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Thursday, March 28, 2013 11:04 am

Letters to the Editor 3/28/13

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Griffin Woods, about 20 acres of undeveloped land at the corner of Washington and Chatham Road across from Fairhills Mall, was once identified as a possible city park location. The Springfield Catholic diocese is selling the property for development as a
PHOTO BY PATRICK YEAGLE

FOLLOWING FRANCIS
Seeing as how a significant majority of Springfield’s Catholics oppose the destruction of Griffin Woods, I’m curious as to why a coalition of progressive Sacred-Heart Griffin students, faculty and parents haven’t organized to oppose the radical transformation of their campus from being located next to what is essentially a 20-acre nature preserve to being encroached upon by yet another strip mall, with all its traffic, fumes, flying plastic bags and huge garbage containers. Isn’t this a “no brainer”? This, in addition to the unnecessary destruction of thousands of plants and animals, birds and trees, is simply unconscionable when the church has just elected a “protector of the environment” as our new pope. The guy chose the name Francis for heaven’s sake. St. Francis of Assisi is his hero and role model, a saint that a previous pope anointed as the church’s “Patron Saint of Ecology.” The saint is usually pictured standing in the woods with birds fluttering around his shoulders and small animals scurrying around his feet.

If all nature and animal lovers in Springfield would send a tweet to Pope Francis at Pope Francis @Pontifex, simply saying, “Save Griffin Woods,” I bet we’d have a chance of doing just that.

Mike Townsend
Springfield


A RIVER RUNS THROUGH IT
The city council wisely authorized further studies to determine whether drawing water from the gravel lakes east of town would significantly impact neighboring wells. The city also needs to ask Layne Hydro (the contractor hired to do the study) to consider whether those impacts can be avoided by using the river to recharge the lakes.

Council members were informed by Layne’s report last August that in a severe drought, the gravel lakes can produce far more water than CWLP says it needs, because the lakes are slowly and continuously recharged by water from the surrounding aquifer.

Are the lakes connected to the river, as well as the aquifer? Perhaps it can be used without impacting downstream communities and habitat. Smarter management of existing water supplies, surface and underground, might meet Springfield’s needs with less environmental impact and at a far lower cost than the destruction of thousands of acres of forest, agricultural land, wetlands and historical sites entailed by the $100 million Hunter Dam boondoggle.

Don Hanrahan
Springfield


GETTING GUS
I read Scott Faingold’s nice article about Gus Gordon (“Gus’s new gig,” Mar. 21). It reminded me of something. When my son graduated from New York University’s Tisch School of Arts, Tony Kushner spoke to an audience filled with parents who had spent a fortune on a college education who were now wondering how in the world their children were going to earn a living. Tony said that the students graduating that day could not work a 9-5 job. They could work six days a week from 7 a.m. to midnight, but they couldn’t work 9-5. It helped. I got it. I thank Gus, and all of the creative people who make 9-5 possible for the rest of us.

Sandy McCollum
Chatham


SHAFTING WORKERS
For years, the Illinois General Assembly has taken money earmarked to pay state workers’ and retirees’ pensions and money earmarked to pay vendors and instead spent it on other things. Both groups need to be paid that money in order to survive. Businesses can choose to stop doing business with the state of Illinois and cultivate other customers for income, but state workers and retirees cannot.

Vendors who have supplied labor and/or materials to the state of Illinois will eventually be paid in full plus interest; yet the state workers and retirees who have supplied labor to the state will instead have their pensions “reformed” and will not be paid in full if the governor, Senate and House leaders and the General Assembly have their way. Both groups worked for the state in good faith yet are not being treated equally. Where’s the fairness in that?

Jeff Donohue
Chatham

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