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Dateline Dixon: There could be life left for Lincoln statue

DIXON – Inside Lincoln Elementary School there’s a statue of a young Abraham Lincoln, long before he became the country’s 16th president.

The statue depicts Lincoln, at age 7, reading a book.

After this school year, Lincoln Elementary School will be closed, and its students will move to another Dixon Public Schools building to address the financial woes facing the district.

But there may still be life for the statue.

Harriet Ann Badger, of Dixon, submitted a letter to the editor recently suggesting the statue might fit best at Northwest Territory Historic Center.

I spoke with Dixon Public Schools Superintendent Michael Juenger about the statue this week. While he said it’s ultimately a decision to be made by the school board, he was in favor of keeping the statue within the district.

The statue could find a worthy home, Juenger said, at Washington Elementary School, where the students are the same age as the bronze Lincoln.

The school board will talk about the statue, Juenger said, and take into account what the Dixon community wants.

‘City kid’ learning about life on a farm

Early last week, as I was standing out in the cold on a farm in Polo with Brent Scholl, we started talking about a virus.

The virus – porcine epidemic diarrhea, or PED – isn’t harmful to humans or other animals, but causes outbreaks of severe diarrhea and vomiting in pigs, according to the American Association of Swine Veterinarians.

Natural immunity develops within 2 to 4 weeks, according to the organization.

While this isn’t necessarily a Dateline Dixon dinner topic, I found something especially interesting when talking with Scholl: The virus can live on a surface – like a rock – for up to 10 days.

He had no reason to believe the virus had made its way to his farm, and said the Sauk Valley still was safe. He compared PED to other pig viruses in the past, and made it clear to me how serious this could be if it gets to this area.

I also asked Scholl about his cattle, and how they were handling the cold. As long as they had shelter from the wind, which they do, he said they should be fine to survive. The fact that they had some frost on their back, he said, was a good sign because it shows that they are insulated.

As someone who grew up in Chicago and has lived in cities bigger than Sterling, Dixon or Rock Falls my whole life, I find the agriculture industry and culture more and more interesting the more I get to know it.

Sauk Valley Media reporter Matt Mencarini covers government and happenings in Dixon. He can be reached at or at 815-284-2224, ext. 229. Follow him on twitter: @MattMencarini.

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