City on sound financial
course, says treasurer

[OCT. 19, 2001]  The city of Lincoln is on a sound fiscal course, City Treasurer Lester Plotner told the City Council members at a recent meeting, after presenting the aldermen with a detailed report for the fiscal year ending April 30, 2001.

"As city treasurer, I believe the City Council operates within the framework of fiscally responsible perimeters, which allows many services to be provided without undue stress to the taxpayers in Lincoln," he said in his report.

"As most of you realize, you can’t be all things to all people when governing a city, but you can strive to serve the majority of the citizens in an efficient and reasonable manner.

"You must think about tomorrow when making decisions today which may affect the financial stability of the city of Lincoln," he said. "Council members should look to past fiscal patterns to make decisions about spending and suggested improvements," he added.

To help the aldermen understand these past fiscal patterns, Plotner presented them with reports on income and expenditures, complete with breakdowns of revenue and costs, graphs, summaries, and year-by-year comparisons.


The city’s general fund for the past fiscal year, 2001, went down when compared with previous years: $1,642,500 compared with the year 2000 total of $2,311,719. That was because last year the city completed a number of road rehabilitation projects, more than were done the year before, according to Melanie Riggs, deputy city clerk.

Last year the city also took a "double hit" on the payroll increases, Riggs said, because of salary increases for members of police, fire, street and alley, and clerical departments, increases that were not paid in fiscal year 2000 because the union contracts were not settled.

Special revenue funds, however, went up from last year: $1,316,000 in 2001 compared with $982,724 for 2000.

The enterprise fund was down from fiscal year 2000 and particularly from fiscal year 1999. The 2001 fund contained only $137,702, against $437,229 for the year 2000 and $2,151,763 for 1999. These funds, which come from sewerage revenues, were used for the west side sewer project and the beginning of the sewage treatment plant upgrade.

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Grants increased from $6,167 to $657,570, largely because of the downtown enhancement grant that paid for the renovation of downtown buildings.

Interest income increased from $968,724 in 1999-2000 to $1,262,206 for 2000-2001. However, Plotner has warned the council several times that interest rates are very low and will probably not rise in the near future, so the city should be prepared to see less revenue from this source. Plotner has been investing police and fire pension funds in Illinois Funds (previously the Illinois Public Treasurer’s Investment Pool), a state-run fund, when that fund has better interest rates than can be found at local banks.

Motor fuel tax funds, an important source of revenue, went up 7.9 percent last year, and state income tax funds, another important revenue source, were 3.2 percent higher than last year. Sales taxes, a third important source, increased $19,825 over last fiscal year. Plotner said that the state of the economy, less spending than usual and the lowering of the rate of tax by the state of Illinois for a period of time probably made this figure lower than it would otherwise have been.


In fiscal year 2001, the city got $43,638 in drug forfeiture funds, compared to zero dollars last year. This came from the Drug Task Force, which covers Lincoln and other communities in central Illinois.

Revenue sources that went down last fiscal year were building permits, a 26 percent decrease, and property taxes, a 1.9 percent decrease over the previous year.

Overall, the city spent 1.77 percent less money in fiscal year 2001 than in 2000, though more than was spent in 1999. Expenditures for 2001 were $9,960,723; for 2000 they were $10,140,811; and for 1999, $8,705,909.

[Joan Crabb]

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Candlelight ceremony marks dedication of donations for New York City families

[OCT. 19, 2001]  A fund-raising effort that began with a moving ceremony on the courthouse lawn ended with an equally moving ceremony in the third-floor courtroom Thursday evening, when about 250 Logan County firefighters, paramedics and police officers saw the unveiling of a check for the families of their New York City "brothers and sisters" who died in the World Trade Center tragedy.

The check, for $32,540, represents something that Logan County Board Chairman Dick Logan was hoping for at the beginning of the fund drive but didn’t really expect, a dollar for every resident of the county.


It represents, too, the brotherhood felt by the rescue workers here with those in New York City who died trying to save the lives of others.

"All of us have a bond of brotherhood," said Norma Bathe, firefighter, EMT and 911 vice chairman from Hartsburg, who is also a fifth-grade teacher at Hartsburg-Emden School. "Our firefighters share the grief and sadness of those in New York City."

The generous contributions are also evidence of the renewed respect and appreciation Logan County residents feel for their own firefighters, paramedics and police, as well as their ability to come together in a crisis.

Lincoln Police Chief Rich Montcalm remembers how moved he was on Sept. 14 when the crowd at the outdoor ceremony on the north lawn of the courthouse began clapping and cheering as police, firefighters and paramedics began marching from City Hall to the courthouse.

"I hadn’t expected that emotion for law enforcement," he told the audience. "It was a new emotion of support."

"The community had extraordinarily come together. After the ceremony, I talked to a senior citizen who told me Lincoln always comes together when times get tough."


Perhaps, more than anything else, the Logan County contribution helps to prove that, although the terrorists destroyed American buildings and took American lives, they could not destroy American values.

"They brought us together more than they tore us apart," said Dan Fulscher, director of the Logan County Emergency Services and Disaster Agency and one of the organizers of the fund-raising drive.

"This was not just an attack on the World Trade Center or the Pentagon," state Rep. Jonathan Wright told the audience. "It was an attack on our values. Our enemies attacked the very thing they could never destroy."

Those who came to the courthouse Thursday evening were greeted by a huge, lighted American flag, seemingly hanging in midair across from the north lawn. Supported by a firetruck lift, the flag is a gift to the Lincoln Fire Department from businessman Gene Burwell.


The check presentation opened with a welcome by Norma Bathe and a candle-lighting ceremony, in which representatives from all the fire, rescue and police departments in the county came forward and lit a candle.

Representatives for Armington, Atlanta, Beason, Broadwell, Chestnut, Cornland, Elkhart, Emden, Hartsburg, Latham, Lincoln City, Lincoln Rural, Lincoln and Logan County government and ESDA, Logan County Paramedics Association, Logan County Sheriff’s Department and Auxiliary Police, Middletown, Mount Pulaski, New Holland, San Jose and Williamsville all lit candles.


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One candle, a black one in the center of the candelabrum, remained unlit. It stood for the firefighters who died in New York City.

Jim Turley, wearing traditional kilts, played "Amazing Grace" on the bagpipes, and Debbie Ross sang "America the Beautiful" and led the audience in singing "God Bless America" at the end of the program.


Jonathan Wright, who introduced the various speakers, said that Americans had witnessed the beginning of a war on Sept. 11, and he prayed for the day when Americans will be able to remember the end of this war, as they remember Armistice Day as the end of World War I and V-J Day as the end of World War II.

Dick Logan offered a prayer and then told the audience he was happy to see people helping each other the way they should. "I am proud to be part of Logan County," he said.

Logan County Circuit Court Clerk Carla Bender echoed his sentiments. "My heart is full of pride to be part of this community," she told the audience. The tragedy, she said, will make us love our family and community with a little more awareness. "We will hug our kids a little tighter and be nicer to our fellow citizens."

Steve Siltman, Logan County EMS, said the police, fire and EMS represent service, integrity and preparedness, and they work together with mutual respect.


"One way we can send a message to the Taliban is do as President Bush says, resume our normal lives. Sending assistance to the families of the fallen sends another message to the Taliban," he added.

"Thirty-eight days ago, a terrorist act took the lives of thousands of people, and hundreds of emergency workers perished and will never be forgotten. The lessons we learned are that we must prepare for the unthinkable and the unimaginable," said Mark Miller, representing the Lincoln Fire Department.

Lincoln Fire Chief Bucky Washam rang the fire bell, the "last alarm" in honor of the firefighters who died.


"Make no mistake, America is at war," Fulscher said. He told the crowd how moved he was when several women came to Wal-Mart and volunteered to set up chairs for the fund drive, and when "little kids with quarters" made their contributions.
"When we started fund-raising, Dick Logan said if we got $10,000 he would be elated. Well, we stormed past $10,000 and $20,000 to bring in $32,540," he said, before turning to ask Mary Ellen Bruns, Logan County treasurer, and Dianne Ruff, ESDA office manager, to unveil the giant facsimile of the check.

"Let us not just mark tonight by remembering," Wright said in closing. "Look forward, strive to bring honor to those who lost their lives, who kept responding without any hesitation, not knowing what was on the other side of the situation.

"Cling to the values that make this the greatest country on the face of the earth."

[Joan Crabb]

First bids to be let for new Central School

[OCT. 18, 2001]  The first set of bids for the new Central School construction will be opened on Nov. 20, and the District 27 board will have a special meeting Nov. 21 to accept the low bids.

The first five "packages" to be bid will be for grading and site preparation, site utilities, drilled piers, foundations, and concrete flatwork, according to architect Dave Leonatti and construction manager Bill Ahal.

A more-than-usual amount of site preparation must be done before Lincoln’s third Central School can be built behind the present Central School. The new school will face Seventh Street and will be located on roughly the same site the first Central School occupied.

The first Central School, built about 1867, shortly after the Civil War, was demolished and used as fill to level the ground after the second Central School, which faces Eighth Street, was built in 1915. Because of the fill and also because of generally poor soil conditions, the third Central School will have a drilled pier foundation to keep the building stabilized.


Piers will be sunk to various depths on the site, until they reach stable soil. Then the piers will be connected with reinforced concrete beams. The concrete floor will be poured on top of this foundation, Ahal said.

Before this can be done, the site must be cleared of tennis courts, fences and playground equipment, and the sewer line must be moved. The new 8-inch sewer, which will connect to the sewer line on Union Street, will be capable of serving both the old and the new Central Schools while they are both in operation, according to Leonatti.

The bids will be advertised in newspapers and industry outlets in central Illinois, including Bloomington, Peoria, Decatur, Champaign, Springfield and Lincoln. Leonatti said that if possible he will use local contractors, although he did not think there were Lincoln firms who would be able to do the foundation work.

Leonatti said he hopes to get some work done on the site before the end of the year. He told the board that drawings for the entire Central School project are 85 to 90 percent complete. Getting the bids out in the various packages is "to our advantage," he said, because some bids can be let soon, while contractors are looking for work and prices for materials are low.

Four student council officers from Washington-Monroe School, who were attending the meeting, were invited by board president Bruce Carmitchel to study the blueprints. Arielle Alley, president; Nickie Kodatt, vice president; Jessie Owen, secretary; and Kelsey Dallas, treasurer, took advantage of the opportunity to get a "sneak preview" of the plans for the new school.

Additional Title I grant funds received

Superintendent Robert Kidd announced that the district has had an additional Title I grant from the State Board of Education of $133,282. This, added to the original grant of $186,127, gives the district $319,409 for Title I.



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The board approved an agreement with the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency to preserve the history of the present Central School by means of photographs and other documents.

District may ‘lend’ outdated computers

The board also discussed how to handle disposal of outdated and unused computer equipment. According to law the school district cannot give such equipment away, and usually no one wants to buy it, so the board discussed whether they might "lend" outdated computers to other groups who might be able to use them, such as Christian Village and the Sunshine Before and After School Program. Superintendent Robert Kidd was authorized to put the computers up for sale; then, if no buyers respond, to lend them to other organizations.

District costs, salaries below state average

The board also approved making copies of the 2001 Illinois School Report Card available to students to take home to parents.

The report shows that in 1999-2000, District 27 spent less than the state average both for instructional expenses and operating expenses: $3,673 per pupil for instruction, compared with $4,425 for the state average, and $5,571 per pupil operating expenses, compared with the state average of $7,483.

The average teacher salary in District 27, $39,689, is less than the state average of $47,914; and the average administrator’s salary, $69,966, is less than the state average of $84,273.


Students meet state average on ISAT tests

Districtwide, the overall performance of elementary students last year on the Illinois Standards Achievement Test was average for the state. Dr. Kidd pointed out that the scores of special education students are included in these averages.

Throughout the district, third-grade students were about average in reading and writing and slightly lower in math, while fourth-grade students were several points above average in both science and social science.

In grade five, students were a little below average in reading and mathematics but above average in writing.

In grade seven, students lagged in both science and social science, while in grade eight students were just slightly below average in reading but slightly above average in mathematics and writing.

The regular meeting date for the board has been changed to Nov. 13, and a special meeting has been set for 6 p.m. Nov. 21 to accept bids for the first phases of the work on the new school.

[Joan Crabb]

Rep. Wright attends governor’s briefing on domestic preparedness

[OCT. 17, 2001]  State Rep. Jonathan Wright, R-Hartsburg, attended a briefing Monday on the state of Illinois’ preparedness for a potential terrorist attack.

Gov. George Ryan conducted the briefing in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in New York, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania to update legislators and state and local officials on Illinois’ emergency response plan should a terrorist attack occur in our state. Rep. Wright said the governor’s main message was, "We are prepared."

"While our lives may never be the same following the tragic events of Sept. 11, local families should be reassured that our state emergency and health officials are on alert and prepared to respond to any terrorist threat in Illinois," Wright said.

Wright said the governor reported on the progress of the state’s Terrorism Task Force, created last year to assess the strengths and weaknesses within our response plan and to coordinate response efforts at the local level. The task force includes 64 special response teams, 32 of which are specially trained to respond to a biological, chemical or nuclear incident. Wright also noted that the state’s Department of Health has activated its statewide Health Alert Network so that any indication of biological or chemical threats can be immediately detected and reported.


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On the Monday the governor also proposed additional measures to increase preparedness statewide, including a series of regional training seminars to be conducted by the Illinois Emergency Management Agency for local government and residents, and a soon-to-be-announced emergency spending package to help identify and address security needs in cities and rural areas.

"While it’s impossible to be completely prepared for any possible type of attack a terrorist could devise, I’m confident that the state is doing everything possible to safeguard the public," Wright concluded. "And we must remember that the best way we can all help defeat the terrorist threat is to simply go on with our daily lives."

[News release from Rep. Jonathan Wright]

Logan County Board

Final budget meeting set for Oct. 25; zoning issue returns to appeals board

[OCT. 17, 2001]  Facing a deficit of approximately half a million dollars in its fiscal year 2002 budget, the Logan County Board voted Tuesday night to ask all officeholders and department heads to review their budgets for possible cuts. Board members will meet with their auditor at 7 p.m., Oct. 25, in the first-floor boardroom to set figures in the approximately $5 million budget. Final action will be taken at the November board meeting.

Additions to the proposed budget discussed Tuesday night include a 3.4 percent increase in the Oasis and CIEDC portions of the senior citizens tax, $3,000 each for extra part-time help for the board’s secretary and the county treasurer, $12,000 in additional requests for the Logan County Health Department and $23,333 for non-union salary increases of 3.4 percent. Tentative deletions include $15,000 previously slated for economic development, $147,500 for county offices and $10,000 for a 4x4 for ESDA.

After reviewing these and other changes requested since Thursday’s work session, Finance Committee Chairman Rod White said, "We’re still faced with a deficit budget of about $500,000." In the first year the county is fortunate enough to have a surplus, and no personnel or programs will be eliminated, he said, but if the deficit continues for a second year, board members will have to consider cuts.


White also pointed out that the tentative budget contains no money for extra security or for new economic development initiatives. A memo read at the meeting announced formation of a Homeland Security Committee consisting of Sheriff Tony Soloman, board Chairman Dick Logan, Law Enforcement Committee Chairman Doug Dutz and Insurance Committee Chairman Dale Voyles. The committee is charged with improving security in the seven county buildings. In addition, Logan County Economic Development Director Mark Smith announced an informational meeting at Lincoln College on Oct. 24. The meeting, to be at 7 p.m. in the McKinstry Library lecture room, will present a proposal for economic development.

In a zoning matter, an issue on which a straw vote was taken at Thursday night’s meeting was returned to the Zoning Board of Appeals. Amending a motion by Planning and Zoning Committee Chairman David Hepler, the board voted 7-6 to return to the appeals board Carol Litwiller’s request to rezone 2.1 acres of agricultural land so it can be divided for building two homes. Voting in favor of the amendment were Roger Bock, Paul Gleason, Dick Logan, Gloria Luster, Dale Voyles, Terry Werth and Rod White, while Tom Cash, Doug Dutz, Jim Griffin, David Hepler and Clifford Sullivan opposed it.

Normal procedure is for the Planning and Zoning Committee to hear a zoning request first, but Litwiller was unable to attend the scheduled meeting. The appeals board then considered the case and voted 5-0 to deny the request. Later it was discovered that the term of one appeals board member, Wilbur Paulus, had expired in December 2000.


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County Board member Cash charged that the "Zoning Board of Appeals acted more or less out of order" when it met before the Planning and Zoning Committee had acted. State’s Attorney Tim Huyett said that while hearings by both bodies are required, the reversed order was not necessarily illegal. Voyles made the motion to send the issue back to the appeals board.

Later in the meeting board Chairman Dick Logan’s reappointment of Paulus to the Logan County Zoning Board of Appeals was approved by an 11-2 margin, with Dutz and Griffin opposing. The five-year term was made retroactive to December 2000. Paulus has served on the appeals board since 1970.

Two other appointments were unanimously approved. Judith S. Emrick will fill L.K. Buckles’s unexpired term on the Housing Authority of Logan County. Buckles resigned the position. Alderman Dave Armbrust will serve on the Regional Planning Commission. At the request of Mayor Beth Davis, Armbrust replaces fellow Alderman Michael Montcalm, who was unable to attend the meetings.

A unanimous vote authorized Airport Chairman Roger Bock to bid on a tractor and bat-wing mower at an Illinois Department of Transportation surplus sale Oct. 25.


ESDA Director Dan Fulscher said that police are to be trained Wednesday to collect and seal suspicious mail. Sheriff Tony Soloman and Police Chief Rich Montcalm will determine case by case whether there is a credible threat and, if so, send the sample to a lab for testing. Fulscher echoed Soloman, "Let’s not succumb to panic."

County resident Pete Fredericks protested to the board about having to pay for a second septic system permit when the first system, installed according to Logan County Health Department dictates, failed in 2½ years. Fredericks said he did not put undue demand on the system. "There are only two of us and the dog," he said, "and we make the dog go outdoors." Fredericks was advised to consult the Health Department board.

Regional Superintendent of Schools George Janet and Logan County Supervisor of Assessments Rosanne Brosamer have moved into the Dr. John Logan County Building, according to board member Terry Werth. He thanked Soloman for assisting in the move.

Board member Paul Gleason reported his work on computerizing information contained in county documents from the 1850s and ’60s. He said he will make copies of relevant documents for display in county offices.

[Lynn Shearer Spellman]

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Gifts to benevolent fund will be dedicated Thursday

[OCT. 17, 2001]  A candlelight service at 7 p.m. Thursday will dedicate money collected for the benevolent fund for the families of New York City emergency workers killed in the terrorist attack. Members of the police and fire departments and Emergency Services Disaster Agency will participate, and the public is invited to the service, to be in the third-floor courtroom at the Logan County Courthouse.

Sewer rates will go up on Jan. 1

[OCT. 16, 2001]  Bowing to the inevitable, the Lincoln City Council voted unanimously Monday night to increase sewer rates so it can qualify for a state loan to upgrade the city’s wastewater treatment plant.

"I think it is necessary," Alderman Michael Montcalm, chairman of the ordinance committee, told the council. "This is probably the most important vote we will have here for quite a while."

The resolution mandates that the first tier of rate increases will go into effect by Jan. 1, 2002. For residents who live inside the city limits, monthly rates will go from $11 to $14. For those who live outside the city, rates will go from $12 to $17.52 a month.

Charges based on actual usage will go up for commercial, industrial and institutional users as well, some of them substantially.

The first tier of increases is expected to be in effect for 18 months; then, if the city does not find any other funding and has to finance the full $9.8 cost of the upgrade, a second tier of raises will have to be made.

Under the final plan, or "worst case scenario," which would take effect 18 months later, city residents would pay $16.39 monthly, and out-of-city residents would pay $22.31. Commercial, industrial and institutional users would also pay more.

[For more details, see Oct. 10 LDN article:  "Two-step plan suggested for sewer rate increase."] 

The "worst case scenario," could be lower than predicted if the city can tap some other sources of funding. Grant Eaton, sewer plant manager, said he is applying for various funds that could help defray the cost and is also hoping to get an Illinois FIRST grant.

The sewer plant must be upgraded to keep it in compliance with Illinois Environmental Protection Agency requirements. If the plant violates state requirements, the IEPA can refuse to permit new hookups and will stop residential, commercial and industrial growth in the city.

Last week the Lincoln wastewater plant had its first state violation because of a large input of ammonia, Eaton said. If the new plant had already been upgraded as planned, it would have been able to handle the extra load, but the city now has its first violation on the books. New standards for ammonia, which went into effect Oct. 1, will make it even harder for the present plant to comply with state regulations, he said.

Unless it raises sewer rates, the city will not qualify for the 20-year loan from the IEPA. It hopes to get the loan sometime in January 2002 and begin work on the plant upgrade in March, but delays are possible. If red tape keeps the project from being funded in January, the city will have to wait until October 2002 or even January 2003 to get the money.


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Zoning change approved for mental health facility

The council also voted unanimously to approve a zoning change from R-2 to C-2 for property at 2018 N. Kickapoo St. This will permit Logan-Mason Mental Health to use the facility as a adult day treatment center from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekdays.

The zoning change was recommended by the planning commission, and none of the property owners in the area have objected to the change, according to City Attorney Bill Bates. The property, formerly a day-care center, has been vacant for many years. It will be remodeled at a cost of about $140,000 and will serve 25 to 30 clients with a staff of seven, health center officials said.

Logan-Mason Mental Health Director Marcia Stoll thanked the council for their vote, saying the new facility will be much appreciated by those who use it. She said that since 1975 the adult day treatment center has been located in a basement with no windows and with no opportunity for clients to go outside and walk on the grass.

$750 fine set for possession of drug paraphernalia

In other business, the council approved a new ordinance prohibiting the possession of drug paraphernalia, with a fine of $750 plus court costs for any violation. One-half of all fines will go to the Police Department for the DARE anti-drug program and the other half to the city, also to be used for the prevention of alcohol and drug abuse by minors.

The council also approved an ordinance which will allow Bates some leeway in levying fines when prosecuting minors convicted of drug or alcohol abuse. By requesting court supervision instead of an immediate conviction, Bates can set fines higher or lower than the minimum $400 plus court costs for alcohol consumption.

Other business

In other business, the council agreed to prohibit parking on the west side of Union Street north of Woodlawn for about 72 feet. After hearing complaints that the traffic lights at that intersection were malfunctioning, Street Superintendent Donnie Osborne discovered that cars parked too close to the intersection were interfering with the sensors in the pavement.

The council also approved placing a stop sign at the intersection of Pulaski and LaDue streets, and gave Fire Chief Bucky Washam permission to sell a 1995 firetruck which is no longer in use, for $45,000.

[Joan Crabb]

Logan County agencies meet to discuss protocol for suspicious mail

[OCT. 16, 2001]  "Don’t get in a big panic. Continue your lives as you normally do! Don’t let these people get us running scared," says Sheriff Tony Soloman. He continued, "We have to show them we are better and stronger than them. We are going to deal with this, and we are going to overcome this."

Sheriff Tony Soloman also warns that any kids thinking of playing a joke on the principal, a teacher or a friend had better not do it. This is a serious situation, and he has conferred with the state’s attorney and judges on this. They are together saying that they will prosecute any copycats or pranksters to the full extent of the law.

Logan County Sheriff’s Department, Lincoln Police Department and Lincoln Fire Department are prepared to handle any suspicious mail received in Logan County.

Protocol for responsible handling of mail was announced this morning at a press conference with the sheriff, police and fire departments, Emergency Services Disaster Agency and the Logan County Health Department presenting information.

Illinois and Logan County have been preparing for terrorism for over a year. Logan County finished the domestic preparedness class at the end of August and followed that completion with written requests for aids.

How to handle suspicious mail

If you receive mail that is suspicious, if you do not know where or whom it is from, then use the following procedure:


•  Unusual or absent return address; restrictive markings

•  Excessive postage; postage and return address do not match

•  Suspicious because of how it is addressed: addressed to title only, incorrect title, or someone who no longer lives or works there

•  Oily stains, or discolorations

•  Wires sticking out

•  Odd shipping, packaging; excessive tape

•  Anything unusual

If you believe your mail is suspicious based on the above information, then the following protocol is in effect in accordance with the FBI advisory:

•  Double bag the mail in sealable plastic bags (freezer bags are preferred).

•  If it is simply bulk mail that you do not feel comfortable opening, double bag it and throw it away.

•  If you believe it is something that needs examination, call 911.

•  If you just want general information, call your local police or sheriff’s department.

What to expect if you call in a suspicious package and it is deemed credible for pickup:

The dispatcher will stay on the line with you until someone comes to pick up the package. They may come with an apron or mask on. It will take time for them to get there.




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After the package is picked up, an officer will come to the house. Do not be alarmed. You need to be prepared to answer questions such as: Who has been in the house with you? Who else was in the room when you opened it? How did you react when you opened it?

If you have your mail picked up:

•  You will not get the mail back.

•  Your mail will not be read to you; it is gone.

•  The lab results will not be available for some time. The labs will be very busy.

The Lincoln Fire Department is the lead agency in Logan County in responding to hazardous materials. They have a trained hazmat rescue team that knows what to do and can respond to any situation. The team has equipment that includes sealed, self-contained suits with breathing apparatus. They also have decontamination equipment.

If you should open something that has suspicious contents:

Remain calm. The only serious threat from the anthrax microbe is when it is airborne and it is inhaled. So remain calm if you should encounter a powdery substance. Do not disturb it. Wash your hands with soap and water; then call 911.

Lloyd Evans, administrator of the Logan County Health Department, said that the chance of contracting inhaled anthrax is slim. The anthrax must be airborne and must be inhaled to contract disease. Anthrax is a poor choice of a contaminating agent. It settles down very quickly. Exposure does not ensure contraction of the disease.

"We will be monitoring the physical condition of people who have a credible exposure," said Evans. "Lab testing and early detection, and a course of antibiotic treatment will be given to those who have a credible exposure."

The health industry is facing a concern for excessive use and rush on antibiotics. We are in the flu season, and if you are having flulike symptoms, that is probably what you have: the flu. Do not insist on having antibiotics if you are told you have the flu.

While this protocol may change, and it already has since yesterday’s state meeting in Springfield, Dan Fulscher of ESDA says he will notify Lincoln Daily News, and he will keep all the media current.

[Jan Youngquist]


[See FBI advisory below]

Police Department phone #: 732-4159

Fire Department phone #: 732-2141

Board to vote on proposed
$5 million county budget

[OCT. 15, 2001]  As the Finance Committee continues to review the proposal for a new county budget, brought forth to the board Thursday night, the question of necessity takes center stage. Although it has been almost nine years since Logan County has actually experienced a deficit in the budget, board members all agreed that, realistically, it appears that revenues are in the beginning stages of a serious decline. At a time when, on the federal level, earnings are doing the same, the board is looking to not only maintain an even financial state and avoid a coming reduction, but also to give Logan County a positive future fiscally. So a proposal of $5 million it is.

In a structured, spend-money-to-make-money standpoint, a deficit of $583,105 for the year ending 2002 could not be avoided as a part of the proposed budget increase. The highly publicized statue of Abraham Lincoln, along with a nine-hole golf course to be located within the limits of the Logan County Airport, were given a cursory reference in regard to bringing in revenue through this particular budget.

Board member and Finance Chairman Rod White presented the board with the budget address, which also included the matter of salary increases for the offices of probation, public defense and for the state’s attorney, who was on hand, often fielding questions and providing input upon request. The proposed budget will be re-examined in final discourse among the board members and will then be voted on Tuesday night at 7, with final adoption in 30 days. The new fiscal year begins Dec. 1.



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An exchange on another issue, which brought on an impromptu straw vote, was the rezoning of a local 7-acre agricultural property. The vote went through on a tight 6-5 passage, splitting the board, but in doing so, allowing two separate country homes to be built on rural Lincoln land.

The issue had already seen a recent rejection in an earlier vote, due to incompatibilities within the county’s ordinance in regard to rural homes. But the board’s Planning and Zoning Committee, led by David Hepler, claims the request to rezone does in fact comply with the statutory requirements of the ordinance, citing that those requirements were established in the first place so that smaller lots could be used for residential properties.

A motion from board member Dale Voyles, declaring that by denying the request, the Zoning Board of Appeals Committee was out of order, helped the proposal to pass this time around.

The property under dispute is located on Old Illinois 121 and is owned by Carol Litwiller, who reverentially presented his case to the board.

[Colin Bird]

Task force holds area hearings
on funding for nursing homes

Rep. Wright hears testimony from state officials, local providers

[OCT. 15, 2001]  The House Republican Long-Term Care Funding Task Force held its first two public hearings Oct. 3, taking testimony in Springfield and Bloomington. State Rep. Jonathan Wright, R-Hartsburg, said he was pleased with the input task force members received today from state agency officials as well as a number of local long-term care providers.

"There are currently about 85,000 seniors and disabled people living in Illinois nursing homes. The majority of those, 64 percent, rely on public assistance to help pay for their nursing home stays. But in many cases, Illinois has failed to provide adequate reimbursement for Medicaid residents. Today, we heard firsthand from the care providers in our area the extent of the financial hardship this state funding shortfall has created for them," Wright said.

According to Wright, the mission of the task force is to research possible solutions to a looming funding crisis in the state’s long-term care industry. He said testimony Oct. 3 included presentations from representatives of the Jackson Heights facility in Farmer City, the Apostolic Christian Timber Ridge facility in Morton and LeRoy Manor in LeRoy.

"These providers’ comments are invaluable to helping us find a solution, and every member of the task force took them to heart,"' Wright said. "I’m looking forward to hearing directly from other providers throughout the state as we continue our hearings."

Locations for future scheduled hearings of the task force include Carbondale, Chicago, Decatur, Mattoon, Danville, Carol Stream and Palos Hills.

[News release]

America strikes back

As promised, the United States led an attack on Afghanistan. The attack began Sunday, Oct. 7. American and British military forces made 30 hits on air defenses, military airfields and terrorist training camps, destroying aircraft and radar systems. The strike was made targeting only terrorists.

More than 40 countries in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Middle East have pledged their cooperation and support the U.S. initiative.

Online news links

Other countries









Saudi Arabia 


[to top of second column in this section]


United States


New York

Stars and Stripes
(serving the U.S. military community) 

Washington, D.C.


More newspaper links 


Landfill to be open seven days a week for leaf and brush disposal

[OCT. 12, 2001]  The city landfill on Broadwell Drive will be open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. for leaf and brush disposal, beginning on Oct. 15, according to Donnie Osborne, street superintendent. Plans are to keep the new schedule in place until Dec. 15, he said. 

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