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MAYOR SHOULD TAKE CHARGE
As the former executive director of Contact Ministries, I read with great concern about the issues involved among local agencies [Todd Spivak, "Packed house," May 6].
While I was at Contact Ministries, my co-directors and I worked very hard together to solve the problems we each faced. We built an active team of professionals who put the client first in all endeavors. It was an effective way to serve together. Although we actively sought publicity for our agencies to promote programs and attract donors, I found no one to be self-promoting.
Last summer, several of us met with Mayor Tim Davlin's then-chief of staff [Letitia Dewith-Anderson] to discuss the formation of a task force to address the problems of the homeless. I personally wrote the outline that was presented. At no time did we believe that one individual should represent all of the homeless community. It takes every agency serving that diverse population to work together to meet the many needs. Coming from a corporate background, I used to say, "There's plenty of business for all of us!"
I always found my co-directors to be strong professionals. I would encourage Mayor Davlin to take the lead with this task force and make the tough decisions needed to bring the agencies together to work on this important matter.
In your article about Jim McGill's stunt with a bottle rocket, there was no mention of an investigation by police, the sheriff's department, the state's attorney, or the Occupational Safety and Health Administration [Dusty Rhodes, "Moon shot," May 13]. The WQLZ (FM 92.7) Web site suggests this was a station-sanctioned stunt. Why wasn't McGill arrested? Why wasn't he prosecuted? Did he cause danger to others in the concert crowd? Did one of McGill's bosses sanction or order this activity? If not, why was he on top of the station's promotional vehicle? And why were McGill's antics being given play-by-play coverage by station announcers? How many laws were broken here? Where did McGill get the bottle rockets? And how many did he shoot before he injured himself?
JUSTICE FOR JULIE
Her name is Julie Rea-Harper. She is an inmate at the Dwight Correctional Center in Dwight, Ill. She is currently serving a 65-year sentence for the alleged murder of her 10-year-old son. She has been wrongfully convicted. The true killer sits in a cell on death row in Texas. He has confessed. He has information and details that only he would know. But yet, his confession isn't enough for the state's attorney in Lawrence County. Julie Rea-Harper continues to serve a sentence that is unjust and horrendous.
When will the voices be heard? When will someone stop and listen to the family, friends, and supporters of Julie Rea-Harper? When will this insanity come to a halt? When will their voices be heard?
That is my question! That is my cry! That is my prayer. That someone in authority will step up and say enough is enough! Are you that someone? Do you have any information or knowledge that will stop this insanity?
Julie has cried out by day and night to God, whom she loves and serves. Julie has risen above all obstacles to continue to endure the injustice that has been painfully thrown upon her.
I know God is able to bring the truth to light. I know this, yet still I am a voice crying out, "When is this insanity going to stop in the life of Julie Rea Harper?"
Rev. Lynette Barnett
Editor's note: Illinois Times writer Dusty Rhodes examined the Julie Rea-Harper case in "Who Killed Joel?" The story, published July 24, 2003, can be found at www.illinoistimes.com.
WHEN LULABELLE STOLE THE SHOW
I recently discovered Illinois Times online, and the piece on Lulubelle and Scotty struck a nostalgic chord [Bob Cavanagh, "History Talk," May 20]. After reading the story, I found several Web sites with good info about this country roots duo, even finding sites where I can buy CDs and cassettes of their music.
Your article has also prompted me to expand a Web page I created about my growing up along Business Route 66 in Lincoln, Ill. The page, at www.geocities.com/findinglincolnillinois/ruthhensons.html, is a part of a community history Web site I have developed as a public service to honor my hometown. It was recently recognized as the "Best Web Site of the Year" by the Illinois State Historical Society. If you visit the site, scroll to the images of covers of the WLS Family Albums that I have posted there.
In the WLS Family Album of 1936, there is an amazing two-page panoramic photo of the Illinois State Fair Grandstand when the WLS Barn Dance appeared there at the State Fair.
A quote from the album shows how Lulabelle stole the show: "The entire broadcast, including the coast-to-coast network show, originated there on the platform before an audience of eighteen thousand people. Every seat and every foot of standing room was taken from 7 o'clock until midnight. Presentation of silver cowbells to Governor Henry Horner and Director of Agriculture Walter McLaughlin were features of the program. Lulubelle, always up to some mischief, almost wrecked the show when she ran up and kissed the Governor at the close of his brief speech. State Fair officials declared the Barn Dance was an amazing demonstration of radio's power, bringing the largest crowd ever seen on the opening night of the State Fair."
Associate Professor of English
Southwest Missouri State University
SOMEONE HAS TO BE LYING
"We were just following orders" and the pathetic excuse "We didn't know what was going on" just won't cut it.
Every leader knows, if you really want to know what is going on, you have to go into the trenches and talk to the privates and sergeants. The same principle applies to the factory floor. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld needs to start visiting and listening to the soldiers, rather than pontificating to them in dog and pony shows. He needs to quit playing war general, and instead play platoon sergeant and get with the soldiers.
For me to see the photos of Abu Ghraib and read the Inspector General's report before President Bush, Rumsfeld, and General Richard Myers doesn't speak well of our war leadership. The whole chain of command was AWOL, and "the buck" stops far higher than the few enlisted members who have been charged.
And our people in Congress must not read their mail. William Lawson, the uncle of one on the MPs facing charges, sent approximately 20 letters to governors, senators, and congressmen concerning prison conditions, and the lack of written instructions or directives for his nephew's unit -- with no response.
Information provided by Lawson and follow-up contacts allowed the CBS production team to develop additional information about the 372nd MP Company, the 320th MP Battalion and the 800th MP Brigade. The subsequent intensive investigation produced the 60 Minutes II program seen on April 28 that exposed the abuses at Abu Ghraib, including the now historic photographs. Even while the Department of Defense was trying to stall the story from being run, the "brass" still hadn't read the report? Someone has to be lying.