Letters to the Editor 9/27/18
I noticed the picture of the proposed improvements to Lanphier High School in the Sept. 13-19 edition of Illinois Times. What the picture failed to show was the two new sets of railroad tracks that are being installed within a few hundred feet of the school at a level higher than the windows. These tracks will have 81 trains per day (every 15 minutes) and travel more than 60 miles per hour. According to an ESDA report, these trains will transport close to 12,000 carloads of hazardous substances past Lanphier. The picture also fails to show the new four-lane highway to be constructed directly south of Lanphier that will increase the truck and automobile traffic by the tens of thousands. There is a lot of data to show that these conditions have major negative effects on the learning environment. There is little doubt that the increase of rail traffic will also increase the safety problems for Lanphier students and faculty. Regardless of this “historic renovation,” Lanphier High School will be a difficult place to learn and study and will remain in harm’s way.
H. Jack Pfeiffer, Ph.D
I am an employee with Hanson Professional Services Inc., and I am responsible for public engagement for the Springfield Rail Improvements Project. Hanson was hired by the city of Springfield to design and administer this project.
In the Sept. 20-26 edition of Illinois Times, a letter stated that the clock tower from the historic Illinois Watch Company would be slated for demolition when the high-speed rail comes through Springfield.
The Springfield Rail Improvements Project will not affect the historic clock tower. It is not slated to be demolished by the rail project.
The relocation of the Third Street rail traffic to the 10th Street corridor will create a new section of railroad tracks from Phillips Street north to Ridgely Avenue. This section extends just east of 10th Street and through the Illinois EPA building (east of the historic clock tower), which will create a new underpass on North Grand Avenue.
I hope this addresses any concerns. Please contact me if you have any other questions or visit http://springfieldrailroad.com. I can be reached at 747-9257 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
RODNEY AND RACISM
In a recent speech, former President Barack Obama, commenting about the current political environment, stated: “We are Americans. We’re supposed to stand up to bullies. Not follow them … We’re supposed to stand up to discrimination, and we’re sure as heck supposed to stand up clearly and unequivocally to Nazi sympathizers … How hard can that be, to say that Nazis are bad?”
When I attended a candidate presentation by Congressman Rodney Davis a few weeks ago, he, like President Trump, refused to unequivocally condemn neo-Nazis and white supremacists and their ties to the Republican Party. Instead, Davis’ response was to say that there are extremists in both political parties.
In the present political environment, Americans are aching for clear, firm moral leadership from our elected leaders. The time has come for us to demand from all our officials, both incumbents and aspiring, that they not only directly condemn racist ideologies and groups, but that they work to make this country better through their actions as well as their words. We should start by demanding that from our current congressman as voters consider the choice before us in this fall election.
Emeritus Professor, Political Science and Legal Studies
University of Illinois Springfield
Correction: In “Springfield’s World War I Hero, Otis B. Duncan” (IT Sept. 20), the author wrote that Colonel Duncan was buried in Oak Ridge Cemetery. He is actually buried at Camp Butler.