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Wednesday, Aug. 16, 2006 12:58 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.

You did a great job with the story of Julie Rea Harper’s acquittal [Dusty Rhodes, “The end,” Aug. 10]. It is about time for her to receive the justice she deserves, and has deserved for the last nine years. Thanks for keeping her story in front of the public.
Sally Voight
Mount Carmel

The impact of air conditioning on our energy resources should make everyone sit up and take notice [Stan Cox, “Hot flash,” Aug. 3]. While air conditioning certainly has many benefits and in any event is here to stay, we can be reasonable in its use.

Being reasonable in its use can both save money and lessen the impact on energy resources, plus reduce the chance of occasional brownouts. If the rest of the world used air conditioning to the extent that we in the U.S. do, the impact on the world’s energy resources would increase dramatically. Americans need to set a better example. One way to do this would be to set thermostats higher in homes, offices, stores, etc.

When it is hot outside, it is nice to come into a cool building. But does the cooling have to be in the low seventies, as is the case in many buildings? Cooling a building to the high seventies, or even the low eighties, with judicious use of fans can still produce relief. While this relief will not produce 100 percent cooling, it will take the edge off the heat and is certainly better than no cooling at all.

Many folks may dismiss this idea as being ridiculous. However, considering just its favorable impact on energy costs on individual pocketbooks, without regard to the favorable worldwide impacts, isn’t it worth it?
Dick McLane

Operation Home Now, of which I am a part and anyone can join, wasn’t officially formed until after April’s ballot placement of the Troops Home Now advisory question at the Capital Township meeting [see “Jerome Prophet’s Springfield,” Aug. 10].

Technically, there was no organized structure leading the way for the advisory question. It was through my efforts before the April township meeting and those of the individuals of all stripes from our community who attended that meeting that the question was secured on the ballot as a referendum of public policy. The work, like that being done by Operation Home Now, was purely of the grassroots, with a reliance on phone calls, e-mails, petitions, print media and appearances at rallies and vigils to get the word out and engage the people.

I must be emphatic: The work that originated the referendum was grassroots! I have been accused on some blogs and once on the radio of being on the fringe while acting with Democratic operatives to force on the citizenry a narrow-minded defeatist/isolationist agenda that blames America first. However, I am a member of no political party and, more importantly, had no organizational help.

Furthermore, with CNN releasing a poll finding that 60 percent of Americans favor a withdrawal of some sort from Iraq and the New York Times polling that a majority do not support incumbent officeholders who created our present crisis, it’s clear I am not of the so-called lunatic fringe. People who want an end to U.S. involvement in Iraq and attention paid to diplomacy and domestic concerns are in the majority and make up the moral bloc of American politics. Just ask Ned Lamont what grassroots activism like Operation Home Now and my earlier efforts can produce.

Vote Nov. 7, Springfield, and let’s end our military involvement in Iraq, call our troops back, and take care of them and their families when they’re home!
Mike Ziri

Regarding the Aug. 10 feature titled “Jerome Prophet’s Springfield,” the photo suggests three wonderful peace-loving activists gently protesting the war in Iraq. Their smiles seem to express concern for the troops that these people obviously hold so dear, so close to their hearts. One can practically see the doves sitting on their shoulders. It would appear to be so nice that the left has finally learned to love our fighting men and women.

A closer look however, reveals three faces of pure evil. Those smiles are the smiles of the easily duped, the Neville Chamberlain appeasers of the modern era. The Bush-hating crowd who would side with the enemies of our country in order to defeat the current administration. Those smiles have nothing to do with peace and love and everything to do with putting a happy face on hate. Go ahead, leftists and side with the Ahmadinejads and Al Assads of today in order to help defeat George W. Bush. Like Chamberlain of so many years ago, these current smiling appeasers appear to have the best intentions. You know where a road paved with good intentions will lead you.
Keith Housewright
Saint Jacob

I had just to write concerning the bashing of Cards fans by Patrick Johnopolos [“Letters,” Aug. 3]. The “rude, obnoxious, and rambunctious” behavior he described is practiced by fans on both sides of the great Cubs/Cards debate. What’s the answer? It’s easy! Everyone should just root for the White Sox! It’s one team we can all agree on, no matter whether you started out as a Cubs or Cards fan, and they are right here in Illinois. I ask for everyone who is interested in harmony in central Illinois to say, “Go Sox!”
Melissa Berry
Mount Pulaski

Sangamon County wrestled with the same dilemma as Springfield on the smoking ban [see R.L. Nave, “Smoldering,” Aug. 3]. I have to ask, “What is all the commotion about?”

There seems to be a very simple solution that everyone is overlooking. Why not just require businesses to post “smoking” or “nonsmoking” signs at their doors?

Customers can easily determine if they want to enter a business and “risk” their health. Future employees will obviously know the health risks before applying. And business owners can still determine what is best for their business.
Jeff Davis

The recent heat wave contained two news stories about nuclear energy, one widely broadcast, one conveniently ignored.
The first was about the record-setting electricity use, fueled by the region’s demand for air-conditioned relief. Exelon and other nuclear utilities attribute their success at meeting this demand to nuclear power.

The second story barely appeared after the heat broke, when people weren’t paying attention. Both here and internationally, the demand for electricity was indeed met, sometimes by nuclear power. However, in many cases these reactors were either not allowed to run at full power or, if they were, they were given regulatory permission to exceed safety and environmental standards. In other words nuclear plants were allowed to keep the air conditioners running, but only by risking an accident or damaging an already heat-stressed environment.

In Illinois Exelon’s Quad Cities and Dresden reactors had to curtail power output because the hot water discharged into the Mississippi and Illinois rivers exceeded EPA heat discharge regulations. This occurred previously in 1988, when then-ComEd reactors had 100-plus reactor days of curtailed power output or complete shutdown related to excessive thermal discharge. This resulted in millions of dollars of water-cooling retrofits for the reactors. Exelon came close to power curtailment again during Illinois’ 2005 drought.

Exelon’s Limerick reactor in Pennsylvania also curtailed power output. Across Lake Michigan, the Donald Cook reactor building overheated on July 29 and 30, resulting in an automatic shutdown.

These situations occur in climatic conditions far less extreme than those anticipated in a full-blown global-warming world. They serve as a warning that nuclear power is ill suited to help us in a global warming world — unless we are willing to either further destroy the environment or risk increased likelihood of a nuclear accident.

When nuclear reactors will be needed most, they are likely to be least available, and then only at greatly increased risk. Contrary to the propaganda nuclear power spinmeisters and their editorial allies are feeding a gullible public, you can’t “nuke” global warming.
David A. Kraft
Director, Nuclear Energy Information Service

Besha Rosell wrote last week’s “Kitchen Witch” food column [“Going with the grain,” Aug. 10]. The byline was incorrect.

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