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 

Invitation To MacArthur High School Class Of 1987

To the Editor:
    To the Douglas MacArthur High School class of 1987, we want to invite you to attend the events planned for our reunion weekend. It will occur the same weekend as the Decatur Celebration.
     On Friday, Aug. 4, we have planned a casual get together at the Infusion Bar and Banquet Center from 6:00-9:00 p.m., for people to relax, catch up, and check out the newly remodeled AIW Hall building.     
    Saturday morning, Aug. 5, you are welcome to join classmates at Coney McKane's restaurant in downtown Decatur at 8:30 a.m. for breakfast. 
    Even if you don't wish to get up that early and attend the breakfast, feel free to join us for the tour of the newly remodeled MacArthur High School building at 11:00 a.m. The official reunion event will take place at The Beach House with cocktail hour beginning at 6:00 p.m., then the hors d'oeuvres and activities will begin at 6:30 p.m.
     To purchase tickets, go to the MacArthur High School (Decatur IL) Class of 1987 reunion FB site or go to  050427929/. 
    We realize that not everyone is on Facebook, so if you could pass along this information to any of your family or friends who were in the class, it would be greatly appreciated. We do not want anyone to be left out. 
    Even if you were not able to actually graduate with our class, but you were in the 1987 class, we encourage you to attend. 
    Please leave a message on the MacArthur website/FB page to confirm how many in your party are planning to attend, so that we can try and have name tags made, have a head count on the number of people who will be eating at breakfast, who will be attending the tour, and who will be at the reunion at the Beach House.
     Also, we are asking that if anyone wants to add photos from our high school days to the slide show that is being put together for the event, please e-mail the photos to angrn2002@ 
    We are also trying to put together a memorial of sorts, dedicated to our classmates who have passed away. If you have the name and date of death of a classmate, please send it to the same e-mail address, leave the information on the MacArthur FB/website, or notify a member of the reunion committee.
     Thank you for your assistance in these endeavors and we look forward to seeing you at the reunion.
    Infusion Bar & Banquet Center: 2882 N. Dineen St.    
    Coney McKane's American Eatery: 104 E. Prairie St.
    MacArthur High School: 1499 W. Grand Ave.
    The Beach House: 2301 Lake Shore Dr.

Renee Heath
MAC class of 1987

Above Letters Posted 7/19/17

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Rep. Mitchell Applauded For Budget, Revenue Vote

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

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

What If This Happened?

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

 Charles R. Smith, 
Decatur Kiwanis Clubs

The Gravy Train Letter

Dear Editor:
    I was shocked to read the letter from Sharon and Ed Dunbar stating that their vote is always available to the politician who provides their gravy train. 
    Then I received an e-mail this week that made three statements regarding that greedy attitude:
    1. “A government which robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul”   George Bernard Shaw.
    2. “What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving.”
    3. “The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else.”
    I read further and found the perfect response to the debacle in Springfield last week.
    “What this country needs are more unemployed politicians” (Edward Langley 1928-1995)

 Jim Schultz

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

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Edition Stirred Many Memories Of The Past

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

Jerry L. Lambert, Esq. 
Flossmoor, Illinois

I Pledge Allegiance...

Dear Editor:
    I pledge allegiance to myself and to the group that pays the most for my vote. 
    I enjoy all the privileges we vote for ourselves. I will never vote for anything that stops my gravy train.

Sharon and Ed Dunbar
Princeville, 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

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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

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