed on another desk behind a divider. In spite of the side trip, the phone was OK.

John who?

Instant mailing from a growing address book caught up with someone in the office. A message to John, intended for a local writer, was accidentally sent to an out-of-town relative with the same first name.

The question from the office was, "Are you going to have something for me Monday?"

Unexpectedly, the reply came from John, the relative.

"Like what?" he said.

Old-fashioned tourist trap

On vacation, an LDN writer visited Mackinac Island, where "every third store is a fudge shop" and transportation is by actual horse power, bicycles and on foot. Workers with power hoses clean the roads regularly. She said it was a "tourist trap with horse manure!"

How to start the day

Arriving at work one morning, an LDN staffer saw this message in large letters on her screen, "It’s now safe to turn off your computer."

Squeaky wheels get grease

Before taking off early one afternoon, someone in the office reported an ailing mouse. The manager’s response was waiting in the mailbox the next morning.

"I called the doctor," the message said. "He made a house call and said it [the mouse] was very sick. I don’t know if he was going to treat it or remove the body and bring in a new one."

See you tomorrow

A television viewer remarked that it’s odd how newscasters end their regular programs with a line such as, "See you tomorrow."

After all, the workers in the studio don’t actually see the people on the other side of the screen.

Computer gets the last laugh

When I turned on my home computer Saturday evening to try to clarify something I’d written earlier, the usual green lights came on and there was a sort of groaning in the box, but nothing showed up on the monitor. After a number of attempts without success, I gave up. It appeared to be the end of smiles behind that screen.

[Mary Krallmann]


Where They Stand

Where 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


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


What’s Up With That?


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