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Thursday, May 5, 2011 11:20 am

Letters to the Editor 5/5/11

John Shimkus, Autisum funding and gardening


Congressman John Shimkus


I often appreciate the statements Congressman John Shimkus makes to area news outlets about the environment. He speaks in favor of protecting public health and supporting real science when developing environmental policies. He sounds sensible when he’s back home in the district. That’s why it’s so disappointing to read national blogs and press outlets which report on what Congressman Shimkus actually does while in Washington, D.C.

Although he speaks in favor of science while in Illinois, he has become known as an anti-science extremist in Washington. One congressman even had to ask why Shimkus didn’t include any actual scientists in committee hearings about climate change. He rhetorically supports public health while in Illinois, but in Washington, his attacks on environmental regulation would threaten the lives of thousands of adults and children. He claims to support agriculture in Illinois, but in Washington, he refuses to acknowledge the terrible impact climate change will have on Illinois farmers. How do we get the extremist Shimkus in Washington to start acting more like the sensible-sounding Shimkus I read about back home?

Will Reynolds


My daughter, Jenna, was featured in last week’s cover story, “Hope comes full circle: Founded to help children with disabilities, The Hope Institute takes on autism.”

April was Autism Awareness Month and I was proud to have Jenna’s journey a focal point in the article. However, Illinois is rated 48th in state funding for children with disabilities and I would appreciate any donations to The Hope Institute. My greatest worry is what will happen when Jenna ages out of  The Hope School. Will the State of Illinois cut more funding for adults with disabilities? One in 100 children born today will be diagnosed with autism. Unfortunately, everyone will know someone who has a relative with autism. Please, give a voice for those who are not able to speak.

Stacey Mathews Agans


Patrick, Patrick, you are setting yourself up for garden failure again [See “Confessions of bad a gardener,” by Patrick Yeagle, April 21].

Go to the University Extension Office at the fairgrounds and ask a Master Gardener for help. It will give you more material for future articles and you can share the knowledge with Illinois Times readers. And you will learn tricks to make your garden thrive, with less work.

Listen to the words of wisdom that come with gray hair and 60 years of life. A garden isn’t just for growing your food, it is also for growing your spirit. Gardening can be hard physically, but don’t make it feel like work. Setting the alarm, well, that is a red flag, if you have to force yourself to do a task, you won’t do it for long. From my years of experience, you water the garden in the late afternoon, so the plants have all night to soak up the water. Watering in the morning, it evaporates more, giving the plants less, and plants are going to wilt in the heat of day anyway, they need the cool night to recover. Also put a mulch down to keep the water in the soil longer.

Don’t plant all your seeds at one time, and plant in short rows a week at a time. I always put a few seeds out early, nothing like the thrill of catching a good mild year early. Had a row of green beans planted the first week of April; they now have the first set of leaves opening up. But the danger of a late frost is still possible.

Also, put out a plea to readers to share their knowledge and visit their gardens to see how they garden. Most likely you will find some spiritual aspect to all the successful gardeners by year end.

Mel Davis


I didn’t know we gave illegals in-state tuition [see “Hundreds rally for Illinois DREAM Act,” by Holly Dillemuth, April 21]. My sister lives in Indiana and when she tried to go to the U of I the cost was astronomical, but if she would have just broken the law the tuition would have been less. That makes sense, give rewards to people who are not paying taxes on their income (no Social Security number equals no taxes) and give them college at a reduced rate.

From reader comments at illinoistimes.com.

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