People are talking about the new urban forestry commission, which met for the first time on Sept. 11. Commissioner Rianne Hawkins has publicly stated the city has no tree planning. I disagree for the following reasons.

First, the city has made a concerted effort to eliminate trees downtown. On Capitol Avenue from the Capitol building to the Lincoln Home neighborhood, there is only one tree on city easement. The rest were removed and replaced with bricks. Second, CWLP trims trees without regard to aesthetics, and the city fails to do anything about it. Third, the city issues tree removal permits to developers and businesses without regard to resident concerns and fails to fine permit violators. Fourth, the city seldom replaces trees they remove, even though it’s required by city code. Fifth, the city refuses to apply for Tree City USA status from the Arbor Day Foundation.

So the city does have a plan for trees and that plan is to destroy and eliminate them. It’s now the commission’s job to create and push for a new plan. In doing that, I hope they will connect the lack of trees to excessive stormwater runoff, backed-up sewers, flooding, erosion, excessive heat downtown, lack of people living and shopping downtown and dirtier air. There are few city issues that don’t involve trees. Let’s give trees the importance they deserve. Commission meetings are open to the public.
Mary Frances

Buff Carmichael’s letter on vaping is long overdue (Sept. 19). I have never smoked. But I know people who do, and I work with a lot of recovering alcoholics and drug addicts. All of them say that stopping smoking is much harder than any of the other addictions. This writer has done what the media has pathetically failed to do, which is point at the advantages of vaping (90% safer than smoking cigarettes) and slow down the stampede to immediately discount the possibility that vaping illness and death are due to misuse of the product.

Finally, it is absurd to suggest that the flavored products are aimed only at teens. There are a lot of adults who like flavors. It should be banned, as are alcohol, marijuana and other things, for those under 21. No adults should be deprived of the choice of using a product that has not been proven to be unsafe, and on the contrary, makes life better for people such as the writer.
Ted Harvatin

Regarding your article, “Attracting teachers 101” (Sept. 19), people at the Springfield Senior Center collect and distribute any and all school supplies given to us at elementary and secondary schools monthly. We are helping with teachers’ salaries in our own way.
Nina Bain

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