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Thursday, May 26, 2016 12:17 am

Letters to the Editor 5/26/16

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You don’t usually think of a cemetery as a place to have fun, but this Saturday our own Oak Ridge Cemetery will be just that at the annual “Spirited Stroll” from 1 to 4 p.m., and it’s all free.

The “Spirited Stroll” will bring back the 19th century tradition of cemeteries as a popular gathering place for picnics, speeches, walks and other fun activities. It became so popular here in the 1800s, you needed a ticket to get into Oak Ridge.

Oak Ridge is the largest municipal cemetery in Illinois and the second most visited in the nation. Created in 1856 by our Springfield City Council, the 365 acres of beautiful rolling prairie with thousands of trees, and the final resting place of our beloved Abraham Lincoln as well as more than 80 other dignitaries, is a Springfield treasure to celebrate and enjoy Saturday.

Festivities will include music by our Municipal Band, the Wildwood Strings and Wild Columbine, a Memorial Day address by our mayor, children’s nature activities, the dedication of a plaque to Revolutionary War patriots and more.

One of the “more” is a historic and unique tree walk, including 19 of the more than 200 types of trees growing in Oak Ridge. By each tree will be a volunteer expert talking about the particular qualities of that tree and any interesting nearby gravestones. A map with GPS coordinates of each tree will lead you on this self-guided tour. A QR Reader on each of the 19 trees and others will also let your cellphone tell you about the trees, including photos of the trees in other seasons.

To top it off, ice cream, cake and fruit will be available for $2 and lemonade for just a buck.

The Oak Ridge Cemetery Foundation, Lincoln Monument Association, Oak Ridge Cemetery, Starhill Forest Arboretum, African-American History Museum and Illinois State Historical society are sponsoring and organizing the Stroll.

See you Saturday at the “Spirited Stroll.”

Sam Cahnman


Known as a dual diagnosis or co-occurring disorder, substance abuse and mental health issues frequently occur together. In fact, 80 percent of individuals with addiction issues have a co-occurring mental health issue according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

The question comes down to the chicken or the egg – which came first and which do we treat first? The mental health issue or the substance abuse issue? “The likelihood of succeeding in treatment is greatly enhanced when both are treated simultaneously. Integrated treatment approaches coordinate substance abuse and mental health interventions to treat the whole person,” said Kerry Henry, executive director of Gateway Alcohol and Drug Treatment in Springfield.

Individuals arriving at Gateway receive a comprehensive assessment and those who are found to have a mental health disorder may be admitted into our specialized dual diagnosis program. “We use a variety of clinically proved treatment methods to address co-occurring substance abuse and mental health problems at the same time, in the same program by the same treatment team,” said Henry.

As each individual is unique, so should be their treatment plan. We work together with individuals to develop a customized treatment plan that capitalizes on methods that may have worked for them in the past. In addition, medication assisted treatment may be used if deemed appropriate for the individual.

If you know someone struggling with substance abuse and mental health issues, know that help is available. Visit http://recovergateway.org for more information.

Katrina Crumley


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