Schrader donates rare handkerchief
to American Legion museum

[SEPT. 6, 2001]  A silk handkerchief given as a souvenir of the Paris caucus that created the American Legion in 1919 is finding its way home to the Legion headquarters museum, thanks to C. Wayne Schrader of Lincoln.

The memento is so rare that Joe Hobish, librarian and museum curator for the American Legion national headquarters in Indianapolis, Ind., did not know until last year that such an item ever existed. At last year’s convention, Schrader mentioned he had one, and Hobish said he had never heard of it. Later, after checking with another convention attendee, he returned to say, "You’re right."


The portion of the handkerchief that survives has eight flags or pennants embroidered on a piece of white silk about 5 inches square. The flags, including American, French and British, are deeply notched on the right border. Only one edge of the handkerchief remains, but all the embroidery is intact. The words "Souvenir de Paris" appear below the flags.

"My understanding," Schrader said, based on Hobish’s source, "is that it was only handed to people who asked for one." Schrader, who is finance officer of Post 263 in Lincoln, received the handkerchief from Thomas Kerrick at a birthday party given for him at the Legion building on Aug. 13, 1982. Kerrick, the owner of a monument company in Lincoln at that time, presented the handkerchief in a simple envelope. Schrader covered and framed it to protect the delicate fabric.


Labels mounted with the handkerchief read: "The American Legion was born March 15-17, 1919, at a caucus of the First American Expeditionary Force in Paris, France. This silk handkerchief was a souvenir of this Paris caucus in which the American Legion received its name." Theodore Roosevelt Jr. and Gen. Pershing were among the 2,500 who attended the caucus in the Cirque de Paris, according to "The American Legion: An Official History, 1919-1989," by Thomas A. Rumer. Roosevelt also opened a second caucus in St. Louis six weeks later that continued the process of organizing.

Schrader said of the souvenir, "That is the oldest thing you could have from the American Legion. You couldn’t have anything older."


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He does not know how Kerrick obtained the handkerchief. Since 1982 it has had an honored place in Schrader’s extensive personal museum of American Legion artifacts. He plans to give it away now so it can reach a larger audience. "I think it belongs to the Legion as a whole more than to me," he said. "I want to let other people see part of American Legion history. It seems as though (up to) now almost nobody even knows it existed."

Schrader and his wife, Marlene, 4th Division president of the American Legion Auxiliary, left Aug. 21 for the annual Legion convention, held in San Antonio this year. Following through on a promise made last year, Schrader planned to present the handkerchief to Hobish, who would probably give it to the national adjutant. Whether an official announcement would be made at the convention he did not know.


The Schraders planned to arrive early for the meeting of the National Resolution Committee. Wayne Schrader is vice chairman of the committee but was to conduct the meeting because of a serious accident to the wife of the chairman, retired Judge Whit Lafon, uncle of Al Gore. The committee was to assign approximately 200 resolutions to other committees that immediately consider them for possible presentation to the convention.

The Schraders have been attending national Legion conventions since the one in Cincinnati in 1986. They said delegates usually number 3,000 to 4,000, and total attendance may exceed 5,000. At the six-day convention, three organizations — the American Legion, the American Legion Auxiliary and the Sons of the American Legion — come together under the theme "We are family."

C. Wayne Schrader actually wrote this theme. He has a pocket protector on which it was printed in 1985, but he says his authorship is not widely known because he did not publicly take credit for it.

[Lynn Spellman]

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City water treatment plant
receives safety award

[SEPT. 6, 2001]  Grant Eaton from Environmental Management Corporation announced that the city of Lincoln has been bestowed with the honor of the George W. Burke Safety Award in regard to its water treatment program and procedures. "It is truly an honor, as there is only one city in the state of Illinois selected to receive this award each year," said Eaton.

The award comes after a lengthy process that started with an application. Then came inspections. Three people inspected the entire plant. The Illinois Water Environment Association inspects all the EMC plants operated Illinois and Indiana yearly.

The following letter was read at the city council meeting Tuesday evening:

On behalf of the Illinois Water Environment Association and as the Chair of the I.W.E.A. Safety Committee, I wish to thank you for your application for the George W. Burke Safety Award.

It gives me great pleasure to inform you that your facility has been selected as this year’s recipient of the George W. Burke Award. The committee congratulates the collective efforts of all individuals involved in your safety programs. Your current safety manuals and operating procedures are comprehensive and consolidated to meet the specific needs of your facility.


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The Burke Award will be presented to your representatives at the award banquet of the Illinois Water Environment Association Annual Conference in March of 2002. The George W. Burke Award is presented to publicly acknowledge and recognize facilities that demonstrate continued efforts to a safe working environment. We congratulate you and wish that your safety goals continue upward.


Shirley G. Burger

I.W.E.A. Safety Committee Co-Chair


After the above letter was read, Mayor Beth Davis offered her congratulation to Eaton. Eaton responded that this wasn’t really his award, but that it belonged to the city of Lincoln.

[Jan Youngquist]

Council approves zoning change

[SEPT. 5, 2001]  Citing that "the City Council of the City of Lincoln has determined that it is in the best interest of the City of Lincoln and the citizens of Lincoln," the council voted to change the zoning of the property that sits at 314 S. Jefferson St. from R-2 to C-2. The zoning request was initiated by Casey’s Marketing Company on July 1. The council’s vote was 8-2, with Aldermen Glenn Shelton and Michael Montcalm submitting the two "no" votes. The tally, meeting the required total of two-thirds or more of the full council, overturns the negative 6-3 recommendation made by the Lincoln Planning Commission on Aug. 16.

The following letter was received from the Coalition of Citizens with Disabilities in Illinois:

We, the Logan County Chapter of Coalition of Citizens with Disabilities in Illinois, express our appreciation of Mayor Beth Davis; Alderman Glenn Shelton; Grant Eaton, plant manager of the sewer plant; and Donnie Osborne, superintendent of street department; for going on the wheelchair tour of the downtown area.

Since it was rather hot that day, we didn’t get the whole downtown area covered, but hope to in the near future. There are so many places we cannot get into, and it would take so little to make them accessible. We are very grateful to all those that are accessible.

Again we do say a heartfelt thank you to those that walked or rode in wheelchairs with us.


Gloria Felton, Logan County Chapter secretary of CCDI

Fern Pinkley, Logan County Chapter president of CCDI


A request for right of way or easement has been granted, with unanimous vote, to the county for their installation of a new fiber optics system. The right of way allows for the fiber optic line installation, maintenance, operation, renewal, and repairs in and under city streets.

Special-use parking was unanimously approved for Larry Steffens at 121-131 S. Sangamon St. The back one-third of the old Lincoln Hotel lot will be used for tenant and out-of-town guest parking.


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Warren Curry, owner of K&W Construction and a member of the Abraham Lincoln Statue Committee, brought a brief update to the council. He reported that everything is on schedule at this time and the committee is pleased with the progress being made. They anticipate meeting with interested parties on either the West Coast or the East Coast soon and expect to have something to present in a month or two. If all follows as scheduled, the hope at this time is to have a spring groundbreaking.

Curry stated that he hopes that the businesses and people of Lincoln will be ready to support this project and reap the potential benefits it will bring the community.

At the recommendation of Bill Bates, city attorney, the council approved a newly written ordinance that moderates appeals of Lincoln Liquor Control Commission rulings. An appeal made to the Illinois State Liquor Commission will now be based solely on the transcript of the hearing in Lincoln rather than retrying the entire case. Should an appeal be made to the state, this will save the city time and costs of a retrial.

Alderman Steve Fuhrer requested and it was granted that there be some money spent to conduct a UCC search before purchasing the leaf vac for the city. He said he would like to make sure it is free of any liens before paying for it. He said they’re pushing to sell it quickly, and "anytime that happens it makes me a little nervous."


A public hearing was set for Sept. 25, at 7 p.m. concerning a request made by Integrity Data. The downtown business is soliciting the city’s support in applying for a $100,000 community development loan.

The board adjourned to executive session to discuss possible disciplinary measures against a city police officer, Mike Buchanan. Chief Richard Montcalm was asked to participate.

[Jan Youngquist]

Atlanta death under investigation

[SEPT. 5, 2001]  Atlanta police, state police forensic investigators and Logan County State’s Attorney Tim Huyett are investigating the death of Steven D. Petersen, age 37, of Atlanta.

Petersen was found in Atlanta yesterday morning, Sept. 4. He was pronounced dead by Logan County Coroner Chuck Fricke at 9:39 a.m. His death was determined to have been from a gunshot wound that appeared to be self-inflicted. Time of death was given as between 8 and 8:30 a.m.

An autopsy and toxicology tests are being performed, and reports will be finished in about two weeks.


[Obituary: Steven Petersen]

Spellman soars high with
winning plane, B-17 airtime

[SEPT. 4, 2001]  Comanche 5903P, a private aircraft owned by Henry Spellman of Lincoln, earned best of class honors at the International Comanche Society flagship competition in Detroit Aug. 11. At the society’s annual convention Spellman also flew in the Yankee Air Force Museum’s B-17 and logged half an hour in command of a turboprop Meridian.

A Comanche is a low-wing airplane manufactured by Piper Aircraft from 1958 to 1973. It seats four to six and comes with an engine choice of 180, 250, 260 or 400 horsepower or twin engines. Comanche "five niner zero three papa" is a 1959 250 four-seater.


Within the past two years Spellman has updated the instrument panel, reupholstered the interior in gray leather, re-carpeted, overhauled the engine, and painted the aircraft white and deep red with gray accents. New instruments include all new radios, an autopilot coupled to the navigation radios, global positioning system receiver and engine instrumentation.

"A plane has to be virtually perfect to win in the flagship competition," Spellman said. "This year was my big chance because by next year there will be dings in the paint job and scuffs in the interior."


Despite the first-place trophy, 5903P is not quite perfect, Spellman conceded. As he pulled it from the hanger at Logan County Airport to fly to Detroit, an antenna caught on the canvas cover and snapped off. The offending dust cover is raised by pulleys, creating half a dozen white peaks. Spellman’s wife, Lynn, refers to it as "the Sydney opera house."

The Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress was a heavy four-engine bomber used by the Army Air Force during World War II. Of his ride Spellman said, "It was awesome. But as I moved around to the various crew positions, I realized I was thinking more of the men who flew in the airplane than of the airplane itself. They flew 12-hour missions five miles above the earth with the temperature in the airplane at 30 degrees below zero. Early in the war the odds of living through a 25-mission tour of duty were only one in five. But the crews flew, day after day. We owe them so much."


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Spellman won the flight on the Piper Meridian as a door prize. The Meridian is a six-place turboprop pressurized single-engine airplane representing the state of the art in light aircraft design. After takeoff he was given command for about 30 minutes. "It flew like a dream," he said, reporting a cruising speed of 175 knots (over 200 mph). Spellman is not planning to purchase a Meridian, but he did find several additions to his "wish list" for improvements to his Comanche.

About 200 people in half as many planes attended the ICS convention. The group is organized in regional tribes, with seven U.S. tribes, two Canadian and one each in Europe, South Africa and Australia. The aircraft in Detroit were mostly American and Canadian, with four from Europe. Retiring president David Buttle of the United Kingdom was one of the pilots who crossed the Atlantic.


Even more adventurous, one American and one South African plane made the flight to the 1994 convention in Sydney, Australia. Though he has never crossed an ocean, Spellman has flown 5903P north to the Arctic Circle, south to Guatemala and to both the Atlantic and Pacific coasts.

[Lynn Spellman]

Not just for kids!

[SEPT. 4, 2001]  Invite them and they will come! The Lincoln Fire Department tours typically consist of school-age children. Chief Bucky Washam thought he would open up the facility to the community over the holiday. On Monday, firemen played hosts to visitors ranging from children a few months old to people in their 80s. Lots of adults were there without children. The firemen gave tours and demonstrations and answered a range of questions.

[Click here for photos]

The event was scheduled from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. By 12:30, with an estimated 500 hot dogs cooked, Chief Washam had already had to run out twice to add to the original purchase.

Firefighters cooked, answered questions while cooking hot dogs, slid down the firehouse pole, demonstrated hook-and-ladder maneuvers and rappelling techniques, in addition to showing people their eating, sleeping, living quarters and offices housed on the second floor of City Hall. Not only did they do all that, but also they went out on several calls that came during the course of the day.

The attitude of the day was that all the equipment really belongs to the people and the firemen were happy to show them how it works, what they (the people of Lincoln) own.



Politically correct?

[AUG. 30, 2001]  The city of Lincoln has received a lot of bad press both in and out of Lincoln over an issue that was intended to help disabled citizens. The subject of what to do with a pile of handicapped-parking tickets was again broached for discussion by City Attorney Bill Bates. The tickets are the result of an intensified program intended to punish those who are illegally using handicapped-parking spaces.

The citations carry a $100 fine if paid at City Hall within 48 hours after they are issued. Bates wanted to know what the council wanted him to do about the mounting unpaid pile of them. He could begin submitting them to the Circuit Court for a notice of hearing. He pointed out that prosecuting unpaid citations could result in the ticket holder paying the $100 fine plus court costs if found guilty, or the judge could throw it out, as has happened recently. Or it could go to trial and a jury might dismiss it.

At first Mayor Beth Davis said, "You know how I feel about it. Go forth and file a complaint." Mayor Davis said she thought she knew what the disabled persons would want done with them. "Those citations were written to protect disabled persons."

Bates stated, "My legal fees will go up if I have to continue to go to court for prosecution." He continued to caution the mayor and council, "Strictly speaking, it is a matter of how long and how hard you want to beat your head against the law." He also stated that there are some legitimate tickets that need to be pursued.

Mayor Davis said some of the tickets, like those that were given when tinted glass prevented the view of a properly placed placard and it is a proven defense, need to be thrown out. "I agree with that," she said.

However, after her recent experiences and time spent speaking with and hearing from many disabled persons, she says that they have said they want "a level playing field." She continued, "We’re not out here to cause people problems. They have gone and gotten a special handicap permit from the secretary of state. They get the information of how to properly display their placard. They need to obey the law."

Alderman Michael Montcalm backed her statement saying, "If this is the law and they’re breaking the law, then how can we make a policy on it?"

Bates advised, "Some of them (the tickets) need the authority to have someone say, ‘This ticket needs to be dropped.’"

Because there are some of the citations that clearly seem to call for practicality, at the suggestion of the mayor a consensus was reached that some tickets could be thrown out with the authority of the mayor, city attorney or Police Chief Rich Montcalm. Her decision was affirmed by the whole council.

Council hears complaints
about bird bangers

Two residents from Mayfair subdivision came to speak their piece about the lack of peace in their neighborhood. The council listened carefully as, first, Charles Williams spoke about the loud, intrusive noises of bird bangers being shot off some evenings in the neighborhood. Then Mary Gupton took the podium and aired her objections to their use. Both said that the program is disruptive to their lives, their pets’ lives, and that it chases away the good birds too. They would rather have the noise of the birds and would like the bangers stopped.



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The practice of setting off the bird bangers began last year when the council heard concerns from a number of citizens about the accumulation of bird wastes in their neighborhoods. The volume of bird waste was a great health concern. Extensive flocks of starlings come in from the fall fields to roost in the protection of large neighborhood trees for the night.

The council asked the city police to aid in the disruption and dispersion of these birds.

After listening to Williams and Gupton, Mayor Davis said she would take their complaints under advisement.

Police department receives top accolades in national survey

The University of Washington, Seattle, has contacted the Lincoln City Police Department with the results of their yearlong survey. Lincoln was selected as one of only 24 cities nationwide to participate in the survey. Chief Rich Montcalm said he believes, "We were chosen because of the number of community policing programs offered for a city of its size. This is a huge honor." He added, "Our results were very impressive"

The diversity of programs, including the DARE and violence prevention programs, led in our strengths. The uncommon development and implementation of the DARE program at three age levels puts us in the top 4 percent at the state level. Lincoln ranked high in all areas.

The purpose of the survey is to assess and share information that can help other police departments develop programs that will fit their communities too. It is a project that shares the best ideas and support.

Fire department has weekend plans

Lincoln City Fire Department, 700 Broadway St., is hosting a first-time open house from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Monday, Labor Day. Anyone and everyone is invited to stop in. Parents can bring their kids down and get a tour of the firehouse and trucks. It will be a great time for photo opportunities.

Hot dogs and refreshments will be served. The firehouse often hosts school children’s tour groups, but this gives the adults a chance to come in too. Chief Bucky Washam says it will be a great time, and he hopes lots of people will come visit.

[Jan Youngquist]

Two times taxi’s too many?

[AUG. 30, 2001]  Lincoln City Council held a public hearing in reference to a permit request for a new taxi service. The aldermen, city attorney and mayor listened to arguments by both the current cab company owner, Gary Donley, and the person requesting the permit, Kevin Sampson. Sampson owned the current cab company, Safe Ride Taxi, until May 2000, when he sold it to his now ex-brother-in-law, Donley.

Sampson spoke first, saying that he would like to start up a new service. He cited unsubstantiated reports of poor service and a general deterioration of a business that he originally started as reasons he would like to get back into the business. He also stated, "There’s room for competition, knowing what I know."

Sampson said he would start out with one vehicle that he would drive himself. He intends to drive from 5:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., during his off-hours from his regular job with the Lincoln City Police Department "As the pace picks up I will increase (the number of vehicles). I already have people waiting to drive."

Donley attempted to persuade the council when he took the floor to defend his business and provide reason that another cab company should not be granted a permit to operate in the city. He claimed not to have had any registered complaints against his company. He did not believe it possible for two cab companies to remain viable in a town the size of Lincoln, clearly stating, "This community can not support two cab companies."



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Alderman Glenn Shelton spoke, using an illustration of our free enterprise system. "It’s like having two lemonade stands in a neighborhood," he said. "One is either better or the other costs less. I don’t see that we should stand in the way of either business."

Alderman Joseph Stone made a motion, it was quickly seconded, and passed unanimously. Sampson was then told he only needs to get a license and proof of insurance, and his permit will be granted.

[Jan Youngquist]

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