This Sunday is Mother’s Day, a day set aside to honor our mothers. One of Abraham Lincoln’s most famous quotes was about his mother who died when Lincoln was nine years old. The quote was in a letter Lincoln wrote to a young woman whose father had been killed in battle in an attempt to console her and show empathy for her loss. Lincoln’s actual quote in the letter is: “All that I am or hope ever to be I get from my mother – God bless her.”
I think about all of us can understand why Lincoln thought so highly of his mother, and her influence in his life, because our mothers also made tremendous impressions on our lives — especially in the formidable years when our views on life were taking shape. My mother, Betty Osborne, passed away 32 years ago, yet her presence in what she taught me through her life, is still very much with me.
My “Viewpoint” column on page 3 of this week’s print and online editions, is about my mom, but it is descriptive of so many moms whose love remains influential long after they are gone.
• THANKS to State Rep. Sue Scherer (D-Decatur) for her stance on bringing Big Pharma under control. As reported on page 12 of this week’s print and onlines editions, Scherer passed House Bill 3957, which would make prescription drugs more affordable and accessible by cracking down on price gouging by big pharmaceutical companies.
“Research by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services found that over 1,200 prescription medications increased in cost over the past year, with the average increase being 31% and some being as high as 500%. House Bill 3957 empowers state health agencies and the attorney general to combat these increases with financial penalties on companies found raising costs without cause.” The bill received bipartisan support in the House, and now awaits final approval in the Senate.
“Lifesaving medications only work if people can afford them,” said Scherer.
I know from first-hand experience the high cost of some drugs that are prescribed to strengthen a person’s heart and kidney function. I don’t see how many of my fellow citizens who are retired and living on small fixed incomes, or who are unemployed, afford some of the health-improving and life-saving medications they need. I know for a fact that many have to make choices between the medications and keeping food on the table and a roof over their heads. One thing is for sure. Profits for the big pharmaceutical companies are “extremely healthy”.
• LIVID — My recent column about my experience with the company that picks up our trash at home generated quite-a-bit of feedback. Some customers are expressing concern about a real or potential price increase. Evelyn Norman sent me a note about something she experienced with GFL, the Canadian-based firm that now picks up the trash at many Decatur area homes — including mine. She wrote: “I just cancelled service with GFL 4-1-23.
“The reason? Last billing raised my rate by $45.00. I went livid!”
I’ve received similar comments from some other readers who seemed most concerned about potential, or real, rate hikes. So far, our rate has not increased and, as I mentioned in last week’s column, GFL delivered a new trash tote to our house a few days after I published the column about the filthy old tote we had received at home. As I’m writing this, none of my neighbors received a better trash tote and I would feel better about my new, sparkling clean tote if they had been treated the same way. They deserve it as much, and probably more, than I do.
• DUMPSTER dumpers — As I was walking to the newspaper office from the parking lot one early morning last week, I couldn’t help but notice a car that had pulled up to a construction dumpster behind the Orlando Apartments Building (Old Hotel Orlando). Two men got out and started taking boxes and other trash out of their car and throwing it into the dumpster! I intentionally walked close to the car and dumpster to get a better look and by the way they acted when I walked by, I’m assuming they were using the dumpster to make an unauthorized dumping of personal trash before workmen who use the dumpster showed up for work!
Actually, illegal dumping in such dumpsters happens more than you might imagine! The two men acted as if they didn’t see me and kept on throwing trash in the dumpsters. I decided not to say anything to them. In today’s society, saying something to people would may, or may not, have been dumping illegally, might get me shot!!! Anyhoooo…that’s the report for this edition of the “Dumpster Patrol”.
• CONGRATULATIONS to Sandy McReynolds on celebrating 50 years of selling real estate in the Decatur area. (See ad on page 15 of the print edition.) I’ve known Sandy for about all, if not all, of those years. She has also contributed photos and items of interest to this newspaper from time to time over the years. Best wishes to Sandy for many more years of real estate service in the Decatur area.
• DEAD AS A DODO — Linda Hutton of Decatur sent me a letter with the title: “Customer Service Is Dead As A Dodo”. She wrote: “I am elderly and disabled. At a local store, I rode in a motorized cart, asking for help from three different employees, all of whom ignored me. They were too busy discussing what time they got off their shift and what plans they had for the evening. With assistance from my cane, I managed to haul down the products I wanted from high shelves. The cashier mumbled, ‘We appreciate your business’. Couldn’t prove it by me.”
• SUPER SIGN! — A press Conference was held last week by The Decatur Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, Community Foundation of Macon County, Decatur Park District and Decatur’s Building Trades Unions to reveal a new public art attraction to promote tourism and the community. The sign is in Nelson Park along Decatur’s Lakefront near the Devon Lakeshore Amphitheater.
Teri Hammel, Executive Director of the Convention and Visitors Bureau, stated “Decatur-Forsyth offers a wonderful cultural tourism experience. This attraction is our gift to the community, and we hope our community members and those who come to visit feel a sense of belonging while spending time at Decatur’s Lakefront.”
Thanks to Teri, and everyone involved, in making the beautiful sign a reality. It is an impressive statement about Decatur!
• TANKS — Gary G. Gray Jr. of Decatur sent me a photo last week that he shot from the stoplight on Eldorado by Burger King.
“I’ve seen tank cars on trains before, but never flatcars with tanks on them, much less rolling through Decatur,” he wrote. “There were dozens of consecutive cars, each with a few tanks on them. Just curious where they were from or where they were headed.”
That’s a strange sight, Gary. I also don’t think I’ve ever seen tanks on flatcars moving through Decatur.
• I JOIN Brian Byers on WSOY’s Byers & Co. every Thursday morning at 7:00 for the City Hall Insider to discuss the issues. confronting Decatur and Central Illinois.