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Thursday, June 1, 2006 08:38 pm

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.
The electorate must open the eyes of sleeping politicians and aldermen. Public servants pledge and are elected to represent all citizens, not just the gainfully employed. Ald. Joe Bartolomucci has turned his back on the homeless who reside on the streets in his ward. Instead of finding more ways to assist the homeless, this alderman would rather banish those less fortunate than himself. A homeless Bartolomucci would have a much different approach to finding homeless solutions for his ward. Rally the mayor and the City Council to open 24-hour homeless day and evening centers in our community. Part-time homeless charity centers don’t work. This financially costly and tourist-friendly idea doesn’t bring much popularity, but it’s guaranteed to work more effectively. Tim L. Thornton Springfield
The item about Brenda Warren’s grandfather [“Cap City,” May 18] prompted a shaking-hands memory. During the summer of 1949 or 1950, my St. Louis relatives visited. It was Lincoln shrines, then New Salem for a picnic. As we set up our food, a guy from the fifth floor where I worked in the INB tower, a red stone edifice, called my name and waved, taking long strides over to join us. It was the late Illinois Sen. G. William Horsley, in costume for his part as Abraham Lincoln in the summer play there, Abe Lincoln in Illinois. My Aunt Mary and Uncle Mike and about 11 other relatives were honored by the chat that followed. During this [visit] he spoke to the children, telling my niece and nephew (first grade and kindergarten) about history and how fine they were. When he left, he shook little Michael’s hand and kissed little Cathy on the cheek. We had no idea the memory would stay with them. Several months later, during kindergarten, Sister asked the class if anyone had heard of Abraham Lincoln. Little Michael fanned his hand excitedly and said, “Oh yes, Sister. He’s a nice man. He shook my hand.” Regardless of Sister’s admonitions, Michael would not change his story! Sister took Michael down the hall to the first grade to quiz his sibling, Cathy. Cathy, about in tears at being singled out and called to the door for the unknown, relaxed immediately when she heard the problem. “Oh, yes, Sister,” she said. “He’s a nice man. He kissed my cheek!”
This won my Aunt Mary a trip to the principal’s office to solve the slight discrepancy. Dr. Mary L.W. Midden Springfield

BLINDED BY DOCTRINE I found the fact that Texas had the fourth highest number in the nation of reported AIDS cases after instituting an abstinence-only policy in 2001 very enlightening [Rod Helle, “New class of mandarins,” May 11]. Time and time again, blinded by doctrine, our nation sacrifices teens by refusing to arm them with tools of protection in a society saturated with sex. That is nuts. It is unforgivable. Expecting teens to have the self-control and clarity of mind to abstain from sex is laughable. They are teenagers. And anyone who remembers those years knows mistakes happen again and again, in spite of good intentions. This group, perhaps more than any in history, has very little to hope for. And hope for the future is probably one of the most significant factors in preventing unwanted pregnancies in teens. Hope gives them a reason to protect themselves. If they have a reason to plan having children, it is only then that they are able to give their children the love, care, and stability every child should have. But as long as we live blinded by doctrine (not faith), we will continue to throw teens out to be butchered by life with the lame phrase “just say no.”
Anne Logue Springfield  
President George W. Bush visited Exelon’s Limerick nuclear-power plant last week, announcing support for the goals of yet another White House “secret” energy advisory committee on nuclear power: to build 25 new reactors in the United States in the coming decades. Face it — reality has never been this administration’s strong suit, being ignored whenever it contradicts the vapidity of policy fantasyland. Had President Bush bothered to read the “other” nuclear-power news of the day, he might have learned that: The same Exelon company, boasting being the U.S.’s largest nuclear utility, with its most experience, was ordered by an Illinois judge to begin cleanup of the 22 tritium leaks since 1998 at its Braidwood reactor or face fines. The often-touted French government and its nuclear industry had been leaking tritium into the groundwater near its La Hague waste facility 90 times above the European safety limit during 2005; arrested a nuclear whistleblower who exposed new reactor vulnerabilities to terrorist assaults; and falsified data about the harmful effects of the Chernobyl accident on the French public. There have now been 24 leukemia deaths, 77 serious respiratory diseases, and a total of 407 cancers in Monticello, Utah, next to a closed and poorly supervised government uranium mill. The devil always resides in the details, and these nuclear details never end. Nuclear power may well be the most expensive hell-paving set of good intentions and failed promises in history. There is nothing inherently safe about a machine with a daily track record like this storing 1,000 Hiroshimas’ worth of radiation inside, operating next to unsuspecting yet economically dependent communities. Every other aspect of its operation results in radioactive pollution and negative health effects. And its handlers demonstrate a sociopathic tendency to muzzle conscientious whistleblowers and minimize or cover up nuclear’s risks, unless caught red-handed, as was Exelon. Better, safer, cheaper, less environmentally damaging and quicker means exist to get electricity, and none of these increase the threats of nuclear proliferation or terrorism. There is no place in a democratic society for this kind of recalcitrant behavior. After 50 years of failing to get it right, it’s time to pull the plug on nuclear power. David A. Kraft Director Nuclear Energy Information Service Chicago
AMATEURS RUINED FINE MILE This was the first year I attended the Springfield Mile. I have wanted to see this event for nearly 30 years. The racing was first-class and exciting — hats off to the American Motorcyclist Association  for putting this event on and to Chris Carr, Jay Springsteen, and all others for some first-class racing. Wow. Thank you! The event appears to be attended by hundreds, maybe thousands of folks driving motorcycles. While the majority of motorcycle drivers must be decent, courteous, and respectful of other motorists, there are problem groups out there. I’m sure the individuals in these problem groups are not AMA members. However, their actions reflect on the AMA in a negative and profound way. The actions I witnessed firsthand were a total disregard for the safety of others, cutting off oncoming traffic, lane-splitting, drag racing to stoplights, putting other people in harm’s way, and obnoxious behavior beyond ridiculous — these amateur motorcycle drivers screwed this AMA event up. Are all AMA events like this? The ass pain created by these motorcycle drivers, in coming to and leaving the event, isn’t worth it. It was bad enough getting to the event, but put a few beers in these clueless amateur motorcycle drivers, and they really shine when it’s time to go home. After what I saw, I think more folks are turned off than turned on to these events for the same reason. When I add everything up — the time to get there and back, the gas, food, parking, traffic, ticket expense, and, last, the display by these amateur motorcycle drivers — well, you do the math. Good luck on the future of the Springfield Mile. While the racing was awesome, I won’t attend another one. I do very much pity the residents of Springfield for having to endure this year after year. Jeff Johnson Glen Carbon
DUMB TO SELL A CASH COW I buy lottery scratch-offs, particularly the veterans ones. I feel that when I lose, at least the money goes to pay for something serving the public good. If it goes to private industry, then I would not buy near as many and would save money. It seemed silly to sell a cash cow for the amount it makes in 10 years. I guess that Gov. Rod Blagojevich wants to have something to show during election time. Patrick Johnopolos Springfield
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