Letters to the Editor 3/29/18
CUBA IS COOL
Bruce Rushton’s comments about Cuba (“Paradise and the Y Block,” Illinois Times, March 22) could not be further from the truth. I just visited Cuba in January. Every car had windshield wipers with no one there to protect them. The restaurants have wonderful food. Their economy is tough, but they survive well. I spoke to my church (First Presbyterian Church in Springfield) last week about my experience. Here is my story:
I was not sure of what to expect when we traveled to Cuba. My knowledge was limited. I had no idea of what a communist country once ruled by the enigmatic Fidel Castro would be like. We landed in Santa Clara. The airport was rough and seemed barely large enough for our jet airliner to squeeze into. We loaded into a school bus and began our trek into the dusky evening on roughly paved bumpy roads.
We made it to Sancti Spiritus a few hours later. Our hotel was surprisingly bright, clean and inviting. We then went to the church and met the people waiting there to greet us. Instantly I was impressed by the nice congregation and friendly reception. I walked to the doorway of to the church area and looked in. Two youths approached me and introduced themselves, Rocio and Caesar. Rocio is a college student. She is a lovely young woman with a heart of gold. Caesar is a young teen who plays the violin and whistles like a cricket. They were among the first of many wonderful, friendly and smart Cubans that I was to meet.
Cubans may struggle with fundamentals like housing, adequate food and reliable infrastructure. But they do not struggle with good manners, intelligence and faith. We got to know Sancti Spiritus well, both the city and its people. We see their challenges, but we see more of how special they are. Everyday conveniences we as U.S. citizens take for granted are hard to come by in Cuba. Yet we can learn from their strength. We can work to make their lives better. We can convince our government to end the embargo. We can continue to visit and break down the barriers that have been built to separate us from Cuba.
What a disappointment to read that Illinois Times will no longer have the crossword puzzle available in its printed edition. It is not just “old farts” attacking the crossword with zeal. Every week my three children look forward to the new Illinois Times, and the first thing they do is turn to the crossword. They sit for extended periods of time with their grandpa discussing clues and completing the puzzle. I love witnessing this interaction and appreciate this intergenerational learning experience.
How much research has shown that children today cannot write because of texting, spell-check and other technology dependence? Now Illinois Times has chosen to remove another opportunity for young and old alike to continue building vocabulary, spelling skills and logic.
I join “A Reader’s” March 15 peaceful protest, and I express my displeasure with the decision to eliminate the crossword puzzle from print. Please rethink this decision.
A PUZZLED PLEA
I would like to express my sadness regarding your decision to place all Illinois Times puzzles online only. Doing the crossword on a Sunday over a cup coffee at a coffee shop is one of my small joys in life. It provided me with one of the few breaks after a hectic work week to unplug from all electronic/social media. Alas, now, sadly, this one simple cathartic indulgence is being closed out. I’ve enjoyed the Illinois Times because of its portability, its insight on local politics, movie reviews, music calendar and crossword puzzle. If at all possible, I would like to request you reconsider this decision. Without the IT crossword and its therapeutic qualities, my Illinois Times experience will be considerably diminished.