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Thursday, Nov. 17, 2005 05:53 pm

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


END FOR TRAIL FOR WESTFALL?
You may be one of the many residents of the Springfield area who enjoy the Wabash, Lost Bridge, and Interurban trails. If not, you probably recognize and appreciate the contribution that these trails make to Springfield’s quality of life and attractiveness to residents, visitors, and businesses. Unfortunately, the continued existence of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources’ Greenways and Trails Program, which was instrumental in developing these trails, is threatened. The talented manager of the program, Dick Westfall, despite his experience, accomplishments, and dedication, is in danger of having his four-year-term appointment not renewed at the end of this year. This makes no sense but, on the basis of past practice by the Blagojevich administration, is likely to happen. Without Mr. Westfall’s leadership, the program itself is likely to be discontinued. It will no longer be able to compete successfully for the reduced funding with which the IDNR operates. If you care about trails and want to see more of them developed in our community and across Illinois, let Gov. Rod Blagojevich know that Dick Westfall’s appointment should be renewed. Whatever we think about government, we should all be able to agree, especially after recent tragic events, how critical it is that the government programs we pay for with our taxes be managed by experienced and able people. Ed Hoffman Springfield

FIRST A SMOKING BAN, THEN GULAGS I just read your article “Making the ban” [R.L. Nave, Nov. 3], and I am completely appalled. Is this America? I am asking myself where any form of government has the right to tell a business owner how to run their establishment. If I own and pay taxes on a building that either is considered a nightclub or bar, I should have the right to run it according to what my patrons would want and as long as it’s within the legal limits of the law. After all, if I own my own business, my goal is to keep the customers coming back. If I own a bowling alley and a majority of my patrons smoke, I would want them to be able to partake of “their” habit. Where does this end? Are we as a society going to remove everything that may harm us? Alcohol contributes to many deaths — is it next? This is a pretty big field that so-called health-conscious people are trying to clean up. This has undertones of communism: Big Brother still trying to make free people abide by rules that are unconstitutional. Laura Currie Riverton

LEARNING HOW TO LOVE
What a beautiful piece Dusty Rhodes wrote on Judy Dyer, a beautiful woman to be emulated [Dusty Rhodes, “Fresh Ink,” Nov. 10] I knew two other souls of such character. Maybe the three have gone on to prepare a place for us. From their lives we have much to learn about love, if we but pay attention. Dusty’s message on Judy gives us direction. Delinda Chapman Springfield
Many thanks for the piece on friend Judy Dyer. Judy will be missed, but her spirit, humor, and wit live on in her family (especially Josh and Erica), her friends, and in her wonderful writings. Joe Coffey Springfield
I have intended for some time to write with congratulations to Dusty Rhodes for the past honors she has received. Now there are the ones from the Illinois Press Association: first places both for investigative reporting and columnist. Illinois Times deserves kudos for having her on its staff, and supporting her in her work. But I wanted more to write about certain of her columns that have moved me, and I’m sure many others, by their sensitivity, depth, and humanity. An example is the one on the cost of adoption. And now, this past week, the beautiful tribute to Judy Dyer. Thank you, Dusty, for your own huge heart. Jacqueline Jackson Springfield
How lucky Springfield is to have a writer as talented as Dusty Rhodes. Dusty wrote eloquently about the passing of Judy Dyer, a truly wonderful woman that that Springfield was fortunate to have as one of our own until last week. Dusty captured, as best a writer could, the life of this remarkable woman in her column last week. When I read Dusty’s column, it dawned on me that Judy Dyer had that extraordinary ability to make you feel comfortable every time you spoke with her regardless of what might have been going on in her life. Sam Cahnman Springfield
Editor’s note: “Degrees of Lucky,” a one-act play written by Judith Schlessinger Dyer, will be presented publicly for the first time at a reading in the Studio Theatre, on the University of Illinois at Springfield campus, at 7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 28. Dyer, 47, succumbed to breast cancer on Nov. 6.

TOBACCO-FREE WORLD STILL STINKS
The anti-smoking zealots claim that one of the advantages of quitting is that you get your sense of smell back. This is not a benefit but a detriment. Apple pie smells no different than when I smoked, but Springfield’s storm sewers’ human-excrement smell is often unbearable. And when I exit the clean HEPA-filtered air of one of Springfield’s bars, I now gag on the smell of diesel smoke, auto exhaust, gasoline (all of which have been proved to cause cancer, unlike secondhand cigarette smoke), and the aforementioned sewers.
Meanwhile, my work is a “smoke-free” environment. The trouble is, it isn’t smoke-free. [My co-workers] burn popcorn every day at 3, and my eyes water for the rest of the day, and my sinuses hurt like someone shoved toothpicks up my nose. The restrooms stink horribly, and the air gets so close sometimes I can barely breathe. And when I enter or exit the building, I am subjected to — you guessed it — cigarette smoke as the smokers huddle around the doorways trying to stay out of the rain and cold and wind [. . .] This proposed smoking ban is insane. How about one of these anti-smoking zealots opens his own nonsmoking bar, say, downtown? If someone can actually make a go of it, more will follow. I believe, however, that the zealots know good and damned well it wouldn’t last three months. Steve McGrew Springfield

AHEAD OF THEIR TIME
Today we happened to drive by the old train station on Madison Street and observed the re-creation of the old clock tower. I was reminded of the earlier restoration of the station by Michael and Nanchen Scully many years ago. They spent a small fortune — their own — to restore the abandoned building. The building was then occupied by several small shops. As I recall, the city did little to assist the Scullys. The city refused to create a park north of the station that would have brought in customers. After several years, the venture failed and the state finally took over the building. Sadly, the Scullys, like many other forward thinkers in Springfield, were simply a generation too soon. No doubt you have some articles describing the Scully’s efforts in your files. It might be interesting to reprise this bit of history. Just a thought. Richard Leary Springfield
Editor’s note: The Scully family’s efforts to restore Union Station and the old clock tower were the subject of a cover story, “Back to the future,” published on Jan. 20. The story is available at www.illinoistimes.com.

SEEKING INFO ON OLD BUSINESS
I am conducting historical research into a local business that existed between Casner and LaPlace, in eastern Macon County, on U.S. Highway 36. I would like to appeal to your readers to send any information that they may have about this business, which was known at various times as Yoc’s Motel, the J&S Motel, and the Flame BBQ. The structure that housed these businesses was probably built in the 1940s as a roadside motel. Yoc’s Motel was in operation in the mid-1970s through the early ’80s. It was later named the J&S Motel and was finally converted into apartment housing. The structure that housed the businesses was demolished about two years ago. We are particularly interested in detailed first-hand accounts. If your readers can offer any personal knowledge or memories of these businesses, they can contact me by e-mail at yocsmotel@gmail.com Dr. John Wilson Springfield, Va.
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