Untitled Document We welcome letters. Please include your full name, address, and telephone number. We edit all letters. Send them to Letters, Illinois Times, P.O. Box 5256, Springfield, IL 62705; fax 217-753-3958; e-mail editor@illinoistimes.com.

THE CHOICES BEFORE AMTRAK Before Amtrak took over, I knew of three different ways passenger trains went from Chicago to St. Louis — the one being used now, the Illinois Central line, and the Norfolk & Western line [see C.D. Stelzer, “On the right track,” Jan. 25]. I use to live in Litchfield, and they had two ways to get to St. Louis or Chicago. After Amtrak took over, there was none. Those two railroads would go by each other from Mount Olive to Litchfield, cross each other north of town, and meet again in Gibson City. You said something about Peoria getting Amtrak service, but I also heard on television that Decatur might. If so, how? As far as I know, Norfolk Southern won’t let service on their tracks from what I heard a while back. Wish they would. Looks like they would use the Norfolk Southern line to Bloomington, then get on the Union Pacific line. Like the story said about faster passenger service, from what I’ve been told, before Amtrak took over, the Gulf, Mobile & Ohio got from St. Louis to Chicago faster and had more stops. I remember back in ’85, Channel 20 was saying something about it then and said the only stop would be Springfield. I ask this: How will there be trains going more than 100 mph when Amtrak can only do 50 mph at times? What do I mean? When it is hot and humid, rails expand, and Amtrak can’t do 79 mph; they only run 50 mph. I live in Lincoln now and got a scanner and pick up the railroad detector in Broadwell, and it gives the speed the train is going. Before railroads started using what’s called quarter-mile rails, and rails were only so many feet long, they could expand when it got hot in the summer. That’s what causes some derailment nowadays. Tracks can’t expand, and they buckle and the trains crash. That’s why trains could go faster in the old days. Plus, they took better care of tracks then, too. Plus, people act as though every railroad crossing has to have singles or gates on them. Why? Back in the old days trains went faster and there were more trains — and there were just railroad signs at a crossing. Nowadays you have too many nuts driving who try to bet on the train and get killed because of it. If there are gates, they go around them. John Kellenberger Lincoln
NOT JUST TAKING THE VAPORS Some say it is vapor we see coming from power-plant smokestacks [see R.L. Nave, “Powering forward,” Jan. 18]. Others say it is smoke. Both are correct: The first few feet, it is vapor that quickly dissipates, and then it is smoke that we see for many miles! Donald E. Palmer Springfield
RACIAL PROFILING MADE EASY Black people don’t want to be racially profiled, but people still want to and find ways to do it. In this case, it’s by targeting movies that might appeal to a certain segment of the black population [see Dusty Rhodes and R.L. Nave, “Misstep,” Jan. 18]. The thing is, though — and theater owner Tony Kerasotes kind of hit on this — by engaging in certain behaviors some black people make racial profiling so easy and make the lines so blurry that most of the general public can’t decide whether it’s right or wrong. When Kerasotes mentioned that no one from the NAACP or any other group contacted him about the violence that happened at the Black Christmas showing, he made an easy sell to people who are still on the fence about racial profiling. Who wouldn’t empathize with a theater owner trying to protect his patrons from violence? Now, if this was the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the story would’ve ended there, but I appreciated that your paper went on to compare Stomp the Yard with the other R-rated, more violent films that showed at his theaters. The story makes a clear distinction that Kerasotes has limited tolerance for violence in black films, at any, even a PG-13, level. But this is where the easy sell of racial profiling comes in and why white people are having a hard time deciding if it happens at all and if it’s wrong: Young black patrons caused violence on more than one occasion, certain films are likely to draw more young black patrons, and, as the owner of the theater, he has all the authority to decide which films might draw which patrons. It makes it incredibly easy for him to do what he’s done and not care what other people think. As a black woman and a Greek, I think there’s way too much controversy over this film. It’s entertainment, and I liked it. It didn’t represent specific fraternities and sororities in a bad light [and] it exaggerated certain aspects of Greek life, but it’s movie — they all do that. As for the violence breaking out in theaters in Springfield, a conversation is long overdue about how we in the black community have way too high a tolerance for violence among our youth, in theaters or otherwise. Good article, though. I appreciated the little history lesson at the end. Kara D.K. Evil Chicago
WHY I RESIGNED FROM WMAY Many readers of Illinois Times were listeners to Donohue’s on WMAY (970 AM), but if they missed my last program, on Friday, Jan. 12, they may not know that I resigned from the station at the end of the show. Management wished to turn my program into an infomercial for local businesses nightly. I was not in favor of that change, so I said my goodbyes at the end of my show that evening. During the six-month run of Donohue’s, I tried to make it a solid alternative to the 6 o’clock television news, as well as the run-of-the-mill right-wing talk shows that clog the AM radio dial. My Monday programs were usually devoted to the activities of the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce and affiliated persons and organizations. Tuesday through Friday, the program was an eclectic mix of the news of the day, some humorous bits, telephone or studio interviews, serious discussions and/or in-depth analysis of how seemingly disparate events may be connected. I would let listeners voice their opinions and very rarely participated in the shouting matches that are regularly heard on talk radio. I enjoyed interacting with local listeners, as well as others who listened in via the Internet from other places in the world and contacted me via e-mail. Perhaps one day WMAY will ask me to reestablish my program, or some other station will. For now, I wish to thank the folks at Midwest Family Broadcasting for allowing me three years to sharpen my skills as a talk-show host, and I especially wish to thank you, the listeners, who made my time on-air extremely enjoyable and personally rewarding. If anyone wishes to contact me, feel free to e-mail me at jeff_donohue2000@yahoo.com or at my day job at jdonohue@ilsos.net. Thanks to everyone for allowing me to participate in part of your days. I hope we can get together again sometime. Jeff Donohue Springfield
A company’s income comes from the service it provides to its customers and the willingness of customers to utilize that service. Most companies realize that. When companies provide poor customer service, customers go elsewhere. Most companies realize that also. Most of the time, customers have the ability to go elsewhere. That is the basis of free enterprise and the concept of competition. However, in the case of cable service in Springfield, we have no other company to which we can take our business when we experience poor customer service. The level of poor customer service I have experienced from Insight Communications, locally and at its corporate office, is inexcusable. Employees, local and corporate, refuse to apologize when their mistakes cause customers undue complications, even though Insight’s Web site is saturated with statements of how important “stellar” customer service is to Insight. Springfield citizens need and deserve competition in cable service. If we had it, Insight might actually exemplify the “stellar” customer service their Web site claims is important to them. Without cable-service competition, Springfield citizens are being cheated. Talma Brown Springfield

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