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Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2006 09:42 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.

THE ART OF BEING BEST
On behalf of the board and staff of the Springfield Art Association, I would like to thank Illinois Times and its loyal readers for voting the Springfield Art Association the Best Arts Organization in 2006 [“Best of Springfield 2006,” Sept. 21]!

We are delighted that the community is benefiting from our exhibitions, arts-education programs and services, and special outreach events and that the community recognizes the contribution that the arts make to their quality of life.

Because of the ongoing investment of time, talent, and financial resources by the community, SAA has enjoyed a rich 93-year history in Springfield, and, with continued community support, we look forward to many more years of public service!
Angie Dunfee
Executive director
Springfield Art Association

BYBEE IS MUCH TOO DAINTY
Your story about your red truck proves what I know is wrong with this country [Doug Bybee Sr., “For the sake of the mulch,” Sept 21]. Little girlie girls like you have never done a real day’s work in your life. I bet your parents told you that you wouldn’t be anything without a college education. Now look at you, sitting behind a desk like a little secretary, hoping that you don’t get a paper cut or break a fingernail. It’s little sissies like you who formed the Democratic Party and write for papers like the Liberal Times.

This country has very little industry anymore because nobody wants to get their hands dirty. We need men to act like men and to work like men, so why don’t you take off your skirt and get a real man’s job, Sally? Oh, and be careful not to get your fingernails dirty when you get your mulch.
Larry Russo
Chatham

TAKING THE HIGH GROUND
Jason Berry missed the boat so-to-speak in his “Memory of the flood” article [Aug. 24]. Perhaps he was blinded a bit by his efforts to Bush-bash and Reagan-rake. As I wrote in the book Louisiana Lures and Legends (Cheramie, 1997) and its introduction, “Of Time and Tide,” coastal Louisiana has been inhabited for about 10,000 years. Ornithologist John James Audubon (1785-1851) was attracted to the region, which includes New Orleans, because it was then, and parts remain today, an untamed wilderness and in fact a swamp. To survive in a swamp over the long term, warm-blooded inhabitants must live above the high-water line, a simple fact some have apparently forgotten during the past hundred years. The historic location of the French Quarter on high ground is a clear example of the early inhabitants’ understanding of that simple fact, and neither FEMA, nor the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, nor even Al Gore can change that.

The 1893 hurricane, the second deadliest storm in American history, came ashore at Grand Isle, then about 75 miles south of New Orleans, causing about 2,000 deaths. In contrast, Katrina has claimed the lives of approximately 1,700 along the entire Gulf Coast. A Category 4 storm hit Grand Isle in 1905, causing 350 deaths, and a similar storm came up the Mississippi River in 1915, killing a total of 275 people after hitting New Orleans, so at least, early on, history was still teaching those earlier inhabitants of southeast Louisiana something about survival.

While Berry appears focused on his indictment of a so-called shoddy system of federal emergency preparedness, I believe he would find that most of the longtime inhabitants of this hurricane-prone region have never depended upon the federal government for anything and, in fact, most have managed to survive in spite of the federal government.

As for Berry’s indictment of the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet Canal, according to early flood coverage, graphics from the Washington Post and recent television documentaries, the levee breaches from the north at Lake Pontchartrain, the 17th Street Canal and the north end of the Industrial Canal caused more damage than any southern flows, just as officials with the National Hurricane Center had warned days before Katrina made landfall.

Compared to the digging of the Mississippi River outlet, which Berry acknowledges destroyed 20,000 acres of marshland in the 1960s, continuous energy exploration and production from at least a decade earlier has eliminated a much, much greater tidal buffer zone, allowing saltwater intrusion that has systematically destroyed the freshwater marsh which once helped to protect New Orleans from the south.

The land south of New Orleans has been sinking as Gulf waters rise, mainly because of our nation’s increasing demand for energy, in addition to sulfur mining.

Berry has chosen to cite more overt symptoms than absolute causes of our most costly natural disaster.
Charles Conner
Aberdeen, Miss.

YOU DON’T KNOW LARRY
I just wanted a chance to respond to several letters regarding Goodwill and its former executive director Larry Hupp. It was heart-wrenching to see this paper and other papers around the area report such negative things about such a great man [see Bruce Rushton, “Ill will,” April 27]. I have been around the Goodwill stores and Goodwill my entire life. Larry has bent over backwards to help thousands of clients who have entered Goodwill’s programs. It is just a shame that people have written such negative propaganda about him when they don’t truly know the whole story. It was very painful to see these things written and I know how much it hurt Mr. Hupp.

Larry had the human touch and always approached all of the clients to make sure they were doing well. He was a busy man trying to operate the Central Illinois Goodwill stores, but he always had time for everybody. It is a shame that this unfair bureaucratic society we live in was allowed to wreak havoc on his life. Larry gave his full effort to run an effective operation, and I know for a fact he would have never done anything to jeopardize that. It is a shame that some inept employees beneath him were the cause of such a bad situation. Larry was the face of Goodwill for 35 years and was a great leader in the Springfield community.
Tony Hupp
Charleston

BAR OWNERS: THINK CREATIVELY
Regarding Jeff Davis’ letter [about revenues and the smoking ban in the Sept. 21 issue], why would sales revenues drop? The sale of cigarettes hasn’t been banned. The few bars I have been in don’t sell cigarettes.

Perhaps bar owners should sit down on the wooden picnic tables in their beer/smoking gardens, light up smokes, sip at beers and think this through. Despite the uproar raised by all the business owners and confirmed smokers, there are enough nonsmokers to get government officials to vote in a citywide and a countywide smoking ban.

Just for the sake of argument, let’s say that means there are more nonsmokers than smokers in town. Instead of alienating that larger group, why not make them feel welcome?

I have seen a halfhearted effort in the signage of one business referring to “reformed smokers‚ welcome.” Why not make nonsmokers welcome and take some of their money, too? Heck, get those music bands to show up on time. Why not plop a blender and a selection of fresh fruit on the bar to make special drinks for those who don’t drink alcohol and charge them extra? I have seen one bar promoting a “brew and view.” I am willing to drag my nonsmoking self there and buy $2 soda in a glass and a sandwich.

Just because I don’t drink and smoke doesn’t mean I don’t want to get out of the house and socialize — just give me reason.
Melvin Davis
Springfield

CORRECTIONS
Sgt. Pat Ross confirmed that Phoenix Center was listed as the victim in a two reports filed with the Springfield Police Department. Ross did not identify the suspect or the victim in the third case; that information was verified by other sources [Dusty Rhodes, “Faze the board,” Sept. 21].

Annie Le, of TC Nails, is one of the winners of Best Nail Technician in the “Best of Springfield” edition, published Sept. 21. Her name was misspelled.

Vito Randazzo owns the Gallina’s on Dirksen Parkway; the other Gallina Pizza restaurants are under separate ownership.

Principal Barron Robinson helped conduct the Southeast High School Spartan Marching Band; his full name was omitted in Jerome Prophet’s Springfield [Sept. 21].

Illinois Times regrets the errors.

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