Weather watch

Alerts posted for central Illinois

[MARCH 1, 2002]  A major winter storm is taking aim at parts of central Illinois. The storm will develop across the Plains states today and move northeast across central Illinois tonight and Saturday. Snow will spread into areas northwest of the Illinois River this afternoon. Heavy snowfall is likely in this area tonight and Saturday. Elsewhere the precipitation will start as rain or a mix of rain and snow, not changing to all snow until Saturday. Windy conditions producing considerable blowing and drifting snow will also develop late Friday night and continue into Saturday night

Conditions can deteriorate rapidly in winter weather situations. Travel will be discouraged tonight into Saturday as this winter weather develops. Plan to reach your destination by this afternoon or delay travel until early next week when conditions improve. If you must travel, slow down and allow plenty of extra time to reach your destination. Practice your winter safety rules: Keep an extra flashlight, food and water in your car in case of emergency.

Stay tuned to NOAA weather radio or your local media for the latest concerning this potentially dangerous winter weather situation.

Winter storm watch Saturday and Saturday night

Bulletin at 3:34 a.m. Friday, March 1 for Cass, Champaign, Christian, Clark, Coles, Cumberland, DeWitt, Douglas, Edgar, Logan, Macon, Mason, McLean, Menard, Morgan, Moultrie, Piatt, Sangamon, Scott, Shelby and Vermilion counties including the cities of Beardstown, Bloomington, Champaign, Charleston, Clinton, Danville, Decatur, Havana, Jacksonville, Lincoln, Marshall, Mason City, Mattoon, Monticello, Paris, Rantoul, Shelbyville, Springfield, Sullivan, Taylorville, Toledo, Tuscola, Virginia and Winchester:



After rain or a mix of rain and snow occurs tonight, a change to all snow is expected on Saturday. Total snowfall of 3 to 5 inches of snow will be possible before tapering off Saturday night. In addition to the snow, northwest winds will increase to 20 to 30 mph late Saturday and continue into Saturday night. This will create considerable blowing and drifting snow and produce difficult driving conditions.

A watch means that these conditions are possible but not imminent. Snow amounts could still change as Saturday approaches.


[to top of second column in this article]

For Knox and Stark counties, including the city of Galesburg, there is a winter storm warning for tonight through Saturday night.

Heavy snow is expected to develop across that area this evening and continue through Saturday. Snowfall rates could reach 2 inches an hour at times. Total snowfall accumulations of 8 to 12 inches are expected before the snow tapers off Saturday evening. In addition to the snowfall, northwest winds will increase to 20 to 30 mph Saturday and continue into Saturday night. This will create considerable blowing and drifting snow, resulting in difficult if not impossible driving conditions.

For Fulton, Marshall, Peoria, Schuyler, Tazewell and Woodford counties, including the cities of Canton, Eureka, Lacon, Lewistown, Pekin, Peoria and Rushville, there is a winter storm warning for tonight through Saturday night.

Heavy snow is expected to develop across that area this evening and continue through Saturday. The snow could also briefly mix with sleet and freezing rain tonight. Snowfall rates could reach 2 inches an hour at times. Total snowfall accumulations of 6 to 10 inches are expected before the snow tapers off Saturday evening. In addition to the snowfall, northwest winds will increase to 20 to 30 mph Saturday and continue into Saturday night. This will create considerable blowing and drifting snow, resulting in difficult if not impossible driving conditions.

[News release (]

Lincoln gearing up for
2003 sesquicentennial

[FEB. 28, 2002]  In one year Lincoln will begin celebrating 150 years. Plans are well under way to make it a big celebration.

The sequicentennial committee and subcommittees invite you to participate in preparations. You can contact Thressia Usherwood, executive director of Abraham Lincoln Tourism Bureau of Logan County, for more information about how to get involved. Call (217) 732-8687.

You have one more day to submit sesquicentennial logo designs and slogans for Lincoln’s 2003 celebration. Submissions are due Friday, March 1, and can be dropped off at Mayor Beth Davis’ office in City Hall. Winning entries will be used on promotional materials.

The city was christened with the juice of a watermelon by Abraham Lincoln on Aug. 27, 1853. (For information about the christening, see 


DNA database expansion will
assist law enforcement

[FEB. 28, 2002]  SPRINGFIELD — Local police and prosecutors throughout Illinois may soon have more information at their disposal to help them identify suspects and prosecute offenders, state Rep. Jonathan Wright announced. Wright helped pass legislation in the House earlier this month to expand and improve Illinois’ DNA database for convicted criminals.

"For our police and prosecutors to do their jobs protecting our families, they need to have access to as much information as possible about potential suspects in criminal cases. Expanding our DNA database will provide them more complete and accurate information about those who have been convicted of serious crimes in our state," Wright said.

House Bill 3717, initiated by DuPage County State’s Attorney Joseph Birkett, expands the pool of convicted criminals who are required to submit DNA samples for the state’s database to all individuals convicted of any felony or given supervision for a felony under the Juvenile Court Act. Current law requires samples only from those specifically convicted of violent or sexual felony offenses.

The legislation also, for the first time, allows samples for the database to be extracted from sources other than blood, including saliva or tissue, which is much less intrusive for the offender and more cost-effective for the state.

  [to top of second column in this article]

The DNA database expansion is based on a successful program in the state of Virginia, where expansion of their database has led to a positive identification of suspects in hundreds of cases.

"Expansion of the DNA database in Virginia has been a tremendous success," Wright said. "Hundreds of new criminal cases and several older cases have now been solved and those responsible have been brought to justice because their DNA was added to the database. I fully expect that our law enforcement here in Illinois will have equal success," he said.

Having passed the House, the measure progressed to the Senate for further consideration.

[News release]

Judge gives go-ahead to union lawsuit

[FEB. 27, 2002]  Judge Donald A. Behle ruled today that the lawsuit filed to prevent closure of Lincoln Developmental Center can proceed based on the states failure to obtain a permit through the State Health Facilities Planning Board. The boards process requires public hearings where the effects of the changes in services can be explored.

"We are pleased that the judge has recognized the validity of our case," said Henry Bayer, executive director of AFSCME Council 31. "We intend to pursue this matter to prevent any further precipitous movement of residents from Lincoln Developmental Center.

"If the state thought it could justify its downsizing plan, it wouldnt be attempting to circumvent the law and avoid the spotlight of public hearings," Bayer added. "We will continue to work with the parents and other concerned community members to advance the well-being of Lincoln residents and employees."

The judge ruled that immediate court action is warranted because "to wait until after the parties are laid off or the alleged failure to comply with the Illinois Health Facilities Planning Act occurs could create irreparable harm."


[to top of second column in this article]

AFSCME Council 31 initially filed the suit in Logan County Circuit Court on Jan. 7. The plaintiffs, in addition to the union, are Sen. Larry Bomke, R-Springfield, and Eleanor and Norlan Newmister, parents of a resident of LDC.

Council 31 will next file a motion for preliminary injunction asking the judge to stop any further downsizing or patient transfers until a permit is obtained.

[News release]


Sewer bill delinquents face disconnection

[FEB. 27, 2002]  The city of Lincoln is $37,000 in the hole because of people who aren’t paying their sewer bills, and it’s digging in its heels to do something about it.

City Clerk Juanita Josserand reported at the city council’s work session Tuesday that 30 certified letters had gone out to property owners behind on sewer bills, but 28 of them came back because the owners refused to sign for them. She noted that it cost the city $4 to send each letter.

"The best thing to do is dig them up," she said.

None of these delinquents are on combined sewers, she added. In a few cases, where delinquents are on a double hookup and the other person on the hookup has paid the bills, digging up may not be an option.

Sewer plant manager Grant Eaton said the next step is to give these delinquents one more notice, then dig up the sewer line and disconnect them. The procedure is to send a team to the home of the property owners, knock on the door and show them what they owe. They then have three days to pay or be disconnected.

Once the sewer connection is broken, building inspector Les Last will condemn the home as unfit to live in, and anyone still in the house will have to move out, Josserand said. The city bills the property owners directly for sewer use, not renters who might live in the house, she said.

To reconnect after being dug up, the owner will have to pay all costs, which could be as much as $5,000, Eaton said.

Foreclosing on the home is usually not a good option, according to City Attorney Bill Bates, because mortgage holders get priority over the city as creditors, and the city will probably never collect the overdue fees.

Eaton said the city has been owed as much as $100,000 in the past in overdue sewer bills but has been able to collect most of it, as most property owners do pay when threatened with immediate disconnection.

In other business, Alderman Verl Prather, chair of the police committee, announced that his committee has begun contract negotiations with the Police Department. "We did meet tonight and we have their wants," he said.

Alderman Glenn Shelton, insurance committee chairman, announced a meeting on March 4 to go over plans with insurance provider Roger Garrett. He also announced a meeting March 7 with union representatives to go over insurance proposals.

City Attorney Bill Bates asked why union representatives were involved, as the city is paying all expenses for insurance. Bates also noted that some city employees have clauses in their contracts that say they must be given 60 days notice of any changes in health insurance.

Phil Mahler, regional planner, announced that he has a client looking for a site for a communication tower in Lincoln, a contract which could bring the city as much as $267,700 over a 30-year period.

"I think we could have a contract within a month," he told the council.


[to top of second column in this article]

The client, Insite Wireless, wants one site in Lincoln, one in Atlanta and one in Elkhart, Mahler said. Mahler said this would be a good source of revenue for the city —$500 a month for the first five years, with a 15 percent increase in revenue every five years after that. He noted that there are already preapproved sites for communication towers in Lincoln.

Bates noted that these communication companies usually have contracts they can terminate whenever they wish or contracts that are assignable to other firms. Mahler replied that Insite builds towers for Sprint and would probably assign the towers to that company.

Alderman Pat Madigan told Mahler he would like to have the client come to a city council meeting, possibly on March 12, and give a presentation on the tower they want to build.

Steve Fuhrer said the Economic Development Council would also be attending the meeting on March 12 to make a presentation. The EDC is recommending the city establish an industrial-commercial park on about 60 acres north of the city at Interstate 55 and Kruger Road.

Fuhrer also reported that the city’s revenues so far this fiscal year are $300,000 less than projected. "People are not spending money. Sales taxes are down," he said. The city’s fiscal year ends April 30.

The city is also having trouble collecting the final costs of façade renovations made with a grant from Illinois Department of Transportation. The IDOT grant, awarded more than four years ago, paid 80 percent of the costs for participating property owners, with the other 20 percent to be paid by the owners. Work was completed in the summer of 2000.

Bates reported that he has been in touch with some of the property owners downtown who say that all the improvements that have been promised have not been completed to their satisfaction.

Eaton, who did some of the engineering on the project, said he walked through the buildings with the IDOT representative when the final inspection was made. All work was approved by the state at that time, he said.

Bates said some property owners complained that work is not satisfactory. Complaints included thermopane windows that sweat inside, lighting that starts fires and doors that do not fit. Some property owners have also complained that costs were considerably higher than first quoted.

"I didn’t talk to anybody who told me they weren’t going to pay. But there has been no follow-up since March of 2001," Bates said.

Eaton and Bates will meet to discuss further action.

[Joan Crabb]

Judge will hear arguments
on AFSCME suit

[FEB. 25, 2002]  Although one count of the suit brought by the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees Local 425 to prevent Gov. George Ryan from closing Lincoln Developmental Center has been dismissed, arguments will be heard on the second count, Dan Senters, local AFSCME spokesman, said Monday afternoon.

Senters said the union learned about the ruling, made by Associate Judge Don Behle of the Logan County Circuit Court, at about noon Monday, Feb. 25. AFSCME contended that Gov. Ryan did not have a right to close LDC because the legislature had appropriated money to fund it until the end of the fiscal year, June 30. Judge Behle dismissed that count, Senters, said, because the governor has decided not to close the facility but to reduce the number of residents to about 100, and the question is moot.

However, Judge Behle will hear arguments on the second count, that the governor and the Illinois Department of Human Services must get a permit from the Illinois Health Facilities Planning Board before moving residents from LDC. Steve Yokich, attorney representing AFSCME, argued last week that, according to the statutes, permits are required if changes are made to the "scope and operation" of facilities such as LDC and if the facility cuts more than 10 beds or 10 percent of its beds. No permits were issued for the residents who have already been moved, Senters said.

Senters said Yokich will be filing an injunction immediately to stop the state from moving any more residents from LDC until the court has heard arguments on the permit issue, even though the governor’s office had already announced that it will not move any more residents until April 15. Senters said he expects a hearing on the injunction early next week. Judge Behle will hear arguments on the permit issue at a later date.


[to top of second column in this article]

According to the Logan County circuit clerk’s office, the plaintiffs have the option to refile on the question of appropriations (count one) within 14 days.

AFSCME staff members say 114 residents have already been moved from LDC, most of them to other large state-operated facilities. There are 256 residents and 620 employees still at LDC, but the governor wants to move at least another 150 out of the 124-year-old facility and cut employees from a peak of 700 to about 210.

On Friday the Department of Human Services gave layoff notices to LDC employees who are members of AFSCME. One hundred ninety-two AFSCME employees are to be laid off by April 30 and another 180 by June 30, under the governor’s present plan.

Layoff notices will also go out to LDC employees who are members of three other unions, the Teamsters and unions that represent nurses and security personnel.

[Joan Crabb]

LCC dedicates new athletic facility

[FEB. 25, 2002]  Saturday was the day for Lincoln Christian College’s new Laughlin Center and Gaston Arena to be presented to the public. You may have noticed the construction over there on that side of town. This dedication marks the culmination of many years of planning and vision to bring a new physical facility to the LCC/LCCS campus. According to sources, some 1,200 to 1,300 people showed up to celebrate and dedicate the building.

This new athletic center features a 13,000-square-foot gymnasium with seating for 1,000 spectators. It houses a weight room, four locker rooms, training rooms with whirlpool and training tables, as well as new offices and two new classrooms. It replaces an aging and undersized facility on the other side of the campus.


Immediately after the original building was completed in the early ’60s on that 22-acre campus, coach Marion Henderson remarked that the facility was inadequate, and even then the LCC faculty and staff set their sights on bringing together the resources to construct an appropriate indoor athletic facility. The campus grew, the students came, and the dream lived on.

The Laughlin Center is the fulfillment of a vision to expand and enhance the athletic program at LCC/LCCS — a vision that began in the early ’90s. According to Jeff Mayfield, one of the early LCC visionaries of this expansion, he and Lynn Laughlin had drawn up plans for a $5 million facility and even had a model constructed in the early ’90s to bring this logical expansion to the attention of the alumni, the administration and even the entire Christian Church convention. But, "it was like kicking a dead horse," said Mayfield. Even with plans coordinated with the YMCA to bring this facility to light, it was still a matter of dollars and cents. They were told if they got someone to write the check, then construction could be started immediately.

A recent anonymous gift of $1 million, plus a pledge drive among friends and alumni of LCC/LCS that raised an additional $2 million piece of the pie, started construction on the Laughlin Center and provided for a needed $5 million renovation of the entire LCC campus.

The construction on this new building was coordinated by PJ Hoerr of Normal, which served as the primary contractor for this facility.

The ribbon-cutting event started out this day of dedication at 10 a.m. Jean Driscoll, an athlete who medaled in both the 1992 and 1996 Summer Olympic Games and won the Boston Marathon eight times, was the guest speaker at 10:30 a.m. In addition to her athletic background, Driscoll holds a degree in communications and is a national sports commentator of some renown.


The reception and guided tours of the new center began at 11:30 p.m., followed by a women’s basketball game against Emmaus Bible College at 1 p.m. and a men’s basketball game against the same college at 3 p.m. The alumni events Saturday were the best-attended alumni events ever held by LCC.

This new athletic facility, The Laughlin Center, was named after longtime friend, coach and recruiter at LCC/LCS, Lynn Laughlin. Laughlin came to the college as a student in 1960, and never left. He began in the athletics program as an assistant basketball coach in ’64 and took over as head coach in ’69. He also coached baseball from 1975 to 1983 and finally retired from coaching in 1986. Laughlin currently serves as the vice president of alumni development for LCC.


[to top of second column in this article]

As a recruiter for LCC, he was instrumental in helping to build a strong student body at the college. His motto has been: "We can work this out. If you will come, we’ll find a way to make it work." His personal integrity has inspired trusted relationships with thousands of students, as well as the faculty and staff of LCC/LCCS.

An ordained minister, Laughlin is a well-respected member of the Logan County community. He has served the community in several public capacities, among which were his years of ministry at Lake Fork Christian Church, preaching ministry at Raymond, Ill., and service to the community as a "Paul Harris Fellow" Rotarian. Laughlin has served on public school boards, as well as being an officer of his school district.

Laughlin called the fulfillment of this project "unbelievable!" He said he kept pinching himself and kept pinching himself, and when he drove onto the grounds of LCC Monday morning, the sports facility was still there — a physical reality, not merely a pleasant dream. He credits the work of many friends of LCC/LCS, and purposefully pointed out the leadership of President Keith Ray and the development work of Kevin Crawford.


The gymnasium portion of this new athletic facility is known as the Thomas A. Gaston Arena, named and dedicated for a Christian known for outstanding faith and focus. Gaston was said to be exemplary in his conduct, a model who could be imitated just as the apostle Paul was worthy of imitation. Often referred to as the "Holy Man of the Midwest," he shunned public attention and simply worked obscurely to advance the cause of the church. His family honored him with a substantial gift toward the completion of the athletic facility.

Lincoln Christian College and Seminary have enjoyed a rich athletic heritage, with an active basketball program dating back to 1952 in the old Odd Fellows gym on Wyatt Avenue. Women’s basketball was added in 1963. Women’s athletics were expanded in 1980 to include women’s volleyball. Baseball began prior to the institution’s name change (formerly Lincoln Bible Institute) back in the ’50s. Track began in 1962 and flourished in the late ’60s and early ’70s. Soccer was added in 1979, women’s softball in 1980 and tennis in 1988. LCC will be adding four other sports in the 2002-03 academic year: women’s softball, men’s volleyball, and men’s and women’s cross country.

Lincoln Christian College is a four-year institution offering certificate, associate’s degree and bachelor’s degree programs, as well as cooperative programs with ISU, U of I Springfield and Greenville College. The Seminary offers a Master of Divinity degree in leadership ministry, an MA in counseling ministry, as well as MA programs in six other areas of specialization.

Lincoln Christian College is accredited by the Accrediting Association of Bible Colleges and the Higher Learning Commissions of the North Central Association. The seminary is accredited by the Association of Theological Schools and the Higher Learning Commissions of the North Central Association. In recent years the college and seminary have experienced record enrollments, with more than 1,100 students enrolled. The college is the third-fastest-growing private college in the state of Illinois (of schools over 300). Lincoln alumni number nearly 12,000 and serve in nearly every state of the union and have served in mission fields in 57 countries.

[Jim Youngquist]


Lincoln court will rock in one week

[FEB. 25, 2002]  The average height in Lincoln will be raised the evening of Tuesday, March 5, as the popular Harlem Ambassadors take to the basketball court. The fund-raising event is being hosted by the Habitat for Humanity of Logan County. It will take place at the new Laughlin Center Gaston Arena on the Lincoln Christian College campus at 7 p.m.

Reduced price advance tickets are available at $10 for adults, $7 for senior citizens and $5 for children under 12. Tickets at the door will be $12 for adults, $9 for senior citizens and $7 for children under 12. For more information, contact Habitat at P.O. Box 714 or phone (217) 732-6234. Tickets can be purchased in Lincoln at the IGA, A.G. Edwards and Union Planters Bank.

The Harlem Ambassadors Basketball Show features high-flying slam dunks, dazzling ball-handling and hilarious comedy routines. The team of men professionals is uniquely led by a woman player and coach, Ladč Majic, the "Queen of Show Basketball." The team is challenged by local opposition at each stop. In Lincoln, they will face the talents of a team specially formed for the Habitat for Humanity of Logan County: the Nail Benders, composed of young men from the area who are over the age of 19.


Speaking for the Harlem Ambassadors, Ladč Majic said, "We find that no matter what part of the country we tour, the fans love us, and the home team always has a few players that can put us to the test." Despite the challenges, the team remains undefeated in four years of touring, during which the team has journeyed to 14 foreign countries on three continents.

The Harlem Ambassadors/Amtrak Coast-to-Coast Tour offers a unique mix of the old and new. Slated for the prime basketball period of Feb. 23 to March 24, the tour will carry the Harlem Ambassadors from Philadelphia to Oakland entirely by Amtrak rail service.

"We are very excited to be teaming with Amtrak to present this unique undertaking," said Dale Moss, president of the Harlem Ambassadors. "It seems now, more than ever, the public is seeking wholesome family activities in their own backyard," he added. The Harlem Ambassadors frequently present their world-class basketball extravaganza in small college and large high school facilities where fans have greater access to interact with the performers than they might have in a huge sports arena.


[to top of second column in this article]

This tour is bringing back the memories of a time when sports teams crisscrossed the nation by rail. Back in that day, instead of the isolation of private air or motor coach transportation, sports stars were accessible to fans as they journeyed by train. However, there is nothing old-fashioned about either the Harlem Ambassadors or Amtrak in the partnership of this tour. The team offers many fresh ideas in the traditional African-American basketball presentation. And Amtrak offers an extremely high standard of up-to-date service in modern Superliner rail coaches.

The tour is projected for performances in 25 communities on Amtrak’s routes. The Harlem Ambassadors staff has scheduled performances at stops that include large city, suburban and rural locations. The tour is designed to bring good feelings to each of the communities where the Harlem Ambassadors will perform.

This tour is a great public relations opportunity for the Harlem Ambassadors, Amtrak and the communities in which the tour will stop. Print and broadcast media representatives are being invited to join the tour for various segments, traveling with the team, experiencing the pleasures of Amtrak rail transportation, enjoying the communities in which the tour stops and even having an opportunity to play in the basketball game (for the challenging team). The Harlem Ambassadors public relations representatives and Amtrak PR are coordinating this national media coverage. For more information, call (970) 472-1000.


As with other Harlem Ambassadors games, the game performances of the Amtrak Coast-to-Coast Tour are benefiting local not-for-profit community, youth and school organizations. It is estimated that nearly a quarter of a million dollars in funds will be raised for these organizations through this tour.

[News release]

Layoff notices go out at LDC

[FEB. 23, 2002]  The first step in laying off a total of 372 employees of Lincoln Developmental Center, members of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Union, came Friday when packets informing them of the move were handed out.

The Department of Human Services, which oversees the facility, and Central Management Services, both state agencies, began distributing the packets at 5 a.m. Feb. 22.  Packets went to workers on all three shifts.  One hundred ninety-two of the AFSCME members are slated to be laid off April 30, and the other 180 will be laid off June 30.   

An AFSCME spokesperson said members of three other unions the Teamsters, the Illinois Nurses Association, and the Illinois Federation of Public Employees (which represented the security officers) will be receiving layoff notices sometime next week.  Workers to be laid off must be given a 60-day notice.

The layoff packets were expected, the AFSCME spokesperson said, because Gov. George Ryan has already announced that LDC is to be downsized to 100 residents and about 210 employees.  Ryan has announced that he intends to begin moving residents of LDC to other facilities by April 15.

LDC employees who got the notices also learned that they have only a few days to decide whether they will take a position in another state facility for the developmentally disabled.

Starting Tuesday (Feb. 26), employees targeted for layoffs will meet with Department of Human Services officials to discuss taking jobs in other state facilities.  These employees must decide next week if they want a position somewhere else.

There are 310 vacancies in other state facilities that are being held open for LDC staff members.  However, the spokesperson said, there may not be enough positions open in specific classifications to absorb all LDC staff members who want to move.

Facilities that have openings include Fox Developmental Center at Dwight, Howe in Tinley Park, Ludeman in Park Forest, Murray in Centralia, Shapiro in Kankakee and the center at Jacksonville.  Those who accept jobs at other facilities must report to their new positions on April 16.

Employees who do not want to move have two other options, according to Dan Senters, former president of AFSCME Local 425 and now a consultant for Illinois Council 31.  If they have enough seniority, they can “bump down” to a classification in which they were previously certified.  However, since under the governor’s plan only 210 jobs will remain at Lincoln, even those with the most seniority may not be able to stay.



[to top of second column in this article]

The other option would be to take the layoff and hope to be recalled, he said.  Many employees, he said, will have few or no options.

Even though the first step has been taken to lay off employees, Senters said AFSCME will continue to fight to keep LDC open.

“The process today and the meetings next week in no way indicate that AFSCME is giving up the fight.  We still intend to fight on to restore Lincoln to its once grand state, when it was winning awards for taking care of residents.”

AFSCME has a lawsuit pending in the Logan County Circuit Court to prevent Gov. Ryan and other state officials from closing LDC this fiscal year, which ends June 30.

AFSCME contends that money has been appropriated for LDC’s operation for the fiscal year and the governor cannot withhold the funds. The suit also says that DHS needs a permit from the Illinois Health Facilities Board to move residents from the facility.  About 130 residents have already been moved, and no permits were sought or issued.

The state has asked Judge Don Behle to dismiss the AFSCME suit.  Behle has not yet ruled on the motion to dismiss but is expected to do so before March 1.

AFSCME representatives were on hand at the LDC campus Friday to talk to employees who received the layoff packets.  Senters said receiving them was “traumatic” for the employees, even though they knew the move was coming.  He also said it has been traumatic for the residents who consider LDC home to be moved to other institutions.

“It is not going to be a great cost savings to downsize LDC,” he said.  “They are sending most of these individuals to other facilities.  At least 100 are going to other state-operated developmentally disabled centers.  The money LDC would have received will go for the cost of care at these facilities.  They will be adding more employees at these other state-operated facilities as well.”

Shuffling LDC residents from one institution to another, he said, will not be to their benefit. 

“A lot of individuals at Lincoln will be harmed.  We hope we can stop that. Change of any magnitude, especially this severe, is difficult for them to adjust to.  It is almost guaranteed they will regress.  I still contend if the governor was genuinely concerned about the welfare of the individuals, they wouldn’t be shuffled around like so much cordwood.”

[Joan Crabb]

A copy of the state-issued layoff notice
some LDC employees received Friday

[FEB. 23, 2002]  Text of letter from the Illinois Department of Human Services:

Illinois Department of Human Services

George H. Ryan, Governor

Linda Reneé Baker, Secretary

100 South Grand Avenue East

Springfield, Illinois 62762

February 22, 2002

Dear Colleague:

Due to the downsizing of the Lincoln Developmental Center, many staff are being required to make difficult choices regarding alternative employment in the Department of Human Services in accordance with personnel and collective bargaining agreement procedures. Unfortunately, some staff may not find the alternative employment offers within DHS suitable and will become subject to layoff.

The Department is preparing to assist employees who find themselves in this situation to explore employment options in other state and federal agencies or in the private sector. At this time, a job fair has tentatively been scheduled for March 20 and 21, and every effort will be made to hold the event at the Lincoln Developmental Center. We will be inviting employers from Bloomington, Decatur, Lincoln, Springfield and surrounding communities to speak to LDC staff members about available employment opportunities and to take applications on the spot.


[to top of second column in this section]

In addition to the job fair, representatives from the Department of Central Management Services will be available to answer questions regarding the Upward Mobility Program, group insurance and deferred compensation. Experts from the State Employees Retirement System will be attending, as will counselors representing the Employee Assistance Program. Representatives from the Department of Employment Security will be present to assist with resumé preparation, interview skills, and provide information about the availability of benefits —including unemployment compensation. Finally, staff from the DHS Office of Human Resources will be attending both days to assist you in any way possible, and will be available after the job fair has concluded, should you need further assistance.

Once plans for the job fair have been finalized, you will receive confirmation by mail of the specific time and location. We encourage you to take advantage of these services, explore other employment options and invite you to get answers to questions regarding benefits.


Mickey Haslett, Chief

Bureau of Recruitment and Selection



Gov. Ryan proposes balanced
$52.8 billion 2003 budget

Historic funding for schools, more state police,
community living arrangements for disabled

[FEB. 23, 2002]  SPRINGFIELD — Gov. George Ryan is proposing a balanced $52.8 billion fiscal year 2003 budget with a historic change in state school funding and, for the fourth straight year, 51 percent of new revenues dedicated to education.

The budget plans more resources for public safety and human services but also sets priorities to address a slumping national economy. Agency budget bases are being cut across the board by 3 percent. The state’s work force would be reduced by nearly 3,800 positions, and four state facilities would be closed.

"Today, I can report to you that the state of Illinois remains strong. The $52.8 billion budget that I present to you today fulfills all of the many goals that we — together — set for Illinois four years ago," Ryan told a joint session of the General Assembly. "This budget is lean but fair. This budget is balanced. And it contains no tax increases."

The governor’s budget keeps his four-year pledge to allocate 51 percent of all new state revenues to schools and work-force training. Significantly, it also boosts the per-pupil "foundation level" of state funding to almost $5,000 a year, an unprecedented level of state support for every public school child.

The recommended foundation level represents an increase of almost 18 percent in the guaranteed per-pupil funding level since Ryan took office in 1999.

Maintaining the governor’s 51 percent pledge will mean an allocation of $245 million in expected new revenues during the coming fiscal year, which begins on July 1. Total revenue growth for fiscal year 2003 is estimated to be $480 million. If his proposal is approved, Gov. Ryan’s administration will have provided $1.45 billion in new funding for education over four years.

"This budget keeps our commitment that education and work-force training will be our top priority," Ryan said.

For years in Illinois, school districts have struggled with a funding disparity caused by a funding system tied directly to land values. This disparity creates a huge and unfair gap between schools in areas where property values are high and increasing, and areas where land values are low and stagnant.

Since 1997 the General Assembly has tried to bridge this gap and raise the foundation level, or the amount of money guaranteed for every public school student in the state. Since 1999, the foundation level has been increased by $335, or about $111 per year.

To raise the foundation level to a record of nearly $5,000 per student, the governor proposes combining 22 separate grant programs administered by the State Board of Education for individual school districts. The governor instead proposes allocating the nearly $500 million to the school aid formula. The new investment brings the total for state aid to almost $3.7 billion, a record level.

"This money will go to local school districts, where local leaders can decide how best to spend it to serve their students, rather than having state bureaucrats in Springfield make the decisions for them," Gov. Ryan said.

Currently, to receive grant money, every school district has to submit grant applications to the State Board of Education for approval.

Other highlights of the governor’s State of the State / Budget Address include:

Education and work-force training

•  Illinois Preschool — The FY 2003 state budget includes a $5.8 million allocation to begin "Illinois Preschool," a first-of-its-kind program that gives all 3- and 4-year-olds access to a quality preschool program, no matter where they live in Illinois. Educational studies of youngsters indicate that children who enroll in a quality preschool program do better in school and in life. Another study of preschool children in Chicago indicates that for every dollar spent on quality preschool programs, state government can save $7 in the cost of public safety, remedial education and health care for these children.

•  Teacher development — More than $15 million is proposed to start developing programs to aid the recruitment, mentoring and continued training of teachers at all levels — recommendations that emerged from the 2001 Governor’s Education Summit.

•  Accountability standards — With the enactment last month of President Bush’s "No Child Left Behind" education reform act, every school district will have to meet tough state accountability standards and implement annual student testing for most elementary school grades, or be placed on an academic watch list. The State Board of Education will develop a plan this summer that puts new state accountability standards and new testing requirements into sync with those in federal law.

Human services

•  FamilyCare — The FY 2003 state budget proposes a "FamilyCare" initiative to extend health benefits to the families of children enrolled in the Kidcare program. KidCare enrollments now top 178,000 — or roughly 75 percent of all the children in Illinois who are eligible for this program. The Department of Public Aid is negotiating with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for a waiver of federal rules that will allow Illinois to use unspent KidCare money to extend health coverage to more than 200,000 adults in Illinois.

•  SeniorCare — Under the new "SeniorCare" program, as many as 400,000 seniors in Illinois with incomes below 200 percent of the federal government’s poverty level will be eligible, beginning June 1, for assistance in purchasing prescription drugs for around a $3 co-pay. This program, an expansion of Illinois’ existing Circuit Breaker program for seniors, has been hailed by the Bush administration as a national model.

•  TANF grant increase — While the number of families in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program is expected to drop to 48,000 in the next year — a record low — more than 40,000 families still need direct cash assistance. This budget will be able to fund an average 10 percent increase in the TANF grant for families, which currently stands at $377 per month to a single parent and two children.

•  John W. Maitland Jr. LIHEAP grants — The budget continues a record state commitment — $140 million — to help low-income families pay their winter heating bills through the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, or LIHEAP. To recognize the importance of the program, the governor proposed that the name be changed to honor the creator of the grants, retiring state Sen. John W. Maitland Jr. of Bloomington.


[to top of second column in this article]

•  Illinois Workforce Advantage — This budget also calls for an expansion of the innovative Illinois Workforce Advantage program, which helps disadvantaged communities find and implement the right mix of state services and programs to help advance economic development, health care and education. The IWA program will expand to three new areas of the state.

•  Aid to the Aged, Blind and Disabled — The FY 2003 state budget lives up to a three-year-old commitment to expand state support for health care services to more of the most needy citizens — the aged, blind and disabled. In this budget, coverage of people within the AABD program will expand to 100 percent of the federal poverty level, enabling 93,000 more people to get state help in meeting their needs.

•  Adoptions and permanent placements — Funding for assisting in adoptions and permanent placements through the Department of Children and Family Services is increased by $20 million in this budget. In the last three years, DCFS has become a national model in the area of helping troubled families and at-risk children find safety, security and the path to a better life.

•  Home care services for seniors and the disabled — The recommended budget for human services continues a three-year effort to boost the wages of home care workers for seniors and the disabled. With this new $1-an-hour wage increase, over four years the Ryan administration will have provided a 21 percent increase in pay for the Department on Aging’s Community Care program and a 25 percent increase for personal assistants in the Home Services program run by DHS.

•  New Community Integrated Living Arrangements — In this budget, the state will continue to move as many residents of state-run developmentally disabled centers as possible to community-based living arrangements. This budget includes funding for 310 new positions in CILAs.

Public safety and homeland security

•  Illinois State Police — The FY 2003 budget includes $383 million in funding for the Illinois State Police, an allocation that includes two new state trooper cadet classes totaling 100 new officers, as well as continued work on the STARCOM statewide voice communications system. The budget also includes funds to hire 80 additional forensic scientists, part of a three-year commitment to expand the state’s capabilities in quickly processing evidence in criminal cases.

•  Department of Corrections — The budget for FY 2003 allows the state to open more than 3,900 new prison beds — 1,717 at the Lawrence Correctional Center in southern Illinois, 1,800 at the new reception and classification center in Joliet, and 415 at the new youth centers in Kewanee and Rushville.

In order to balance his proposed budget for fiscal year 2003, the governor had to make several tough choices that will result in a total appropriation from the budget’s general funds of $22.7 billion — an amount 5 percent less than the FY 2002 state appropriation level of $23.4 billion. The cost controls came in a 3 percent across-the-board cut to the 2003 budget base and last fall’s 2 percent cut to the FY 2002 budget.

The reductions were necessitated by the national economic recession worsened by the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11.

"I want to make it clear to everyone in Illinois that this government has not been spending wildly," Ryan said. "We have kept our spending under control."

With this budget, Ryan said the four-year average growth in state spending will be 3.5 percent, a small annual increase compared to the growth in the economy during the same time period.

Last fall, the National Association of State Budget Officers reported that the average growth among the 50 states in spending revenue from their general funds was 2.8 percent, while the increase in Illinois was 1.5 percent.

In the previous fiscal year, when state spending increased by an average of 8.3 percent nationwide, Illinois’ spending growth was 6.1 percent.

Most of the country suffered from the economic downturn after Sept. 11. Forty-two of the 50 states have reported an unanticipated drop in revenues. All of those states have had to adjust their budgets, either through a combination of spending cuts, drawing on reserve funds or, in a few cases, increasing taxes.

Among the spending controls included in the FY 2003 state budget:

•  The FY 2003 budget is predicated on the lowest state employee head count in more than a decade — 62,000 positions. The state government work force will be downsized by 3,800 positions.

•  An early retirement program for qualified state employees was proposed to help in reducing the state work force. While the exact details of an early retirement plan have yet to be worked out, it is estimated that the state can save as much as $50 million.

•  The Vienna Correctional Center and the Valley View Youth Center, some of the oldest infrastructure in the corrections system, will be closed and the inmate populations moved to other facilities.

•  The opening of the new maximum-security prison in Thomson will be delayed for one year to avoid absorbing the costs of opening that prison.

•  The Zeller Mental Health Center in Peoria and the developmental disability unit at the Singer Mental Health and Developmental Center in Rockford will be closed.

"Every year that I have served the people as governor, I have asked all of you — Republican and Democrat — to join me in building a ‘New Illinois.’ Each year, I have asked you to put partisanship aside and place the common good of the people and our state foremost in your actions," Ryan said. "Sometimes, that has been a tremendous challenge. But we always have succeeded in finding a common ground that resolves our differences.

"Today, one more time, I renew my invitation and — again — extend my hand in friendship," the governor added. "Let’s all work together to do great things for Illinois."

[Illinois Government News Network]

Military addresses sought

It is a year like no other. Since Sept. 11 we are a changed nation. Individually, our daily sensitivity toward whom and what we have in our lives has been heightened. We are more conscious and appreciative, first about those we love and see everyday. Next, we have a newfound appreciation for those who risk their lives every day as rescue workers and protectors of life and property in our communities. We also now think more about our military men and women who are committed to serve and protect our country. Many are away engaged in battle, some are in waiting to go, all are ready to lay their lives on the line in defense of our freedom.

Lincoln Daily News is seeking the names and addresses, including e-mail addresses, of friends and relatives who are serving in the armed forces. They need not be from here in Logan County. If you know someone serving, please send the information to A complete list will be made available and kept updated through the site so we might all hold them in our thoughts, prayers and well wishes.

[Click here for names available now.]

Name of person in military:

Branch of service:

Current location of service:

Postal address:

E-mail address:

Relationship to LDN reader sending information (optional):


Are we prepared for terrorism
in Logan County?

It’s on the radio, TV, in all the media. You hear it in the office, on the street and maybe at home — threats of terrorism. America is on high alert. Here in central Illinois, away from any supposed practical target areas, perhaps we feel a little less threatened, but we are still concerned. So how concerned should we be, and how prepared are we for the types of situations that could occur?

Whether the threat is domestic or foreign, violent, biological or chemical, our public health and rescue agencies have been preparing to respond to the situations. Lincoln Daily News has been at meetings where all the agencies gather together as the Logan County Emergency Planning Committee to strategize for just such a time. Our reports have not even provided every detail that every agency has reported; i.e., a number of representatives from differing agencies such as the health and fire departments, CILCO and ESDA went to a bioterrorism and hazmat (hazardous materials) seminar this past August.

Here are some of the articles that LDN has posted pre- and post-Tuesday, Sept. 11. Hopefully you will see in them that WE ARE WELL PREPARED. At least as much as any area can be. Every agency has been planning, training, submitting for grants to buy equipment long before Sept. 11. We can be thankful for all of the dedicated, insightful leaders we have in this community.


[to top of second column in this section]

America strikes back

As promised, the United States led an attack on Afghanistan. The attack began Sunday, Oct. 7. American and British military forces made 30 hits on air defenses, military airfields and terrorist training camps, destroying aircraft and radar systems. The strike was made targeting only terrorists.

More than 40 countries in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Middle East have pledged their cooperation and support the U.S. initiative.

Online news links

Other countries









Saudi Arabia 


[to top of second column in this section]


United States


New York

Stars and Stripes
(serving the U.S. military community) 

Washington, D.C.


More newspaper links 


Back to top


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

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