City opens first bids for
sewer plant upgrade

[MAY 15, 2002]  At the Lincoln City Council’s work session Tuesday evening, officials opened well over a dozen bids for equipment needed for the $9.8 million upgrade of the city’s wastewater treatment plant.

Grant Eaton, sewer plant manager, said the city learned late last week that the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency had approved the 20-year, 2.65 percent loan that will finance the upgrade.

Bids on Phase I of the project will be awarded at the council’s regular meeting on Monday, pending approval of the IEPA. The second round of bids, for electrical and general contracting work, will be opened June 11, and Eaton hopes to see construction start by mid- to late August. The actual construction is expected to take about 240 working days, he said.

Eaton and Mark Mathon, city engineer, said they were pleased with the bid prices, which came in lower than expected, and hope to cut the cost of the upgrade even more by applying for federal grants. They have already applied for $500,000 in state grants.

Mathon said the sewer plant management cut the original estimates of the upgrade by $1.5 million by acting as its own program manager. "By reviewing engineering plans before they were finalized and submitted to the IEPA, we were able to remove some unnecessary items and find more cost-effective ways of meeting the same requirements."

The upgrade is needed if Lincoln is to expand, Eaton said. Built in 1936 and updated in 1977, the plant is now operating at 125 percent of capacity. Without the upgrade, the IEPA could refuse to approve any new hookups and thus stall the growth of both new homes and industry.


The plant has already had several violations for ammonia concentrations, Eaton added. Because of new and tighter state regulations for ammonia that went into effect last fall, the plant cannot be sure of compliance without the upgrade.

The upgrade will raise the plant’s capacity from 3.35 million gallons per day to 5.1 million gallons.

"This is enough capacity to handle a population growth of 20,000 or a large industry," Eaton said.

To qualify for the IEPA loan, the city had to increase sewer rates. As of Jan. 1 of this year, residents who live inside the city saw their monthly rates go from $11 to $14. Commercial, industrial and institutional users also had rate increases, based on actual volume of use.

These rates will be in effect for 18 months; then, depending on what other funding sources the city finds, rates will go up again. Under the "worst-case scenario," without additional funding sources, city residents will pay $16.39 monthly, and commercial, industrial and institutional users will also see another increase.


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In other business, Alderman Bill Melton asked about costs of running a sewer line to serve homeowners on Campus View Drive, a street that runs behind Lincoln Christian College and is not connected to the city’s sewer system.

Several Campus View residents have attended council meetings to request the line. They say their septic systems are inadequate and there is frequent sewage backup in their yards and homes.

According to Bill Bates, city attorney, the city has no obligation to provide these residents a sewer line. However, Melton reminded the council that they agreed some time ago to run the line when funds are available. Eaton said the cost could range from $150,000 to $450,000.

Sean Taylor of Logan Lanes, representing a group of liquor license holders, asked that the council take another look at the liquor license ordinance, a project which was started last year and dropped when council members could not agree on new license fees.

Taylor asked that the council particularly address the question of Sunday hours. Currently no liquor can be served until 1 p.m. on Sunday. License holders have previously asked for the time to be changed to 11 a.m. Sunday, to allow wine to be served in restaurants that provide Sunday brunch and also to allow liquor to be served in sports bars.

Several aldermen agreed that the ordinance revision should not have been dropped. Alderman Steve Fuhrer called a meeting of the ordinance committee for May 28 at 6 p.m. in the council room. Holders of liquor licenses are welcome to come and voice their opinions, he said.

Two of the city’s electrical contractors, Greg Tarter and Tom Albert, asked if the city could provide an inspection officer for the mechanical trades. He said the city has no electrical inspector and the state inspector has 11 counties to cover.

‘That is stretching it. He can’t check every room addition or residence," Tarter said.

Fuhrer said he has contacted other cities to find out what they do but doesn’t know exactly what obligation the city has to make such inspections.

Mayor Beth Davis reported that the Mayor’s Commission on Youth met to discuss providing summer activities for young people. She suggested a temporary roller rink might be set up somewhere on city property. Funds from the roller rink might be used to provide skateboard ramps in the future.

Bates said he thought there would be a problem with liability insurance for those activities.

[Joan Crabb]

Flood watch

[MAY 15, 2002]  A cold front is expected to drop into central Illinois tonight, stall out across the region Thursday, then push south of the area Friday.  This front will interact with an increasingly moist atmosphere to produce thunderstorms with the possibility of heavy rainfall Thursday into early Friday.  One to two inches of rainfall will be possible throughout the watch area, with locally higher amounts up to four inches.

The ground remains very saturated, with many locations still flooded or expected to flood near record levels.  This is a dangerous situation!  Heavy rainfall would bring the threat of flash flooding and a continuation or worsening of river flooding.

A flood watch means that conditions are favorable for heavy rain that may lead to flooding of low-lying areas and along rivers and streams.  If you are in the watch area, remain informed and be ready to take action if flooding is observed or a warning is issued.  Be especially cautious in those flood-prone areas.

Stay tuned to NOAA weather radio and other local media for updates concerning this potential for heavy rain and flooding.

[News release]

Only two inches more rain
needed to exceed state record

[MAY 15, 2002]  Heavy rainfall over Illinois last weekend has continued to cause flooding across the state and is likely to lead to considerable delays in farming operations over much of Illinois.

Numerous rivers and streams are above flood stage in many communities. Nearly saturated soils that resulted from extensive rainfall totals over the last several weeks were not able to hold much, if any, of the 3- to 4-inch rainfall totals that fell over the central half of the state on May 11-12, leaving widespread ponding in farm fields across the region.

According to Bob Scott, program manager of the Water and Atmospheric Monitoring Program at the Illinois State Water Survey, "These new rainfall totals added to the 8- to 9-inch amounts across southern and central Illinois between April 7 and May 9 and are yielding near-record rainfall totals in south-central Illinois."

Hardest-hit areas are located in an area bounded roughly by Springfield on the north and Salem on the south. Here, rainfall amounts since the first week of April have averaged between 12 and 14 inches — about 275 percent of normal — with individual locations, such as Beecher City in Effingham County, receiving up to 18.75 inches of rain.

"With just over two weeks left in May, rainfall totals in this part of the state already qualify as the fourth-wettest April-May period on record since 1895. Only normal rainfall totals of about 2 inches before the end of May are required to exceed the current precipitation record for the April-May period," says Scott.

"While out-of-bank flooding is occurring in many locations, provisional river flow and stage data in southern and east-central Illinois are notable, as they are very high compared to long-term records," says Sally McConkey of the Illinois Water Survey.

According to current provisional river stage and flood stage for gauged rivers in Illinois reported by the U.S. Geological Survey, "The average flow recorded for the Kaskaskia River at Vandalia through May 13 exceeded the maximum average for any month since records began in 1970, and the daily mean flow of 20,600 cubic feet per second (cfs) on May 8 approached the maximum daily mean flow of 23,900 cfs. In addition, the peak flow of 27,600 cfs on May 5 was close to the record peak of 30,000 cfs set in 1970," says McConkey.


Heavy rainfall also has filled lakes and reservoirs. Flow recorded at Vandalia is affected by controlled releases from Lake Shelbyville, which on May 13 "was more than 12 feet above target level and rising, although about 8 feet below the maximum level record in 1974," said McConkey.

Carlyle Lake, another flood control reservoir downstream of Lake Shelbyville, is nearly 10 feet higher than the target operating level and is approaching its record high. Rend Lake currently reports a water level 6 feet higher than the spillway.

Shoal Creek near Breese in the Kaskaskia watershed recorded a peak flow on May 10 that approached the 23,100 cfs record peak set in 1950, and flows during the first two weeks in May averaged about 7,800 cfs, far above the maximum monthly average.

In the Little Wabash watershed, the Skillet Fork at Wayne City had an average flow much above normal for May (as of May 13), and the Little Wabash River at Clay City had an average flow that exceeded the maximum monthly average for any month. Both rivers are still rising. Average monthly flows on the Embarras River at Ste. Marie also exceeded the maximum May average flow. Flows recorded for the Big Muddy for the first two weeks in May at Plumfield were above normal for May, and both the Sangamon at Monticello and the Mackinaw River at Congerville have experienced flows much above normal for May.


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The duration of high flows on these tributaries also has contributed to significant high water levels on major rivers. Water Survey staffer Bill Saylor reported, "As of May 13, the Illinois River has reached stages 6 and 7 feet above flood stage, the Mississippi

River from Quincy to Thebes is well above flood stage, and the Ohio River is 10 feet above flood stage at Cairo."

Widespread ponding in farm fields, the other major impact of the heavy rains, is occurring during the middle of the planting season. After many rain delays, farmers were putting in long hours in northern portions of the state but remained out of the fields in southern areas.

The most recent Illinois Weather and Crop Report states that as of May 12, "Corn planting statewide progressed to 51 percent, with 86 percent in the northwest to 6 percent in the southeast." This statewide planting total compares with 96 percent last year and a five-year average of 78 percent.

The report confirms that the recent heavy rains greatly affected working conditions, as the days "suitable for fieldwork averaged 2.2 days across the state, with the high being 5.4 days in the northwest and as little as two-tenths of one day in the central part of the state."

Thus, many planted acres of corn are "suffering from poor emergence and numerous drowned-out spots. Soybean planting is progressing, although well behind last year and the five-year average. As of Sunday, only 10 percent statewide had been planted ... compare[d] to 66 percent last year and a five-year average of 37 percent."

The timing of the heavy precipitation was very unfortunate for farmers, says Stan Changnon, Water Survey chief emeritus. "Not only is everything saturated, but I suspect there has been severe erosion and soil loss. A lot of this heavy rain occurred after farmers had worked the soil in preparation for planting," said Changnon.

Extreme wetness during the planting season is relatively rare in recent years. The springs of 1995 and 1996 produced heavy rainfall totals, similar to those this year. "However, rainfall in both years followed quite dry periods, as February and March were 35 to 45 percent below normal, respectively, whereas precipitation during that period this year was near normal," said Scott. Thus, existing soil conditions and timing of the precipitation in those years were such that most of the planting was in before heavy rains began.

The spring of 1982 also was noteworthy, with lots of flooding in central and southern Illinois, due in part to a rather wet winter season. "That year the rains ended in mid-April, in time for drying, and only a slight delay in planting occurred," said Changnon.


Data sources

U.S. Geological Survey:

Midwestern Regional Climate Center: 

Illinois State Climatologist Office: 

[Eva Kingston, editor, Illinois State Water Survey]


May is Community Action
Month in Lincoln

[MAY 14, 2002]  At the city council meeting on May 6, Mayor Elizabeth Davis proclaimed May as Community Action Month in Lincoln. The mission of Community Action Agencies is to help people help themselves. Various programs administered by Central Illinois Economic Development Corporation provide a network of assistance for families and individuals.

In honor of Community Action Month, CIEDC staff hosted an open house on May 9 at their central office, 1800 Fifth Street Road in Lincoln.


[Photo provided by CIEDC]
[Whitham family named CIEDC Family of Distinction]

Jane Poertner, CIEDC executive director, announced the nominees for Families of Distinction. Logan County nominees were David Dvorak and Stacy Farley, Susan Cotton and son Corey, and Art and Tawnia Whitham Jr. and family. Art and Tawnia Whitham were named the CIEDC Family of Distinction at the Illinois Community Action awards banquet in Springfield on Sunday, May 5.

[CIEDC news release]

New I-55 bridge over
Lake Springfield opened

[MAY 14, 2002]  SPRINGFIELD — Gov. George Ryan has announced the opening of the northbound bridge on Interstate 55 over Lake Springfield. The bridge opened Friday evening, signaling the near-completion of the $36.4 million Illinois FIRST project to replace the Interstate 55 bridges over Lake Springfield.

While the entire project will not be completed until May 24, work on the northbound bridge has finished and it was to be reopened so motorists do not have to use the crossovers that have been in place since work began in January 2001.

"The contractors are finishing about two months ahead of schedule, and that will be a great bonus for the daily commuters who use this section of I-55 and for the many vacation travelers who will be using the highway this summer," Gov. Ryan said. The contractors are Keeley & Sons of East St. Louis and Keller Construction of Glen Carbon.

In addition to the replacement of the two Lake Springfield bridges, the project also involved resurfacing three miles of I-55, reconstruction of the Toronto Road overpass and widening Toronto Road from Second Street to the East Frontage Road for five lanes of traffic, and bridge deck repairs on the Southwind Road structure over I-55.

Remaining work will include the removal of the median crossovers, installation of guardrail in the median and seeding of the median area where the crossovers were. Two lanes of traffic will be open during daytime work hours on both bridges while this work is under way. Motorists are still advised to slow down and drive with caution, as the inside lanes on the bridges will be closed.


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"The Illinois State Police are to be commended for keeping this a safe work zone during the past 17 months," Gov. Ryan said. "Over the course of the project, Troopers have consistently patrolled the area and have written more than 1,600 tickets.

"We also need to thank the driving public, especially those who used the highway during the work week, for slowing down and using caution as they passed through the area."

The new bridges are five spans and 722 feet long with three travel lanes in each direction and shoulders on both sides of the highway. The original bridge, which carried southbound traffic, was constructed in 1932. That bridge was reconstructed in 1968 on the original substructure of the 1932 bridge. The bridge that carried northbound traffic was constructed in 1967.

[Illinois Government News Network
press release]

Gov. Ryan introduces death penalty reform legislation

Calls on General Assembly to hold hearings with key parties

[MAY 14, 2002]  SPRINGFIELD — Gov. George Ryan introduced legislation Monday to reform the administration of the death penalty based on the 85 recommendations suggested by his Commission on Capital Punishment. The legislation includes barring the execution of the mentally retarded, mandating that natural life is given as a sentencing option to juries, reducing death penalty eligibility factors from 20 to five, and barring the death penalty when a conviction is based solely on a jailhouse "snitch."

"It is imperative that we move forward on all of the commission’s recommendations to fix our broken justice system," said Gov. Ryan. "It is also imperative that through hearings and meetings, all of the key parties — the prosecutors, defense attorneys, victims and the wrongfully convicted — are allowed an opportunity to offer their perspectives on these issues of life and death."

The Governor’s Commission on Capital Punishment finished its comprehensive review of the administration of the death penalty and outlined 85 specific recommendations in a report issued April 15. The governor’s proposal includes those recommendations that require legislation.

The legislation will be sponsored in the Illinois Senate by Sen. Kirk Dillard, R-Hinsdale, and Senate Democratic Leader Emil Jones, D-Chicago, and in the House by Republican Leader Lee A. Daniels, R-Elmhurst, and Rep. Arthur Turner, D-Chicago.

Not all of the recommendations require action by the General Assembly in order to be implemented. Some will be instituted by gubernatorial directive, Supreme Court action, or continuing legal education and law enforcement training.

Reforms in the legislation include:

•  Ensuring legal representation for indigents during custodial interrogations.

•  Videotaping interrogations and confessions.

•  Amending the Eavesdropping Act to permit videotaping/recording of interrogations in homicide cases without consent of defendants.

•  Revoking certification of police officers for committing perjury. Creating an independent state forensic library separate from the Illinois State Police.

•  Allowing defendants to obtain a court order to search the DNA database.

•  Reducing eligibility factors from 20 to five and instructing juries on alternate sentences.

•  Mandatory statewide review of prosecutors’ decisions to seek death penalty.

•  Documenting and disclosing deals and benefits offered to the state’s witnesses.


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•  Conducting a pretrial hearing to determine the reliability and admissibility of jailhouse informant testimony.

•  Adding jury consideration of defendant’s history of extreme emotional or physical abuse or reduced mental capacity to the mitigating sentencing factors.

•  Modifying statutory provisions to permit a defendant to make a statement on his own behalf at sentencing.

•  Modifying and simplifying death penalty statute language so that the jury understands it must determine whether death or the alternative of natural life is the appropriate sentence.

•  Modifying death penalty statute language to require concurrence of trial judge on whether to impose a death sentence. Judges who do not concur must impose natural life.

•  Prohibiting imposition of the death penalty on the mentally retarded.

•  Adopting a new statute prohibiting the death penalty where the conviction is based upon a single eyewitness, accomplice or jailhouse informant without corroboration.

•  Modifying for clarification the Post-Conviction Hearing Act including timelines of filings and ability to raise claims of actual innocence at any time.

•  Ensuring timely filing of clemency petitions so an adequate review can be made.

•  Reauthorizing the Capital Litigation Trust Fund.

•  Supporting adequate compensation for private defense counsel to ensure private practitioners continue representation in capital cases.

Gov. Ryan’s office also announced it is helping to sponsor the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs, training seminars on the requirements of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations. The convention requires foreign nationals be notified of their rights when they are arrested or detained. The seminars for the consular corps, judges, prosecutors and corrections officials will be May 20.

[Illinois Government News Network
press release]

Illinois Senate week in review

[MAY 14, 2002]  The Illinois Senate this week approved student-initiated prayer and requirements for members of the clergy to report sexual abuse, according to Sen. Claude "Bud" Stone, R-Morton.

The Senate approved legislation (House Bill 4117) allowing for student prayer in public schools so long as it is non-disruptive. Under the bill, students would be able to gather for prayer and pray out loud on school grounds. This changes current law, which allows for a period of silent reflection so long as it is not conducted as a religious exercise. The bill now moves to the Illinois House of Representatives for consideration of Senate changes to the measure.

Another bill (House Bill 5002) requires members of the clergy to report sexual abuse to the Department of Children and Family Services. The legislation exempts members of the clergy if they learned of the abuse through privileged communications such as the sacrament of confession. It also extends the statute of limitations on criminal sexual assault, aggravated criminal sexual assault, predatory criminal sexual assault of a child, aggravated criminal sexual abuse prosecutions committed against children, and failure to report abuse to 10 years after such a victim reaches the age of 18. Finally, it establishes a criminal penalty of a Class A misdemeanor for members of the clergy who fail to disclose abuse and makes it a Class 4 felony for subsequent violations. The legislation moves to the House of Representatives for further consideration. It was developed with the help of DuPage County State’s Attorney Joe Birkett.

The following bills passed the Senate and have been sent to the governor:

University retirement (HB 2370) — Makes the current "30 and out" practice permanent for those in the State University Retirement System, known as SURS.

Psychotropic drugs (HB 3744) — Prohibits a school board from disciplining a student because of a parent’s refusal to administer psychotropic or psycho-stimulant medication such as Ritalin to the student.

Foreign bonds (HB 4159) — Allows the state treasurer to purchase bonds from Israel.

Heroin dealers (HB 4245) — Changes the Class 1 felony (4-15 years) charges for dealing or manufacturing heroin by lowering the requirement of 10-15 grams of heroin to just one gram.

Juvenile justice initiative (HB 4129) — Allows juveniles the right to a hearing on a "reverse waiver" in adult court, after an automatic transfer to adult court for selling drugs in or around schools and public housing complexes. The defendant, the state or the judge on his or her own may request that hearing.

Privatization at prisons (HB 3714) — Prohibits the Department of Corrections from entering into a contract with a private vendor to provide food or commissary services at Illinois prisons.


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The following bills passed the Senate and will go back to the House of Representatives:

Renal disease (HB 5906) — Protects end-stage renal patients from substandard care by licensing the facilities.

Child umpires (HB 5996) — Allows 12- and 13-year-olds to umpire Little League games.

Teen-age drinking (HB 5941) — Allows for the discretionary suspension of a minor’s drivers license by the secretary of state based on a "conviction for a violation" for an alcohol infraction involving a minor.

Teacher certification (HB 1436) — Sets new rules for Illinois public school teachers moving from their initial teaching certificate to full certification.

Teacher scholarships (HB 4912) — Removes the provision that freshman students do not have to repay their teacher scholarships if they choose not to become teachers.

Child sex offenders (HB 5874) — Prohibits a child sex offender from knowingly residing within 500 feet of the victim of the offense, making the penalty for violating the law a Class 4 felony.

State superintendent (HB 1440) — Changes the selection process for the state superintendent by allowing the governor to make appointment with the advice and consent of the Illinois Senate.

Human transporter (HB 5610) - Permits the use of an electric personal assistive mobility device (EPAMD or human transporter) on a sidewalk.

Truth in sentencing (HB5652) — Provides that individuals convicted of cannabis trafficking or controlled substance trafficking may receive only a maximum of 4.5 days of good conduct credit for each month they serve in prison.

National Guard (HB 5823) — Provides members of the Illinois National Guard serving on state active duty the same civil protections as military personnel serving on federal active duty.

The following Senate bills passed the House and are headed to the governor:

Teacher competency (SB 1953) — Prohibits a student from enrolling in a teacher preparation program at a recognized teacher training institution until the student passes the basic skills test required for teacher certification, beginning with the 2002-2003 school year.

State health insurance plans (SB 1859) — Allows state employees to opt out of the state health insurance plans if they have insurance through another provider.

[News release]

Travel alert!

(3:30 p.m. Monday)

[MAY 13, 2002]  Motorists are urged to please use extreme caution traveling the next several days. Statewide numerous roads are closed due to flooding. Not only are creeks and rivers out of their banks, but also water accumulates at underpasses, and flooded farm fields often create raging torrents in low-lying road areas.

Business 55 at Riverside Park near Sherman is closed due to high water. Peoria Road in Springfield is flooded. The levee at the Route 29 bridge is close to failing.

Logan County roads closed

•  950th Avenue from Elkhart blacktop going north

•  1400th north and 750th east (Rocky Ford)

•  County Highway 24 at 2200 Street (north of New Holland)

Road closures listed by the Illinois Department of Transportation,
Division of Highways

Numerous roads are closed because of flooding in these areas of the state: west central (Quincy, Macomb, Beardstown; Morgan County), central (Springfield, Lincoln; Sangamon and Logan counties), east central (Cumberland, Effingham, Clark counties), and the Cook-Will-Kankakee area.

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Illinois 105 between 17th and Cantrall Street in Decatur closed in the northbound lane due to high water

Illinois 127 south of Jonesboro at Mill Creek closed due to flooding.

Illinois 101 1 mile east Brooklyn closed due to high water

Illinois 130 north of Richland/Jasper County line closed due to high water

Illinois 33 at west edge of Robinson closed due to high water

Illinois 1 north of Allendale closed due to high water

U.S. 51 south of Vandalia closed due to high water

For further updates, check


Weather caused power outage

[MAY 13, 2002]  Severe weather caused power outages to about 315 homes in the Lincoln area Sunday morning beginning about 7:20. CILCO reported that the power was restored to all but a few locations by 9:03.


Atlanta man loses life
in early morning accident

[MAY 11, 2002]  An Atlanta man lost his life in a single-vehicle accident south of Atlanta at 12:15 a.m. Saturday morning. The only occupant, 37-year-old John P. Harmon, was driving on Old 66 just south of Lazy Row when his pickup truck left the road and struck a main-line utility pole.

Power was out about three hours to Latham, McLean and Atlanta as CILCO replaced the pole and transferred a high-energy power line.  It was a 34/5 line carrying 34,500 volts. Power was restored just after 7 a.m.

Atlanta Rescue, Atlanta Police, Logan County Sheriff’s Department, Illinois State Police and Logan County Deputy Coroner Warren Rogers attended the scene.

The coroner’s office and the state police are investigating. Funeral arrangements are being handled by Quiram Funeral Home in Atlanta.

[Jan Youngquist]


Bomke plan to save $24 million
heads to governor

[MAY 11, 2002]  SPRINGFIELD — Sen. Larry Bomke’s and AFSCME’s plan to save the state more than $24 million needs only the governor’s signature to become law. Senate Bill 1859 is an attempt to free up funds that could save state jobs or keep necessary programs in place during the state’s budget crunch.

"This is one area where we can trim funds without negatively affecting state employees or Illinois residents," said Bomke, R-Springfield. "State employees have asked me about this in the past, so when AFSCME brought me the legislation, I was happy to help. This will address the concerns of state employees with two insurance providers and help close the budget deficit."

Senate Bill 1859 would allow state employees to opt out of the state health insurance plans if they have insurance through another provider. Employees who have insurance through a previous employer, a spouse’s plan or the military are among those who might be interested in the option.

According to AFSCME, similar programs have had great success in the private sector. Their projections show the state could save anywhere from $8 million to $32 million, depending on how many employees participate.


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Currently, all state employees are automatically covered by one of the state health insurance plans. Under the legislation, opting out would be completely voluntary for state employees. To opt out, they would have to provide proof of alternative health insurance coverage.

If the state employee later loses the alternative coverage, he or she could re-enroll without evidence of insurability and with no limitations within 63 days. Employees could also opt to re-enroll without evidence of insurability during any annual benefit choice period.

Once signed into law, Senate Bill 1859 will take effect immediately.

[News release]

History made with honorary degree recipients

Lincoln College commencement May 11

[MAY 10, 2002]  History will be made at this year’s Lincoln College commencement when Edward Rust Jr., CEO of State Farm Insurance, and Steve Forbes, CEO of Forbes magazine, are awarded honorary degrees from Lincoln College. Nineteen years ago the fathers of Rust Jr. and Forbes received honorary degrees from the college. The 135th annual Lincoln College spring commencement will be Saturday, May 11, at 2 p.m. in Davidson-Sheffer Gymnasium.

Along with Forbes and Rust Jr., the well-known economic forecaster Robert J. Eggert Sr. and former state Sen. Robert A. Madigan will receive honorary degrees. In lieu of a commencement speaker, all recipients will speak on their accomplishments.


[Photos provided by Lincoln College]
[Steve Forbes]

Mr. Forbes is CEO of the nation’s leading business magazine, Forbes, as well as a variety of new publications that reach a worldwide audience of nearly five million readers. In both 1996 and 2000, he campaigned for the Republican nomination for the presidency. He is the author of "A New Birth of Freedom" (Regnery, 1999), which outlines bold ideas for the new millennium.


[Edward Rust Jr.]

Rust Jr. is chairman of the board and chief executive officer of State Farm Mutual Insurance Company in Bloomington. He is also president and chief executive officer of State Farm Fire and Casualty Company and of State Farm Life Insurance Company. State Farm is nationally recognized as a leader of the business community’s efforts to improve the quality of education in the United States. Rust is a former co-chairman of the Business Coalition for Excellence in Education and served on President Bush’s Transition Advisory Team committee on education.


[Robert Eggert Sr., Ph.D.]

Robert J. Eggert Sr., Ph.D., is the founder and editor emeritus of the well-known Blue Chip Economic Indicators newsletter. He has been an economic forecaster for over 50 years and managed marketing research for the Ford Motor Company and RCA before founding the economic newsletter. He has been featured on television programs including "Wall Street Week," "Today Show" and "CNN."


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[Sen. Robert Madigan]

Sen. Robert A. Madigan represented the people of the 45th District of Illinois until June 2001, when Gov. Ryan appointed Madigan to his current position as the commissioner of the Illinois Industrial Commission. During his time as an Illinois senator, he served on multiple committees, including Agriculture and Conservation, Comprehensive Health Insurance Plan, and Insurance and Pensions, of which he was chairman.

Approximately 220 students will receive associates of arts degrees at the Lincoln College commencement ceremony. A reception for the graduates and their families will immediately follow the ceremony.

Students from the area who are participating in the ceremony include Nathan Dieckow, Shadd Gordon, John Hoblit, Janelle Hutchcraft, Rich Lynch and Tiffany Sutton, all of Atlanta; Aaron Gullion of Beason; Tamar Lyons and Lee Ann Schilling of Elkhart; Christina Alexander, Beau Anderson, Troy Bauer, Todd Blaum, Joseph Borbely, Kari Borowiak, Angela Bossingham, Daniel Bryson, Bryson Bunner, Jonathan Cook, Miles Craig, Annalisa Curcuru, Lisa Curcuru, Kevin Curry, Christopher Davenport, Andrew Dexter, Molly Donnelly, Stacey Fillmore, Stephanie Geary, Erica Gokoo, Steven Goodman, Heidi Graff, Brock Guzouskis, Julie Halcomb, Rachel Headrick, Amber Hieronymus, Anthony Hoffert, Jacob Horton, Carlee Hunter, Brooke Huskins, Kelli Jackson, Amy Janet, Trisha Kavelman, Sarah McLaughlin, Jeremy Metelko, Emily Nichols, Elizabeth Pardo, Lyndsey Pickering, Charlene Robb, Jonah Rosenthal, Anna Schmidt, Elizabeth Skelton, Angela Smith, Clinton Smith, Kristina Snyder, Jennifer Story, Jennifer Stout, Erica Tibbs, Joshua Twente, Erin Wind and Kate Winters, all of Lincoln, and Felicia Haak of McLean.

[Lincoln College news release]

Illinois weather

April tornadoes cause two deaths

[MAY 10, 2002]  "The first tornado-related death in the United States during 2002 occurred on April 21 in Wayne County, Ill. While no tornado deaths occurred in Illinois in 2000 and 2001, the state experienced two tornado-related deaths in April 2002," says Jim Angel, state climatologist with the Illinois State Water Survey, a division of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

The F3 tornado on April 21 also resulted in 42 injuries and an estimated $4.9 million in damage and recovery costs. A second tornado death and 14 injuries occurred on April 28 when a series of F2 to F3 tornadoes struck Union, Johnson, Pope and Saline counties, says Angel.

Two other less deadly tornadoes occurred in April. No damage or injuries were reported on April 18 when a tornado on the beach of Lake Michigan moved offshore or from a tornado near Equality on April 23.

Numerous reports of hail and wind damage followed severe weather on April 13, 18, 19, 21, 23 and 27. Louisville reported 3.5-inch hail on April 23.

With an average temperature of 53.4 F across Illinois, this was the 28th-warmest April and the warmest November-April period since 1895. DeKalb reported 95 on April 18, the warmest reading for the month. Streamwood reported 17 on April 5, the coolest reading.


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This was also the 19th-wettest April since 1895, with precipitation statewide averaging 5.18 inches, 136 percent of average. Windsor reported the highest daily precipitation amount, 2.58 inches on April 21, and also the highest monthly total, 8.21 inches. Many stations on the northern side of the Illinois River reported 1-4 inches of snowfall as the result of an April 2 storm. Kewanee reported 5 inches, the most snow for the month from this storm.

"April in Illinois is definitely a transition month in which it is possible to have snow, high temperatures and severe weather all in the same month," says Angel.

[Eva Kingston, editor,
Illinois State Water Survey]

Rawlins named Police Officer of the Year

[MAY 9, 2002]  Officer Robert Rawlins, a member of the Lincoln Police Department since 1982, has been named Police Officer of the Year by the Lincoln/Logan Crime Stoppers. The award was presented Monday evening at the Lincoln City Council meeting by Crime Stopper member Ron Hall.

Police Chief Richard Montcalm cited Rawlins’ many achievements, including an award by the state of Illinois for a heroic act on March 25, 1999, when Rawlins rescued a 3-year-old girl and another child from a burning structure in the 200 block of South Chicago Street.


[Photo by Jan Youngquist]
[Rawlins volunteers at the Citizens' Police Academy.
Here he demonstrates a shield used by the SWAT team.]

Rawlins, a native of Lincoln, graduated from the Police Training Institute in 1982 and has been a member of the Lincoln Police Department since then. He is trained in crime scene protection, arrest and control tactics, DUI law, basic structural rescue, the Reid method of criminal investigation and interrogation, and he has 440 hours training in canine handling.

In 1993, he and his dog confiscated almost $1 million in drug money during a traffic stop of a U-Haul truck. The truck was loaded with furniture and boxes of money, totaling $945,000. The Lincoln Police Department got to keep about $500,000 of the unclaimed money, he said.


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Rawlins is also a squad leader and an original member of Lincoln’s Emergency Response Team.

"He is well-deserving of this award," Chief Montcalm said. "He is a professional on and off the job and very good at working with people. He is well-liked by his fellow officers, by the state police, the sheriff’s department and by other municipal agencies that he works with.

"He’s also well-respected in the community outside of law enforcement and is a good family man, too," Montcalm added.

Rawlings and his wife, Gail, have two children, Sean, age 19, and Kirstin, 16, a sophomore at Lincoln Community High School. Sean is currently taking classes at Lincoln Land Community College. The Rawlins family raises emus on their farm west of Lincoln and sells them for meat. The fat is sent off to be made into oil, which can be used for skin problems. Rawlins says he uses it to relieve muscle cramps.

He got into raising the emus about seven years ago through his father-in-law, Harold Eimer. "We’re down to nine right now, but at one point we had about 45 of them," he said. Pharmaceutical companies are looking at emu oil as a carrier to get medication deeper into the skin, he reports.

Rawlins has served as the police department’s coordinator for Crime Stoppers for about 15 years. "He keeps us informed and is very knowledgeable," Hall said.

[Joan Crabb]

Military addresses sought

It is a time 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.


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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 


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United States


New York

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

Washington, D.C.


More newspaper links 


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