Rural areas have been in decline for years–the data shows it. Jobs and people have been moving away from small towns, crime and other problems have crept in. Books and news reports tell the story.

But data is simply an intangible abstraction. What happens when it’s your town that’s featured in the news story?

Last month former Lincoln, Illinois, resident and NPR correspondent Kelly McEvers wrote a story about returning to Lincoln. It aired on NPR on Tuesday, November 12, and portrayed a town that had given itself over to drugs, decay, and fear. A town that had curled up like a wretched, dying dog, a town waiting for its last generation of children to move away forever and then, finally, to be consumed by the very prairie which had given it life 150 years earlier.

No phoenix for Lincoln, just ashes.

Some folks who live here took exception to that NPR story. They didn’t dispute the facts as they were presented, but they did feel it was characterized by a biased view and an unrepresentative sample of the people who live and work here. Some have shared their own views in our local media:

Mike Fak – Logan County Herald

Mayor Keith Snyder – Logan County Herald

Sam Redding – Lincoln Courier

Dr. Lynda Ulrich & Dr. Chuck Verderber – Logan County Herald

Many of the people who live in Lincoln like the community and want it to be a vibrant place for living, learning, business, and raising families. It’s not the town that was one-sidedly sketched in the NPR story but, honestly, we’ve got some work to do.

There’s a growing movement that’s being called We Are Lincoln. It’s not been created or ordained by the mayor, city council, or county government.

It’s just people.  People who live here and who want to make a difference.

We met a month ago and we’re meeting again tonight at Abraham Lincoln Memorial Hospital at 7:00 PM to talk about making this a better place to work and live.

Love to see you there–come on out if you’d like to be part of the future of Lincoln.

By the way–got a news story to share? Drop it in the comments below.