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Lt. Governor Sheila Simon to keynote Beardstown event 


Cass County Star-Gazette
July 17, 2013
By Leigh Morris

Illinois Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon will be the keynote speaker at the July 24 dedication of the Audio/Visual Project at the Old Lincoln Courtroom & Museum on Wednesday, July 24.

“What began as a dream more than a year ago is now a reality, thanks to the support of the greater Beardstown community,” said Connie Foley, who spearheaded the Audio/Visual Project. Foley serves as secretary of the Old Lincoln Courtroom & Museum Commission (OLCMC).

Five computer monitors have been installed in various locations in the museum and are available for viewing with narration in either Spanish or English. Through the video presentations, visitors learn about the various aspects of the museum.

The event featuring Simon will begin at 8:30 a.m. on July 24 at the museum. A reception honoring donors and the Friends of the Courtroom will immediately follow the formal dedication. The public is invited to attend.

Simon is the state’s 46th lieutenant governor. She is an attorney, educator and the mother of two daughters. Since her election, Simon has conducted a fact-finding tour of Illinois’ 48 community colleges. Her goal is to have 60 percent of the working-age adults to hold meaningful college degrees or certificates by 2025, up from the current level of 41 percent.

To help reach that goal, Simon helped craft legislation to establish the state’s first math curriculum for middle and high school students. The aim is to better prepare students for college and career math while reducing the need for costly remedial math courses at colleges.

The museum’s Audio/Visual Project features English narration by local businessman and actor Nathan Carls. Maricella Chavez, employed by Grand Avenue School, serves as the Spanish narrator. Beardstown attorney Milt McClure narrated the Almanac Trial video.

The videos were photographed, edited and produced by Paul LaMantia of Springfield. Bob Osborne, local computer expert, prepared and installed the different videos on each monitor. Kathy Haut, a museum volunteer, transcribed 28 pages of script from English into Spanish. The scripts were written by the museum’s active and retired commissioners. Some script information, especially about the river and the American Indian artifacts, was provided by Harold Tyson, Hap Swan and Herschel Logsdon. 

In addition, Circuit Court Judge Bob Hardwick and attorney McClure took time from their schedules to make the courtroom appear on screen as it is used for actual court sessions. This courtroom is the only one in the country where Lincoln practiced that is still in regular use for court.

In addition to donations from numerous individuals and businesses, students of the Beardstown schools who alone collected $813.50 through the “Pennies for Lincoln” campaign.