click to enlarge Italy returnees: “We passed more quickly through immigration at O’Hare than we ever had before.”
Italy returnees: “We passed more quickly through immigration at O’Hare than we ever had before.”


My husband and I are in self-quarantine for the next two weeks in our Leland Grove home following a vacation that included time spent in Venice and other parts of northern Italy. Warnings regarding travel to Italy began after we were there.

During our visit, we had our temperature checked by Italian authorities at the Florence airport and questioning by port authorities as to where we had traveled in the last three months as we embarked on our small cruise boat in Trieste. When we docked at small ports in northern Croatia, we were interviewed and all on board as well as the crew had our temperature checked twice a day. We flew back home from Slovenia on March 5 where we were asked by the airline if we had been in China before we checked in.

The entire tour group, who were from all over the U.S., were apprehensive about how the U.S. would screen us upon our return. Yet we need not have worried. The U.S. currently has an open borders policy to the coronavirus as it travels with people entering through U.S. airports. We passed more quickly through immigration at O'Hare than we ever had before. The officers were not asking questions of anyone. They quickly glanced at our passports and re-entry cards and waved everyone through. Our fellow travelers have shared that they had the same experience at other U.S. ports of entry on March 5.

Our apprehension about our ability to return home has changed to anger in the past 24 hours. Not only was there no health-related screening, there was no information provided about the Centers for Disease Control or Illinois Department of Public Health suggesting self-quarantine for two weeks for travelers returning home from Level 3 coronavirus-infected countries.

All the news is about cruise ship infections, yet thousands of people are returning home every day from countries to which the U.S. has banned travel because of the virus. How can we expect to avoid the virus pandemic in our state and Springfield if there is no plan by the federal authorities entrusted with the health and safety of U.S. citizens at O'Hare and other U.S. ports of entry? Is it part of this administration's policy to do away with "burdensome federal regulations" that is the cause of not promoting or informing those returning home from countries with high rates of virus infection that the CDC-suggested protocols for stopping the spread of the virus are not disseminated?

We will miss seeing our family, friends and participating in community activities for two weeks. We are eager to share the wonderful experiences we had on our trip in person, yet we do not want to inadvertently share the virulent virus.

Mary Caroline Mitchell


The revelations of the red-light cameras scandal make me wonder if the FBI should investigate Sen. Jim Oberweis' penchant for constantly increasing the speed limit. Must be a big contract in the making for replacing speed limit signs statewide, plus a boon to the medical and mortuary industries with the increase in traffic accident injuries and deaths.

For 17 years (2002-2019), I drove the 100 miles between Danville and Springfield once a week. I have observed it is the speeders that drive unpredictably, erratically and tailgating, using their vehicle as a weapon to threaten and intimidate anyone driving slower.

Much like pioneers formed wagon trains for safety, frequently I would encounter intuitive "safety convoys" of tractor-trailers and cars driving at 65 mph with just three car lengths following distance between them to exclude erratic drivers. They want to reach their destination safely.

I believe the members of the General Assembly need to ask IDOT and law agencies what funding and tools they need to make Illinois safe to drive. I reject the concept that increasing the speed limit will make Illinois highways safer.

Melvin E Davis

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