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Supervisors settle on new facility name

The war is over, and the Yankees won … again.

Lincoln County supervisors have renamed the county’smulti-purpose facility as “Lincoln Civic Center,” forever droppingthe short-lived title “Lincoln Center” after facing a potentialtrademark lawsuit from New York City’s Lincoln Center for thePerforming Arts. County officials at first made light of LCPA’sdemands the name be changed, but were forced to seriously considerthe ramifications of fighting the northern aggressors in court andsignaled a surrender Monday.

“There are no trademarks using that name (Lincoln Civic Center),but if something comes out of the woodwork, I recommend we go tothe (mat) on it this time,” said Pat McCullough, a member of theLincoln Civic Center Commission.

News of New York’s demands went national in December whencommentators ridiculed LCPA’s assertion that local use of the term”Lincoln Center” was “likely to cause confusion with the trademarkrights of LCPA.”

The Big Apple’s Lincoln Center hosts operas and ballets; LincolnCounty’s center hosts horse and cattle shows. The two are separatedby about 1,200 miles.

In the final analysis, many Lincoln County residents wantedsupervisors to thumb their noses at the seemingly snooty andwell-funded LCPA, but the name “Lincoln Center” was in facttrademarked by that organization. At the commission’srecommendation, supervisors sidestepped a costly court battle withthe name change.

But not without having a little fun one last time.

“I’m glad we got this resolved – this could have led to anothersecession from the Union. Remember Jones County?” McCullough said,referring to the “Free State of Jones,” a Mississippi myth statingthat county seceded from the state during the Civil War.

Lincoln County Chancery Clerk Tillmon Bishop called the entireaffair – in which the multi-purpose facility’s name changed threetimes – a “giant waste of time.”

“I certainly hope our friends from New York can rest easy nowthat we are not encroaching on them,” he said.

Rehashing the most popular sarcastic remark made about theaffair last year – board attorney Bob Allen’s assertion the Russianballet might get confused and travel to Brookhaven instead of NewYork – Lincoln Civic Center Manager Quinn Jordan said he receivedno phone calls from Russia and mediated no confusion from the finearts community.

“I never had to book the airport to fly them in, either,” hesaid. “And, Dr. David Braden and his family visited New York andlooked for a cow show all over the city and couldn’t find one.”

On a serious note, the center was renamed because “Lincoln CivicCenter” achieved the commission’s goals of adjusting the facility’simage away from agriculture-only and avoided a trademark battle.Jordan said the name was one of a few final choices – along withLincoln County Center and Lincoln Central- when Lincoln Center wasoriginally selected.

“In different times and different economic conditions, I thinkthe board and my commission would have looked at what we could havedone to maintain that name, but trying to be frugal with what wehave right now is more important than being right,” he said.