Gov. Ryan commends legislative
action on Lincoln Presidential Library

Expert panel, HPA to govern library and museum

[JUNE 6, 2002]  SPRINGFIELDGov. George Ryan applauded the General Assembly’s passage of a bill creating an operating structure for the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum through a reorganization of the Historic Preservation Agency.

The legislation, passed by the General Assembly as an amendment to the Fiscal Year 2003 budget, effectively forms two entities within the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency — one for the oversight of state historic sites and one for administration of the Lincoln Presidential Library.

“In preparation of the opening of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library this fall, we have developed a governing structure and home within state government for this monumental project,” said Gov. Ryan. “With this reorganization, we will fulfill our pledge to maintain oversight of the library and museum within state government, yet still allow for a more independent operation as befitting an entity of this monumental importance.”

The legislation requires the creation of an advisory board of the Lincoln Presidential Library to advise the library and the future library director. Eleven individuals with expertise in history, research, cultural institutions, archives, libraries, business or education will be appointed by the governor to six-year terms with the consent of the Senate. The initial members’ terms will be one to six years.


The advisory board will work together with the Lincoln Library Foundation and recommend programs for implementation in support of the mission and goals of the Lincoln Presidential Library, recommend seminars or other conferences, and report annually to the governor, the General Assembly and the board of the Historic Preservation Agency.

The historic sites in the state of Illinois will be overseen by a 15-member group known as the Illinois Historic Sites Advisory Council. Council members will be appointed by the director of the Historic Preservation Agency for three-year terms and will include at least three historians, three architectural historians or architects with a preservation background, and at least three archaeologists.

Last October, Gov. Ryan asked a six-member blue-ribbon panel to advise him in the selection of a director for the Lincoln Presidential Library. The search committee made initial recommendations regarding the governing structure for the library and museum, the scope and responsibilities of the key positions, and developed an outline of the requisite qualifications which candidates for director will be evaluated. The committee is currently conducting a nationwide search for qualified individuals and will report their list of final candidates to Gov. Ryan.


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Governor Ryan noted House Minority Leader Lee Daniels’ strong support for the library project and the governor’s panel.

So far, the panel has outlined a set of goals for the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, including preserving the stature and reputation of President Lincoln, allowing for research and scholarship related to Lincoln’s legacy, creating an exhibition center for Lincoln artifacts, and sponsoring education, outreach and scholarly research.

The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum is a $115 million project that is a partnership of the state of Illinois, the city of Springfield and the federal government.

The complex will offer programs and public policy institutes in cooperation with the University of Illinois at Springfield. The library will house the world’s largest collection of Lincoln artifacts and documents — 46,000 items — as well as state-of-the-art exhibits that bring Lincoln’s legacy to life.


The library and museum complex is located in downtown Springfield, a few blocks from several important historic sites: Illinois’ Old State Capitol, where Lincoln served in the General Assembly; his former law offices; the only home he ever owned; and the railroad depot where he made his famous farewell speech to his hometown.

A live camera shot connected to the Internet currently shows a broad view of the construction area in downtown Springfield. To watch the Lincoln Library’s construction, visit the Lincolncam. Several views will zoom in on the library, the next-door site of the museum and nearby Union Station, a historic train depot that will be converted into a gateway building for the library and museum complex.

[Illinois Government News Network
press release]

First sewer bids in under cost

[JUNE 5, 2002]  Joe Pisula of Donohue and Associates, design engineers for the wastewater treatment plant, told the Lincoln City Council Monday evening that costs of materials for the upgrade to the city’s sewer plant have come in about 22 percent below estimates. That’s good news for city residents and businesses, who have already seen one hike in their sewer bills this year because of the need to make improvements to the city’s wastewater treatment plant to meet current Illinois Environmental Protection Agency standards.

Depending on the final cost of the plant and the number of grants the city can get, another raise in rates will be coming by the middle of next year. More grants and lower costs will mean less of a rate hike the second time around.

Grant Eaton, sewer plant manager, said the city saved from $350,000 to $375,000 altogether by bidding the equipment directly to the manufacturers, rather than having the general contractors bid the equipment.

The city council approved bids totaling $646,843 for nine pieces of equipment. The amount budgeted for the equipment was $832,095, a savings of $185,252. Equipment included screens, pumps, grit removal equipment, clarification equipment and blowers. All bids are subject to IEPA approval.

No bids that met the requirements were received for one item, a belt filter press, and only one bid that met specifications was received on each of the other nine items, Pisula said.

This was no surprise, he added, because the bids are "very specific," as required by the IEPA. The IEPA can impose these requirements because all of the money to upgrade the plant will come from a 20-year low-interest loan from that agency.


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Pisula held up a thick set of documents to show what bidders have to do to meet IEPA requirements. "Non-compliance is common," he said. "The specifications are very convoluted, worse than the IRS, but those are the rules."

Although some bids came in at a lower cost than those that were accepted, these bidders did not fill out and sign all of the required documents, he said.

"You are better advised to stick to our specifications than allow those who did not comply to come in again with another bid. The IEPA or the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency can come in and inspect the project at any time and can pull the loan," Pisula said.

The belt filter press will be bid with Bid Package 2, which is for electrical and general contracting work. These bids will be opened June 11.

Mark Mathon, city engineer, said he thought the city would see the rest of the project come in under the amount budgeted, but he wouldn’t want to speculate about how much.

Eaton has said he hopes to see construction start in mid to late August. Actual construction is expected to take 240 working days.

Failure to upgrade the plant could mean the IEPA would no longer allow new hookups, and growth in the city would come to a halt.

[Joan Crabb]

Cool, wet spring

Will it be a warmer-than-average summer?

[JUNE 5, 2002]  "With statewide average rainfall of 7.52 inches (3.26 inches and 77 percent above average) and temperature of 58 F (4.6 F below average), May 2002 is the eighth wettest, coldest May on record in Illinois since 1895," says Jim Angel, state climatologist with the Illinois State Water Survey, a division of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

May 2002 precipitation (inches)

"The heaviest precipitation in May fell in an area roughly bounded by Interstates 72 and 70 [see map]. This is the fourth wettest April-May period in Illinois since 1895, with 12.72 inches of rainfall (4.65 inches and 58 percent above average). With year-to-date precipitation of 20.51 inches (5.02 inches and 33 percent above average) statewide, it’s also the ninth wettest January-May period since 1895," states Angel.

While the widespread flooding experienced in Illinois may lead to comparisons with 1993, the timing was different. The April-May rainfall for 1993 was 8.48 inches, 0.55 inches above average, but much less than this year. The flooding in 1993 was more of a summer event, with the July-August rainfall of that year at 18.34 inches (6.80 inches and 59 percent above average), the wettest on record since 1895.


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Several locations received more than a foot of rain in May. Beecher City reported 12.82 inches, Lovington reported 12.48 inches, Hardin reported 12.47 inches, and Medora reported 12.21 inches. Beecher City also reported the most precipitation for the April-May period, 19.69 inches, almost half the average annual precipitation in Effingham County.

All this cool, wet weather in April and May led to flooding and planting delays throughout the state. Even corn planted before the wet weather has progressed slowly. Ironically, delays in planting and crop development meant that little damage was reported when record-low temperatures occurred in northern Illinois on May 21 (31 F in Chicago, 29 F in Rockford, 30 F in Freeport and 25 F in Streamwood).

In addition to heavy rainfall, May also had its share of severe weather. A tornado in Centralia resulted in two deaths and 15 serious injuries on May 8. There were numerous reports of hail and wind damage across southern Illinois on May 1, 6, 8, 11 and 12.

Based on historical data back to 1895, wet summers do not necessarily follow wet springs. In fact, there is little correlation between wet springs and summer rainfall. However, warmer-than-average summers are less likely to occur following wet springs.

[Eva Kingston, editor, Illinois State Water Survey]

Earlier Sunday drinking hours
bring controversy to the council

[JUNE 4, 2002]  Should Lincoln residents be able to buy a drink at 11 a.m. on Sundays? Eight of the 10 city alderman thought so and voted yes Monday night, in spite of fervent pleas from Alderman Glenn Shelton and three members of the audience not to allow liquor to be sold during what has traditionally been church time.

The request, brought to the council several weeks ago by a group of liquor license holders, asks that the present 1 p.m. opening time on Sunday be pushed back to 11 a.m. so patrons of sports bars and those who go to early brunch can order liquor.

The move for the earlier Sunday hours isn’t new; it was part of a proposed change in the liquor code which the ordinance committee worked out a year and a half ago under the Joan Ritter administration, but which never got passed.

"I don’t want our town with a name that this is the place you come on Sunday mornings to drink," Shelton said. "I know we can do better. We can compromise. Eleven o’clock is too early."

Shelton also suggested that Alderman Steve Fuhrer, who is now chairman of the ordinance and zoning committee and who brought up the early Sunday hours for the vote, has a conflict of interest. Fuhrer’s wife, Susie, owns the Blue Dog Inn and holds a liquor license.

He said that even though the city attorney two years ago, Jonathan Wright, gave it as his opinion that Fuhrer had no monetary interest in his wife’s establishment, the situation has changed now that Fuhrer is ordinance committee chairman. Shelton himself was ordinance and zoning committee chairman when the liquor license changes were discussed previously.

Shelton asked for an opinion on the conflict of interest issue from the present city attorney, Bill Bates, and also for a written opinion from the Illinois attorney general’s office.

"Let us see that we are on solid ground before we vote on something," he said.

Bates said that although he hadn’t done "exhaustive research," he did not see a conflict of interest for Fuhrer. "Even though he is chairman of the committee, he still has only one vote," Bates said.

Fuhrer reminded Shelton that he had been on the ordinance committee when the liquor license issue was discussed during the Ritter administration and that both Wright and local attorney Nick Burgrabe had said there was not a conflict of interest.

He told the council he did not intend to "step away from this and not vote," even though that had been suggested.

"It has nothing to do with my wife’s business. She’s not open on Sunday; she’s not going to start a microbrewery; and she doesn’t need another liquor license."

Along with the earlier Sunday hours, the resolution calls for one extra license category to allow for a microbrewery and the addition of two more Class A package liquor licenses, bringing the total to 15.

Also, Fuhrer said, people have been waiting for almost two years for a decision on early Sunday hours. Under the previous administration, he said, "We spent hours and hours on this, and then it got dropped. I don’t want to take another six months to get something worked out."

Before the council’s discussion, three members of the audience spoke to oppose the earlier Sunday hours.

"I am concerned about the message we are going to send to this community, especially to young people," Gerald Carter said.


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"In this room, many years ago, people were packed down the stairs and out to the sidewalk regarding this issue. The decision made then was correct, not to change from 1 p.m. back to 11 o’clock.

"Sunday is a day that means a lot to people in this community. Most people are in church or going to church during these hours.

"Those who want this changed already have 6˝ days to sell liquor. Now they want another two hours. The ordinance as it now stands is sufficient. I urge you not to change it."

Charles Hamilton said he had been in Lincoln for more than 50 years and had seen many good things happen, but he didn’t think earlier Sunday hours would be one of them.

"When I came to Lincoln, Wednesday was church night. Schools didn’t schedule meetings on Wednesday night. Now coaches can insist that students attend practice any time, even on Sunday. Is this good?" he asked.

"Logan County has one of the highest per capita alcohol consumption rates. Is this good?

"We have lost several teenagers lately in alcohol-related accidents. Is this good?"

Oscar Owens, pastor of the Full Gospel Church, said the city is sending the wrong message when it extends Sunday drinking hours.

He said he had been a pastor in Lincoln for 25 years and had seen a lot of reports of people driving while intoxicated each week. He said he was also amazed that liquor could be purchased in gas stations.

"We tell our young people that marijuana and cocaine are bad, but alcohol is all right," he said. "I entreat you with all my heart, please send the right message."

Speaking up in favor of the earlier hours, liquor license holder Sean Taylor said the issue was not about young people but about adults.

"I respect your opinions completely," he said to those who objected, "but I want to increase my business so I can succeed. I ask that you look at it that way."

Fuhrer said he realized it was a "constant battle" to keep alcohol away from young people, but he did not believe he was sending the wrong message.

"I don’t see where two hours is going to hurt the city. I go to church every Sunday morning. People that are going to go to church will go to church. People that are going to frequent places that serve alcohol may not be church persons. People that are going to drink are going to drink."

A compromise, a suggestion by Alderman Verl Prather that the council not allow alcohol to be served until noon on Sunday, got lost in the shuffle, and the council passed the resolution allowing sales to being at 11 a.m. with only two no votes, from Shelton and Benny Huskins.

Huskins, however, pointed out that the vote isn’t the last call on the Sunday hours issue. The resolution as passed only directs the city attorney to draw up an ordinance changing the hours. The council must still pass the ordinance before liquor can be served in Lincoln on Sunday earlier than 1 p.m.

[Joan Crabb]

City to hire one new police officer

[JUNE 4, 2002]  In spite of the budget crunch facing the city and the hiring freeze put in place recently, the Lincoln City Council voted 8-2 Monday evening to hire a new police officer to replace Chris Carmichael.

Carmichael is one of two officers who resigned this year. He will leave the department in mid-June to join the state police. Carmichael has represented the Lincoln Police Department on a six-county drug task force, the Central Illinois Enforcement Group.

Police Chief Rich Montcalm has said it is vital to replace Carmichael, because in order to remain a member of the task force the city must have an officer on the force. He said that if Carmichael is not replaced and the city wants to remain in the task force, the department would have to eliminate its community police program.

Alderman Pat Madigan moved to hire one new officer, to begin training by June 17.

"I’m going to vote for this replacement," Alderman Verl Prather told the council. "Voting for it doesn’t mean we’re not in a financial bind, but we need to keep the task force and the community police program going."

"I’ll be voting no, after being finance chairman last year," Alderman Steve Fuhrer said. "We came up short $280,000 last year. Actually we don’t have the money to spend. I cannot in good conscience vote to hire somebody in two weeks and then lay off someone later."

Fuhrer has said several times that if the budget cannot be kept in balance, it may be necessary to lay off some city workers.


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"We must make do with what we have," he continued. "The reason we have some of these officers is the COPS grant we got four years ago. Now the grant has run out and we are paying for it."

The grant paid 75 percent of the salary and benefits of one police officer for three years, after which the city had to pick up the cost.

"This is a really tough vote but I am going for it," Alderman Joe Stone said.

"The task force is pretty important," Alderman George Mitchell added. "It is not like we are hiring any more officers," he added.

"We lost two and only replace one," Alderman Benny Huskins said, noting that the new officer’s wages would be lower than Carmichael’s.

The other officer who resigned was Mike Buchanan, who will not be replaced.

The council voted 8-2 to hire the new officer, with Fuhrer and Dave Armbrust voting no. The new officer will begin training on June 17, or, if that class is closed, can start the following week, Chief Montcalm said.

[Joan Crabb]

AFSCME hails passage
of a balanced budget

[JUNE 4, 2002]  SPRINGFIELD — AFSCME Council 31’s leadership today hailed the Illinois General Assembly’s passage of a balanced budget yesterday after a long and difficult legislative session.

"There are victories and there are losses for AFSCME in this budget," said Henry Bayer, Council 31 executive director. "But the General Assembly has fulfilled its responsibility to deliver a balanced budget to the governor." On Thursday, May 30 the General Assembly rejected an unbalanced budget and proceeded, over the next three days, to make additional cuts and secure additional revenue initiatives until the budget was balanced, said Bayer

"This is what the governor asked for, and this is what the elected officials of Illinois delivered," he continued. "For months before these final days of negotiations, thousands of Illinois citizens have participated in this process, making their concerns clear to legislators."


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Bayer praised legislators for blocking the closure of prisons and the closure and downsizing of several mental health facilities. "Legislators carefully looked at the social costs to the state to cut these services, and they concluded that they were too high. Those costs will be just as high at the end of this month as they were at the end of last month."

Thousands of AFSCME members have lobbied legislators since the budget crisis began. Months of in-district meetings, pickets, letter writing and phone calls culminated with 5,000 AFSCME members at the Capitol for a May 7 lobby day. Members will continue this activism until the budget and revenue measures are signed into law, Bayer said.

[News release from AFSCME Council 31,
The American Federation of State, County
and Municipal Employees]

Budget keeps LDC open

[JUNE 3, 2002]  SPRINGFIELD — After much discussion and controversy, Illinois lawmakers sent a budget to the governor Sunday, according to Sen. Larry Bomke, R-Springfield. Among the changes from proposals earlier in the week, this plan includes funding to keep Lincoln Developmental Center open.

"I’m thrilled that Lincoln Developmental Center will remain open under this budget plan, but I’m sure the parents of LDC residents are even more happy to hear this news," said Bomke. "They have fought with me to keep this facility operational because they believe it is best for their children’s well-being. This is a great victory for them, and I would hope the governor agrees and signs off on this funding."

This budget, like the one approved by the Senate earlier in the week, includes $25 million Bomke hopes the Illinois Department of Corrections will use to avoid privatization of food services at state correctional facilities.

Layoffs were again included in the plan, much to Bomke’s dismay, but with the early retirement proposal he sponsored, many of those layoffs may be unnecessary. More than 7,000 employees are expected to take advantage of the plan, and only 6,500 were targeted for layoffs.

Overall, the budget totals nearly $23 billion in general revenue funds, which may force the governor to use his veto powers.

Details of the plan include:

•  $1.5 million from the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum Fund to the University of Illinois Springfield for governmental studies.


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•  No general tax increase and no pension bonding.

•  Increased taxes on cigarettes and wealthy riverboats and "limited securitization" of tobacco settlement funds with state backing.

•  Restoration of a portion of the Medicaid reductions, to ensure access to health care and that the state pays its bills to hospitals and health-care providers on time.

•  Expanded funding for the school construction program.

•  Full restoration of payments to service providers who work with developmentally disabled and mentally ill patients.

•  Nearly full funding for categorical grants to schools.

•  Short-term borrowing to allow the state to pay its backlog of bills. Without this, vendors may be forced to borrow at higher rates.

•  Decoupling from a federal corporate tax break on capital investments to save the state and local government money.

•  Paying back the Rainy Day Fund to ensure future budget stability.

[News release]

General Assembly passes FY2003 budget

Keeps Lincoln Developmental Center open

[JUNE 3, 2002]  SPRINGFIELD — The Illinois Senate gave final legislative approval Sunday night to a new state budget. Sen. Claude "Bud" Stone said it’s a realistic plan, given the current economic climate in Illinois.

"For the first time in nearly a half-century, Illinois is faced with a budget year showing a decrease in revenue over year-ago income," said Stone. "That has led to several difficult decisions this year, including cutting spending and raising revenues in order to erase financial red ink of nearly two billion dollars."

Stone said the plan approved on the last day of session reflects the provisions unveiled in a proposal made by Senate Republicans in late April. Those Senate Republican provisions include a $500 million reduction in the state bureaucracy, the defeat of an income tax hike as was proposed, maintaining the viability and stability of state future pension obligations, and a 50 percent restoration of Medicaid funding cuts proposed by the governor back in February.

"The Medicaid program is a vital program to ensure access to health care for all," said Stone. This plan includes $330 million for hospitals, nursing homes, pharmacies, practitioners and managed-care providers."

The plan also keeps education a top priority. "The plan protects education from the budget cuts, with $6.2 billion for elementary and secondary education, a minimum level of $4,560 per student in state aid, and $1 billion for the successful school construction grant program," said Stone.

"I’m also very pleased this plan adds back funding to keep the Lincoln Developmental Center and the Zeller Mental Health Center open," he said.

In separate legislation, the Senate approved funding measures to fill a revenue hole in the budget plan. Those measures authorize a 40-cent-per-pack cigarette tax increase ($240 million), which will also be used to partially fund an expansion of the school construction program; a hike in the riverboat gaming tax ($130 million); and a decoupling from the federal stimulus package ($240 million), which will keep equipment depreciation at its current level.

The legislature also authorized the state to borrow up to $1 billion to end the backlog of overdue bills. The state can borrow the funds for about 2 percent annual interest, as opposed to forcing vendors and service providers to borrow at rates four times as high in order to meet an income shortfall due to overdue payments from the state.

The following is a list of state government improvements to public infrastructure within the 45th Senate District:

•  Lincoln College, $2 million

•  Springlake Conservation Area, $500,000

•  Weldon Springs State Park, $40,000

Budget plan highlights


•  $1,500,000 for AgriFirst.


•  Restores funding for the Hanna City Work Camp

Economic development

•  $2.5 million for coal research and development projects.

•  $1 million for continued ethanol research.

Elementary and secondary education

•  $33 million for mandated programs (94 percent funding)

•  $184 million for the Early Childhood Development Block Grant.

•  $1.8 million for agricultural education programs.

Higher education

•  Public universities would be funded at governor’s GRF proposed level.

•  $35 million for the grants under the Monetary Award Program.


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Human services

•  $5.0 million for full-year funding of 110 new emergency CILAs for developmentally disabled people.

•  $2.45 million in transitional funding for 100 CILA placements for the developmentally disabled.

•  $40.9 million, or 18.3 percent increase for the Home Services program.

•  Includes full restoration of funding to human services providers, which was not included in the governor’s original FY03 budget recommendation. This amount includes an additional $16.5 million for MI Community Service grants, an additional $32.8 million for community-based services for the developmentally disabled and an additional $20.1 million for long-term care for the developmentally disabled.

•  $616.2 million for the department’s child-care program, with no increase in child-care co-pay.

Natural resources

•  $36.0 million for the Illinois Open Land Trust Program.

•  $5.2 million for Conservation 2000 projects and the Illinois Rivers Initiative.

Public aid

•  Implement SeniorCare program, offering expanded pharmaceutical drug assistance to all senior at or below 250 percent of the federal poverty level.

•  $24 million for KidCare, to cover an additional 17,500 children.

Public safety

•  $1 million to fund Public Water Supply Vulnerability Assessments.

•  $14 million to fund the Brownfields Redevelopment program.

•  $252 million for financial assistance to local governments for sewer systems and wastewater treatment facilities.

•  $98 million for financial assistance to local governments and privately owned community water suppliers, for drinking water infrastructure projects.


•  Fully funds the Circuit Breaker/Pharmaceutical Assistance program. The FY03 appropriation of $138,500,000 will cover 256,000 property tax grants and 62,000 pharmaceutical participants.

•  $7,375,800 for the Elder Abuse and Neglect program.

•  $6,618,500 for home-delivered meals.

State police

•  Funding for 50 new cadets in FY03.


•  $2.3 billion for the FY03 road program.

•  Increase of $4.1 million to downstate public transportation systems.

•  FY03 budget includes $45.6 million for rail transportation, including $27.0 million to continue work toward development of high-speed rail passenger service between Chicago and St. Louis.

•  Includes $10.6 million for Amtrak.

The Fiscal Year 2003 budget, approved by the Senate and House now heads to the governor for consideration. Fiscal Year 2003 runs from July 1, 2002, through June 30, 2003.

[News release]

Early retirement bill heads to governor

[JUNE 3, 2002]  SPRINGFIELD — The long-awaited early retirement package for state employees is on its way to the Governor, according to Sen. Larry Bomke, chief sponsor of the proposal. Nearly 7,365 state employees are expected to take advantage of the plan, which would allow them to purchase up to five years of age and five years of service credit.

"I expect the governor to sign this legislation into law swiftly," said Bomke, R-Springfield. "This is certainly good news for state employees — both those who want to retire and those in danger of layoffs during the budget crunch — but the bottom line is early retirement is good for the entire state of Illinois for the cost savings."

Once signed into law, state employees may begin to elect early retirement beginning Aug. 1. To qualify for the plan, employees must be off state payroll by Dec. 31 and cannot be hired back or return to state service on contract.


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Employees must meet existing eligibility requirements for retirement, either under the "Rule of 85" (age and years of creditable service equal at least 85), at age 55 with 25 years of service, or at age 60 with eight years of service.

Additionally, House Bill 2671 allows employees to claim pension credit for voluntary or involuntary furlough days. SERS members may apply for up to five days of service credit for voluntary or involuntary furlough between Dec. 1, 2002, and Jan. 1, 2003.

[News release]

Governor commends General Assembly for working together in a bipartisan effort to pass state budget

$54 billion spending bill will allow state government to continue providing essential services

[JUNE 3, 2002]  SPRINGFIELD — Gov. George Ryan today congratulated the Illinois General Assembly for passing a Fiscal Year 2003 budget that reduces appropriations by $600 million from Fiscal Year 2002. The $54 billion FY03 budget is a compromise agreement that includes a mixture of spending cuts and new revenues.

"I want to thank all of the members of both houses on both sides of the aisle for taking up the challenge I laid out for them a week ago," Gov. Ryan said. "For the first time in almost a half-century our revenues are less than the year before. Tough choices had to be made, and the members of the General Assembly made a good-faith effort to work in a bipartisan manner and put a budget on my desk."

This budget includes General Revenue Fund spending of about $22.8 billion. It includes restored funding for health care and social service programs as well as an investment in children, which includes a $1 billion school construction program.

The legislature also passed additional revenues totaling $810 million.

•  $365 million will be raised through new taxes on tobacco and gaming. A 40-cent increase on cigarettes will generate 235 million in new dollars. Increasing taxes at riverboat casinos and boosting the admission fee for riverboat casinos from its current level of $2 to $3 will generate $130 million.

•  The governor has been granted the authority to raise up to $750 million by issuing general obligation bonds repaid by future payments for the tobacco settlement, building cash balances in the general funds and budget stabilization fund.


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•  Decoupling from the federal depreciation provisions and maintaining the current depreciation allowances for state taxes will save Illinois $240 million and local governments $150 million

•  Reallocating $205 million of existing revenue will involve keeping the state sales tax on photo processing in the state treasury (generating $25 million), reallocating a portion of the real estate transfer tax (generating $15 million), and transferring approximately $165 million of surplus balances in other state funds to general funds.

Gov. Ryan will thoroughly review all of the components of the compromise budget when it reaches his desk, and he will use his executive powers to ensure it is balanced.

"After I review the budget bill, we will be able to continue providing important funding for educating our children, providing critical health-care services to the poor and expanding pharmaceutical assistance for senior citizens in the next fiscal year," Gov. Ryan added.

[Illinois Government News Network
press release]

Wright takes stand against
‘backward’ budget process

[JUNE 3, 2002]  SPRINGFIELD — State Rep. Jonathan Wright voted "no" on the state budget, taking a stand against the "backward" procedure in which legislators were asked to vote to spend money they weren’t yet sure they had.

"It makes absolutely no sense to me that we are asked to vote on the spending portion of the budget days before the revenue portion of the plan has even been finalized. In other words, we’re voting on how to spend money we’re not even sure we have yet. We wouldn’t manage or families’ budgets that way. We shouldn’t manage the state budget that way either," Wright said.

According to Wright, the plan approved by the General Assembly in overtime session includes a combination of cost reductions, funding cuts and tax increases to bring the budget into balance. He said that while it is an improvement over previous budget plans, he could not support the tax increases or the cuts to Medicaid providers that were not fully restored.


"This plan was a vast improvement over what we had been working with in recent weeks, and I am very pleased that we were able to secure the funding required to support 240 residents at the Lincoln Developmental Center. That said, there are also areas that I continue to be very concerned about, such as the 30 percent cut in Medicaid, and the tax increases that simply weren’t necessary," Wright said.

"My House Republican colleagues and I combed through state agencies’ budgets with the budget directors and identified more than $700 million in unnecessary spending that could be cut without impacting services to those in need. Had all of those cuts been included in the budget, we would have had a balanced plan and fully restored Medicaid funding — no tax increase necessary."

[News release]

Broadwell man loses life in single-vehicle accident

[JUNE 3, 2002]  Mark Allen Babbitt, 34, of Broadwell lost his life in a single-vehicle accident Sunday morning. Babbitt was declared dead at 3:10 a.m., according to Logan County Coroner Chuck Fricke. The accident took place one-half mile north of Broadwell when Babbitt lost control of his pickup truck and it overturned.

An autopsy was conducted Monday morning.

County and state police are investigating.

[Jan Youngquist]


Agency ready to fill the gap for homeless

[JUNE 1, 2002]  The Salvation Army of Lincoln and Logan County has just taken a giant step toward helping those who are most in need in our community and surrounding area. Logan County is in need of a transitional housing shelter. The agency is looking to fill that large gap. On Friday, May 24, they kicked off a capital building program at 307 N. Kickapoo St., the site where the new facility will be built.

There is no homeless or emergency shelter anywhere in Logan County! The need just keeps growing! While our streets are not lined with vagrants at night, there are numerous homeless people in the county trying to survive. They float from friend to friend, live out of their cars or survive by any means available. "The Army fills a niche that our churches cannot," explains Dr. Mark Searby, advisory board member.

The work of the Salvation Army is all about bettering the lives of the people who live in the communities served, including Lincoln and throughout Logan County. Its doctrine follows the mainstream of Christian belief, and its articles of faith emphasize God’s saving purposes. For virtually the entire 20th century, the Lincoln community has been able to turn to the Salvation Army in times of need. The new building will enable the organization to expand their community outreach and involvement.

The Salvation Army has worked well with other agencies in our community, integrating services and often picking up loose ends.

"The Salvation Army provides invaluable services to the city of Lincoln. We look forward to working with the Salvation Army in providing assistance to the needy members of the community and for the assistance they provide to the police department and other emergency services," said former Chief Rich Ludolph from the Lincoln Police Department.

As a whole, the agency is respected for their works throughout the United States. "The Salvation Army is by far the most effective organization in the United States. No one has ever come close to it in respect to clarity of mission, ability to innovate, measurable results and putting money to maximum use." — Peter Drucker, Forbes Magazine.

Last year alone nearly 600 people received Salvation Army assistance at home in Logan County.

Meet Michael Lee

Michael is a veteran who finds himself unemployed because of a medical condition that makes it impossible to do even light lifting without surgery. He has neither medical insurance nor public aid, though he has made numerous Social Security appeals. He lives on $125 worth of food stamps a month and adds to his income by selling items of junk he has collected from the streets. Michael is essentially unemployable, yet he qualifies for no assistance.

Michael cannot live without colostomy bags which, for the past year, have been paid for by the Salvation Army. He’s formed a special bond with the director, Curtis Sutterfield.

"I’d be in bad shape without the Salvation Army," Michael says, "For as long as I have been in Lincoln, they have been the only ones helping me. They help people where they need it."

Services the Salvation Army currently offers are:

*Emergency shelter


*Clothing and food

*Essential supplies

*Financial assistance


*Thanksgiving food baskets

Expanding for the future

The Salvation Army plans to:

*Expand services to include programs that will offer hope for struggling parents and needy children.

*Continue to grow in offering help for the hungry and homeless.

*Offer family development classes and training programs that promote healthy and functional families.


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[First floor of Salvation Army house]
[Click on diagram to enlarge]

[Second floor of Salvation Army house]
[Click on diagram to enlarge]

"We are excited about strengthening the future of our community! We want to raise $570,000 toward this new facility. This will enable us to expand our work, meet the needs of our county and continue to branch into new areas of service. We know we can count on your support to get this project completed!" — The Salvation Army of Lincoln and Logan County

The Salvation Army motto: Meeting physical needs of people through a spiritual focus, all around the world.

Budget breakdown for projected new facility

The project is expected to cost $700,000.

New building construction and contingency: $390,000

Shelter setup: $85,000

Operations endowment: $200,000

Campaign and office expense: $25,000

Total: $700,000

The Salvation Army has $130,000 from capital and insurance from the previous shelter fire, leaving a balance of $570,000 needed.

Naming opportunities

Family Development Center: $250,000

Community room: $75,000

Dining room: $25,000

Individual shelter rooms: $15,000 each

Living room: $10,000

Play area: $7,500

Logan County Salvation Army board of directors

Sonnie Alexander

Tony Cameron

Dan Curry

Dean Langdon

Mike Miller

Gary Newman

Dr. Mark Searby

Shawn Sillings

Roger Webster

Jonathan Wright

State Rep. Jonathan Wright is chairman of the campaign. Dean Langdon co-chairs.

[News release / Jan Youngquist]


Logan County included in the additional 38 counties declared disaster areas

[JUNE 1, 2002]  SPRINGFIELD — Gov. George Ryan announced Thursday that 38 additional counties have been added to the federal disaster declaration President Bush issued earlier this month. These counties sustained damage from the recent storms, tornadoes and flooding in Illinois. Gov. Ryan requested that these 38 counties be added, based on a review of damage assessments gathered by federal and state disaster recovery officials.

The newly declared counties include Adams, Bond, Brown, Calhoun, Cass, Champaign, Christian, Clark, Coles, Crawford, Cumberland, DeWitt, Douglas, Edgar, Ford, Fulton, Greene, Hancock, Iroquois, Jersey, Lawrence, Logan, Macon, Macoupin, Mason, McDonough, Menard, Montgomery, Morgan, Moultrie, Piatt, Pike, Sangamon, Schuyler, Scott, Shelby, Vermilion and Wabash.

These counties were added for individual assistance programs under the major disaster declaration issued by President Bush on May 21. Assistance will be made available to homeowners, renters and businesses to help them recover from the severe weather system that began on April 21. This new designation brings the total number of Illinois counties eligible to apply for the individual assistance to 68.

"I appreciate the federal government acting quickly to approve these counties for federal assistance," Gov. Ryan said. "This assistance will allow individuals and business owners an opportunity to begin rebuilding and repairing their damaged property."


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Affected residents and business owners may apply for assistance by calling the toll-free registration number, 1 (800) 621-3362, between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. seven days a week until further notice. A wide range of state and federal disaster assistance programs that are available include funding for temporary housing, Small Business Administration low-interest loans for individuals and businesses to repair or replace damaged property, disaster unemployment assistance, and grants for serious needs and necessary expenses not met by other programs.

When calling to make application, it is recommended that callers have their current phone number, address where the damage occurred, Social Security number, a general list of damages and losses suffered, directions to the property, insurance policy number and insurance company or agent’s name.

[Illinois Government News Network
press release]

Senate votes to strengthen Gift Ban Act

[JUNE 1, 2002]  SPRINGFIELD — Illinois lawmakers once again have a comprehensive ethics reform law and are looking to make it even stronger, according to Sen. Larry Bomke, R-Springfield. On Friday the Illinois Senate approved two changes to the recently reinstated law.

The 1998 law (PA 90-737) was recently upheld by the Supreme Court, once again placing lawmakers under restrictions banning personal use of campaign funds, gifts and fund-raising during session. The law also tightened disclosure requirements.

"Questions have come up in recent years that need be addressed under the Gift Ban Act," said Bomke. "Now that we have an ethics law back on the books, it’s time to make sure than no one else misunderstands the way things work. Government employees should not collect campaign contributions from the people they do government business with."

House Bill 4680 addresses recent controversy not covered by the current gift ban. Under this legislation, state and local government employees could not solicit or receive campaign contributions from anyone over which they have regulated business authority. This would also apply to salaried employees of state constitutional officers as well as employees of county, township or municipality officers.


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In addition to losing their jobs, employees found guilty of solicitation will face criminal penalties. To protect whistle-blowers, House Bill 4680 also prevents employees from being discharged, demoted, suspended, threatened, harassed or discriminated because they choose to obey the law and not solicit contributions.

In addition, the measure further clarifies the Gift Ban Act’s prohibition on gifts, banning those with a value of more than $100 per calendar year.

House Bill 4680 now returns to the House of Representatives for further approval. If signed into law, it will take effect immediately.

[News release]

Great Lakes July 4 festival canceled

Security requirements forced difficult decision

[JUNE 1, 2002]  GREAT LAKES — Due to prohibitive costs and insurmountable logistical challenges brought on by increased security requirements at Great Lakes Naval Training Center, the installation’s traditional July 4 festival will not be held this year.

After careful consideration of several options, officials at Great Lakes determined that canceling the event was the most fair-minded and most appropriate course of action.

Having the event on base would have required all guests without valid Department of Defense vehicle decals to park at an off-base location and be bused onto the installation. Not only would this require a significant outlay of funds, it would also lead to lengthy delays — as much as four to five hours by some estimates — to get guests on and off the base.

Another option considered was to have the event on base as in past years, but admit only authorized active-duty military personnel, military retirees and civilian employees of Great Lakes.

"We did not like the perception associated with this alternative," said Capt. Jerry Hart, the commanding officer at Great Lakes Naval Training Center. "We value our relationship with our neighbors outside the gates, and we do not want to send the message that they are not welcome.

"For the past 17 years we have celebrated July 4th with members of our local communities here at Great Lakes. We will join together in celebration again this year, but it will be done at the many local community festivals offered outside the gates. And to the greatest extent possible, we will spread our military performing units around this year to ensure that communities who wish to have a Navy presence at their event can do so."


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A third option considered was a possible partnership with a local community’s July 4 festival, but officials at Great Lakes found that unattractive for two reasons. First, such a partnership could create the impression of preferential treatment to one community. Second, Great Lakes would like to once again host a July 4 event on base if and when security requirements are relaxed enough to allow it. Establishing a partnership this year could make it difficult to move the event back to Great Lakes in the future.

"This decision was very difficult for us, but we have made the right one," Hart explained. "Our going-in position was that we would not sacrifice the wonderful relationship we have with our neighbors in our surrounding communities, nor would we elevate our bond with one community above that of another. We’ve met those two criteria. Great Lakes will still share its patriotic spirit with our community neighbors this year. Only the venue will change."

[News release]

Part 1

Logan-Mason Rehabilitation Center helps the disabled meet their goals

[MAY 31, 2002]  They live in our community and are often part of our work force, earning salaries and shopping in our local stores. Although most of the time we don’t notice them, the developmentally disabled live beside us and, like the rest of us, strive to do meaningful work, make friends, continue their education and live fulfilling lives.

An agency that helps them meet these goals is the Logan-Mason Rehabilitation Center on South Postville Drive. Its mission statement says: "It is our goal to help people erase the limitations forced upon them by their disabilities. It is our job to create an opportunity for each individual who is ready to take a step toward independence."

As its name states, the center serves clients in Logan and Mason counties — about 300 every weekday. They may live at the Lincoln Developmental Center, in community homes in the two-county area, with their families or on their own.

The outer office at the Postville site doesn’t begin to suggest the hive of activity in the workrooms and classrooms behind it. But about 30 of the most independent of the center’s clients aren’t in these friendly, busy rooms; they are out in the community going to work every day, earning salaries and paying taxes like the rest of us.

"They are in jobs all over town — at the Lincoln College cafeteria, at Lincoln Christian College’s cafeteria, at Abraham Lincoln Memorial Hospital’s kitchen, at Burwell’s Travel Plaza, at Kroger’s, and in various restaurants and nursing homes — wherever their help is needed," says Peggy Ross Jones, who oversees the employment program.

"Our clients are doing real work," she adds emphatically. "We are not making up jobs. They keep their employers happy, and they are happy, too."

They get paid at least minimum wage for their work, and the money they earn is theirs to spend as they please.


[Photos by Joan Crabb]
[Brenda works at the hole cover machine in the regular work program.  She’s putting together a part for Inland Tool of Mount Pulaski.]

Most of them need some support in their working life, and the center provides this in several ways. For the most independent, there is a monitoring program to see that they continue to do well.

For others there are job coaches who go to the workplace and help the employer train them. These coaches can break down complex instructions into separate steps, help workers keep up with the pace of the job, and find innovative ways to help them follow instructions, such as color-coding parts of tasks for nonreaders.

"Before we had job coaches, we would send people out and hope they would do all right. Sometimes they didn’t. Now we are able to keep people in the same job for years," Peggy says.

For example, about 20 clients have been working with the Lincoln College food service for the last 12 years. These workers always have one or two job coaches on hand to help solve any problems that come up.

"A lot of our people seem able to handle repetitive jobs with specific routines that you or I would get tired of," Peggy says. "They are very valuable to employers who need routine jobs done over and over. They are a real service to the community."

Peggy not only coordinates the employment program, she makes sure all 82 of the center’s staff members stay up to date on their training. All get regular CPR training, and all must meet a state mandate for direct support training, including health, safety, human rights, and abuse and neglect prevention. Staff members who work directly with clients must have 40 hours of classroom training and 80 hours of on-the-job training to meet Department of Human Services requirements.

Peggy calls herself a "behind the desk" person. Another staff member, Vivian Thompson, also spends time behind a desk, coordinating programs to help clients live as independently as possible. She is, among other things, supervisor of community support services, case manager coordinator and coordinator of staffings in the day program. She works with clients who live independently, some who live in CILAs and those who live with their families.

People with mild disabilities can often live on their own if they have the right kind of support. This might be a homemaker program, help with money management and budgeting, and transportation to and from grocery stores and doctor’s appointments. Vivian sees that they get the services they need to stay independent.

Families who keep their disabled members at home may need help getting away for shopping or a recreational break, and Vivian helps coordinate respite care for them.


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Each client who comes to the day program has a caseworker. The caseworker is part of the team that makes an Individual Program Plan for each client, which addresses his or her need for vocational training, education, work and medical needs. Vivian coordinates these teams, too.

Director Gene Frioli has been in charge of the facility for 16 years. He is assisted by Carol McAfee, supervisor of administrative services, who has been with the center for 23 years. Its parent company is Mental Health Centers of Central Illinois, based in Springfield, a not-for-profit community mental health agency.


[Twins Jean and Jan have worked at the rehab center for 16 years.  Both are both going to state in the standing broad jump for Special Olympics.  Here they use a rip saw to cut up lumber for cleats for Myers Industries.  Safety features allow workers to use these saws without accidents.]

Behind the office at the rehab center, the visitor steps into a room that looks like a machine shop. There is sawdust on the floor. Motors hum and whine and screech as 40 workers concentrate on their various tasks. The presence of a supervisor or even an unexpected visitor does not distract them.

This is the site of the regular work program, a sheltered workshop where clients make products for three area industries. It is staffed by supervisor Marcia Warner, definitely a hands-on rather than a behind-the-desk staff person. Working with her are instructor and safety officer Steve Coogan and Dennis Bernahl. "Bernie" designs the fixtures and "jigs" the disabled work on so they are safe and easy to use. Jigs are ingenious devices to help the clients perform specific tasks.

On this particular day, some of the workers are making wood products, screw cleats and glue blocks for Myers Industries of Lincoln. A pair of twins are cutting raw lumber into eight different sizes with a table saw. Others are trimming cleats to the right size, and still others are punching holes in each cleat at precise intervals.

"We’ve had this contract with Myers for more than 30 years," Marcia says. Other workers are putting together amp straps for Cutler-Hammer, another Lincoln firm. A plastic sleeve is slipped over a metal piece, and the whole thing is bent into the correct shape. Still others are "baking" the amp straps in a special oven.


[Marcia Warner, supervisor of the regular work program, demonstrates the drill punch, which has shields and slides so clients can work safely and precisely.]

An ongoing project is assembling kits for Cutler-Hammer; today workers are putting the correct number and type of screws and labels into packages. Altogether these workers assemble 40 kinds of kits for the Lincoln manufacturer.

"The Cutler-Hammer truck picks up and drops off work every day," Marcia says.

Inland Tool of Mount Pulaski is another of the center’s contractors. For this firm, a worker is putting foam strips around a hole in a metal plate. These pieces, access plates for gas tanks, will be sent to Mitsubishi Motors in Bloomington.

"We ship out approximately 7,000 to 10,000 parts each day," Marcia says. "All these firms are wonderful to work with, and their drivers enjoy coming over here to drop off and pick up the work."

Clients here work five hours a day, for which they are paid. They get two breaks and lunch. Not a single worker says he or she doesn’t like the job; all are quick to tell a visitor that they love it. Some proudly hold up finished products to show what they are doing without slowing the pace of their work routine.

Marcia likes her job, too. "I’ve got the fun job, because it’s so varied. I get to work with our clients, and I contact manufacturers and do bidding and procurement. And my clients and my co-workers are my friends."

(To be continued)

[Joan Crabb]

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