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Thursday, Nov. 4, 2010 11:58 pm

Letters to the Editor 11/04/10

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BEWARE LAME DUCKS
Gambling interests and lawmakers are working behind closed doors on a massive expansion of gambling that includes video gambling/slot machines at racetracks, a land-based casino in Chicago (twice the size of other casinos), 800 more gambling positions at existing casinos, and casinos in Lake County and Danville. This proposal could triple the amount of casino gambling in Illinois.

This is a very dangerous time for legislators to push through expansion of gambling. Even the current legislators who lost in the election can still vote on public policy issues until the new General Assembly convenes in January.     

Legalizing slots at racetracks will not help horse racing. When slot machines were introduced at racetracks in other states, betting on horses decreased 20 to 40 percent and slot machines accounted for about 90 percent of revenue. Horse racing becomes a side show, and the tracks become land-based casinos.

Gambling has high costs and promises more than it can deliver. Pathological gambling rates double within a 50-mile radius of a gambling facility. For every $1 of revenue from casinos, the cost is at least $3 due to criminal justice, regulatory and social costs.

The legislature greatly expanded gambling last year, with ADW (Internet bets) for horse racing, video gambling and Internet lottery.

When large, complex bills are rushed through, mistakes are made and the people lose. Legislators need to be accountable to the people, and “lame ducks” should not rush through a massive expansion of gambling on their way out the door.

Anita Bedell, executive director
Illinois Church Action on Alcohol & Addiction Problems
Springfield


FROM THE HEART
The ability, time, effort, compassion, patience and fortitude practiced by Dr. James Dove and everyone associated with him is the epitome of what science, faith, research and dedication can achieve.

In 1969, after numerous episodes, minor attacks, emergency late-night visits, our family doctor, Dr. Edwin A. Lee, got my father, Jerome Irwin, into Prairie Heart Center and the care of pioneers Dr. Hart and Dr. Bart Troy. They found he had a serious heart problem. (Blacks were not routinely checked for heart disease in his era.) They assured us heart bypass surgery would possibly extend his life for at least 15 years or more, but without it any emergency could be his last. He took the chance, and died 15 years later on his job at the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs.

Fast forward 25 years: My husband, Thomas R. Jones, Sr. (author/playwright/producer), thought he had indigestion, but it hurt badly, so he drove himself to Memorial emergency and was admitted. Tests found he had 80-90 percent blockage of two arteries and doctors did ‘balloon surgery’ the next day. My mother, Vivian Irwin, sat with me in patient recovery as I had with her. The surgeon came in to tell us he did fine, all was well. He looks at Mom, she looks at him, immediate recognition: It was Dr. Bart Troy!

Thanks first to our family doctor, Celina Tsang, of Physicians Group, who saved Tom’s life with her recommendation to see Prairie Cardiovascular. They brought in not only Dr. Troy, but also Dr. Wilfred Lam, who remains Tom’s heart doctor to this day.

On Sept. 10 this year, Tom’s cinematic-drama-stage play had its grand opening at the Hoogland Center for the Arts with a pre-theater dinner and a post-party to a full house of family, friends and strangers. None of this (black first-time author/playwright/producer/director) could ever have happened without Prairie Cardiovascular doctors with the referral of Dr. Celina Tsang.

Carol A. Jones
Springfield

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