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Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2006 10:04 pm

Letters to the Editor

In and around Springfield

Kim Schneider, R.N., administers influenza vaccine to Deborah Rodenburg, one of several hundred Schnucks shoppers vaccinated earlier this month. The Sangamon County Department of Public Health is offering influenza vaccinations at its clinics; call 217-53
Photo by Eugene Knox
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.

What a lovely tribute to the Radwine family — an extraordinary family [Julianne Glatz, “Bistro on the prairie,” Nov. 9]. I remember Leila’s dishes or baked items always went first at the temple functions. I wish their bistro was still in operation. I had to laugh at the “corny jokes.” Harry always brought Leila to the hairdresser [and] sometimes stayed on just to talk and tell jokes. He and Angie, my hairdresser, had a particular point/counterpoint going. She laughed for two days after his visits. I hadn’t realized until the last two years what a warmhearted, genuine character he was.
R-Lou Barker

I really loved the article about Harry Radwine and Crow’s Mill. You really caught the atmosphere of those years, and Harry would have loved the tribute. We will never forget his larger-than-life persona and will miss him (and the corny jokes) the rest of our lives.
Rita and Perry Singer

I could not believe that businesses were seriously shipping patients overseas for health care — even for major surgeries [Jim Hightower, “Exporting patients,” Nov. 9]. It’s all in the name of money and business prestige globally. What about prestige here with a corporation’s own employees? If they do not care about us, then why do we work for them? I am curious about two things. First, what do doctors in the United States think of this? Wouldn’t they be losing business? Second, are there any legal options for employees to make sure that they can get the health care they want without having their insurance refuse care because the employee doesn’t want their back surgery done by the lowest bidder? Thank you for bringing this to the public eye. This veteran says, “Whoa!”
Joseph Carroll

The story in your Nov. 16 issue about the difficulties facing Springfield bar owners since the inception of the smoking ban was interesting and well-written [Marissa Monson, R.L. Nave, “Smoke signals]. I recall thinking at the time that the ban was passed by the City Council that it was likely to hammer the dickens out of those businesses; and I was a little dubious about the assurances by ban sponsors that the tavern owners would be just fine. But, being no expert in these matters, I assumed that time would tell the real tale. Apparently it has. We can now pretty safely assume that roughly half of the taverns in town will be forced out of business within the year.

The notion that they could survive if they just did some creative marketing doesn’t seem to reflect an understanding of why people go to taverns in the first place; and the further thought that the playing field could be somehow “leveled” by a statewide ban is likewise off the mark. More likely, a statewide ban would just result in the failure of about half the tavern businesses in the state. In short, what’s about to happen here would simply happen everywhere in Illinois.

The bar owners have been addressing the City Council at recent meetings and their testimony has been characterized by ban supporters as “whining” if the media accounts are correct. That sort of remark is over-the-top. For a legally licensed business, selling legal products to people of legal age to be put out of business because of the smoking ban is a personal and financial tragedy for the owners of those establishments.

What the costs to the city will be in lost tax revenues is as yet unknown, but we’re not talking about chump change here. I’ll leave it to the fiscal people to crunch the numbers; but you can bet the city will be a big loser when all the figures are in.

It’s time to rethink this whole issue and come up with a workable solution. That effort will simply have to take into account the fact that the majority population that does not smoke is not the group that patronizes taverns in the first place and never has been.
Thomas J. Immel

I am writing this as a nonsmoker who has visited the bars before and after the smoking ban and has seen the change in the crowds at local bars [see “Smoke signals,” Nov. 16]. The change in the number of people out in the bars is very noticeable. I don’t know how some of these business owners will recover from these last couple months, even if the ban is lifted. I have always felt the individual bar owner should be able to choose if they are a smoking bar or a nonsmoking bar. It should be posted for the patrons and they can choose if they want to go in or not.
Kathe Pierce

As I read Seth Bohlen’s letter in the Nov. 9 edition of Illinois Times, I wondered what was edited out of his letter, as it seemed he was trying to take me to task but I found myself completely agreeing with everything that was printed.

As to my opposition to the smoking ban, I don’t smoke, own a bar, or work in one, but I saw the now-empty tip jars and felt for the poor working stiffs whose tips were cut to about nothing and found myself going to bars a lot less because I had nobody to talk to. Everybody’s at the Curve Inn.

However, I’m done with the issue. I’ve written letters and signed the petitions and voted against County Board member Debbie Cimarossa, who supported the ban and whose opponent campaigned on modifying it. She kept her seat by a margin of two to one.

Obviously the smokers were too busy smoking to vote, and the bar owners and bar staff were . . . well, I don’t know why they didn’t go to the polls, but if they don’t care, why should I? I’m not the one losing income.

I just wish a few of my fellow nonsmokers would spend a little time in area bars. I don’t have anybody to argue politics with anymore. Maybe I should join the smokers at the Curve Inn?
Steve McGrew

Regarding your story about the homeless [Manjula Batmanathan, “Cold comfort,” Nov. 9]: Visitors mistake the Lincoln Library, at Seventh and Capitol, with the Lincoln presidential library. I personally have helped people with directions to the right location. First Presbyterian Church, with the Lincoln pew, gets nature calls in their garden at all hours of the night. I have personally witnessed this when I have returned books to the drive-up container. I am up all hours of the night. I also am afraid to use the outside drop box for fear of being asked for money from these people.

Why doesn’t the First Methodist Church offer their building that is for sale to the homeless? This is the same church that did not want the bus stop outside their location.

The Prairie Capital Convention Center would not lend a room for nonprofit meetings in the past. Has that changed? And you expect to use it for homeless people? Unrealistic!
Nina Bain

I go downtown after work every night. Around the Old State Capitol and the bank on Fifth Street is an area where I get accosted at least twice a week by people asking for change but who look well enough to work. I recognize some of them as regulars. These people apparently are not trying for holiday jobs. I have high blood pressure and do not need to be hassled. If we want people to go downtown, then we must make the area more appealing.
Patrick Johnopolos

Jerald F. Jacobs, you wrote a letter tinged with more than a little sarcasm towards U.S. Sen. Barack Obama [“Letters,” Nov. 16]. I’ve thought of a lot of answers to your questions, but before I get to those I’d like to ask you a few questions.

How many senators who have been elected in your lifetime have you known? How much interaction do you have with the government? What has Sen. Obama done to you or said that has offended you? Is the person covered in the media responsible for the media’s coverage? How do you know whether the senator has sought out his other roots that you refer to or not? By this I mean there has been media coverage of his most recent trip, but how do you know what other efforts he has made?

You are critical of the senator for not visiting downstate Illinois enough. Why is a trip to Africa the symbol of that critique? If he did pray to Allah at one time, is that bad? Does this disqualify him in some way?

Why is getting [an Ivy League] education wrong? You seem to be implying that there is a mysterious benefactor for his college education and that he will owe a debt that must be repaid. I’m sorry, but I just don’t get that one. As for how did he have money for drugs at school, who knows? How do homeless alcoholics afford their beer? As for how he grew up, do you think it was the senator’s plan at childhood? I just don’t understand the criticism of the senator for the circumstances of his upbringing.

I know it’s accepted practice to criticize anyone in the political arena, but I just don’t understand your criticism of the man or why he doesn’t deserve a chance and our respect.
Troy Gorda

Regarding my previous letter to the editor [“Treated rudely at the cat show,” Oct. 26], all I wanted to do was see the cat’s face because it was sleeping. I especially liked this one because it reminded me of the cat that I’ve had at my parent’s house for 10 years. As I was admiring it, I lightly brushed its face through the mesh cage so I could get its attention, causing no harm, and that’s when she [the owner] went off on me about making eye contact. She was still ranting and raving as I was walking away. People no longer have manners; she could have tried asking nicely. What’s ironic was there were signs up all over the place saying “Kittens for Sale.” If they want to sell kittens, why are they so rude? Trust me; you would have thought they were all crazy, too.
Jamie Herman

I am writing in response to Shayla Sargent’s unfair and totally unfounded attack on former state representative candidate Sam Cahnman in your letters section last week [Nov. 16].

I am the “close friend” who Shayla was meeting for coffee when she encountered Sam Cahnman. I had been helping Sam’s campaign and brought him with to meet Shayla because I thought Shayla would want to help too. It was only because of my suggestion that Sam asked Shayla about helping with door-to-door work that afternoon.

Shayla responded that she’d like to, but was visiting friends and relatives that afternoon. Sam then asked her about Sunday, and Shayla responded that she might and told Sam to give her a call at her hotel on Sunday.

Sam’s behavior toward Shayla was polite, friendly and respectful. After reading her letter, I called Shayla to ask about her fictionalized version of her encounter with Sam and me. I left her a message, but, not surprisingly, she didn’t return my call.

Win, lose or draw, I was proud to have helped Sam in his campaign. I did so because Sam is a man of high integrity with good ideas and the courage to fight for what’s right. We need more people like Sam Cahnman in our government. I, for one, hope he runs again.
Angel Sides

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