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Letters Policy


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Letters Archives for 2019-04

Letter to the Editor on Supporting Our Local Ag Community


Posted April 30, 2019


Dear Editor:


In 1985, Agriculture suffered a financial crisis. Many of your readers will remember the turmoil that it caused. The State of Illinois and the then Cooperative Extension Service mounted a campaign called "Rural Partners," in which a large number of people, Farm Business Farm Management field men, Farm Service Agency personnel, Extension Advisers, State of Illinois Ag department personnel and others were trained in Ag finance and Mental Health principles. They were then sent back to their jobs with instructions to work with distressed farmers. "Rural Partners" did a lot of good, and probably saved some lives.


Now, we're looking forward to at least ten days more of rain and gloomy weather. Our farmers have their 2019 supplies; fuel, seed, fertilizer, chemical, and labor purchased. Many still have last year's crop in storage, seeking a somewhat higher price, at least above their 2018 costs.  And prices for the 2019 crop are, at this time, even lower. And, I haven't even mentioned the National and Global situations, causing more uncertainty. "There is no joy in Mudville," this year. Our local farmers are experiencing a lot of stress and concern for the future. 


One farmer I know is working on his farm records, then going out and diddling with the machinery, to be sure it's good to go, coming in and looking at his farm records, going out and diddling with the machinery.... You get the picture. Others are sitting glumly looking out the window with no energy.  All signs of concern leading to out-and-out depression. It's not a good situation, and 1985 comes to mind. In Mudville, "the Mighty Casey struck out! 


It's up to us to change this! We need to find support for our Agricultural Community! Farmers first, but the members of the support industries, seed salesmen, fertilizer sales, and so on as their income will also be affected. Here in the county, we can't restore Rural Partners, but we can do many of the things they did. 


An immediate solution is our Christian County or your local YMCA. We have a good "Y" (YMCA) where stressed individuals can work out or swim and burn up some of the excess energy. Th Christian County "Y" is helping with a free two week membership for farmers  and their families.  I know, it sounds schmaltzy, but for someone chomping at the bit to get going, it is a viable outlet and one not many people consider. Who knows, you might get into a habit of going regularly. One doesn't burn much energy thumbing through the records day after day, or pacing the floor. And there's only so much coffee one can drink at the fast food shop!  


We have a strong mental health counseling resource in our Religious and Medical Community. Pastors throughout the county can listen, offer solace and consolation to help deal with the stress. They, members of The Ag Support Industry, can listen and offer ways to help improve efficiency or lessen cost. Spouses can listen and console. 


Most all the tradesman our farmers deal with can be helpful. And, as is the case with stress, it can bust out (explode) anywhere with any sort of trigger. I'm asking that we all be aware, and be ready to give time to a farmer to listen to a "good vent". We have been told to "Love our neighbor!", now is the time!


Dr . Bill Harryman

Taylorville, IL

Letter to the Editor: Illinois' Population Exodus Continues


Posted April 19, 2019


Dear Editor:


According to data released April 18 by the U.S. Census Bureau, 86 of Illinois’ 102 counties experienced population declines between July 2017 and July 2018, an increase of six counties from the previous year’s period. Montgomery, Christian, Shelby and Macon counties are among those experiencing population declines and have been consistently losing population since 2010.


Of the four mentioned counties, Macon County is experiencing the worst population decline, with most of that taking place in Decatur, whose population declined 5.5%. This marks the seventh worst population decline among metropolitan statistical areas in the nation.


Meanwhile, in Cook County, they lost over 24,000 in population, rivaling Queens, King and Bronx counties in New York, Los Angeles County in California, which rounds out the top five population declines across the country.


This exodus is sparked by an underwhelming job market for Gen Xers and Millennials, combined with high taxes and excessive regulations that hinder job creation. The high taxes as a result of fiscally irresponsible local, state and Federal governments do not help matters either. The 2017 tax hikes to 4.95% from 3.75% for individuals (a 32% hike from the previous rate) and 7% from 5.25% for corporations (a 33% hike from the previous rate) still continues to harm the local and state economy.


With the progressive income tax potentially looming to a 2020 referendum vote, it is no wonder why there is a national decline of population in progressive income tax states of nearly 293,000, while other states with a flat income tax (+67,705) or no income tax (+339,396) have experienced population increases.


How can Illinois reverse the trend? Hold your governmental bodies accountable. Call them out on their fiscal irresponsibility caused by their excessive spending. It really does not matter if it is your library board, school board, city council, township, state legislature, Congress or other governmental bodies – if they cannot manage their finances at all, they shouldn’t be in office to begin with. Demand that they cease excessive spending. Oppose all new taxes.


This state is in dire trouble with pension obligations between $134 billion and $250 billion, which eats up over 25% of the state budget. You’re being forced to pay for pensions where state employees contributed next to literally nothing and end up with six-figure annual pension payouts. How is that fair to me and you?


By continuing to push the ideals of fiscal irresponsibility in the state and Federal government, it’s no wonder why people want to leave Illinois, because it’s that same irresponsibility that has trickled down to county and local government as well.


This is not something that should be swept under the rug. It should be a wake-up call to the corruption within government which has forced people to relocate to greener pastures.


Jake Leonard

Chairman, Tri-Counties Libertarian Party



Letter to the Editor on Proposed Abortion Bills in Illinois Legislature


Posted April 5, 2019


Dear Editor:


I love visiting both the old and current State capitols.  Both are beautifully ornate buildings. They represent an era of pride, workmanship and craftsmanship. The citizens of Illinois should be proud as each year thousands of people experience seeing both buildings for the first time.

Over the years we have taken our children and grandchildren to both buildings. They have seen, heard and experienced some of what has occurred in these wonderful buildings.

I have often thought: If only these building could talk. What stories they could tell about people rich and poor, famous and infamous, well-educated and less educated who have walked the halls and climbed the stairs in these buildings. It would be hard to count the number of students who have visited those buildings over the years. Those buildings could tell of behind the scenes negotiations that provided laws and budgets. They could tell us stories of people who came into their chambers as freshmen Representative and Senators but left as National leaders in our colleges and universities, businesses and in US politics.

Over the years these buildings and the discussions within them would have walked in unanimity with other state houses regarding the important issues of the day. Those discussions may have been about sending troops to war or condemning despots. Some of those discussions may have been more contentious such as whether to be a free state or a slave state.
Through the years I imagine that both buildings would have shed tears over tragedies occurring Nationally and globally. Certainly there would have been tears shed as heroes were laid in State in their respective rotundas.

A few weeks ago I visited the current State capitol along with nearly 4000 other people who stood in opposition to bills which would expand all aspects of abortion and undermine a parents involvement should their child consider abortion.
As we were walking into the capitol, I remember telling my wife that, if possible, this building would be weeping.


The tears would be bitter sweet. The attendance, prayers, and speeches in the rotunda would have brought tears of pride. But there could be no pride in what our elected officials were considering. There could be no pride in the joy that many, in both Chambers, were expressing over the expansion of abortion services. There could be no pride in any oratory championing the cause of the oppressed. 

No, I believe this wonderful, historic building, if it could, would have wept profusely as a “super majority” of our elected officials discussed expanding abortion and infanticide in our state. The proponents will tell you that these bills will demonstrate their concern and compassion about the women considering abortion but, they aren’t.


The majority of changes and revisions contained within these bills do not demonstrate care and concern for the physical or mental health of the woman. In fact, by reducing the standards currently in place, these bills demonstrate an uncaring position to both the physical and mental health of women. These bills are about One thing, increasing accessibility, at all costs, to abortion. PERIOD!

Please become educated on HB 2467, HB 2495 and SB 1594 and SB 1942 and then contact your Representative and Senator and ask how they will vote on these bills. If opposed to these bills then thank them for standing for the unborn and for the well-being of the mother. If in favor of these bills ask them why and request that they reconsider their stance.


Dennis Wise
Edinburg, Illinois 62531

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