What impact will the new Presidential Library in Springfield have on Lincoln?

[MAY 19, 2001]  At a special presentation on Tuesday, May 15, Lincoln and Logan County residents had the opportunity to learn more about the potential impacts of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield. The session was in the Pegram Room of the Lincoln Public Library in Lincoln.

David Blanchette, public information officer for the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, gave an in-depth presentation on the facilities and programs, along with information on Abraham Lincoln and related U.S. history. The two major buildings will be the library and museum that face Jefferson Avenue and Sixth Street.


The Presidential Library will be the new home of the Illinois State Historical Library and its world-renowned Abraham Lincoln Collection. This 46,000-piece treasure trove is the world's largest Lincoln collection and contains some of his most important significant historical documents and artifacts. Included are the Gettysburg Address, the Emancipation Proclamation and his inaugural speech. Other areas of the Presidential Library will include the reading room for the Lincoln Collection, the main reading room and reference department, and newspapers on microfilm. There will also be a conservation lab, photography lab and microfilming lab on the third floor, for the use of the staff.


Museum visitors will first enter the plaza, a grand, elegant space featuring a 70-foot atrium, which will be the location for many public and special events. From there, visitors will see the entry points to Lincoln's life. A reproduction of his boyhood cabin in Indiana is the entry to Journey One, an immersive exhibit that covers the period from his childhood to his election as president. A reproduction of the White House as it looked in 1860 is the entry point for Journey Two, which spans Lincoln's presidency to his assassination. Some of the highlights of the journey will include Lincoln reading a book near the fireplace of his boyhood cabin in Indiana, a slave auction such as Abraham might have seen on a flatboat journey to New Orleans and an education center, featuring classrooms and a computer lab, available for use by pre-scheduled school groups.


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There will be numerous other venues to visit, such as a special-effects theater that will use three screens and surround sound to totally envelop the audience. Other attractions will be a "kids area," available just for children, and an American Holavision Theater, featuring "Ghosts of the Library." Other features will include a restaurant, gift shop and administrative offices. Space has been set aside for traveling exhibits to highlight other Lincoln sites across the country and encourage visitation at those sites as well.

The Union Station across the street from the museum will be the gateway for visitors to the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum complex. This 1890s train station, which for the past 11 years has been office space for the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, will be rehabilitated to serve as a bus drop-off point and visitor orientation center. There, people can obtain tickets, make reservations and learn about Lincoln sites in Illinois, such as those in Logan County, as well as in Kentucky, Indiana and other states.

At a cost of $115 million and estimated annual attendance of half a million people, the Presidential Library and Museum is important to Logan County. Residents need to be informed in order to take advantage of the tourists it will bring to the area. The library is scheduled to open in October 2002, and the museum is to be completed in late 2003, the same year as the city of Lincoln's sesquicentennial.

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‘Crown jewel’ found in Lincoln — Lincoln’s well at Postville

By T. W. Werth

[MAY 19, 2001]  The Deskins hotel was built in 1836 at the site of the present VFW Hall, located on Fifth Street in Lincoln. Directly in front of this site was and still is the well used by the hostelry — a well that Abraham Lincoln would have used to quench his thirst. Our intentions are to restore the well and make it possible for everyone to follow in his footsteps and drink from this same well.

The Deskins building was at the original site of the town of Postville, across the street from the historic Postville Courthouse. While working as a circuit lawyer, Lincoln ate at the tavern during his visits to Postville. 


Lawrence B. Stringer’s "History of Logan County Illinois," published in 1911, provides this background information:

Soon after the platting of Knapp, Bird and Tinsley’s addition in 1836, Dr. John Deskins built a one story house on Fifth street, almost opposite the site where the first county court house was erected four years later, and in 1837 he added a second story. This was the recognized hostelry of the town during terms of court. Dr. Deskins was the first sheriff of the county and later a member of the State Legislature from this district. His "hotel," being substantially the first one of much consequence in Postville, is famous for the many happenings that there took place when the lawyers "traveling the circuit" and the court, jurors, witnesses and litigants made it their headquarters. It was conducted for a while by John Allison. It was the regular stopping place for Abraham Lincoln. For incidents associated with Abraham Lincoln and his temporary stay at the old Deskins’ hotel, reference is made to the chapter on "Abraham Lincoln." Further references have also been made to this early hostelry in the chapters on "Bench and Bar" and "County Government." The doors, sashes and stairs of this hotel were made by George W. Edgar and it was weatherboarded with black walnut from Orendorff’s mill. The old building was dismantled about ten years ago. (Volume I, page 568)


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The city of Lincoln truly has a "crown jewel" of great historic significance "in their back yard." Cars and people have been passing it by for over 150 years.

We did not know until we removed the pump from the old wooden platform if the well still existed. To our delight, when the workers pulled the pump a few weeks ago, we found the original moss-covered, brick-lined well still there!


The Logan County Health Department was asked to sample the water to see if it could be made into safe, drinkable water. From the reports we have received, we feel it will be possible. Our purpose is to begin the process of restoring this well.

In the future, we hope to have the water available for purchase as souvenirs and gifts for friends and family. We are anxious for Looking for Lincoln followers to participate in this historic experience by drinking from the same well Abe did when he worked and visited in our fair city.

[T.W. Werth]

Senate Week in Review

[MAY 19, 2001]  Legislation passed by the Illinois Senate this week brings sunshine to state and local government decisions regarding land purchases and lawsuits, according to state Sen. Bob Madigan, R-Greenville. The Senate approved and sent to the governor a bill that requires the state to disclose the beneficiaries of any trusts involved in the state purchase of land for airports or prisons. House Bill 3078 also requires that the amount of money paid by the government in a lawsuit settlement be available for public disclosure.

Taping meetings

Meanwhile, a Senate executive committee is continuing to study a bill requiring verbatim records of executive sessions called by government bodies. In a public hearing, representatives of local governments strongly objected to the measure. Opponents said taping meetings for verbatim records will force people to censor themselves and not fulfill their proper roles — asking tough questions, giving opinions, etc. — because the tapes could eventually be disclosed. Others were concerned about the improper disclosure of taped information, especially personnel matters and legal advice. The committee will continue its work to improve the legislation.


New charitable and commemorative license plates

The Senate also approved legislation creating new charitable and commemorative license plates. House Bill 293 creates charitable plates for the Illinois Lions Club, pets, hospice services, corrections employees memorial, Gulf War memorial, elementary and secondary education, park district after-school programs and coal research. New commemorative plates honor union members, paratroopers and small businesses. House Bill 293 returns to the House of Representatives for concurrence with changes made in the Senate.

House bills that have been approved by the Senate and now go to the governor for consideration, include these:

Public safety pensions (HB 250) — Improves pension benefits for state police troopers, Illinois Department of Corrections prison guards and Illinois Department of Human Services security officers.

Firefighters’ widows (HB 254) — Improves pension benefits for widows of Chicago firefighters.

Scott’s Law (HB 180) — Requires motorists to take certain precautions when approaching a barricade or a stationary emergency vehicle displaying flashing warning lights. Violators will face suspension of their driving privileges and a fine of up to $10,000. Named after Lt. Scott Gillen, a Chicago firefighter who was killed by a reckless driver on Dec. 23, 2000, when he responded to a traffic accident.

Meth labs (HB 978) — Allows judges to impose stiffer prison sentences on those convicted of operating an illegal drug lab if emergency response personnel are injured or killed in connection with illegal drug lab fires or explosions.

Grand juries (HB 222) — Allows a statewide grand jury to be convened to investigate and return indictments for any sex offense.

Genetic marking (HB 452) — Requires felons convicted of several violent crimes to submit specimens of blood to the Illinois State Police for analysis and categorizing into genetic marker groupings.

Statewide alert (HB 643) — Requires the Department of State Police to develop a coordinated program for a statewide emergency alert when a child is missing or kidnapped.

Whirlpool safety (HB 1551) — Prohibits, after May 1, 2002, the operation of a public swimming pool, spa, whirlpool or water slide without obtaining certain licenses from the Illinois Department of Public Health.

Railroad crossings (HB 579) — Authorizes a pilot project in Cook, DuPage, Lake and Will counties to test the utility of stationary automated audible warning devices as an alternative to trains having to sound their horns as they approach highway-rail crossings.


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House bills that have been passed by the Senate and now return to the House for concurrence with changes made in the Senate include these:

Plates for disabled people (HB 846) — Tightens requirements for the issuance of license plates or placards for disabled people and allows police officials to seize improperly used plates or placards.

Gang crime (HB 1812) — Strengthens penalties for street gang members who violate laws against murder, assault and battery.

Restricted call registry (HB 176) — Creates the statewide Restricted Call Registry for consumers who do not want to be called by telemarketing sales companies.

Incest penalties (HB 1125) — Increases criminal penalties for incest and sexual assault within families.

Senate bills that have been passed by the House and now go to the governor for consideration include these:

Zero tolerance (SB 1032) — Codifies into law the Illinois Department of Corrections’ and the Illinois State Police’s current zero-tolerance policies for drug abuse.

Project Exile (SB 5) — Encourages the federal prosecution of all persons who illegally use firearms in crimes against others. Requires a five-year prison sentence for convicted felons found in possession of firearms.

Teen traffic tickets (SB 627) — Creates a pilot program in DuPage, Kendall and Sangamon counties to notify vehicle owners when a person younger than 18 is issued a traffic citation when driving their vehicle.

Seat belts (SB 98) — Requires every person who is transporting passengers from ages 4 to younger than 16 to be responsible for ensuring that passengers are either in child restraint systems or seat belts.

Disabled hunters (SB 874) — Allows the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to issue permits to disabled people to allow them to hunt from vehicles. The department would set the requirements for the permits.

Insurance ombudsman (SB 1505) — Establishes an ombudsman program to help educate uninsured individuals about health insurance benefits options and their rights under state and federal law.

Southern Illinois water (SB 153, SB 298) — Helps the Gateway Water Company provide a stable and quality water supply for residents of six southern Illinois counties. Allows the company to use Carlyle Lake east of St. Louis as their major water supply and gives the company a property tax break on a new water treatment plant.

Adoption (SB 838) — Encourages and facilitates adoptions by redefining the kinds of homes — adoption-only vs. foster — that care for children placed with them by the Department of Children and Family Services.

DCFS publications (SB 842) — Allows the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services to use royalties earned from the publication of materials owned by or licensed by the department as an additional funding source for its foster parent training programs.

Senate bills that have been passed by the House and now return to the Senate for concurrence with changes made in the House include these:

Genetic testing (SB 42) — Bans discrimination against workers and applicants for health insurance based upon genetic testing.

Mental health (SB 435) — Requires the Illinois Department of Corrections to establish standards and procedures for the provision of mental health and developmental disability services to people with mental illness and people with developmental disabilities who are confined in local jails or juvenile detention facilities. The department must inspect each facility at least once each year and make the results of the inspection available to the public.

Insurance (SB 935) — Requires insurance companies to notify their health insurance customers of changes in lists containing information about the prices of approved medications.

[News release]

Historic Preservation Week wraps up with awards and Antiques Roadshow

[MAY 18, 2001]  The ninth annual Mayor's Awards for Historic Preservation were presented Thursday evening during the first Main Street Lincoln Antiques Roadshow.

 The roadshow was based on the popular public television series. A steady flow of people took advantage of the opportunity to have their treasures evaluated.  "For our first time, it was a success" said co-chair Bette Steffens.  Program Manager Wendy Bell added, "Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves, it's low cost entertainment, and sends people home with a good feeling."


The highlight of the evening was the presentation of two awards, one for residential and one for nonresidential buildings.  In the residential category, Jerry and Colleen Roate collected an award for "Sympathetic Alteration" for their home at 146 Ninth St.  The Roates have re-roofed the house and re-created the front porch from a 1960’s picture they found at the courthouse. Though they have sided the home, they have carefully kept the architectural elements. 

[Home of Jerry and Colleen Roate at 146 Ninth St.]


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[Building at 200 N. Chicago St. owned by Jane Wright]

In the nonresidential category, 200 N. Chicago St. received an award for "Exterior Rehabilitation."  The building, owned by Jane Wright, was part of the facade renovation program last summer.  Wright worked with the Main Street design architects on the color scheme, which included using the accent color from the State Farm sign.  In presenting the awards, Mayor Beth Davis stated she was "pleased to recognize these winners" and that she "hoped to put a designation system in place for historic homes to facilitate grant availability."

The awards ceremony and Antiques Roadshow wrapped up four days of activities during National Historic Preservation Week.  Historic window displays will continue throughout the next week.  Local activities for Historic Preservation Week are sponsored by Beans and Such, Blue Dog Inn, Mayor Beth Davis and Main Street Lincoln.

[Main Street news release]

Council hears proposal on computer links

[MAY 18, 2001]  For a share totaling $16,347.17, the city of Lincoln could join Logan County’s Internet network, Carla Bender, Logan County Circuit Court clerk and a member of the county’s technology committee, told the council at its May 15 session.

In her presentation, Bender said the county intends to purchase fiber-optic cable and provide Internet access and networking between five county buildings: the courthouse, the new courthouse annex, the safety complex, the highway department and the health department.

Collaborating with the county would be a "win-win" situation for the city, Bender said, allowing it to connect any or all city departments to the network. A unified system would be cheaper than the cost of providing such service to each county department and to the city separately.

She said that both government and business are moving toward automation, and Logan County will have a website where people can find information about such things such as taxes and fines.

After paying the one-time fee for hooking up to the network, the city’s only cost would be the Internet service charge. Service will be provided by the Illinois Century Network, which serves colleges, government offices and other nonprofit organizations and is partially subsidized by the state.


Alderman Steve Fuhrer, chairman of the finance committee, said the information was "a lot to digest" and the council would need to take some time to look into the matter.

In other business, the council discussed assisting West Lincoln Township with repairs to Connolley Road, which was subjected to heavy traffic last February when a sewer main break on Route 10 made it necessary to reroute traffic along Connolley Road to Fifth Street.

Street Superintendent Donnie Osborne said it was "only fair" to look at helping West Lincoln Township with road repairs, as the road would not be in the shape it is in now if traffic hadn’t been rerouted.


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The proposed East Park subdivision also came before the council again. Rodney White, who wants to develop at least 16 lots along Sherman Street, wants the city to agree to upgrade the street sometime in the future, perhaps three to five years from now.

In order to have a legally binding agreement, White is asking the city to de-annex his proposed East Park subdivision property so it can be reannexed to include the agreement to upgrade the street.

White said he wants to be sure he has a firm agreement with the city before he begins putting in a water line. He has agreed to donate one lot to Lincoln Community High School so its technical education center students can build a house in the coming year, and he told the council the school needs 60 days to get its water line in. Also, he said the new water line will be more expensive than previous lines because the new water company requires ductile iron rather than PVC lines.

White’s request was put on the agenda for the May 21 meeting, when City Attorney Jonathan Wright will be present.

Mayor Beth Davis announced that the Rev. S.M. Davis will make a 45-minute presentation to the council about his proposed Abraham Lincoln statue project, starting at 7:15. She said Logan County Board members and anyone else who wants to hear the presentation are welcome to attend.

[Joan Crabb]

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Lincoln’s first Antiques Roadshow
brings out the treasures

[MAY 18, 2001]  Although the lines weren’t quite as long as they are for the popular PBS program, Lincoln’s first Main Street Antiques Roadshow proved that antique collectors are alive and well in Logan County.

[Click here to see photos from the Antiques Roadshow]

The treasures they brought to be appraised included everything from heavy stone Indian artifacts to delicate Japanese and English teacups, from gold pocket watches to china dolls and wooden toys. And some of the treasures proved to be quite valuable, items that might bring well over a thousand dollars if their owners were willing to part with them.

Held in the former antique mall at 616 Broadway Thursday evening, the antique appraisal was declared a success by Wendy Bell, Main Street Lincoln program manager, and Bette Steffens, co-chairman of Historic Preservation Week activities.

"For the first occasion, I’d say it was a great success," Steffens said.

The event was a fund-raiser for Main Street Lincoln, one of the activities scheduled to commemorate Historic Preservation Week. The 10 expert appraisers donated their time and expertise, and people who brought in antiques paid $5 for each appraisal.


The experts included Bob Weimer, book dealer; Bill Haak and Dick Bohm, coins, cards and other collectibles; Sally Fleshman, china, crystal and pottery; Melody Shew and Abbie Alexander, jewelry; Russ Justice, fine antiques; Pete Fredericks and Anita King, toys and dolls; and auctioneer Dan White, general items. All are from the Logan County area except Alexander, a Lincoln native who now lives in Peoria.

Conversation between the owners and the experts was very much like the comments heard on the popular PBS program.

"This decanter would be worth at least $200 if it wasn’t chipped," Sally Fleshman told owner Ruth Bierman. A crystal sugar and creamer set that was a wedding present to Bierman’s parents in 1920, however, was pronounced "in perfect condition" and worth $40 to $45.

Like many others who came to the roadshow, Bierman doesn’t want to sell her treasures. They’ll be passed down to her children, but she wants to have some idea of what they are worth.

Most of those who brought antiques knew something about their background. Many items have been passed down through family members, and most would not be for sale at any price. Dan Underwood brought in one of the more valuable items, a key-wound pocket watch that belonged to his great-grandfather. He was pleased to learn that it would bring about $1,500, even though he doesn’t intend to sell it.



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"Most folks just want a general idea of the value of their antiques," Bell said. "They are not looking for an exact amount. They are bringing family things, priceless to them, but still it is nice to know what you’ve got in your home."

As on the PBS show, the experts in Lincoln enjoyed sharing their knowledge. "These blonde china dolls are more rare than the black-haired dolls," King told Virginia Gleason, who had brought in the doll. China dolls with heads turned sideways, not facing the front, are even more rare, she added. Gleason’s doll, even with broken feet, is still worth at least $100.

According to Russ Justice, the Confederate cavalry sword Terry Werth brought in is quite valuable because its leather case is still intact. The cases deteriorate quickly, Justice said. He told Werth that two companies made the swords, and he believes Werth’s sword was made in Connecticut.

Tami Sprague, whose grandfather Fred Michaelis found a number of Indian artifacts, was advised by Haas and Bohm not to sell such artifacts at an auction of ordinary household goods, where buyers and sellers might not know their real worth, but to search for buyers who were experts in the field.

"There are big price ranges for these artifacts, anywhere from $80 to $225, depending on where you sell them," Bohm told her.

Also donating their services were the Prairie Aires, a group who play old-time music on period instruments, and members of the Elkhart Historic Society. Prairie Aires members are Lynette Belcher, Miriam Greene, Janet Schoonover and MeLane Coulter. Elkhart Historic Society members, who turned up in costume to man the food table, were Connie Drake, Patti Drake and Gillette Ransom.

"The biggest thing we looked for was for people to come and enjoy themselves," Bell said. Enough people did so that there will almost certainly be annual Antique Roadshows in Lincoln.

[Joan Crabb]

Sen. Madigan’s insurance ombudsman program gains Illinois House approval

[MAY 17, 2001]  Sen. Bob Madigan’s proposal to provide assistance to help Illinoisans find medical insurance coverage needs only the signature of the governor to become law.

The Illinois House gave final legislative approval to the legislation Wednesday.

Under Senate Bill 1505, the state would create an ombudsman’s position within the state Department of Insurance. The ombudsman will be responsible for coordinating information about available government and nongovernment or private-sector insurance plans.

"There are programs in existence to help the uninsured obtain insurance, but many of those who are about to lose their health insurance coverage are simply not aware of these programs," said Madigan, R-Lincoln. "The ombudsman will help provide information on state programs such as KidCare and the Comprehensive Health Insurance Plan. These programs were specifically created and designed to help those who are uninsured because of their inability to afford coverage."

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Madigan said the legislation also would allow counseling for the uninsured in the discovery, evaluation and comparison of options for obtaining health insurance coverage. Counseling could be one-on-one or through public forums.

With the House vote May 16  and previous approval by the Senate on April 6, the measure will now be sent to the governor for consideration.

[News release]

Sewer plant upgrade will cost $10,066,207

[MAY 16, 2001]  The cost figures are in for the upgrade to Lincoln’s wastewater treatment plant, and the "guaranteed project price" has been set at $10,066,207, Lincoln City Council members learned Tuesday night. Estimates of anywhere from $9 to $12 million had been made for the project.

To help pay for the upgrade, city residents and businesses will probably be seeing rate hikes in the future.

Carl Alsbach of Environmental Management Corporation, the company which manages Lincoln’s sewer plant, gave the council the final figure at the May 15 work session. The upgrade is necessary to keep the city in compliance with Illinois Environmental Protection Agency standards, some of which have become more strict recently, Alsbach said.

The plant already has a waste load higher than it was designed to handle, and although it is still in compliance with IEPA standards, any emergency could result in a violation which could limit additional sewers the IEPA would permit and thus stall future growth in the city.

Alsbach explained the parts of the project already completed and the steps that must be taken in order to get funding to move ahead.

The design of the plant was approved by IEPA just in time to apply for funding this year, Alsbach told the council. Delay in the approval occurred because a month after the public hearing, at which no complaints were made, the IEPA did receive a letter of complaint about sludge handling. The city also had to work out an agreement with the Lincoln and Logan Correctional Centers. This put the project about three months behind schedule, he said.


Preliminary engineering has been completed, and copies of the preliminary plan were given to Alderman William Melton, who is head of the Sewage Treatment Plant, Drainage and Sewers Committee. The design is now 30 percent complete, Alsbach said.

Funding for the upgrade will come from an IEPA low-interest loan, as well as from sewer reserve funds, rate increases and, if possible, grants from other state agencies. The IEPA interest rate is currently 2.905 percent, but Alsbach said the agency will announce new rates in July, which will probably be higher, so the city should try to get loan approval quickly. Projects to be funded this year will be announced in July, and funding will be available in October. Alsbach said he thought Lincoln still has a good chance of getting funded this year.

Total annual payments on the 20-year loan would be $667,153, according to the EMC projection, but some of that will be paid by the Lincoln and Logan Correctional Centers, which have no sewage treatment facilities of their own and use the city’s facility. Their portion of the cost has been set at 22.41 percent ($2,255,857, or $149,509 per year), Alsbach said, leaving an annual balance of $517,644 for the city.

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He recommended a rate increase of 40 percent for residential users and 60 percent for commercial users. This would come to $1.86 per month for residential users and about $33.78 per month for commercial users. At present the 6,260 residential users pay a flat fee of $11 per month, while the fees for the 526 commercial users vary. Alsbach noted that these are "not absolute numbers."

Melton said the sewer committee would need to have a work session before deciding on any rate increases.

Alsbach also told the council that the EMC had reduced the cost of the entire project by $1,545,947 by eliminating unnecessary equipment, substituting lower-cost alternatives, using plant personnel for some needed work, altering the scope of the project and working with suppliers.

One cost savings came from eliminating the work needed on the South Plant lift station and force main, set at $482,964, from the main construction project. Alsbach said this project can be done separately by plant employees and manager Grant Eaton, with the help of Mark Mathon, city engineer, for fewer dollars than it could be done as part of the current project. Several other small lift stations were removed from the project.

Another change was the addition of a belt press for sludge handling, a mechanical operation which squeezes out water and reduces the overall volume of solid waste to be treated. Use of a belt press is recommended by the IEPA, and it will also eliminate the use of the lagoon for sludge storage, Alsbach said. Use of the lagoon has been a concern of some residents because of possible odor problems.

Two of the plastic domes to be put over sludge beds have also been eliminated, Alsbach said, because the IEPA gave us "no credit" for using the domes. Two domes will remain in the plan. They will allow sludge to dry out more quickly in winter or during rainy weather.


Changes in the plan also include an additional $153,523 for engineering scope changes because of IEPA changes and reviews, Alsbach said.

In answer to questions from aldermen, Alsbach assured the council, "We took a lot of pains not to make choices that would lower long-term longevity of the plant or its efficiency."

He urged the council to move ahead quickly with approval of the preliminary design, the overall project approach and the changes in the plan, so that the city could stay on track with the funding and the project design and get the final design out for bids. Date set for completion of the project is April 2003.

The plan was put on the agenda for the council’s next regular meeting, May 21.

[Joan Crabb]

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Logan County Board report

Evans hired for airport work;
Internet services approved

[MAY 16, 2001]  The Logan County Airport is again operational. At their meeting Tuesday night, the Logan County Board voted to give a monthly contract on an interim basis to Sam Evans to provide services until bids can be received for the position of fixed-base operator.

Evans, a former airport manager, is to keep the grass landing strip mowed, as well as other areas of the grounds, and to provide fueling services. He will work four half days a week and be paid $600 a month and the use of the maintenance hanger.

The action comes following a two-week period that left the airport without an FBO after the one valid bid for the position was withdrawn when language problems surfaced at the April meeting of the board.

In other board activity, a 10-0 vote ensured the installation of an Internet system for five county buildings, with the opportunity for the city of Lincoln to tie into the proposed system.

Figures presented to the board by the Logan County Technology Committee, established by board chairman Dick Logan, indicate that the entire system will cost approximately $102,000, with total contributions from departments and other users at $52,847, leaving a $49,235 balance to be paid from the general fund.

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State and federal mandates are putting more pressure on local communities to tie into the Internet system in order to process health programs and payments, to take advantage of training opportunities, and to update and maintain vital statistics records, to name a few of the uses available.

Logan established the committee to investigate the need of such services and also to prevent duplication of services when different departments and offices phase into the Internet services system.

Wayne Alberts’ request to rezone 3.4 acres in rural Atlanta from agriculture to B2 commercial failed by an 8-3 vote. Instead, the board asked Alberts to resubmit his request to the zoning office, asking for a variance in the current regulations, which would allow Alberts to relocate his landscaping business to that location.

[Fuzz Werth]

Indian Maiden statue to depart Lincoln

[MAY 15, 2001]  Burnetta "Bernie" DePuy will have a belated birthday present this year.  She'll turn 80 on Tuesday, May 15.  One day later, on Wednesday May 16, a project she's been associated with for more than a decade will take a giant step and leave town.  It's not often you celebrate something you love leaving, but in this case it's a move in the right direction. 

The Indian Maiden statue currently located near the center sidewalk on the west side of the Logan County Courthouse has been in disrepair for a number of years.  Specifically, she has lost her hand and the water jug it held. There has also been some general wear from nearly a century of existence.

The statue was a gift "of the people, by the people, for the people" conceived by the Lincoln Woman's Club in 1906.  At the time, anything put on the courthouse lawn had to be both beautiful and educational.  The club and the artist, Charles Mulligan, agreed upon the Indian Maiden design. The 7-foot, 2,000-pound statue was displayed that year at the Illinois State Fair.

Mulligan is also associated with such works as the massive "Law and Knowledge" and "Justice and Power" that stand outside the Supreme Court building in Springfield, as well as the Illinois Memorial at Vicksburg.  He is best known for his creations "Lincoln the Rail-Splitter" and "Miner and Child" for the Chicago Park District.

The statue in Lincoln was originally a fountain, with water passing through a coil of pipe flowing from a vase in the woman's hand.  The water fell into a basin and then ran through the base to fill two hollows used for dogs and cats to drink from.  Although no one remembers exactly when the fountain was shut off, it is certain that the statue has been missing her hand for more than 50 years. 

DePuy is a member of the Lincoln Woman's Club and serves as chairman of the community improvement project.  As chairman, she has the opportunity to choose which project the club undertakes.  She felt the statue was a fitting choice, and the club looked for the Indian Maiden's hand but with no luck.  When Lincoln was designated a Main Street community in 1994, Kate Orr from the Design Committee approached DePuy about the statue.  DePuy joined the Design Committee, and Main Street Lincoln adopted the project to restore the maiden.

Unfortunately, the project has had more twists than the road the statue will follow on Wednesday.  With the original hand and water jug long gone, a photograph had to be found to use as a basis for restoration.  No one seemed to have such a picture.  Finally, in 1996, Bart Ryckbosch, an archivist for the Art Institute of Chicago, located a picture of the statue in a 1908 edition of Park and Cemetery Magazine. 

The next turn of events was a problem in locating the Tennessee pink marble used to create the statue.  The quarry was out of business, and the project was therefore put on hold.  In August of 1997, Orr found an article in Stone World Magazine announcing that Tennessee Marble Company had reopened its quarry of Tennessee pink, and the stone would be available in the next few months.  The impetus for this was the Grand Central Terminal renovation in New York.  They were building a stairway to match the original, which was also made of Tennessee pink.

Finding funding for the project and an artist to do the job became a top priority.  Nita Sunderland from Washington (Ill.) saw an article in the newspaper and contacted the Main Street Office.  Sunderland was well-qualified as a sculptor; therefore, Main Street investigated a SOS or Save our Sculpture grant through the Smithsonian Institution.  However, in order to qualify, the artist had to be one of 12 nationwide, and only one statue per year per state would be chosen.  Main Street then began to seek private funds and worked on a contract with the Logan County Board.  The legalities took some time, and when a contract was finally written, Sunderland no longer wanted the job.  


[to top of second column in this article]

At this point, it seemed the Indian Maiden statue would never leave town.  Wendy Bell, program manager for Main Street Lincoln, suggested they contact Michael Dunbar at the Illinois Capitol Development Board.  Dunbar, a sculptor himself, oversees all artwork owned, purchased or restored by the state.  Dunbar recommended David Seagraves of Elizabeth, and Design Committee Chairman Larry Steffens contacted him. Seagraves visited Lincoln to inspect the statue about three weeks ago and has agreed to do the work.

Seagraves’ resume is lengthy.  He holds a bachelor of fine arts degree from Washington University School of Fine Arts in St. Louis and completed his master’s in fine arts at California College of Arts and Design in Oakland.  He moved to rural Elizabeth in 1973 and opened his own shop in 1977.  He specializes in carved furniture, architectural carvings and sculptures.  His first major statue commission, which he received in 1981, was for a 3-foot figure of Mary and Anne for St. Anne's Episcopal Church in Morrison.  Many of his commissions have been for churches in Illinois and Iowa and have included works in basswood, walnut, mahogany, limestone, marble and bronze.  In the mid-’80s, he re-carved parts of the stairway at the Springfield train depot, then owned by the Scully family.  Several of his later works have been awarded first and third place in the International Woodcarver's Congress, the largest and most prestigious show in the United States.  Through the Capital Development Board he has created works for Highland Community College in Freeport, the University of Illinois at Chicago and 12 of the Illinois National Guard Armories. 

Seagraves will be back in Lincoln on Wednesday, and the work to remove the statue will begin about 1 p.m.  The statue will be taken to his studio in Elizabeth for restoration and then returned to Lincoln in October.  The maiden will have a new home then, on the south side of the courthouse, in her own brick courtyard.  The memorial bricks are part of the fund-raising program for the project and are available through Main Street Lincoln for $25 each.  Those who donate $100 will be included on a bronze plaque that tells the story of the statue.  $500 donations will be noted on benches for the area.  The project cost is $10,000 and is being raised through private donations.  To make your donation, contact the Main Street Lincoln office at 732-2929. 

Part of DePuy's duties as the project chairman for the Woman's Club is to make reports to both the district and state organizations.  She has chronicled the project’s many steps, both forward and backward, and now plans to write the final chapter shortly after Oct. 26.  That is the day the statue will be rededicated, 95 years to the day from when it was originally given.  The Woman's Club organization has been so impressed with DePuy's efforts that they have asked her to write an article on the project, to be included in both the Illinois and National General Federation of Women's Club magazines.

When contacted, the octogenarian stated, "When the statue leaves it will be the best birthday present I could possibly have, even if it is a day late."  Ironically, Wednesday is the birthday of the artist, David Seagraves. Maybe they can blow out the candles on the cake together.

[Main Street Lincoln news release]

Candidates seek appointment
to 90th District House seat

[MAY 14, 2001]  Several candidates are vying for the appointment to the 90th District Illinois House seat that will be vacated when Rep. John Turner (R-Atlanta) becomes an Appellate Court judge. His statehouse position becomes vacant May 25, when he takes his seat on the 4th District Appellate Court.

Two candidates have announced to the Lincoln Daily News that they are in the running: Logan County Circuit Court Clerk Carla Bender of Lincoln and Joe Alexander of Clinton, former aide to U.S. Rep. Tom Ewing. Others may still come forward to seek the appointment, which will run until Turner’s term is up in January of 2003.

The appointment to the Illinois House seat will be filled by a candidate chosen by the Republican county chairmen in each of the counties of the 90th District. The district includes all of Logan County, all of Mason County, all of DeWitt County, a small part of Tazewell County (including the towns of Armington, Minier and Hopedale), a small part of McLean County (including the towns of McLean, Danvers and Heyworth) and a very small part of Piatt County.

After Turner takes his Appellate Court seat on May 25, the county chairmen have, by law, 30 days to choose his successor to the Illinois House of Representatives. Each county chairman’s vote is weighted based on the population of the county that lies in the 90th District.

Carla Bender

Bender is serving her third term as clerk of the Circuit Court of Logan County, having been elected in 1992 and re-elected in 1996 and 2000. From 1990 to 1992 she served in the Administrative Office of Illinois Courts, Illinois Supreme Court, as a field coordinator for the probation division. From 1985 to 1989 she was a court services officer in the Logan County Court Services Department.

She was a full-time instructor at Dwight Correctional Center for Women in 1983-84. In 1985-87 and again in 1991-93 she was an instructor on the Lincoln College faculty.


[Carla Bender]

Since 1993 she has served as campaign chairman for Turner in his bids for the Illinois House seat, and she was Logan County liaison for Jim Edgar’s successful gubernatorial campaigns in 1990 and 1994. Among her many professional and community posts, she is first vice president and president-elect of the Illinois Association of Circuit Court Clerks, a member of the executive board of the Illinois Association of Elected County Officials, a past president of the board of Lincoln Area YMCA and a member of the board of directors since 1994, and was a Lincoln Excellence in Public Service Series Fellowship winner in 1996. She is also a certified fitness professional and fitness instructor for the Lincoln Park District.

She is a member of the First United Methodist Church of Lincoln, and she and her husband, David Bender, have a son, 5, and a daughter, 3. She holds a bachelor’s degree in legal studies from the University of Illinois at Springfield and an associate’s degree from Lincoln College.

"I have been a public servant for my entire professional career," Bender told the Lincoln Daily News. "I have a good understanding and knowledge of the district, and I believe I know the people’s needs and concerns.

"Our district is rural, and agriculture is a primary area of importance. I have been involved with a lot of federal mandates and changes, and I believe that the best service is local service. I believe in local control and think people who earned the money should be in charge and able to spend it, rather than the government choosing where that money should go, such as to excessive taxation."



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Although she enjoys her job as clerk of the Circuit Court and is "challenged by it every day," she said she would accept the appointment to the Illinois House seat if it is offered. "This is an opportunity, and I am most certainly going where it leads me.

"I hope the people of the 90th District are represented well, and I am honored to be considered for that position."

Joe Alexander

Joe Alexander of Clinton is also seeking the appointment to the 90th District House seat and was in Lincoln recently talking to Lincoln Daily News about his qualifications.

He believes the five years he served as an aide to recently retired U.S. Rep. Tom Ewing of Pontiac give him a good background in public service, and his position with a financial investment company in Bloomington-Normal gives him insight into the needs of the private sector.


[Joe Alexander]

"I believe I gained invaluable experience regarding public service and legislative issues working for Rep. Ewing," he said. "But now I earn my paycheck in the private sector, so I would make sure government doesn’t enact legislation that is too intrusive or harmful to small business, so that people can stay employed and our communities can grow."

Alexander was born in Decatur but graduated from the Clinton public school system. He is also a graduate of the University of Illinois, with a bachelor’s degree in history. At the U of I he earned five varsity letters in cross country in the men’s track-and-field program.

He is married to the former Carrie Goodrum of Springfield and has a son, age 2, and another son expected in July. He is a member of Rotary, has been active with the Boys and Girls Club of DeWitt County, is a volunteer at the YMCA program in Clinton, and president of the Illinois Striders, a booster club for the U of I track-and-field program.

As a state legislator, Alexander said he would make agriculture his No. 1 issue. "There have been low commodity prices for a number of years. We need to look at new markets for corn and soybeans and other agricultural products.

"The Illinois River is a water highway to get our agricultural products to market. We need to update our locks and dams. Some of them were built in the 1920s and 1930s. They have served us well, but here we are in the 21st century, and we need to improve them," he said.

"Much as Rep. Ewing was, I am pro small business and would support legislation that would help make sure small businesses operate in a good environment. Education is also an important priority for me," he added.

"I am looking forward to visiting farmers, small-business owners and the people of this district."

If appointed, Alexander said he would run for a full term in November of 2002 if the 90th District remains intact during the upcoming reapportionment process.

[Joan Crabb]

Main Street Lincoln debuts
new partnership brochure

[MAY 14, 2001]  Main Street Lincoln recently debuted their new partnership brochure in conjunction with their current partnership campaign.  The brochure features the 600 block of Broadway Street during the ’60s and specifically highlights Boss Drug Store and the Vogue Theatre.  "Our idea was to take the reader back to a time they could relate to, when downtown was bustling every day.  It's our mission to make downtown Lincoln as vibrant today as it was then," said Program Manager Wendy Bell.

The annual partnership campaign supports Main Street Lincoln's ongoing programs in the design, promotion and economic restructuring of the downtown area. Partnership is not limited to downtown businesses.   As noted in the brochure: "A vital and dynamic downtown is important to every member of our community.  We all have something to gain."

There are four basic levels, including personal or family partnerships for those without a business but who want to support the program, and business partnerships for retailers, service professionals, bankers and industries.

By increasing their donation, patrons are automatically linked to the Main Street website and are included on the Concerts in the Park poster. Benefactors receive all of the preceding, as well as sponsorship of Harvest Fest or the new children's Adventure Zone during the Art and Balloon Festival, at no additional sponsorship fee.

All donations are tax deductible.

For more information on Main Street Lincoln's partnership campaign or programs, contact the Main Street office at 732-2929.

[Main Street Lincoln news release]

Armed robbery

[MAY 14, 2001]  Police are investigating the report of an armed robbery at Centennial Courts. The incident was reported to have occurred at 3:45 Friday afternoon. A 24-year-old Lincoln man who lives there said he was putting a diaper bag in the trunk of his car while carrying a child in his arms when he was poked in the back with something. A male voice said, "Give me your wallet." He lifted his shirt, and the thief took his wallet and ran. The thief is believed to have been a white male.


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