Our favorite Letters to the Editor of 2015

 
Posted12/28/2015 6:00 AM

Even on his deathbed, this man's eloquence and humor still comes through -- Jim Davis

'God's finger will touch me, and I will sleep'

 

Most of us can take credit for making the right decision based on an occasional gut reaction. For me, this is one of those times. Someone once said, "Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass ... It's about learning to dance in the rain."

Well, I've been dancing in the rain for several years now, but truth be told, I'm getting tired of it.

The "dancing" represents my quality of life since refusing heart surgery that could have added years to my life. I refused surgery because I knew that my body did not have the ability or stamina to achieve a satisfactory post-surgery rehab, within a reasonable amount of time. This would have created a much longer stay in a rehab facility and/or convalescent home which would have removed most of any remaining "quality" I may have remaining. Not to mention a list of potential illnesses that could "kick in" after surgery.

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to realize that at age 81+, I should not expect things to get much better, health wise. And it was difficult for me to convince my doctors that there is a dignity in dying that they should not try to deny.

In addition, my death was overdue based on research that gave me a 50/50 chance of living to my 81st birthday (April, 2015).

As a reluctant believer in Murphy's Law, I wasn't surprised when, in May, 2015, a routine physical exam blood test indicated I had leukemia. The first thing that popped into my mind was, "Which one is going to kill me first?" Quickly followed by the realization that in refusing surgery, I saved myself a lot of pain, rehab hours and weeks or months away from home.

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I felt my decision was vindicated. I could now live the rest of my life in dignity with my family, my dogs and the wonderful home and garden my wife has created.

When I first wrote about this 2 years ago, I closed with the following statement, "To paraphrase Alfred Lord Tennyson, 'God's finger will touch me and I will sleep.' I'm OK with that." But today I would like to add: Please God, give me the finger already.

Len Brauer

Palatine

We don't thank public officials enough when they do things we like. I'm glad these folks took the opportunity. -- Slusher

Thanks for Wheeling park improvements

We've been residents of Wheeling for over 30 years and have always had to "leave town" to enjoy outdoor activities. Other than walking or biking the Forest Preserve paths there was not much available.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

But now, what a gem Heritage Park has become! Forget Lake Arlington. The walking path around Heritage Park far outshines it.

Never mind all the other wonderful activities that can be enjoyed at the complex.

What's missing? Tennis and pickleball courts. and hopefully the park district has plans for those too.

Thank you, Wheeling Park Board, for having the foresight for this property.

Denise and Scott Kennedy

Wheeling

In a very short space, this writer provided lots of grist for thought and still managed to evoke a deep sense of frustration. -- Slusher

How much training can the Iraqis need?

During WW II, American recruits were given seven weeks of basic training and a rifle and told to go defeat Hitler.

And they did just that.

The U.S. military has been 'training' the Iraqi Army for over 10 years.

We have spent tens of billions of taxpayer dollars giving them military assistance at every level. Now there is talk of sending even more U.S. troops back to Iraq to provide them with more training.

For the life of me, I can't understand what is going on over there.

Jim Johnson

Arlington Heights

A poignant reminder that can apply in many situations, but for anyone who's seen commuters spray off the trains and into the roadways, it made a special connection. -- Slusher

Remember the point of hurrying home

Consider this a public service announcement if you will. While driving through Arlington Heights one recent night, we were forced to stop at a green light by commuters crossing Northwest Highway. To those of you running in traffic from the 6:20-ish train, you need to think about what you are doing.

I frequently drive from Palatine to Des Plaines and slow down when the trains drop commuters and the weather is perfect. Someone driving who is not familiar with Northwest Highway might not see any reason to slow down at a green light, let alone stop.

At a time where distracted driving is epidemic, everyone crossing the highway was dressed in black, windshield vision was horrible and the roads were slick. This is a recipe for disaster in general but please be careful getting off the trains and heading home.

The point of hurrying home is to get there alive.

Brian DeValk

Palatine

A not-always-glowing, but humorous critique of the pages of the Daily Herald. -- Davis

Fuddy Duddy brings joy in a sad world

I perused a recent Saturday Daily Herald on the all-too-common disheartening events of the day. Page 1 had a story on the Mali siege. Page 2, an article on "the Donald"; our politicians were split on a plan for Syrian refugees, plus a new case of Ebola in Liberia. Page 3 was pretty decent with feel-good stories.

Page 4 had a story of an Elgin Islamic cleric charged with sexual abuse of a 22-year-old employee. Page 5 was OK, but Page 6 had more on the Mali group led by an ex-al-Qaida commander claiming responsibility for the carnage. Page 7 was full of downers, most notably the story of the black Chicago teen being shot by the police 16 times, and the Wednesday release of the squad car dash cam video.

Finally I'm to the Opinions page. The editors' Saturday Soapbox was pretty benign. The cartoons were nothing to bring a smile to your face, but generally OK and pertinent.

On to letter writers' views: One was about taking the offense in terror war, while the next recommended a D-Day strategy in the war against ISIS. Next was a writer who wanted the word "outrage" in a headline about emotions in Paris after the attacks. The rest of the drivel on this page was a discourse on abortion and a letter about Trump being a whining bully.

Then I saw it! Some self-described fuddy duddy ranting about what a sin it was for Mike Ditka to wear a Packers sweater in a commercial. The only sin here is the way the Bears have played the last few years. I knew there was something in the Herald funnier than your lame comics page.

Thanks to Fuddy-Duddy for writing these hilarious words, and thanks to the Herald for publishing them.

Richard Morland

Elgin

Writer makes a succinct case for the graduated income tax. -- Davis

Time for Illinois to graduate (taxes)

Pat Quinn's 5 percent income tax was making some headway against the budget deficit. The current tax rate of 3.75 percent is not enough and Illinois falls further in debt every day.

I was just fine paying the 5 percent; I could afford it. I grew up in Wisconsin where the income tax rates were high, but so was the quality of education, roads, and natural resources.

Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota, Michigan and Missouri all have graduated income taxes. Low income pays low tax rate; high income pays their share. Illinois should do the same.

It's time for Illinois to graduate.

Dave Volkman

Naperville

A contrary stance on something virtually everyone in town seems to think is OK. -- Davis

Blackhawk fans'

'tradition' a disgrace

Why must Blackhawk fans bring their disrespectful screaming during the singing of the national anthem to Nashville? The owner of the Predators was so offended, as are other teams, that he has asked Nashville fans to join in singing to drown out the idiots.

Contrary to what the Blackhawk public relations claim, this was never a patriotic gesture started during the Gulf War in the early 1990s. That's their spin on it because they can't stop it and it makes the organization look bad.

The truth is it started at the onset of the 1984-85 Conference Finals versus the Edmonton Oilers. The only war going on was on the ice. Wayne Mesmer was singing the anthem back then at the old Chicago Stadium and he had a tendency to extend his version of it. The Chicago fans were anxious to get the game started vs. their bitter rivals so they began screaming to give Mesmer a hint to hurry it up.

Now, the Blackhawks PR has convinced veterans to come as honored guests to stand at center ice to witness this disgrace. This behavior doesn't exist anywhere else in sports -- only Chicago. It's not something to be proud of as exclusively a Chicago "tradition." Most the fans just go along with it because that's just what you do attending a hockey game at the Madhouse on Madison.

It's time to set the record straight and put an end to this embarrassment, but that will never happen. At least allow other cities' fans to respect and honor the American flag without Blackhawk fans' arrogant nonsense.

Bob Cotton

Naperville

Letters like this one help us realize the issue is a human one, not just a topic born of political correctness. -- Slusher

Society must learn about brain illness

I write this letter to implore people living in our community to learn more about brain illness.

When far too many people think of mental illness, sadly the first images that come to mind are ones that marginalize and devalue the integrity of our loved ones.

Last fall's rendition of an insane asylum full of demented nurses tending to their scary deranged patients on the show Modern Family is anything but a laughing matter. This show, that otherwise promotes diversity, understanding and inclusiveness, totally missed a golden opportunity to dispel the stigma attached to this devastating illness.

Mental illness is not something that happens to some other family. It affects all walks of society, rich, poor, young and old.

All people.

Like any other biological illness, it requires proper evaluation, diagnosis, treatment and wraparound services. It also requires education and enlightenment by law enforcement and first responders, so they can recognize and help steer victims of brain illness to a proper care source and not the local jail cell.

Adverse behavioral changes which are the result of a diseased brain are often mistaken for a person's character and they are placed in a jail cell rather than a treatment center where the right diagnosis and medicine can help restore brain function.

Sadly, misjudging those afflicted results is making our number one treatment center in Illinois a prison, rather than a protected well-staffed empathetic treatment center.

Appropriate and necessary resources for our mentally ill are being cut by our newly elected governor, Bruce Rauner.

Write Gov. Rauner or your state legislator and ask what they can do to balance the budget without marginalizing the integrity of human beings who are afflicted by an illness that is too often misunderstood.

Louis S. Guagenti

Arlington Heights

We received many touching and thought-provoking remembrances of Ernie Banks. I especially liked the tone and context of this one. -- Slusher

Fond memories are a respite from news

It's so good, if only for a few days, to see some words put more on the back burner. Words like murder, rape, robbery, abuse and even storm, cold, etc., and, in place of these, the immortal words, "It's a beautiful day for a ballgame. Let's play two."

Thanks Ernie.

Don Klemp

Rolling Meadows

Clever analogy: Are lethargic school leaders the reason for students' lethargy? -- Davis

Lethargy on later school start times

The Jan. 5 front-page article on delaying school start times for teens, "More sleep, better students?" reveals the usual lethargy among school administrators in effecting change.

One school district has included the question as part of a broader plan that will be completed three years from now. A U-46 assistant superintendent is quoted as saying there is still not enough information to support moving high school start times to 8:30 a.m. or later.

News flash! The evidence is in. Teens have different biological sleep cycles than other age cohorts. And, a February 2014 multisite study by the University of Minnesota's Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement finds improved test scores, fewer driving accidents and better emotional health among the more than 9,000 students studied in school districts that have instituted later start times for high schools.

Making the shift to later start times does face some hurdles. The Daily Herald article mentions bus schedules. There are also after-school activities to consider, e.g., sports, student employment and child care. But for each hurdle there are solutions. Administrators carefully managed the transition in other school districts by first educating parents and boards of education about the benefits and then involving all elements of the school community in planning.

Other factors also influence adolescent sleep patterns, and these must be controlled to maximize the positive impact of later school start times. To name but three, excessive socialization via the Internet and cellphones, television in bedrooms, and overconsumption of caffeine all disrupt healthy sleep patterns.

Let's hope our school boards and administrators can wake up and institute some positive change.

Michael A. Rugh

Woodstock

Writer from New York City made special effort to ensure the kids were recognized back home. -- Slusher

Students wowed New York audience

This past Sunday in historic Carnegie Hall, MidAmerica Productions, of which I am Artistic Director, had the pleasure of hosting in performance two extraordinary ensembles from St. Charles North High School -- their Chamber Orchestra conducted by John Wojceichowski, and the Wind Ensemble co-conducted by James Stombres and Brian Wis.

I am writing to publicly congratulate these performances and to point out how impressed I was with the high level of musical presentation and musicianship exhibited by these young artists.

The musical vision for such a performances goes to the heart of their education and the leadership provided by Mr. Wojceichowski, Mr., Stombres and Mr. Wis is responsible for this musical undertaking.

I was particularly impressed with the overall musical discipline and artistry of the performances which will be long remembered. Your St. Charles community should be impressed with the results of this concert, as we all were in NYC.

Peter Tiboris

New York City

Some healthy perspective on the latest health scare. -- Davis

Indigestion can be serious business at age 86

Having ingested an inordinate amount of white lead, benzene, cigarettes, pipe tobacco and stale c-rations in my 86 years, I do appreciate the warning about eating hot dogs and other processed foods.

Getting indigestion at my age can be serious.

Roy Dehn

Lisle

Writer doesn't mince words or hide his strong conviction on the Planned Parenthood controversy. -- Davis

It's really infantcide The more disgusting something is, the more flowery its name. For example, Hitler's extermination of six million Jews was called the "Final Solution." What problem did the mass murder of Jewish people finally solve?

Since then, Darwinian selection of certain races for killing has been called "ethnic cleansing." Since 1973, the systematic holocaust of 55 million humans prior to birth has been advocated by the misnomer "Planned Parenthood." Ironically because abortion kills the pre-born, it makes a potential mother and father "non-parents." The planned end of a pregnancy is a child, not a mangled fetus suctioned from a uterus.

Now we're informed that Planned Parenthood is finding a "productive" use of dismembered babies for sale in a new market of "goods." Sounds like free market capitalism. Let's call it "Human Harvesting." Why throw a severed body into a dumpster, when you can sell it? The law made overnight by the Supreme Court with Roe v. Wade finally solved a real problem -- inconvenient pregnancy. Planned Parenthood now masks itself as "human recycling" -- it's really infanticide for profit.

Paul O. Bischoff

Wheaton

This letter was published near Father's Day. It was touching and personal, and seemed to represent all that we celebrate on that Sunday. -- Slusher

Most important lessons came from Dad

My father, Martin, who would have been 100 this year, died on Father's Day 19 years ago. Every year since then, this day reminds me that all the important lessons in my life came from this first-generation American with only one year of high school. By example, he taught responsibility, honesty, fidelity, courtesy, generosity, and tolerance. A big, strong man with a loud voice befitting his role as an assistant foreman in a brass foundry, he never bullied anyone and was quick to laugh at his own occasional folly.

One story reveals so much about him. For years after Mom and he moved from their tiny house in the Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago to a new bungalow on the city's Southwest side, one of Dad's neighbors kept calling him "Mike." One day I asked Martin why he didn't set his neighbor straight.

Dad said, "Mike's a perfectly good name. Besides, I wouldn't want to embarrass him, especially after all this time."

Remembering him every Father's Day, my love and appreciation deepens and I'm more grateful that he was my Father. Every year I also regret not having spent more time with him and been a better learner.

Bob Foys

Inverness

Many people wrote similarly heartfelt responses about the response in Charleston, South Carolina, to a mass killing in a church. This one had the added twist of a thought-provoking -- and different -- take on the controversy of a white NAACP chapter president who had identified herself as African American. -- Slusher

A compelling show of grace, dignity

Regarding The Daily Herald's June 20 article " Families Forgive": In the midst of unbearable suffering, the families of the nine victims of Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church massacre were able to forgive the killer, show compassion for his demented mind and ask for God's mercy on his soul. What a life-affirming message from the surviving family members.

Their response is an example of true grace and dignity and a model for our country to emulate.

And then there is the unending coverage of the uproar and demonization of Rachel Dolezai because she chose to identify as an African American. She chose to align herself with a culture steeped in tradition, faith, determination, intelligence, humor, music and love of family.

Who wouldn't?

Much to think about.

Judi Tepe

Elgin

This one is an intriguing, and I think important, take on dealing with issues of aging. -- Slusher

Staying active is worthwhile final job

In September, while I personally mark Anniversary 8 in a retirement home, Americans celebrate Grandparents Day and National Senior Center Month. Well, "celebrate" may be too strong, more like "observe." Or possibly "tolerate." "Deliberately ignore" might even apply to younger generations unwilling to reflect on their own futures.

But having been thrown into the deep end of the senior pool early, I've discovered pluses never fully appreciated or anticipated beforehand. Now with the fewest responsibilities since age 12, I have the less-stressful time to develop new skills, gratify forgotten curiosities and reminisce a little. It's surprisingly comforting to recall the many things you've done right in your life.

I've been primed to fully admire the courage, determination and inner strength of others in all the books, films and real-life trials I witness, having been through some myself. I can marvel at how many of today's troubles sound so like the news I grew up with.

And it's encouraging to think that if we weathered Cold War paranoia, a Cuban missile crisis, 13 percent monetary inflation and the Newark and Watts riots at various points, we can overcome today.

I celebrate all that and more, observe a few of the neutral senior changes (such as no longer cooking), and tolerate the decidedly negative ones that many live in fear of. Now that I'm retired,

I look on staying active as my final job. And if only to prevent monotony, I work at it. The potential benefits of applying oneself here are something all would be wise not to deliberately ignore.

Tom Gregg

Niles

Another case when someone with no apparent personal stake took the time to point out something good that conflicts with messages that often get more noise and attention. -- Slusher

Cutting teacher pay won't improve schools

The Romanowskis' letter of Sept. 26 caught my attention. In it they stated they have not had a child in public education for 23 years. They did not mention how many children they had and how many years of public education their children received.

I did not have a child attending a public school until I was 65 years old, so through my taxes, I contributed to the cost of their children's education for over 40 years. It never occurred to me to complain about where that portion of my tax bill went.

I have always believed in affordable education for everyone. I have seen the statistics of where we rank with the rest of the world and that is disappointing, but I am totally satisfied with my kid's school and teachers.

Answers to better education may begin at home, but no improvement is going to come with chopping away at teachers' salaries. At least not the teachers my son has had so far.

Dave Sebastian

Des Plaines

We're running out of time to run letters such as these from our Greatest Generation. Wonderful that they're getting their due. -- Davis

Grateful for Honor Flight recounting

A recent article described the experience of Milton Merklin during his "Honor Flight." It allowed me to relive my feelings on the same flight I took two years ago. At that time I was living at Friendship Village in Schaumburg. I was surprised at the people that were present to send us off on the bus at an ungodly early hour.

While the trip was great, I share with Merklin the emotions felt upon our return. I never expected to see the number of people and organizations that were there to greet us at a very late hour. The hugs, the handshakes, the "Thank you for your service" greetings, all contributed to making us feel proud to have served.

I was happy to see the article, and also for Mr. Merklin who enjoyed this wonderful experience at his late age. There are so few of us left.

John Pianowski

Lake in the Hills

A thoughtful suggestion prompted by Davis column on writer Len Brauer's decision to skip life-prolonging surgery. -- Davis

Use brains, hearts in health care matters

The Dec. 29, 2014, editorial by editor Jim Davis really spoke to me. As an older person, much older than the "Man who eschewed surgery," I'm so in sync with the man mentioned and have long realized that we old people take so much of the health care dollar, there won't be enough for those coming after us.

Some older people are healthy and give of their energy and empathy to help make this a better world. But when we have to sit and twiddle our thumbs, it seems to me that life would not be worth living. Len Brauer expressed this so well.

On the same day, Ron Mengarelli wrote a letter to the editor that spoke to the same issue, the cost of our health system. It is so true that we refuse to face the fact that all other developed countries have single payer health care at half the cost. This would eliminate the greedy insurance companies that raise the cost yearly. Before the Affordable Health Care Act, millions were left without health care as they couldn't afford it. This act is certainly not perfect, but is a temporary fix. He states the fact that "health care in the last six months of life consumes more health care costs than people incur throughout their lifetimes."

Nothing in life is perfect but those of us who have had health care can't stick our heads in the sand and forget those who haven't been so blessed.

Let us start this New Year by using our brains and hearts.

Sheila T. Burris

Elgin

I'd agree with the writer of this letter that unions almost have become a four-letter word these days. A nice job of explaining their history and importance. -- Davis

Don't forget the value of unions

Just a thought about the budget battle in Illinois.

For the last 20 years there has been an insidious campaign by large business to demonize unions and discourage membership by painting unions as being run by crooks just interested in taking members' dues. There is no mention of the benefits of workers joining together for protection from exploitation and better health care and pensions.

My husband has been a lifelong member of the Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters. Our family enjoyed excellent health care and now my husband and I enjoy a comfortable retirement provided by a union sponsored pension plan paid for by union workers and union contractors, who appreciated skilled labor. Our union, thankfully, was not burdened by politicians who balanced state budgets by raiding pension plans to avoid raising taxes or reducing spending in the face of growing deficits. The union pension plan is solvent, unlike public pensions.

We seem to forget that it was through union efforts that we can enjoy eight-hour workdays, 40 hour workweeks, paid vacations, overtime pay, or enforced safety measures. Our current crop of politicians, bought and paid for by rich business owners, are hell bent on destroying unions. Once the ability to band together to support the working people is gone, how long do you think it will be before the working conditions we have become accustomed to are also gone?

Remember the phrase "divide and conquer"? That's the current plan by some politicians for middle class Americans. Please do not allow this to happen. Support workers' rights to form and maintain unions and support the politicians who actively support these rights.

Irene Wojtysiak

Pingree Grove

Writer makes a good case for why we should dial down the hysteria over drones just a bit. -- Davis

Way too much worry on drone regulation

Regarding an April 14 posting in the opinion section, let's get one thing clear, a 55-pound drone would be a commercial device. Its cost would be in the tens of thousands of dollars. This is not something that your neighbor is playing with. Are you really worried about Amazon peeping over your fence? I would be more concerned about the government doing that.

Just like all the flying models that have been around for years before these "drones" came along, the flying hobby models have a very limited range that typically is measured in hundreds of yards, not miles. The radios they use for control are very susceptible to interference, these very basic flying models are limited to line of sight operation.

With this increase in popularity, the FAA has already acted to make very clear limits: Line of sight of the operator; flight height cannot exceed 400 feet; operation is prohibited within 10 miles of any airport.

Manufacturers of the flight controls are making additions that would inhibit the devices from flying in restricted air space. Airports, military bases, federal buildings, and many others are already being programmed as no fly zones. I also know, as with any other restrictive technology, someone will turn it off and do something stupid. You really can't fix stupid, no matter how many laws you pass.

With regard to license requirements or marking of the model, the advanced radios that allow longer distance control already require operators to have a FCC HAM radio operator's license. This license number is supposed to be programmed into the transmitters and clearly broadcast the operators identification code when in use.

So, rather than hoping that a catastrophic event befalls our fellow man, be it a politician, or not, let's try enforcing existing laws and punishing anyone who breaks them.

Ed Thomas

Roselle

Nice job of knowledgeably explaining both sides in a controversy. -- Davis

Don't need to take sides in 'food fight'

I'm an Illinois farmer refusing to take part in the "food fight." Recently, a woman whom I like and respect quite a bit shared her feeling about being torn between the "seemingly opposing sides" of the "local, heirloom, organic, grass-fed, humanely raised, sustainable, non-GMO, antibiotic-free, free-range" farmers and those who farm using conventional methods.

I am writing today to explain that you don't have to choose a side.

I have neighbors who own several hundred acres and grow vegetables using conventional methods and sell them at their roadside farm

stand. It's the size and method that works for them.

I also have a friend from the farmers market who owns just one acre and grows heirloom vegetables using organic methods. Her veggies do cost more due to the cost of organic certification and market expenses, but she's found a niche for herself, so this size and method works for her.

Each has chosen what works best for them, not necessarily "a side."

So to my friend and other consumers who are struggling with food choices amid overwhelming labels, adjectives, and headline-grabbing, myth-based marketing campaigns, I say pick whatever works best for you. Don't be misled by fear-mongers and unjustified guilt. Ask questions of those who are actually growing the food. Buy what you want given your own budget and preferences.

And remember that it doesn't have to be all or nothing; there is no rule against buying conventional one day and organic the next. Whether you're buying food for your family at a small farm stand, the local farmers market, Jewel, or Costco -- with no adjectives or a list of adjectives as long as your arm -- know that there's a farmer at the other end who made choices, too. There's no wrong answer.

Michele Aavang

Willow Lea Stock Farm

Woodstock

Letter writer critiques other letters, but in a nonjudgmental way. Nice bit of humor at the end. -- Davis

Letter writers hit nail on the head

I can't remember having read a column and enjoying it as much as I did the "Your Opinion page" on Feb. 2. Having been snowbound for the second day in a row, I have too much time on my hands, and one knows the old saying: "Idle hands, evil thoughts."

However, I promise I won't write anything "evil," but I would like to comment to a couple of articles on that page.

George Reuss, I thoroughly agree with your view, "Weighing in on COD's Breuder Buyout." You hit the nail on the head. The COD Board must think John Q Public fell out of a tree. The fact that they are willing to "buy out" Mr. Breuder's contract when he chose to "retire," smells of an "alternative to termination," which could mar his resume and/or make the board appear as if they made a "bad mistake" by hiring him. I also agree with Phillip E. Ritchey … that is an affront to teachers. That money could and should be better used for the actual education of students -- that which the taxpayer so generously supports.

Karen Wagner, your article "The outrage! Social Security Cheats," made me LOL. Although, obviously TIC, it was actually an eye-opener. If only more people would read between those lines.

Lastly, I found it humorous that the column following Ms. Wagner's was entitled "Obama's Insane Spending must stop." By now everyone must "know" that President Obama is directly responsible for the Breuder buyout and the Social Security cheating ... and why not? He's the reason for ALL the problems in the world, isn't he? Well, according to "The Donald," he was even responsible for the Super Bowl results. Unreal.

Marie Zavoli

Glendale Heights

Woman who lost her husband took the time to praise the quality of care -- in a much-maligned veterans hospital. -- Davis

How about a thank you to local VA?

There has been a lot of bad publicity as to the care the VA has been giving the veterans. I want to praise the Elgin VA for the good care Dr. Janice Wood and her team of doctors and nurses gave to my husband, William Nathan, who passed away Aug. 25.

They sent a nurse every week to check his vitals and check his medications. They also called several times a week and provided hospice at home when he needed it.

I have no complaints to offer only a thank you for caring over the years.

Dorothy Nathan

East Dundee

Oops. Did the editor who wrote this (me) forget about the Lilac Festival? -- Davis

Don't forget about Lilac Festival

According to an Aug. 1 "Soapbox" statement, "A town the size of Lombard should have a flagship festival."

In fact, Lombard has had one for 85 years. The annual Lilac Festival, a two-week event every May which begins with the crowning of the Lilac Queen and ends with the Lilac Parade, was first held in 1930.

Perhaps it is the definition of "festival" which is at issue. Granted, the Lilac Festival is not the "Taste of" variety, and so does not include overpriced food and earsplitting music. It instead features an arts and crafts fair, low-key concerts in Lilacia Park, and, for those so inclined, the Lilac Ball. I suspect that this one-of-a-kind festival is the type most residents of Lombard prefer.

Kenneth N. Marshall

Lombard

Pretty levelheaded suggestion here. -- Davis

How about just one day of fireworks?

As we approach the celebration of our great nation's independence this July Fourth, can we also think about helping out others in our celebrations?

First and most importantly, our veterans who have served our country and now have post-traumatic stress disorder will be fighting their own battle over the 4th weekend. Loud pops and explosions will add to their stress and issues, and the least we can do for them is to keep it a one-day event, and let the communities do the fireworks. The backyard fireworks are illegal and, I know, basically unstoppable. The great police service we have throughout Naperville and DuPage County have plenty of other things to take care of besides getting complaint calls for all the noise.

The other reason I would like to see the celebrations kept to a minimum is for our 4-legged friends. The national survey says that most of you are pet owners. I believe it said that 75 percent of homes have dogs. Dogs' hearing is well beyond ours. They can hear things that we never do. With that, loud explosions, bangs, and pops can be very frightening to them.

Our friend's dog was so terrified during last year's 4th of July weekend, it broke through a door, jumped a fence and took off to get away from the neighbors' backyard get together. They found it dead along a highway three days later, 5 miles from home. If you have any pets, or you know your neighbors do, please keep it in your mind how much this affects all of them.

Can we all please keep the fireworks to a one-day affair?

Tom Wehrli

Naperville

This one emphasized to me how the terms we use can have deeper meanings than we know or intend. I don't know that we constantly have to guard every word we say, but it's important to think about from time to time. -- Slusher

Physical education more than gym class

On March 11, I attended the Shape Up Illinois convention in Springfield. As a physical education major at Western Illinois University, I traveled with colleagues to promote physical education in schools and to oppose House Bill 1330 proposed by Rep. Ron Sandack.

I was thrilled to see an article written about our experience the following day but was immediately put off by the title "Should state drop gym class requirement?"

Referring to physical education as "gym" is disrespectful and derogatory. We are not gym teachers. We are physical educators. Articles such as Erin Hegarty's are part of the reason we lose the respect we deserve.

The goal of a quality physical educator is to align lessons according to the state standards and choose activities that will address the students' psychomotor, affective, and cognitive domains. We strive to create a safe learning environment where all students have the opportunity to be successful.

Physical education is a learning experience that is essential to a child's education and lifelong health. Physical literacy is just as important as reading literacy.

I am insulted by this article that repeatedly refers to PE as "gym." If using this term was logical, why aren't we referring to art class as "studio?"

I hope future articles on this subject will be written using the correct terminology.

Stacey Hnytka

Palatine

I mostly just liked the clever tone of this letter, but in the process, it also offered some interesting ideas to think about. -- Slusher

Georgia's mysterious dining-driving law

I wonder how the lobbyists for the National Restaurant Association let Georgia's no-dining-while-driving law get served up.

The suggestion that a sandwich holder be added to cars is somewhat half-baked. I suspect when dining drivers see the blinding blue light in their rearview mirror, they simply scarf down the evidence.

By the way the obesity rate in Georgia is 30.3 percent. That is more of a health challenge than the hazard of one-handed driving.

Audrey Beauvais

Arlington Heights

Good point about patriotism without being heavy-handed or preachy. -- Davis

Rain didn't spoil Wheaton's parade

As I write this letter, I am home drying out after watching the Wheaton Memorial Day Parade. It was just starting to sprinkle when I walked over to city hall, my perch for the morning. I met up with some friends and we chatted under a tree as it was really starting to come down and we were umbrella-less.

The parade began, the rains came down and my friends decided to go back home and I started back myself. Then as I watched the marchers carrying on, soaked to the skin, I decided to stay and watch.

It was a wonderful sight, the cherished veterans, the school bands all playing, the Cubs and Boy Scouts, the Brownies and the Girl Scouts and their leaders all soaking wet but carrying on. The music, the flags, the umbrellas, the plastic garbage bag rain shields, the loyal parade watchers were all doing their thing as usual.

I was reminded of a picture on Facebook of the guards marching in a rainstorm at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington Cemetery, who carry on no matter what the weather is day in and day out. Memorial Day is to honor our veterans who have served our country and today the city of Wheaton did that in fine fashion.

Mary Landreth

Wheaton

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