It has been 20 years since voters in Rock Island County have not found an incumbent on the ballot for recorder of deeds. That is how long Democrat Pat Veronda served in the elected position before announcing her retirement last year. On Nov. 6 voters will choose between Republican Tony Holland, of Silvis, and Democrat Kelly Fisher, of Rock Island. Mr. Holland is chief legislative aide for state Rep. Rich Morthland. Ms. Fisher has served 20 years in the recorder's office -- the last 18 as chief deputy. The main focus of the office is providing information on the history of property in the county. We could debate why the recorder needs to be elected, but we save that for another time. Property owners, banks and Realtors expect quick and accurate service when they deal with the office, and, for the most part, we believe they have received that. Both candidates come from service-oriented backgrounds and say they will continue that commitment in the recorder's office. Both want to get more of the county's historical documents accessible online -- a laudable goal, but one which requires time and money. If voters are happy with how the office has been run and want to continue with a veteran hand on the tiller, electing Ms. Fisher should provide a smooth transition. But if they see this as a once-in-two-decades opportunity to bring in someone with a new perspective who might see new ways to enhance service, Mr. Holland offers that option. Both have earned our support and should be commended for running professional, issue-oriented campaigns.
Today is Wednesday, Dec. 11, the 345th day of 2013. There are 20 days left in the year. 1863 — 150 years ago: The message of Abraham Lincoln, read in congress yesterday, is published in full in our paper today, with a new proclamation relating the terms upon which states can return to the union. 1888 — 125 years ago: An appropriation has been made by congress for the improvement of the upper Mississippi River with $200,000 set aside for the portion of the river between Keokuk and the mouth of the Illinois River. 1913 — 100 years ago: Work of remodeling First Swedish Lutheran Church at 4th Avenue and 14th Street was nearly completed. 1938 — 75 years ago: An unexplained outbreak of tularemia (rabbit fever) in the state has Illinois public health officials puzzled. Ten persons have died, and 243 are officially reported ill with the infection. 1963 — 50 years ago: A dramatic, multi-million dollar riverfront improvement project for the downtown area of Rock Island was unveiled at a meeting of 200 civic leaders at noon today. 1988 — 25 years ago: For several supporters of the Dispatch Goodfellow/Argus Santa program their donation is a year long project. Emma Pugh and Anne Persinger spent a good part of their spare time this year knitting forty pairs of mittens and slippers.