LDC, best home for one resident

[FEB. 19, 2002]  The prospect of downsizing the Lincoln Developmental Center is an ongoing nightmare for Linda and Pat Brown of LeRoy, parents of a 27-year-old son for whom LDC is home.

"Our son, Jeff, has been a LDC a little over 4½ years, and he’s the happiest I’ve ever seen him," Linda says.

Although many advocates for the developmentally disabled would like to see their clients in small-group, community-integrated living units known as CILAs, such a setting didn’t work for Jeff, Linda says. Jeff is in the severe to profound disability range; he doesn’t understand any type of danger, and he doesn’t like change.

[AFSCME Union 425 President Don Todd discusses the governor’s planned LDC resident transfers with parents Linda and Pat Brown of LeRoy.  Concerned for their son's well-being and that of other LDC residents, the Browns attended the legislative hearing in Springfield last Wednesday.]

"He needs structure," says his mother. "He was in a community setting for 12 years. The MARC center in Bloomington did the best they could with the resources they had, but Jeff didn’t do well there. He couldn’t deal with the frequent changes in staff. He couldn’t cope and he had behavior problems."

Later he was put in an apartment in downtown Bloomington with one-on-one supervision, but that didn’t work either. He had no activities, his father recalls; he just sat there looking at four walls. One night, he got out and was found running in the middle of a downtown street.

At last the family and the MARC center agreed that they could do no more for Jeff. He was sent to BroMenn Hospital for a few days, and then to Lincoln.

"We had had it drummed into us that state-operated facilities were not adequate placement," Pat Brown says. But as there seemed to be no other alternative, Linda visited LDC and came away impressed.

"I had always thought institutions were horrible, but I went to LDC and was impressed with the setting and the living arrangements, and especially with the compassion the staff had for me and for Jeff. I had never experienced that much compassion," she reports.

When Jeff left BroMenn, he was on six medications to control his behavior, says his father. "He went to LDC and in a short time they turned him around. He was soon on only one medication, to control seizures. He absolutely loves it there. We used to have to fight him to get him to go to the MARC center, but now he wants to go back to LDC. He likes to come home, but when he gets here he soon wants to go back to Lincoln. The LDC staff love him. They say he’s easy to manage."

One reason Jeff likes LDC is that he has plenty of activities. He’s in a work program at Logan Mason Rehabilitation Center and he loves going to work, his mother reports. He goes on outings, he’s in Special Olympics, and he plays basketball on the LDC courts.


[to top of second column in this article]

"Jeff is happier at LDC than he’s ever been. He now has friends. His friends and the staff are his family," Linda says.

"Now we’re faced with the governor wanting to move 150 residents, and there is no place for Jeff to go. They had trouble finding placements for the first group they sent out. The governor’s decision is turning everybody’s life upside down," she continues.

Linda and Pat are co-presidents of the LDC parents group, which has recently grown to 250 members.

Pat thinks the move toward putting the developmentally disabled in small group homes is the way of the future. "It’s the train that’s going down the track that they want us all to get on," he says.

"If the state is moving toward small group homes, why won’t they oversee the community facilities as they do the state-operated ones? The state needs to provide community homes with the funding and experienced staff to care for our loved ones, as they do in Lincoln," he continues.

"Our number one consideration is to have properly trained, properly compensated staff who can take all the abuse — the slaps, the pinches, the vomiting — that comes with caring for the profoundly handicapped. They need to pay staff a living wage, not $6, $7, or $8 an hour," he continues.

"I said at our last parents’ meeting, ‘At LDC we have Cadillac services and at community-based homes we have Yugo services.’ This is because of the state funding. Should we throw these very good services into disarray? Why not give them all at least Ford or Chevy services?

"If the same criteria and the same review process were used in community-based homes, they would not pass muster. They would not pass the stringent requirements that LDC is held to.

"The bottom line is you’ve got to have day-to-day, well-compensated, highly trained employees who will stay in the profession long term. And this costs money. Otherwise we’re going to have a catastrophe in our delivery system of services for the developmentally disabled.

"We hope the legislature will intervene and provide the funding for LDC to continue to operate at the level it is at right now."

[Joan Crabb]

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LCCS athletic facility dedication planned

[FEB. 18, 2002]  Lincoln Christian College and Seminary has set the dedication ceremony for the new Laughlin Center at 10 a.m., Saturday, Feb. 23. Olympic medalist Jean Driscoll is the guest speaker.

[Laughlin Center; photo by Bob Frank]

The new athletic facility includes a 30,000-square-foot gymnasium that features seating for 1,000 people, training and locker rooms, office space, and a weight room and athletic equipment, as well as additional parking and landscaping.


[Thomas A. Gaston Arena in the Laughlin Center;
photo by Bob Frank]

Dedication events include ribbon-cutting ceremonies at the Laughlin Center and the Thomas A. Gaston Arena. A reception, along with tours of the facility, will follow the presentation by Ms. Driscoll. The dedication will conclude with the first men’s and women’s basketball games in the new facility.

The athletic facility is part of the multimillion dollar renovation sweeping the LCCS campus. P.J. Hoerr of Normal constructed the facility. The public is invited to attend this momentous occasion.

Dedication events

10 a.m. — Ribbon-cutting ceremony at Laughlin Center

10:15 a.m. — Ribbon-cutting ceremony at Thomas A. Gaston Arena; remarks and recognition of special guests

10:30 a.m. — Guest speaker: Olympic medalist Jean Driscoll

11:30 a.m. — Reception and tours

1 p.m. — Women’s basketball game: Lincoln Christian College vs. Emmaus Bible College

3 p.m. — Men’s basketball game: Lincoln Christian College vs. Emmaus Bible College

[to top of second column in this article]

Guest speaker Jean Driscoll

Jean Driscoll is an accomplished athlete and speaker who is known around the world. She won silver medals in the 1992 and 1996 Summer Olympic Games. She has won the Boston Marathon eight times and is the only person in the marathon’s 105-year history to achieve that feat.

Ms. Driscoll earned a bachelor’s degree in speech communication and a master’s in rehabilitation administration from the University of Illinois. She also holds an honorary doctorate from the University of Rhode Island.


[Jean Driscoll; photo provided by LCCS]

Additional accomplishments

•  1991 Women’s Sports Foundation Amateur Sportswoman of the Year

•  1992 USA Track and Field Disabled Female Athlete of the Year

•  1992, 1996 Wheelchair Sports U.S.A. Female Athlete of the Year

•  1996 Illinois Fellowship of Christian Athletes Champion in Christ Award

•  1997 Athletes International Ministries Female Athlete of the Year

•  No. 25 on Sports Illustrated "Top 100 Female Athletes of the 20th Century"

•  Illinois Fellowship of Christian Athletes state board, 1995-present

•  Wheelchair Sports U.S.A. member, 1987-2000

•  Author, "Determined to Win," 2000 biography about Jean’s life

Television appearance highlights

•  Commentator during Boston Marathon, April 2001

•  "CBS Sports Spectacular," December 2000

•  "Good Morning America," April 1996

•  "ABC Nightline," April 1996

•  "The Today Show," August 1996

•  "Late, Late Show with Tom Snyder," April 1995

[LCCS news release]

‘Prime bank’ scams on the rise,
Secretary of State Jesse White warns

[FEB. 16, 2002]  SRINGFIELD –– Secretary of State Jesse White warned Tuesday that losses from "prime bank" scams are rising dramatically. Last year, one source reported losses at more than $1.5 billion.

Low interest rates and volatile equity markets have caused many Americans to rethink their investment strategies, often turning to investments with the promise of high yield returns. Promoters of the "prime bank" trading programs tell investors that they can yield huge returns with no risk. In reality, neither prime banks nor the instruments they claim to trade exist.

"People want to believe there are secret ways to make fabulous amounts of money," said White. "But there are no shortcuts in investing. Simply put, prime banks don’t exist."

In Illinois, Omega Trust and Trading Ltd. promised 50-to-1 returns on investments in "prime bank notes." Secretary of State Securities Department investigators assisted in uncovering a scam that had resulted in more than $18 million defrauded from investors worldwide. Nineteen people were indicted and all defendants either pleaded guilty or were found guilty after trial.

In another case of investment fraud, Lynda Frykholm of Rockford was sentenced to 12 years in prison after she was found guilty of defrauding 220 investors from all over the United States.

Prime bank scam artists come from all backgrounds and use their ill-gotten gains to maintain lavish lifestyles. In the Omega case, the company’s founder, Clyde Hood, was a 66-year-old electrician in Mattoon. Money from investors was used to pay for dozens of classic automobiles. Frykholm used swindled money to purchase two vacation homes in Lake Geneva, Wis., four cars, a speedboat and several trips to Switzerland.


[to top of second column in this article]

Before making any investment, Secretary White urges investors to ask the following questions:

•  Has the seller given you written information that fully explains the investment? Make sure you get proper written information, such as a prospectus or offering circular. The documentation should contain enough clear and accurate information to allow you or your financial adviser to evaluate and verify the particulars of the investment.

•  Are claims made for the investment realistic? Some things really are too good to be true. Use common sense and get a professional, third-party opinion when presented with investment opportunities that seem to offer unusually high returns. Pie-in-the-sky promises often signal investment fraud.

•  Does the investment meet your personal investment goals? Whether you are investing for long-term growth, investment income or other reasons, an investment should match your own investment goals.

•  Are the seller and investment licensed and registered? Call the Illinois Securities Department to find out. If they aren’t registered, they may be operating illegally. Contact the department toll free at (800) 628-7937 or go to this address on the secretary of state website:  http://www.sos.state.il.us/departments/

[News release from the Illinois secretary of state]


County agrees to buy equipment and showcase building improvements

[FEB. 15, 2002]  In a largely routine work session a month before the primary election, the 13 Logan County Board members agreed on almost everything, including spending about $163,000 for equipment and bridge repairs, and announced an open house to showcase new and improved county offices.

The open house, set for Sunday, March 3, from 3 to 5 p.m., will feature the new Dr. John Logan County Building and the many newly refurbished offices in the Logan County Courthouse. Though most offices were completed several months ago, State’s Attorney Tim Huyett is just moving into his office on Friday, Feb. 15. Last of all, at the end of February, the law library will be moved to the Sojourn room. During the open house, refreshments will be served in the courthouse rotunda.

In the Thursday night meeting conducted by vice chairman Lloyd Hellman, board members agreed with their Law Enforcement Committee to choose the higher of two bids for a new ambulance. Foster Coach Sales of Sterling bid $95,428 for a 2002 model Medtech, almost $5,500 higher than the bid of Wheeled Coach Industries of Walnut. However, the Foster Coach bid includes a higher trade-in allowance for the old ambulance, a 2002 model vs. a 2001, and a fully equipped and staffed service department. In addition, Steve Siltman of Logan County Paramedics Association indicated at a committee meeting that the Medtec ambulance offers better craftsmanship and greater structural integrity.

In an amendment to the motion to purchase the vehicle, the board also favored spending an additional $2,350 for a new cot for the ambulance. The final figure is $88,278 after the $9,500 trade-in is deducted. Foster Coach plans to sell the old ambulance to the Lincoln Rural Fire Department for the same figure, $9,500. Board member Clifford "Sonny" Sullivan abstained from voting because he is a member of the Paramedics Association board.

In a different bidding situation, the Road and Bridge Committee recommended accepting the low of eight bids for a backhoe. The $58,212 backhoe from Machinery, Inc., of Springfield is expected to be the only major purchase for roadwork during 2002.

At the request of County Engineer Tom Hickman, the Road and Bridge Committee has also approved a contract with Ozyurt & Stone of Springfield for scour repair on the Waynesville bridge. Hickman said the stream has shifted about 60 feet, causing the scour problem. Because of uncertainty about what exactly will be needed, the contract does not specify a maximum amount, but the work is expected to cost about $10,000.

A third purchase approved by the Road and Bridge Committee is $6,239 for new garage doors for the shop at 529 S. McLean. For that figure Springfield Overhead Doors will provide and install two new doors and openers plus remove the old doors. Board members made no objections to these purchases, and it appeared that they will be approved at the voting session on Tuesday.


[to top of second column in this article]

On the plus side of the ledger, Lincoln-Logan Emergency Services-Disaster Agency has received a $15,000 grant to fight terrorism. Law Enforcement and ESDA Committee chair Doug Dutz indicated that the Lincoln Police and Fire departments will use the bulk of the grant to buy gas masks and self-contained breathing apparatus.

In other business, cat traps were again on the county board agenda. Animal Control Committee chair Sullivan said five new traps are being purchased at a cost of $45 each. There is a $25 deposit charged to citizens while they use the traps.

Animal control warden Sheila Farmer has proposed an animal adoption fair and also a cat spay-and-neuter day for lower-income people in the community. The two are related, Sullivan said, because animals cannot be adopted until they are neutered, and some people cannot afford neutering fees.

Airport Committee chair Roger Bock announced a Feb. 26 meeting to discuss plans for a golf course on airport and adjacent grounds. Tom Stanford, a private golf course developer, will meet with representatives of the county board, Lincoln Park District, Lincoln Christian College and with Economic Development Director Mark Smith.

Bock also said that the credit card-operated fuel pump at Logan County Airport is still not operational. The pump is installed but is not yet set up to accept credit cards.

The one area of disagreement that surfaced during the board of the whole meeting concerned an item in Dave Hepler’s Planning and Zoning Committee report. A motion by board chairman Dick Logan to handle country homes rezoning requests one lot at a time failed in committee. Hepler said he thinks treating each lot individually would streamline the rezoning process because it would avoid debates about multiple lots.

Board member Terry "TJ" Werth said he opposes the idea because he is concerned that individual lot buyers would be identified and become an issue. He also noted that such questions are being considered in the review of the county zoning ordinance being conducted by a committee chaired by Phil Mahler, director of the Logan County Regional Planning Commission.

[Lynn Shearer Spellman]


LDC parents’ concerns called justified

Advocates say state funding
for group homes is inadequate

[FEB. 14, 2002]  There are two very different schools of thought about the best way to care for the developmentally disabled.

The hearings by the Illinois House committee on the plan to downsize the Lincoln Developmental Center became a kind of debate between these two groups: those who want to keep large state-run institutions like LDC open and operating and those who believe that most, if not all, of the developmentally disabled are much better served in small-group, community-based homes.

But even some of the strongest proponents of small-group, community-integrated care concede that their present level of funding by the state is woefully inadequate.

Gov. George Ryan’s latest plan for downsizing LDC calls for putting about 100 residents in small-group homes yet to be built on the present campus. He has already moved about 130 residents to other facilities, and the new plan calls for putting another 159 residents in other state facilities or in small-group homes.

At the last of the four hearings before the combined Mental Health and Patient Abuse Committee and Disabled Community Committee, Barbara Thomas, director of residential services for the Springfield Association for Retarded Citizens, said that although she favors community-based homes and doesn’t like large institutions, she believes parents of LDC residents are right to be concerned.

"I have heard LDC parents say community providers can’t take care of their family members. They are right. Until funding is provided for community facilities, we need LDC."

She pointed out some of the differences between the care her disabled son receives in a community-integrated living arrangement, known as a CILA program, and the care a friend’s son receives at LDC.

"If my son needs dental care, I pay for it. If he needs psychiatric care, I pay for it. If [my friend’s] son at LDC needs dental care, the state pays for it. If he needs psychiatric care, the state pays for it."

She said her agency, which is committed to helping the disabled live in the community, has had to return some clients to state institutions "because when we asked for additional resources, the state said no."

"Our agency did not fail. The system failed these people. We live in a state that never made people with disabilities a priority," she said.

She was also critical of the credentials of those making decisions about the fate of the developmentally disabled.

"Decisions are made by people who don’t have a clue about those they are making decisions about. People who make these decisions should have worked in a facility and been involved with direct care."

Another criticism of the Illinois system came from Thomas Cook, presently regional director for Dungarvin Illinois. Cook, who worked for the Illinois Planning Council on Developmental Disabilities and in other Illinois agencies for 20 years, sent his comments in a letter that will be made part of the record of the hearings.

Although he supports the CILA concept, he questioned the decision on downsizing and closing institutions such as LDC because of the "constant fluctuations in state funding of CILAs and because of the lack of a community infrastructure" such as transportation, recreation, health care, therapies and others.

More than seven years ago, the state asked Dungarvin, an out-of-state provider, to come into Illinois and provide care for the developmentally disabled. Dungarvin was promised adequate funding from the Department of Mental Health, he said.

This year, however, funding was cut and the Dungarvin group will leave the state on March 1, about $60,000 in debt for the services it has been providing. Cook must now find other services for the 56 people in northern Illinois that Dungarvin has been serving.

In regard to the latest proposed LDC cuts, Cook said: "I think the Department of Human Services lacks credibility when they claim they can place as many people as they have proposed (159) in a quality CILA program by July of this year.

"For the department to gain credibility in this matter, they have to fix what’s broken in the CILA rate-setting methodology and they have [to] give assurances about their ability to keep the promises they make for years to come.

"No wonder there is so much doubt in the minds of the Lincoln parents about the DHS plan, especially when they see agencies like Dungarvin depart the state because of broken promises and inadequate funding."

Another service provider who worked with the disabled in New York State before moving to Illinois said she feels she is living in the "Dark Ages" here. She said New York and other states provide many more options and much more funding for the care of the disabled. Another advocate said that both Wisconsin and Michigan have closed all of their large state facilities and are serving the disabled community in small-group homes.


[to top of second column in this article]

During the hearing several members of the disabled community testified in favor of the growing trend for small-group or independent homes. Some spoke with great emotion about the benefits of independent living, and some recalled incidents of abuse in state-run institutions. Most said they believed that everyone with a disability could and should be accommodated by a CILA or other arrangement for independent living, and most were critical of large institutions like LDC.

John Britton Jr., formerly of Lincoln, one of those who testified, relies on a wheelchair to get around and a computer to speak, but he has never lived in a large institution. He visits LDC because he has friends there.

"Every time I go to LDC I look for people who should be there. I have not seen them," he said.

Another asked, "Why does Illinois continue to segregate people because of their disabilities? She suggested the state take the funding used to keep institutions open and put it toward services for groups in communities. "Then people with disabilities would have a life."

Amy Irving of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the union of LDC employees, said that while the hearings began with a discussion of LDC’s problems, they ended with a discussion about the entire state system of delivery of services to the developmentally disabled.

"We are pitting state-operated institutions against community-based living centers," she said. "We need a continuum of care to serve people with a diversity of disabilities.

"We shouldn’t be talking about taking away services for people who live in state institutions to serve community-based living," she said. "We should be talking about increasing the size of the pie."

State Rep. Jonathan Wright, R-Hartsburg, who attended the hearings, said he supported community homes and CILAs but did not believe they were adequate for everyone.

"If you talk to people who operate group homes, they will tell you there is a great turnover in employees because they can’t offer any benefits and the pay is as low as $7, $8 or $9 an hour.

"How can we take people out of LDC when there isn’t any place else to put them? Most of the residents are being transferred to other state-operated facilities. They’re not going to be sent to small-group homes because, first, we don’t have space for them in CILAs, and second, most residents are not suited to living in small-group facilities."

Irving and other AFSCME members blamed poor management at LDC for the recent problems that brought about the call for closing the 124-year-old institution. Last fall, after problems at LDC surfaced, director Gwendolyn Thornton, who had come from the Department of Corrections and had no experience working with the developmentally disabled, was replaced by an employee of the Jacksonville Developmental Center.

Irving said there was a problem with management not listening to employees and there was "no accountability" at the Department of Human Services, an agency in charge of LDC.

"The LDC situation could be a seminal event that affects all other state institutions. If it happened at Lincoln, it can happen at others."

AFSCME Local 425 President Don Todd said he was disappointed that Department of Human Services Director Linda Renee Baker had not appeared at any of the four legislative hearings.

"I think she should be here to answer for what has happened at Lincoln," Todd said. He said the chairman of the joint committee, Lou Lang, D-Skokie, had asked Baker to testify, but instead she sent two of her employees.

Lang announced that he had sent a letter to Baker asking a number of specific questions and that in a few days her reply and the rest of the testimony at the hearing would be made public.

Although Lang did not say specifically what the next action of the joint committee might be, he admitted that the system isn’t perfect.

"We are committed to do our best to improve the delivery of services to those with developmental disabilities or mental disabilities. We know the delivery system has never worked as well as it should have."

[Joan Crabb]


LDC letter sent by Lincoln Mayor Beth Davis makes an appeal to legislators

[FEB. 14, 2002]  The text of Mayor Elizabeth A. Davis’ statement on Wednesday, Feb. 13, to the Illinois House Committee on Mental and Developmental Abuse and Neglect is as follows:

Good morning Honorable Representatives and Senators:

As Mayor of the City of Lincoln, a lifetime resident of this city, and a former Lincoln Developmental Center (LDC) employee, I would like you to be aware of what I am so well aware of. Lincoln Developmental Center has been an integral, instilled part of our community all of our lives much more than anyone would believe. LDC has stood almost 125 years — longer than any of us here have been alive, and I thought LDC would be here forever because of the wonderful services it provides to our meekest fellow human beings. All of us in Lincoln and Logan County have ties to it in various degrees, and we all have been affected by LDC — its care giving for the individuals requiring continuous care, the commerce LDC provides to the city of Lincoln and Logan County, the jobs it has provided for many, many of our citizens, and the peace and comfort LDC has provided for the parents and family members of our LDC residents.

LDC has always been on the cutting edge of care giving for the mentally challenged and developmentally disabled individuals in the state and the nation, and many current state-operated facilities within Illinois have staff who were trained at LDC. Just two short years ago, LDC was recognized as one of the best facilities in the nation, five years ago it was the first facility in the nation of its type to be accredited, and now it has come to this — miscommunication, misrepresentation, decisions made without first hand knowledge and understanding. It confounds all of us who truly know what is and isn’t going on regarding LDC.

My question to you, Representatives, is why LDC/Lincoln/Logan County is being targeted so heavily when LDC’s abuse/neglect record of nine surveyed IL state-operated facilities revealed LDC is ranked #5. Jacksonville and Ludeman Developmental Centers both were ranked worse than LDC and yet some of LDC’s residents are being moved to both of those facilities.

The parents and family members have only wonderful, respectful comments about LDC and its staff as they should be the foremost group to be consulted regarding their children and family members living at LDC. Why is their voice not being heard? Would you honestly leave one of your children in a facility if you didn’t feel comfortable about the treatment, care, or love s/he was receiving? I most certainly would not. Many of the residents being targeted have resided in group homes which were highly non-conducive to their individual, medical, physical, or psychological needs and have very much met those needs while living at LDC. I myself, as are many, are concerned with safety and happiness for the LDC residents and believe if an individual is able to ride a bicycle, walk, or wheel one’s wheelchair to a nearby store to purchase something to eat, or if not, at least have the presence of mind or a personal caretaker with him/her to understand where s/he is and knows how to do something independently, I believe that is an individual who will fare well out in society living in a group home. But the individuals we have at LDC, for the most part, are extremely developmentally disabled and so dependent on the loving staff who take care of them 24 hours per day, there is not immediate hope of them living independently through means of a lesser staffed group home. Having worked at LDC for almost five years, I thoroughly believe this. Some people and advocacy groups are making strong judgments regarding this issue without ever visiting LDC’s residents or consulting the residents and/or their families for their preference.


[to top of second column in this section]

With Governor George Ryan’s proposal to downsize LDC to 100 residents and 200 employees and utilize ten group homes while less safe facilities like Jacksonville and Ludeman Developmental Center receive our residents, is unexplainable and very much wrong. LDC’s importance to Lincoln is compared with that of the Loop to Chicago, and as Caterpillar is to Peoria. Please don’t allow the Governor to take our economic stability away from Lincoln/Logan County. This is going to be devastating500 jobs lost at LDC and another 50 to 60 lost jobs at our two prisons if the privatization of the commissary and dietary duties is enacted. There has to be an explanation of why Lincoln, IL has been targeted so heavily.

Illinois Representatives and Senators, please upgrade our resident and staff numbers significantly - please take a stand on what is right -reinstate LDC to its former residential and staff numbers. Our city and county residents and businesses depend on LDC for sustaining its economy. To lose the facility, especially in these tough economic times, would be so devastating to us - the loss of many, many higher paying jobs, loss of commerce, loss of jobs for both husband and wife teams who are employees of LDC, reduction of students at our community schools and colleges, loss of businesses, church hospital/medical facilities, tax revenues, potential revenues throughout the community, bank loans for LDC employees, and our consumer goods will be more expensive. It will just be a downward spiral.

In closing, I have always believed a society should be measured by how well it takes care of its weakest, most vulnerable members; and LDC by leaps and bounds is off the Richter scale as far as the level of care, love, dedication, and professionalism which its employees demonstrate 24 hours per day to our residents. I am confounded by Governor Ryan’s continuing statement that he is only concerned about the welfare of the residents at LDC. But the Governor is misunderstanding the point — LDC is a family and family members take good care of their own. LDC does have the concern and welfare of its residents as its utmost priority! Having worked at LDC and been around the residents of LDC all my life, I know that for a fact. By threatening to further break up this family, is nothing short of abuse and neglect on our government’s part.

I’m telling all the LDC staff I see to keep up their good work because not everyone has the dedication, courage, and strength to bring daily sunshine to the lives of our loved ones whom they take care of at LDC 24 hours per day.

I respectfully ask you for your support and compassion in keeping LDC fully-functioning and fully-funded, so it once again can move into state and national accreditation as a cutting-edge facility.

Thank you.

Mayor Elizabeth A. Davis

City of Lincoln, Illinois




[Mayor Elizabeth Davis]


Two LDC hearings today

[FEB. 13, 2002]  Two hearings over the future of Lincoln Developmental Center were scheduled this morning. A 9 a.m. hearing at the Logan County Courthouse was in regard to the lawsuit filed to protect the facility from closure or cuts by Gov. George Ryan. The information from that hearing is available below.

A second hearing was at 10 a.m. at the Stratton Building in downtown Springfield. A subcommittee of the Illinois General Assembly met to discuss the possibility of keeping the facility open as it is through June. State legislators allocate funding for LDC by the fiscal year. Funding has been appropriated through June 30. Information on the state committee meeting will be posted as soon as it is available (click here).

Round two in lawsuit to protect LDC

A brief exchange of information and small agreements resulted from this morning’s legal hearing at the Logan County Courthouse. The lawsuit brought in early January by Sen. Larry Bomke, AFSCME Union 425 President Don Todd and LDC parents seeks to protect the facility from closure by Gov. George Ryan.

Gov. Ryan announced Feb. 4 that he would be reducing the resident population to 100 and cutting the workforce to 200 employees. Transfers and cuts would begin in April.

Lawyers Steve Yokich, representing LDC, and Karen McNaught, defending the state, met shortly after 9 a.m. before Judge Eldon Behle.

Yokich said a law on the books restricts a state-run facility from making residential cuts at random. According to the State Health Facility Planning Act, before a state hospital can reduce the number of beds, a permit must be issued from the State Health Facilities Planning Board.

The state has not gotten a permit to do that.

It had been rumored that transfers might begin as early as in two weeks. However, according to the McNaught, transfers are not to begin until April except in case of an emergency.



[to top of second column in this article]

As a result of a request by Yokich, McNaught agreed to have a representative of the Department of Human Services notify Yokich if there are any residents to be moved before April. Not only will they need to say the resident(s) are being moved, they will also need to say why they are being moved.

McNaught filed a motion on behalf of the attorney general’s office on Monday, Feb. 11, to dismiss this suit as well as a motion to stay further discovery. The second motion would prevent any further actions against them. Yokich stated he was not in his office for two days and had not received the motion prior to the hearing. Judge Behle did not get a copy until today.

With all done that could be done today, Judge Behle set the next hearing for 1 p.m. Feb. 20. It is to hear the motion by the state to dismiss this lawsuit to restrict the governor’s actions.

Meanwhile, Yokich has received leave to conduct one deposition of an unnamed person before the April hearing.

That deposition will take place at 10 a.m. Feb. 19 at the attorney general’s office.

[Lynn Shearer Spellman and Jan Youngquist]


Legislative committee winds up LDC hearings

[FEB. 13, 2002]  A joint Illinois House committee wound up its hearings on the downsizing and possible closure of the Lincoln Developmental Center on Wednesday, Feb. 13, with the promise to compile a report that will be made public in a matter of days.

During the four hearings, the joint committee heard testimony from advocates of keeping LDC open as well as testimony from those who believe the developmentally disabled would be better served in small- group homes. The joint committee is composed of the Mental Health and Patient Abuse Committee and the Committee on the Developmentally Disabled.

Rep. Lou Lang, D-Skokie, chairman of the committee, said the outcome of the hearings is yet to be determined. “I don’t know what we will do, what we can or should do.”

He did say part of the public record will be a reply from Linda Renee Baker, secretary of the Department of Human Services, which will answer in “a lot of detail” questions about the situation at LDC and how it has been handled by DHS. Baker was asked to testify during the commission’s hearing but did not attend, instead sending representatives from her department.

After hearing complaints that patients were not being properly cared for at LDC, Gov. George Ryan moved about 130 residents to other state facilities. His latest plan is to keep only about 100 residents at the facility, in small-group homes yet to be built. This plan would cut the number of employees from a high of 700 to about 200. A few months ago, the number of residents was about 370.


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Rep. Jonathan Wright, R-Hartsburg, who attended the hearings, said the committee’s report could be broad-based, about the entire system of caring for the developmentally disabled in Illinois, or might be very specific to the LDC situation.

Wright, who has supported keeping LDC open, said he did not believe the Department of Human Services had a clear plan for providing services to the developmentally disabled. He said he believed the General Assembly should be sure that a clear plan exists before closing down facilities such as LDC.

Wright also said that although in theory the General Assembly has the power to block Gov. Ryan’s plan to close LDC, there is a question as to whether it would have the political will to take that step.

More than 60 people attended the hearing, including members of American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Union Council 31, representing LDC employees, and parents of LDC residents, along with disabled people who live in group homes and their assistants and advocates.

[Joan Bogar Crabb]


Military addresses sought

It is a year like no other. Since Sept. 11 we are a changed nation. Individually, our daily sensitivity toward whom and what we have in our lives has been heightened. We are more conscious and appreciative, first about those we love and see everyday. Next, we have a newfound appreciation for those who risk their lives every day as rescue workers and protectors of life and property in our communities. We also now think more about our military men and women who are committed to serve and protect our country. Many are away engaged in battle, some are in waiting to go, all are ready to lay their lives on the line in defense of our freedom.

Lincoln Daily News is seeking the names and addresses, including e-mail addresses, of friends and relatives who are serving in the armed forces. They need not be from here in Logan County. If you know someone serving, please send the information to ldneditor@lincolndailynews.com. A complete list will be made available and kept updated through the site so we might all hold them in our thoughts, prayers and well wishes.

[Click here for names available now.]

Name of person in military:

Branch of service:

Current location of service:

Postal address:

E-mail address:

Relationship to LDN reader sending information (optional):


Are we prepared for terrorism
in Logan County?

It’s on the radio, TV, in all the media. You hear it in the office, on the street and maybe at home — threats of terrorism. America is on high alert. Here in central Illinois, away from any supposed practical target areas, perhaps we feel a little less threatened, but we are still concerned. So how concerned should we be, and how prepared are we for the types of situations that could occur?

Whether the threat is domestic or foreign, violent, biological or chemical, our public health and rescue agencies have been preparing to respond to the situations. Lincoln Daily News has been at meetings where all the agencies gather together as the Logan County Emergency Planning Committee to strategize for just such a time. Our reports have not even provided every detail that every agency has reported; i.e., a number of representatives from differing agencies such as the health and fire departments, CILCO and ESDA went to a bioterrorism and hazmat (hazardous materials) seminar this past August.

Here are some of the articles that LDN has posted pre- and post-Tuesday, Sept. 11. Hopefully you will see in them that WE ARE WELL PREPARED. At least as much as any area can be. Every agency has been planning, training, submitting for grants to buy equipment long before Sept. 11. We can be thankful for all of the dedicated, insightful leaders we have in this community.


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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



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United States










New York



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


Washington, D.C.





More newspaper links



Voter registration for disabled

March 19 general primary election notice to the elderly and people with disabilities

[JAN. 15, 2002]  Citizens who are not registered to vote and cannot leave their home, hospital, nursing home or other institution because of a permanent physical disability can arrange for voter registration by contacting a deputy registrar or the county clerk’s office.

Voter registration will close on Feb. 19 for the March 19 general primary election.

If you are physically able, you may register to vote by going to the county clerk’s office, Room 20 in the Logan County Courthouse, 601 Broadway in Lincoln. Hours are 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. You will need to show two forms of identification, one with your current address on it.

For people with physical disabilities and the elderly, election judges will be available at the polling place on election day to assist voters when a friend or relative is unable to help. Handicapped-voter booths will be available for your convenience. Physically impaired or elderly persons may be eligible to vote absentee. Please contact the Logan County clerk’s office for information.

For any information concerning voter registration or voting for the elderly or disabled, please call the Logan County clerk’s office at (217) 732-4148.

[Sally J. Litterly, Logan County clerk]

Time to register to vote

[JAN. 3, 2002]  Are you registered to vote?

The March 19 primary is rapidly approaching. The close of registration is Feb. 19. If you have moved, or if you have married and changed your name, it is necessary that you change your voter registration with our office in order to cast your vote in the election.

If you have questions about your voting eligibility, please contact our office at (217) 732-4148.

[Sally J. Litterly, Logan County clerk]

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