Still WatersBird’s-Eye View,  the em spaceWhere They Stand,
  By the NumbersHow We Stack UpWhat’s Up With That?

Commentaries posted do not necessarily represent the opinion of LDN.  Any opinions expressed are those of the writers.

Scathing story of state ineptitude
and injustice effectual

By Mike Fak

[JAN. 30, 2001]  Just when you thought we didn’t have a winter’s 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 governor’s "prepaid" decision to close the center.

The budget cuts, some $500 million by the governor, not only placed our own major employer’s situation in jeopardy but also sounded the death knell for other such institutions across the state.

One 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 month’s 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.

The 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.

While this was happening, there wasn’t 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 haven’t heard from them to tell why they ignored this human rights issue.

All 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 didn’t 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 Garrett’s story have power? You bet it did! Was it the truth? Absolutely. Did it have any effect on the Chicago institution’s residents? Thank God it did.


[to top of second column in this commentary]

In Tuesday’s 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.

The 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-don’t-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.

LDC 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 lawmaker’s 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.

The story is still lying there on the ground just waiting to be picked up. Oh for just one white knight to enter the foray.

[Mike Fak]


Reply to Fak (not for publication):

Response to Fak’s commentary: 

Corn Crib Restauraunt at Latham
East of Lincoln on Rt 121
10:30am - 9pm Tues -- Thurs
10:30am - 10pm Fri and Sat
Closed Sun and Mon
(217) 674-3440

is the place to advertise

Call (217) 732-7443
or e-mail 

Our staff offers more than 25 years of experience in the automotive industry.

Greyhound Lube

At the corner of Woodlawn and Business 55

No Appointments Necessary

Rousing rally, comparative analysis, growing House support give hope

By Mike Fak

[JAN. 14, 2002]  I broke a cardinal rule of journalism Saturday. It’s OK since I’m not a journalist. That rule is someone reporting a story should not become part of the story. Accordingly, I shouldn’t have spoken to the crowd at the LDC rally and then written an article as well as preparing a report for Channel 15.

I understand the concept quite clearly and agree with it just about most of the time. But not this time. Not this Saturday.

The 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.

In 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.

I 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 wasn’t 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.

I 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.

Most 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. Vallas’ comments may cause those more timid than he to realize a block of voters is awaiting their input now, not come next spring.

State 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 commentary]


I 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 myself.

As I listened to Lynch’s report, I became angry at the media. Throughout this entire story, only what has been spoon fed to the press has made the news. WhyI have to ask, hasn’t anyone in the media sought this information out themselves. Isn’t 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.

I 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.

[Mike Fak]


*Ed. note: Officials 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.


Reply to Fak (not for publication):

Response to Fak’s commentary: 

Bird’s-Eye View

Ticklish situations demand attention

Recently 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 you’re 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 developed.

Another 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 kidney dysfunction.

Actually 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 woman’s 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.

The 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 mind’s response was, "I’m already coughing. What more do you want? How about a break to catch a breath? Wouldn’t that be more practical?" But the impulse wasn’t listening to arguments that I thought were rational. The body has a mind of its own.

I 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.

Ticklish 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 won’t be ignored. I’m 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 ‘no’" and "Just do it" in matters where one alternative is not clearly wiser or more virtuous than another.

No matter how much we’d like to ignore the tug of war, the reality of the situation is like the ticklish spot that isn’t satisfied by just one cough. It won’t 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 it’s 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.

Then 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.

It’s a good thing there aren’t cough drops to smooth over all the unsettled situations. If there were, we’d miss out on challenges that call for the best in us. We’d have less endurance. We’d miss out on many creative solutions, successes and new directions. We’d miss out on real life.

[Mary Krallmann]

Where They Stand

Where They Stand is a commentary section addressing specific issues in the community. Informed individuals present their position with facts, opinions or insights on the issue. The material is posted unedited, in its entirety, as received. If you have further comment on the issue, please send an e-mail message, complete with your name, address and telephone number to

Local teacher announces her candidacy for regional superintendent of schools

By Jean Anderson, candidate

[OCT. 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.

I am a graduate of Lincoln College and Sangamon State University (now the University of Illinois, Springfield). I have a Masters 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 Attendance Officer.

A 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 Parent-Teacher Organization.

The 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.

Although 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 this section]

Teacher 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.

When 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.


Jean Anderson


By the Numbers

Population estimates in Logan County
30,798 Total population, 1990
15,380 Rural population - 49.9%, 1990
15,418 Urban population - 50.1%, 1990
2,875 Projected births, 1990-1998
2,736 Projected deaths, 1990-1998
3,143 Persons below poverty level - 11.8 %
258 Average marriages per year
135 Average deaths per year

Alexis Asher

Logan County high schools: 1960-2000
1962 Middletown High School consolidated with New Holland
1972 Atlanta High School became part of Olympia School District
1975 Elkhart High School consolidated with Mount Pulaski
1979 Latham High School became Warrensburg-Latham
1988 New Holland-Middletown High School consolidated with Lincoln Community High School
1989 San Jose High School consolidated with Illini Central (Mason City)

Alexis Asher

Lincoln High School history


Lincoln School District


School buildings in 1859


"Grammar school" in 1859


High school teacher, Mr. January, in 1859


Central School opened


High school building started


High school dedicated, Jan. 5


Cost of new high school


Election authorized community high school District #404


Dedication of new Lincoln Community High School, 1000 Primm Road, in auditorium, on Nov. 9

Alexis Asher

How We Stack Up

This feature of the Lincoln Daily News compares Lincoln and Logan County to similar cities and counties on a variety of issues in a succinct manner, using charts and graphs for illustration.

Racial makeup of selected Illinois counties


What’s Up With That?


Back to top


News | Sports | Business | Rural Review | Teaching & Learning | Home and Family | Tourism | Obituaries

Community | Perspectives | Law & Courts | Leisure Time | Spiritual Life | Health & Fitness | Letters to the Editor