click to enlarge Damon Mitchell with Roddrick Lemar performing at the first Levitt AMP Springfield concert. - PHOTO BY DEB NORRIS FLEMING
Photo by Deb Norris Fleming
Damon Mitchell with Roddrick Lemar performing at the first Levitt AMP Springfield concert.


I’ve been a resident of downtown Springfield for the last six years, and I appreciate and support all of the initiatives. I want to see the arts and the economy of downtown Springfield flourish as much as anyone.

I’ve enjoyed the Levitt AMP series to some extent, but if Downtown Springfield Inc. plans to apply to continue the series for next summer, there are some serious things that need consideration.

We have some world-class musicians coming in each week, and I am so glad that we have the opportunity to hear them here in central Illinois. Springfield is often overlooked by regional and national performers. The conditions in which they perform, however, do not rise to their musicianship and professionalism. The stage is incredibly inadequate in terms of size, and the awning is not at all sufficient and was non-existent the first two weeks.

The thing that is holding these events back the most is the production of the sound and stage. The sound equipment and mixing has been a detriment to every group who has performed here and it is, in fact, an embarrassing representation of the music industry in Springfield. There are numerous sound technicians and production companies that would do an exemplary job, but every time I have been there the equipment is insufficient and the mix completely takes away from the artistry on stage.  

Once again, I love that there is live music in downtown Springfield every week, but we can do better. I would be happy to help in any way. These production aspects need to be improved if DSI plans to host these events in the future. Thank you so much for all those who have made the effort in hosting these events...they have so much potential.

Kyle Muskopf


I read Stuart Shiffman’s review of retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens’ memoir (The Making of a Justice: Reflections on my first 94 years, July 25). Shiffman’s obvious fondness for Justice Stevens is his prerogative, but to call his passing the “end of thoughtful, not rigid, ideology” may be a stretch.

Stevens never seemed to have a grasp of the Second Amendment’s concept of natural rights, nor was he willing to accept the notion that the Framers’ words, “the right of the people,” described an individual right, rather than a right guaranteed to the government.

After his retirement he did not distinguish himself with his nonsensical Second Amendment comments, although many leftists and academics were on board.  I believe he finally came to realize this was a losing ideology and came to favor repealing the Second Amendment.

Stevens was certainly wise to reject candidate Hillary Clinton’s litmus test of only nominating judges to the court that would overturn its 2010 Citizens United v. FEC decision. While Stevens wrote a 90-page dissent in the case, he was smart enough to know it’s simply stupid for a candidate to claim they will only nominate judges who have already decided cases that may come before them.

If the Constitution does not mean what it says, it means nothing. For that very reason, we are all better served, when the court’s justices simply uphold their oaths of office and leave the ideological “penumbras and emanations” to their memoirs.    

Gary Hetherington

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