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Thursday, April 21, 2011 06:13 am

Letters to the Editor 04/21/11

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Harvard Park Dads Club Minstrel Show, 1965.
PHOTOS COURTESY SANGAMON VALLEY COLLECTION

HARVARD PARK MEMORY
My dad is unable to use a computer but asked me to “look up on the computer” which I did and found this article [see “Harvard Park celebrates a century as a working-class neighborhood that still works,” by Tara McClellan McAndrew, Sept. 24, 2008], and here I would like to recount something that happened many years ago.

Back in 1953, my father, who was a disabled Korean war veteran, was passing through Springfield, thumbing a ride. A man passing by picked him up,and told him, “I can’t get you too far but I’ll do what I can.” As they came to their departure, the man said, “Hold on,” and pulled out a $10 bill (remember, this was 1953) and offered it to my dad (who was definitely in need). My dad asked for his address so he could pay him back later, to which the man declined andsaid, “Just do it for someone else.” My dad insisted and finally the man gave in and provided him a business card which had the man’s name and said, “Harvard Park Dad’s Club.”

Approximately 15 years later my dad had a sales route that took him backthrough Springfield, and he remembered the occasion and retrieved the man’s business card. Upon stopping by to renew old acquaintances, the man remembered him, asked him in to visit, and later they all went out for dinner and bowling. That man’s name was Eli Swearingen. To him and his family and all those of Harvard Park, I say God bless you and thank you for helping a veteran in need. Neighbors coming together to help not just other neighbors or community members but even passers-by are a testament to what makes America “a shining city on a hill”.

Eric Harris, for L.V. Harris
From illinoistimes.com



RIVERTON THEATER
Riverton’s population is a little over 3,000 people, and it’s known for its mostly rural character. But there is something else it should be known for: its phenomenal theatrical productions. I was fortunate enough to watch their most recent show, Chicago, and I was blown away. If you’re not aware, they recently built a lavish fine arts center, a facility so impressive it would be difficult for anyone, in any location, to find talent to match. The most impressive part of their performance was the amazing assemblage of young talent they had on display. To think that a school the size of Riverton could house such remarkable talent, complimented by facilities fine enough to be the envy of cities 10 times their size, is unbelievable.

What is more unbelievable is the lack of recognition they receive, not only from their own community, but from the greater Springfield area. When the subject of local high school theater is brought up, many schools in this area are mentioned, but rarely will you hear the name of Riverton. If you have not seen one of their productions, you would be doing yourself a favor if you set some time aside and made the trip out, not only to take in their magnificent building, but to witness some of the most talented, dedicated, and admirable young adults in this area. They are one, of many, reasons for the Village of Riverton to be proud of their community.

Ryan G. Flanagan
Riverton


THREE STRIKES, YOU’RE DEAD
I am replying to Catherine Wells’ well-written ill-conceived letter regarding concealed carry [April 14]. If approved, concealed carry will put more guns on the streets in the hands of people who can legally carry guns and who are capable of protecting themselves. In the other 48 states that already have concealed carry, crime goes down every time. The letter writer says “before Illinois rushes into passing a concealed carry law. . ..” I don’t consider trying to pass the law for decades as rushing. She asks, “Are you prepared to kill another human being in self-defense?” Absolutely.

The source of the problem is that we don’t spend enough money properly to ensure that all children grow up in a healthy environment that allows them to become happy productive adults. Years ago I asked my grandmother what she would do with $36,000. Would she give $12,000 to each of three children or would she give the entire $36,000 to the Department of Corrections to house an inmate who had been sent to prison for the third time. She said that she would take care of all four. I told her that from a purely practical standpoint that any person sent to prison for the third time should be executed regardless of the crime.

David Barnett
New Berlin

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