Thanks To Councilman Bill Faber For Voicing Concerns Regarding The Closing Of Scovill Golf Course

Dear Editor:
    First, we the taxpaying and concerned citizens of Decatur would like to thank city councilman, Bill Faber, for voicing concerns regarding the closing of Scovill Golf Course, although he isn’t directly involved with the Decatur Park District.
    For many, the other two courses do not serve the needs of ladies, seniors, juniors, older veterans, and other beginner type golfers. How will this decision serve the recreational needs of these citizens?
    Those who play only Red Tail and Hickory Point courses and not concerned about Scovill closing, you need to think about those who will be directly affected. You will be vying for tee times and dealing with slow play.
    We understand the golf business as a whole has been on the decline for years and that the district feels it has to close one of the three courses to meet its financial needs Then why weren’t the taxpayers given the opportunity to vote on which course to close? 
    We hear the Village of Forsyth offered to purchase Hickory Point Course, but the offer was refused. The Park District also needs to consider the frequent flooding of Hickory.             

    Comments have been made that after closing Scovill, cart paths would be considered at Hickory. What about the cost? The opinion of several is this would be very expensive and cost more than maintaining Scovill.
    One would hope the Park District would investigate offers from golf course management firms before destroying the course in a fashion exercised at the old Nelson Course.

Linda Yarbrough
Decatur


Above letter posted 10/11/17


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Urge Congress To Pay Attention To

340B Drug Discount Program

Dear Editor:
    Although unknown to most people, and not yet mentioned on the 6 o’clock news, the federal 340B drug discount program affects many needy patients in Central Illinois.
    Originally, the 340B drug discount program aimed to improve care for uninsured or vulnerable patients by having drug manufacturers subsidize the cost of medicines for providers that primarily serve these patients. These patients had to be qualified per guidelines based on need, but the 340B drug discount program no longer delivers on this goal, and needs to be updated to better assure needed health outcomes. Currently, well-intentioned but poorly designed policy tweaks have put the program on a path where hospitals and large corporate pharmacies are pocketing revenue intended to help vulnerable patients. 
    As an owner operating a pharmacy and partnering with Crossing Healthcare, a Federal Qualified Health Center (FQHC), whose mission is to provide care to the medically underserved; I know the dollars generated through the 340B program directly impact the care provided to those in need. These patients would not be able to afford or receive necessary medication without this FQHC or this prescription program. 
    As a pharmacist serving patients daily, I’m distressed that this good idea has gone wrong. Instead of using the savings from these subsidized drugs to provide care for needy patients, more and more for-profit providers and mega retail pharmacies are keeping the savings and padding their bottom lines. For example: if a pharmacy purchases a drug worth $100 for $8, they can still dispense it at $100 – and keep the difference, which can then be passed on to the hospital. One study found that many 340B retail contract pharmacies were making uninsured patients pay full retail price. 
In 2016, one major chain of retail pharmacies accounted for 46% of all 340B contract pharmacies.
    We’ve let these big hospital systems and big box pharmacies take advantage of this program long enough, and we must get back to focusing on patient outcomes. To truly help the neediest patients, we need to root out abuses within the 340B program, fix the lack of accountability and transparency, and modernize this program.
    I urge Congress to pay attention to the 340B drug discount program and make sure it’s working as intended to help the neediest patients access the care they need. 

Dale Colee, Owner/ 
Pharmacist-In-Charge 
Dale’s Southlake Pharmacy & 
Colee’s Community Pharmacy

Car Care Council Makes Some

Recommendations For Auto Owners

Dear Editor,
     Whether changing the oil, replacing the wiper blades or checking the tires, making time for routine auto care not only ensures a safer, more dependable vehicle, but car owners can preserve the trade-in value and save money by addressing small issues before they become more complicated, expensive repairs.
     Even though finding the time to perform simple preventative vehicle maintenance is money in the bank, research conducted by IMR Inc., an industry leader in automotive research, has found that one out of three consumers who put off routine vehicle maintenance do so because they cannot find a convenient time. In addition, millennials and those who own older vehicles are more likely to delay routine maintenance.
     To make it easier for car owners to include auto care in their busy schedules, the non-profit Car Care Council offers a free custom service schedule and email reminder service. This simple-to-use online resource can be personalized to help make auto care more convenient and economical.
     The service schedule includes the common maintenance procedures to keep a car operating safely and reliably while maintaining its long-term value, including checking the oil, filters and fluids, the belts and hoses, brakes, tires and air conditioning. The Car Care Council also recommends an annual tune-up and wheel alignment. To learn more, visit www.carcare.org. 
 
Rich White
Executive Director
Car Care Council
Bethesda, MD 
 
Let's Have A Howard Buffett Day!

Dear Editor:
    Let’s have a Howard Buffett Day to honor one that has made substantial gifts for our community needs in the past and currently from his charitable foundation - plus - now personally contributing his time and talents as an Interim Sheriff.


Bill Braun
Decatur

Above Letters Posted 9/26/17


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America Needs God
More Than Ever


Dear Editor:                                       
    America needs God more than ever.  Ungodliness is actually the biggest problem in America.  America needs to return to the Living God of Abraham and live according to His just commandments.  Hate must be replaced by Godly love.
    The defeated Satan and his followers are still afflicting humanity in terrible ways.  Their goal is to lead humanity to eternal damnation. It is working!
    It is working because too many humans, in the past and present, willingly help stir humanity away from God, and the Word of God. God said, I am God and I created heaven and earth and everything on it, and everything is mine.  In Psalm 14:1 He said, “the fool hath said in his heart, There is no God, They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.”
    God was right when He said it, and is right now!  
    Mankind is still denying there is a God, or has substituted, a manmade god, an idea, such as evolution, time, tolerance. Or whatever meets their fancy.
    We live in an extremely corrupt world that gets worst every day.  Mankind chooses rebellion against God, instead of obedience to God.  Mankind is so blinded by Satan that they think it’s okay to kill the unborn and those who have been born.  Islam thinks the way to heaven is by killing innocent people, and we see the carnage too often on TV.
    Our children are injecting themselves with deadly drugs and dying, instead of subjecting themselves to the Word of God. 
    Yes judges, God’s word belongs everywhere, especially in your heart! Today America will murder 2000-3000 precious unborn babies.      
    You can stop this abomination!          

    Obey God.  

    
Manuel Ybarra, Jr.  
Coalgate, Ok 

Thrilled To Read Story

Dear Paul:
    Last week the Tribune had a picture of Gene Kitch celebrating his 100th birthday. I was thrilled to read this because I grew up at 1082 S. Broadway across the street from him.
    Our house has been torn down, but the memories still linger.    
    There was a fireman who lived next door to the south of the Kitch's house and a Judge Morthland lived north of his house. It was a wonderful neighborhood with South Side Park (Mueller Park) with all of the activities it provided throughout the year.
    Summer time there was tennis, baseball games and free movies. In the winter the tall hills provided wonderful sleighing.
    I loved the old house that I grew up in, but time changes and we moved to the east end of town when I was twelve. 
    That was a trip down memory lane. Thanks Paul for all the old and new articles about Decatur.

Charlotte Pickett (Reynolds)
Decatur

Thank You Letter To 
Rep. Sue Scherer


Dear Editor:
    The budget impasse that Illinois grappled with for over two years had a devastating impact, no matter where you lived in our state. With education programs in particular being hit hard, it has been difficult for agriculture educators in Illinois to meet their goals of educating our students for an ever-changing agricultural industry. The budget impasse also made it difficult to recruit and retain agriculture education teachers in our urban and rural districts. 
    The Illinois Association of Vocational Agriculture Teachers would like to thank Representative Sue Scherer for standing up for agriculture education. Representative Scherer understands the needs of the agricultural industry. 
    With approximately one in four jobs being generated by agriculture in Illinois, the agricultural industry continues to be affected by an agriculture education teacher shortage. Last year, four-year agriculture education programs in Illinois graduated just over 20 students. Yet, agriculture education programs across our state had approximately 80 openings. 
    The agriculture education teacher shortage continues to affect the quality of education in rural and urban school districts. 
    This is why it is so important that Representative Scherer supported funding for support programs and continuing education for agriculture education teachers as well as funding which will ensure that these jobs are competitive with other jobs in the agricultural industry.  
    Thankfully, State Representative Sue Scherer took the tough votes necessary to enact a full budget because she understood the importance of training our agricultural leaders of tomorrow. 
    We cannot forget the economic impact of our agriculture industry. In order for the agricultural industry and employers to succeed in Illinois, we need to make sure that our workforce of today and of tomorrow is trained and well-prepared to meet the needs the agricultural industry.
    Thank you Representative Scherer for ensuring that Illinois remains a leader in agriculture education and the agricultural industry. 


Jesse Faber 
Illinois Association of Vocational Agriculture Teachers 
Legislative Chairperson 

Macon County Farm Bureau Reminds

Motorists That It’s Harvest Time 

Dear Editor:
    The Macon County Farm Bureau would like to remind motorists it’s harvest time and we farmers will be on the roadways with our equipment again soon. 
    Some of our equipment is large and a little hard to see around, so please approach with caution, give us a little extra room, and remember if you can’t see our mirrors we can’t see you. If you give us a chance, we’ll move over and allow you to pass as soon as we find a safe place to do so. 
    Here’s to a safe fall for everyone. Thanks for your patience and understanding - we’re feeding the world from right here in Macon County!

Rob Albers
Macon County Farm Bureau

Above Letters Posted 9/12/17


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Citizens Are Asked To 
Read The Constitution


Dear Editor:
    I am writing to you as the representative of the Stephen Decatur Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution. 
    Every year at this time we encourage remembrance of the signing of the Constitution of the United States of America. This event happened on September 17, 1787. We observe the week of September 17-23 to remember this. We hear politicians say that they are following the Constitution better than their opponents almost daily, especially during election years, or when one party is disputing another.
    This year we are asking that people read the Constitution, and that churches celebrate by ringing bells or chimes at 3:00 p.m., the time of the signing. 
    We are also asking that school children be given lessons about this important document, and that the ones old enough, be encouraged to read the Constitution for themselves.    
    Our organization will be meeting at Fairview Park at 3:00 p.m. on Sunday, September 17 under the flagpole that the DAR donated to the park. We are inviting the public to join us and bring a handbell to ring.

Wilma Thompson
Constitution Co-chairman
Stephen Decatur Chapter 
Daughters of the American Revolution

Gregory Will Not Run For State Representative

Dear Editor:
    Traditionally Labor Day weekend is a time when a political candidate will make public their intention to run for election. Since Bill Mitchell’s announcement that he would not seek re-election my name has been circulated as a potential candidate.  Many of you know I have always wanted to serve in the Illinois House of Representatives.  
    Over the last several months I have taken the time to seriously assess my capacity to serve this district.  While I know this district and its needs well and believe that I have the knowledge, skills, and talent to represent the people of 101st district both in the district and in Springfield, the one hurdle I cannot overcome is that of timing, both personally and politically. 
    On January 13, 2017, I received a phone call informing me that my position as Executive Director of Public Information and Chief of Staff at Richland Community College was being eliminated immediately due to several years of declining enrollment and the lack of State funding in 2015 and 2016.      My first priority for the past 8 months has been to find employment.  I continue to seek opportunities that would provide a job in Decatur.
    Additionally, I learned last week that the House Republican Organization and the Illinois Opportunity Project have reached a consensus on the candidate they will support in the 101st district.  It causes me great concern that upwards of one million dollars will be spent in this district destroying the reputations of those other than their chosen candidate.
    For these reasons I have decided not to seek election to the Illinois House of Representatives.  While it saddens me to set aside my dream at this time, I am at peace with this decision.  I want to take this opportunity to thank those that have provided support to me through the assessment process by prayer and words of wisdom.  I will continue to diligently represent the interests of Decatur residents through service on the City Council. 
    If voters in Illinois are truly serious about changing our State’s economic and political environment, I would encourage them to become an active participant in the democratic process.  Voters need to do their own research on candidates and not simply believe every mailer, television and radio advertisement, or information disseminated from their state political party.  
    Voters should be asking candidates what type of plan they would propose or support that: pays $14.6 billion in unpaid bills; cuts a $6 billion deficit; reduces a $130 billion pension liability; and, defines the State’s moral and service obligations.  
    Voters also need to understand that the individuals elected in November 2018 will never realize in their lifetime the solutions to the problems listed above; however, may only be able to establish a framework that moves Illinois in the right direction. 
    Please join me in becoming an active participant in our democratic process.  It is a process that only works when we do our part.


Lisa Gregory
Decatur


Letters Above Posted 9/6/17



‘Back To School’ Scrapbook Brought Back Memories

Dear Paul:
    I just got the Aug. 23rd issue of the Tribune and was reading pages 4 and 5 about “Back To School” time and it brought back some fond memories of my elementary days at Lincoln School.     Lincoln and Pugh were not very far apart and there was a little rivalry between the students of these two schools. The only thing that separated the schools’ boundaries was Monroe Street. West of Monroe the students went to Pugh and east of Monroe the students went to Lincoln.
    There would be times that students from the two schools would run into each other on their daily routines and it was then that the Pugh kids would call out to the Lincoln kids, "Lincoln, Lincoln still a stinkin,"  and of course the Lincoln kids would call out, "Pugh, Pugh never got through."  
    I'm sure there are some of the readers of the Tribune that remember this. I don't think anyone ever had to go to psychoanalysis because of it.
    Those were the innocent days before “political correctness”. We would probably all go to jail today.  Glad I grew up when I did.
    I still have fond memories of my elementary school days. I was blessed to have some wonderful teachers. Fourth grade was probably my hardest year and maybe that is why I spent 30 years of my adult life teaching fourth graders. I really loved those kids even though there were times they probably thought I was a mean old teacher. They probably never knew it but there would be times I would get to school early and mention each one of them, by name in a prayer, as I sat at my desk.
    Thanks Paul for sticking with the Tribune all these years. You do a great job.
Jim Henley 
Hot Springs, AR

Waiting Three Years 
To Fix Known Problem 
Is Unacceptable 


Dear Editor:
    Consultants do make mistakes, all of them from time to time, but waiting three years to remediate a known situation should not be acceptable to anyone involved and in particular to persons elected to serve the community on the school board.  
    There are a couple of issues here.  First of all architects design buildings, engineers do the mechanical, like HVAC systems.  Start by hiring the right people to do the job.  
    Secondly, reheat systems only work where the systems served have adequate initial capacity; where the wet bulb discharge temperature cannot be lowered farther because of inadequate design capacity, reheat will only make matters worse.  It is a very simple calculation and well within the abilities of even a novice engineer.          
    This is far too simplistic a situation to have gone on this long; whose pocket gets raided is a whole other matter; suffice it to say the responsible party should be fronting the expense regardless of whether it was an oversight or error.  
    Obviously if the existing installed units were undersized solely to save money, it’s not really working out.

Michael Jontry, 
BSMaE, PE
Decatur

Free Property Tax Seminar For Homeowners Sept. 6 

Dear Editor,
     To help homeowners learn how to lower their property tax bill, I am hosting a free property tax seminar on Wednesday, Sep. 6 from 3:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. in the Shilling Community Education Center – Salon 1 at Richland Community College, located at 1 College Park in Decatur.
     As I speak with area residents throughout my district, property tax relief is among the most frequently discussed issues. Families who are already struggling to make ends meet deserve relief from property taxes that continue to increase, even as home values decline.
    The event will include a presentation from Macon County Supervisor of Assessments Joshua Tanner. I encourage you to attend to learn about the basics of property assessments, how to appeal the assessment, and what exemptions are available.  I also recommend bringing your assessment bills and related documentation.
     Property taxes are a major expense for homeowners, so it’s important to me that families understand how they work and how to navigate the appeal process. For more information or to RSVP for this event, please contact my constituent service office at 217-877-9636 or email StateRepSue@gmail.com.


Sue Scherer
State Representative, 
96th District

An Open Letter To Lori Sturgill

And Decatur Celebration Board

    Please let us have our water bottles!     Thank you for a wonderful celebration! Entertainment was great, the new fence was a good idea and even though I am a senior I purchased a wristband to support the celebration.
    But please let us take bottled water so we can stay hydrated as we walk around and enjoy it. 
    (Even if you only let seniors take water, since hopefully seniors know better than to put alcohol in it and try to pass it off as water.)
    We entered by the Avon Theatre and parking garage and had to head all the way down to the Richland Community College free water station - and the paper cups were hard to carry and not spill, especially when buying food.
    We would be happy to purchase a bottle of water - if it was for sale as you come in the fence gates. Or, if we could carry bottled water from home.
    Please let us either purchase bottled water by every gate or bring from home.
    Thank you and wishing you many more fabulous Decatur Celebrations!

Lauren Brown
Decatur 


Above Letters Posted 8/29/17


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Driver’s License Facility 
Is Disorganized 


Dear Editor::
    I just read the article wherein a person who needed to take a driver's test had to wait 3-1/2 hours! I can attest that the way they are running this establishment off of Pershing is horrible! 
    My husband had to renew his driver's license by the end of July so we headed in four days prior to his birthday. I had two stickers to get, so we took different inside routes, him to the right, me to the left. It took me only 10 minutes to get the renewals and join him. His waiting number was 31; they were working on #4. The fellow next to me was #7 and he was sleeping in his chair.
    During this time, another gentlemen came in, stating to us this was his third attempt at renewal and hopefully, it will go faster; his number was 41. 
    We noticed several things going on (actually not going on) while we were waiting: 1) Several people were waiting in an area closer for renewals and they were there a long time! 2) The staff that was doing paperwork, testing eyes and taking a photo was also leaving to give driver's road tests! So, now when they are gone, nothing is being done in that area! 3) It looked to us they could only handle on average one person every 20 minutes! 4) Several people turned in their numbers and left. 5) People were saying they were going to go to Clinton or Monticello the next time and we did hear the comment "This is job security for them!"
    Now it has been 2 hours; #41 went to the desk and handed in his number and chatted a couple of minutes with the man at the desk. Then he came back to us and stated the fellow told him he was sorry...it would be better to come here 15-20 minutes early and wait outside rather than 2 hours inside!     What?!!!
    Hubby finally was called! It took 10 minutes for him to answer questions, get his eyes tested and a photo taken!! Ten minutes and we waited 2-1/2 hours! 
    This is absolutely ridiculous andsomething should be done. How easy to rectify this...One person does renewals and another takes people out for driving tests. I could not believe how disorganized this all was! And, all this time, there were 3-4 other people in the area I had been earlier, just standing around!!
    What is going on? This is sad. It never was like this before!

Judy Repinski
Mt. Zion, IL

Some Comments About The Decatur Celebration

Dear Editor:
    Now that all the backslapping and hoopla from this year's Decatur Celebration have subsided, I have a few comments.
    The idea of free wristbands for our senior citizens and veterans was great. However there were very few places to obtain them. Besides not having many places to obtain a wristband, there were certainly not enough to be had.    
    Some of our senior citizens and veterans are handicapped in one way or the other and simply can't chase around to these few places to try and get a wristband.    To get a wristband they have to show some identification. This could easily be done at the entry gates and save a lot of time and frustration for our well-deserved seniors and veterans.    In my opinion, there were purposely not enough wristbands available in this regard. Sometimes the need for revenue outweighs common sense.

Jim Hopkins
Decatur


Above letters posted 8/23/17


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‘Advertisement’ At End 
Of Funeral Service Was 
Not Appreciated

Dear Editor:
    Recently we attended a memorial service for a friend and we were dismayed at what happened at the end of it. This is at a local funeral home; at the end of the service after the pastor thanked everyone for attending and said this concluded the service, one of the men from the funeral home came to the front, said that this concluded the service, and then how they (the name of the funeral home) had served the family and how they could serve us as well in our time of need. We were taken aback at this little self promotion at the end of the service and we could tell the family was as well.
    Have we become such a society that anything goes and no longer do we have services that are dignified in honor of our departed and the family and friends in attendance? I have written the funeral home expressing my displeasure, but they have not responded. All of us there were fully aware of the funeral home and their services for our friend; we didn’t need an oral advertisement at the end of the service. 
    Some friends have told me they have heard the same thing at other places as well. I hope this letter brings this to the attention of those who are participating in his greedy, self serving practice and makes them decide not to do it any longer. 
    Thank you of your time.

Debbie J. Roberts
Decatur


Profits For Wind Farm Developers May

Disappear Without Tax Reform

Dear Editor:
    Windfall profits for wind farm developers may disappear Jan.1st, 2018 according to the May, 2017 Kiplinger Tax Letter. 
    Unless Federal Tax Reform is actually enacted this year, which doesn’t appear likely, some business and individual tax breaks are scheduled to expire January 1, 2018. 
    Among them are the 30% tax credits for wind turbines, fuel cells and geothermal heat pumps. That’ll take the “Wind out of their sails” when that happens.    


Bob Kimmons
Warrensburg


Above letters posted 8/16/17


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Congressman Davis Should Vote For Palliative Care And Hospice Education And Training Act

Dear Editor,
    Caregiving for a loved one with Alzheimer’s can be an emotionally, physically, and financially draining role. When my father was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease – I did not realize how devastating the effects of this health crisis truly are. As my father’s health and ability to function rapidly declined - I watched as our family had to grapple with the changes and the overwhelming effects of this heartbreaking disease.
    When my family first received the diagnosis, I had trouble grasping the totality of the disease and regularly felt powerless during my father’s dire times of need. 
    Like many others who have loved ones facing this disease, I often did not know where to turn and was left unprepared for the all the stages and stark outcomes.
    Following these experiences, I have joined forces with the Alzheimer’s Association to encourage passage of the Palliative Care and Hospice Education and Training Act or PCHETA (HR 1676). When enacted, this bill would help establish an adequate, well-trained palliative care workforce through training, education, awareness, and enhanced research. Palliative and hospice care are specific medical approaches that focus on increasing support for patients and their caregivers.
    Congressman Rodney Davis has been a supporter of Alzheimer’s disease priorities in the past and I urge him to cosponsor this bill which will help open communication between patients, caregivers, doctors, and staff and help ensure that quality care is available for those who are suffering.

Matt Cardinal
Forsyth

City Council Receives ‘F’ For Vote Against Trees

Dear Editor:
    For over 30 years I taught first and second graders conservation principles – use wisely, do not waste, use only as needed – everything from paper and pencils to soil and trees.  “Tree Friends” outside our classroom windows helped children learn the value of trees - how trees provide habitat for birds and other animals, how leaves provide shade and protect the ground underneath from heavy rain, how roots grip the soil to reduce erosion, and how trees provide food for animals and people.  Children appreciated how beautiful trees are in every season as they drew and colored our “Tree Friends.”  Children enjoyed stories like Dr. Suess’ The Lorax who speaks for the trees.
    Years ago children were given tree seedlings to plant and nurture at home.  Some of those trees survive today and are a source of pride to grown children when they return for a visit with their own children.
    As a retired teacher I have been conservation co-chair of The Garden Club of Decatur for several years.  With our city forester and his crew we help school children celebrate Arbor Day by presenting programs and planting trees.
    Decatur was named a 30-year Arbor Foundation Tree City as designated by a sign posted along Franklin Street near the Decatur Public Library.  Trees were deemed to be valuable assets.  
    Decatur City Council members who voted to allow valuable, long-lived white oak, red oak, and walnut trees to be logged need lessons on the real value of trees.  Their agreement was to allow a logging company to cut beautiful trees and use the proceeds to beautify Decatur.  That does not make sense to me.  
    In my grade book they have earned  ‘F’ for their short-sided decision.  They need to rethink their action for any future city-owned forested areas.

Verlyn K (Fulton) Rosenberger,
1972 Macon County and 
State of Illinois Conservation 
Teacher of the Year

There’s Only One Option For Those Who

Care About Welfare Of Chickens

Dear Editor:
    The shift in our sentiment regarding animals’ welfare is undeniable: In a recent poll, four out of five Americans said they don’t want chickens on factory farms to be crowded into windowless sheds that reek of ammonia; be genetically bred to grow so fast and fat that they’re crippled; or be shackled, have their throats slit, and be immersed in scalding water while still conscious.
    But wishing that grocers and restaurants would stop abetting those abuses won’t end them, and even if chickens were given more room and allowed to grow naturally, they’d still be raised and slaughtered for their flesh.
    If we really care about the welfare of these intelligent, inquisitive, social birds, there’s only one option—stop piling our plates with them. 
    For a free vegan starter kit, visit www.PETA.org.

Craig Shapiro
PETA Foundation
Norfolk, VA 



* * * *

Above letters posted 8/8/17


Bikers And Motorists Need To Remember

They Are Sharing Roads


Dear Editor:
    After more than double the average of bike fatalities in Macon County for 2017, I am compelled to remind bikers and motorists they are sharing the road and to have mutual respect for one another.
    As bikers, we need to police ourselves. This means obeying traffic laws, don't ride over your skill level, be aware of your surroundings/road conditions, and don't mix alcohol while riding. As a motorist, don't tailgate a bike, they may need to slow down to avoid a pothole or debris in the road. 
    Take a second look before making a left-hand turns as this is one of the leading causes of fatalities. Many motorists will say "I didn't see the bike." This can all but be eliminated by a second glance. Lastly, put down your phones! Don't be a distracted driver. Remember: one good or bad decision can make all the difference if a loved one makes it home! All bikers and motorists need to remember needless accidents and fatalities can be avoided by responsible, educated, and respectful driving.
    On a side-note, I would like to remind our local news station when reporting an accident involving a bike and car, to have a little respect for all involved. 
    Perhaps using the caption "bike vs. car" should be revisited. It certainly isn't a competition and shouldn't be reported as such. Secondly, I have to wonder what purpose it serves to report whether the cyclist was wearing a helmet when there's no mention of what the motorist may have done to contribute to the accident. 
    Wearing a helmet isn't the law, but rather a personal choice! Put your personal agendas aside and have some integrity when reporting such a tragedy.
    Please start seeing motorcycles!

Jim Heatheron
President of A.B.A.T.E.    
Decatur 


Saving City Trees

Dear Editor:
    On Monday, May 15, 2017, the Decatur City Council debated and voted on: Resolution Authorizing an Agreement for the “Removal of Certain Trees - Critchelow Logging Company.”  It was a request from the logging firm to pay a minimum of $25,000 as part of anticipated proceeds of harvesting over 100, primarily 80 to 125-year-old hardwood trees on city property near 3622 Skyline Drive.          
    When Mr. Critchelow was asked how long trees live, he responded ‘only for 150-170 years.’  However, arborists state that white oaks, the state tree of Illinois, one of the species to be harvested, have an average life span of 300 years - some live 600 years.  
    Decatur Audubon Society (DAS) members present were concerned about the lack of a bidding process and the loss of ecological services that would occur due to logging - erosion control, carbon storage, oxygen production, pollutant removal, air-cooling, and wildlife habitat.  They also feared potential loss of aesthetic value and the potential damage to adjoining residential property.  
    DAS discovered that progressive communities like Yorktown, PA enacted rules to protect city-owned old trees.  Vital Lands Illinois hosts programs on protecting oak-dominated forests.  In Douglas W. Tallamy’s book, “Bringing Nature Home,” the author notes that certain native trees, especially oaks, attract caterpillars containing crucial nutrients for feeding nestling birds.  Thus, the loss of older hardwood trees may reduce habitat quality for native songbirds.  
    With these concerns, DAS board members authorized sending a letter to the City Council asking to rescind its 5-2 vote to accept the resolution as allowed under Section 4. Termination of the Agreement.   
    They also recommended that the city conduct an inventory to evaluate the real worth, the ecological impact, and subjective aesthetic factors, of the woods in the resolution above and all city-owned wooded property for future decision-making.

Paul Rosenberger, Secretary, 
Decatur Audubon Society


Giving Aid And Comfort 
To The Enemy

Dear Editor:
    As per usual, you nailed it! 
    I wonder if this "crosses the line":
    Obama recalls an American traitor for five hand picked Military leaders of the Taliban, whom we are engaged in active warfare. 
    Actually, this is the very definition of Treason (giving aid and comfort to an enemy of the US), but not one Republican had the guts to call it. He then followed up by sending $1.7 billion in unmarked bills to Muslim Iran, putting America on top of our own terrorist watch list, by intentional default. 
    And we are worried about Russian collusion?


Rob Branson
Atlanta GA 

Above Letters Posted 7/19/17


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Rep. Mitchell Applauded For Budget, Revenue Vote

Dear Editor:
     On behalf of the school board members and administrators who serve throughout the state, we would like to express our sincere thanks to Representative Bill Mitchell for his support of the appropriations bill and the accompanying revenue package recently approved by the Illinois House of Representatives. 
    The provisions contained in SB 6 and SB 9 will allow school districts across the State of Illinois to open on time this fall and remain operational for the 2017-2018 school year. The members of our organizations are proud to stand behind those legislators who stepped up and made the politically tough vote to save not only public education, but also higher education, social services and the other services necessary for our state to survive.
     The greatest investment that we can make for our state's future is in the education of the students who will become tomorrow's leaders. We are grateful that leaders like Representative Mitchell took the bold step to support legislation necessary to end the long-standing budget stalemate and fund the future of our state.
     While there has been an appropriation for elementary and secondary education funding for the past two years, there was not enough state revenue to fund the budget that was passed for schools. This lack of funding resulted in the State of Illinois owing local schools more than $1 billion. Without a budget for the new school year - and without enough state revenue to pay for that budget - some schools would not have been able to open and others would have been able to stay open for only a while. When social services agencies, vendors, and local community groups are not funded, the impact is felt throughout communities and, ultimately, in our classrooms.
     Passage of a comprehensive, balanced state budget is a necessary step in restoring the stability of our local public schools and of our state. Support of this budget legislation shows the strong commitment to our local schools and to our students.         Thank you, Rep Mitchell, for having the courage to be a champion for our school children.
 
Roger Eddy, Executive Director                            
Illinois Association of School Boards

Dr. Brent Clark, Executive Director
Illinois Association of School Administrators


What If This Happened?


Dear Editor:
    What if, in the year 2018, not one single individual volunteered in the city of Decatur?  Would anyone notice?  Would you?
    One of the first things people might notice would be on Sunday morning as they go to church.  There would be no ushers, Sunday School Teachers, Nursery workers or music.  The sermon would be offered and everyone would go home.
    At food pantries and soup kitchens things would move slowly with only paid staff to serve.  There would be no bell ringers for the Salvation Army during Christmas time. Could they survive?  In August, the Decatur Celebration would not take place.  No Alligator-on-a-stick, barley pop or music to enjoy with family and friends.  The celebration depends on volunteers to operate.  Sorry, but your August could be a little boring next year.
    Millikin University, boy scouts, girl scouts and, and the three Kiwanis Clubs contribute approximately 335,000 hours to Decatur each year.  To replace these hours alone would cost NFP agencies almost $8,000,000 annually.  Ask the Director of a NFP in Decatur if they have that much money laying around.
     Of course, volunteers will be there in 2018, just as they have always been.  Their efforts may go unnoticed by some, simply because they are always there.          So, if you enjoy going to the Decatur Public Library, the Macon County Conservation District, the Parks, or any other place inhabited by Volunteers, take a moment to say, “thank you for your service to our community.”  
    And, join the three Kiwanis Clubs of Decatur in September at Richland Community College as we thank those who give so much to make Decatur the community we enjoy.


 Charles R. Smith, 
Decatur Kiwanis Clubs

Deplorable Conditions In The Decatur Sewer System


Dear Editor:
    This is a continuation of the correspondence concerning the deplorable conditions of the Decatur sewer systems.
    In the late 1940's a segment of the intercepter sewer line was installed off-center under California Avenue.
    Approximately twenty years later, a ten-foot diameter hole appeared in the street just west of my driveway. The sewer main had to be replaced. No records were kept.    
    A short time later, another ten-foot hole appeared in the center of the street about seventy foot east of the first one. The sewer main had to be replaced. No records were kept.
    Due to a number of people burning leaves in the street, the city repaved California Avenue with asphalt. They also replaced the concrete curbing.
    Within a year, my basement sewer backed up with about four inches of sewer water. On New Year's Day morning, a specialist ran a snake out to the street. As the blockage was not in the service line, the city was contacted. The blockage was caused by curbing lumber. The barrier was located at the eastern sewer main.
    On April 27, 2017, there was a sewer problem next door to the west. The blockage occurred at a tile joint by my sewer main. One orifice was ten to twelve inches higher than the other. Due to poor record keeping, the Shulke waterline was severed.
    Entler Sewer Service filled the hole on May 1, 2017. The sewer line was scoped within hours. The next day, Julie marked the service lines next door to the east. 
    On May 5, 2017, Entler dug and filled a  hole in about five hours. The problem occurred at a tile joint by the eastern sewer main. One orifice was two to four inches higher than the other.    
    To the Decatur City Council members: Please advise Rick Marley to keep better records, use concrete instead of clay sewer mains and recycle curbing lumber.


Russell Shulke
Decatur    


Letters Above Posted 7/11/17


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Edition Stirred Many Memories Of The Past

Dear Paul: 
    What a GREAT issue the June 28 issue is! 
    I remember so many things with great fondness that you mentioned; especially the picture of the JC Higgens bike. I had one just like it that my parents bought for me. 
    With that bike I carried papers for the Chicago Daily News and then finally the Decatur Herald. I peddled that bike everywhere including to Chap’s Amusement Park to ride the Little Rebel and get 5 cent slices of watermelon and ride other rides. What a great place for kids. 
    I also rode my bike to Nelson Park beach to swim until my parents saved and bought us a membership in the pool near our house on West Center Street. I forget the name of it but my folks saved for two years to buy that membership!
    My next bike (when I was 13) was a Schwinn and I rode that bike until I purchased my first car (with my own dollars that I made working at the Colonial Restaurant and later at Tolly's Market on Rt. 48. 
    It was a 1946 Studebaker Champion 4 Dr. It was a 4 cylinder with overdrive. It was slow but steady. My next car (that I also bought with my own dollars working at Sessel's Men's Store and also continuing Tolly's) was a 1952 Red Pontiac Convertible. I loved that car and so did all the girls!
    The picture of the Lone Ranger and Tonto (Clayton Moore and Jay Silverheels) was a real memory. I don't think I ever missed a radio program of the Lone Ranger all the time I was in grade school!
    Like I said--what a wonderful issue of the newspaper! I, and I'm sure thousands of others, enjoy the Decatur Tribune so very much each week. I hope you can keep on publishing it for many years. Thanks for all the memories.


Jerry L. Lambert, Esq. 
Flossmoor, Illinois


Religious Liberty Won At The Supreme Court

Dear Editor:
    Religious liberty won at the Supreme Court!
    The case involved a church-run Missouri preschool that was denied a state grant for rubberized playground surface material.
    In a 7-2 ruling, Chief Justice John Roberts summed things up by saying:
    “The exclusion of Trinity Lutheran from a public benefit for which it is otherwise qualified, solely because it is a church, is odious to our Constitution… It cannot stand.”
    The U.S. Supreme Court reaffirmed the First Amendment right to freely exercise religious faith in the public square.
    The Court also announced they will take up the Masterpiece Cakes case out of Colorado. This case is about whether the government can punish people of faith for not participating in religious ceremonies with which they disagree.
    This is the first time the U.S. Supreme Court will take up a case that will decide the conflict between protected class status for same-sex attraction, sexual behavior and religious freedom.

David E. Smith, Executive Director
Illinois Family Institute
Tinley Park, Illinois


Above letters posted 7/5/17


​ * * * *


Lobsters And Other Crustaceans

Are Not Unfeeling Automatons

Dear Editor,
    Just as news outlets are reporting that a restaurant in New England created what it believes is the world’s longest lobster roll, Italy’s highest court has ruled that restaurant kitchens must not keep live lobsters on ice because it causes the animals to suffer unjustifiably.
    Lobsters and other crustaceans are not unfeeling automatons. Recent research has shown that crabs are capable of learning and remembering information, just like other animals. If left alone, lobsters can live to be more than 100 years old. They use complicated signals to establish social relationships and can recognize individuals.
    From observations of shore crabs who changed their behavior to avoid electric shocks and hermit crabs who rubbed at their own injuries, science has confirmed that these animals also feel pain. In 2005, the European Food Safety Authority concluded that crustaceans are capable of experiencing pain and distress and recommended that steps be taken to lessen their suffering when possible.
    We live in a changing world, one in which animals are afforded considerations that they might have been denied in the past. Like us, lobsters and crabs value their lives and do not want to die. And the only way to make sure that we’re not contributing to their suffering is to stop eating them.

Paula Moore
The PETA Foundation
Norfolk, VA 

General Assembly Members Need To Get Act Together

Dear Editor:
      The famous line by the prison warden in the movie “Cool Hand Luke”, “What we have here is a failure to communicate” certainly says it all for Illinois citizens as they try to communicate to the members of the General Assembly in Springfield that they need to get their act together and quit playing the same old political games in getting a state budget passed.
      The lack of a state budget for over two years has certainly put a great number of citizens lives on hold as well as creating uncertainty for businesses who operate in the state and employ thousands of Illinois workers whose job status is put in jeopardy. 
     Lack of state funding for state universities, community colleges and secondary school districts could cause the further loss of good teachers needed to educate students who will help determine the state’s future, and the uncertainties of possible state cuts in funding to local government agencies for transit and other agency operations will cause additional problems for citizens.
     Many of our General Assembly members believe the state has a revenue problem, while other members think the state has a spending problem. 
    Well both sides are correct, the taxes in the state are far too high for taxpayers and businesses and state spending continues to be out of control.
     It is the responsibility of the rank and file of the General Assembly to say enough is enough and rebel against their leadership by grabbing the steering wheel of state government to steer the state to calmer financial waters so that citizens and businesses can have a more certain future or maybe those same citizens and business leaders will decide to rebel themselves and grab that steering wheel for themselves.
 
Patrick McDaniel
      Decatur


Fond Memories Of The Building At Corner

Of South Park And Franklin 

Paul,
     I, too, have fond memories of the building at the corner of South Park & Franklin Streets, but from a different perspective than yours.  
    During the early 1950's, while studying architecture at the University of Illinois in Champaign - Urbana, I was fortunate to obtain summer employment at DeWitt - Amdal & Associates.  This not only allowed me to gain first hand experience of the workings of an architect's office, but it also allowed me to accumulate the necessary years of practice working for a licensed architect which was one of the requirements necessary before being allowed to take the state board exam to become a licensed architect.  
    The other requirement was to have a degree from an accredited architectural school which I obtained in 1955, the same year I passed the exam.  I worked at DeWitt - Amdal for 8 years after graduation.
     The experience at 263 S. Park also was instrumental in furthering my career at Caterpillar in Peoria in their Building Design and Construction Division from which I retired after 34 years.
     I thank God for the lessons learned from Lyle and Russ, to say nothing about the many morning and afternoon coffee breaks at the Wooden Shoe.
     Thanks for bringing back the memories of the building at South Park & Franklin Streets.
 
Howard Schroeder
Indianapolis, IN



Above letters posted 6/27/17


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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Decatur Tribune Online

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PAUL OSBORNE, EDITOR