2020 Year in Review

August # Where there is a will there is a way

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[January 12, 2021]   If August in Logan County were to be given one universal hashtag, a good one might be (#) Where there is a will there is a way. The month began with standing traditions being observed in new and unconventional ways, and ended the same.

The opening days of August should have been the Logan County Fair, but that didn’t happen. There were no Downstate Classic Harness Races, no carnival, no midway filled with fair food and drink, and no 4-H scrambles night for all to enjoy. Even so, there were remnants of the fair that did happen, only in a modified version.

Beginning with the popular Logan County Queen Pageant that normally took place in front of a packed grand stand, the event became a small invitation only activity held on the Lincoln Stage. Also different was the way the competition was held. The three competitions for Little Miss, Junior Miss and Miss Logan County Fair Queen were separated and held at three different times of day.

Seats were provided for supporters of the individual contestants and press. Each contestant was permitted to invite a designated number of guests to attend. And seats were spread out with social distancing. After each competition, the Logan County Fair Pageant Committee cleaned each chair and regrouped the seating according the invitees expected at the next event.

The contests were also recorded and played via social media.

Logan County Fair Royalty were crowned on Sunday during a limited attendance pageant held on the Lincoln Stage of the Logan County Fairground. Pictured are newly crowned 2020 Miss Logan County Fair Queen Faith Doerr, Junior Miss Grace Carter, and Little Miss Aubrey Rogers.

2020 Miss Logan County Fair Pageants

Faith Doerr crowned as 2020 Logan County Fair Queen

Miss Logan County Fair Queen - Meet the candidates - slideshow

Miss Logan County Fair Queen - A new Queen wins her crown - slideshow

Aubrey Rogers and Grace Carter named 2020 Little Miss and Junior Miss Logan County Fair

Little Miss Logan County - Meet the candidates - slideshow

Little Miss Logan County - a new Little Miss wins the crown - slideshow

Junior Miss Logan County - Meet the candidates - slideshow

Junior Miss Logan County - A new Junior Miss wins her crown - slideshow

Logan County 4-H also found a way to carry on the annual exhibits for its members via the 4-H website.


Logan County 4-H members maintain age-old traditions with new innovation and technology

Atlanta Ag 4-H Club

Atlanta Town and Country 4-H Club

Beason Ag 4-H Club and Chester 4-H Club

Cloverdale 4-H Club, Four Corner Clovers and Four Corner Buddies Cloverbud 4-H Club

Hartem Clovers, Hollanders 4-H , Middletown 4-H’ers and Middletown Cloverbuds

The Pioneers and Topper 4-H

Wide-A-Wake Club

The annual 4-H scholarships were announced via local media. It was also announced in August that Stacie Skelton had been named to the 2020 4-H Hall of Fame.

Logan County 4-H Foundation awards scholarships

Stacie Skelton named to 2020 4-H Hall of Fame

The annual Logan County Fair Junior Carcass Show was also able to go on.

Congratulations to Ryder Conrady (left) and Brett Hayes who are this year’s champions in the Logan County Fair Junior Carcass Show.

Ryder took top spot in Beef Carcass while Brett snagged the title for Pork Carcass.

Other Beef Carcass winners were: Griffen Turner, Porter Schwantz, Jamie Lynn Hill, Conner Adams, Isabella Miller, Addison Young, James Byrd, Paul Schwantz and Peyton Schwantz.

Other Pork Carcass winners were: Andrea Noltensmeier, Drew Hayes, Luke Prestegaard, Max Ramlow, Ryder Conrady, Malina Luckhart, Ryan Fruge, Reagan Titus and Lucy Prestegaard.

Winners shared premium dollars of over $2,000 made possible by local sponsors.

Photo by David Opperman

At the end of the month another favorite event in Logan County returned. The Balloons Over Route 66 weekend came back in a modified version. While there was not a full weekend filled with activities, the balloons and the Oasis Flea Market that had been revived in 2019 came back in a new format in 2020.

For the balloon events, local pilot and event organizer Seth Goodman asked that all guests to the flights and glows remain in their vehicles. Though part of the fun of the event has always been the ability to interact with the pilots and get close to the balloons while they are on the ground, it was not to be permitted in 2020. On Friday and Saturday the crowd was respectful of the request, and a large number of people turned out to see as much as they could from the comfort of their vehicles.

What visitors could and did do was chase the balloons after the lifted off. Hundreds of cars followed the balloons on both Friday and Saturday evening, getting the full picture of what it is like to be in a balloon from lift off to landing.

Balloons over Route 66 weekend brings the smiles back to Lincoln

Friday night lift off at the Bateman residence- slideshow

Friday night launch at the Tanner property - slideshow

Balloons in flight on Friday night - slideshow

Balloons dot the horizon Friday evening - slideshow

What goes up must come down - slideshow

Friday night flights are golden - Album

Saturday evening inflation at the Doolin residence - slideshow

The work it takes to get them in the air - slideshow

Guests enjoy watching Eighth Street inflation - slideshow

On Saturday night, a perfect glow event brought an end to a perfect weekend in Lincoln. The second annual Balloons Over 66 is now in the history books. Now that it is behind us it is time to review all that happened and the beautiful memories. The weekend will be noted as a bright spot in a weird year. Thanks to all who made it possible!

Photo by Karen Hargis

Balloons head south on Saturday evening - slideshow

Reader shares her photos from Balloons Over 66 - Album

Mayfair Park a perfect place for a Saturday night glow - slideshow

Night glow at Bateman's an ideal end to an ideal weekend -slideshow

At the Oasis Senior Center in Lincoln the flea and vendor market was held around the walking track behind the center. Vendors lined the track and shoppers were instructed to make the trip around the track one-way only. Masks were encouraged, and shoppers were asked to observe social distancing.

Saturday - Oasis vendors enjoy the day - slideshow

Shoppers have many choices at Oasis Vendor Fair – slideshow

The Oasis also offered its annual food event via a drive through option. In addition, there were other food opportunities that popped up around town as well as sidewalk sales with downtown merchants and a few garage sales scatted around town.

Plenty to do all around town on Saturday - slideshow

Early in 2020, Lincoln Daily News had begun a new Community Champion recognition project. Due to the coronavirus the project had to be suspended.

In August the project was revived. Though that revival was short-lived, it was with great pleasure that LDN staff visited Bill Gossett and Judy Busby at WLCN radio in Atlanta and presented the pair with the August Community Champion traveling trophy.

On Wednesday morning, Lincoln Daily News made a surprise visit to Judy Busby and Bill Gossett at the WLCN radio station right before they went on air with their talk show "Viewpoint." The purpose of the visit was to recognize the two as the August LDN Community Champions. Each received a lovely planter donated by Debbie's Downtown Floral, and the traveling trophy will be on display at the radio station for the next week.

Congratulations to both. In their lifetimes, they have positively impacted many people, not only through their show but also in their daily lives.

Photo by Nila Smith

Judy Busby and Bill Gossett named LDN’s Community Champions for August

Habitat for Humanity of Logan County made the news in August as they broke ground on the 25th Logan County home.

Habitat for Humanity of Logan County breaks ground on home no. 25

Habitat for Humanity of Logan County breaks ground on home No. 25 - slideshow

Video recording of event by Jill Voyles

In other good news

Eight graders at New Holland Middletown School finally had their graduation.

Congratulations to the New Holland Middletown Class of 2020, who finally got to have their graduation!

Back row from the left: Sponsors Christina Thompson and Abigayle Hill. Students Bryan Leonard, Alex Doty, Kayden Skelton, Darren Stevens, Nate Davis, Jayce Coers and NH-M Superintendent Brandi Bruley.

Front row: Students Emma Rodgers, Jenna Dorgan, Caitlyn Summers, Kyndell Ginger, Lyssa Walker, Callie Wahlsmith, Rylee Davison, Emy White and Liyah Carter.

Photo by Annie Coers

On August 7th, National Purple Heart Day was recognized locally with the help of Logan County Sheriff Mark Landers and Joe Schaler of the local Purple Heart community.

Today, Friday, August 7th, is National Purple Heart Day. Logan County Sheriff and veteran Mark Landers, and local veteran and Purple Heart Community advocate Joe Schaler, observe the day by standing for a photo with the Military Order of the Purple Heart Flag that flies daily on the lawn of the Logan County Courthouse in Lincoln.

Logan County and all of its communities are Purple Heart Communities. In addition, the state of Illinois is a Purple Heart State.

The Purple Heart was established by General George Washington in 1782 and is awarded to those wounded or killed in combat. It is the oldest military medal. In 1932, the Order of the Purple Heart was chartered by Congress.

The Order motto is, "All gave some, some gave all."

Photo provided by Joe Schaler

Zailey Merreighn, a young student at Northwest School did a good deed for her school and the children who will play there for years to come.

On Wednesday afternoon, Northwest School Principal Chris Allen invited student Zailey Merreighn to be the first one to officially check out a new swing installed over the summer on the school playground. The invitation was given as a thank you for Zailey's efforts to raise money to help cover the cost of the new swings and their installation.

Later, Zailey enjoyed a few minutes on the new swings as her grandparents Jack and Roberta Merreighn watched.

Photos By Nila Smith

Zailey Merreighn gets the first round on new playground equipment at Northwest School

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LDN featured a piece about the sculptures that were showing up at Kickapoo Creek Park courtesy of local wood carver Darrel Wibben.

Local woodcarver Darrell Wibben has been at it again, turning wasted wood into art at Kickapoo Creek Park. A few weeks ago, LDN ran a shot of an owl all decked out for summer. That owl was the work of Wibben. Soon after, we heard that Wibben was at the park working on a new project.

The wolf Wibben is working on in the photo will be his ninth addition to the park.

Photo by Karen Hargis

Local sculptor adds interest to the journey at Kickapoo Creek Park

Though the Youth Wresting programs had ended early in 2020 due to the coronavirus, Jack Benninger was the recipient of the third annual Walt Landers Wrestling Scholarship.

On Wednesday evening Jake Benninger was recognized as the recipient of the third annual Walt Landers Wrestling Scholarship by the Lincoln Area Wrestling Boosters Association. Head Coach of the Lincoln Youth Wrestling Program Walt Landers presented the $1,000 scholarship.

Jake is a 2020 graduate of Lincoln Community High School. He plans to attend Eureka College in the fall to major in Special Education and will play football for his college next spring. Jake is the son of Jerry and Tricia Benninger of Lincoln.

Photos By Nila Smith

Benninger awarded Walt Landers Wrestling Scholarship

A rare bee was discovered at Lincoln College’s Creekside.

Amateur naturalist Pam Moriearty recently snagged this shot of an American Bumblebee at Lincoln College's Dr. G. Dennis Campbell Creekside Outdoor Center for Environmental Education. The once abundant species is now listed as "vulnerable" and is the first to be seen at Creekside. The bee was verified via the University of Illinois "Beespotter.org." Over 400 Midwest bee sightings have been reported in 2020, but only 12 have been verified as the American Bumblebee.

Photo by Pamela Moriearty

Rare American Bee Species Discovered at Lincoln College Creekside Center
Bombus pensylvanicus Identified in Prairie Plot

And there were “Happy Feet” (but not on penguins) around the county.

There are Happy Feet around Logan County

At least one local business man found a unique way to meet with employees for paycheck distribution, under the shade trees of Latham Park.

How's this for a great place to set up a temporary office? After putting in their hours under the warm (and sometimes hot) summer sun, Wibben Detasseling employees were asked to visit the shady Latham Park in Lincoln to pick up their pay. Owner Cale Wibben and staff are also very aware of the need to 'mask up" and stay clean. Boxes of masks were on the table and a plentiful supply of hand sanitizer was also available for all.

Thanks Cale, for taking care of your crews, many of whom are the young people of this community.

Photo by Karen Hargis

LDN’s roaming reporter, Curtis Fox was at it again. Visiting Kickapoo Creek Park, Fox caught a shot of these fawn.

It is the time of year in Kickapoo Creek Park when wildlife babies are plentiful, including these two precious fawns. The baby animals have very little fear and seemed to be posing sweetly for the camera.

Photo by Curtis Fox

Fox and LDN reader Doug Brooks then got into shooting bugs, not with guns or slingshots, but with their cameras, bringing all of us some really amazing photos.

Earlier this week, Curtis Fox grabbed a shot of this beautiful butterfly in the first picture. Then on Friday, Doug Brooks sent a picture of one very similar.

These butterflies are female Eastern Tiger Swallowtail. The gender is apparent by their coloring as only the females feature the blue on their hind wings or the tail area. Females do come in a variety of shades including a nearly black butterfly with "ghost" tiger stripes on the forewing.

The females with the bright yellow and black tiger stripe are the most notable. These butterflies have the ability to become quite large with a mature wingspan of up to five inches.

And here's an interesting fact to think about. The males prefer females with bright yellow, but it is the dark females that live longer. Hmmm.

Thanks to both Curtis and Doug for the lovely photos.

Photos by Curtis Fox and Doug Brooks

Mother Nature also blessed us with one of her magical performances in August.

Monday evening a fierce wind blew through Logan County causing some tree and other damage as it passed. Along with, but toward the end of the wind, came a brief rain. Following that, two LDN readers were stepping outside and caught a glimpse of this magnificent bow.

The top photo taken by Lindsey Maxheimer was the view from a parking lot on Woodlawn Road in Lincoln. The second photo, provided by Matthew Williams, was taken from a slightly higher vantage point at the Comfort Inn in Lincoln. Thanks so much to both readers for providing these amazing shots!

Photos provided by Lindsey Maxheimer and Matthew Williams

In other news

The Lincoln City Council was taking measures to address equality and diversity within the city and an alderman tendered his resignation. The council also took measures to allow chickens for egg production in town and to address delinquent sewer bills and the halt of the moratorium on shut off notices.

Due to moving out of Ward Two, Alderman Colby Leith has tendered his resignation from the Lincoln City Council. Leith accepted the appointment to the seat under former Mayor Seth Goodman in February of this year.

The Tuesday, August 25th meeting was Leith’s last meeting. He was presented with a plaque by Acting Mayor Tracy Welch in appreciation for his service to the city.

August is a five Monday month and Monday, September 7th is the official Labor Day holiday. The next session of the council will be held on Tuesday, September 8th.

Lincoln City Council:
Aldermen lay groundwork for new Diversity and Inclusion Commission

Chickens for egg production now permitted in the city of Lincoln

Water shut off procedures for delinquent sewer bills to resume September 1st in Lincoln

The Lincoln Rural Fire Protection District received a grant from Ameren Illinois, and local first responders were called to action at the abandoned Ardagh Glass plant.

Lincoln Rural Fire Protection District receives $2,000 Grant from Ameren Illinois
Funds will help improve community and first responder safety

A fire Wednesday afternoon at the Ardagh Glass Plant, aka Lincoln bottle factory, was controlled quickly by local firefighters. Lincoln, Lincoln Rural, Mount Pulaski and Atlanta Fire Departments were on the scene along with the Logan County Paramedics and Logan EMA. Mutual Aid fire equipment was also brought from Springfield to help clear the smoke from the building.

According to Lincoln Fire Chief Bob Dunovsky the fire started due to work being done inside the building by a construction/demolition crew. The crew attempted to extinguish the fire, but it quickly got out of hand, so they called for help.

The fire was contained to a specific area and extinguished in less than 90 minutes.

Ardagh closed in April of 2019 and has stood idle since.

Read a full report in today's edition of Lincoln Daily News.

Photos by Jan Youngquist and Karen Hargis

First responders make quick work of putting out a fire at the Ardagh Glass Plant

Drone shots of the Ardagh fire - Album

In coronavirus news, the numbers in Logan County took a huge turn in August. At the beginning of the month there were 84 year to date cases confirmed and by the end of the month that number had climbed to 254. The Logan County Department of Public Health also reported the first covid related death for the county and Lincoln College reported that the virus was at the school. From the state’s Department of Public Health, it was announced that Logan County was not at “warning level.”

Saturday, August 8, 2020
Logan County Department of Public Health reports first COVID-19 death in the county

Lincoln College Reports Confirmed Case of COVID-19
Message from President David Gerlach

Logan County among 20 Illinois counties at Warning Level for Coronavirus Disease

Due to a lack of business and an intentional de-escalation of tourism in Illinois, the Palms Grill in Atlanta announced that it was unable to withstand the financial hit and would be closing. Another popular activity in Logan County was also cancelled for 2020.

Palms Grill in Atlanta closes due to tourism falloff

Christmas on Vinegar Hill canceled for 2020
Board looking forward to a great event in 2021

The month of August was a good month in Logan County. Though covid was still a present and dangerous threat to all, the community did what it could to move forward and enjoy life as it was.

That same spirit of thriving in unusual circumstances would continue in September when many more good things happened in our community.

[Nila Smith]

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