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Thursday, Nov. 14, 2013 12:01 am

Letters to the Editor 11/14/13

Participants in Abe’s River Race journey down a trek of the Sangamon River water trail known as the Lincoln Heritage Water Trail. The entire trail is 65 miles in length and spans two historic sites – the Lincoln Homestead State Park and the New Salem State Historic Site.



I read with great interest your recent article about the Sangamon River (“Paddling the Sangamon River water trail,” Jeanne Townsend Handy, Nov. 7). I grew up along the Sangamon and Illinois rivers because my dad was an avid outdoorsman. He is 87 now and loves to go for rides through Carpenter Park and Riverside Park.

He has some wonderful stories about how during the Depression people lived off the river for food. He told us about how his dad pulled him in a coaster wagon with nothing but potatoes down to the river where they would stay for days to catch fish and hunt. He also tells about how he used to take his shotgun to school at St. Al’s and hunt rabbits on his way home. That’s when North 19th Street was a dirt road.

He eventually had a farm along the Sangamon and what a beautiful place it was. My dad is a true historian without a college degree. He’s also a World War II veteran.

Thanks for the beautiful read. I could almost smell the river and woods when you were describing it.

Sandra Sklenka


It is hard to adequately express our deep disappointment upon learning that President Barack Obama will not attend the ceremonies marking the 150th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s delivery of the Gettysburg Address.

The tremendous loss of life at the Battle of Gettysburg – more than 50,000 casualties – was part of the high cost our country paid to be set in a new direction. In just 272 words, Lincoln eloquently delivered the message that the United States was one country, with one destiny.

As a politician, President Obama has often drawn parallels between himself and Lincoln, who set forth the change that eventually made the election of the first African-American president possible. President Obama launched his campaign here in Springfield, and he has twice taken the oath of office on Lincoln’s Bible. Therefore, his failure to appear at the Gettysburg ceremonies is both baffling and inexcusable.

The first African-American president should be present in Gettysburg on Nov. 19 to read the Gettysburg Address as Abraham Lincoln did 150 years ago. The president’s failure to appropriately honor this anniversary shows a lack of understanding of the enormity of the event and his place in history.

Mr. Obama’s very presidency is testament to the progress this nation has made, slow and painful though it may have been. He needs to honor that.

Jon Gray Noll


I was happy to read your announcement of the support group meeting of the Central Illinois chapter of The National Stuttering Association. This is a great organization that has helped many people who stutter.

In terms of children, I would like to mention to your readers that the website of The Stuttering Foundation (www.stutteringhelp.org) offers a brochure that explains that every child in the U.S., regardless of their family’s income, has the right to free speech therapy. The brochure is called “Special Education Law and People Who Stutter” and tells parents how to access free speech therapy. This benefit is not only for stuttering, but it includes all speech problems. Also, the website of the nonprofit Stuttering Foundation provides many free resources to people who stutter of all ages.

Mohammed Mustafa

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