On Thursday, June 4, a Black Lives Matter protest
march and rally organized by the Lincoln Direct Action Alliance and
co-hosted by the Logan County Democratic Socialists of American was
held at Postville Park and the Logan County Courthouse. A large
crowd marched from Postville Park, “Black lives matter,” “Hands up,
don’t shoot” and “No justice, no peace” echoed through the street.
When the crowd arrived at the courthouse, speakers spoke about the
need for change as they shared stories of stereotyping,
discrimination and racial inequality. One final message was that we
need to make a change, or we will continue in the wrong direction.
If we are going to make a change in the community, state or country,
the change needs to start at home. After the group marched back to
Postville Park, others continued to speak about the need for change
June 9, 2020
Rally speakers share what to do for black justice
A rally the next week brought out even more people who heard about
the need for change. the “Stand Together, Breathe Together” rally
for peace, justice, unity and understanding held outside the Logan
County Courthouse brought out over 250 people. The purpose of the
rally was for people to come together to show and share love, share
their stories and continue the message that black lives matter and
all lives matter.
Those attending heard stories about the need for unity and reform
from several community members who had experienced racism. Some
shared examples of how systemic racism, police brutality and racial
injustice for years had affected black people. Various community
leaders urged the crowd to work towards reconciliation.
To help demonstrate what George Floyd was asked to do, speaker
Jennifer Hunt asked people to either lie on the ground with their
hands behind their backs and their face on the grass or concrete,
kneel or raise up an arm. Then Hunt read a long list of victims of
police brutality, asking everyone to think about what Floyd and
several others experienced.
June 15, 2020
Lincoln rally looks back at black injustice and forward to change
On June 19th, members of the public and a few local officials
gathered in Scully Park for a celebration honoring Juneteenth in
Lincoln. Juneteenth is a holiday celebrating the emancipation of
those who had been enslaved in the United States.
Various speakers talked about the importance of being anti-racist,
of working towards a more diverse and inclusive community, and of
plans to work with city and county officials to bring more voices
into existing places of power. People sang, and children read poetry
by Langston Hughes and essays surrounding important African-American
figures. At the celebration, several speakers mentioned how
wonderful it was to see such a diverse crowd come together to
celebrate this occasion.
June 22, 2020
Juneteenth celebrated in Scully Park
On Monday, August 3, a crowd gathered around a billboard at the
Logan County fairgrounds to celebrate its presence and the work
being done to overcome hate in the community. The billboard, which
reads “Hate is Not Welcome” started as an idea by former Logan
County Board member Jan Schumacher after she heard about racist
pamphlets promoting white supremacy being distributed around the
area. Those same pamphlets were distributed in other areas as well,
but received a loud response in the city named for Abraham Lincoln.
Those speaking talked about the need to take a stand against racism
and hatred and make Lincoln feel welcoming to everyone. Ron Keller
spoke on behalf of the Lincoln city government and the mayor, and
said the city council is putting together language to form a
publicly run commission to bring diverse voices and experiences to
the city council. The commission is intended to tell the council how
to be more welcoming and inclusive.
August 5, 2020
Message calls Lincoln to stand together
Changes at the courthouse
In preparation for the restoration, court proceedings and county
meetings are taking place to the second floor of the Orr Building
across the street from the courthouse on Broadway. Offices on the
third floor of the courthouse were moved to other areas in the
[to top of second column]
During the restoration, Project Manager Bill
Walter of MRTS and construction management group CTS are leasing
office space on the first floor of the Orr Building to be used for
meetings and other work. These companies will be subleasing the
August 25, 2020
Logan County Board briefs for August
Another significant but sad event occurred August 23, when long time
board member Chuck Ruben died unexpectedly. For the better part of
the past 20 years Ruben served as finance chairman of the Logan
County Board with two of those years as board chairman.
Many persons in leadership called on Chuck for short answers or
important guidance. His family and friends, as well as co-board
members and department heads, all have felt the sudden void of one
who has been so central in their lives. As Logan County Treasurer
Penny Thomas said, Chuck was a leader, a teacher and a friend. I
feel the board, and the county as a whole, will feel the loss of his
experience for years to come." At the Regular Logan County Board in
October, board member Annette Welch presented the late Charles
Ruben’s family with a plaque recognizing his many years of service
to the board.
October 1, 2020
Civil servant Chuck Ruben leaves a finance legacy
October 26, 2020
Chuck Ruben family honored by Logan County Board
The year 2020 also was the end of many years of service for two
other long time public servants who retired November 30. In
resolutions written by Logan County Board member David Hepler, he
described what Mary Kelley and Robert 'Bob' Thomas accomplished
during their years working for the county. The two had a combined 57
years of service to the county.
Kelley had worked in the Circuit Clerk’s Office since 1979. She had
served as Logan County Circuit Clerk since being elected in 2010.
Kelley always worked well with the County Board and other office
holders. Among many other accomplishments, Kelley generated the
first e-filing with the state in October 2016.
Bob Thomas was elected as Logan County Coroner in 2004. Thomas chose
to run for coroner after completing a distinguished career in
Emergency Services and serving as Lincoln Rural Fire Chief. During
his time as Coroner, Thomas’s restructuring involved establishing an
actual office for the coroner and hiring several outstanding
individuals to serve as deputy coroners. Thomas also secured a van
to transport the deceased.
Tuesday, December 1, 2020
Logan County Circuit Clerk Mary Kelley and Coroner Bob Thomas retire
The Fifth Street Road project received more funding
in 2020, which will help the project move forward. Design work began
in 1996 on the rural section of Fifth Street Road. Since then, the
county has continued to make slow, but steady progress on the
project. Unfortunately, the cost of construction has not allowed the
project to move forward.
In March, Logan County Engineer Bret Aukamp said plans for
improvement were moving forward. A $2 million donation from Liberty
Power, who owns the Sugar Creek Wind Farm project, would help
supplement motor fuel tax funds.
In November, the Road and Bridge Committee approved appropriating
$4.3 million for construction of the western section of the Fifth
Street from the motor fuel tax and Liberty Power donation.
When the Logan County Board met for its November voting session,
they approved the funds to reconstruct a six-mile portion of the
The reconstruct will be between 100th Ave, known as the New
Holland/Middletown Blacktop and 700th Ave, known as Rocky Ford Road.
The six miles represents the major portion of the county's
responsibility for the road with the remaining couple of county
miles to be completed in the future.
The city of Lincoln is responsible for most of the portion between
Interstate 55 and the Lincoln Parkway.
March 20, 2020
Logan County moving forward with rural Fifth Street Road project
December 8, 2020
Logan County November briefs: Fifth Street Road construction funds
approved, Animal Control Wardens reappointed
December 9, 2020
Long awaited Fifth Street Road Project construction funds approved
by Logan County