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Experience geocaching with
local or worldwide adventures

[MARCH 29, 2003]  Would you like to go on a journey of fun and adventures that may open up new worlds or take you back to your youth? Would you enjoy a learning experience and sport that can provide you with ways to do that? Would you enjoy a technological game that provides you with both a puzzle to solve and a cache to find? Rick Kidd and Rod Marshall, two geocaching participants, appear to be able to do just that when pursuing the sport of geocaching.

Kidd and Marshall have been geocaching for a little over a year. Marshall first introduced Kidd to the sport. They have been enjoying geocaching since that time.

So, besides being an adventure and being fun, what is geocaching? You can begin your excursion into geocaching by doing research on the geocaching website at Geocaching is a sport that has rapidly grown in worldwide popularity since May 3, 2000. That's when the first cache, a container of goodies, was first hidden outside of Portland, Ore. As of March 28 this year there were 46,965 active caches in 165 countries.

Here is the technical part of geocaching. There are 24 satellites 12,000 miles above the earth, tracking latitudes and longitudes for the GPS (global positioning system.) On May 1, 2000, the GPS was declassified by President Clinton, giving everyone access to the system and the ability to track geological coordinates. This opened up all kinds of new technologies, such as the Northstar system now found on some cars, and new techno-games such as geocaching. That is how geocaching began.

Geocaching as a game can be as simple or as difficult as you want. There are two things that you need to participate in geocaching. You need access to the Internet, and you need a GPS device.

"The GPS can be found at sporting good stores or department stores," Kidd said. "They range from $100 to $500 dollars, but you do not need the most expensive one to enjoy the game." The ones used by Kidd and Marshall are in the lower-mid price range.

"There are a few rules that you need to follow when doing geocaching," Kidd said. "When hiding a cache you do not disturb the earth by burying the cache or by beating down or making new paths to your hiding place. You never put food items, lighters or matches, or pornographic materials in a cache. You always ask permission before placing a cache anywhere. You never hide a cache for profit or to attract people to your place of business."

If you have the equipment you need and follow these rules, you are ready to start geocaching. You are ready to have fun. Go to the Internet to and type in your ZIP code or the ZIP code for the area that you are interested in. You will learn how many caches are in that area.

"There are 204 caches within 100 miles of Lincoln and 103 caches within 50 miles of Lincoln," Kidd said. On a recent Sunday they visited four caches in and around Lincoln.

There are at least three caches within a three-block radius of downtown Lincoln, beginning at Scully Park and moving to the Lincoln Public Library. These caches are driven by, walked past and used every day by people who never notice them. One of these, Marshall said, is called "in plain sight." He said, "I would not have found it myself, and it was right in front of my eyes. My 11-year-old daughter, Shelby, discovered it after we had followed all of the clues and coordinates on the GPS to where the cache was hidden. I still didn't see it but Shelby did."

Kidd says his daughter Stephanie often joins him when he goes to look for caches. This is a very family-oriented game.

To hide a cache you will usually want to use a small container, no larger than a 1-gallon metal or ammo container. You put a log book in the container so that when people find it they can log in. "The log book keeps people honest about how many caches they have found," both Kidd and Marshall stated.

People involved in geocaching often compete with each other to see who can find the most caches. Kidd and Marshall are currently in a tight race with each other. Marshall claims to have 61 finds, while Kidd has 60.

People use the geocaching website to tell stories about their finds; however, if they do not sign the log book, their find is not recognized as official.

Another thing that is good to put in your cache is a note explaining what geocaching is so that people who stumble upon the cache accidentally will not disturb it.



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There are many variations on the kinds of caches; these include virtual caches, offset caches, microcaches, puzzle caches, multistage caches and traditional caches, or you can develop your own variation. "New ones crop up every day," a participant said. Once you have developed your cache and hidden it, you enter the coordinates using the GPS, a description and clues on the geocaching website.

On a Sunday outing, Kidd and Marshall visited several neat and interesting cache sites. One of the sites had a book theme. The cache was in a larger container and could be seen as you approached it. This cache contained books -- many good paperbacks. The idea behind this book cache is to take some books from it that you would like to read and replace them with other books. Many caches are filled with little toys or things kids would enjoy.

Another cache they visited was a multistage cache. This cache was called the Abe in Lincoln cache. The cache was partially a puzzle with clues that led them to various Lincoln attractions. At each attraction another part of the puzzle was revealed. Eventually the puzzle led them to Madigan State Park where they hiked through the fields and woods until they were near Salt Creek, where they looked for and found the cache that contained Lincoln items and Lincoln tourism items.

There was one other item that was found in the Abe in Lincoln cache. This was a travel bug. Travel bugs are dog tags with serial numbers on them. People place travel bugs in a cache, and the person who finds it takes the travel bug and places it in another cache. In the forum on the website, they then log the number of miles the travel bug has traveled.

"Some travel bugs have traveled over 10,000 miles," Rick said. "One flew on a fighter jet in Bosnia. This is just one other fascinating part of geocaching. I mailed one travel bug to Australia, where it would begin its journey."

Kidd and Marshall said that they had just visited the Jesus cache. This is one of their favorite caches. The Jesus cache is along the Mississippi River near Hannibal, Mo. To begin the trip to this cache, you first travel on a winding trail, but the cache is placed on a 500-foot cliff that can be reached only by using ropes and climbing. The scenery was beautiful, the terrain was rough. Only about two others have reached this cache and signed the log book.

Caches are rated on the website at 1-5 for degree of difficulty. They can be double rated for physical challenge and for mental challenge. Kidd and Marshall rated the Jesus cache at 4.5. "Five-point caches often need special equipment such as canoes or scuba gear, depending upon where they are hidden" Marshall said.

A 14-person panel judges a cache's degree of difficulty before entering it on the website. This information helps people when they are choosing caches to look for. The panel also determines if a new cache meets all of the geocaching rules.

As you can see, geocaching has many facets. It is family-oriented, it can be great physical exercise, and it is educational. Geocaching provides you with an opportunity to do things with your kids or to meet new people. It is a way to get up off the couch on a Sunday afternoon and spend some time doing something interesting. It is an opportunity to visit scenic and beautiful places. You can leave something for people to find or you can find hidden treasures. You can add geocaching to vacations and trips, stopping to stretch your legs along the way to find caches. You can also travel all over just to find caches. You can clean up the environment while you are hiding or looking for caches. "Cache in, trash out," is a popular part of geocaching.

Doesn't geocaching sound like fun?

Now, whenever you walk down a street in Lincoln, hike through a park or drive down a road, you may find yourself wondering if there is something more there than meets the eye. Geocaching can open new worlds for you. It can lead you to look for treasures, adventure and ways to solve puzzles in the world today just as when you were young.

If you would like to find out more about geocaching, visit

[Don Todd]

Places To Go

'A Stone in My Hand'

[APRIL 23, 2003]  "A Stone in My Hand" by Cathryn Clinton. Candlewick Press, 2002, 191 pages.

Review by Linda Harmon

This is a moving story set in Gaza City during the intifada of 1988. Using the glossary at the back of the book, I learned that the word "intifada" refers to the uprising that began in December 1987 in the Occupied Territories of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The word actually means "to shake off."

The main character in the story is an 11-year-old Palestinian girl named Malak. She lives with her mother, older sister Hend, and 12-year-old brother Hamid, with whom she shares a love of poetry.

A month before the story begins, her beloved father left on a bus headed for Israel to look for work and never returned. Since his disappearance she has not spoken to anyone except a dove. She named the dove Abdo and believes that her father sent it to her. Every day she climbs up on the roof to wait for his return and to feed Abdo some seeds. Malak envies Abdo's ability to fly away. She says of herself that she lives through Abdo and will fly away from everything some day.

The authorities closed all the schools the day after Malak's father disappeared, and they didn't reopen for more than a month. Malak is nervous about going back to school, but her mother thinks it will help her. Hamid walks her to school every day and then goes on to his school. Hend had to quit school to take a job with her mother. Malak's first day back is a disaster, but the second day she meets a girl named Rula. They become good friends and their friendship is very healing for Malak.


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Life seems to be the hardest for young Palestinian men, and Hamid and his friend Tariq (who saw his own father killed by Israeli solders) are no exception. Against the wishes of their mothers, both young men have become "shabab" (defined here as "youth activists") and are involved in some terrorist activities. The favorite of the young men is to throw stones at the soldiers and run. If they are caught, they will be shot. So far Hamid and Tariq have been able to outrun the soldiers, but many of their friends have not been as lucky.

Malak believes her father must be in prison somewhere and cannot contact them. She wishes that she could visit him the way that Rula visits her father. She presses her mother until she tells her the truth about her father and how he died. The bus that he was riding in was blown up by the Islamic Jihad, the very group that her brother is involved with. Malak is devastated and becomes withdrawn again. Hamid is very confused and angry, as he becomes more involved in the violence. Malak's family is falling apart, and she realizes that she must do everything she can to save it.

This story does not have a happy ending but a realistic one. It gives American children a picture of what life is like for children who live in the middle of the conflict in the Middle East. The Israeli army and the terrorists are portrayed equally as harsh. There are no political statements, just a realistic picture of the life of one family. This book is recommended for children age 11 through adult.

For more information, please visit the library at 725 Pekin Street or call (217) 732-5732.

[Linda Harmon,  Lincoln Public Library District]

Concert association announces
new name and new season

[APRIL 25, 2003]  Almost everything is new about the Lincoln Land Concert Association this year -- its name, its booking source, a reciprocal arrangement with two nearby cities and, of course, the artists who will perform during the 2003-04 season.

Formerly affiliated with Trawick of New York, which has a copyright on the name "Community Concerts," the association is now booking through Allied Concert Services of Minnetonka, Minn., and has therefore dropped the word "community" from its name. The vote to change booking services came in October. Association president Harley Petri of Elkhart said the board of directors met with Allied president David Folin beginning last summer, liked what they heard and decided to give his company a try.

Folin was present Tuesday night to preview the season's lineup. This year all performances are on weekends, with three shows on Friday night and one on Saturday.

Headlining the series is Red, Hot...& Blue!, a musical revue featuring eight performers acclaimed as the "hardest working cast in Branson." They sing and dance their way from ragtime to rock 'n' roll. In Branson, Mo., the show has been consistently awarded Best A.M. Show, Best Costumes and Best Vocal & Dance Group.


Red, Hot...& Blue opened on July 4, 1996. Since then the show has been featured on Holland-America Cruise Lines and Princess Cruise Lines and has made several national tours. The high-energy revue comes to Lincoln March 12, 2004.


Fans of Garrison Keillor's "Prairie Home Companion" may remember Butch Thompson, a jazz pianist who performed on the radio show in the '80s and '90s. On April 23, 2004, he will team up with Duke Heitger on trumpet and Jimmy Mazzy on banjo and vocals to form Butch Thompson's Big Three. The trio of seasoned musicians traces the history of jazz from its origins in New Orleans to the ragtime of Scott Joplin, the blues of Chicago's south side and the jazz of the Roaring '20s.


Thompson, who plays both piano and clarinet, also sits in as a music critic. In Minneapolis-St. Paul he writes a newspaper column and has a radio show on jazz.

Leading off the Lincoln Land Concert season on Sept. 20 is a young male a cappella quartet called Marcoux Corners. Specializing in close harmony, the group covers five decades of music, beginning with the doo-wop style of the '50s. The vocalists mix humor with their harmonizing and feature fresh arrangements and programs tailored to the audience. Marcoux Corners has been hailed as "one of the best up and coming groups in the country" by an ambassador to the Contemporary A Cappella Society of America.


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Rounding out the season is Cowboy Envy, a trio of women musicians who perform in the style of the Sons of the Pioneers. Their show is "not country western; it's cowboy," Folin confirmed. Cited for Best Harmony by the Western Music Association in 2000 and 2001, band members bolster their sound with guitar and punctuate it with humorous tales of the Old West. An accordianist accompanies far in the background. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported, "Cowboy Envy galloped onto the scene with yips and yodels and harmonies to die for."


A new feature of concert series membership this year is a reciprocal arrangement with associations in Pekin and Pontiac. Included in a Lincoln Land season membership is the option to attend any of the four concerts presented in Pekin and the three in Pontiac. For convenience, all three schedules will be printed on the Lincoln Land ticket. Petri said, "I'm really excited about the reciprocal agreement," which has been accomplished without a rise in price. Membership cost is steady at $35 for the basic adult season ticket.

There is, however, a new upper-level sponsorship category this year. For $300 an Angel membership provides two tickets per performance plus four compact discs by season artists. Angels will be issued four coupons which they can cash in for CDs of their choice. In the case of Red, Hot...& Blue, a video may be substituted for the CD.

Campaign secretary Judy Awe said two Angels have already signed on. Other levels of support are Benefactor ($150, includes two memberships), Sponsor ($80), Patron ($45), Adult ($35), Student ($15) and Family ($75). All memberships are season tickets. No individual tickets are sold.

The membership drive for the 2003-04 season began Tuesday night. Anyone interested in purchasing a membership can call Awe at 732-4758 or membership chairman Mary Thomas George at 735-3241 (evening).

Allied Concert Association has been in business for over 50 years. Since 1966 the Folin family has owned and operated the company. "If a woman answers the phone, it's my sister-in-law," David Folin said. "If it's a man, it's either my father, my brother or me."

The Lincoln Land Association has been bringing performing artists to local audiences since 1958. "You are important," Folin told membership workers on Tuesday night. "Think how many years your organization has brought culture to your community."

[Lynn Spellman]

LCT auditions begin

[APRIL 2, 2003]  Lincoln Community Theatre is looking for local talent to sing, dance and act in its summer 2003 productions. Singing and non-singing roles are available.

Individuals auditioning for a role in one of this summer's musical productions should have a song prepared. An accompanist will be available. Individuals trying out should also be prepared to learn a few basic dance steps at the audition. Those auditioning for non-singing roles will be required to do cold readings from the script.

Scripts may be viewed at the Lincoln Public Library two weeks prior to each audition. Library scripts may not be removed from the building.

All auditions will be conducted at St. John United Church of Christ, 204 Seventh St. in Lincoln.

LCT audition schedule

"Nuncrackers" -- a musical comedy from the "Nunsense" series of plays

  • Directed by Sarah Knutilla of Lincoln
  • Performance dates: June 13-21
  • Audition: Friday, April 11, at 6 p.m. or Saturday, April 12, at 10 a.m.; possible callbacks on Sunday, April 13, at 2 p.m.
  • Roles include six women, two men and parts for four children (two boys and two girls, ages 8-14)

"Steel Magnolias" -- an all-female lighthearted drama

  • Directed by Paul Cary from Springfield
  • Performance dates: July 11-19
  • Audition: Friday, May 16, at 6 p.m. or Saturday, May 17, at 10 a.m.; possible callbacks on Sunday, May 18, at 2 p.m.
  • Roles are available for six women (ages 18-70), with several parts for "mature" actresses as well as one woman in her 20s.

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"1776" -- a history-based musical

  • Directed by Jennifer MacMurdo, formerly of Lincoln
  • Performance dates: Aug. 1-9
  • Audition: Friday, June 6, at 6 p.m. or Saturday, June 7, at 10 a.m.; possible callbacks on Sunday, June 8, at 2 p.m.
  • Many roles (23 in all) for male actors ranging in age from 20 to 50! Roles are also available for two women (both soprano). Roles include parts for older, "mature" actors as well as one young teenage male. A few male non-singing roles are also required for the show.

Questions regarding auditions may be directed to Marlene Perry, audition chairman, at (217) 732-2640.

Season tickets are still available for this season. Send check or money order ($20 adults, $12 children through eighth grade) to LCT, Box 374, Lincoln, IL 62656. Additional information regarding LCT's upcoming season is available at

[Lincoln Community Theatre press release]

Lincoln Community Theatre
entertaining for 32nd summer

[MARCH 26, 2003]  Preparing for the 32nd year of live summer theater for the Logan County area, Lincoln Community Theatre's 2003 membership campaign kicked off this month. Season tickets for the summer are $20 for adults and $12 for students through eighth grade.

Productions for this season begin in June with the hysterical musical "Nuncrackers," a continuation of the well-loved "Nunsense" series offered by LCT in previous seasons. This selection centers around the sisters' holiday program and includes dueling Sugar Plum Fairies, dear Sister Amnesia and audience participation. The July production, "Steel Magnolias," is a familiar, bittersweet story that mixes laughter and tears as the audience becomes acquainted with the eccentric and lovable characters of a small Southern community. Closing the 2003 season on a patriotic note, LCT will offer the musical "1776." Humor abounds with the fast-paced wit of our founding fathers as they deal with revolutionary problems and joys.

Performances Tuesday through Saturday will be at 8 p.m., and Sunday matinees will be offered at 2 p.m. All productions will be presented at the Johnston Center for the Performing Arts, 300 Keokuk St.

Season ticket holders may make their reservations as soon as the box office opens on June 2 and are assured a seat for each performance on the night of their choice up to the date tickets become available to the general public. After that point, season ticket holders may still make reservations, but tickets are then reserved on a first-come, first-served basis. Season ticket holders may also purchase additional general admission tickets when making reservations during season ticket week and do not have to wait for general admission sales to open.


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General admission tickets to each production are available to the public one week before each show's opening, at the cost of $9 per adult and $6 per student through eighth grade. Individuals or businesses wishing to further support live theater in Lincoln may purchase memberships at increasing levels and be recognized in each program during the summer season. Those memberships are as follows: Friends of LCT at $30 (includes one membership), Sponsors at $50 (with two memberships), Angels at $100 (four memberships), Grand Patrons at $250 (eight memberships) and Sustaining Members at $500 (12 memberships).

To renew or purchase a season membership, send check or money order to LCT, Box 374, Lincoln, IL 62656. For further information, contact LCT's membership committee at (217) 732-7542. Additional information regarding LCT's upcoming season is also available at

[Judy Rader, Lincoln Community Theatre
publicity chairman]

Classic films return to Lincoln Cinemas

The Logan County Arts Association, in conjunction with GKC Cinemas Corporation, has brought the classic film night series back to the Lincoln Cinemas. The next set of films is scheduled for every second Thursday through October, with shows at 7 p.m.

Classic films lined up for the 2003 season:

  • "The Guns of Navarone," May 8
  • "My Fair Lady," June 12
  • "Old Yeller," July 10
  • "The Apartment," Aug. 14
  • "Wuthering Heights," Sept. 11
  • "War of the Worlds," Oct. 9

Tickets are $5.50 for adults and $4.50 for senior citizens and children 12 and under. The tickets are available at GKC Lincoln Cinemas.

Anyone wanting more information may call the Logan County Arts Association at (217) 735-4422.

[Press release from the
Logan County Arts Association]

Lincoln Community Theatre information

Lincoln Community Theatre's box office, phone 735-2614,  is open from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Saturday for the summer season. The office is located in the lobby of the Johnston Center for the Performing Arts on the campus of Lincoln College.

Performances of "Dearly Departed" are scheduled for July 12-20, and "The King and I" will be presented Aug. 2-10. Show times are 2 p.m. on Sundays and 8 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

The LCT mailing address is Lincoln Community Theatre, P.O. Box 374, Lincoln, IL  62656; e-mail:

Visit the LDC website at Pictures from past productions are included.

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