Saturday, March 15, 2008
sponsored by Maple Ridge

Logan County Briefs

Board Hears From Directors of Economic Development, Health and Tourism

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[March 15, 2008]  The new executive director of the Lincoln & Logan County Development Partnership, Joel Smiley, introduced himself to county board members at Thursday evening's board-of-the-whole meeting. Smiley said that he looked forward to sitting down and meeting with each board member in the near future.

He explained that the partnership board is planning their budget now for the next year and that it would be passed at the next meeting, on Monday. The 2008 plan introduces a couple of strategic opportunities that they've been working toward and a couple of his ideas as well, he said.

It includes:

  • Business retention and expansion.

  • Work force development.

  • Business attraction.

  • Startup recruitment.

  • Planning and plant developments, including use of a geographic information system.

  • Residential development.

  • Facilitating incentives.

  • Business information and resources.

In addition, a business incubator concept would be introduced. And, he said that they would assist in implementing the GIS, maintain inventory and focus on partnership opportunities.

Smiley emphasized the importance of getting an "Economic Development Master Plan" in place. This would entail a five-year strategic plan for the county. Plans now are to start a capital campaign in May that will fund the plan and then have the plan in place in 2009. "So that in 2009 we know the direction we are going to go, how to implement it, and we're going to have the funding in place to get everything up and running in the next five years," he said.

The new development director said he has sat and spoken with Dick Logan, county board chairman, to get started. He'd like to hear from the board members about where the hot spots for development are. "You are the elected officials. Where do you want to see that vision?" he asked.


Mark Hilliard, Logan County Health Department administrator, briefed the board on a number of health department activities.

He began by saying that there have been three complaints registered under the Smoke Free Initiative Act. Letters were sent out in response, as per plan.

The Logan County Pandemic Flu Coalition began a media blitz this month. News releases, check stuffers for large employers, grocery bag stuffers and other notices introduced preparedness tips in the event that there would a health threat to many people. This was the first of a series of messages on how the community can act together and individually to protect family and employees.

April 4 is the date for the health fair for fifth-grade Logan County students. The fair is co-sponsored by the Lincoln Park District and is presented at the Sports Center.

The following day, April 5, the Community Health Fair will take place from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the same location. Booths will be set up with lots of information, demonstrations, food and health screenings. Returning by popular demand will be the grannies from Iowa for a game of Granny Basketball to be played against a local women's team. And, the West Lincoln-Broadwell cheerleaders will be there to cheer them on.

Hilliard continued with a quick review of the flu season. The health department administered over 3,000 flu vaccinations. He supplied a graph that showed 1-4-year-olds having the most confirmed cases of influenza, at nearly 50, in Logan County. The graph dropped off gradually, showing just over 30 cases in 10-14-year-olds, and dropped below 20 cases in 20-24-year-olds, continuing down with age.

Hilliard said that he was in Springfield on Thursday to join other health care professionals in their support of Senate Bill 2012. This is legislation that addresses chronic diseases and control. If passed, a task force would form to look at ways to move state dollars from treatment of chronic diseases to prevention of those diseases. It is believed that by placing more emphasis on prevention, it would keep more people from getting sick, as well as save dollars.


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The Joint Solid Waste Agency has announced that tires will be collected for recycling at the Logan County Fairgrounds this spring. Tires can be brought to the fairgrounds April 5 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. There is no fee.


Dick Logan attended a transportation meeting that addressed the future of mass transportation. Travel from the east side of Lincoln to the west was targeted, with recognition that college students need transportation to areas of commerce.

Limited state funds will be made available to communities that can show need and a plan.

The task force will continue to assess needs and resources when it meets again on April 21 at 10 a.m. at the American Legion in Mason City. The public is invited to attend.


Great things keep happening in the Abraham Lincoln Tourism Bureau of Logan County office. This month executive director Geoff Ladd had several announcements.

A new Abraham Lincoln statue has been donated to the county. Les Van Bibber has donated a 6-foot-6 granite statue of Abraham Lincoln to stand outside the third-floor courtroom in the Logan County Courthouse. (See Lincoln Statue Comes to the Logan County Courthouse.)

Ladd mentioned just some of the many high points of events coming up. The annual tourism dinner is set for April 25 at the Maple Club. Last year's event was a lot of fun, and this year's promises to be interesting with a variety of distinctive guests, entertainment and awards.

The first weekend in June, the Route 66 Motor Tour will hit town. On June 7 the caravan of classic vehicles will glide on in and settle a few hours as they host their annual Hall of Fame dinner at Lincoln College.

The last weekend in July will see 600-1,000 square dancers coming from all over when the Illinois Square and Round Dance Convention comes to Lincoln. Events are scheduled around the Lincoln Christian College campus July 25-27.

The new Hampton Inn will be ready to help lodge some of the many visitors coming our way. The scheduled opening is May 14.

(See more on tourism's "Annual Events.")


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