Friday, October 16, 2009
sponsored by Graue Inc.

City briefs: Residents want repairs to Pulaski Street; Main Street Lincoln announces plans for upcoming events; fire station undergoing inspection; and more

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[October 16, 2009]  Tuesday night marked the first of five city council committee-of-the-whole meetings that will be held throughout the various wards of the city of Lincoln.

Alderwoman Joni Tibbs and Alderman David Armbrust arranged for the meeting to be held at Friendship Manor in their Ward 3.

Those attending were treated to cookies and coffee, compliments of Friendship Manor.

About 15 guests were present for the meeting, approximately half of them residents of the manor and the others residents from throughout the ward.

After calling the meeting to order Mayor Keith Snyder turned the floor over to Tibbs for a brief commentary on her ward.


Ward 3 is unique in that it is the home of the Friendship Manor. Tibbs noted that the manor is getting ready for its fifth year of the Festival of Trees.

The ward is also the home of the Odd Fellows Museum. During the existence of the Odd Fellows orphanage, the facility offered shelter to a total of 1,670 children.

Wyatt Avenue was one of the main streets in the original layout of the city of Lincoln in 1853.

Also included in Ward 3 is Lincoln Developmental Center.

Currently Ward 3 is home to 1,608 registered voters.

Armbrust took the microphone and related to the group his memories of the area. He said that he grew up in the neighborhood, moving to Clinton Street in 1946. He recalls going to school with the Odd Fellows children and playing ball at the orphanage. He said that playing at the orphanage was a lot of fun because they had they biggest yard in the block.

At the end of the evening, Tibbs expressed her sincere appreciation to Friendship Manor for opening up their facility to the council. She said that they had everything set up for the meeting when she arrived and that there was very little she and Armbrust had to do to get ready for the evening.

Residents sign a petition to fix Pulaski Street

Alderman Nathan Turner said that he had received a petition from Dianne Buss of Pulaski Street. The petition asks that Pulaski Street from the IGA east to the four-way stop be resurfaced. Turner reported that the petition has 74 signatures, which represents nearly everyone who lives on that section of the street.

He said that these are brick streets, but there are sections of concrete where an old rail track was taken out. There is also patching along the section, and it is bumpy and rough traveling through that area.

He asked for opinions on the petition, and Armbrust said that section of Pulaski Street had been on the original list for this year, but it had to be taken off due to constraints in the funding the city received this year.

City engineer Mark Mathon confirmed that the stimulus funding criteria did not include fixing brick streets.

He also said that he could put together a couple of scenarios for repairing the street in the future.

Tracy Jackson, street and alley superintendent, said there is a company that can be brought in to remove the bricks. The city can then evaluate the concrete surface underneath and determine what type of repairs would need to be done.

He said the warping that is taking place in that area is due to the deterioration of the concrete. With the bricks removed, the city could evaluate the situation and determine whether to repair the concrete or go with an asphalt surface.

Snyder asked about putting the bricks back once the underlying problem was repaired, and Jackson replied that it would be an extremely expensive process to do that.

Les Plotner, city treasurer, reminded the council that there was no money in this year's budget to do anything with that street. Turner said that he had already advised the residents that nothing could be done this fiscal year.

He said they understood that but had joined in the petition because they wanted to be heard.

Turner concluded by asking the city engineer to put together some plans and estimates that can be addressed later on when the city discusses street repairs for the coming year.

Fire department inspected

Assistant Fire Chief Mark Miller was on hand Tuesday night to report on an inspection that is taking place at the fire department.

Insurance Services Office Inc. is a national company that rates fire departments throughout the United States. The inspection process takes three days and looks at the department on the whole, its water systems and record keeping. Results of the inspection generally return to the fire department in about six months.

Currently the department holds a rating of 5. Miller said that they are hoping their rating will improve to at least 4 this year. Having a good rating for the department is helpful to area commercial businesses in that it can lower their insurance premiums.

Fire department receives grant from Wal-Mart

The fire department has received a fire safety grant from Wal-Mart in the amount of $1,000. The money will be used to supplement the smoke detector program that the department offers. The fire department is available to come out to a home and inspect smoke detectors at the homeowner's request.

Main Street Lincoln shares plans for future events

Wanda Lee Rohlfs and Val Carder of Main Street Lincoln presented handouts describing plans the organization is making for events in October, November and December.

The first event is "Trick-or-Treat with the Mayor," which will occur Oct. 31. The handout included a map of the children's walking route and the participating businesses in the downtown area. Rohlfs said that in the past the city police have provided an escort for the children at the intersections.

The day will start with a photo op at Latham Park and then traverse the route. At the end of the event there will be a drawing for "Main Street Money," which can be used at any of the participating stores.

On Thursday prior to Halloween, the downtown area will have their Halloween "Moonlight Madness Sales" from 8 to 10 p.m.

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The "Holiday Open House" will be Nov. 14. Rohlfs said that this year the window dressing theme is going to be snow globes. Main Street will have a living snow globe, complete with Santa. She is working to get a variety of Santas lined up, and she extended an invitation to the mayor, city officers and aldermen to join in so that the public can come to the window and visit with city officials.

Oct. 18 will be "Main Street Day" at Hallie's on the square. During that day, 50 percent of the proceeds of the restaurant will go to Main Street Lincoln for the purchase of new Christmas lighting for the downtown area.

Rohlfs showed a picture of an old English-style lantern decoration that the organization hopes to purchase for the city. They will start with new lighting in the downtown area, then hopefully in future years expand outward around the town.

Val Carder, a member of the Main Street board, is this year's chairman of the Lincoln Christmas Parade. She announced that the theme for this year is "A Super Heroes Christmas." Main Street has chosen our veterans as superheroes. The parade is scheduled for Dec. 3 at 7 p.m.

Carder closed by saying that the organization appreciated the financial support for the parade from the city, and Rohlfs stepped in to say that the committee is anxious to know when they might receive their money for this year. Rohlfs said that the committee works hard to put the parade together and that it is a very important activity in the community, but funds are needed to move forward.

Council float for Christmas parade discussed

The visit from Main Street Lincoln representatives prompted the mayor to bring up that Tibbs had given him a letter from the organization inviting the city to have a float in the parade.

The mayor wondered if Tibbs would take the lead on the float committee this year, and Tibbs said she thought that it would be good for the newest aldermen to head up this year's committee.

In the end it was decided that Alderwoman Stacy Bacon, Aldermen David Wilmert and Turner would head up the group with assistance from Alderman Jeff Hoinacki.

Changes in reports to aldermen

Alderwoman Melody Anderson said that the monthly reports the aldermen receive are going to be changing again. She and Denise Martinek, city clerk, are working to narrow down what is given out so that it will be mainly expense reports.

Anderson said the main reason they are doing this is to save on paper and avoid giving the aldermen pages of documentation that they don't use.

Turner asked if there was any way that these documents could be e-mailed instead of printed out, and Martinek said that there may be a way they can do that. She's looking into it.

Bar screen for Palmer lift station postponed

Alderman Buzz Busby said that because winter is coming on, the topic of a new bar screen for the Palmer lift station will be taken off the agenda until late December.

Waste management update

Wilmert said that the Joint Solid Waste Management Agency is still struggling with budget issues and whether or not they are going to restructure the recycling to include some services from Area Disposal. He said that they have an issue with the truck that they are using now -- that it is costing a lot of money in repairs and maintenance.

One option that the agency is looking into is whether or not they can obtain a used truck from the Chicago area. Wilmert added that in that area they have older vehicles that are still in good condition, but according to their mandates have to be taken out of service.

Security cameras may go up at recycling bins

Tibbs said that George Alarm Co. will be offering an estimate on placing surveillance cameras at the recycling bins located on North Kickapoo across from Latham Park.

There is a problem with trash that is not recyclable being left at the site. The city street crews and Mitzi Rohlfs, waste agency manager, are all having to clean up other people's messes.

This has been discussed in the past as a big problem in that the city is spending time cleaning up around the bins, and Rohlfs is using her own vehicles and personal time to help out.

Wilmert had said that it was not a good situation. Discussions at that time had included imposing fines on those caught leaving trash at the site. According to Jackson there is a city ordinance that would allow the fines to be imposed based on placing trash on city property or rights of way. However, to impose a fine, the violators must be identified. Surveillance cameras would provide that identification.

Road show continues

Snyder said that the schedule is set for taking the show on the road for the next three committee-of-the-whole meetings, all on Tuesdays.

On Oct. 27, Ward 5 Alderwoman Marty Neitzel and Hoinacki will host their meeting at Adams School. The school is located at 1311 Nicholson Road on the north side of town, just off Lincoln Parkway.

On Nov. 11, Postville Courthouse on Fifth Street will be the site of the meeting hosted by Ward 2 Alderwoman Kathy Horn and Wilmert

On Nov. 24, Anderson and Bacon will call their meeting in Ward 1 at the Lincoln Rural Fire District facility, located on North Postville Drive.

Busby and Turner will host their meeting in Ward 4 in December. The date and location have not yet been announced.

All city council meetings are open to the public, and residents in the specific wards are encouraged to attend these special "road show" meetings.


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