Still Watersthe em spaceWhere They StandBy the Numbers,

How We Stack UpWhatís Up With That?


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

By Mike Fak

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

    

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

[to top of second column in this commentary]

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

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

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

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

[Mike Fak]

Reply to Fak (not for publication):

mikefak@msn.com

Response to Fakís commentary:

ldneditor@lincolndailynews.com 


The laws of natureÖ
overruled

MY LIFE AS A BIRD

by

ColinBird

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

[to top of second column in this commentary]

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

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

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

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

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

[Colin Bird]

 


A place that most of us wish didnít exist

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

By Mike Fak

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

[to top of second column in this commentary]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Mike Fak]

Reply to Fak (not for publication):

mikefak@msn.com

Response to Fakís commentary:

ldneditor@lincolndailynews.com 

 


Proud to be an AmericanÖ
or at least a ĎLincolnianí

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 pictureís 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 ó long before America did ó that they are modern-day heroes.

Of his piece, he writes, "As are all of my firefighter pieces, ĎReturn to Gloryí 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 Albaitisí work can be found on his website, http://www.fireart.com.

 

[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 donít know why the man who did not buy it wanted it. I donít 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 Joeís.

 

Old Joeís 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 Joeís has been there for 50 years," he said, "and itíll 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 ó in the cornfields of Illinois ó every day.

[Gina Sennett]

 

 


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

ó Mary Krallmann


Whoooís there?

Accurate identification is a tricky issue.

Iím not referring only to whoís behind the mask at a costume party or who the candy-seeking ghost is under the sheet.

Another example is the local statue sometimes identified as a maiden and sometimes as a mother. The papoose suggests one answer, unless the child is a sibling instead of an offspring. Not everyone agrees on the definition of a maiden either. Cultural sensitivity also has its say in such matters, and appropriate terminology is a work in process rather than a completed project. I could get used to calling the newly restored sculpture a Native American woman.

Then there are the multiple variations of a label with wider news interest. If you type "al-Qaida" into a search form and click "go," you can find information faster and easier than special military forces can find people theyíre looking for, but youíll also find differences of opinion on exactly what the name of the group is. Iíve seen it written as "al-Qaida" (AP, CBS, NBC), "al Qaeda" (ABC, CNN, White House), "Al Qaeda" (PBS), "Al-Qaeda" or "al-Qaeda" (BBC), and other ways. I assume itís a matter of translation. People who are used to English spelling like to add a "u" while theyíre at it. Beyond that there are the aliases used by individuals associated with whatever the group is called.

Getting back to identifying ghosts and such, those traditions have a mixed identity in themselves, with both good and bad connotations, as well as background from both the secular and spiritual world.

This comes to mind when I hear churchgoers tripping over words instead of costumes. Even worship leaders and lifelong church members sometimes have trouble repeating the same phrases in unison in a creed thatís been recited for nearly 2000 years. Modernized versions have a few differences in wording from older texts, and habits of speaking can easily take over in spite of whatís on a printed page.

Although I grew up reciting "Holy Ghost" in the Apostlesí Creed, the term "Spirit" is equally familiar from hymns and Scripture passages. Nowadays, I suppose "ghost" sounds more ghostly and "spirit" more spiritual, but I need to give it special thought to say the updated translation. It comes out the other way on autopilot.

As someone explained after he adjusted to a newer version, you need to set up an internal translation mechanism to make the appropriate changes. Itís like a search-replace code on your computer. Depending on where you are and which text is in use, if you learned to say "shall," replace it with "will"; if youíre used to saying "Ghost," say "Spirit" instead. Or vice versa.

Accurate terminology gets increasingly complicated as you go from place to place where the practices differ. Just about the time youíre accustomed to a new phrase, you need to memorize something else or replace it what you originally learned.

In a rapidly changing society, itís a challenge to maintain uniformity of language. With new names, new words and new meanings, there are instances when dictionaries and other authorities disagree or havenít decided yet. Puzzling translations and mistaken identities complicate the issue. We might as well be ready for adjustments along the way.

Flowers by other names would smell the same, and a "whatchamacallit" works for a label at times, but in general Iíd just as soon use the appropriate term ó if I knew what it was.

[Mary Krallmann]

 

Where They Stand

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


Local teacher announces her candidacy for regional superintendent of schools

By Jean Anderson, candidate

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

[to top of second column in this section]

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

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

Sincerely,

Jean Anderson

 


By the Numbers

Population estimates in Logan County
30,798 Total population, 1990
15,380 Rural population - 49.9%, 1990
15,418 Urban population - 50.1%, 1990
2,875 Projected births, 1990-1998
2,736 Projected deaths, 1990-1998
3,143 Persons below poverty level - 11.8 %
258 Average marriages per year
135 Average deaths per year

Alexis Asher


Logan County high schools: 1960-2000
1962 Middletown High School consolidated with New Holland
1972 Atlanta High School became part of Olympia School District
1975 Elkhart High School consolidated with Mount Pulaski
1979 Latham High School became Warrensburg-Latham
1988 New Holland-Middletown High School consolidated with Lincoln Community High School
1989 San Jose High School consolidated with Illini Central (Mason City)

Alexis Asher


Lincoln High School history

1859

Lincoln School District

5

School buildings in 1859

1

"Grammar school" in 1859

1

High school teacher, Mr. January, in 1859

1870-71

Central School opened

1898

High school building started

1900

High school dedicated, Jan. 5

$20,000

Cost of new high school

1920

Election authorized community high school District #404

1958

Dedication of new Lincoln Community High School, 1000 Primm Road, in auditorium, on Nov. 9

Alexis Asher


How We Stack Up


This feature of the Lincoln Daily News compares Lincoln and Logan County to similar cities and counties on a variety of issues in a succinct manner, using charts and graphs for illustration.

Racial makeup of selected Illinois counties

 



Whatís Up With That?

 

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