click to enlarge Letters to the editor 10/19/23
Lanphier High School is undergoing a $93 million facilities upgrade that will largely be complete by January. Springfield High School will soon undergo a renovation similar in scale.

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I am so glad to see such state-of-the-art renovation of Lanphier High School ("Reconstructing Springfield's high schools," Oct. 5). This will provide wonderful opportunities for the students and helps to revitalize this part of town. It is exciting to see the devotion to the project by the school district. Wonderful!

Cara Swafford



I very much enjoyed Ashley Meyer's recent article, "The debate over 'natural wine'" (Oct. 5). I appreciated her knowledge, research and clear writing style. I would like to read more from her about wine. Perhaps she could occasionally talk with the people that shape our local wine scene and relate what challenges they face and the progress they celebrate.

Dave Adden



Hunter Lake would be classified as a high hazard dam because its failure would take out the ring road and embankment of Lake Springfield. It will therefore never be built ("Why I support building Hunter Lake," Oct. 12).  

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will not approve of this project, never. It is their job to prevent construction of projects that could harm the public. Hunter Lake would be such a project and should never be built. It is not in Springfield's best interest to build a high hazard dam next to our only source of water. It is only common sense.

Jerald Jacobs



Note: Illinois Times contacted Paul Mauer, the state dam safety engineer at Illinois Department of Natural Resources, to ask for comment on the letter from Jerald Jacobs regarding the safety of the proposed dam for Hunter Lake. Here is his reply:

An application was received for the proposed dam in 1989. No detailed information for the dam structure was provided at that time. A meeting was held in the spring of 1990 attended by this office, Hanson Professional Services and CWLP. The preliminary design of the dam was presented. Based on that information, the proposed dam was provisionally classified as a large size, Class I dam. A Class I dam has "a high probability for causing loss of life or substantial economic loss" as a result of a catastrophic failure.

While there have been several revisions to the general plans for the reservoir and surrounding lands in the environmental review process, no significant change in the design of the dam has been presented to this office. The hazard classification will not be final until the permitting process for the dam is complete. Detailed analysis of failure using the final configuration of dam and reservoir will be part of that process.

Based on the information available to my office, I believe the provisional classification given in 1990 is still appropriate. Based on that classification, the technical requirements will be higher than for a dam in the Class II or Class III categories.

The federal government uses the terms high, significant, and low to describe the hazard created by dams. While slightly different than the state's definitions, they can be considered the same as Class I, Class II and Class III, respectively.

The use of "high hazard" in the letter to the editor does not conflict with our current classification of the dam. The letter should not mislead the reader that the dam will be hazardous on a day-to-day basis. The classification describes the potential result of a catastrophic failure, an extremely rare occurrence, not the probability of a failure.   

Paul Mauer, Jr., P.E.
state dam safety engineer

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