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Emails for September 2003

Comments on tree chopping incident


I just read your editorial that spoke of the tree incident. I only have a couple comments. First, one must be careful when cutting extra-curricular programs. In a town the size of Minonk, there aren't many things for kids to do now as it is. It would probably be unwise to take away the few extra-curricular programs that do exist. Afterall, bored kids with too much energy are probably more prone to random acts of violence, vandalism, and stupidity. I found your suggestion of character recognition and prior approval to play sports interesting and somewhat disturbing. As conservative as I am, I still find the thought of exclusion due to background or personality to be a bit offensive. Perhaps this stems from my own experiences, but the first questions I would have to ask are how do you determine a potential student's character and who has the ego, vanity, and audacity to believe they are qualified to make this judgement?

Eric Olson

Editor's reply: Eric. The best way to judge a person's character is by their actions. If someone commits an act of vandalism, that is a bad reflection on a person's character and can be used when judging whether that person should have the priviledge to represent our community on a sports team. I certainly didn't mean to imply that a particular person can pass judgment on someone else based on his opinion alone. There are accepted community standards by which people can be judged.

People need leadership


I read your editorial and the emails about the tree. The things that come to mind are that we "parents, community, educators and" whomever are failing our kids. It's about goals, leadership and purpose. Where did chopping on the tree fit into any of this? Where did the fight downtown fit into goals, leadership or purpose?

I made several mistakes in my life that I wish I hadn't. Looking back if I had stuck to my goals, used things and behaved in keeping with their natural purpose I never would have made those mistakes.

I believe that people are good naturally and that they just need leadership.

John Hawk.

Please save the tree!

Mr. Uphoff,

I am writing to advise the citizens of Minonk about a recent incident that happened on 5th st. This past Friday night after the football game my husband and I were awakened with a thud sound from outside. When we got up and peeked out the window we saw about eight or nine teenagers with a long handle ax attempting to chop down a tree on the east side of our house . They call this tree the "smoking tree" because all of the kids that smoke make there trip to the tree before and after school to smoke. The tree does not belong to us but I like to think that all trees belong to everyone! I was able to locate a police officer and word has it that he located four of the culprits responsible. The reason I am writing is to make everyone aware that "our" tree is going to need to be repaired or it will surely die. It seems that the citizens are getting more of a kick out of my husband hollering at the kids to stop than realizing that eight or nine teenagers were out and about this night with an ax! Do they really think that the tree would be the only victim this night? Isn't it enough that the cemetery has already been desecrated? The vandalism needs to be stopped. Please save the tree.

Rita Lovell

Anyone remember Moulton Street?

Dave, Your writing on
Streator was so graphic and interesting that I could almost remember the few visits my friends and I made there. My only claim to fame was that I was born in the hospital there; and many years later my youngest daughter was also born there. I spent more time in Bloomington where I did have a really sweet gal friend for awhile as well as dating some girls from ISNU and the Catholic Hospital. I believe there was a nefarious side to Bloomington though which some of "not to be named" gentlemen and boys too, found interesting. I believe (or at least I was told) that MOULTON STREET (sp?) was a grand place to spend time and "meet" refined women. It was described to me as being in the south end of Bloomington on "that" street and comprised of three big old houses. I was also told you would recognize the places by the inconspicuous crimson lights. Maybe some of the old timers, who can still recall, can fill in details of a place that must have been breathtaking with its unique interior decor. At least this is what I heard at the time!

Albie Johnson

Editor's note: Somehow I don't think that anyone who remembers Moulton Street in Bloomington is going to respond to your request for more memories of that area.

Reminder for class of 93 reunion

This is just a reminder to the Fieldcrest Class of 1993. We need to have your RSVP's in by September 19th for our 10 year class reunion. We did our best to try and reach everyone. Please refer to the invitation on how to respond back or email christinec@alphacommunitybank.com. Thanks

Leann Judd and Christine Cunningham

Police have cited tree choppers


I read your editorial regarding the vandalism to the smoking tree that some young people attempted to chop down on a Friday night after a football game. My department investigated the incident and obtained statements from the people who were involved in the incident. A copy of the police reports and statements were then faxed to the Woodford County State's Attorneys Office for the State's Attorney to review and charge the subjects who were responsible with the appropriate charge.

My department has done all it can do at this point. It is not as you stated in your editorial that we have not cited the individuals involved.

Bill Butler
Chief of Police
Minonk, Illinois

Editors' reply: I did not say that the police did not cite the individuals. I stated that I thought that they should be cited and I am glad to hear that they have been cited. In the future I will check with the Police Department first before making a statement.

What crime did the tree do?

I read your editorial about the damage to the smoker's tree. I just can't believe that some kids would go as far as to get an axe and go over to the school and try to chop down this big, old tree. What crime did the tree do???

Are they THAT opposed to smoking that there was an urgent need to chop down the tree?? Even if they had some kind of gripe with the kids who DO smoke, what does chopping down a tree do?? Well, it leaves a stump. Okay so now we have a smoker's stump. Are the smoking kids going to disperse quietly and go away now that the tree is gone? No. They are going to sit on the stump and smoke.

Did the problem go away?? No. Was the situation fixed?? No.

By the way, what exactly IS the problem?? And how, exactly, is the tree involved?? Hmmm...

I certainly hope that the vandals' parents are going to be responsible for the care that the tree is going to need in order to survive. Nothing like a good expensive bill to remind you to watch your kids and know where they are.

Vicki Olson

Upset over tree chopping

In response to Rita Lovell's editorial on the vandalism of the tree at the corner of 5th and Maple, I have to chime in on this one. I was made aware of the damage to the tree on Tuesday, September 2nd. Our custodian, who incidentally was picking up trash strewn on the ground by clueless students, told me about the damage to the tree. I emailed the city administrator, Trent Smith, and told him of the damage and the importance of applying some dressing (perhaps by Spring Green) to the wound before the tree succumbs. I suspect Trent and the City of Minonk will heed the concerns of citizens who do care about trees and other esthetics. I hope that the perpetrators of this despicable act, are properly reprimanded. Perhaps their caring parents would like to foot the bill for a replacement tree of similar size?

Michael Stagliano

Editor's note: A mature tree of this size is irreplaceable.

Editorial on Streator triggers memories


While I can not conjure up memories of the glory days of Streator, I read with uncanny enthusiasm your recollection of the work ethic and down home good times. As a teenager and young adult growing up in a town (in upstate New York) similar in size to Streator, I can relate to the hard work and hard/fun play. Yes, many of the ole hangouts have vanished replaced with new campy lifestyles replete with laptops, long cars and tall houses.

Ah, the good ole days.........?

Michael Stagliano

Streator people proud of their town

Hi Dave,
As much as I agree on many comments on Streator in your editorial, there are a few things you may have left out. Streator people are very proud of their town ( something many Minonk folks could use as an example). I had the pleasure of working with and the honor of supervising many Streator people in my job for many years. I found them to be very hard working and loyal. They will not take a lot of crap from anyone but they were always willing to give you the shirt off their back. I have many good memories and friends in Streator and I salute their resolution to always take the bad with the good that comes to their town.

Jim "Chop" Jacek

Editor's reply: I agree that Streator people are proud of their town. I did not intend to belittle the people of Streator. They are good hard working people who have remained loyal to their community in spite of the hard times that have befallen the city.