funds for new ERT vest
[JUNE 8, 2002]
It was a good day when Lincoln/Logan County Crime
Stoppers President Ron Hall made a $1,500 check presentation to
Officer Tim Butterfield. The check presentation took place at the
Logan County Bank. The funds will purchase the fourth heavy-entry
tactical weapons vest. These vests are being used by the newly
formed emergency response team. "This is definitely going to help
the team out," said Butterfield.
A little ERT history
When Beth Davis began
her tenure as mayor, she didn’t like it that in the event of certain
types of emergencies, it would take a minimum of 2˝ hours for a
state SWAT team to make it to Lincoln. She recognized that it was
too much time and that it would someday possibly cost lives.
Mayor Davis recalled:
"When I first became mayor and interviewed the police chief
candidates, I asked them what they thought of establishing an
emergency response team (ERT) for emergency situations. They all
were very excited about it."
She told them that if
we had a "Columbine incident," she wanted at least six police
officers on our force to be trained to go into one of the city’s
schools (or wherever this nightmare occurred — hopefully it will
never happen) on short notice and be able to handle an infrared
rifle to keep students, teachers, etc. from becoming harmed further
Mayor Davis got a
nice surprise when she asked for six volunteers and 16 responded.
"We now have a wonderfully skilled and professional ERTeam," she
said. "They have been trained in negotiations, munitions, infrared
equipment and rifles, etc."
In the middle of
April the team members had their first real test when they responded
to a suicide attempt that threatened the destruction of a whole
neighborhood. What could have ended tragically had the best of all
possible outcomes when everyone was able to walk away safely. "I am
very proud of them!" said Mayor Davis.
response team was formed 1˝ years ago. It is currently composed of
eight members. They are on call at any given moment of the day, but
otherwise they go about their other daily assigned duties.
The Lincoln team was
called out to assist the Central Illinois Enforcement Group on a
methamphetamine lab raid in November. "This team has already closed
down six meth labs in the city and has performed well," said Mayor
Davis. The sting provided training opportunity as well as assisting
in an important drug control operation.
other agencies will be a continued benefit to our community. It
increases our ability to call upon other agencies to come here and
assist us with more complicated operations like stings.
All members on the
ERT team at this time are members of the Lincoln Police Department.
They were trained and certified through outside agencies. Eventually
they hope to train all members of the Lincoln Police Department in
emergency response procedures so that everyone understands what is
taking place during an incident, but the team will still remain a
core of eight. Butterfield says that ideally a 35-member team is
recommended for the types of situations that they are called out on.
However, it would be necessary to recruit from outside the Lincoln
Police force to get the skills needed for a team that size.'
The costs are high to
equip a team. It costs $3,000 to outfit each officer. The funds from
the grant were not enough to purchase the minimal set of protective
equipment for each officer. The remaining funds need to come from
community contributions. Other vital equipment is needed after those
are purchased. Hopefully other businesses or organizations will soon
consider purchasing the much-needed four more vests. Can you imagine
sending your loved one into a situation where there are weapons that
could be fired? These vests are essential to the types of situations
the ERT officers will face. Speaking for Crime Stoppers, Hall said
they are happy to be providing the funds.
The team members have
been through initial specialized training, regularly go to training
seminars and continue practicing together monthly. Sangamon has been
their key training center and they are reputably known to provide
the best training throughout the state of Illinois.
[to top of second column in
Our team has
benefited greatly from great training and practices, says
Butterfield. "They perform well as a unit," he said. "They’re good
enough that they have had other teams come and observe them."
For now the team is
still gathering essential equipment. First and most importantly,
four more vests are still needed to help protect the lives of each
and every one of the eight members of this special team.
[Photo by Jan Youngquist]
Note from Tim Butterfield, community
We thank each of the donors very much for their what they have
given us. This shows that the community is concerned for the safety
of its officers.
We are still accepting donations to the team, and all donations will
go toward buying bulletproof vests and other equipment needed for
the safe operation of the team.
Special thanks to the following from the Lincoln Police
Department Emergency Response Team:
State’s Attorney Tim Huyett
Woody Jones of State Farm
El Rey Mexican Restaurant
Mrs. Laura Slaton
Lincoln/Logan Crime Stoppers
Fricke-Calvert-Schrader Funeral Home
S & N Fireworks Display
And most recently Lincoln/Logan County Crime Stoppers
Thank you very much,
Community Policing Officer/
ERT team member
Anyone wishing to
contribute funds toward vests or equipment is invited to contact
either Officer Tim Butterfield or Chief Richard Montcalm at (217)
A little about Lincoln/Logan Crime Stoppers
Crime Stoppers Inc. was established in 1983. It is board run. All
participants volunteer their time in an effort to provide a safer,
The Lincoln/Logan County Crime Stoppers organization assists the
various law enforcement agencies in the Lincoln/Logan County area by
making funds available to:
Increase the safety
of above agency personnel.
Help inform, educate
and develop a community offensive for the prevention of crime.
Provide awards and
rewards in the apprehension and convictions of criminals.
Board members for
2002 are Ron Hall, Rich Logan, Kriss Huff, Pete May, Melody Mack,
Marla Givens, Roy Logan, Dave Perring, Ed Busch, Ken Greenslate,
Regina Chapman, city adviser Bob Rawlins and county adviser Tony
Department of Public Health
Illinois Department of Human Services (DHS) was notified today by
the Department of Public Health (DPH) that the Lincoln Developmental
Center (LDC) was cited for an Immediate Jeopardy (IJ). The IJ comes
as a result of the facility's continued failure to ensure the safety
and well being of the residents at the facility.
The Department of
Public Health and the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) are
investigating the incidents that caused the IJ.
This latest Immediate
Jeopardy is a result of two incidents reported to DPH within the
past week involving a breach of appropriate supervision of two LDC
residents. In one incident, an individual was left unsupervised and
wandered away from his home without the knowledge of staff. The
second incident involved an individual who was left unsupervised
long enough to engage in self abusive behavior which had the
potential for very serious injury. Medical evaluations were
conducted on both individuals; each is doing well at this time, A
third incident involving an individual who was left unsupervised for
more than an hour was reported to DPH and OIG today.
Currently, the LDC
administration is developing a corrective action plan to attempt to
abate the Immediate Jeopardy and plans to submit it to DPH on
Monday. The IJ will remain in place until DPH accepts the abatement
plan. This weekend additional training on how to provide proper
supervision will again be provided to staff. Also, continued
monitoring by the LDC administration and DHS' Office of
Developmental Disabilities will be in place.
[to top of second column in this
This is the eighth
time Lincoln Developmental Center has been cited for failure to meet
federal client protection standards in fewer than two years.
This latest IJ comes on the heels of the
Governor's reform plan to reduce the census of the facility to one
hundred residents by June 30th. This reform plan was designed to
create a safer and more manageable environment; an environment
conducive to active treatment and client protection and one that
could maintain federal standards.
Mt. Pulaski death
Harlow of Mt. Pulaski was found dead in his home at 6:00 a.m. this
morning. The Logan County Coroner’s office and the Sheriff’s
department are investigating. Arrangements will be made pending the
autopsy in Springfield. An inquest will be held sometime this
Illinois Senate week in
SPRINGFIELD — As the spring session went into overtime,
legislators approved a prescription assistance information hot line
for seniors, expanded the DNA database and extended the rate freeze
for certain utility customers, according to state Sens. Larry Bomke,
R-Springfield, and Claude "Bud" Stone, R-Morton.
The House gave final
approval to legislation creating a comprehensive information line
for seniors to find out all of the discount programs available to
them. Nearly 52 percent of Illinois seniors are eligible for a state
or federal prescription assistance program. Many of the other
seniors are covered under private plans. But there are thousands of
middle-income seniors who have no prescription coverage plans at
all. The legislation also calls for a study of these seniors as well
as seniors who have to set aside a significant portion of their
income for their prescription medication.
(Senate Bill 2098) will:
• Create a Senior Health Assistance Program offering a
toll-free information hot line, in conjunction with local Area
Agencies on Aging, where consumers can get information on public and
private discount programs.
• Establish legislative oversight of the state’s
prescription assistance programs.
• Mandate a study to determine the need for
catastrophic pharmaceutical assistance coverage for seniors who do
not qualify for public pharmaceutical plans but who have high
The bill now moves to
the governor’s desk for further consideration.
In addition, the
Legislature also sent the governor a bill to provide law enforcement
officers with the tools they need to track down criminals and
exonerate others by expanding the DNA database.
The legislation (SB
2024) was an initiative of DuPage County State’s Attorney Joe
Birkett. It requires all convicted felons to give a DNA sample for
criminal identification purposes. State police would be required to
oversee the sample collection and use. The legislation is on the
governor’s desk for further consideration.
In other news, the
Legislature also sent the governor a measure (SB 2081) to keep the
electric rate freeze an additional two years. Under the terms of the
deregulation law, the current rate freeze would expire Dec. 31,
2004. The bill extends the deadline to Dec. 31, 2006.
The savings for
residential customers through 2004 is projected to be about $2.8
billion. Although consumers may soon be able to purchase electricity
from an alternate retail electric supplier, there are no companies
lining up to supply residential customers, which is one reason for
the extension. The legislation would save an additional $174 million
on top of the $2.8 billion. The bill has been signed into law.
[to top of second column in this
Other measures sent
to the governor for considerations are:
Ethanol (HB 2) —
Provides grants for fueling facilities built in attainment areas or
metropolitan areas with more than 100,000 residents and requires a
civic education program on the benefits of alternative fuels.
Child umpires (HB
5996) — Allows 12- and 13-year-olds to umpire Little League
Domestic violence (HB
4081) — Strengthens recidivist penalties for domestic violence
and stalking violators.
assault (HB 4179) — Increases the penalty for assault if the
assault is committed against an employee of a police or sheriff’s
department, an EMT, or other emergency personnel during their
performance of official duties, and if a firearm is used in that
assault. The sentence is enhanced to a Class 4 felony.
Poverty grants (SB
1983) — Increases the poverty grant amounts for schools with
low-income concentration levels of 20-35 percent and 35-50 percent.
This affects 141 school districts in the 20-35 percent category and
34 school districts in the 35-50 percent category, including Chicago
Public School District 299.
Gift Ban Act (HB 4680)
— Strengthens the sweeping Gift Ban Act recently reinstated by
the Illinois Supreme Court and makes it illegal for local and state
government employees and officials to solicit campaign contributions
from businesses or people they regulate.
Early retirement (HB
2671) — Allows state employees to purchase up to five years for
age and five years of service credit toward retirement so long as
the employees are off state payroll by Dec. 31, 2002.
Museum curator (SB
2130) — Authorizes a curator, appointed by the governor, to
manage and control artifacts of the Executive Mansion along with the
Historic Preservation Agency.
Cancer (SJR 57) —
Urges Congress to require Medicare coverage of all oral anti-cancer
Hospital grant program (HB 4580-BIMP) —
Creates a matching IEMA grant program for hospitals (outside of
Chicago) to help improve quality of care, disaster response and
Senate prescription drug plan
awaits action by the governor
SPRINGFIELD — The Illinois General Assembly has said yes.
The future of a proposal to improve access for seniors to affordable
prescription drugs is now up to the governor, according to Sen.
Claude "Bud" Stone.
One of the final
pieces of legislation to pass the legislature during the last days
of the spring legislative session was Senate Bill 2098, co-sponsored
by Sen. Stone. It was one of the few bills this year that won
unanimous approval in both the Senate and House.
"We know this
legislation is not a cure-all for the crisis facing many seniors who
struggle to pay for ever-increasing prescription drugs," said Stone,
R-Morton. "However, it is a step in the right direction."
Senate Bill 2098,
which is supported by the AARP, addresses the senior prescription
drug issue in a number of ways. It would create a central
informational clearinghouse, accessible by a toll-free number, where
seniors can get details on existing public and private discount
programs. The legislation also authorizes a study to determine
whether there is a need for catastrophic pharmaceutical assistance
coverage options for those seniors who do not qualify for public
discount programs but have a higher percentage of prescription drug
costs. The proposal also requires legislative and public oversight
of the state’s various prescription drug discount programs.
[to top of second column in this
"Given the state’s
current budget crisis, this proposal seeks to do as much as possible
to address the need for prescription drug assistance without
creating a huge new entitlement," said Stone. "The hot line number
will be very important for seniors because of a new federal, pilot
program announced by President Bush earlier this year."
On June 1, Illinois
began administering a $110 million federal pilot program called
SeniorCare. SeniorCare will cover the cost of all prescription drugs
and provide prescription drug coverage to an estimated 368,000
lower-income citizens through the state Medicaid program. The
program will serve senior citizens at or below 200 percent of the
federal poverty level ($23,200 for a family of two). The program
will cover the cost of all prescriptions (with a co-pay for each
prescription) up to $1,750 each year and then pays 80 percent above
Seniors can get help in applying for
SeniorCare by contacting a local agency serving seniors. To find a
nearby agency, seniors can call the Senior HelpLine toll-free, 1
(800) 252-8966 (voice and TTY) or visit
Logan-Mason Rehabilitation Center helps the disabled meet their
7, 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."
[Click here for more
[Click here for Part 1]
"Our clients don’t want to stay away from the center even when they
have doctor’s appointments or other obligations, because they really
enjoy having jobs," says Debbie Hilgendorf, supervisor of the
Developmental Training Program.
Debbie’s clients work
and learn in a series of busy, cheerful rooms behind the regular
workshop. Like the clients, the people who work here don’t want to
Debbie herself has
just finished her 18th year of working with the center’s biggest
program. "It’s a great place to work," she says. "Some of my clients
have been here as long as I have."
She supervises 225
clients at three sites: At Postville she has 140; at a State Street
site she has 62, those who are severely and profoundly disabled; and
at Logan Cottage on the grounds of Lincoln Developmental Center she
has 22 clients, those who cannot function well in large groups
because of behavior problems.
Many of the clients
in the Developmental Training Program work half time and get paid
for their work. The rest of their day is spent in classes. Some will
eventually be promoted to the regular work program, and some may
even "graduate" to working in the community. Others, though, need
continual training in the living skills classes.
Work done here
includes some of the piecework done in the regular work program but
is more structured and supervised. It also includes janitorial work,
such as cleaning the building, the bathrooms and the laundry room.
This helps prepare clients for similar work in the community. All
workers are paid, and all get two breaks and lunch.
[Photos by Joan Crabb]
is making iced tea for lunch while Louise stirs her soup in the
cheerful kitchen where clients learn how to live as independently as
cooking, doing laundry, meal planning, shopping and hygiene, along
with academic skills, reading, writing and math. Clients also learn
emergency and survival skills. A pay phone (not hooked up) provides
training in calling 911 and in what to say to the operator.
Other classes teach
socialization skills. Craft projects teach fine motor skills,
attending to task and following directions, but they also teach
clients how to work together side by side and even how to cooperate
on a group project.
available where clients can practice reading and writing. Some
clients even send e-mails to friends and relatives.
ingenuity in making jigs is demonstrated in these classrooms. For
clients in wheelchairs, he has built special frames that can hold a
craft project at the right height. He has designed a thick pencil so
a particular client can grasp it. He has even come up with a device
that allows a wheelchair-bound client who doesn’t have the use of
his hands to work at the computer.
patient is able to move his head (he steers his chair with his
chin). He already had a helmet, so "Bernie" found some parts left
over from another project and used them to attach a long pointer to
the helmet at about forehead height. Today the client, wearing his
helmet, pulls his chair up to the computer and begins to practice
writing his name by moving his head to make the pointer touch the
[to top of second column in this
The colors and shapes
in the art room dazzle the eye. Pictures are displayed everywhere,
some of which this reporter would have liked to take home and put on
her own walls. Mobiles hang from the ceiling. No one wanted to take
down the Christmas tree after the holidays, so the tree stays up and
wears various seasonal decorations. Right now it is a picnic tree,
decorated with tiny plates and utensils and small replicas of good
things to eat.
Instructor Pat Caveny,
who has been teaching art here for 14 years and before that taught
for 19 years at the Lincoln Developmental Center, is still
enthusiastic about what she is doing. Art work teaches fine motor
skills, she points out, but even more important, it allows the
disabled to express their innate creativity.
She’s able to come up
with projects for people with a wide range of skills. For some it’s
as simple as pasting a collage together, while for others it may
involve creating complex designs in subtle but harmonious colors.
client likes to draw freehand pictures of sports logos, especially
the Cubs and the Cardinals.]
Some of her clients
have "a tremendous sense of color and design," she says — a
statement that’s easy to believe after seeing the art they create.
She has clients who
came here with her when LDC dropped its art program. "Some of my
friends and I have been together for 25 years," she says.
Pat wears another
hat, too. She runs the Special Olympics sports events for the
developmentally disabled. Right now her athletes, including twins
Jean and Jan who work in the regular program, are training for a
track-and-field meet to be in Springfield in June. After that comes
basketball. Special Olympics is an ongoing project throughout the
year, limited only by the number of volunteers Pat can find.
Although the art room
is a busy place, the woodworking room is empty. This brings up sad
"When we lost clients
from Lincoln Developmental Center, we had to cut staff," Debbie
says. "It was the worst time the staff ever had. A lot of our staff,
like a lot of our clients, have been here for a many years. We had
known and worked with those LDC people for a long time."
Debbie lost 42
clients from LDC and had to lay off eight employees, which meant she
didn’t have enough help to staff the woodworking shop, though she
hopes to reopen it before too long.
"The staff didn’t
want to leave, and it was really heart-wrenching to have our clients
leave. There were a lot of tears during that time. Everyone took a
turn having a bad day. Staff members took clients out to eat and
bought them gifts, spending their own money."
More bad days will be
coming if Gov. George Ryan succeeds in his plan to downsize the
Lincoln Developmental Center to 100 residents. This will mean the
loss of more clients and layoffs for more of Debbie’s staff.
"I’m lucky to have a
wonderful staff," she says. Even though they know they may be laid
off down the road, they’re sticking to their jobs until they see
Conley, who’s been an instructor for 15 years, is one who won’t
leave unless she has to.
"I’ll be here until they boot me out,"
Gov. Ryan commends legislative
Expert panel, HPA to govern
library and museum
action on Lincoln Presidential Library
Gov. George Ryan applauded the
General Assembly’s passage of a bill creating an operating structure
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
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
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
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.
[to top of second column in
Governor Ryan noted House Minority
Leader Lee Daniels’ strong support for the library project and the
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
state of Illinois, the
city of Springfield and the
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
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
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,
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
First sewer bids in under
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
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
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.
[to top of second column in
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.
Cool, wet spring
Will it be a warmer-than-average
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)
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.
[to top of second column in
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
Kingston, editor, Illinois State Water Survey]
Earlier Sunday drinking hours
bring controversy to the council
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
"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."
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
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.
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
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.
[to top of second column in
"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
"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
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
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
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.
City to hire one new
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 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.
[to top of second column in
"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.
of a balanced budget
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
[to top of second column in
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
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
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
• $1.5 million from the Abraham Lincoln Presidential
Library and Museum Fund to the University of Illinois Springfield
for governmental studies.
[to top of second column in this
• No general tax increase and no pension bonding.
• Increased taxes on cigarettes and wealthy riverboats
and "limited securitization" of tobacco settlement funds with state
• 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
• Short-term borrowing to allow the state to pay its
backlog of bills. Without this, vendors may be forced to borrow at
• 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.
General Assembly passes
Keeps Lincoln Developmental Center
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
"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,"
"I’m also very
pleased this plan adds back funding to keep the Lincoln
Developmental Center and the Zeller Mental Health Center open," he
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
• $1,500,000 for AgriFirst.
• Restores funding for the Hanna City Work Camp
• $2.5 million for coal research and development
• $1 million for continued ethanol research.
Elementary and secondary education
• $33 million for mandated programs (94 percent
• $184 million for the Early Childhood Development
• $1.8 million for agricultural education programs.
• Public universities would be funded at governor’s GRF
• $35 million for the grants under the Monetary Award
[to top of second column in this
• $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
• 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.
• $36.0 million for the Illinois Open Land Trust
• $5.2 million for Conservation 2000 projects and the
Illinois Rivers Initiative.
• 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
• $1 million to fund Public Water Supply Vulnerability
• $14 million to fund the Brownfields Redevelopment
• $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
• $7,375,800 for the Elder Abuse and Neglect program.
• $6,618,500 for home-delivered meals.
• Funding for 50 new cadets in FY03.
• $2.3 billion for the FY03 road program.
• Increase of $4.1 million to downstate public
• 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
• 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.
bill heads to governor
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
"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
[to top of second column in this
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.
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
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
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
• 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
[to top of second column in this
• 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.
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
[Illinois Government News Network
Wright takes stand against
‘backward’ budget process
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,"
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
"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."
Broadwell man loses life in single-vehicle accident
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
autopsy was conducted Monday morning.
County and state police are investigating.
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