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Thursday, Jan. 16, 2014 12:01 am

Letters to the Editor 1/16/14

Helping the homeless in Springfield is as easy as filling out and returning a Round Up insert in your CWLP bill.


Last week we experienced bone-chilling sub-zero weather. Those who suffer the most when the thermometer drops below zero are our homeless brothers and sisters. This month, there’s an easy way we can help them. Check your CWLP bill for the Round Up insert. By signing up, you can join other residents who help the homeless by giving just a few cents a month. These inserts only arrive in our bills two months a year.

When you fill out the insert and send it back with your January bill payment, your future CWLP bills will be rounded up to the next dollar, with the extra change going to a fund to help the homeless. You’ll contribute 1 to 99 cents a month, 50 cents on average. You can also opt to add a specific amount, like $1 or $5 ... good if you’re on the level payment plan. You can also do both. Fifty cents a month doesn’t seem like much, but multiplied by 65,000 CWLP customers or even by a fifth or a tenth of them, and you’re talking big money.

A few months ago our city council went through a gut-wrenching vote on whether to grant zoning relief so the Helping Hands homeless shelter could relocate to Fourth Street. Although the measure failed, everyone agreed we need to do more to help the homeless. The Round Up program is helping somewhat, thanks to the many generous CWLP customers who already round up every month, but it could do a lot more if you signed up.

Watch for the Round Up insert in your January CWLP bill; fill it out and send it in with your bill payment, or sign up online. At www.cwlp.com, go to the box with the changing slides on the right, half way down, and click on the penny with the arrow around it pointing up ... a painless way to help those least fortunate among us, who need our help the most in these cold winter months.

Sam Cahnman, Alderman, Ward 5


It’s very heartening to hear of the recent efforts of private businesses and city partnerships that are working to develop training opportunities that can lead to better paying jobs and entry into fields that are traditionally closed to people of color and women.

While appreciating the city of Springfield’s efforts in moving our community to more equitable opportunities for employment for people of color, women and the poor, as well as a healthier work and civic environment through anti-racism programs, I think it’s important to remember initiatives from the community have often built the foundation for many of these important new constructions.

Organizations like Faith Coalition for the Common Good with their Community Benefits Agreement on the Rail Project, NAACP for their decades of scrutiny of and action against racist attitudes and practices that harm the fabric of our community, and the Dominican Sisters of Springfield who, over a decade ago, began exploring the ways that racism harms us all, then helped birth the Springfield Committee On Dismantling Racism (SCODR).

We need to lift up these groups and the individuals who lead them so that others
will feel empowered to bring their good ideas forward: compassionate ideas that are embraced by the city administration and the people of Springfield for the betterment of our entire community.

Diane Lopez Hughes


On Thursday, I look forward to picking up the Illinois Times. One of my best reasons is publication of Jackie Jackson’s poetry. I especially enjoyed when IT also included a stunning poem by John Knoepfle. (“A poem for All Hallow’s Eve,” Oct. 31.)

IT’s attention to the arts and music in Springfield elevates our city and reminds us to support – and enjoy – the people who open up their hearts and souls to enrich ours. Thursday’s a good day around our town. Thank you, Illinois Times, for weekly ventures.

Polly Poskin


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Wednesday Sept. 26th