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Wednesday, May 21, 2008 08:08 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.
GETTING SERIOUS ABOUT RENEWABLES After reading William Risse’s letter to the editor “Why I oppose proposed wind farm” [May 1] I was actually hoping for a letter from David Kraft in the following edition. Imagine my surprise when I saw Kraft’s name in the letters section the following week. But alas, it was the wrong letter on the wrong issue. Risse’s letter trashes a proposed wind energy project. While I disagree with his view, I respect his right to comment. Kraft’s letter trashes a proposed nuclear energy project. While I disagree with Kraft’s views with respect to nuclear power, that’s not the reason for my letter.
If anti-nukes like Kraft are serious about increasing our reliance on renewables, they cannot remain silent while their environmentalist colleagues trash wind power. Since Three Mile Island in 1979 and Chernobyl in 1986, renewables have gotten a free ride, but the anti-nukes have failed to capitalize on their window of opportunity. One reason is that in their zeal to kill nuclear power they have only given lip service to renewables.
If the anti-nukes want to gain some mainstream credibility, they need to take a hard line against those who speak out against reasonable alternative energy sources such as wind. Rich Allen Cantrall
KIDSPAIDPRICEFORSTORY I would like to take a moment to address the misconception that I submitted my Springfield Figure Skating Club resignation letter to Illinois Times. I did not participate in the story [see Amanda Robert, “Tip of the iceberg?” May 15], in part due to fear of retaliation against my daughter. In fact, I asked Illinois Times not to run the article. Unfortunately, my fears were not unfounded. Just two days after the article was published, there were shameful and spiteful actions against the children that left the club. The club has a locked case, accessible only by select members of the board, which is used to highlight recent achievements of the children. At a recent competition there were several girls who represented SFSC as a team. They did exceptionally well at the competition and their individual results were posted on the board. Two days after the article ran, the results were altered and the children that recently left the club were literally cut out of the posting. The results of these eight-year-old children were no longer displayed even though they represented SFSC at the time of the event. Members complained about the altered posting and all the girls’ results were then removed from the board. As a parent, try explaining that behavior to small children.
For a club that “exists solely to support children in the sport of figure skating,” I would have expected more consideration for the feelings of the children. Lisa Steelman Springfield
THE REWARDS OF TEACHING PRISONERS There are a number of volunteers who go into prison and don’t ask for numbers or crimes [see Dusty Rhodes, “Feeding the good wolf,” May 8]. Most of us have never been paid to do what we do. It’s rewarding and challenging and sometimes more gratifying than teaching in the “real world”!
J.T. Hemphill Jacksonville IMPROVE CARE FOR STROKE VICTIMS I am a stroke survivor and steering committee member of Stroke Survivors Empowering Each Other. SSEEO was created as an umbrella group to provide local stroke survivors with a common voice and to empower us to work to improve care for existing and future survivors.
One bill is particularly important to make sure that future stroke survivors benefit from our experiences. House Bill 4699, the Primary Stroke Center Designation Act, is pending before the Illinois General Assembly. This bill will improve the care and treatment of future stroke patients by ensuring that, whenever possible, suspected stroke patients will be taken to the hospital best equipped to ensure rapid diagnosis and treatment. Experts agree that time is of the essence when dealing with a stroke. “Time lost is brain lost,” says the American Stroke Association.
Fortunately, today’s medical advancements in stroke diagnosis and treatment have given doctors some exciting new stroke interventions. Unfortunately, these treatments are effective only in the first few hours after onset of symptoms. These amazing techniques, which were not even available when we got sick, can actually reverse the devastating effects of strokes!
By enacting HB 4699, our officials can ensure that future stroke patients will get better treatment, saving lives and preventing misery caused by stroke. Many people who don’t even know it yet will benefit for years to come. I urge everyone to support HB 4699!
Kate Steigerwald

TRACE LEWIS AND CLARK’S JOURNEY Two hundred and four years ago, on May 14, 1804, Meriwether Lewis, William Clark, and a group of more than 40 explorers set out from Camp River Dubois, at the mouth of the Missouri River, to begin their trek to the Pacific Ocean. Their primary task was to survey the new lands west of the Mississippi River, but they also searched for a water route straight through to the Pacific, which they reached in November 1805. Clark’s exceptional mapmaking skills proved invaluable, and he kept detailed records throughout the journey. Readers can see a map of Lewis and Clark’s journey across the western part of America and learn more about the journey on the Gilder Lehrman Institute Web site, www.gilderlehrman.org.
James G. Basker, president
Gilder Lehrman Institute
 of American History
New York City
STALKING HORSE FOR A CASINO? More than 90 percent of the voters asked to vote before gambling was expanded in Sangamon County. This referendum was placed on the ballot in 1994 by Citizens for Voter Choice and has served the community well. Now Rep. Raymond Poe, Mayor Tim Davlin, and Sangamon Board Chairman Andy Van Meter are supporting HB 4758 to expand gambling at the State Fairgrounds racetrack from six days a year to nine months a year.
While expanding horse racing several months a year may not seem significant, it is. If Poe’s bill passes, it will put the fairgrounds in line to become a casino because of a proposed gambling-expansion plan to legalize slots at the tracks. Surrounding communities will also be affected because the racetrack could open six off-track betting parlors (30 miles from Springfield). Gambling harms families. I pray that people will let their legislators know that this is not what we want or need. The Rev. Shaughneysy Small Springfield
SIGN MY PETITIONS ONLINE Just for fun and to vent some frustration, I created two online petitions (ipetitions.com) that I think begin to address the anger of the citizens of Illinois at both their governor and the Legislature. Shouldn’t the citizens of Illinois be the ones to decide if our legislators deserve a raise or overtime pay? Otherwise there is no accountability. Also, if the budget is as bad as everyone is stating, then I think it is time to end Rod Blagojevich’s plane travel. For all of the excessive spending he has incurred due to his refusal to live in Springfield, I think it is time he paid his own way. Go to www.ipetitions.com/petition/NoHouseOvertime08 and www.ipetitions.com/petition/PlanelessBlagoavich [sic]. Anne Logue

TIME TO LEAD BY EXAMPLE Contract time is here again for rank-and-file state employees. Already the information coming from the negotiations is not good. It appears that the state does not appreciate the hard work and dedication of its employees. At a time when this state has asked its employees to increase their workloads and responsibilities, they now want us to continue to do more with less income. The state of Illinois is attacking our pensions, as well as health care. The state is demanding cuts in many areas of benefits.
What we find appalling is the audacity of many of those in the Legislature: Each year they get substantial increases in their benefits. Last year they got a whopping 10 percent increase in pay for one year alone. They continue to argue they deserve another raise along the same line. I ask them, “For what?” Just what have they done for this state in the last few years that compel them to think they deserve more, all the while asking the rank-and-file members to suffer setbacks?
Compare the work accomplished by rank-and-file members to that of the elected officials during this last year and see just who deserves a raise. If there is money for their salary increases, then there is money for the rank-and-file state employee.
Don Miller Jacksonville
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