2020 Year in Review

Year begins strong with a laid back but active January

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[January 09, 2021]   The 2020 calendar year began much like any other year, with not a whole lot to talk about. In the newsroom it is often commented that the Logan County community after the hustle and bustle of the holidays, takes a collective sigh of relief and goes into hibernation. This time of “no news is good news” lasts for about a month. The first sign of the reawakening of the community is the Zion Lutheran Pancake Breakfast held in early February.

In 2020, that rule of thumb held true for the first couple of weeks. But when Fred Bird the Red Bird promised to visit Lincoln and attend the January American Legion Breakfast, about 300 local residents could not resist the urge to come out and have a good time with the St. Louis Cardinal mascot.

On Sunday morning, more than 300 people turned out for the monthly American Legion Breakfast to benefit the Legion Youth Baseball program. In addition to seeking out some really great food, guests were excited to see the St. Louis Cardinal’s mascot Fredbird. The oversized bird spent his morning teasing guests and posting for photos, including this fun photo of Fredbird with a family of Cubbie fans he was hoping to convert.

Chicago Cubs mascot Clark the cub was supposed to be at the Legion on Sunday as well. However, volunteers said that the mascot was unable to attend due to the severe winter weather that struck Chicago over the weekend. Clark has rescheduled for the February 9th breakfast, which would also be a fundraiser for the Legion Baseball program and the Lincoln Community High School FFA.

Photos by Nila Smith

Fredbird plays to a large audience at the Sunday American Legion Breakfast

Guests enjoy a morning with Fredbird at American Legion Breakfast fundraiser - slideshow

On January 21st, Lincoln College hosted its annual Martin Luther King Scholarship Breakfast with a good crowd attending.

Observing the legacy of MLK at Lincoln College

While there were not a lot of events or activities going on in the first four weeks of the year, there were some interesting developments in the business world around Lincoln and Logan County.

The first month of the year saw announcements about new businesses coming into the community.

Law offices of Bolen Robinson & Ellis, LLP opens branch office in Lincoln

New Wellness Center Opening in Lincoln

Dr. Dru Hauter of Central Illinois Direct Care to host ribbon cut for new office on January 25th

On Saturday, the community welcomed another new business to Lincoln. Dr. Dru Hauter prepares to cut the ribbon celebrating the opening of his new medical office, Central Illinois Direct Care at 1411 North Kickapoo Street, Lincoln. A large crowd turned out for the ribbon-cutting, then lingered to enjoy lunch with the Hauter family while learning more about this new type of medical practice.

Photo by Nila Smith

Central Illinois Direct Care ribbon cut sees large turnout for Dr. Dru Hauter

In January there were also a number of changes in personnel in local organizations.

Logan County Park and Trails Foundation expresses appreciation for Pat Bree upon her retirement

Jaylee Swinford named new Lincoln Park District Program Coordinator

Michael Starasta selected as new director of Lincoln Public Library
Caroline Kiest and April Jensen promoted to Assistant Directors

The Lincoln City Council also made the news on a few occasions. The discussions over whether to allow or not allow the retail sale of recreational cannabis continued and some decisions were made.

Lincoln aldermen continue preparations for resale cannabis business

Lincoln Aldermen set cannabis license fee

The city also made the decision to drop the Nixle emergency alert system because it was a duplication of services between the city and county EMA program. At that same meeting the aldermen discussed a new city seal that was more historically correct. Alderman Ron Keller and Police Chief Paul Adams said that when Abraham Lincoln frequented the town, he bore no beard. So, while the previous city depictions had included a President Lincoln with facial hair, the appropriate depiction should be Lincoln the lawyer with no facial hair.

Alderman Ron Keller and Police Chief Paul Adams presented a new design for a city seal to aldermen at the Tuesday night meeting of the Lincoln City Council. If approved, the design would first appear on the city seal and be phased in over time as the city runs out of current paper products containing the old seal. If it can be worked out with the manufacturer, the same seal maybe used on the shoulder patches of the Lincoln Police Department in the future. Aldermen spoke in favor of the new design that features a beardless Abraham Lincoln. Keller noted that this photo image is a much better representation of Lincoln in the days when he frequented Logan County than a bearded image. Aldermen will vote to approve the new seal next week.

Photos by Nila Smith

City briefs:
Lincoln to drop Nixle, not require permits for Uber and Lift, new city seal design, elevator repaired

And, Chief Bob Dunovsky shared with aldermen the purchase of a new heat sensing camera for rescue work during fires.

At the Monday evening meeting of the Lincoln City Council, Fire Chief Bob Dunovsky passed around the new heat-detecting camera for the fire department. The camera will assist firefighters and rescue personnel in locating persons in conditions where visibility is hindered. The city utilized a donation made in October 2019 in honor and memory of Jake Lessen to pay for the camera.

Alderman Steve Parrott was one of the first to check out the new camera (right), which shows (left) clearly all the heat-generating objects or life forms when pointed at a specific location.

Photos by Nila Smith

Logan County was recognized at a Lincoln City Council meeting on January 16th by the Illinois National Guard. Father Jeffery Laible presented the city with a plaque in appreciation of the support of the entire community for our local veterans.

At the Lincoln City Council Committee of the Whole on Tuesday evening, Father Jeffery Laible representing the 183rd Wing of the Illinois National Guard presented a certificate of appreciation to the citizens of Lincoln and Logan County. Lincoln Mayor Seth Goodman accepted the certificate on behalf of the entire community.

Photos by Nila Smith


Airmen of the 183rd Wing express appreciation to citizens of Logan County

In other developments around the community, on January 31st it was announced that the Logan County Tourism Bureau would take over ownership and management of the Mill on Route 66 Museum in Lincoln.

This week the Logan County Tourism Bureau held its January meeting and voted unanimously to take over the ownership and management of the Mill on Route 66 Museum. The Mill offers an essential piece of Route 66 history in Logan County in its own right, and also houses pieces of our past that reflect what our community was like in the heyday of the Mother Road.

Photo from LDN archives

Logan County Tourism Bureau to take over ownership and management of the Mill on Route 66

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In January, Lincoln Daily News introduced a new project. The Community Champion Award was born from the creativity of the LDN staff and the gift of a six foot trophy from the former Award Shop. As it would turn out, the trophy needed a little work and Kathie Williams of Small Town Creations was called upon to fix the trophy as she had purchased the Award Shop and merged it into her existing business. Little did she know when she was carefully rebuilding the trophy that she would be the first recipient of the award.

On Wednesday morning, Lincoln Daily News awarded the first Community Champion Award of 2020 to Lincoln business owner Kathie Williams. Williams was recognized for the award because of the work she did this year to enhance the holiday spirit in Lincoln and bring the community together for the Winter Wonderland Christmas Trees on the Logan County Courthouse lawn. Her contribution in holding a successful Small Business Saturday shopping experience in the downtown area this year was also noted.

Community Champion Awards will happen monthly and are aimed at recognizing those local people, businesses, or organizations that go above and beyond to make our community better and stronger.

Williams was pleasantly surprised by the LDN six-foot tall traveling trophy and a lovely combination planter bedecked in beautiful tulips gifted by Debbie’s Downtown Floral.

Left to right: Roy Logan and Karen Hargis of Lincoln Daily News, Williams, LDN's Nila Smith and Jim Youngquist.

Photo by Lisa Ramlow

Kathie Williams named first Community Champion for 2020
LDN recognizes those who go above and beyond to make Logan County a great place to live

Several other fun and interesting things were published in January in Lincoln Daily News, including this story about the Logan County Airport, courtesy of Curtis Fox.

Reminiscing on the popular old television show M.A.S.H., Heritage in Flight Museum President Rick Kidd had an idea for something new at the Logan County Airport. In the t.v. show there is a sign with arrows giving direction and distance to cities all over the globe. Kidd brought the idea of making a similar sign to HIF members and they were all in favor. So now the sign post sits outside the HIF hangar along the taxiway pointing the way for world travelers in search of their next adventure. “A mile of highway will take you a mile. A mile of runway will take you anywhere!” – Author unknown

Photos by Curtis Fox

New Logan County Airport sign post points every which way

Other January news depicted in pictures

After reading a story about a $1,000 donation for clothing for kids in need at the Junior High School that was made to the School Resource Officer (SRO) Christy Fruge, personal friend Amy Gallagher and her husband Tom decided that they wanted to help Fruge do more for those kids.

The couple organized a party bus fundraiser. All guests paid to ride on the bus and a portion of that fee went to the fundraiser. In addition, the Gallaghers sold Christmas Koozies. The couple raised an additional $425.

Fruge has long been the head of the Lincoln’s D.A.R.E. program and in the last year also took on the position of SRO at LJHS. She has established a D.A.R.E. Clothing Fund to purchase sweatshirts, jeans, and shoes for students at LJHS.

"I want to personally thank each and every one of you who donated to this cause. Every pair of shoes, every hoodie, pair of jeans, every package of socks, and so on that brings a hug my way also brings a hug to you," said Officer Fruge.

The SRO Office is a collaborative effort between the Lincoln Police Department and District 27 Schools.

Photo provided by Christy Fruge.

In early December, these large shipping containers and other hardware (left) were spied sitting on the north side of the Lincoln College Lincoln Center. Dr. Dennis Campbell had posted on his social media that everything was there to begin the installation of the college's solar garden.

This week, just one month later, those containers are all gone. Taking a look to the north and slightly west of the Lincoln Center, behind the baseball fields, one can see the solar garden. It looks like there has been some remarkable progress made in the last 30 days.

As a refresher, here is the original article on the project published in LDN on September 22, 2018.

Photos by Nila Smith

It appears that the extension of Stahlhut Drive connecting the road to Woodlawn Road on the north end in Lincoln is nearing completion.

Stahlhut Drive was originally built as the only entrance into Abraham Lincoln Memorial Hospital. It came into the hospital from the east and Lincoln Parkway. The new extension wraps the road around the hospital and joins it to Taylor Court at the Chrysler Dodge Lincoln Jeep dealership.

The new road will also include a connection to Castle Manor Drive. With the link to Woodlawn Road as well as Castle Manor Drive, the new road will speed up access to the hospital from the west side of town as well as from Castle Manor Supportive Living and St. Clara's Rehab and Senior Care.

Photos by Nila Smith.

"You picked a fine time to leave me loose wheel!" Actually, in this case, it is only a tire, but none the less the impact would have been about the same. We don't know the back story, but regardless, when you see a semi-tractor sitting at an intersection with no front tire, you can't help but take notice.

Photo by Roy Logan

On Tuesday morning Lee Schall awoke to a large gaggle of geese taking a break on the pond behind her country home in Logan County. While it would be almost impossible to count them all, she guessed that there were possibly as many as five hundred. The big birds camping out on the ice-encrusted pond certainly makes an impression regardless of the number.

Photos by Lee Schall

In summary, 2020 began with the community doing well and going strong. There were a few more newsworthy items in the first month versus years past, and it looked like Logan County was in for a really good year.

February would tell much the same story, then along would come March. Be sure to check out the February and March reviews in future editions of Lincoln Daily News.

[Nila Smith]

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