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Thursday, Nov. 10, 2005 11:00 am

Letters to the editor

In and around Springfield

Letters policy
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: editor@illinoistimes.com

A recent article in Illinois Times describes the proposed expansion of mental-health services to children who are at risk of becoming repeat juvenile offenders [R.L. Nave, “Mind matters,” Sept. 29]. As stated in the article, mental illness that is not diagnosed and treated at an early age can lead to more severity and other problems. Along with this, the reoffending rate of 50 percent for juvenile delinquents is startling. Couple this statistic with the estimated prevalence rate of mental illness of 15 to 20 percent among children, and there is reason for the community to be alarmed. Early intervention for mental illness among juvenile offenders is one of the keys to preventing more severe mental-health problems in the future, as well as reoffending. Allocating money to expand services for this population in need makes sense financially and ethically. Without this type of early intervention, the community at large is at risk for more juvenile delinquency by children who are mentally ill. Jessena Williams Springfield
I am sure at this point you have received much praise about your feature on The Network and Kimberly Moore, Ben Hale, and Dwayne Bess [Marissa Monson, “Bringing the word,” Nov. 3]. It is a wonderful thing to get the media to recognize the efforts and vision of this team. In Springfield, big names and faces are always featured — and they tend to be the same names and faces. Far too often, simple, hard work is not recognized. But I can always count on Illinois Times to realistically represent those that make up this community — whether it’s good or bad. It is honestly one of the best, most unbiased media sources that I have used in Springfield. Illinois Times, like Expressions in the Dark, is one of the more affordable and considerate mediums available to the broadest audience. Keep up the great work! Letrice Ware Springfield
I’ve attended the Expressions in the Dark event, and I must say Marissa Monson’s description of the event and the people was right on the money. She accurately captured the atmosphere, and was able to put it into words wonderfully, I might add. Thanks for allowing articles that highlight the diversity of Springfield. The article makes me want to come back and explore! Monica Y. Allen Macomb
Smokers are legally addicted to smoking. Many have a problem being away from smokes for an hour or two. I know people who don’t fly since airlines banned smoking. Why should law-abiding citizens be denied public access to bars, restaurants, and air flight? The airlines are hurting for customers. If several flights starting at 10 p.m. or later were designated smoking-only they would be full all the time at regular prices. Of course the planes could not be used for nonsmoking flights and cleaned more often but it would be good for everyone. Smokers could eat and drink out like other legal citizens. I don’t like smoke but I hate having life controlled by blue-nosed busybodies even less. Have asthma? Eat at a nonsmoking restaurant. Problem solved. Patrick Johnopolos Springfield
At its national convention in June, the American Association of University Women adopted a public-policy agenda promoting the economic, social, and physical well-being of all persons. Essential to that well-being is a clean and healthful environment. The board of directors of the AAUW, Springfield Branch, representing 200 local members, has endorsed the efforts of the Smoke-Free Springfield Coalition to promote a clean and healthful environment for all persons in our community. We urge the City Council to protect the public health and welfare by prohibiting smoking in public places and places of employment. Please guarantee nonsmokers the right to breathe smoke-free air. Kathy Klemens President, Springfield Branch, AAUW
As we are all so painfully aware, the price of gasoline has skyrocketed to record-high levels ever since the invasion of Iraq. Recently, when a newspaper article spelled out how far in debt government gasoline budgets would be, Neil Williamson indicated that the Sangamon County Sheriff’s Department would apply for “special operations grants” to supply gasoline, at taxpayer expense, to keep department squad cars fueled up and on the road. Neil Williamson was willing to declare that gas prices were causing a financial crisis for law enforcement, while various other levels of federal, state, and local, government have suggested increasing taxes to ensure that government motor vehicles have gas tanks full of fuel. Wouldn’t it be great if every citizen was allowed to apply for “special operations grants” or to insist on wage increases to meet the still unpredictably high price of gasoline? As minimum-wage, poverty-level workers, who have no access to “special operations grants,” have watched gas prices soar, an increasing number of these low-income motorists have been financially compelled to drive away from gas pumps without paying for gas. Williamson refers to this as the crime of “pump and run,” the act of stealing gas from stations. As yet, however, I have read nowhere where Williamson has addressed the issue of skyrocketing gas prices. Not once have I read Williamson come forward to say that the increase in pump-and-run cases is a response to corporate greed. Not once has Williamson publicly stated that it is just as wrong, criminal, or illegal for gas stations to steal citizens’ household budgets, as it is illegal for citizens to drive away from fuel stations, without paying for gas. Our next sheriff should be a person who addresses both sides of any given issue and is willing to bring justice down equally on all offenders. Norman Hinderliter Springfield
The battle has been concluded, and the preservationists have won. Once again constitutional rights and fair play have been trampled. A property owner’s plans are of no concern to the preservation cadre if they declare the property to be of historical value. Of course, it is they who signify the property as historical. The criteria are, at best, questionable. Are there buildings and sites that are of historical significance? Absolutely. Is every old building of historical significance? Not necessarily. Yet the preservation folks believe every old building where someone of note lived or visited must be preserved. Hogwash. Secretary of State Paul Powell is certainly a large and lasting part of Illinois history. Why hasn’t the infamous room at the old St. Nicholas Hotel been restored and placed on the historical list of sites to visit in Springfield? How about the buildings in the area along the stretch of Washington and Adams streets, known as the Levee during Springfield’s wild-and-woolly days? These suggestions are, of course, facetious, but they are meant to make a point. The Margery Adams Sanctuary is just that: a wildlife sanctuary. Ms. Adams maintained it as a sanctuary during her lifetime. She bequeathed it to the Audubon Society so it would be preserved as a wildlife sanctuary. What is so exasperating is that the preservationists and all the jump-on-the-bandwagon letter-writers totally ignored the fact that Ms. Adams specifically stated in her will that the society could do as it wished with the old deteriorating building. Well, the deed is done. Enough pressure and thinly veiled threats were brought to bear so the society capitulated. It will now build their new headquarters’ building so that the Adams home will be incorporated into the finished structure. Now comes the real test of the character of Springfield’s preservationists! It has already been stated that the original construction budget will increase dramatically. From where will this additional money come? There is an old saying, “Put your money where your mouth is.” Mr. and Mrs. Preserve Springfield’s History surely will make up the difference between the cost of the original construction plan and the revised plan. One cannot possibly believe they would assume the attitude “we accomplished our goal; now let someone else live with the consequences of our actions.” If they do this, then the citizens of Springfield should give serious thought to their supporting of future “save the building” campaigns of the preservationists.
We shall see. John D. Kolaz Springfield
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