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Owl exhibit at Lincoln Public Library

[FEB. 15, 2002]  "Owls, the Silent Hunters," a pictorial exhibit from the Illinois Audubon Society, is on display now in the Annex of the Lincoln Public Library.

The exhibit shows the eight types of owls, both common and uncommon, that may be seen in Illinois and tells something about the habits of these nocturnal birds of prey.

Owls are silent hunters because they have very soft feathers that make no noise as they fly, so they can easily sneak up on their prey. They also have excellent hearing, binocular vision, strong feet and talons for capturing prey, and hooked beaks for tearing it into bite-size piece pieces.


[Photos by Joan Crabb]

They see quite well in the dark, and because of their binocular vision (like ours) they can judge distance and movement very well. Because they cannot move their eyes, they turn their heads from side to side just as we do.

Owls are beneficial to man because they eat mostly mice, rats and harmful insects. They can swallow small prey at one gulp and then regurgitate the bones and fur in small pellets. These pellets can be found on the ground under the places where owls roost.

They are attentive parents and take good care of their young owlets.




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The most common owls in Illinois are the great horned owl, a large owl that can be as much as 25 inches tall and has ear tufts that resemble horns; the barred owl, also a large owl but without ear tufts; and the screech owl, 7 to 10 inches long, with small ear tufts. The screech owl is the one most often seen and heard near our homes.

Barn owls, with their distinctive pale heart-shaped faces, are becoming rare. Like short-eared owls, they favor open farmlands and prairies. Snowy owls are occasional winter visitors from the Arctic, and long-eared and saw-whet owls are also more likely to found in Illinois during the winter.

Other exhibits from the Illinois Audubon Society will be on display at the Lincoln Public Library in the coming months.


The Illinois Audubon Society is the oldest conservation organization in Illinois, founded in1897. It works to preserve habitat, especially for threatened and endangered species, and sponsors educational programs, such as field trips and workshops, for both young people and adults. It is not part of the National Audubon Society.

For more information about the Illinois Audubon Society, write to P.O. Box 2418, Danville, IL 61834-2418; phone (217) 446-5085; or visit the website at

[Joan Crabb]

The competition is on

Play board games at Lincoln Public Library

[JAN. 18, 2002]  Bored with winter? Lincoln Public Library presents "Board Games Rodeo" from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. every Saturday through March 23 in the Pegram Community Room.

If you are high school age through adult, you are invited to come and compete against your fellow "boardmeisters" in games of Monopoly, Risk, Scrabble, chess, checkers, Chinese checkers, backgammon, Trivial Pursuit and Yatzee. Remember to bring your gameboard so everyone can participate.

Tri-County AmeriCorps volunteers serve as referees.

Light snacks are served.

For more information about this program, visit the library at 725 Pekin St. or call (217) 732-8878 or 732-5732.

‘The 10 Biggest Legal Mistakes
Women Can Avoid’

[FEB. 20, 2002]  "The 10 Biggest Legal Mistakes Women Can Avoid." Marilyn Barrett, Capital Books, Inc., 2000, 268 pages.

According to attorney and author Marilyn Barrett, "Your greatest protection from legal and financial harm is an awareness of your legal risks and your legal responsibilities, and your willingness to take responsibility for your legal affairs." In "The 10 Biggest Legal Mistakes Women Can Avoid" Barrett explains how women can take the necessary precautions to protect themselves, their children and their assets.


In the course of her career Barrett has heard "stories in which a woman was suddenly faced with financial disaster, she was betrayed by her husband or someone else she trusted, she feared she would not be able to take care of herself and her children, she lost her business and seriously harmed her family’s finances, or she was otherwise placed in legal peril because she did not vigilantly watch over her own legal affairs." It is a central theme of this book that women can exercise control over their own financial and legal independence and avoid the pitfalls sometimes found in prenuptial agreements, marriage and divorce, taxes, property, business, and understanding legal and financial documents.


Barrett speculates on the possible reasons that women are sometimes more prone to legal "missteps":  A woman may lack the knowledge or experience necessary in legal or financial matters, she may find the subject uninteresting, she may be too busy with other matters, or she may trust someone who later proves untrustworthy. Unfortunately, "the law makes few exceptions for lack of knowledge or experience. … We are expected to read, understand, and appreciate the consequences of the legal documents we sign."

You can, with the advice contained in this book, start "on the road to your legal empowerment as a woman."


The 10 biggest mistakes are:

1.  Failing to protect yourself in a prenuptial agreement: Barrett defines the prenup and explains how to read and understand this document. She recommends that both spouses retain legal counsel and use the advance time before the wedding to negotiate the agreement.

2.  Failing to protect yourself and your children in marriage: Always keep your separate property separate. According to Barrett, women sometimes assume that property that owned before marriage will always remains theirs, even in divorce. That’s not always the case, especially if it is commingled with marital or community property. It is also important to understand your husband’s job or business and that you are adequately covered with insurance in case of spousal death or injury.

3.  Failing to protect yourself and your children in divorce: The most important point — hire your own lawyer! This will be advantageous when negotiating property ownership, settlements, alimony and child support, and establishing your own financial independence.


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4.  Starting a business: Barnett cautions throughout her book, "Good intentions do not protect you from bad legal results." Determine if opening a small business is right for you. Two key concerns — how much capital will you have to raise, and should you form a limited liability entity.

5.  Running your business: New entrepreneurs must understand the myriad of complex rules and regulations that govern a business enterprise. This includes local, state and federal laws, payroll, sales taxes, labor laws and insurance.

6.  Signing documents you don’t read or understand — or when your husband says, "Just sign here, honey": Barrett calls "just sign here, honey" four simple words that "have the power to totally devastate your financial well-being, shatter your life as you know it, and invalidate your trust in those closest to you." Never sign any document before you read it and understand your personal liability.

7.  Failing to hire and (when appropriate) fire lawyers: Be certain that the lawyer hired to represent you works with you; if you feel you have the wrong lawyer, terminate the relations immediately. Remember — read the agreement with your attorney before signing, and don’t be afraid to negotiate the fees.

8.  Neglecting the tax man: Unexpected problems in tax matters come in many forms. It’s important to carefully file any joint returns and report all income. Be sure to file your taxes on time (even if you owe money) and carefully review the returns for accuracy.

9.  Failing to protect legal title to your property: Understanding documents such as liens and deeds is important to protecting your interests. Identify and record your ownership interests on every deed and include any restrictions on co-owners.

10.  Failing to plan for your death or incapacity: You should have a record of what you own; also consider a will or trust, an after-death plan of action for your business, and power of attorney for health care and related matters.


"The 10 Biggest Legal Mistakes Women Can Avoid" is essential reading for every woman who wishes to protect her legal and financial status in marriage or business. Former California State Treasurer Kathleen Brown calls the book, "a straightforward and accessible guide designed to introduce women to the use of sensible tools that will enable them to know their options before they make the vital, and potentially risky, choices that will affect their lives." This book is highly recommended for all adult and young adult women.

For more information, visit the library at 725 Pekin St. or call (217) 732-8878.

[Richard Sumrall, Lincoln Public Library District]

Coloring contest begins Feb. 22

[FEB. 20, 2002]  The Lincoln Junior Woman’s Club is sponsoring an Easter coloring contest in recognition of National Youth Art Month.  Children in grades kindergarten through six are eligible to participate.

Coloring pages may be picked up at the children’s annex of the Lincoln Public Library beginning Feb. 22 and are to be returned to the library no later than Saturday, March 2. The child’s name, telephone number and grade should be neatly printed on the back of the page.

The pictures will be judged by club members and a prize awarded to the first-place winners in three age groups.

All coloring pages will be displayed in a downtown merchant window the week of March 11, and they will be donated to local nursing homes for Easter.

[Jeanette Savery]

LCC presents ‘The Wizard of Oz’

[FEB. 19, 2002]  "The Wizard of Oz," the spring play at Lincoln Christian College, will be presented in the Earl C Hargrove Auditorium on the LCC campus at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 21, 22 and 23. 

The play was written by L. Frank Baum, Harold Arlen and E.Y. Harburg. 

Directors are Tim Searby and LCC Professor James Allison.

Tickets are $6 for adults and $4 for students. For groups of 20 people or more, the price is $1 off per ticket.

For more information, call the Hargrove Auditorium office at 1 (888) 522-5228, Ext. 2254.

[LCC news release]

Community Theatre Showcase in Decatur on March 2

[FEB. 14, 2002]  "Show’n’Tell," a Community Theatre Showcase, will be presented from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, March 2, in Decatur. The one-day event will be at the Shilling Community Education Center at Richland Community College.

Theatre 7, Richland Community College and Illinois Theatre Association Community Theatre Division are hosting the program.


8 a.m. — Registration, continental breakfast

8:45 a.m. — Opening remarks, welcome

9 a.m. — Presentations

A. "Lighting for Dummies"

B. "Round Robin" (four tables)

Ensemble casts

Learning lines

Texturing sets

Play selection

C. "Plant the Seed of Theatre" (in children 7-10 years old); "Watching It Grow" (teens)

10:15 a.m. — Presentations 

A. and B. Repeat presentations

C. Auditioning

11:30 a.m. — Lunch and exhibits

12:30 p.m. — Four one-hour shows

4:30 p.m. — Wrap-up and evaluation

For more information, contact Theatre 7’s Molly Shade,

[Theatre 7 news release]

Community Concert review

Rhythm Brothers jazz up Logan County

By Gina Sennett

[FEB. 11, 2002]  Alison England was from California; the Pasadena Roof Orchestra was from England; and the Rhythm Brothers are not related, to paraphrase their introduction. The Rhythm Brothers is a quartet consisting of — at various times — two guitars, a banjo, a fiddle, a bass, a sousaphone and four silky voices. If that isn’t enough, add in "the music of Raul Reynoso and the humor of Doug Mattocks," and you get one entertaining show.

The Rhythm Brothers have played everywhere from Carnegie Hall to the Grand Ole Opry to Disneyland. And now they have graced Lincoln with their talented "plucking and strumming" as this month’s feature in the Lincoln Land Community Concerts series, at the chapel of Lincoln Christian College.

The band consists of Raul Reynoso, Doug Mattocks, Paul Shelasky and Lee "Westy" Westenhofer.


Reynoso is an extremely talented guitarist and songwriter. His songs have been described as "True World Music," since they come from his mixed background of Latin American culture, Los Angeles society and luegrass guitar. The band played a few of them, including "Matelot" and "Waneta’s Waltz."

Mattocks, a comedian and guitarist, also plays all three of the major styles of banjo: four-string tenor and plectrum and five-string bluegrass. As the unofficial leader of the band, his quick tongue keeps the show moving.



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Shelasky is an accomplished fiddle player. His talent has taken him from the California State Fiddle Championships to international tours in North America and Europe. He also is a songwriter. The band performed one of his Discovery Channel-inspired love songs as an encore, "I Don’t Want a Praying Mantis Love Affair."Westenhofer plays the upright bass for the band. His playfully driving rhythms give their songs, for lack of a better word, oomph. His renditions of "Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring" and "Dueling Banjos" played on the sousaphone are experiences no music lover should miss.

For their sets at Saturday’s concert, the band chose a wide variety of tunes from all the ages of American string music. Traditional banjo tunes included "Oh! Susanna" and "Foggy Mountain Breakdown." The band’s smooth harmonies came out in the jazz tunes "What a Little Moonlight Can Do," "Chicken Ain’t Nothing but a Bird" and "Girl in the Little Green Hat." Bluegrass fans were delighted by "Rolling in my Sweet Baby’s Arms" and "Orange Blossom Special." Selections also included some Spanish favorites, such as "Malagueña."

Wonderful music was not the only gift given to the audience. Many of the song introductions included brief music history or music appreciation lessons. For example, the guitars played by Reynoso and Mattocks were reproductions of traditional French guitars used by early jazz players. Reynoso played the "petite bouche" or "little mouth" guitar, which describes the opening in the body. Mattocks’ guitar, the "grande bouche" or "large mouth" version had a much wider opening, allowing a different sound.

Music appreciation teachers or new style of string quartet, the Rhythm Brothers provided an entertaining and educational concert for Logan County residents.

For more information, go to

[Gina Sennett]

‘Sylvia’ playing at Richland

[FEB. 7, 2002]  Merely Players, in cooperation with the Richland Community College Forensicaturs (for EN sic ay ters), present the two-act adult comedy "Sylvia" in Shilling Auditorium on Feb. 14, 15, 16, 22 and 23. Showtimes are 7:30 p.m. for each performance. Tickets are available at the door or by calling 875-7211, Ext. 342.

All proceeds from the production will benefit the Richland speech and debate team.

Sylvia is actually a dog who speaks — and watch out when she does! A stray taken in by a couple in the midst of empty nest syndrome (among other hilarious complications), Sylvia chews on shoes and hearts with equal fervor.

The opening performance, on Valentine’s Day, features a "non-blue night" with special and free admission to students with current photo IDs. The adult language will be modified for this performance only.


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The cast is composed of Richland’s four speech team coaches: Carrie Foxx as Sylvia, Joe Straka as Greg, Sam Straka as Kate, and Mike Huff as Tom, Phyl and Leslie.

Karen Becker is the producer and director. Assistant director is Vicky Sue Gilpin, and technical director is David Gilpin.

Running time is approximately two hours.

For further information, or to enter your dog as the canine equivalent as star of the show, or for group ticket discounts, contact Sam Straka of Merely Players at 848-0045.

[News release from Merely Players]

Theatre 7 offers workshop leading up to auditions

[FEB. 7, 2002]  Theatre 7 in Decatur announces an audition workshop along with auditions for the musical comedy "Anything Goes."

Want to be on stage... but afraid to try?

"Auditioning Conditioning" is a workshop offered by Theatre 7’s director, Mike Redlinger, to help nervous potential performers cope and provide them with helpful hints for better tryouts. The workshop will be on Saturday, Feb. 16, from 1 to 3 p.m., at T7’s headquarters, 131 N. Water in Decatur. Reservations are not required and there is no charge.

This will be an excellent opportunity to become familiar with the music, history, highlights, cast requirements and rehearsal schedule for Theatre 7 upcoming production of the musical comedy "Anything Goes." The cast consists of 26 male and 26 female roles, ages 16-80.


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Auditions for "Anything Goes" are scheduled for Monday and Tuesday, Feb. 18 and 19, at 6:30 p.m., at the Decatur Civic Center Theater. Those participating should be prepared to read script, sing and dance.

For more information about both the workshop and the auditions, call director Mike Redlinger at 864-2482.

[Theatre 7 news release]

Lincoln Community Theatre information

Lincoln Community Theatre’s website is at Pictures from past productions are included.  The LCT mailing address is Lincoln Community Theatre, P.O. Box 374, Lincoln, IL  62656.  E-mail:

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