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Wednesday, July 9, 2008 01:01 am

Letters to the Editor

Untitled Document We welcome letters. Please include your full name, address, and telephone number. We edit all letters. Send them to Letters, Illinois Times, P.O. Box 5256, Springfield, IL 62705; fax 217-753-3958; e-mail editor@illinoistimes.com.
DON’T CUT KIDS OUT OF STATE BUDGET While it is clear that legislative leaders are facing very difficult decisions regarding the state’s budget for fiscal year 2009, we are at a new low in terms of coming up with a viable solution to the problem. The governor’s proposed $1.5 billion budget cuts would impact vital services, including child-abuse prevention services, early-childhood education, and family-support services. The budget cuts, if enacted, would take a heavy toll on too many young lives. We need a solution that protects Illinois’ poorest, most vulnerable children and families.
Ron Moorman Board Member, Kids Hope United Springfield

ARE WE MANDATING ETHANOL IMPORTS? Are you planning to purchase a flexible-fuel vehicle to reduce our dependency on imported oil? Well it’s very possible that you will be buying imported ethanol, thanks to government mandates. That’s right: We just can’t help ourselves and import everything! Congressional mandates say 2008 will increase the use of biofuels (ethanol, in this case) to 9 billion gallons. That sounds good, doesn’t it? However, there could be a “shortage” of ethanol because a good portion of U.S. ethanol producers may be closing their business because of the high price of corn. It’s projected that 2 billion to 5 billion gallons of ethanol may not be produced because some producers may not survive the increased prices. That’s provided there’s a corn crop big enough to sustain ethanol and food production. To meet the congressional mandates, we may have to import ethanol from Brazil. Wasn’t renewable fuels supposed to lower imported fuel? Isn’t that just par for the course? We have to import crude oil, because we can’t develop additional oil supplies in the U.S. We import refined gasoline, because we don’t have enough refinery capacity. Now we also may need to import ethanol. The next time you hear an elected official saying, “We can’t drill for more oil; renewable fuels is the answer,” you will know who not to vote for. Jeff Davis Dawson

THANKS TO SAM “CAN DO” CAHNMAN It is not every day that I write publicly to praise a local politician, but Sam Cahnman, a Springfield alderman, recently went beyond the call of duty in helping my family and me during an emergency. My wife and two of our children were visiting Springfield in June. We took the kids to the Washington Park playground. But when we arrived, my son Charlie, age 4, had become hopelessly twisted in the rear seat belt of the Hyundai Sonata we had rented at the airport. Get this: Even though we were able to unbuckle the seat belt, we still couldn’t extricate Charlie. The more we tried to delicately “untwist” him by threading him through the loop, the tighter the seat belt got. The seat belt feeder mechanism simply “locked” into place, and wouldn’t spool out so much as a quarter-inch of extra seat belt. After 10 to 15 minutes of panic, we were desperate for a knife or pair of scissors with which we could cut the seatbelt and free our son. Enter Sam Cahnman. Mr. Cahnman had heard our cries of panic and drove up asking whether he could help. When we explained what was happening, he quickly found a sharp hunting knife in his car and handed it to us. In no time Charlie was free, albeit with welts and bruises. With his helpfulness and grace under pressure, Mr. Cahnman exemplifies the true spirit of an alderman. Al Myers Atlanta, Ga.

FIVE WAYS TO EAT HEALTHY Many people grow their own food or buy fresh, locally grown vegetables, herbs, and fruit. They like the taste of fresh produce; others are concerned with the ever-increasing food costs or chemicals in food. Some people simply want to teach their children where food comes from. Here are five ways that you can provide fresh, nutritional, and healthy produce for your family meals: • Start or expand your own backyard garden. Start or join a community garden project. Community gardens can be organized by neighborhood associations, schools, churches, senior centers, or youth groups. • Buy from the local farmers’ markets where farmers and gardeners bring their fresh produce. • Invest in a share of a community-supported agricultural project. The investor receives a box of seasonal produce each week. • Buy organic or garden-fresh produce from your local grocery store. John Janssen Waverly

BAKERS VERSUS WHEAT FARMERS Wheat growers have a message for America’s baking industry: We told you so. For years farmers warned that the milling and baking industry was pursuing policies that would eventually create wheat shortages. This year, faced with short supply and high prices, the baking industry has asked Washington to ban all wheat exports. It also wants Conservation Reserve Program land to be released so that farmers will grow more wheat on it. It’s not that simple. Many farmers stopped growing wheat years ago because the milling and baking industry always demanded top quality at prices that many times were below the cost to produce it. We converted our acreage to other crops because it simply was no longer profitable to produce wheat. This had nothing to do with ethanol production. Harvested wheat acres dropped from a high of 80 million in 1982 to about 63 million a decade later to about 47 million last year. Bakers also have stood against wheat farmers in their pursuit of productivity-enhancing practices such as biotechnology. When wheat farmers had the opportunity to plant herbicide-tolerant wheat, the bakers refused to accept the grain. Even though the technology would have increased yields by 10 percent and lowered production costs, the bakers suggested that there was no benefit for them or consumers. So it is no surprise that astute farmers are committing their acres to crops that put more money in their pockets. Now the bakers want to further punish the remaining wheat farmers by ending exports and denying growers necessary markets. Rather than yielding to the bakers’ demands, Washington should lay down a strong lecture on the merits of teamwork to ensure enough grain for customers everywhere. Allen Skogen, chairman Growers for Biotechnology Valley City, N.D.

PEOPLE AREN’T JUST “RESOURCES”
After hearing about the state employees’ being sent to a new facility in southern Illinois, I was remembering how it felt to be laid off in 1995 [see R.L. Nave, “Hoping for a U-turn,” July 3]. It occurred to me that there is a reason why political correctness requires new names for the same old stuff. A good example is that what used to be called personnel is now called human resources. Let’s take a look at why in reference to unfair layoffs and reassignments. The word “personnel” is close to the word “personal.” It sounds like people, warm-blooded persons. It is harder to cut people to the quick. But human resources reduce people to resources. I am a person. Resources are things like wood, iron, water, oil, farmland, and much more. You can transfer resources to the boonies away from their family; it’s harder to do that to persons. Patrick Johnopolos Springfield

MOVE HERE, GOV — THERE’S ROOM! There apparently is only one person who matters in this state: Rod the Great. So we sit back and let the Air National Guard move to Indiana and IDOT move to Harrisburg. We should demand that the governor and his family move to Springfield. There should be ample space. Robert E. Calhoun Sherman

EMPLOY THE BEST AND THE BRIGHTEST The shocking truth is that only 28 percent of the 17- to 24-year-old population is qualified to join the military and wear a military uniform, and many of those don’t join for a variety of reasons, college, etc. The other 72 percent fail to meet minimum standards, can't pass the entrance exam, have police or court records, or are out of shape, overweight, or have disabilities. Now that’s something for parents, schools, ministers, and local officials to ponder. The soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines we have are in fact America’s best. Hire them when they come home; tell them thanks for serving. Dan Cedusky Champaign
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