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This article is frustrating ("Budget blues and greens: Trees get cut," Feb. 27). My husband, Mark McWilliams, along with Dave Bender, former executive director of the Illinois Green Industry Association, and David Robson of the University of Illinois Extension started Springfield Green during Tim Davlin's time as mayor. Springfield Green had to find money through donations and grants; it had no aldermanic support.

Mark has been in this industry for 38 years and is a landscape architect.  He repeatedly warned the city about overuse of pear and ash trees.  He tried to convince a couple of mayors and their directors of the need for a transition plan for the ash trees.  No response.

Through our business, we have donated hours and hours of our time to the city to try to guide them into developing a horticulture plan that made sense.  We have counseled them repeatedly about not planting anything without a line item in the budget that guarantees sensible maintenance plans.  There is nothing that is more ridiculous to the people of this city than throwing good money after bad, and when you see one initiative after another put in place with no follow up plan, you just cringe.

There are many other professionals in our industry and others that have tried to help this city's administrators.  We are only one of many that have tried to make a difference in this community.

If trees were planted – not elaborate beds full of perennials and shrubs, just something as simple as a tree – what could this city look like?  But instead we have more ribbons of concrete and asphalt.

The desire to have someone to draw up a study for $100,000 is ridiculous. There are many industry professionals and growers in this state that could put together recommendations for varieties that are new and improved Illinois natives and what is appropriate for each location.  It is always the politicians first action to throw money at the middlemen instead of utilizing the talent and knowledge all around them.

Laurie McWilliams
Co-owner, CopperTree


It's time for employers like Memorial Medical Center to allow – encourage – non-essential employees to work from home. Actually, it's past time. It's irresponsible not to.

My spouse works for Memorial in a non-clinical role. I'm concerned for our family. But I'm also concerned that leadership hasn't already had the foresight to implement a plan that includes as many employees working from home as possible.

The more a health care organization is allowing this virus to spread through our community, utterly unnecessarily.

My spouse's duties can be effectively fulfilled remotely. I know there are many employees in similar roles. Our community also happens to be a relatively small one, where, if one of these employees did need to report on-site at any given time, the person could arrive within minutes. So why in the world would employers not ask them to work from home during this pandemic?

On behalf of my family and our community, I beg Memorial and other organizations to consider following the lead of so many others that have implanted this crucial policy. Our community relies on leadership like yours to keep people safe and healthy.

Les Aname

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