2020 Year in Review

March begins calm ends chaotic

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[January 09, 2021]    By the first of March, 2020 the community was waking up and going strong.

Plans were underway for the annual Boy Scout Barbecue, the John Welsh Tournament for junior high athletes had occurred over the weekend that split February and March. Also that weekend Mount Pulaski had offered Barbara Stroud-Borth a friendly sendoff as she officially retired as the Mount Pulaski Historic Courthouse Site Director.

On Saturday afternoon, Barbara Stroud-Borth was the center of attention at the Mount Pulaski Courthouse. Borth was celebrating her last day as the site director of the courthouse. The community joined the Mount Pulaski Courthouse Foundation, all coming together to give her a memorable send off as she retires from her position.

Photo by Nila Smith

Mount Pulaski Courthouse Foundation sends well wishes to Barbara Stroud-Borth as she retires

John Welsh Memorial Tournament draws 1,500 young basketball players to Lincoln

The first week in March also saw a huge turnout in the Logan County Courthouse for a special veteran event.

The Logan County Veteran’s Assistance Commission, Military Order of the Purple Heart and the Logan County Board had joined together to create and dedicate a memorial wall for veterans who had served in the War on Terror.

Logan County Courthouse fills for War on Terror plaque dedication
Staff Sergeant Daniel Gresham remembered

On March 7th, LDN offered coverage from the LCHS Class 3A Regional Basketball Championship. The Railers won over Danville to become the regional champions with high hopes of moving forward throughout the next few weeks and taking the state championship at the end of the battles. Unfortuantely, that didn’t happen. When they beat Danville, the team had no idea that it would be the last tournament game they would play in 2020.

Lincoln escapes with a narrow win over Danville for the Class 3A Regional Championship

Railers win Class 3A Regional Championship - slideshow

The community of Elkhart made the news with the beautiful pipe organ that is a mainstay at the Elkhart Christian Church, and the lovely lady who has played if for so many years. Elizabeth Ann Anderson was celebrated for her more than sixty years as the organist at the church.

The Elkhart Historical Society recently hosted a lecture event at the Elkhart Christian Church featuring renowned organist and educator Dr. Paula Romanaux. Included in her presentation was a performance on the church's beautiful pipe organ and also special recognition of the church's resident organist Elizabeth Ann Anderson who has been making beautiful music at the church for the past 60 years.

Anderson, pictured center holding flowers, was joined by members of her family for a photo after a special plaque presentation by Romanaux and Dale Rogers, a representative from the American Guild of Organists.

Photos by Curtis Fox

Renowned organist and educator Dr. Paula Romanaux shares quest to find Carnegie organs

Romanaux visits Elkhart Christian Church - Album

In Lincoln, downtown businesses owners were working to enhance foot traffic into their stores. The Lucky Leprechaun contest was underway and all were hoping that 2020 would be a great year for the heart of the city. The group met on a regular basis to strategize and work together for the greater good of the whole.

Downtown Lincoln business owners bring unity and small town friendly feel to the heart of the city

On a national level, the first of March marked the day when cases of coronavirus were confirmed in the state of New York. Previously the disease had been circulating on the west coast, infiltrating first in California. The disease continued to spread.

In Logan County, the virus seemed to be having no impact, though by the second and third weeks of March the illness was spreading in larger metropolitan areas such as Chicago.

The last sporting events of the year may have been the Junior High Boys Basketball competitions.

Junior High Boys Basketball: Lincoln hosts the third annual All-State Junior High Classic
LJHS basketball standout Aidan Gowin crowned the 3-point champion

Jr. High Classic results - pictures

Hartsburg-Emden High School Scholastic Bowl Wins First Regional Title

All Remaining 2020 Illinois State Spring Sport Contests Canceled

With reports that the governor was going to take some drastic measures to control or prevent the spread of the virus, Lincoln Daily News turned to a trusted friend and medical professional Dr. Dru Hauter to get a professional opinion and advice on the Coronavirus.

Dr. Dru Hauter: sage analysis and advice about the Corona Virus

The state with the federal authorities began strongly urging people to stay home and not attend social events. On the federal level, the gravity of the situation was being taken seriously by some and not so much by others.

The first local event to take a hit from coronavirus was the annual Boy Scout Barbecue. While the number of takeout orders for the annual event increased substantially, the dining hall tables at the Knights of Columbus in Lincoln on Barbecue Sunday were nearly empty.

The empty tables on Sunday at the annual Boy Scout BBQ tell a big part of the story of what is going on in our community right now in response to the Coronavirus. Normally filled wall to wall with guests enjoying a fine meal of smoked pulled pork, sides and dessert, this year the eat-in option was not widely used. On the flip side, the ticket takers and greeters at the event said that carry-out orders were up compared to years past.

Photo by Nila Smith

Boy Scout BBQ sees reduction in numbers in light of Covid-19

On March 19th, the Logan County Department of Public Health, Logan County officials and members of the Logan County Community Health Collaborative gathered at the Logan County Courthouse to announce a Disaster Proclamation in response to Covid-19. The measure was taken as a pre-emptive measure to make sure that the county would have access to emergency supplies as needed.

Then, the governor issued his stay at home order, closing non-essential businesses and schools. Public meetings were to be limited or canceled, and thus began a long trek of local authorities learning how to continue day to day business in a more virtual world.

Logan County Department of Public Health Administrator Don Cavi came to the podium during a press conference Friday morning at the Logan County Courthouse. In the background were Angela Stoltzenburg representing Abraham Lincoln Memorial Hospital, Kara Davis with LCDPH, Logan County State's Attorney Brad Hauge, Logan County Board Chair Emily Davenport, Salena Matson LCDPH Emergency Response Coordinator, and Sheriff Mark Landers.

The group announced that the county was issuing a Disaster Proclamation in response to Covid-19. The proclamation opens the county up to additional resources of supplies and equipment that will be needed if and when the coronavirus arrives in Logan County.

Cavi reiterated that as of Friday morning, there were NO confirmed cases of coronavirus in Logan County. Eight people had been tested. Two were found negative and the other six test results still pending.

Photo by Nila Smith

Logan County issues disaster proclamation, Illinois Governor issues “Stay at Home” order

Logan County Disaster Proclamation - Pdf
Gov. Pritzker Announces Statewide Stay At Home Order to Maximize COVID-19 Containment, Ensure Health Care System Remains Fully Operational
Order Begins 5 p.m. Saturday
Governor Orders Local Governments to Halt Evictions, Bans Gatherings of More Than 10 People

Logan County Board takes measures to protect the public during open meetings
Limited seating at meetings, email public comments ahead of time, watch meetings via live streaming

City of Lincoln discusses Coronavirus - Sewer bills, restaurant parking, tax revenues, use of toilet paper, and next meeting

While many were still doubtful that the coronavirus was going to have an impact on the health of community, it was obvious that it was having an impact on the financial stability of our residents and local businesses.

Food pantries were going to be stretched to their limit because there were people out of work who had not been out of work in years, if ever. There were children home from school who were not going to benefit from school meal programs, and with all the layoffs household incomes were cut, making it hard to afford paying the bills, not to mention buying food.

And, as is typical for Logan County, there were those who were ready, willing and able to step up and do something to encourage our people and make life a little easier for those who were suffering.

On Wednesday morning, a volunteer at the Oasis Senior Center hands groceries through the driver's window of a vehicle. The Oasis hosted a drive-through food distribution for those in need. The response was overwhelming and proving a basic need in our community - food.

The Oasis is currently closed, even so, the organization came up with a way to help others. Thanks to Nancy Cunningham and the volunteers who pitched in for our community.

Photo by Karen Hargis

In these days of uncertainty about the coronavirus we need to bring attention, and lots of it, to the people who are coming up with positive ways to make a difference in our community. At Krueger Elevator a group of farmers gather regularly for their morning coffee and talk. This week they decided to conduct a food drive. One day they reached out to each other and all agreed they could lend a hand by donating to the Lincoln Logan Food Pantry. On Wednesday morning they gathered their donations and delivered them to the pantry in Lincoln.

Photo by Laura Tomlinson

Oasis Senior Center and a band of farmers each contribute to the well-being of others

[to top of second column]

Do you have heart? A lot of folks do! We are seeing these hearts in random locations throughout Lincoln and wanted to share. Our favorite is the top picture here because they are not just hearts; they show heartfelt appreciation for those on the front lines.

The center Heart says, "Thank you!" Then the hearts surrounding it name people for which the folks inside are thankful for - emergency workers, food providers, delivery drivers, mail carriers, the health department, medical workers, and law enforcement.

A very good point to remember, they do their jobs because their jobs contribute to the well being of the rest of us.

What an inspiration, and we are sure that those front line people appreciate the sentiment!

Photo by Karen Hargis & Nila Smith

As many of our readers already know, Teena Lowery is a very popular postal worker in Lincoln and also the official sports reporter for Lincoln Daily News. While out on her route the other day she snapped some photos of sidewalk chalk art on her route. The first three were taken on Pulaski Street. The fourth one, which is a personal message to Lowery, was taken on Nugent Place in the Mayfair Addition.

Photo by Teena Lowery

Lincoln Daily News, recognizing that there were a lot of folks spending their days at home with their children began posting information about things to do while staying at home. Each day items were added that included activities like making and flying a kite, playing outdoor games with children, and taking virtual tours of historic sites and museums.

Then came the first blow to the tourism and festival season, the Pigs & Swigs committee announced that in 2020 there would be no Up in Smoke BBQ competition. This would be the first announcement of many small and major local events that were canceled due to coronavirus.

Pigs & Swigs committee cancels 2020 festival

In other news

There was one horrible and deadly accident in Logan County at the beginning of the month. A Cessna 172 crashed on the west side of town, just past the Cracker Barrel Restaurant.

UPDATE: The Illinois State Police releases the identities of the occupants of the 2013 Cessna 172 that crashed on I-55 west of Lincoln on Tuesday morning.

The pilot was Mitchell W. Janssen, 22-year-old male of Princeville, IL. Passengers were Matthew R. Hanson, 33-year old male of Pulaski, WI (deceased) and Kevin G. Chapman, 30-year old male of Urbana, IL (deceased).

The airplane departed the Central Illinois Regional Airport in Bloomington, IL on the morning of Tuesday, Mar 03, 2020. The Cessna 172 crashed on Interstate 55 near the State Route 10, 126-mile post taking the lives of three occupants. Names were not released pending notification of kin.

The plane is reported to have crashed at 8:49 a.m. An eye witness said that the plane came in at a very sharp angle and nosedived. Crashing into the ground it was instantly engulfed in flames. The interstate was shut down several hours and traffic was re-routed through Lincoln.

Local first responders were active on the scene along with the Illinois State Police, who took the lead on the accident. The incident is under investigation.

The local Salvation Army tended to the needs of firefighters and other first responders providing food and water for those working the scene.

Photos from social media

John and Susan Adams of Atlanta were recognized as 2020 Master Farmers.

Congratulations to John and Susan Adams of Atlanta who have been named as 2020 Master Farmers by Prairie Farmer Magazine. The couple works side-by-side on their nearly 1,000 acres, and also for several years raised livestock on the family farm working beside John's father until his retirement in 1982.

Photo provided by Holly Spangler

The city of Lincoln recognized Art Whitham, who was awarded the 2020 Carnegie Hero Medal for saving the life of Logan County resident George Horn.

At the last meeting of the Lincoln City Council, Mayor Seth Goodman shared that Lincoln resident Art Whitham is a 2020 recipient of the Carnegie Hero Medal.

Whitham was recognized for his heroic efforts in assisting George Horn from his vehicle when it plunged into an icy pond in December 2018 after sliding off an icy road.

Photo from the Carnegie Hero website

Lincolnite Art Whitham recognized as Carnegie Hero for life-saving action

The Lincoln Area YMCA celebrated 20 years of 3-D archery.

Lincoln Area YMCA celebrates 20 years of 3D Archery

Lincoln Area YMCA celebrates 20 years of 3D Archery - slideshow

Lincoln College made the news a few times in March.

Lincoln College at 155 Years: "Where We’ve Been and Where We Are"

Lincoln College Bachelor of Law under way
New Students Join Law Program

Lincoln College and Lincoln Christian University Announce New Articulation Agreement
Students Can Pursue Five Degree Programs at Lincoln College

In the chamber of the Lincoln City Council, Fifth Street Road and city owned parks were discussed.

Engineering firms attempt to clean up confusion over Fifth Street Road project

Lincoln Park District offers "ideas” for the future of city parks to the City Council

The month ended with the announcement that the city would close all playgrounds in the city-owned parks due to coronavirus. The city parks were not closed for walking or other exercise, but no playground or exercise equipment could be used.

On Monday, by order of Lincoln Mayor Seth Goodman and the Lincoln City Council, crews went out and roped off all the playground area at city-owned parks. Children are not allowed to play on the playground equipment until further notice in response to the state restrictions to fight Covid-19.

We want to be clear. The city parks are not closed. People are still allowed to walk through the parks, but MUST observe social distancing.

Photos by Nila Smith

While March marked the beginning of the journey into Covid-19 for Logan County residents, the foreseeable future would provide no ending. There were ups and downs throughout the summer, fall, and into the winter. Businesses would eventually be permitted to re-open, but then many would be asked to close again.

The March spring break for school children would meld into to summer vacation and even as fall approached, public education was at risk. Schools scrambled to figure out how to cope with holding in-person classes and how to go about offering alternatives for those parents who were not comfortable sending their kids to the classroom.

All in all, March marked the beginning of a saga that would be in the foreground of all news for the next several months to come.

Yet, in spite of the difficult situation, there were those who figured out how to make a difference and how to celebrate our community as the strong, resilient society we have always been.

In coming reviews many examples of such will be touted in the 2020 year in review. Be sure to follow along as we look at our local heroes in the months ahead.

[Nila Smith]

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