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Thursday, Aug. 4, 2011 09:26 am

Letters to the Editor 08/04/11


The weather map from the summer of 1995, when heat caused 525 deaths in northeastern Illinois. Were deaths caused by corn, or lack of air conditioning?

I believe James Krohe Jr. [see “It’s not the heat, it’s the corn,” July 21] and Mr. Changnon (Northern Illinois University climatologist) both have beans between their ears.

They are grabbing disconnected facts out of the hot humid air to provide shaky support for a whimsical theory. If the row crops are providing all that deadly humidity, wouldn’t a high rural death percentage be more supportive of the theory? Those 525 deaths of 1995 in northeastern Illinois; not very many corn fields in Chicago!

That cause is more likely the acreage of farmland swallowed up by expanding cities over the last 80 years. How about our evolving building codes that allows for lower ceiling heights from 12 foot down to 8 foot, the lack of planning for windows to give cross ventilation, the reliance upon air conditioners to provide a livable interior environment? What percentage of those 525 deaths occurred in an air-conditioned building? Not many, I contend it’s the people without air-conditioned homes and apartments that made up the bulk of heat victims.

I would rather be sitting in a lawn chair eating a bowl of hot chili in the middle of row crops than in the middle of a pavement island of one of those roundabouts (see “Going ’round and ’round, Dec. 3, 2009) that Mr. Krohe is so found of.

Mel Davis


Karen Hasara served as mayor of our great city, but she cannot join the Motor Boat Club on city property, simply because she is a woman. This makes no sense and is an anachronism the good members of the club should repeal. But regardless, the laws of our city should not allow this insidious discrimination.

Our city code prohibits discrimination against women in employment, financial credit, housing and public accommodations. Yet we lease our most treasured public land on Lake Springfield to a club which openly discriminates against women by prohibiting them from being full members. Ninety-one years after women gained the right to vote, this is a form of discrimination we cannot and must not tolerate any longer in Abraham Lincoln’s hometown. 

That’s why I am intoducing legislation in our city council to prohibit clubs and organizations, which lease property from the city for use by their members from engaging in discrimination which our city code already prohibits in all other types of public conduct.

Sam Cahnman
Alderman, Ward 5

I find James Krohe’s anti-urban criticism of Minoru Yamasaki’s work and the Horace Mann building as unwarranted and undeserved [see “Anti-urban urban renewal,” July 28]. As an architect, with experience in urban planning and design, I will tell you that this building is a fine example of urban design and planning.

The contributions of Yamasaki and Horace Mann to enhance the urban fabric of Springfield should not be ameliorated by intellectual rationalizations!

It is not Yamasaki’s or Horace Mann’s failure that this city has not attracted, developed and expanded its industrial base; and it is certainly not their failure that this city has not engaged in the implementation of result-oriented progressive urban development policies.

It seems that those “powers that be” have sat idly, relying on state government, SIU, retail shops, our two hospitals and a dyslexic zoning ordinance to provide us with the capital investment needed for increased vitality of our central core, and planned growth.

With no industrial base, and a massive retail service industry (composed of low-paying jobs and primarily concentrated outside of our central core), we should consider ourselves lucky that we still have a central core that is vital and stable, if only from 8 to 5 on weekdays and Saturdays!

Enrique J. Unanue

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