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Thursday, Feb. 23, 2006 08:59 am

Letters to the editor

In and around Springfield

We welcome letters, but please include your full name, address, and daytime telephone number. We edit all letters for libel, length, and clarity. Send letters to Letters, Illinois Times, P.O. Box 5256, Springfield, IL 62705; fax 217-753-3958; e-mail editor@illinoistimes.com.

WE DIDN’T STRAY FROM THE RULES As the preschool site manager located at St. Cabrini School in Springfield, I am writing in response to the article “A dog’s life” [Bruce Rushton, Feb. 2]. The Head Start site at St. Cabrini has been a licensed Department of Children and Family Services preschool since December 2002. According to DCFS licensing, “The child care center shall be free of stray animals which may cause injury and/or disease to children . . . . A licensed veterinarian shall certify that dogs and cats have been inoculated against rabies. This certification shall be obtained when the animal is acquired (4 months or older) as required . . . ” This mean that I may not allow stray animals into the facility. I never have. When a stray animal does come on the grounds, I ask the teachers to stay inside and call animal control. None of my staff nor I recall allowing a stray pit bull or any other stray animal in this facility. Deborah Lahey

MUSIC CITY SENDS ITS LOVE I didn’t see a way to contact Mary Rickard but wanted to compliment someone about her great story on Centralia [“Future shocked,” Nov. 17, 2005]. It is unfortunate that the community is under such duress right now, but the writing was excellent and it really reflected the struggles and the perseverance of the community. I found the article on a Google search for Centralia, and am happy I did. I’ll check back on IT online in the future to hopefully see other great articles. Chris Metz Nashville, Tenn.

LOOK TO THE HEAVENS FOR TRUTH Somehow with all their focus on creating alternative explanations for the fossil record below us in the earth, it appears that creationists and/or intelligent designers have completely forgotten to look up at the stars! Why do most stars in the sky appear to be more than 10,000 light-years away? Does that mean that the Earth is millions, or even billions, of years old, as science suggests? As verified by Einstein through the equation E=mc2, the energy locked in a piece of matter equals the mass of the matter times the speed of light squared. The speed of light, 186,000 miles per second, has been verified repeatedly via many tests. If you truly believe that the earth is only 10,000 years old, and you also accept that the speed of light is a constant, that means every star and galaxy beyond 10,000 light-years away simply does not exist! Only a tiny part of the universe surrounding Earth would actually exist if both assumptions were true. In this case, goodbye Andromeda Galaxy! At over 2 million light years away, you’re just be one of many pinpoints of light created to fool us. Which leads back to the question: What kind of God do you choose to believe in? One who creates an Earth-centered universe and geologic history that supports literalist interpretations of religious texts? Or a God whose essence is expressed through the natural processes we see, subject to miraculous occurrences? Like Pope Benedict and many mainline Christian leaders, I choose the latter. Tom Clark Springfield

NEEDED: HEALTHY DOSE OF REALITY I sometimes wonder what goes through people’s minds as they go to vote for a certain state candidate. We hear about morals and values, smaller government, no new taxes, new programs, and, of course, the touting of the successes of each candidate. We never get the whole story. I guess I am looking for reality in state government, and all I see is ideology and idiocy. The governor is so proud of lowering the number of state employees. “Do more with less,” we keep hearing. I wonder if he ever considers what quality of work the people of Illinois are getting as a result of his policies? Why hasn’t he come clean with the fact that while front-line workers have decreased, upper management in these agencies has increased. How much money is he really saving the state? What about child protection, prison guards, and other agencies that provide services to the state? They are understaffed and overworked, and yet requirements of the jobs they do continue to grow. How does that serve the citizens of Illinois? And do not get me started on the budget that is supposed to be balanced. How can the state have a balanced budget when it can’t pay its own bills on time? The list goes on. I would love to hear a candidate for state office be honest for a change and explain how he or she is going to deal with the fiscal mess that the Legislature and governor have handed the state.  The current governor has broken a number of promises and has not made the lives of state citizens any better. There are hard choices that need to be made in order to address some of these issues, and I truly wonder if there is any politician that has the guts to do what needs to be done. Party affiliation be damned. Let’s start with a healthy dose of reality and work from there . . . not smoke and mirrors. Jerry A. Wood Jr. Springfield

REACTOR LEAKS CAUSE FOR ALARM Recent news accounts of radioactive tritium leaks at Exelon’s Braidwood, Dresden, and now Byron nuclear reactors finally expose nuclear-industry claims of nuclear power being “emissions-free” as utter nonsense. While certainly putting Exelon in hot water, the leak revelations also expose just how vacuous, inconsistent and ineffective nuclear-power regulation has become, providing the illusion of public protection without the substance. Exelon’s incompetence in dealing with its tritium-leak problems not once but numerous times at several reactors is matched only by its reluctance to inform the public and local officials of the leaks for eight years. Now that the cat is way out of the bag at Braidwood, Exelon “voluntarily” acknowledges the new leak problems at Dresden (third time) and Byron. Exelon’s excuse for keeping quiet? “[The] 1998 [Braidwood] pipeline leak wasn’t thought at the time to contain significant amounts of radioactive material,” according to an Exelon spokesperson on Jan. 25. Just what would discharge pipes designed to release radionuclides for dilution into the environment contain? Federal regulators haven’t behaved much better. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission — quick to reassure us it has “resident inspectors” with watchful eyes stationed at all operating U.S. reactors — admits Exelon “informally told” NRC officials about the leaks at the times they occurred but required no “formal” [i.e. “written”] notification “because it was assumed no radioactive substances were released into the environment,” according to an NRC Region III spokesperson. “Assumed” by whom, and why? And again, if not radioactive substances, then what? Each new tritium report repeatedly demonstrates the Stan-and-Ollie nature of the relationship between Exelon and NRC, each covering for the other, requiring little in terms of meaningful remediation, and each over the past eight years keeping the public and their duly elected officials as far away from acknowledgment of these events as possible. Illinois — the most nuclear-reliant state in the United States — cannot tolerate the continued bumbling of “good neighbors” like Exelon, which aspires to build new reactors and extend operating lifetimes for its 11 old ones. Nor can it tolerate a regulator with an allergy to assertive regulation. If reactors can’t be “emissions-free” as the industry boasts, they should be closed and not allowed to further pollute the air, water, and land. If NRC won’t regulate assertively, it should be abolished, saving ratepayers $700 million-plus per year. David A. Kraft, director Nuclear Energy Information Service Evanston

LUCKY GOT A BAD RAP I have known the dog Lucky. That dog is loving, and I have had my kids around him [Bruce Rushton, “A dog’s life,” Feb. 2]. I have never seen him bite anything. Before you go putting out a story, you might want to get the facts first. That dog is not a bad dog. If the neighbors didn’t target [Lucky’s owner] George T. Young III, the dog would not have the reputation of a bad dog. If the neighbors on Louise Lane would watch TV and not Mr. Young, then Lucky would still be the good dog that he truly is. Name withheld by request
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