Habitat for Humanity home
dedicated in Mount Pulaski

[JULY 5, 2001]  Community, friends, family, workers — all gathered for dedication services July 4 at the newest Habitat house. Keys for the sixth completed Habitat for Humanity of Logan County home were turned over to the Cheryl Mittlesteadt family. Cheryl and her sons, James T. and Austin M. Berger, plan to move into their new home at 317 Vine St., Mount Pulaski, on Saturday.

[Click here to see photos from the dedication]

George Dahmm welcomed the crowd, expressing gratefulness for all those who had contributed to this recent project. Dahmm began with the city of Mount Pulaski, thanking them for deeding the property. He then recognized the intensive effort put forth by 17 LCC students during one week in the spring and then credited some of the major donors of supplies. Johnson True Value of Mount Pulaski furnished the interior paint at no cost; A-1 Seamless Gutter of Elkhart furnished and installed the gutters, also at no cost; North Tree Farm seeded grass and planted shrubbery; and the Garden Rake supplied shrubbery also.

Contributors and volunteer labor

City of Mount Pulaski

Christian Church of Mount Pulaski

Zion Lutheran Church of Mount Pulaski

American Legion Auxiliary, Mount Pulaski

Lincoln Christian College

First United Methodist Church, Lincoln

St. John Church of Christ, Lincoln

Area Disposal

Lincoln Sand and Gravel

St. Peter’s Lutheran Church of Emden

Larson Doors

Roger Mittlesteadt

Tom Funk, attorney

Hunter Blinds

Whirlpool Corporation

Eagles Auxiliary of Lincoln

Mount Pulaski Catholic Church

Methodist Church of Mount Pulaski

Mount Pulaski Rotary Club

ABWA, Mount Pulaski

Lincoln Christian Church

Zion Lutheran Church of New Holland

Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, Lincoln

Basset Plumbing and Heating

Zion Lutheran Church of Clinton

Linda Barrick, M E Realty

Eaton Corporation

Lincoln Courier

Lincoln Daily News

Bloomington Pantagraph

Yale Residential Security

The Garden Rake

Larson Doors

Douglas Hunter Blinds

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Mitchell Newhouse Lumber Co.

Pete's Hardware

Illinois Plumbing and Heating

Carpet House of Lincoln

Light House Appraisal Service

Cyrillic Construction

Johnson Lumber of Atlanta

Alexander Lumber Co.

Johnson True Value, Mount Pulaski

Lumberyard Suppliers Inc.

Whirlpool Corporation

A-1 Seamless Gutters of Elkhart

North Tree Farm Landscaping

Yale Residential Security

Dahmm concluded by saying how much he appreciated "anybody who in any way worked this project and brought it to completion."

Citing Christian values as the foundation for the organization, Petri concluded with these remarks: "We build the houses so that they might build homes. We’re dedicated to seeing that all of God’s children have a decent place to call home."

Presenting the key to Mittlesteadt, Phil Dehner said, "We hope you find a great love and happiness in your new home."

Emotionally overwhelmed with gratitude, Mittlesteadt stated her feelings as such, and simply said a sincere, strong, "Thank you, thank you all!"

Habitat for Humanity of Logan County board members and officers

President George Dahmm

Vice president Phil Dehner

Secretary Leonard Krusemark

Treasurer Harley Petri

Bill Sahs

Terry Lock

Lyle Fout

Ken Benham

Don Begolka

Ken Tappendorf

[Jan Youngquist]

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Middletown Stagecoach Inn dedicated

[JULY 5, 2001]  At the dedication of the Dunlap House in Middletown on July 4, historian Wayne C. Temple christened the ground with water from a local well. Dr. Temple, a Lincoln expert, said that he has at least two documented occasions that Abraham Lincoln stayed at the house; once was with his family.

The initiative to get the house moved back to near its original site began back in 1985. On the day of the move back to town from the country, it got stuck in mud and the move was delayed until the ground froze.


Funding, repairs and renovations have been slowly taking place. Sen. Madigan and state Rep. John Turner recently procured some funding from the state of Illinois. While the site is now officially open, there are still lots of renovations to be completed.

A large crowd that included officials, visitors and local residents stayed for the opening tours of the house.


Healthy Communities Partnership receives national award, provides update to community, spotlights youth programs

[JULY 5, 2001]  The climax of the Healthy Communities Partnership report to the community on Thursday was presentation of the National Outstanding Rural Health Practice Award to Dayle Eldredge, director of the Rural Health Partnership Task Force and of the overall partnership.

Among the projects of the RHP are the mobile health unit which provides primary and preventative health care throughout Logan County, educational seminars including one on prostate and testicular cancer conducted June 27, farm safety programs offered in conjunction with University of Illinois Cooperative Extension Service, and assistance to farm families with a disabled member.


The award from the National Rural Health Association was presented to Eldredge by Julie Casper of the Center for Rural Health, Illinois Department of Public Health. "I believe the entire county is benefiting," Eldredge said in summing up the work of the Healthy Communities Partnership toward its mission: "To protect, maintain and improve the health and quality of life of all residents of Lincoln and Logan County."

Thursday’s luncheon presentation, at Knights of Columbus before an audience of about 100, spotlighted youth programs. In one presentation Chief of Police Rich Montcalm recognized seven students for their violence prevention essays: Sam Chon, Justin Trago, Lia Jordan, Britney Colby, Kelly Knecht and Hannah McShane.


Teenagers in Snowball, whose members are committed to living and promoting a drug-free lifestyle, presented a pantomime in which a girl experimented with a variety of drugs ranging from tobacco to heroin, became trapped, escaped with the help of friends, re-embraced the drugs, hit rock bottom and finally succeeded in becoming drug-free. Cast members were Cara Brewer, Christopher Vaughn, Bradley Stoll, Cara Slack, Lindsey Dirks, Stephie Humble, Sam Huddelson, Laura Baker, Craig Erlenbush and Chuck Allen. Kristi Simpson, prevention specialist at Logan Mason Mental Health, directed the group.


Simpson also directed "Keep Off the Grass," a puppet show presented by recent Lincoln Junior High School graduates associated with HYPE (Helping Youth in a Positive Environment). In the story Dr. Crisis and Officer Ketcham meet Dexter Dreen’s heart, stomach and brain and hear of the effects of marijuana and cocaine on them. Megan Prather, Kati Solomon, Chuck Allen, Bo Wright and Amanda Metz manipulated the puppets.

Simpson noted that Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drug Task Force events, including a bowling day and post-prom, are free to the public. An Illinois Department of Transportation grant enabled the awarding of such prizes as a DVD player, laptop computer and color television at post-prom.


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Ron Sillings of the YMCA announced upcoming events: a DUI Victim Impact Panel on July 25, a Family Fun Day on Sept. 22 and a mock DUI accident. Teen dances at the YMCA Activities Center at 720 Wyatt Ave. (former Odd Fellows gym) have been conducted monthly since September and will continue weekly throughout the summer except for a break during July.

In the fast-moving program each subdivision of Healthy Communities Partnership presented a report. Debby Cook of Logan County Health Department, speaking for the Domestic Abuse and Violence Task Force, announced that the Lincoln Police Department will now escort domestic violence victims to Sojourn House in Springfield, and she is working with Sheriff Tony Solomon to extend this benefit throughout the county. In another program, old cell phones, donated by P & M Communications and Lincoln Land Communications, are programmed to 9-1-1 and given to people in abusive situations who may need to make emergency calls.


Speaking for the Healthy Families Task Force, Marcia Dowling of the Logan County Health Department described various programs, including aid for grandparents raising grandchildren, education for teen parents, student mentoring and Baby Think It Over, which aims to prevent teen pregnancy. Several speakers reported an apparent decline in local teen pregnancy and pregnancy testing. In a survey conducted by Barbara Follis, one teen mother said, "The hardest part of being a young parent is the responsibilities you have as a parent, student, friend and daughter — all your roles together. Also, a little of what people say and how they look at you." Another said that if she could go back in a time machine, she would not go out again the night she got pregnant.

The Academy for Health Services Research and Health Policy, which visited the local partnership on May 14, concluded, according to a draft copy of its yet incomplete report: "This is an accomplished community health network in every sense of the word with strong linkage to key community stakeholders. The network has had a long and successful track record in supporting innovative projects that directly address key community health needs."

[Lynn Spellman]

East Park subdivision may be on again

[JULY 3, 2001]  The proposed 16-home East Park subdivision, which appeared to have reached a complete stop two weeks ago, may become bricks and mortar after all.

Lincoln City Council members, who two weeks ago voted to approve Rodney White’s development only if he pays the full cost of upgrading the part of Sherman Street that fronts on it, reconsidered the matter Monday night and will be talking to White yet one more time.

White, who could not attend the council meeting, was contacted by phone by City Clerk Juanita Josserand and has agreed to another meeting.

At the June 18 council meeting, the nine members present voted unanimously to approve the plat for the 16 homes only if White agreed to pay the full cost of upgrading 1,600 to 2,000 feet of North Sherman Street. White said under those conditions it was not feasible for him to continue with the development plans and left the council chambers.


White had first asked that the city would pay the full cost of upgrading the street after he completed at least half the development and put in sewer and utility connections. On June 18 he agreed to pay for curbs and gutters on one side of the street at a cost of $25,000 to $30,000.

Josserand reported Monday night that in her telephone conversation with White, he also agreed to put money in escrow for curbs and gutters to be installed when Sherman Street is upgraded.

The change of heart occurred after council members discussed the ordinance governing developers and subdivisions and decided they had interpreted it incorrectly. Mayor Beth Davis, who is in favor of the development, also encouraged them to rethink the matter.

"We can bring it up for reconsideration," she told the council. "We need to grow. We need to send a positive message."

Several council members said they understood the ordinance to say that the developer must bring any street up to city specifications. However, according to Nick Burgrabe, sitting in for City Attorney Jonathan Wright, that applies to streets built by the developer but not necessarily to streets already owned by the city, as Sherman Street is.

Burgrabe said it is not mandatory to ask a developer to pay for upgrading an existing street, but the council does have the authority to negotiate with a developer on street work costs.

"It is our responsibility to maintain the street at the current level. If a developer puts extra demands on it, we can require him to upgrade it. At the same time, the city can make a compromise plan," Burgrabe said.


"What I understood is that it [complete upgrading] has to happen," Alderman George Mitchell said. "I don’t think I am the only one who thought it had to be done that way."

Several other council members agreed with Mitchell.

"It is hard for me to swallow the fact that we have an existing street, a developer comes in, and we say, ‘fix the street,’" Alderman Verl Prather said. "It is already ours. He is not dedicating it to us."



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Alderman Michael Montcalm, chairman of the ordinance committee, who made the original motion to ask White to pay the street work costs, said he would like to split the cost of upgrading the street if the city had the money. "I can’t see 100 percent of the costs for the city on fixing that street," he said. "The most I could go is 50-50."

Grant Eaton, sewer plant manager, told the council the cost would be approximately $200,000 or about half that amount, depending upon whether the street is blacktop, the more expensive, or oil and chip, which Sherman Street is at present.

Several council members suggested rethinking the ordinance, which they believe is confusing. Alderman Patrick Madigan suggested they sit down with developers and see what their concerns are. "Are we going to play this game every time a development comes up?" he asked.

Eaton agreed that the ordinance needs to be reworked. "It does get confusing for us to understand it," he said. "It is hard to explain to the contracting industry."

Mitchell, however, stressed that the council needed to move on the East Park subdivision before tackling the ordinance.

"I watched this council struggle with a liquor ordinance. We still don’t have a liquor ordinance. If we have to change the ordinance, none of us will live long enough to see anything done.

"I think we ought to give anyone who wants to develop an area in this town an opportunity to do that," he said.

The council unanimously approved a motion to reconsider the vote of June 18, then tabled the motion until further discussion with White. No date has yet been set for that discussion.


In other business, the council recognized three newly promoted members of the fire department. Mark Miller has been named assistant chief of the B shift; Jeff Singleton is captain of the B shift, and Larry Spurling is a lieutenant on the A shift.

They also discussed raising fines for parking downtown from 2 to 5 a.m. to $25. Parked cars make it impossible to clean streets or to remove snow, according to Street Superintendent Donnie Osborne. The fine is presently only $3. The proposed raise was referred to the ordinance committee.

The council accepted the bid for a skid loader from Central Illinois Ag of Atlanta, at $16,479. A lower bid was rejected because the New Holland loader offered by Illinois Ag was the best vehicle for the job, according to Eaton.

Mayor Davis announced a proposal for a Historic District that would extend along both sides of Fifth Street from Adams to Postville Drive. She said new buildings put up in the district would conform to historic architecture, though present ones would be grandfathered in.

Alderman George Mitchell was unanimously elected mayor pro tem, to serve when Davis is not present. He was nominated by Alderman Glenn Shelton, who described Mitchell as a man who is always available and has the best interests of the city at heart.

[Joan Crabb]

Lincoln students earn
s Home Town Award

[JULY 3, 2001]  Judy Dopp, Lincoln Community High School National Honor Society sponsor, announced at the city’s council meeting on Monday that Lincoln had won a Governor’s Home Town Award for 2000 for the plantings done by the National Honor Society and the biochemistry classes taught by Jim Vipond.

The Plant the Tree program for 2000 included extensive plantings at the Logan County Fairgrounds and plantings in the Don Shay parking lot across from Scully Park in downtown Lincoln. In addition, a tree was planted at Memorial Park for each first grade and at two of the nursing homes. This year’s project added trees at the Lincoln sign across from Lincoln Christian College and 11 trees across from the Tropics in front of the old Courtyard restaurant, as well as more trees at the fairgrounds.

The parking lot, on Clinton Street, was renovated by Main Street Lincoln, which purchased large trees and perennials. Others who helped furnish trees were John Wilmert, who got trees at cost or donated them from his own land; Dean Bruns, who allowed the students to dig up from his land about 60 trees that went to the Logan County Fairgrounds and the Don Shay parking lot; and Eric Jenkins. About 100 trees, some with 4-inch trunks, were planted by 80 students in 2000, Dopp said.

The tree planting program has been ongoing for the past five years, Dopp said. In 2001 the group planted trees along Postville Road and at the fairgrounds.

She thanked Street Superintendent Donnie Osborne for his help in bringing mulch and getting street crews to help with the heavy work. "Donnie has just been great," she told the council. She also thanked Main Street Lincoln for all its help in purchasing trees.

"This award really goes to the entire city of Lincoln," she told the council. The motto on the Governor’s Home Town Award is "Excellence through Volunteerism."


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[Pictured are (left to right, back row) J.R. Glenn, 2001 NHS president; Jim Vipond, biochemistry teacher; Judy Dopp, NHS adviser; Deb Schweitzer, NHS adviser; James Phelan, 2001 project chair; (front row) Autumn Feldman, 2000 project chair; Mary Burlington, 2002 project chair; Erica Corley, 2000 NHS president; LCHS Principal Joyce Hubbard.]

Madigan begins new job;
search is on for successor

[JULY 2, 2001]  The Republican county chairmen who met last month to choose a successor to former state Rep. John Turner of Atlanta will be doing much the same thing this month, only this time they will be choosing a replacement for state Sen. Robert Madigan of Lincoln.

Madigan announced last week that he was leaving the Senate to take a position as a member of the Illinois Industrial Commission, the body that hears appeals for workman’s compensation cases if either the employer or employee is not satisfied with the decision made by an arbitrator.

His resignation was effective at midnight June 30, and he begins his new duties on July 2.

Madigan said he will be serving mostly in Chicago but will also sit on panels in Springfield and hold reviews in various other parts of the state. He will have an office in his home in Lincoln, but his main office is in the state of Illinois building in Chicago. However, he said, he intends to continue to live in Lincoln.

He was appointed by Gov. George Ryan to fill an unexpired term and will serve until the term ends Jan. 17, 2005. Then, if he wishes to continue on the commission, he will have to be reappointed by whoever is governor at the time. He confirmed that his salary in the new position is $101,790. His salary as a state senator was $64,269.

"When I first ran for the legislature, I wanted to serve for 12 or 13 years, then do something else," he said. "I’ve served a little longer, 15 years. Recently the governor asked me if I would be willing to serve on the commission. It is a job I feel comfortable in."

Before serving in the legislature, Madigan was a claims specialist for State Farm Insurance. While in the senate, he was chair of the Insurance and Pension Committee and dealt with legislation in this area. "I felt the Illinois Industrial Commission job was a natural fit," he said.

His believes greatest accomplishment as a senator came in 1994, when five statewide pension systems pensions for teachers, state employees, judges, General Assembly members and university retirees were in deep financial trouble.

"I was the Senate sponsor of the plan to bring these systems up to a safe and sound funding level without a tax increase," he told the Lincoln Daily News. "The plan called for continuing appropriations from the general revenue fund so there would be sufficient money in each pension system."

Unfinished business in the legislature which he would like to see completed is putting the retired teachers health insurance fund on a firm financial basis. The fund is running out of money because claims were greater than expected. He said he believes the two task forces working on the problem will come up with a solution before the November veto session.



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He would also like to see the legislature solve an age-old problem, finding additional funding for schools and reducing the tax burden on homeowners.

There were some hints that Madigan might be leaving his post, said John Parrett, McLean County GOP chairman.

"I kept hearing rumors that Sen. Madigan might be stepping down to take a position with a commission. I thought something might possibly transpire by August or September," Parrett said.

"Bob Madigan has been a highly respected state senator and has served us well. He will be missed by his constituents. He is well thought of and has an enormous amount of integrity," he added.

Mary Jane Jones, Mason County GOP chairman, said, "I am real sorry to lose him. He is well respected in Springfield. They listen to him, and they know he is there. He is a great loss to our district."

Madigan said he doesn’t know of anyone who has formally stepped forward to replace him.

His replacement, who must be chosen within 30 days of Madigan’s retirement, will be selected by seven Republican county chairmen, including the six who chose Lincoln attorney Jonathan Wright to replace John Turner. Turner was appointed an Appellate Court judge.

The 45th Senatorial District includes all of Logan, Mason and DeWitt counties, most of Tazewell and Woodford counties, and a part of Piatt and McLean counties. However, those boundaries may change later this year when district lines are redrawn to account for changes in the state’s population.

While Logan County GOP Chairman Ron Sparks had the heaviest weighted vote in the choice for the appointment to the 90th House district, Tazewell County Chairman Claude Stone will have the heaviest vote in the 45th Senatorial District.

Stone will have 45.2 percent of the vote, with the Woodford County chairman having 16.8 percent, the Logan County chairman 15.2 percent, DeWitt chairman 7.6 percent, Mason 6.8 percent, McLean 5.9 percent and Piatt 2.4 percent.

Stone said he has already had several people approach him about the appointment, but he referred them to the caucus chairman, Jered Hooker of DeWitt County. He said the GOP chairmen would not meet until after July 4.

[Joan Crabb]

LEPC hears plans for annual exercise

[JUNE 30, 2001]  The Logan County Local Emergency Planning Committee met June 27 to learn about projects in progress and continue planning for the Emergency Services and Disaster Agency and LEPC annual exercise.

The exercise, which simulates a disaster and provides training for the organizations that must cope with such a disaster, will be on Sept. 29 this year. Two simulations are planned, one in Mount Pulaski and one in Lincoln.

According to Mike Patridge, the Mount Pulaski exercise will be a simulated hostage situation and will be at the Mount Pulaski High School. Because the date is a Saturday, no students will be present, and students will not be used in the exercise, he said. The state police Tactical Unit and local fire and police departments will take part.

The second exercise, to be held in Lincoln, will simulate a chlorine leak. Chlorine is the most hazardous material usually found in a community.

Lisa Funk, member of the response and preparedness committee and an electrical energy dispatcher for CILCO, said she has applied for a $30,000 state grant to buy two Bullard thermal imagers, one for the Lincoln Fire Department and one for Lincoln Rural Fire Department. The imagers allow firefighters to see people trapped in a burning building or identify "hot spots" even through smoke and flames.

"These units are really important if a life is at stake," she said. Lincoln Fire Department does have one thermal imager, but owning another would allow an imager to be used by another fire department, she noted.

Terry Storer, secretary of LEPC, reported that he is working on the threat assessment that has been requested by the U.S. Department of Justice as part of its planning to combat terrorism. Each county in every state is to make a local assessment of its vulnerability to terrorist attacks and also of its capabilities to handle any threat that might come up. The assessment includes identifying sites and functions that might be targets for terrorist attacks, such as utilities, places where the public is gathered, and firms dealing with genetic engineering and other biotechnology.

"It lets us see where we are and what we can do, then look at what we need to do to get where we need to be," Storer said.

The Department of Justice has $2 to $3 million available in grants to help communities prepare for terrorist incidents, he added. He said he would have the assessment finished by Sept. 1.



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Dan Fulscher, president of LEPC, emphasized that while Logan County is good at dealing with tornadoes and floods, it needs to be better prepared for acts of terrorism, including bio-terrorism.

Sean O’Leary, liaison to LEPC from Illinois Emergency Management Agency, said that the state of Illinois is working on creating an Illinois State Police team that can respond to terrorist acts. He also said the National Guard has a team headquartered in Peoria that can handle hazardous material and terrorism threats.

O’Leary commended the Logan County LEPC on integrating the fire and police departments, as well as many other organizations, and on having representatives of so many community organizations at its meeting.

"You may be on the cutting edge of communities in the state," he told the group.

Meeting dates of Sept. 19 and Dec. 19 were set for the rest of 2001. LEPC will also have representatives in the emergency services tent at the Logan County Fair.

[Joan Crabb]

One more indicted by a grand jury in
the May death of a Lincoln baby

[JUNE 29, 2001]  Edward C. LaScola Jr., 19, of Hopkins Park was arrested at 11 last night, June 28. A Logan County grand jury indicted him yesterday with six counts of first-degree murder in the death of 11-month-old Daneysia Williams, daughter of his girlfriend, Kimberly Williams. The incident took place in Lincoln on Sunday afternoon, May 27.

LaScola was picked up by Lincoln Police Department and has been transported here. He is presently in the Logan County Jail waiting a hearing. He is being held on a $1 million bond. His first arraignment was scheduled for 10:30 this morning, June 29.

Logan County State’s Attorney Tim Huyett said that LaScola is the last of the suspects to be arrested in this case.


The Wright office

[JUNE 29, 2001]  Starting July 1, the office of Jonathan Wright, state representative for the 90th District, will be located at 407 Keokuk St. in Lincoln.

The office phone number is (217) 732-4011; fax number (217) 732-8971.

Wright replaces John Turner of Atlanta, who served almost seven years as the state representative from the 90th District. Turner is now a justice of the 4th District Appellate Court.

[News release]

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