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Conference set for grandparents raising grandchildren

[JUNE 7, 2003]  SPRINGFIELD -- Grandparents and other relatives raising children are invited to attend a conference titled "Relatives Raising the Next Generation" from 9:30 a.m. to 3:45 p.m., Saturday, June 21, at the University of Illinois Extension Center at the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield.

"The most recent federal census reported over 213,000 Illinois children under the age of 18 are living in grand parent-headed homes," said Charles D. Johnson, director of the Illinois Department on Aging.

"The department is working diligently to address their needs and provide them with comprehensive information and support services."

The conference will feature speakers addressing legal, disability and financial issues as well as tips on managing stress. Child care and age-appropriate activities will be provided for children between ages 3 and 10.

Advance registration is required. Cost is $5 per family. For registration forms, call Debbie Deopere at 1 (217) 787-9234.

The conference is sponsored by the Illinois Department on Aging, Project LIFE Area Agency on Aging and the University of Illinois Extension.

[News release]

Flowers and Things

515 Woodlawn Road
Lincoln, IL

(217) 732-7507

"Your Professional Florist"

Lincoln Community Theatre
July 11-19

2 p.m. on Sundays &
 8 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday

Phone 217-735-2614
P.O. Box 374, Lincoln, IL  62656

Our staff offers more than 25 years of experience in the automotive industry.

Greyhound Lube

At the corner of Woodlawn and
Business 55

No Appointments Necessary

It really does take a village, not a suburb

[MAY 31, 2003]  URBANA -- Rural Midwestern towns grew by leaps and bounds in the 1990s as urban professionals decided that small towns were great places to raise families. But as many of these towns grew, they lost their small-town character, said Sonya Salamon, anthropologist and professor of community studies at the University of Illinois.

And those characteristics were valuable. "Small-town communities have a culture worth nurturing and protecting. The resources, connections and commitment to young people found in Midwestern small towns contribute a great deal to the successful development of youth," Salamon said.

In her new book, "Newcomers to Old Towns: The Suburbanization of the Heartland," Salamon describes six small towns in Illinois, renamed for the sake of anonymity and located in the commuting zone of "Central City." She discusses the circumstances that made these towns resilient or led to their decline as they faced pressure to change.

In Salamon's study, one town grew dramatically in the past three decades because it had easy access to a midsized city via the interstate, interesting terrain with wooded areas, developers who created new subdivisions with grand houses, and good school systems. "Prairieview" began to look and feel more and more like a Chicago suburb.

But, said Salamon, its growth occurred at the expense of "Splitsville," another town in the commuting zone, which was populated increasingly by rural families who couldn't afford the price of housing in newly fashionable Prairieview. Neglected housing in Splitsville was bought for back taxes and sold or rented to low-income people. Longtime residents didn't welcome the newcomers, who kept old cars in their yards and couldn't afford to have garbage collected weekly. When one member of the "Old Guard" turned off the water at a newcomer's home for nonpayment, the newcomer reacted by vandalizing the home of the water commissioner.

Other towns, called Corntown and Arbordale, found different ways of handling the diversity created when Mexican-American migrant workers decided to live in these communities permanently.

Such challenges are relatively recent in Midwestern farm towns, long rumored to be dying. In fact, the population of rural America increased in the 1990s by more than three million people. Some small towns courted such growth with inducements, such as $10,000 grants to families who bought land and built a new home.

"People have long denigrated small towns, calling them fished-out ponds, with the best and brightest kids leaving. But those farm towns didn't decline, because they're greater than the sum of their parts. These fished-out ponds do amazing child-rearing. They just kept producing more of the best and the brightest -- which says to me that the best and brightest are not those who have more ability than others, but that having an entire village involved in the upbringing of its youth makes a dramatic difference," Salamon said.


[to top of second column in this article]

In rural small towns, families often have a shared background over many generations, and community members share a social network that links families in functional and emotional ways. Homes have porches that face the street to promote neighborliness. These towns have public places, a central square, a cafe or a bowling alley where people gather. Families know and watch out for their neighbors' children, generations interact with each other, and if teenagers drag Main Street or hang out downtown, adults are tolerant because they know "they're good kids, and there's not a lot to do here."

New subdivisions are usually not located near the town center, and they are not designed with communal spaces for recreation. "Newcomers have a consumption mentality. They buy a house in a new subdivision and consume the countryside for its natural setting, its good schools and its low crime rate, but few of them put anything back into the places they call home," Salamon said.

"Kids in these suburban settings have a peer-structured youth culture. They don't interact as frequently with older adults in the community. The homes are built for privacy. People come home from work, drive into their attached garage and they never see each other casually. There's very little 'neighboring,' and that's important in building a sense of community."

"Glen Elder, a prominent sociologist, says that these cultural dynamics produced Columbine. At about that time, the New York Times published the floor plan for the most commonly built suburban home -- which has a children's wing with a private entrance. If the house is professionally cleaned and the kids have their own TV and computer, they don't even need to interact with their parents very much," Salamon said.

Salamon was struck by the number of small-town newcomers who didn't go to church in their home community -- instead driving into a small city for church or joining one of the huge new churches built by the interstates. "The older churches helped a lot with small-town festivals and put a lot back into the community. These mega-churches aren't nearly as concerned with building community in their towns. They're concerned about the church community. They're entrepreneurial about souls," she said.

"Families in places like Prairieview often plan to stay only until their children are out of school, and there is no expectation that children will come back to that town when they are grown," she said.

In contrast, Salamon quoted one man who had been raised in a place like "Smallville," which lies in a remote corner of a sparsely settled western Illinois county and has retained many of the strengths of the best agrarian towns.

"When I got out of high school, the sight of that town in my rearview mirror was the best thing I'd ever seen," the man said wistfully, "and I've been trying to get back there ever since."

[University of Illinois news release]

Make sure your home is
ready to beat the heat

[MAY 31, 2003]  Energy use and costs are greatest in the hot summer months when air-conditioning use peaks. The Illinois Electric Council suggests taking measures now so your home can better weather the summer sun, heat and humidity.

"There are a number of measures, small and large, that can make a big difference in comfort and electric bills," says Molly Hall, Illinois Electric Council executive director. "Most steps can pay for themselves relatively quickly. For example, weatherstripping and caulking are inexpensive ways to boost efficiency and cut energy costs."

Reduce energy costs and ready the air conditioner with a cleaning and tuneup.  An efficiently running cooling system will save dollars. If you're purchasing a new unit, check the efficiency rating, or SEER. The higher the SEER number, the more efficient the air conditioner.

Ventilate the attic and check insulation. When the outside temperature is in the 90s, your attic can easily reach 140 degrees. Adequately sized vents and an attic fan can help keep hot air from building up. If your attic has less than 6 to 8 inches of insulation, consider adding more. Be sure the insulation doesn't block vents or cover exhaust fans.

Caulk and put weatherstripping around windows and doors. This will reduce air infiltration and reduce both cooling and heating costs. Install awnings over windows exposed to direct sunlight. Outdoor landscaping that includes shade trees and insulating foundation plants can also reduce energy costs.

When performing these or any home improvement projects, the Illinois Electric Council and its Safe Electricity program offer these safety tips:

* Make sure you've got the right tools, and check cords for any cracks or frayed insulation.

* Take note of potential hazards in the work area, such as overhead power lines, especially those connected to the home. Keep ladders and long metal tools at least 10 feet away from them.

* Make sure outdoor outlets are equipped with a ground fault circuit interrupter, or GFCI. Use a portable GFCI if your outdoor outlets don't have them.

* If your projects include digging, like building a deck or planting a tree, call your utility locating service before you begin. For most of Illinois, it's "JULIE," 1 (800) 892-0123, and in Chicago, call "Digger," 1 (312) 744-7000. Never assume the location or depth of underground utility lines. Call at least two business days ahead of your dig date. This service is free, prevents the inconvenience of having utilities interrupted and can help you avoid serious injury.


[to top of second column in this article]

Follow these operating tips for greater energy efficiency and reduction in air-conditioning costs:

* Throughout summer use, change air-conditioner filters monthly and more often if pets live indoors.

* Dial up. For each 1-degree increase in the thermostat setting, you can trim cooling costs by about 3 percent.

* Install a timer or programmable thermostat to raise and lower the temperature automatically. Leave it on a higher temperature while you're away, and set it to cool the house half an hour before you return home.

* Install ceiling fans that circulate air, and reduce air-conditioning use.

* Turn off unnecessary lights and televisions sets you're not watching. Don't leave computers on when not in use.

* Make sure heat-producing appliances like televisions and lamps are away from the thermostat. They will raise the temperature at the thermostat and cause the air conditioner to run when it is not needed.

* Plan to do hot work -- washing and drying clothes, cooking and baking -- during cooler morning and evening hours.

* Keep your kitchen cooler by cooking in a microwave oven, or grill outdoors.

* Keep the sun out of your house. Close blinds, shades or draperies during the hottest part of the day.

The Illinois Electric Council is an electric industry forum headquartered at the University of Illinois. The IEC and its Safe Electricity program offer information year-round to help consumers use electric energy efficiently and safely. For more information and tips to help cut costs and improve home safety, visit www.IECouncil.org and www.SafeElectricity.org.

[University of Illinois news release]

Electrical safety tips for summer

[MAY 24, 2003]  URBANA -- Whether you're starting a home improvement project, planning to trim a tree, adding to your garden or taking a refreshing swim, consider the electrical equipment around you and the potential hazards to avoid during summer months. Of particular concern are power lines overhead and the added dangers when water and storm activity are present.

"Keep your summer season enjoyable and safe," said Molly Hall, director of Safe Electricity, a statewide electrical safety public awareness program. "Know what to do when thunderstorms and lightning threaten. Be aware of overhead power lines when doing work outside your home. Make sure children know and follow basic safety rules."

Safety tips to keep in mind this summer:

--Look up and around you. Always be aware of the location of power lines, particularly when using long metal tools like ladders, pool skimmers and pruning poles, or when installing rooftop antennas and satellite dishes or doing roof repair work.

--Be especially careful when working near power lines attached to your house. Keep equipment and yourself at least 10 feet from lines. Never trim trees near power lines -- leave that to the professionals.

--If thunderstorms and lightning are approaching, move indoors and stay away from electric appliances and objects that could conduct electricity. Use only cordless or cell phones to make calls. If you're in an open area outside, tingling skin or crackling sounds could signal that lightning is about to strike. Drop down and make yourself as small as possible -- feet together and hands on knees -- with minimal contact with the ground.

--Electricity and water are a dangerous mix. Keep electrical appliances and tools at least 10 feet away from pools and wet surfaces. Never use electric yard tools if it's raining or the ground is wet.

--Never step into a flooded area -- especially basements -- if water is in contact with electrical outlets, appliances or cords. Don't use any electrical appliances or touch circuit breakers or fuses when you're wet or standing in water.

--Be sure outdoor outlets and outlets near wet areas of the kitchen, bath and laundry room have ground fault circuit interrupters to prevent serious shock injuries.

--If your projects include digging, like building a deck or planting a tree, call your utility locating service before you begin. For most of Illinois, it's "JULIE," 1 (800) 892-0123, and in Chicago, call "Digger" 1 (312) 744-7000. Never assume the location or depth of underground utility lines. Call at least two business days ahead of your dig date. This service is free, prevents the inconvenience of having utilities interrupted and can help you avoid serious injury.


[to top of second column in this article]

--Help keep utility workers safe. Never post signs or tie banners around utility poles. Posting signs, hanging banners or tying ribbons and balloons onto utility poles puts utility workers at risk and often is a violation of local ordinances forbidding placement of anything on poles.

In addition, Safe Electricity urges everyone to make sure children understand and follow basic safety rules:

--Never climb trees near power lines. Even if the power lines aren't touching the tree, they could touch when more weight is added to the branch.

--Fly kites and model airplanes in large open areas like a park or a field, safely away from trees and overhead power lines. If a kite gets stuck in a tree that's near power lines, don't climb up to get it. Contact your electric utility for assistance.

--Never climb a utility pole. Don't play on or around pad-mounted electrical equipment.

--Never go into an electric substation for any reason -- even on a dare. Electric substations contain high-voltage equipment, which can kill you. Never rescue a pet that goes inside. Call your electric utility instead.

"Storms can also leave electric hazards behind," Hall added. "It's a good idea to keep utility emergency numbers close at hand."

If you see a downed power line, stay far away from it and call your electric utility. Warn others to stay clear of the wires. Assume that all downed power lines are energized. For more safety tips, visit www.SafeElectricity.org.

The Safe Electricity program is created by a coalition of more than three dozen organizations, including the University of Illinois, electric companies and electric cooperatives from across the state. All are members of the Illinois Electric Council, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to promoting electric safety and efficiency.


[News release]

Animals for Adoption

Animal Control open Saturdays 

[APRIL 18, 2003]  Beginning April 28, Logan County Animal Control is experimenting for 60 days with Saturday hours. The new hours are 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. on weekdays and 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturdays. Only registration, payment of fines and animal pickup can be accomplished on Saturday. Adoptions must take place during the week.

At Logan County Animal Control  
Big to little, most of these dogs will make wonderful lifelong companions when you take them home and provide solid, steady training, grooming and general care. Get educated about what you choose. If you give them the time and care they need, you will be rewarded with much more than you gave them. They are entertaining, fun, comforting, and will lift you up for days on end.

Be prepared to take the necessary time when you bring home a puppy, kitten, dog, cat or any other pet, and you will be blessed.

[Logan County Animal Control is thankful for pet supplies donated by individuals and Wal-Mart.]  


[Hi!  I'm Mike!  I'm a 2- to 3-year-old male looking for a family.  My favorite activities include watching my breath and licking your face.]

[This is Jeff.  Jeff is a 1- to 2-year-old mixed breed looking for a good home.]

[Just look at those faces!  These 9-week cuties love to roll and tumble and play.
But don't let their small size fool you.  They are boxer-collie mixes, so they'll get quite a bit bigger!]


Ten reasons to adopt a shelter dog

 1.  I'll bring out your playful side!

 2.  I'll lend an ear to your troubles.

 3.   I'll keep you fit and trim.

 4.   We'll look out for each other.

 5.   We'll sniff out fun together!

 6.   I'll keep you right on schedule.

 7.   I'll love you with all my heart.

 8.   We'll have a tail-waggin' good time!

 9.   We'll snuggle on a quiet evening.

10.   We'll be best friends always.

[Logan County Animal Control is thankful for pet supplies donated by individuals and Wal-Mart.]  


In the cat section there are a number of wonderful cats to choose from
in a variety of colors and sizes.

Farm cats available for free!

[This big boy is Sam.
Sam's a little pushy, so no small kids, please.]

[This fine looking girl is Snake.  She's just a kitten, and she's ready to slither her way into your heart.]

[Snowball and Sunshine, a beautiful girl-boy pair, can't wait to bring joy and warmth into your home.]

These animals and more are available to good homes from the Logan County Animal Control at 1515 N. Kickapoo, phone 735-3232.


Fees for animal adoption: dogs, $60/male, $65/female; cats, $35/male, $44/female. The fees include neutering and spaying.

Logan County Animal Control's hours of operation:

Sunday    closed

Monday    8 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Tuesday    8 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Wednesday    8 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Thursday    8 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Friday    8 a.m. - 3 p.m.

Saturday    closed

NOTE: Beginning April 28, hours will be 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. on weekdays
and 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturdays.

Vickie Loafman, animal control warden

Maurice Tierney, deputy animal control warden

Tammy Langley, part-time assistant

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