Thursday, September 27, 2007
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Lincoln event, 'Portrait of a Soldier,' unfolds to council          Send a link to a friend

City approached with U.S. Cellular proposal

[September 27, 2007]  An event that is expected to draw visitors from all around central Illinois is being planned to take place on the north side of the Logan County Courthouse from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Oct. 11.

Lincoln is the location that Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn's office has chosen for an event honoring our current and fallen soldiers. The exhibition, titled "Portrait of a Soldier," is intended to show our pride in our soldiers.

Lincoln citizen Roger Matson and a representative of the American Legion, Ms. Hennessy, explained the combination of events planned to honor and support our soldiers.

"The lieutenant governor chose Lincoln because we're a small town and he likes what we're doing here," Matson said. In addition to the lieutenant governor, other dignitaries expected to be in attendance include Sen. Larry Bomke, Rep. Rich Brauer and Rep. Bill Mitchell. The giant flag will be flown and the Lincoln Community High School has been engaged to play patriotic music. A reception will follow.

Matson asked the council members to be there to represent the city of Lincoln. The county board members are being asked as well.

The tentative lineup of events on Oct. 11 is set to begin about noon and last till about 12:45 p.m.

"It's going to be an event that will stick in people's minds," Matson said.

"I think this is awesome," Alderman Verl Prather said.

A 22-year-employee of the American Legion, Hennessy explained a program she has been involved in that keeps in contact with soldiers while they are overseas. She typically writes letters and keeps up correspondence with local soldiers.

This year they would like to send a book, "The Soldiers' Night Before Christmas." School students in first through fifth grade will be coloring pictures to add to the package, she said. They are asking for donations to do this, as well as collecting soldiers' names to send to.

A young Mattoon artist, Cameron Shilling, wishing to express his appreciation and to honor soldiers who have fallen since 9/11, has created pen and pencil drawings. Many of the pictures that parents supplied for the drawings show more of the personality of how they want their soldier to be remembered.

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The pictures and project are intended to remember our soldiers with pride, rather than to draw sympathy. All but about three parents in Illinois wanted to participate in the project, Matson said.

A book of the pictures, "Portrait of a Soldier," has been created and is on sale for $15. Sales of the book, pledges and donations are being accepted and will go toward support measures for our soldiers.

The drawings will be on display inside the Logan County Courthouse on Oct. 11, and the exhibit will remain there through Oct. 16.

The event is being sponsored by Main Street Lincoln.

U.S. Cellular proposal

At the city's Tuesday evening workshop session a U.S. Cellular representative introduced the company's plan to enter into a lease agreement with the city of Lincoln. They are looking at building a tower and outbuilding in the city.

The company's "redline" procedure is to work with a city's attorney first and then present a refined proposal to the council. An initial proposal was submitted to city attorney Bill Bates, who conferred with city zoning and ordinance officer Les Last on the details of the request. Bates said that he returned the proposal with the city's adjustments to the company for their attorneys to review on Sept. 12. The council will hear details of the proposal possibly as soon as Oct. 9, and a vote on the proposal could then be on Oct. 15. 

Truancy issue

The city is getting back to an issue that was laid aside earlier this year: truancy. Home-school parents opposed the proposed new ordinance, which could cause uncomfortable situations for them and their school-aged children when out in public during school hours. The county passed a truancy ordinance since then, and now the city is looking to review a copy of that. The committee will meet at 6:30 p.m. on Oct. 9 to discuss the issue.

[Jan Youngquist]

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