Some Comments On Letter

Regarding Work On IL 121

Dear Editor:
    I have some comments on a recent letter about work on IL 121.
    Typically work on this scale will be preformed by a contractor, not the local maintenance crews.
    This was probably a contract maintenance job. Since the local maintenance crews have limited time, equipment and money these jobs allow limited areas to be repaired until a major surfacing job is scheduled for the section.
The contract maintenance jobs are great, they allow areas that need work beyond the scope of maintenance crews to be addressed. The dollars allocated are limited and the project is not intended to completely renovate an area. 
This type of job helps address the most serious problems in an area and frees crews to spend time on other projects.
     It is sort of like your home, just on a much larger scale. There are probably many different things you would like to do around the house but there is a limited amount of time and money to do them. You have the same problem with highways.
If you are fortunate enough to receive money for a contract maintenance job it is a challenge to select areas that will benefit most from the improvements. I was the Operations Field Technician in Macon County for 21 years and always looked forward to these projects and alway kept a list of places to use them. They allowed me to address problems we lacked the time, manpower and equipment to do.
       When you see areas like this, don't compare them to a major project, it is something to help out until that project comes along. 
       In Macon County the crews are responsible for about 600 lane miles of state highways so you will never be able to include all of them. When you see places that were 'missed' it is because that was all you could do with the money allocated. You just select the areas you believe will benefit the traveling public and your crews the most.

Gary L Larson
Macon County

Travelers Will Not Notice New Decatur

Signs Because Of All The Potholes

Dear Editor:
     The article “Welcome to our city” is something good happening to Decatur.          However, people arriving or traveling through Decatur will not notice the “new signs” since they will be dodging all the huge pot holes in the entry ways to the city!  
    Why not fix the entry ways: North & South Main, North Water, South Franklin, East and West Eldorado, East and West US 36, Airport Road, IL 121?  The list goes on!  
    Why put up signs to attract visitors or potential residents and subject these unsuspecting souls to such horrible, unmaintained roads? 
Dennis G. Mahorney

City Manager Is Very Good At What He Does

Dear Paul:
    Agree with you on Tim (City Manager Gleason)! 
    I have found him to be very good at what he does, Being one of 3 finalist for the Bloomington position speaks well for him and Decatur! 
    I have wished him well.  I hope he doesn’t go but if he does we are a better city because he was here! Keeping him and his family in our prayers! 
    About your “Sticks and Stones” column: My folks always said words will not harm you. If someone calls you a name let it go! 
    I have called or talked face-to-face with folks who said bad things about me and told them I was praying for them to not be hateful. 
    My folks again said to forgive and move on. Years later some of those folks remind me of when I helped them understand to think before you talk and you won’t hurt people plus understand to forgive one another! 
    May God Bless.  I always enjoy your paper!

Dave Wilhour

Above Letters Posted 6/19/18

Lynch Mobs Have 
Seldom Responded Well 
To Civics Lessons

Dear Mr. Editor,
    In response to your recent article in City Beat re City Manager Tim Gleason, and your thoughts on the public's expressions on his potentially leaving Decatur, here are a couple of mine:
    While I agree it's tragic that people don't always state opinions in fair or civil manners, we're also in an age where we're seeing a multitude of crazy, unacceptable behaviors from so many directions and so many people that it's not always possible to stay cool. Some wrong doings---or wrong people---provoke less than civility from us.
    On the recent case of the Decatur Public School District #61's two men who were a teaching assistant and basketball coach / security guard, I responded to a facebook WAND article in a similar fashion to your response in City Beat. My position was, 'let's not try, convict and sentence either of these guys----or anyone else----without due process of law, for fear of, if nothing else, that if they are guilty the public may be denied justice simply because these men were denied a fair trial.' ............ Know what I got for that?
    'Spoken like a fellow pedophile!' was one person's response. I deleted my entire contribution after that.
    Mr. Editor, that is my point here: Some infractions of character, either real or perceived, are so publicly condemned that people will often throw out logic, fairness or just good manners in voicing their opinions on them. Lynch mobs have seldom responded well to civics lessons.

Jim McBride

Disagrees With Editor’s Approval Of Term Limits

Dear Paul:  
    I want to take issue with your apparent approval of term limits. (Tribune 5/16/18)
    You and I have had our differences over the years, but I have great respect for you and I faithfully read your newspaper.
    Personally, I supported you as mayor, considered you the best mayor ever of Decatur, and I was distressed when your health forced you quit, and I would have certainly felt it was grossly undemocratic and tragic if you were limited to serving two terms and as a citizen, people like me were denied the right to vote for my choice of mayor for the “lame reason” that you were a great and highly successful mayor for two terms.
    Of course, as you know, I have not lived in Decatur for all these years, but it is my native land.
    I’m a retired public school teacher; public school teachers are not allowed by law, to “indoctrinate” students; and before I could teach,  I was require to sign a legal affidavit that I was not a Communist nor had ever been one.  However, I could have been a fascist, White Supremacist, KKK, or American Nazi before and could still get a license to teach, however.
    But, I was required to teach my students the value of living in a democracy.
    Webster Dictionary definition of fascism: “A political philosophy, movement, or regime that exalts nation and often race and stands for a centralized autocratic, often militaristic government.”
    Personally and professionally, I am a champion and defender of democracy.
    I taught high school “government” and “American History”, both required subjects; it was hard to provide students an incentive to work hard in those subjects.  So my incentive was convincing students they needed to know government and history to be a respectable, responsible citizen and voter.
     Serving in the military, is sometime necessary considered patriotic; and I was been drafted and served.  However, all citizens need to be informed, and vote, to actually be a good responsible American citizens.
    To resolve problems in government, it is necessary to answer questions creating those problems, like why do we have bad government?
    However the more important question that has to be answered is, “what” and “why” and “how” of the problem and how to resolve it.
    Term limits is not a resolution of bad government in a democracy; a first term legislator, is technically learning how to be an effective legislator and a second term (last term limited) legislator is actually called a “Lame Duck Legislator”, because he doesn’t have to worry about “being reelected”!
    We are talking about a democracy!   A voter should not be prohibited from voting for and electing his choice of political candidates because the political candidate has already served two terms as an “excellent public servant”!  Term limits are undemocratic.
    The Twenty Second Amendment, Presidential Term Limits, was not written because President Franklin Roosevelt was a “bad” President, but because the American voters refused to vote against him and reelected him because of his success; Roosevelt was elected President by the People for four terms.
    If voters want to save democracy from bad voters, they need to rescind the Supreme Court’s decision in their “Citizens United Decision”, that allows the wealthy and corporations to “buy” candidates and elections!  Campaign funds should not determine elections in a democracy.
    Term limits prohibits me from voting for a candidate who has served me well for two terms; and some of America’s greatest heroes who were those who served in Congress for mosof their entire life.  Today, they would be prevented for serving for more than two terms.  Term limits are undemocratic!

Dick Blankenburg
 San Diego CA

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Above Letters Posted 6/12/18

Columns and “Letters To The Editor” are the opinions of the writers and not necessarily the opinion of the Decatur Tribune editor and publisher, staff, or advertisers.  

Previous Letters

Joint Between Right And Left Lanes Was Missed

Dear Editor:    
     You may have noticed, a few weeks ago, IDOT placed a bunch of signs along IL 121 between US 36 and Mt. Zion. IDOT road crews worked on 121 pot holes etc. at night for a few days so as to not interfere with the heavy daytime traffic along the road. 
    Several or many joints were repaired and joints between the center turn lane and the left "passing" lane were replaced with 2 foot wide asphalt strips as smooth as silk! 
    They must have run out of time or money or materials or all three! The joint between the left and right lanes GOT MISSED!!! Maybe they couldn't see the numerous potholes in the darkness of night! 
    It seems so sad that Illinois can't repair roads well. I realize that our roads are in terrible shape but when a job is started, why can it not be done in a complete and decent manner instead of "HALF DONE" like so many Illinois projects??? Unless it benefits the politicrats???

 Dan Weber 
Mt. Zion

Sales Tax Collected On Gun And Ammo Is Unlawful
Dear Editor:
    I allege the state of Illinois is unlawfully collecting sales tax on guns and ammo (arms), in direct violation of the Illinois Constitution, as is the city of Decatur and Macon county.  
    Article 1, section 22 of the Illinois Constitution states “Subject only to the police power, the right of the individual citizen to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed”.  
    No one can logically argue taxation isn’t an infringement. It’s also important to note, the power to tax is not a police power.  One might say, but the state of Illinois was granted the power to raise revenue by the Illinois Constitution, and that is very true. The catch is there is an exception in the clause that grants the state the power to raise revenue. 
    The exception is their power to raise revenue is limited, when it’s limited by Illinois Constitution, such as the exception contained in article 1, section 22 where it says “the right of the individual citizen to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed”.      The shall not be infringed clause prevents the state of Illinois from lawfully collecting sales tax on guns and ammo. Article 9, section 1, of the Illinois Constitution states: “The General Assembly has the exclusive power to raise revenue by law except as limited or otherwise provided in this Constitution. The power of taxation shall not be surrendered, suspended, or contracted away”.  
    The power to tax is the power to destroy, which is why government was never granted the power to tax any of our constitutionally protected rights, including that of the right to keep & bear arms.        

    Government has no granted authority to tax religious freedom, freedom from illegal search and seizure, or the freedom to keep and bear arms. This unlawful government overreach of taxing guns and ammo shows contempt for the top state law, the Illinois Constitution. 
    The collecting of sales tax on guns and ammo must stop. Obeying the law isn’t optional. This persecution of those who practice their protected right to keep and bear arms must end; no more sales tax should be collected on guns and ammo. 
    I call for the State of Illinois, the city of Decatur and Macon County to cease and desist this unlawful taxation. 

Roger German
Decatur’s Best Kept Secret
Is Decatur Area Convention & Visitors Bureau

Dear Editor:
    Too many times we hear about what is bad about Decatur.  Well,  I’ve got to tell you about something great in Decatur – The Decatur Area Convention & Visitors Bureau of Illinois!
    Recently Decatur’s  Edwards Chapter of NARFE, National Active & Retired Federal Employees, held the Illinois Federation 2018 Convention at the Decatur Conference Center & Hotel. One of the first stops we made was at the Convention Bureau where I expected to get plastic bags we could use for our “Welcome Bags”.  We did, indeed, receive those plastic bags, but, to my surprise, they did so much more.
    Who knew they would help with advertising by mailing  “Hold the Date” postcards to the other NARFE chapters in Illinois.  What a relief to have them make our name tags and banquet cards, in addition to copying the Convention Call Letters and everything needed for the convention.  
    Their knowledge and guidance were invaluable; from planning an ice cream bar reception at our mixer on Wednesday evening to planning a Mari Mann Herbs Luncheon for spouses of convention attendees.  Both events, new to the Illinois Federation Convention, were great successes.
    Topping off their generosity was a gift for our Keynote speaker, Bridget Boel, from NARFE National in Alexandria, Va.  Ms Boel was quite impressed!
    NARFE members from all over Illinois were amazed when I told them how much the Convention Bureau had done.   They left Decatur in awe of our great facility, Decatur Conference Center & Hotel and Decatur’s best kept secret – the Decatur Area Convention & Visitors Bureau.  

Ilene McQuality
President, Edwards Chapter #399
NARFE, National Active & Retired Federal Employees
Convention Host Chapter

Above Letters Posted on 6/5/18

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Earlier Letters

Board Chairman Jay Dunn Said This

Will Not Be A ‘Sanctuary’ Gun County

Dear Editor,
    Macon County Board Jay Dunn says the “sanctuary” gun county phenomenon that is sweeping downstate is partisan. 
    “I hope the board doesn’t decide to go down that partisan route,” he said. 
    I ask how the Second Amendment is partisan? 
    He probably does not want to bring it to a vote because he may find several of his Democrat colleagues enjoy gun ownership and may look at the state as overstepping their bounds.

Mike Speasl

An Open Letter to the Citizens of the State of Illinois and the SIU Board of Trustees

    Universities are managed by boards of trustees. The trustees are representatives of the public and are responsible for a university’s long-term health, strategic direction, educational policy, finances, operations, and mission. Trustees are meant to guide the universities to assure that higher education remains responsible to the needs of the public. Sometimes changes are necessary in order to better serve the needs of the public.
    We, the undersigned former chancellors of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, believe it is time for the Board of Trustees of the Southern Illinois System to live up to its fiduciary responsibilities by reallocating funds between Carbondale and Edwardsville. If it fails to do so, then it is time for the legislature to abolish the System and create a Board of Trustees for each university. Such a change is not without precedent. In 1996 the legislature abolished both the Board of Governors and Board of Regents which had together overseen nine universities.
    Since 2000, Carbondale has received 64% of the SIU System’s appropriation (excluding funding for the System Office and the School of Medicine in Springfield) while Edwardsville has received 36%. Since 2000, the enrollment at Carbondale has dropped significantly while that at Edwardsville has increased as has the breadth and level of its programs. In fall 2017, Carbondale had a slightly larger enrollment than Edwardsville; by fall 2018, Edwardsville will likely be larger.
    At its meeting on April 12, 2018, the SIU Trustees reviewed a proposal documenting the disparity in funding. Even adjusting for the greater doctoral level work at Carbondale, the analysis underlying the proposal showed that between $17M and $23M needed to be shifted from Carbondale to Edwardsville. The proposal before the Trustees called for a modest shift of $5M, a small step to equitable funding. Yet, even that modest shift failed to achieve Trustee approval.
    SIUE at one time benefited from being part of the SIU System, but that is no longer the case.  If the Board of Trustees cannot live up to its fiduciary responsibility to the citizens of Illinois and the University at Edwardsville, it is time for a change.

    Nancy Belck, Chancellor SIUE, 1994-1997
    Julie Furst-Bowe, Chancellor SIUE, 2012-2015
    Stephen Hansen, Interim Chancellor SIUE, 2015-2016
    Vaughn Vandegrift, Chancellor SIUE, 2004-2012
    David Werner, Chancellor SIUE, 1997-2004

Crisis Looming In State’s Workers’ Compensation System

Dear Editor:
    There’s a crisis looming in our state’s workers’ compensation system. If allowed to fester, it will keep workers from receiving timely medical treatment for workplace injuries. It will delay workers’ recoveries and their return to their jobs.  And it will end up costing more for the very businesses and insurers seeking efficiencies in the system.  This crisis is not one you’ve heard about from the business and insurance communities.  It’s a crisis created by their failure to implement laws that have been on the books in Illinois for more than a decade.
    As doctors who care for workers compensation patients, here are our concerns:  Illinois law spells out the right for medical professionals to receive prompt payment for the care we give to patients with workplace injuries.  Just like any other business or profession, we need to be paid for that care we give, so that we can compensate our employees and keep open the doors of our medical practices.
    Yet, many Illinois workers’ compensation insurers completely ignore the prompt payment law.  To date, there has been no remedy for doctors and other caregivers who remain unpaid for months and months at a time.
    Furthermore, state law mandates that insurers accept electronic billing and documentation for workers’ compensation claims. This expedites the process. Yet, many insist on an obsolete paper-based medical billing system, which delays medical care to injured workers and wastes resources.  Add to this bleak reality a recent, alarming increase in delayed payments for already-approved workers’ compensation medical care claims. The result is more and more physicians unable or unwilling to treat injured workers.
    Since 2005, the Workers’ Compensation Act has allowed medical professionals a late interest penalty for approved workers’ compensation medical care.  Yet there is no way for doctors and others to enforce or collect this interest.  Even if the workers’ compensation insurer approves care for an injured worker, it can and often delays payment for the medical treatment rendered.  These delays can last for years.  A recent court ruling found that medical professionals can’t even go to court to collect this interest.  Since the court decision, these payment delays have worsened to the point of doctors dropping out of the system.
    What’s lost in the current debate on workers’ compensation policy is that medical professionals—the physicians, surgeons, hospitals, and specialists— actually provide the care that supports our entire system.  
    Medical professionals are the ones who get injured employees back to work, reduce employer costs for time off and long-term injuries, and work with employers to prevent work-related accidents from even happening in the first place.  We are often blamed for the system’s ills, even though we are in a unique position to make that system function.
    When workers are hurt on the job, they need timely access to dedicated physicians, surgeons and specialists to treat their injuries.  We in the medical community stand ready with solutions to the problems that are threatening the health of our workers’ compensation system.
    It’s time to pass legislation that forces workers’ compensation insurers to start following the law. The alternative is having doctors and care centers rush to the exits.

Avi Bernstein, MD
Orthopedic Surgeon
Park Ridge, IL

Asokumar Buvanendran, MD
Pain Management Specialist
Chicago, IL

David Fletcher, MD
Occupational Medicine Specialist
Champaign, IL

David Kanzler
Chief Executive Officer
Hinsdale Orthopaedic Associates, S.C. 

Richard Kube, MD
Orthopedic Surgeon
Peoria, IL

Steven Mardjetko, MD
Orthopedic Surgeon
Morton Grove, IL

Brian Murphy, MD
Orthopedic Surgeon
Naperville, IL

Michael Vender, MD
Hand and Wrist Surgeon
Arlington Heights, IL

Mike Zindrick, MD
Orthopedic Surgeon
Hinsdale, IL

Above Letters Posted 5/29/18

Condition Of Decatur Streets

Created A Bumpy Ambulance Ride

Dear Paul:
    First off I’d like to say when your paper gets to me, I share with my niece. I grab my V8 and start reading.
    I would like to thank the people who helped me when I broke my hip. The ambulance and fire department; my family, Bruce, James, Andrew, Jaclyn and Lois for the care they gave me; and some of the staff at St. Mary’s and Christian Village. 
    I also would like to ask why our streets haven’t been fixed. The ambulance driver kept saying, “I’m sorry, I can’t miss all the holes.” 
    Whoever it is, I hope someday you break something and need the ambulance. Hope you have a good bumpy ride to see how it feels!

Bette Anderson

Heavy-Tinted Vehicle Window Issue Is 
‘Symptom Of Culture’

Dear Editor:
    I have to respond to the letter writer’s suggestion that saying “tinted windows” is "racial profiling". 
    First, that is a non sequitor argument because the danger to a police officer can come from any person of any color behind windows that you cannot see through. 
    If darkly tinted windows were an issue with only whites, the same danger would exist to approaching officers. 
    More importantly, the writer loses his own argument when he provides the caveat that there is no more danger to a police officer on the beat (which the writer conveniently omits) when approaching a car with or without tinted windows if the occupant “intends to do harm”. 
    If there is intent to do harm, the officer needs every tool at his disposal to save his life and maybe people like this writer, including the ability to see into a vehicle and react to a possible threat. 
    The convenience of occupants does not outweigh a police officer’s protection. If you don't like the sun, put on sunglasses and wear a little sunscreen. 
    Finally, the tinted window issue is a symptom of culture, not race, and is therefore a color blind issue. 

Rob Branson
Atlanta, GA

​Above letters posted 4/11/18

Imposing Tariffs Would Hurt American Jobs

Dear Editor:
    Trade laws and, ultimately, imposing tariffs are designed to protect American interests and jobs. That’s a concept everyone can agree on.
    But what happens when those laws and tariffs have the opposite effect? That’s an issue that’s playing out in D.C. with the Department of Commerce and the International Trade Commission.
    A lone newsprint mill in Washington state, owned by a New York hedge fund, brought a complaint to the International Trade Commission alleging unfair trade practices against Canadian producers of newsprint.
    Most likely the paper on which you are reading this was produced in Canada.
    This year the Department of Commerce has imposed two preliminary tariffs that have increased the price of newsprint for some newspapers by more than 30 percent. This summer, both agencies will explore whether this temporary tariff should become permanent.
    If this happens, trade laws that are intended to protect American jobs and interests will have the opposite effect. For newspapers, staff and newsprint are the largest expenses. Faced with those kinds of increases, newspaper publishers throughout Illinois and the rest of the country will have to make hard decisions that will ultimately impact the coverage of local issues and the staff that report on those issues.
    There isn’t enough newsprint produced in the U.S. to meet the demand of the industry, and given the fact that newsprint consumption has dropped by more than 75 percent since 2000, no U.S. producer is going to invest in starting a newsprint mill. Mills cost hundreds of millions of dollars to build and take years to come into full production.
    If these tariffs are made permanent, the New York hedge fund wins as it now has increased the value of its asset, and the federal government wins as tariffs collected go to the Department of Commerce. 
    Sadly, the country will lose as local newspaper employees will be impacted, and those people, events and issues that newspapers report on will lose as well.
    If you agree, contact your federal elected officials to let them know that this is wrong, and that one company must not be allowed to use trade laws to its advantage while adversely impacting local communities throughout Illinois and the rest of the country. 

Sam R Fisher
Illinois Press Association

Growing Up In 
Decatur Was Great

Hi Paul,
    Thanks for the great paper, always enjoy seeing all the stories about Decatur. Growing up Decatur was great, no cell phones made it greater. Kids knew how to have fun.
    Do you still have a curfew in Decatur? They should have them in all towns. I see too many real young kids on the streets late at night. Seems like parents have changed a lot over the years. Guess I’m older then dirt.
    Take care,

Grover Wilkinson
Denver, N. C.

Subscription To Decatur Tribune Was Best Gift Ever

Aloha Paul,
    Many years ago Gary and Julie Shuemaker gave me a birthday gift of the Decatur Tribune. 
    The best gift ever! They have passed now and I keep up with Decatur the best I can. I keep in touch with many classmates from Roach, Johns Hill, Roosevelt and MacArthur.
    My fraternal grandparents, Roy and Ada Carr ran a tea room on Main Street 1935-38. 
    Then my grandfather had some health issues and went to running Staley’s restaurant at the top. Me and siblings had a time of our life running around as the lights came on and that same machine still makes many good times for all. 
    As I soon will have a birthday and be 77 years young, I have many fond memories. 
    I still can smell Staleys and have fond memories of all of family members who made a living there. They have moved on but memories have made me many happy days.
    You do a great job. Thank you, or should I say, Mahalo.

Melanie Carr



Decatur Tribune Online

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