CLOSE UP    Zooming in on
the people, places and things that make this community interesting.

sponsored by CHRIS COYNE, agent - State Farm Insurance

'We Are Lincoln' meeting, 'Gifts for Yanks,' 'Atlanta & the KKK,' new Lincoln Christmas ornament, Mount Pulaski Courthouse Festival of Trees

Send a link to a friend 

[December 16, 2013]  'We Are Lincoln'

Group moves forward with putting words into action — Part 1

Last Wednesday evening a group of about 25 Lincoln citizens met at Abraham Lincoln Memorial Hospital. The goal of the meeting was to find a starting point for putting words into actions.

The group is an evolution from the recent "Boomtown USA" meetings hosted by the Lincoln/Logan County Chamber of Commerce Young Professionals Network.

Michael Gowin served as the moderator with assistance from Patrick Doolin. Gowin told the group he was not the leader of the group, but had been asked to serve only as the moderator of all discussions. He said he wanted to start by talking about what has taken place since the last meeting.

At the beginning of the meeting, Gowin talked about "We Are Lincoln" versus Boomtown, saying that it was somewhat of a misinterpretation to connect the We Are Lincoln movement with Boomtown USA, though admittedly, the group has evolved from that to what it is now.

The first Boomtown meeting came in October at Lincoln Community High School and focused on creating a sense of entrepreneurship in local youth, finding ways to keep them in the community after college, and interacting with them in a productive way in the interim.

Guest speakers Craig Lindvahl and Jack Schultz spoke at the first meeting about the talent they have discovered in other areas by implementing a CEO program for high school-age students. They spoke on the "Creating Entrepreneurial Opportunities" program that was started in Effingham and how students there became involved in their own small-business projects. They also talked about some of the tremendous successes those students have realized after completing the program.

The CEO program is something the chamber is still very interested in pursuing, but it was what came after that first meeting that lit the fire for We Are Lincoln.

After that first meeting, the Young Professionals Network set a date for a Boomtown Roundtable meeting to occur at ALMH. At practically the same time, an article written by a former Lincolnite was published and broadcast through National Public Radio that painted Lincoln as a decaying city with drug issues and high crime.

Many local citizens were offended by the article, but they were also motivated. They were driven to ask themselves if that was the perception of the city to people outside the community, and if it was, how that could be addressed and changed.

The end result was that so many RSVP'd to the Boomtown Roundtable that the venue had to be changed to the Lincoln Park District Ballroom. When the meeting took place, the discussion quickly veered to the negative article and discussions of how to make the city a better place.

At that meeting, Doolin served as the moderator with assistance from Blinn Bates of the YPN, and Craig Lindvahl was on hand. Throughout the evening, members of the audience openly talked about what is needed in the city of Lincoln to make it more attractive to young professionals, people looking to move into Lincoln and those who visit.

A wide variety of ideas came out of that meeting. At the end of the night, Doolin told the group that talk was good, but what was needed was action. He offered them an opportunity to make lists on large pieces of paper outlining what needed to be done.

Last Wednesday evening, when the group met for the first time as We Are Lincoln, those same pieces of paper were brought out again, and the group was encouraged to talk about their lists and how to accomplish the goals on the lists.

Doolin talked about the CEO program and said that it was a project he intended to stay involved in, along with the chamber.

In the audience was Lincoln High School Superintendent Robert Bagby.

Doolin said there have been discussions with Bagby regarding the CEO program, and the wheels are in motion. He told the group that the CEO program won't come soon, though, because Lindvahl is limiting the number of programs he opens each year so as to maintain the integrity of the program. Opening a few each year allows Lindvahl to be certain that each new program gets plenty of attention from him and gets off to a good start.

Doolin concluded that Lindvahl knows there is interest here in Lincoln for the CEO program, and it will come within the next couple of years.

After Doolin's update, Gowin returned to the lists. He asked about the need for a single resource for information about Lincoln. David Doolin then spoke about this.

He told the group that preparing for a single source of information was going to be a large undertaking, but something that was needed. He said when searching Lincoln on the Internet, one can come up with several bits and pieces, but there is no one place that puts everything together to make a complete picture. He said for those who are not familiar with the area, having a single location for everything is very important.

He said he saw the single source as a "hub in the wheel" resource. He said the idea was to create a site that would bring searchers in, based on a broad search. Then, once they are at the site, they would have options of other places to go to see more specific information about the community.

Patrick Doolin commented on this from the last meeting, saying this single source was something people seemed to want: a source where they could track what is going on in the community and also learn about the various organizations and other points of interest.

This report will continue in Part 2, when the group moves on to other items on the first set of lists and talks what to do next to move certain projects forward.


Past related articles

American Legion seeks support for 69th annual Gifts for Yanks Who Gave

This is the 69th year that citizens of Logan County have the opportunity to thank veterans who have served our country and are now residents of nursing homes in our county. The American Legion's Gifts for Yanks Who Gave ensures that no Logan County veteran is forgotten during the Christmas season.

Each year, citizens respond generously to this program as a way of thanking men and women who have served in the armed forces of the nation. Logan County residents are urged to once again respond to this program and show these men and women that we do care.

Contributions to support this cause can be mailed to:

Gifts for Yanks Who Gave
c/o Town and Country Bank
PO Box 159
Lincoln, IL 62656

Donations are appreciated and will be used for Christmas gifts for hospitalized veterans from Logan County.

Dinner at the Palms schedules encore performance of 'It's a Mystery to Me: Atlanta & the KKK'

ATLANTA — Due to popular demand, a second date has been scheduled for presentation of the "It's a Mystery to Me: Atlanta & the KKK" program at the Palms Grill Café in Atlanta. The originally scheduled KKK program will still be presented on Friday, Dec. 13, but because that evening is now fully booked and so many folks have called trying to get a reservation, the program will be repeated on Friday, Jan. 3.

To make a reservation for the Jan. 3 KKK program or any of the other programs remaining in the series, phone 217-648-5077 between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday-Friday, or leave a voice message with your phone number at other times.

The Atlanta Public Library and Museum is presenting "Dinner Programs at the Palms Grill Café," a free series of events at the Palms Grill, 110 SW Arch St., on Old Route 66 in downtown Atlanta. The programs run through February and feature local speakers who present 45- to 60-minute presentations or activities following dinner at the Palms Grill. Dinner begins at 5:30 p.m., and the evening's program or activity starts at 7 p.m. Reservations are required and limited to 50 people.

Programs on the schedule for the remainder of this year and in 2014:

Friday, Dec. 13, and
repeated on Friday, Jan. 3
"It's a Mystery to Me: Atlanta & the KKK"

In this program, the Atlanta Historic Commission and the Atlanta Museum ask you to consider Atlanta's involvement with the Ku Klux Klan in the mid-1920s. Artifacts, documentation, photos and period newspaper accounts will be presented and examined, with the goal of having those attending decide what the "history" of Atlanta and the KKK was.

Friday, Jan. 17
"Movie Magic in Atlanta"

Christopher Myers and Cory Berstein, of Bloomington-Normal, will share how they became the winners of the 2011 Normal Theater Short Film Festival. People attending will view their 2011 winning entry, plus learn about and watch their newest movie project, including a number of scenes filmed in downtown Atlanta.

Friday, Jan. 24
"Foundations of Atlanta: The John Dowdy Story"

The Atlanta Historic Commission and the Atlanta Museum will tell the story of John Dowdy, a man whose lifelong work can be found underfoot throughout most of the community, in the form of the sidewalks everyone treads upon, as well beneath many of Atlanta's older homes, in the form of their concrete block foundations. In addition, the people attending will learn about a library program in which a group of Atlantans have teamed up with students from Olympia South Elementary School in a project to re-create the purple martin houses Mr. Dowdy used to build and maintain in downtown Atlanta.

Friday, Feb. 7
"Illinois Office of Tourism Update"

Ms. Jen Hoelzle, director of the Illinois Office of Tourism, leads the state's tourism industry marketing and development efforts. Before joining the Office of Tourism in October 2012, she served as the director of external engagement for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and in several capacities for the state of Illinois. Ms. Hoelzle has brought fresh ideas for statewide tourism strategies and pushed for heavy social media engagement designed to drive new visitors to Illinois. She'll update the group attending on the current state of tourism in Illinois.

Friday, Feb. 21
"Wheels of Change: The History of Bicycles in Atlanta"

The Atlanta Historic Commission and Atlanta Museum will team up again to present a concise history of the bicycle in Atlanta. The program will examine the social implications of the invention that hit the streets -- and railroads -- of early Atlanta through the present day. Of course, one cannot study the bicycle without coming across the name of the infamous George "Sonny" McIntyre, one of Atlanta's most eccentric citizens and the builder of many of the town's bicycles for close to 50 years. Come to this program to learn about McIntyre, share your stories and speculate about the future of bicycles in Atlanta.

Friday, Feb. 28
"It's a Mystery to Me: The Bucket of Blood"

Sometime in the early afternoon on Tuesday, April 2, 1935, a murder-suicide happened involving Joseph and Verna Rehrman, owners of the Popular Inn, a roadhouse on Route 66 just north of Atlanta. The mystery of exactly what transpired that fateful day will be recounted in a new narrative written by Terri Ryburn, based upon research conducted by the Atlanta Museum and the Atlanta Historic Commission. Learn about this tragedy, as well as share stories you may have heard growing up, as this program examines the mystery of "The Bucket of Blood."

[to top of second column]

New Lincoln Christmas ornament made available; Abraham Lincoln Statue Committee continues fundraising efforts

Friday afternoon, JoAnne Marlin, Mary Ellen Martin and Wanda Lee Rohlfs were busy numbering their new arrival of Christmas ornaments and adding the certificates of authenticity to each one.

The ornaments arrived last week and are already on sale at several local businesses.

The ladies explained that the new ornament design is a depiction of the Abraham Lincoln speech on the steps of the Logan County Courthouse on Oct. 16, 1858. The likeness of Abraham Lincoln on this ornament is the same as the Logan County Historical & Genealogical Society hopes to create in a lifesize statue to be erected on the lawn of the Logan County Courthouse next year.

Rohlfs said the ornaments have been made by Desmark, the same company that produced the series of city of Lincoln ornaments. The new ornaments are sized and designed to complement the city ornaments on a tree.

Martin said that was one of the nice things about the ornaments, and so far she's had a few people who have asked for them because they have the full collection and want to keep it going. She also noted that some have asked if the society will continue doing annual ornaments in the future. Right now no specific plans are outlined for that, but the ladies agreed that it might be nice to pick that up as an annual event for the society.

Each of the new ornaments is numbered, comes in a hunter green box and is accompanied by the certificate of authenticity.

The first 30 ornaments have been set aside for those who are buying the miniature bronzes of the statue. Those purchasers will be offered the opportunity to buy an ornament with the same issue number as their statue. Rohlfs said that if the statue owner decides not to purchase an ornament, the number will be put back in the stack to be sold to the general public.

The Christmas ornaments now being offered for sale are just one of several fundraising activities the society is conducting for the statue.

Currently, the committee has sold 12 of the 22-inch bronze miniatures of the statue. Bill Donath was on hand Friday afternoon and said a new shipment of the statues will be in next week. When all of the statues have sold, the net proceeds going toward the project will total about $30,000. It is estimated that the funding needed to erect the statue on the courthouse lawn is $48,000.

Rohlfs said that Ms. Marla Williams' history classes at Northwest School have taken a keen interest in helping raise funds. Their penny drive this fall brought in over $300 for the statue. The classes will also sponsor a "Hiking for History" walking marathon in the early part of next year.

Another fundraiser coming soon will be the sale of postcards depicting the statue. Marlin said the cards will be coming in the near future, and the society has hopes of selling the majority of them at local businesses.

For those who are interested in purchasing the new Lincoln ornament, they are currently available at Beans & Such, MKS Jewelers, Serendipity Stitches, the Logan County treasurer's office, or from the Genealogical Society.

The Logan County Genealogical & Historical Society is located on Chicago Street, across from the train depot. The hours are Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The society also has on display the 22-inch bronze, which is currently being offered. Anyone who is interested in seeing and perhaps purchasing a bronze can stop in at 114 N. Chicago St. during the center's normal business hours.


Festival of Trees huge success for Mount Pulaski Courthouse Foundation

MOUNT PULASKI — Christmas carols were playing while the sidewalks and steps were decked with candles on Saturday night for the Festival of Trees and open house at the historic Mount Pulaski Courthouse. A portrayer of Abraham Lincoln was present to greet everyone, and all shared in beautiful Christmas treats.

The courtroom was full when Renee Martin, a member of the board of the Mount Pulaski Courthouse Foundation, welcomed everyone. She remembered growing up with the courthouse as an important part of life in Mount Pulaski. She said she wanted her own children to grow up with it "in good shape, not tattered."

Auctioneer Mike Maske volunteered his time to auction the 25 decorated trees and the accent cabinet donated by Salt Creek Attic. Ms. Martin and Mr. Lincoln introduced each tree.

Most of the trees were decorated and donated by local businesses, but the Logan County Tourism Bureau decorated and donated one, too. Also, some local families decorated and donated trees. Some interesting ones: Farmers Bank tree with bows of $1 bills; Mount Pulaski Pharmacy tree with ornaments of gauze, pill bottles, etc.; and the tree provided by Hayes Garage and family, with colorful cancer ribbons in memory of Dick's wife, Shirley, who died recently.

Maske was full of humor and always urged everyone to cheer people to raise their offers. The trees raised $4,445 and the accent cabinet went for $350, for a grand total of $4,795 for the courthouse foundation.

Before the trees were auctioned, Tom Martin, chairman of the foundation, thanked the committee, everyone who prepared a tree and all those who have supported the foundation since its founding in 2011. He reviewed the improvements to the building that have been accomplished. He said the foundation had been moving slowly because they need to work closely with the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency — to be "careful to do the work the right way so it does not need to be done over." He emphasized that a lot of what the organization has been doing is to "get the community on board" with taking care of and enjoying the historic courthouse. He pointed to the past two summer workweeks and street fests.

At the end of the evening, Martin thanked Maske and invited everyone to volunteer some time to care for the courthouse. "Come swing a hammer or a paintbrush. Just come in and we will find something for you to do," he said.

Martin ended his remarks with a surprise announcement. He reported that the Waldo and Rosalie Bertoni estate had willed a bequest of $250,000 to the Mount Pulaski Courthouse Foundation. Waldo died two years ago, and Rosalie died at the end of October. Both had been regular members of the Mount Pulaski 175th Anniversary Planning Committee during the 2010-2011 years. Waldo was born and raised in Mount Pulaski, and his wife, the former Rosalie Smith, was born and raised in Chestnut. They were both graduates of Mount Pulaski High School. They had returned from their initial retirement home in Falls Church, Va., to their final retirement home in Mount Pulaski in the summer of 2005.

The State Bank of Lincoln has informed the Mount Pulaski Courthouse Foundation that it should expect to receive the funds in about six months. Martin expressed his gratitude for the trust the Bertonis and the community had placed in this new foundation. This gift from the Bertoni estate "will change our perception of what we do and how we do it," he said.

Below is a list of all those who donated a tree, and second, those who purchased it. The foundation is very appreciative of all who helped make this a very successful fundraiser.

  • Johnson's Food Center — $50, by Jeanie Beccue

  • Illinois National Bank — $150, by Dean and Doris Cates

  • State Farm Insurance, Deron Powell — $70, by Barbara Stroud-Borth

  • Drs. Mason and Mason Dentistry — $110, by Phyllis Beccue

  • Country Financial Insurance — $60, by Doug and Kimberly Johnson

  • Johnson True Value Hardware — $50, by Jeanie Beccue

  • DPCM Insurance — $100, by DPCM Insurance

  • D'tails Dog Grooming — $70, by Kella Allspach

  • Mount Pulaski Library — $110, by Tom and Cheryl Martin

  • City of Mount Pulaski — $150, by Laura Lee

  • Farmers Bank — $100, by Joe Butler

  • Hayes Auto Supply — $150, by Barb Freer, Hayes Auto Supply

  • Cross Bros. Implement — $300, by Joe Butler

  • Botanica — $90, by Jeannie Beccue

  • Mount Pulaski Pharmacy — $350, by Dennis Graue

  • Pizza Man — $50, by Illinois National Bank, Dee Jason (The bank donated tree back to be re-auctioned, and it was purchased the second time by Mike Maske.)

  • Pizza Man — $100, by Mike Maske

  • Saddie's — $100, by Joe Butler

  • The Barn — $60, by Laura Lee

  • Martin Grain — $150, by Mary Pope

  • Barbara Stroud-Borth — $350, by Shelby Daigh

  • A. Lincoln Tourism board of Logan County — $230, by Allspach Farms

  • Stahl's Furniture — $500, by Tom and Cheryl Martin

  • Tena Stoudt Family — $175, by Shelby Daigh

  • Salt Creek Attic — $210, by Kim and Shaun Tyson

  • Mount Pulaski Grade School third-grade classes — $610, by Allspach Farms

  • Courthouse accent cabinet — $350, by Dennis Graue

Grand total raised: $4,795

< Top Stories index

Back to top