The day after ‘Attack on America’

Area leaders respond to national tragedy

[SEPT. 12, 2001]  Sympathy for the victims and their families and a sense that America has reached a turning point were among the reactions that Logan County officials had to Tuesday’s acts of terrorism that destroyed the World Trade Center and part of the Pentagon.

Lincoln Mayor Beth Davis expressed the sympathy that so many are feeling for the victims and their families.

"I feel really bad for people who died or were injured. I look at this as a significant turning point, worse than Pearl Harbor, because of all the civilians who were killed."

"It’s a sad day for America," County Board President Dick Logan said. He also sees it as a turning point.

"I think the terrorists have proven a point, that point being that they can get you when they want to.

"We take a lot of things for granted in this country, one of them being freedom. We think we’re secure and we’re not. I think you’ll see a heightened security nationwide. It will probably take away a little of our freedom, but I think it is necessary."

Violence can occur anywhere, even in Logan County, and it may be necessary to increase security right here at home, he said.


"People come into the courthouse and complain because they have to go through the metal detector. But judges are dealing with possible violent situations every day. Every time people go into a courtroom, somebody wins and somebody loses. We were discussing just last week putting X-ray machines at the entrance to the courthouse."

Logan County Sheriff Tony Soloman also cited the need for extra security around the courthouse.

"It’s a shame we have to live this way, but I’m hoping we can tighten up security there. I’m requesting an X-ray machine, which I’ve thought we’ve needed for a long time. Disgruntled people may want to take it out on the courthouse because that’s where something unpleasant happened."

He said that on Tuesday he had put extra security at the courthouse and a patrol at the Logan County Airport. Patrol units were also on the lookout for anything suspicious and checking out electrical and natural gas substations around the county, he said.

"This country thought we were prepared for something like this, but what happened Tuesday goes to show us that we were not," he said.

"It’s a tragedy. And on top of that, I perceive it as an act of war," said Jonathan Wright, Lincoln attorney who was recently appointed to the 90th District Illinois House seat.


"Our priority has to be finding out who or what organization or, potentially, what country, is responsible.

‘Then I believe the United States has to strike back militarily and do so in a very severe manner. If we do anything less than that, I believe, the kind of event we’ve seen Tuesday will become more commonplace.

"The president has already commented on this, and I agree with him that the federal government should provide all resources necessary to help and assist the people and the families caught in this tragedy.


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"This act of war should cause us to re-evaluate our security at every level, whether it be federal, state or local. Certainly at the national level we need to re-evaluate our intelligence agencies and how we gather information."

"My heart goes out to my fellow medical professionals who are, I’m sure, working around the clock under circumstances extremely challenging, frustrating and disappointing," said Woody Hester, CEO of Abraham Lincoln Memorial Hospital.

"We need to support those working so hard to help those who are injured. They may want to be at home with their families and to know what’s going on in the world, but they have to go on doing the work that only they can do."

He said some ALMH staff members had friends in downtown Manhattan or family members in the military, but they continued to do their jobs at the local hospital. A meeting was held late yesterday morning to inform workers what was going on. He also said some caregivers at ALMH had volunteered to go to New York if they were needed.

Hester expressed sympathy for the victims and their families, and in particular for the many paramedics, firemen and other professionals trying to help others who were killed when the second tower of the World Trade Center collapsed.

"Almost nothing good comes out of something like this, but we must, when it is over, take advantage of any lessons we in the health-care field can learn from it," he said.


ALMH was notified Tuesday morning by the Illinois Department of Public Health and the Illinois Emergency Management Agency that if an emergency occurred in Illinois, they might be called on to support the large hospitals in Peoria and Springfield, either by sending staff or by accepting patients. That alert ended at 10 p.m. Tuesday, and the hospital is back to normal now but still prepared to help if needed.

"Here at ALMH, this is the first time we have been asked to consider sending any of our clinical staff to another hospital." He said hospital officials had to consider how they could do that and still take care of patients and staff the emergency room here.

ALMH was also asked to keep a running inventory of its blood supply in case blood was needed. Hester said no more blood is needed now, but new donors may be needed within two to four weeks.

Police Chief Rich Montcalm and Fire Chief Bucky Washam said Tuesday night both departments were on the alert and ready to respond to any emergency.

In a prayer offered before the Lincoln City Council meeting Tuesday evening, the Rev. Glenn Shelton, who is also an alderman, asked that Americans "grow closer and closer together as a result of this tragedy."

[Joan Crabb]

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City says ‘no’ again to taking
over problem culvert

[SEPT. 12, 2001]  A proposal that the city of Lincoln take over and repair a deteriorating box culvert north of the Cracker Barrel Restaurant near Allison Lake got the same answer it got last November a resounding "no."

In what was almost a replay of a request made late last year, the Springfield engineering firm of Greene and Bradford, representing Gene Burwell as developer of the North Heitmann Park subdivision, addressed the work session of the council Tuesday evening, asking that the city take over the problem culvert.

Jay Jessen of the engineering firm estimated it would take at least $20,000 to repair the culvert, while Joe Greene of the same firm thought the figure would be more like $25,000.

Members of the sewer and drainage committee, headed by Bill Melton, once again declined to accept the eroding culvert. Once again, Jessen maintained that only an oversight in completing paperwork back in 1997 when the subdivision was completed had kept the city from accepting the culvert and the easement where it is.

And once again, Jessen pointed the finger at former city engineer Dennis Hartman, even bringing in photocopies of a letter Hartman sent to Gene Burwell in 1997, listing items that required correction before acceptance of the subdivision.


"At the end of that construction season I sent Hartman the easement. I didn’t check to see Dennis got it. I didn’t follow up and see that it got done. Had Hartman done his thing I wouldn’t be here," Jessen told the council.

However, Grant Eaton, sewer plant manager, said he had talked to Hartman, and Hartman told him there was never any plan for the city to take over the box culvert.

Alderman Benny Huskins also confirmed that Hartman had never presented anything to the council about the city accepting the culvert.

Because of the sandy soil in the area, the soil is washing out underneath the culvert and it is pulling apart, according to Melton.

Greene also addressed the council, pointing out that the culvert was "all along" considered part of the subdivision.


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He said Bob Orr, who granted the easement to Burwell, wants the culvert repaired so he can have access to the Lake Allison area. He also quoted Burwell as saying, "I think I’ve paid all I need to pay," regarding the problem culvert.

Greene also noted that Burwell has "done a lot for this community, bringing in new business here."

Eaton said the council was aware of Burwell’s contribution, but the city does not take care of culverts for any other business. "Right now I see no benefits, just costs to the city, just future problems," he said.

Donnie Osborne, street superintendent, also said he didn’t believe it was in the best interests of the city to take over the culvert.

"In three years I can’t believe the damage that’s gone on out there," he said. "If the ground is sandy, why wasn’t that looked at when this was designed? It should have been looked at at the time of construction."

City Attorney Bill Bates said the culvert was not shown as dedicated to the city on the plat and that there was no liability on the city’s part.

Alderman Joe Stone summed up the committee’s position. "I think we made our position clear. I don’t see any reason to change it."

Bates also reported that he is still seeking to get a clear title to the used leaf vacuum the city is considering purchasing. He said the city has already spent $300 for title searches with the wrong companies, because the firm selling the leaf vac gave him incorrect information. If the city cannot get a clear title, they will not purchase the machine, he said.

Eaton reported that the final design for the sewer treatment plant upgrade has been sent to the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency for approval. He said he still plans to go out for bids on the work in November.

[Joan Crabb]

U.S. under terrorist attack
How is Logan County affected?

[SEPT. 11, 2001]  The terrorist attacks that have destroyed New York’s World Trade Center buildings and part of the Pentagon, shut down air traffic in the United States and Canada, closed trading on Wall Street, and brought military bases throughout the country on high alert are being monitored closely here in Logan County.

"There are no reports in central Illinois of any terrorist acts," Dan Fulscher, Emergency Services and Disaster Agency director, told the Lincoln Daily News at 11 a.m. Tuesday. Fulscher had just been in contact with the Illinois Emergency Management Agency Operations Center in Springfield.

However, ESDA’s Crisis Management Center in the Safety Complex was open, and the staff, along with fire and police officials, was in "a heightened state of awareness," according to ESDA’s Assistant Director Terry Storer.

"All agencies are aware of what is going on right now, and we are keeping our eyes wide open," Fulscher said. He said the IEMA would be keeping the Logan County agency posted on any new developments.

Although the Illinois Statehouse was closed and legislators sent home as a precautionary measure, public buildings in Lincoln, City Hall and the Logan County Courthouse, remained open.

"It’s obvious that we are very vulnerable to terrorism," Fulscher said. "This event today may change the perception of the man on the street, but agencies like ESDA, fire and police departments, EMS, the health department, and others have been working very hard to prepare for such an emergency.

"Now when we talk about being prepared for terrorist attacks, people will understand better what we’ve been working toward," he added

He said the local ESDA has put in requests for state funding for specialized terrorism equipment and training for the next three years, and that he now intends to ask for funding for the next six years.

The Logan County ESDA has been working hard for the past year, especially the past summer, to prepare an emergency terrorism task force. "Most task forces in the state of Illinois have been working hard to prepare for such an event," he added.

"People here in Logan County want to send their deepest sympathies to victims, their families and the emergency workers involved in this terrible event," he said.

[Joan Crabb]

Chamber of Commerce Week

Local organization has contributed to community since 1913

[SEPT. 10, 2001]  Gov. George Ryan has proclaimed Sept. 9-15 as Chamber of Commerce Week in Illinois. The Lincoln/Logan County Chamber of Commerce has joined the Illinois State Chamber of Commerce in celebrating this special recognition of the contributions chambers of commerce make to American civic and economic life.

Chambers of commerce have contributed to the civic and economic life in Illinois for 163 years. The chamber in Lincoln was incorporated in 1913 as The Lincoln Commercial Club. The purpose of the club was "to procure factories and manufacturers, public improvement, celebrations, and benefit."

 In 1922, the name of the organization was changed to Chamber of Commerce of Lincoln Illinois, under the presidency of William Hodnett. In 1970, the name was changed to Greater Lincoln Area Chamber of Commerce, with Jack Hodgson as president of the board and Charles Isley as executive director.


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The current name of the local chamber, Lincoln/Logan County Chamber of Commerce, was approved in 1987, when Dave Hawkinson was executive director. The name change reflected the mission to represent the total business community in Logan County, and that mission remains in effect today.

 "Our board of directors represents small and mid-size private business, manufacturing, agriculture, education, finance, tourism, not-for-profit and real estate. And we have representation from the two larger commerce communities of Mount Pulaski and Atlanta," reports Bobbi Abbott, executive director. "We are proud of the diversity of our board and the chamber’s many positive contributions to this community."

[News release]

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]

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]

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