click to enlarge Brandy Kristin & The Revival recently played at The Curve Inn. - PHOTO FACEBOOK.COM/BRANDYKRISTINANDTHEREVIVAL/
Brandy Kristin & The Revival recently played at The Curve Inn.


I went to a locally owned music store hoping to purchase. I walked in and down one side then across the entire back wall to find the instruments I was looking for. Three people around the counter ignored me the whole time. I fumbled with out-of-tune instruments. No one offered help or said anything. I decided to go home and check the internet. I walked down that side wall and across the entire front of the store to exit. Three people at the counter never said hello, goodbye or anything in between. I ordered from Guitar Center for the same price I’d have paid the store.

I went to a locally owned Mexican restaurant that serves delicious food. It was late afternoon. No customers or staff were visible in the dining area. I stood around a bit, checked the bar, walked back to the door, looked around some more and left. I enjoyed fajitas at a chain restaurant.

On a better note, I went to see Brandi Kristin & The Revival at a local venue. A singer who belongs on stage, backed by impressive musicians, gave a great show of hit after hit. Everyone enjoyed the band immensely, along with food and refreshments at regular prices. Unlike traveling shows, all the profits stayed here to be spent here. That band and venue will see me again.

The other side of buy local is to make it worth my time and money. Customer loyalty doesn’t come from slogans.

John Levalley


Just two short years after his presidency, the name Barack Obama remains on our nation’s collective lips. Communities everywhere seem to be falling over themselves to name things in Obama’s honor. All across America, Barack Obama boulevards, byways, elementary schools, civic centers and libraries are popping up.

There is an opportunity for the community of Springfield, Illinois, to be first in the nation’s 45th presidential naming game. Springfield should lead the charge to honor both Donald Trump and the message at the soul of the Trump Administration.

But what local edifice, park, path or roadway would make an appropriate memorial to the current Commander in Chief? I think I’ve come up with the prefect tribute. There is just one Springfield structure that is a metaphor for both the character of President Trump and the tone of his administration.

I propose that the mayor and city council issue a proclamation renaming Springfield’s main sewer, known locally as the Town Branch Trunk Sewer, to the Donald J. Trump Memorial Sewer.

Why the main trunk sewer?  Just like President Trump’s taxes, college transcripts and medical records, the city fathers went through great effort to bury the sewer and obscure it from sight. And not surprisingly, on occasion when the sewer is exposed, it stinks.

It’s germane to mention that the Town Branch sewer was constructed in the 1850s by Italian and Irish immigrants, most of whom were undocumented. The city benefited from the immigrants’ labor, just like the benefits Trump received from the illegal workers toiling at his hotels, golf courses and resorts. I suppose it would have been better if we could have gotten Ireland or Italy to pay for the sewer, similar to how Mexico is going to pay for the border wall. But you can’t have everything.

Finally, the main sewer reaches the water treatment plant where it empties into a pool of foul sludge at the edge of the city. Here, thanks to the hard work and dedication of municipal workers of all races, creeds, sexualities and genders, sewage is converted into clear, clean water. This renewal reminds us that, in spite of the mire and muck and mendacity in which we find ourselves, we are all Americans and together can repair the damage and degradation. We can build a better nation where anyone and everyone can drink from the fountain that is the United States of America.

Joseph Craig

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