Letters to the editor
In and around Springfield
We welcome letters, but please include your full name, address and a daytime telephone number. We edit all letters for libel, length and clarity.
Send letters to: Letters, Illinois Times. P.O. Box 5256. Springfield, Illinois 62705. Fax: (217) 753-3958. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
LOOKING FOR A “POSITIVE” PLAN
A lot of misinformation [has circulated] about the Illinois Audubon Society and the Adams House at its sanctuary on Clear Lake Avenue. We’d like the opportunity to clarify a few things. First, the society has not made a final decision on the future of the house. We hope a solution can be found that will preserve the house but also allow us to carry out Margery Adams’ true wishes.
Regardless of what some people think, Miss Adams did not ask the society to preserve her home. In fact, when she deeded the property to us, she specifically allowed for the demolition of the house [see Linda Hughes, “Tearing down the house,” June 23]. Her intent was for her property to be preserved as a wildlife sanctuary, and we have faithfully honored her directive.
Consistent with our mission, we have also used the property to educate children about wildlife conservation. Because of structural limitations and high operation costs, the house does not meet our current and future needs. We want to build a new, energy-efficient structure to handle an expanded educational program. In her deed, Miss Adams authorized us to erect such a building.
The Illinois Audubon Society is the oldest conservation organization in Illinois, having protected wildlife habitat and fostered an appreciation for birds and wildlife for 108 years. The Adams Wildlife Sanctuary is one of many that we own and care for. Several of our sanctuaries provide critical habitat for threatened and endangered species. We work hard at carrying out our mission, which is the first priority of every responsible not-for-profit organization.
Those who are truly interested in the preservation of the house need to come forward now with a positive plan and also help us fulfill our need for a new, separate, energy-efficient structure. We look forward to such a dialogue.
Marilyn F. Campbell
Illinois Audubon Society
IN DEFENSE OF DO-GOODERS
This responds to F.N. Ross’ misinformed, myopic, and mean-spirited letter [July 28] about “historic do-gooders” who “do nothing now but complain later” and who don’t spend their “time, effort, or money” to save historic buildings and who “don’t have much — if any — of a record in actually accomplishing what they espouse.”
Who or what is Ross describing? I guess Carolyn Oxtoby, Fletcher “Bud” Farrar, Save Old Springfield, and, before it, the Historic Preservation Association of Springfield qualify as “historic do-gooders” (we’d prefer “historic preservationists”). Oxtoby has put considerable time, effort, and financial risk into restoring the Maldaner’s complex and the Fisher-Latham block along Sixth Street. Farrar’s organization has restored many older homes in the Enos Park neighborhood. Members of the HPAS developed German Settlers Row on Cook, including the move there of threatened buildings from Monroe and College, and helped rescue, among others, the building now housing the State Court of Appeals on Monroe. SOS jumped in just ahead of the bulldozers to save the 1857 21-room Judge Taylor House at 12th and Cass and has literally poured in sweat, blood, and more than $20,000 of personal money just to make it safe and stable.
Get the facts before criticizing public-spirited citizens who not only believe in and espouse the preservation of significant parts of our past but who also put much time, effort, and money behind their advocacy. In so doing, they’ve helped make our city a more historically attractive place to live and to visit.
Save Old Springfield
COME ON-A MY HOUSE
I would like to congratulate the Springfield Mass Transit District for organizing a historic-sites route. Recently I requested an accommodation to aid tourist travel.
The request concerns using the entrance bus lane at the Illinois Visitor Center, which, I feel, could become the most convenient tourist stop on the entire SMTD historic site route. This change is more convenient and safe, allowing tourists to depart for a capitol-complex walking tour from the appropriate location, a point at which they could review tourist fliers and see a welcoming film about the capitol complex. There is even an opportunity for a restroom break. As an added plus, it would allow tourists an opportunity to view the restored 1896 Pasfield House.
The Pasfield House received the Illinois Times 2003 Best of Springfield award as the editor’s choice as the best rehab of a historic residence. That recognition is an honor I will always cherish, a confirmation of Springfield’s preservation efforts by many and, frankly, a motivation for my continuing efforts in preservation projects. I believe the Pasfield House reinforces our city pride when visitors see the classic architecture and my landscaping efforts in connection to Springfield Green and the Illinois Times’ Yard to Yard Challenge.
This route adjustment will become especially important when the Pasfield House is opened later this fall as a bed & breakfast. Friends of mine are making plans to coordinate a series of tours for the Pasfield House and other Springfield historic homes. With any luck, a daily scheduled historic home tour could make a greater use of the SMTD historic-site route, which has been reported as being underutilized.
Owner, Pasfield House
WHY BLAGO LIVES IN CHICAGO
I read the article on “playing terrorism” with a feeling that it was a “play day” in the opinion of a lot of people [R.L. Nave, “Target Springfield,” July 28]. The vulnerability of Springfield has long been a concern of mine. Yes, it is a small city of not-too-much apparent significance other than its former resident celebrity, but does the average Joe realize what a target we offer here?
First, think of this scenario: A typical “tourist” vehicle parks in the vicinity of Capitol and Second or on Monroe near Second. No one pays any attention, because tourists are common around the Capitol. No planes flying in low. No Ryder trucks parked nearby. Just an unassuming car at a parking meter. Then, boom! The car carried a nuclear “suitcase” bomb that was detonated by remote control. This would take out not only the entire seat of government but also the Illinois State Police headquarters, which houses all the computerized equipment that controls the entire state, and a large share of the command personnel. Crime labs would be crippled. A trooper would have no information at his fingertips. All functions that rely on important information about gangs, crimes, and terrorist activities would be gone. The governor’s offices, the secretary of state’s offices, the comptroller’s offices as well as those of the FBI and U.S. Marshal are all within striking distance of the Capitol Complex.
I think it is high time these naysayers pull their head out of the sand and face the obvious: Yes, Chicago is a big target, but would [its destruction] stymie government and police functions statewide? I don’t think so. Go ahead and prepare. I just pray that it is money wasted and never put to use.
Keith A. Schroeder
OBJECTS TO STEM-CELL FUNDING
Maybe it’s time to tell King Rod that our state government is a representative democracy, not a monarchy. What possible justification does Gov. Rod Blagojevich have for authorizing $10 million for stem-cell research without a positive vote of the General Assembly? It is apparent that he believes his “moral” end is justified by his devious and blatant abuse of executive power.
There are several other disturbing issues in this case. To begin, why is it necessary that government be involved in this kind of research? If this or any other research has sufficient payback potential, private funding will surely be made available to pursue it. Let the drug companies do their return-on-investment analysis and decide which projects they should fund.
Furthermore, many Illinois citizens — me included — are convinced that research using embryonic stem cells is ethically and morally wrong. This is reflected in our Legislature’s reluctance to support this work with their votes. I am also anxious to find cures for Alzheimer’s and juvenile diabetes, but I do not believe it is moral for the state to “do evil that good may come.”
I sincerely hope that the Legislature has the courage to stand up to our governor’s outrageous abuse of executive power. At a minimum, this executive order should be overturned or denied funding. Then let’s go to work and elect a governor who respects the will of the people.