em space, Where They Stand,
the Numbers, How We Stack Up,
Up With That?
posted do not necessarily represent the opinion of LDN.
Any opinions expressed are those of
story of state ineptitude
and injustice effectual
30, 2001] Just
when you thought we didnít have a winterís precipitation in
Hades to salvage LDC, a story comes to light that should make us all
regather our collective wills and push forward with our objections
to the governorís "prepaid" decision to close the
budget cuts, some $500 million by the governor, not only placed our
own major employerís situation in jeopardy but also sounded the
death knell for other such institutions across the state.
of the most tragic stories regarding the executive guillotine of
statewide human services had to be the decision to close the
Illinois Center for Rehabilitation and Education in Chicago. This
facility, primarily focusing on young men and women who do have
basic life skills, was deemed nonessential by Ryan in last monthís
budget-trimming nightmare. The institution, which offered such
services as an education as well as physical and emotional therapy,
with a long-range goal of community placement for its graduates, was
advised that it was to be closed and its students moved to other
suitable area facilities. This is where the story became ugly.
Department of Health and Human Services had begun to ship out the
residents before a hearing on a stay by the local union came before
the Cook County circuit judge. The destinations of the residents
were nothing near what had been promised by DHHS. Close to home? How
about a young man being sent 250 miles away from his elderly mother.
Proper facility? How about that same 21-year-old man, who has a high
school diploma and was getting ready for a community home, being
sent to a nursing home for severely handicapped senior citizens. A
nursing home that had no physical therapy program nor means to allow
him to do anything but wait out the rest of his life.
this was happening, there wasnít a word from the ARC, nor the
Equip For Equality coalitions. Too small a cause? Just one small
fish when there is a whole lake full of fish to fry in Lincoln? Who
knows? We havenít heard from them to tell why they ignored this
human rights issue.
seemed hopeless. And then this past week, Celeste Garrett of the
Chicago Tribune brought this scathing story of state ineptitude and
injustice into the public forum with a pair of headline articles
regarding the treatment of the residents of the Chicago center. It
didnít tell the story of the center, it told the story of the
people involved. The story brought to tens of thousands of
Illinoisans the same type of story that residents and parents of LDC
have been facing with far less notoriety. Did Garrettís story have
power? You bet it did! Was it the truth? Absolutely. Did it have any
effect on the Chicago institutionís residents? Thank God it did.
[to top of second column in this
Tuesdayís State Journal-Register, an article by Jeff Druchniak
sayings that Ryan had reversed his decision to close the Chicago
Rehabilitation Center flashed off the paper like a Roman candle.
power of a major newspaper to find the humanity in a story and bring
it to center stage had done more than all the letters and calls and
petitions of hundreds of concerned Illinoisans. In the limelight of
a statewide audience, Ryan and DHHS were shown up as having no souls
nor conscience. The heat was too much even for an I-donít-care,
lame-duck governor like Ryan to ignore.
The lives of dozens of special souls were given a second chance
because a reporter delved into the body of the issue rather than
just continued to write down what everyone told her. Garrett made a
difference that only someone in her special circumstances could do.
She did more than just write a story. She helped people who needed
help when everyone else just wrote words and then went home.
is in these same dire straits as the Chicago center was. There is
still one chance, one opportunity to save the institution. All it
will take is one Chicago Tribune reporter or one reporter from the
lawmakerís digest, the State Journal-Register, to bring out the
humanity of the individuals in this story and give the residents a
chance to live their lives as they would want.
story is still lying there on the ground just waiting to be picked
up. Oh for just one white knight to enter the foray.
(not for publication):
to Fakís commentary:
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staff offers more than 25 years of experience in the
the corner of Woodlawn and Business 55
rally, comparative analysis, growing House support give hope
14, 2002] I
broke a cardinal rule of journalism Saturday. Itís OK since Iím
not a journalist. That rule is someone reporting a story should not
become part of the story. Accordingly, I shouldnít have spoken to
the crowd at the LDC rally and then written an article as well as
preparing a report for Channel 15.
understand the concept quite clearly and agree with it just about
most of the time. But not this time. Not this Saturday.
people at LDC, through their union, felt I should be among the
political figures, resident guardians and community leaders who were
given a few moments to help employees of the beleaguered institution
realize that they are not alone in their fight to keep the
institution open. If I were asked to speak a thousand times at this
rally, I would have said yes just as many.
the event you feel my observations are now biased or jaded, I will,
as always, leave that up to you. This is what I saw. This is what I
heard. Most importantly, this is what I felt.
felt like I had gone back in time to an old fashioned 1960s union
rally. Aggressive words used to excite an audience to become part of
the rhetoric filled the auditorium that day. To some on the stage, I
could sense a discomfort. This wasnít a quiet "meet the
candidates" forum. This was an old-fashioned "You take my
job over my dead body" kind of gathering. In 20 years, I have
never seen the likes in Logan County.
sat on stage between more political candidates than you can shake a
stick at. There were Davis and Bomke and Wright. There
were even Klingler and Brady and
Mitchell on the folding chairs
around me.(*) Yes, I should say their full
names, their party affiliation and where they live, but I feel like
breaking another rule of proper reporting today.
important in my mind was the fact that Democratic gubernatorial
candidate Paul Vallas was there. The man got up and stated for the
record that as governor he would fix LDC and keep it open. The
political correctness of the statement was, of course, self-serving
but the repercussions could be immense. To date no candidate for
governor has come out from behind the curtain to even acknowledge
the LDC issue. Vallasí comments may cause those more timid than he
to realize a block of voters is awaiting their input now, not come
Rep. Jonathan Wright advised us that a full 96 percent of the
reportable observations at LDC ended with positive conclusions.
Wright stated that was an A in his book. It is in mine as well. As I
sat next to Jonathan I constantly felt bad that he will be lost to
us so soon as our state representative.
[to top of second column in this
listened intently as AFSCME Deputy Director Roberta Lynch reported
on how other institutions and community homes in a 50-mile radius
have been faring in fulfilling their state-mandated mental health
residency requirements. I was shocked to hear of bathrooms with no
toilet paper or soap, of defective sprinkler systems and smoke
alarms with dead batteries. I listened as reports of poorly trained
staff and improper medication safeguards came from her speech. I
have always wondered why there has been no comparative analysis made
as to how LDC stands among its peers. Here was the telling
information I have been so dearly trying without success to obtain
I listened to Lynchís report, I became angry at the media.
Throughout this entire story, only what has been spoon fed to the
press has made the news. Why, I
have to ask, hasnít anyone in the media sought this information
out themselves. Isnít another rule of journalism to ask questions
and to seek both sides of a story. Are all the reporters, especially
in area television, simply now like waiters, who write down what
they are told without a single question or effort to go farther.
hope others at the rally walked away with the same feelings I did. I
can base it on nothing substantive, but it seems that it is becoming
"en vogue" for politicians to come to the aid of LDC. That
is what it is going to take to keep the center open. We as residents
of Lincoln can do just so much. A united General Assembly taking up
the cause is the only true means of winning this battle. I think I
saw the birth of just that this past Saturday.
referred to are Mayor Beth Davis, Logan County Board Chairman Dick
Logan, Illinois Sen. Larry Bomke, and state Reps. Gwenn Klingler,
Dan Brady, Bill Mitchell and Jonathan Wright.
(not for publication):
to Fakís commentary:
Ticklish situations demand attention
I heard from a relative whose father is being treated for brain
tumors. As she told about her attempts to bring him some cheer, she
noted that even when youíre sick with the flu, a return to good
health seems a long way off. Waiting on uncertain outcomes is
difficult. I told her I knew what she meant, but I understood better
a few days later when my throat started feeling sore and a cough
relative reported on two of her friends with illnesses that were not
clearly diagnosed at first. One person had pain; another had
itching. The stomach pain was traced to gallstones, the itching to
they both had ticklish situations as they tried to deal with
unexplained symptoms that called for attention. The woman with the
itching skin consulted doctors in different towns for opinions and
treatments. The other womanís condition worsened so that she had
to decide whether to call her doctor on a weekend. Then she had to
determine whether she could make it through another night at home or
would need to arrange an ambulance trip to the emergency room.
ticklish situation in my throat was mild by comparison. It was like
a recurring argument between my body and mind. Suddenly a sensitive
place would say, "Cough." So I did. And the ticklish spot
still said, "Cough." My mindís response was, "Iím
already coughing. What more do you want? How about a break to catch
a breath? Wouldnít that be more practical?" But the impulse
wasnít listening to arguments that I thought were rational. The
body has a mind of its own.
thought it would be a good idea to give it some extra rest. So I
stayed home instead of going to the store for something to soothe
the irritation, and I planned to sleep in. But, of course, just when
the alarm would normally have come on, the ticklish spot decided it
was time to wake me up.
situations also clamor for our attention in other areas of life.
Sometimes the problems defy easy explanation, but as we go about our
usual activities, issues show up that wonít be ignored. Iím not
referring to garden-variety whims and debates about what to wear or
what to have for lunch. There are full-scale conflicts between
"Just say Ďnoí" and "Just do it" in matters
where one alternative is not clearly wiser or more virtuous than
matter how much weíd like to ignore the tug of war, the reality of
the situation is like the ticklish spot that isnít satisfied by
just one cough. It wonít leave us alone until we respond, even if
it means standing there with eyes watering and muscles quivering
against the inclination to cough again. Whether itís a financial
difficulty, a lack of know-how, a malfunctioning machine, a troubled
relationship, a psychological challenge or a physical danger,
sometimes we just have to stop and deal with it.
there are issues that are less critical but can be just as
insistent, such as unfulfilled wishes and goals not yet
accomplished. As a retired ballplayer said in explaining a return to
his game, there was an itch that needed to be scratched.
Itís a good thing there
arenít cough drops to smooth over all the unsettled situations. If
there were, weíd miss out on challenges that call for the best in
us. Weíd have less endurance. Weíd miss out on many creative
solutions, successes and new directions. Weíd miss out on real
They Stand is a commentary section addressing specific issues in the community. Informed individuals present their
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teacher announces her candidacy for regional superintendent of
Jean Anderson, candidate
31, 2001] My
name is Jean Anderson and I am announcing my intent to be a
Republican candidate for the office of Regional Superintendent of
Schools for Logan, Mason, and Menard counties.
am a graduate of Lincoln College and Sangamon State University (now
the University of Illinois, Springfield). I have a Masterís
Degree in Educational Administration and hold the Type 75
certificate, both requirements for the position of Regional
Superintendent. I am currently employed by Lincoln Elementary
District #27 Schools as the eighth grade Language Arts teacher at
The Lincoln Junior High School, a position I have held for the past
seventeen years. I also serve that school as its Discipline and
member of the First United Methodist Church of Lincoln, I was its
organist for over 22 years and currently serve on the Board of
Trustees. I am chair of the Communications and Bargaining committees
and treasurer of the Lincoln Elementary Education Organization, and
also belong to the Illinois Education Association, the National
Education Association, and the Lincoln Junior High School
daughter of Lincoln residents Paul E. and the late Helen Musa
Rankin, I have resided in Lincoln and Logan County for my entire
life. My husband of thirty-two years, Mike, is a Logan County
Highway Department employee. We are parents of Jonathan Anderson,
Director of Instrumental Studies at The Victoria College, Victoria,
Texas; and James Anderson, a kindergarten teacher at Mt. Pulaski
Grade School, Mt. Pulaski, Illinois. My sister, Susan Rohrer, and
her family also reside in Lincoln.
I am a political novice, I believe I would be an effective Regional
Superintendent. For one, I am a strong written and oral
communicator, due to many years of teaching and music performance. I
have a working knowledge of school law and the many issues educators
currently face. Having spent seventeen years in the classroom, I am
very much aware of the concerns felt by today's teachers. I have
received formal training in negotiations, employer/employee team
building, and conflict resolution, and have served as chief
negotiator for our district's bargaining team. Our last three
contracts have been settled amicably, without mediation or
work-stoppage. In addition, I am organized and work well both
independently and in group situations.
[to top of second column in
recertification is an important new issue in the education field. I
am currently serving as a member of my district's Local Professional
Development Committee, a group responsible for overseeing and
assessing the state-required recertification requirements of our
teaching staff. I received training for this position through the
Springfield Regional Office of Education. Part of my duties as
Regional Superintendent will be to provide local training for the
teachers of Logan, Mason, and Menard counties, and assist them in
the recertification process. I also plan to work with local school
districts that want to become Providers, a designation that allows
them to bring on-site training for their staff rather than sending
them to another location for training or paying an outside group for
facilitating the process.
elected, my intention is to continue in the professional and
dedicated manner of our current Regional Superintendent George
Janet. Not only has his leadership been outstanding, the fact that
he is a resident of this county has been a definite advantage for
all Logan County citizens, and he has represented the Republican
party well. I believe that it is advantageous for this tradition to
continue. Therefore, I feel that my party affiliation, my residency
in this county, my strong ties with area schools and school
personnel, and my knowledge and dedication to current issues make me
a strong contender for the position of Regional Superintendent.
estimates in Logan County
||Rural population -
||Urban population -
||Persons below poverty
level - 11.8 %
||Average marriages per
||Average deaths per
County high schools: 1960-2000
High School consolidated with New Holland
High School became part of Olympia School District
High School consolidated with Mount Pulaski
High School became Warrensburg-Latham
High School consolidated with Lincoln Community High School
Jose High School consolidated with Illini Central (Mason City)