Thanks For Donating To Operation 
Enduring Support

Dear Editor:
    To the Decatur and durrounding communities, Operation Enduring Support appreciates the donations you have provided this year for our Deployed Military.
    Through your generosity 142 Christmas Care Packages were mailed to troops stationed in Kuwait, South Korea, Japan, Germany, Afghanistan, Iraq, and many undisclosed locations.      These packages are shared between many at these bases.  
    For 2017 a total of 274 packages were mailed.
    We recently received a “Thank You” from a unit in Kuwait that said “Thank You for thinking of us”  
    They also mentioned how much they appreciated the children’s letters.
This reflects the thoughts of many receiving these packages, all because you have supported these men and women serving in foreign countries.
    Bless you for caring.

             Ann Irwin, OES Director

Candidate Thanks Residents For Signing Petition

Dear Editor,
    I would like to publicly thank the hundreds of Macon County residents that signed my petition to be placed on the ballot for the Republican nomination for Macon County Clerk. I am grateful of the words of encouragement and well wishes as I walked the neighborhoods of Macon County.
    As I continue to meet the citizens of Macon County, I express my desire to reduce costs with an eye towards the future.  Elections are continually evolving and technology must keep pace.  By focusing on innovative solutions, the county will save money, improve the voter experience, and speed up the election process. The work our clerk’s office does is crucial to our democracy and protecting the sanctity of our electoral process as well as providing more efficient access to vital records.
    We all know election administration is complex, exciting, and definitely can be stressful. Yet there are people who make a career of it love it. Most of them, however, didn’t receive any formal training to prepare them for the challenges the job has. That's why I'm so blessed to have an opportunity to have the additional tools and resources to offer Macon County as County Clerk.
    I have the knowledge and experience to know what it takes to run an innovative and less burdensome government.  From my time working in the Champaign County Clerk’s Office, to my continued education completing the Election Administration graduate certificate program with the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota.

Samantha Murray

Stop Watching NFL Games Until They Start

Showing Respect For Our Flag 

Dear Mr. Osborne:
    Thought you might be interested in an article from the VFW in Ocala, FL. We live in Decatur, IL but spend the winter in the Ocala area. We agree fully with the VFW’s view point and urge all VFW’s, American Legions, DAV’s and all veteran organizations to follow the Ocala VFW club in all states to stop watching the NFL until they start respecting our flag that many men and women have died so our country would be free.
    We need to stand by our young men and women who are serving our country - many who are losing not only their lives but body parts and still say that they would gladly defend America again. 
    All I can say if I had a son or daughter on a sport’s team that disrespected our wonderful flag I would as a parent go out on the field and take them right out of the game. 
    Many of my relatives died protecting our country and helping those NFL players get the big bucks they make. 
    I hope the parents of the NFL players are embarrassed by their children’s actions and I urge every American to stop supporting not only the NFL but Millikin University football, too.

Angel Karl
Decatur and Silver Springs, FL

Above letters posted 12/13/17

* * * *

Disagrees With Opinion On NFL Players Taking A Knee

Dear Mr. Osborne,
    As a veteran, I disagree with your opinion about NFL players who take a knee, I believe they have every right as Americans under the First Amendment to express their frustration about the injustices that people of color experience in all aspects of their lives and especially within the justice system. 
    I am sure that the majority of Americans do not even know all of the words to first verse of the anthem, let alone the words to the 3rd verse which historians agree enshrines the legacy of black slavery in its lyrics.
    We learn by seeking to understand the plight of others through learning. Matt Taibbi has written two books that demonstrate the injustice police and the legal system perpetrate upon minorities: “The Divide” and “I Can’t Breathe”. Also, the New Jim Crow” by Michelle Alexander: "The Underground Railroad” by Colson Whitehead: and one of the top 10 books of 2017, Ta-Nehisi Coates, “Between the World and Me”; A book written by former policeman, Serpico expresses the same viewpoint as do others whose names escape me.
    If only one person attempts to read and understand the issue, I will be fulfilled. It boggles my mind to know that the president of the United States seeks to divide this country along racial and ethnic lines, disparaging players mothers by his comments. Surely, he must think “that there are many fine people” in the NFL just as he does in White Supremacist groups.
I was not born in Decatur, but my father was and he saves the Tribune for me to read when I visit Greensboro, NC. BTW, my father is a Korean combat veteran and encouraged me to write this letter.

Dan Fisher
Monroe, NC

Tribune Brings Back Many Memories Of The Past

Dear Editor:
    My wife and I really enjoy the Decatur Tribune, and read it from cover to cover every week.
    Your paper has been the vehicle to bring back many memories of the past and also of individuals that have been a part of some of those memories.  
    In the paper dated November 15, 2017, I noticed the Santa house on the front page.  It brought a smile to my face and as I turned to pages 4 and 5, many thoughts of my childhood filled my mind.
    My Mother was the owner of Roberta’s Beauty Salon in Decatur, from the age of 17 until in her 80’s.  In the 1940’s I was in grade school.  Around the first or second week of November my Mother received a box at her place of business.  The box contained a beautiful snow-white wig and beard.  My Mother had been asked to prepare them for the arrival of  ‘you know who’.   
    My Mother took me to her beauty shop in the evenings.  When Mother worked on young customers, she put a board across the arms of her chair.   
    I crawled up on that board and she put the wig and beard on me.  Even though they were a little big, she worked with what she had.  She curled the wig and beard with a hot iron (not electric) that had to be heated several times.  I always felt special being involved in that special time with my Mom and helping with that service for Santa.
    On the Saturday after Thanksgiving, Decatur held its Christmas Parade.  I was in the front row watching with excitement when finally, there came Santa in my sight.  I knew that my hopes and dreams would be fulfilled on Christmas morning.  
    God created each of us with gifts and talents to serve each other.  Paul, you have found yours which is very obvious.  It is my prayer that you continue the service that has blessed so many.
    Thanks again,

Richard Streibich

Thanks To All Who Donated To The

Help 4 Heroes Fund For Veterans

Dear Editor:
    I wish to extend my heartfelt thank you for ALL that donated to our Help 4 Heroes fund. It is a huge understatement to say we are overwhelmed with the generosity generated from our community with the matching grant (times 5) from the Howard G. Buffett Foundation.
    Brian Byers & WSOY stepped up to assist us in providing the necessities for our Macon County Veterans daily.  We also thank Howard Buffett, Lindsay Romano, Jeff Daly, Debbie Bogle, Chad Woollen, Kevin Breheny, Tom Schneider, David Freyling, Rainstorm Car Wash and Texas Roadhouse.
    The Veteran’s Assistance Com-mission is excited to start 2018 knowing it can provide bus passes, emergency meal cards, warm clothing, school books and so much more for our Veterans.  In one year, our fund has touched the lives of nearly 400 Macon County Veterans including providing nearly 5,000 bus rides. 
    If you, your business or organization would like to “adopt” a Veteran for the Christmas Season or donate to the fund email Help4heroesmc@ 
    Thank you from our Veterans in need.

Ayn Owens
Help 4 Heroes

Millions Of Dollars Poured Into Illinois

For Legislators To Legalize Marijuana

Dear Editor:
     While Big Marijuana pours millions into Illinois to legalize marijuana, Leftist lawmakers, giddy about a tiny new revenue source to aide their insatiable spending, ignore the unmistakable damage legalization is causing in Colorado. 
    Those nasty facts are hard to escape.
     Colorado now ranks #1 in the entire nation for marijuana use among teens, scoring 55 percent above the national average, so says the National Survey on Drug Use and Health.
     Colorado High School drug violations have increased 71 percent and suspensions for drugs have increased 45 percent since legalization.
     Based on alarming research by the Denver Post, drivers in fatal car crashes who tested positive doubled since legalization.
     Residential neighborhoods reek of marijuana as do warehouse growing operations along major freeways.  As if that isn’t enough, the Colorado homelessness growth rate now ranks among the highest in the country.
     The bottom line is this: Does Illinois want more drugged drivers on our roads, more buzzed employees on job sites, and more stoned students in our homes and schools?
     If the answer is no, don’t remain silent. Tell your state representative and senator to oppose legalization efforts before it is too late.
Kathy Valente
Tinley Park, IL

Solution For Those Who Have  Heavily-Tinted Vehicle Windows Because Of Sensitivity To Light

Dear Editor,
    Regarding your City Beat column in the November 29, 2017 edition, for those who want to hide behind heavily-tinted windows and endanger citizens and law enforcement officers, and claim some medical necessity because of extreme sensitivity to light, I have a remarkable solution, one that will not only protect their eyes within the confines of the vehicle, but also protect their eyes when they inevitably step out of their vehicle into the light.
    Stop the charade by these posers and ban tinted windows.

Gary G. Gray, Jr., O.D.
Decatur Vision Source

Thanks For Support Of Church’s Annual

Cookie Walk And Bazaar

Dear Editor:
    Thanks to everyone who supported our annual Cookie Walk and Bazaar at Mt. Calvary Lutheran Church. 
    The Ladies Guild was once again blessed beyond belief. 
    The money we raise will go to support many projects to share the Word of Christ!
Debbie Roberts

Decatur Needs To Get Control Of Tree Program

Dear Editor:
    Decatur needs to get control of its tree removal program.   The first step of course is for the city and park district to find out who owns what.          The next step is for the city, not the loggers, to have control over which ones are to be removed.  
    What is in the best interest of the city should prevail.  Trees that are dead or dying, and ones left mangled when the power company trims them should be the ones removed.  With the stipulation they be removed at ground level,  all branches are to be taken and all mess cleaned up.  Even giving them to the loggers would be better than the current policy, reminiscent of the Woody Allen movie, "Take The Money And Run"  -- "Take The Good Lumber And Run".  
    The loggers take the good trees, the city is left with the mess.

Bill Steenblock

Question About What Was In Downtown

Store During Christmas Days In 1951

Dear Paul,
    I have a question for you or possibly for your readers. In December, 1951, Christmas was soon approaching. I was in first grade at Hammond at that time. At that period of time my biggest love was railroad, steam and diesel locomotives. Equally that was my passion for farm tractors and livestock.
    I remember going into Decatur in December of 1951, Christmas shopping with my mother and dad, aunt and uncle, Ruby and Tommy Troy. 
    I vividly remember Uncle Tommy taking me to a store. I can’t remember the name, possibly Penney’s or Sears & Roebuck. Located on the second or third floor, they had a “model” steam engine, it seemed like “full size”. You walked up to the coal tender, then entered the rear end of the cab going through a curtain. I remember the steam and water valves, the throttle and other apparatus of a locomotive.         The attendant had me to sit in the engineer’s seat and I wasn’t big enough to reach the throttle. Uncle Tommy did that for me. 
    Looking out of the cab and looking directly ahead was a movie picture screen. The audio portion also made sounds of a real steam locomotive moving and working. Possibly a road foreman or superintendent was portrayed, both gentlemen being well dressed, and lovingly talking about railroad work. After witnessing this, I felt like I had been to heaven.
    Also on this floor was a reindeer with a red nose that you could ride. I am pretty sure that cost a dime. Anyway my uncle let me ride the reindeer again. I didn’t have the option with the locomotive as it was costlier than the reindeer.
    As Christmas 1952 neared, I wondered if the train would  be available again. An attendant at the store told both mom and I that the train was not available, but a horse (mechanical) was available.
    As I am now 72 years old, I still have thoughts about this every year at Christmas time, especially the last 66 years. If you or any of your readers can remember this, please give me a call or write. I am still in the phone book.

Sam Mahannah

Faith Leaders Endorse  Scherer For Re-Election

Dear Editor,
    As faith leaders and members of the local community, we are pleased to announce our endorsement of State Rep. Sue Scherer for her re-election as State Representative for the 96th district in the 2018 election.
    Rep. Scherer has worked tirelessly to serve the residents in our area and we commend the work she has done in this position. Serving people and bettering our community is a journey that requires constant effort and dedication. We know Rep. Scherer is the right person for the job. Serving the needs of the people requires an individual of good moral character and a genuine passion for helping others. Our support for Rep. Scherer is because we truly believe she possesses the passion and genuine compassion needed to serve the people of our area. 
    There is much work to be done in the continuous effort to better the lives of the people in the 96th District. Rep. Scherer has proven to be an advocate of the people and for critical issues that impact our community at large. Rep. Scherer is an ally to the faith community and a person who truly cares about the people she represents. 
    It is for these reasons the undersigned support Rep. Sue Scherer for re-election to represent the 96th District with a strong and empowering voice. Once again our communities will be made even better.

Pastor T Ray McJunkins, Springfield

Pastor Silas Johnson, Springfield

Pastor Anthony Bondon, Springfield
Pastor Lee Arthur Crawford,  Springfield 
Pastor Donald Mayes, Springfield

Pastor Vivian Clarington, Decatur
Pastor Barry West, Springfield
Pastor Marvin Joyner, Decatur

Here We Go Again In Deciding On The Ash & Route 51 Location

To whom this may concern:
    Here we go again deciding to put a business or businesses at Ash & Route 51 or not!
    I do not live there but what a blast in the stomach for everyone who does and objects to the proposal or situation!
    I do go that way often and what a traffic jam sometimes and also accidents! Who on the city council would like to move to Ash and Rt. 51?

Nancy Wade

Above Letters Posted 12/6/17

​* * * *

Voters Should Choose Tony ‘Chubby’ Brown

For Macon Clounty Sheriff

Dear Editor:
    I want to go on record as endorsing Tony “Chubby” Brown for the office of Macon County Sheriff. With 27 years of service to the people of Macon County through the Sheriff’s office, Tony has both the experience and credentials for the position. Having worked with and for the last four leaders of the Sheriff’s office, Tony has learned the importance of leadership, accountability and transparency. That is why he is making these qualities the cornerstone of his platform.
    Tony has the respect of the public he serves, the officers he works alongside and the lawmakers who represent our community.  Tony treats everyone equally and will always give you a voice at the table. 
    Having grown up in central Illinois, Tony understands our community. His devotion to our community is demonstrated by the many organizations he supports with his time, talent and treasure. 
    With proud enthusiasm, I fully support Tony “Chubby” Brown as the next Macon County Sheriff and ask that you do as well.

Troy Swinford 

Wise Winter Weather Tips For Your Family Yard

Dear Editor:
    When Old Man Winter Comes calling, homeowners need to keep everyone in the family—including your pets – safe. Follow these wise winter weather tips from the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI) and TurfMutt.
    Bring Pets Inside – Dogs and cats should be kept inside during cold weather months. Wipe their paws and bellies after they’ve been outside, and check for ice accumulation between paw pads. If you’re using a de-icing agent, remove that salt and other agents, too.
    Pick up Debris – Before it snows, remove debris and household items from your family yard. 
    Doormats, hoses, toys and sticks can hide under a layer of snow that could harm your snowthrower, family or pets.
    Clear a Path – Your snowthrower is a convenient way to clear your driveway and sidewalks. It also gives your pet a path to their bathroom area.
    Ventilate Portable Generators – If a winter storm knocks out your power, a generator can be a life-saver if used properly. 
    Place the generator outside and away from windows, doors and vents that could allow carbon monoxide to come indoors.
    Trim Trees Carefully – When using a chainsaw, stand with your weight on both feet, adjust your stance so you are angled away from the blade and hold the chainsaw with both hands.
    Watch Where You Throw—Keep kids and pets away from the equipment, and never put your hand in the chute or auger to clear a blockage. Turn the machine off and always use a clean-out tool.
    For more information, go to

Debbi Mayster
On Behalf of OPEI

Above Letters Posted 11/29/17

* * * *

Offended By Senator Andy Manar

Voting For SB 1696

Dear Editor:
    State Senator Andy Manar, many of us are extremely disappointed and offended by your voting for SB 1696, the Muslim Advisory Council bill.          This bill violates the Illinois constitution, Article 1, Section 3, Religious Freedom.  Muslim is not an ethnicity, it is a condition dependent upon being a practitioner of Islam.          This anti-Christian bill gives a leg up to the religion of Islam and is a violation of this Illinois constitution religious freedom clause "nor shall any preference be given by law to any religious denomination".  
    I read the bill and it will benefit Islam and Islamic countries, Manar can say they are Muslim majority countries as is stated in the bill to try to confuse us, but you fail, we know they are ISLAMIC countries for the benefit of the religion of Islam; we are not fooled.  
    The members of the General Assembly who voted for this unlawful bill should be brought up on ethics charges; everyone swore an oath to uphold the constitutions.  It’s clear as glass they did not.  Had a Catholic Advisory Council proposed bill been brought to the floor for a vote the screams from the left would have been deafening. Why must we sue to hold onto our constitutionally protected religious freedoms?  
    The Muslim Advisory council is an affront to Religious Freedom as is the members of the Illinois general assembly who supported SB 1696, This action is little more than organized crime. 
    Manar was the only one of four representatives that represent Decatur to vote for SB1696.  The Illinois GOP should sue to remove this disgraceful violation of the Illinois constitution.         

     Thankfully, Seth McMillan is running to unseat Manar in the 2018 general election for the 48th senate district. Seth has promised he would never put Chicago school funding ahead of Decatur schools, as Manar did. Andy Manar betrays Decaturites, it’s time for a change.  

Roger German

Enough Already With 
Bad News About 
Our Young People

Dear Editor:
    The news is replete with stories of misspent youth.  Seldom do journalists report good news about our young people.  
    Enough already!
    Students at Mt Zion High School recently established a Key Club, a Service Leadership Program under Kiwanis International.  Key Club members are dedicated to improving their community by serving the needs of children.  This includes children around the world. 
    In less than a year, Mt Zion students have participated in several events – service projects and fund raisers.  Their first project was to assist in blood drives, raising $250 for the club.  They donated the $250 to Project Eliminate, a joint venture between Kiwanis International and UNICEF.  The goal of Project Eliminate is to eradicate tetanus in 59 countries around the world.  When this project started in 2010, one baby died from tetanus every nine minutes.  Do the math.  That is over 54,000 babies each year dying needlessly.  Talk about making an impact – these students are making an impact.
    Locally, they volunteered for Boo at the Zoo, went Trick-or-Treating for UNICEF, helped place flags along the route for a fallen Sailor, and participated in a fund raiser for a Children’s Fund to purchase presents for the less fortunate.  Their latest project is creating cards for a nine-year-old child suffering from cancer.
    Key Club is providing these students a way to serve their community and, in doing so, make it a little better for future generations.  They are taking responsibility for their own actions and learning leadership and organizational skills as they participate in various projects.   These skills will serve them well in the future.  Membership in the Mt. Zion Key Club has grown from 17 at the beginning of this school year to 55.
    I don’t know about anyone else, but it makes me very proud to know that such fine young people live in this area.  
    Ms. Elise Lewis, Faculty Advisor to the Key Club, deserves credit for providing leadership and inspiration for the members of this Club.  
    I hope members of our community will express their appreciation to Ms. Lewis and to members of the Mt. Zion Key Club for their extraordinary efforts, whenever the opportunity arises. 

 Charles R. Smith
Decatur Golden K Kiwanis Club

Thanks For Generosity During Food Drive

Dear Editor:
    I would like to thank Decatur and Macon County for their generosity and response during the Food Drive for the Northeast Community Thanksgiving Baskets last Saturday.   
    I am continually amazed at the level of support in this community.  One woman, whose family just moved into the area from another state commented that she had never seen anything like this before.  
    Another friend, after leaving her donation, mentioned that sometimes the only difference between being a giver and being in need is a couple of paychecks.  
    Thank you to Walmart for hosting the event and thank you Decatur!!!

Steve Craven

​Above letters posted 11/21/17

* * * *

Why Not A World War I Doughboy For U of I Mascot?

Dear Editor:
    Over the past 50+ years, I have continued to follow, support and attend (when possible) the University of Illinois. Many good friends from undergrad days have done the same.
    Until now.
    Homecoming was a yawn.  Neither fans nor alumni (including band) could get excited.  When it was time to rev-up the cheering, where was the old, loved and familiar BOOM-boom-boom-boom? Where was the Chief?  Where was the Spirit of the Fighting Illini?  Too few people and too much silence in the stands.
    Folks, there is a BIG problem with alumni and general Illinois citizens afflicted with a severe case of apathy.  It’s not any coach’s fault.  Heck, remember the late 1960’s and the1970’s football seasons when the band and the Chief were the main reason to attend games?   Those were sad times for Illini football.  But, people still attended games, cheered the team and loved watching the Band and the Chief at halftime.
    Basketball took its fair share of hits through the years.  BUT, students and fans did not desert them.  There was SPIRIT!  There was the Chief!  There was the familiar drum “chant”.  There was “Oskee-Wow-Wow” (is that still permitted?).  Now, only silence.
    Here’s a suggestion.
    Memorial Stadium was dedicated to the Illinois military who served in The Great War – WWI.
    Why not have a WWI Doughboy as the symbol (as opposed to some goofy-looking mascot)?  I mean an authentically clad, real-life person (as we had with the Chief).  He wouldn’t do a “Chief” dance, but he could do close-order drill at mid-field or mid-court, accompanied by the fantastic, invigorating Marching Illini drum corps.  
    Irving Berlin wrote “God Bless America” when he was a doughboy in WWI.  John Phillip Sousa wrote many stirring marches and he is associated with the University of Illinois.  The band needs to be playing some Sousa again, as they did for many, many decades.  There are countless stirring military drum rhythms, riffs, and roles.  Work these in.
    Why not replace the apathy with patriotism?  Certainly “political correctness” cannot over-shadow the documented history of Illinois students and alums (past and present) who have stepped-up and become “Fighting Illini”.  This is not to glorify war.  This is to remember our roots – and these are roots that many, many citizens of Illinois can also identify with as being part of their history.
    I shall bleed Orange & Blue my whole life, as did my family and oh, so many friends.
    It pains this old veteran to see his alma mater in the death-throes of apathy.  Will the University die? Never.  It offers too much to the world and to the State of Illinois.  But, what do you remember about your undergraduate days, wherever you spent them?  I doubt that it was Nobel Prizes, or university scholastic standings in the Chronicle of Higher Education, etc.
    I remember relationships.   I hope you do, too.  Friendships made and maintained.  Friendships refreshed and remembered through visits and communication.  
    And when we talk about our undergrad days, and think kindly of old Illinois, it is not the faculty or academics.  It was something extra-curricular.  And the Chief enters every conversation.  I mean “every conversation”.
    Athletics is a big money-maker for any college or university.  Are we beginning to feel the pinch a bit in Cham-bana?
    Let’s get some backbone and show that “true Illini spirit”.  The Midwest may be “fly-over” country, but our roots run deep.   BOOM, boom, boom, boom.  BOOM, boom, boom, boom.
Larry E. Grabb
Noblesville, Indiana
Proud Illinois alum

Endorse, Support Erik Jones For

Congress In 13th District

Dear Editor:
    I want to encourage others in the community to endorse and support Erik Jones for Congress. Erik was born and raised in downstate Illinois. He has broad experience in public service including serving as Investigative Counsel for the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Oversight, the Chief Investigative Counsel for U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce and as an assistant attorney general in the State of Illinois. In his work he’s investigated waste, fraud and abuse, and collaborated with legislators to develop solutions to combat corruption.
    The issues he’s focusing on are important for all Illinoisans including access to healthcare and health insurance, and expansion of rural broadband internet. 
    Erik is honest and willing to put the work in to ensure that our needs here at home are heard in Washington. Erik’s experience has prepared him to begin working for the citizens of Illinois on his first day in Congress. I believe he is the best candidate to serve our interests in the 13th District, and our only hope to fire Rodney Davis in the general election.

Jessica Michael
Forsyth, Illinois

Above Letters Posted 11/15/17

* * * *

​​Important Part Of Lakeview High School’s

History Not Mentioned

Dear Mr. Osborne,
    My wife and I read your paper every week in Stafford, Virginia and I enjoyed your recent Scrapbook article about Lakeview High School.  
    It brought back many great memories of my days in 7th and 8th grade and High School at Lakeview from 1960 through 1965.  
    The Scrapbook article reviewed the history of the high school's beginning and ending, but left out what I believe was the school’s most significant history.  In the early sixties Lakeview implemented many educational changes that were similar to those used at the college level.   
    Lakeview's  principal at the time, David Beggs, and others obtained grants from the Ford Foundation to introduce team teaching with large group lectures and small group discussions for most subjects.  
    The school used flexible schedules similar to college where Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays were different from Tuesdays and Thursdays.  Classes were chosen with student input to match their interest.  The library included typical library books but was changed to include small study carrels and conference rooms where 3 or 4 students could collaborate together on independent study projects.  
    The grants also allowed the school to be remodeled to include the new Instructional Materials Center (library), small group rooms, and a large lecture hall that could be divided into smaller rooms.  
    Many of these changes at Lakeview in facilities and the teaching methods are now common practice in schools.  I graduated in 1965 and believe Lakeview gave me an advantage as I went on to the University of Illinois.  Lakeview was not an athletic power but was an excellent school ahead of its time.   

John Schumaker
Stafford, Virginia

Pharisees And Democrats Have Much In Common

Dear Editor:
    As I read the Bible I’m finding that the Pharisees and democrats have so much in common.
    Matt. 12-14 tells us how the Pharisees went out and held council how they might destroy Jesus parallels how the democrats held council how to destroy Donald Trump and published the phony dossier about him.
    I still am praying for our country and our president.

Justine Bratcher

Purchasing a Used Vehicle?  Make Sure It’s Not 
Flood Damaged

Dear Editor: 
    Purchasing a used vehicle and later learning it has been flood damaged can be very problematic and lead to costly issues down the road. Worst yet, these vehicles can be unhealthy to occupy because of mold and bacteria growing in the carpet and ventilation system. It is important for those considering the purchase of a used vehicle to check for signs of water intrusion or contamination.
     Take the sniff test. Close all the windows and doors and let the car sit. Then crack open a door and sniff. Mildew and mold have very distinctive smells and it doesn’t take long for that smell to present itself.
     Try the touch test. Get some paper towels and press them against the low spots in the carpet. The paper towels will draw the moisture out and reveal if the carpet is wet under the surface. If the paper towel becomes wet it could mean water has gotten into the car.
     Investigate the interior. Look under the seats and dash for corrosion and rust. Exposed metal that is untreated and rusted as well as mud and debris in places it does not belong, are signs of water infiltration.
     Inspect the instrument panel. Turn on the key and perform a bulb test. Make sure every bulb lights up and has no active faults. 
     Take it to a professional. A professional technician can raise the car and look underneath to see if there is any mud, sticks or rocks in the suspension as well as check the oil in the differentials to make sure they contain no water.
     Taking these steps can help you identify any issues and give you piece of mind. To learn more, visit 

 Rich White
Executive Director
Car Care Council

The City Should Take 
Over The School System

Dear Editor:
    Let us suppose your child is molested on a school bus. You can’t find out who did it, whether they even did it or had misconduct before, or whether the individual will still have access to the same bus your child must ride. 
    What options are open to you? Can you afford a private school? Can you move away to another school district with better control over the students?
    No parent should be put in such a dilemma. If our school district cannot or will not reform itself, some other organization must do the job.    
    Our poor schools are dragging down the city. Something must be done. Trying to hide the problem won’t work in the age of the internet.

John E. Fick

Above letters posted on Nov. 7, 2017

* * * *

Candidate Dr. David Gill 
Is ‘The Real Deal’

Dear Editor:
    As Executive Director of Demand Universal Healthcare, DUH (Does America need a new healthcare system? DUH!), I’m interested in candidates’ positions on a Medicare for All (M4A), single-payer system. 
    Recently, I attended a meeting where Dr. David Gill, Congressional candidate for the IL 13th, spoke about his support of Medicare for All (M4A), among other issues.
    The majority of “establishment” Democratic politicians use words like, “I’ll fight to keep the protections of the ACA so that no family faces the danger of bankruptcy because of a medical emergency…” to state their position. Why? The establishment doesn’t want M4A to stop the money flow from medical industry donors.
     As an ER and family medicine doctor, David Gill has seen vividly the harm our current healthcare system can do when people wait until a crisis occurs to seek medical help. He not only says “single-payer” out loud, he walks his talk every minute of his day. But then, you can’t really call him a politician. 
    He’s a family man, a doctor, a progressive who wants to be a force for good in a government that is currently overrun by the selfish, greedy, and ignorant. He will look you in the eye and tell you the truth, even if it’s hard to hear. 
    He will take no corporate money, relying on our small donations. 
    Google him, visit his website (, hear him speak - you’ll see. 
    He’s the real deal.

Sue Saltmarsh
Executive Director

Help 4 Heroes Fundraiser To Be Held Nov. 9

Dear Editor:
    In support of the work of the Veterans Assistance Commission’s Help 4 Heroes Fund to provide necessities or our Macon County Veterans, Texas Roadhouse will be hosting a 10% night for the fund.  
    The night will be Thursday, Nov.  9, from 4pm until 10pm.  
    Flyers are available at the VAC office, 141 South Main, Suite 210, or guests may just tell the staff they want to support Help 4 Heroes and 10% of their bill will be donated to the fund.         Help 4 Heroes T Shirts will be available for a $10 donation. All donations are tax deductible. 
    Help 4 Heroes has provided necessities for nearly 300 veterans this year. To make a request a Veteran needs to fill out a grant request form at the VAC office. 

Ayn Owens 

Above letters posted 10/31/17

Bad Decision Of Park Board To Close

Scovill Banquet Facility

Dear Editor
     I know it’s a "done deal" that the Decatur Park Board is closing Scovill Banquet Facility due to "lack of golfers"
at Scovill Golf Club. I am not a golfer so that didn't have any bearing on me BUT I belong to 3 organizations that have been meeting there for quite a long time and we were informed come December 31st you have to find another place to meet.  The board is closing this facility.
     What is going to happen to that great banquet facility we have been using and the staff at Scovill who have been wonderfu to work with in all 3 organizations I am involved in?  Did the board ever consider all the organizations, weddings, reunions, birthdays, you name it, that have met there and been very pleased with the service and location?  
    I never head a real good reason why they were closing that I could accept.
     It’s a beautiful setting for a Country Club and a great shame for our community to lose such a beautiful place.
     I'm President of the GFWC Decatur Woman's  Club, Treasurer of the Decatur Area Christian Women's Connection and a member of the All States Social Club and we all are sad to see it close.

Darla D. Weltmer

All Animals Have Feelings And Personalities

Dear Editor,
    I’m a Quad Cities native, and if like me, you felt bad for cows who recently suffered and died when a semi that was likely transporting them to slaughter caught fire on Interstate 280, why not do something to help other sentient farmed animals? Go vegan. 
    All animals are individuals with personalities and feelings. Cows, for example, have long-term memories, form lifelong friendships, and mourn when they lose a loved one. 
    But these gentle animals are typically confined to filthy feedlots and fattened for slaughter. At the slaughterhouse, they’re shot in the head with a captive-bolt gun, and then they’re hung upside-down while their throats are cut. If the bolt misses its mark, as often happens, they are dismembered while they’re still conscious.
    But it doesn’t have to be this way. You can help cows simply by eating vegan foods instead of meat and dairy products. See for more information and a free vegan starter kit.

Sadie Buckles
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA)
Norfolk, VA 

Shriners’ Help Kids Paper Crusade Expresses

Thanks To All Who Helped

Dear Editor:
    The Shriners Hospital for Children, Ansar Temple and the Decatur Shrine Club wish to thank everyone who donated to our annual Shriners Help Kids Paper Crusade on Oct. 6, 7 and 14. 
    Our thanks also goes to Walmart North and East and Kroger South Shores for letting us use their locations for our Paper Crusade.
    The Shriners support 22 hospitals for kids under the age of 18 years of age with orthopedic or burn problems. We provide care “regardless of the patients ability to pay.”
    All Shriners and Shrine kids again say thank you for your support.

Orv Schniepp
Decatur Shrine Club
Paper Crusade Chairman

Above letters posted 10/24/17

* * * *

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

Above letter posted 10/11/17

​* * * *

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/ 
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 
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

Above Letters Posted 9/26/17

* * * *

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)

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

* * * *

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

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, 

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

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

Above Letters Posted 8/29/17

​* * * *

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 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

Above letters posted 8/23/17

* * * *

‘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

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

Above letters posted 8/16/17

​* * * *

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

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

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.    

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

* * * *

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

Letters Above Posted 7/11/17

* * * *

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

Fond Memories Of The Building At Corner

Of South Park And Franklin 

     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

* * * *


Decatur Tribune Online

Letters Are Printed With The Most Recent Submissions First

 Send your letter to 
the editor to 
or to: Decatur Tribune, 
P. O. Box 1490, 
Decatur, IL 62525-1490.

Decatur Tribune Offices Are Located At:
132 South Water Street 
Suite 424
P. O. Box 1490
Decatur, Illinois 62523

Mon.-Thurs. 9:00-4:30
Phone: 217/422-9702
Fax: 217/422-7320