Campaign Letters to the editor

Campaign Letters to the editor


Response to Ken Staaf

Dear Editor:

I read Ken Staaf’s Guest Column (March 14th edition) with great interest. I consider Mr. Staaf to be a nice and honorable person, but with his attack on Larry Morrissey, he also shows himself to be a desperate Republican! In an apparent attempt to low-key or distract from Dennis Johnson’s inability to think on his feet, Staaf dismisses Morrissey’s charismatic ability as “more style than substance.” Further, he poses the question: “What board of directors would hire a CEO that had absolutely no background in the administration and management of personnel, let alone a municipal workforce of over 1,000?”

Clearly, a board manned by Staaf and Johnson would not! Both are old, cautious, rather inflexible and not willing to take risk. Instead of harnessing creativity and energy, their well-intended cautious manner stifles these. Visualize people of their mindset in San Jose in 1975, reviewing new business startup applications: “You guys have absolutely no experience, you are both college dropouts, you are only in your 20s! We’re sorry, Mr. Jobs and Mr. Woznick, you’ll have to take this Apple Computer idea elsewhere. Maybe you can come back in 10 years, when you have a little experience!”

“Next!… what is this! Where are you guys coming from today? Mr. Gates, the two guys before you had the same idea… in their 20s and college dropouts, like you… Microsoft? Hmmm! Come back when you have a little more experience.”

Mr. Staaf’s fear about candidate Larry Morrissey is well-founded but for different reasons than he states. We have had many mayoral forums, but only two featured a straw-vote at their conclusion: The forum at the Midway Theater, sponsored by the three city unions, allowed each union member to vote at the forum’s conclusion. The results?… Morrissey got 52 percent, Scott, 35 percent and Johnson 10 percent. After the WTVO live forum on March 14th, viewers could register their vote at WTVO’s web site. The results? Morrissey got 50 percent of the vote!

When folks see the “real goods,” they choose Larry Morrissey! They are not impressed with Johnson’s message and are turned off with his obvious inability to think on his feet. You can buy all the billboards and TV and radio spots in the world and write disparaging letters to the editor, attacking Larry Morrissey. Money and big-party mechanisms will not hide the real Johnson from the voters, just as they will not mask the real Larry Morrissey. Roll over, Mr. Staaf! A new generation has arrived! One with vision and energy and dreams! It’s a force that you cannot overcome! Get out of the way, or get in step with it!

Dale Kallenbach

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Investigate further!

Dear Editor:

Roscoe’s invasion by unwelcomed land grabbers has been thwarted! It is a joy to know that the rights of homeowners were upheld, albeit in an unusual turn of events. The scheme to rob Peter (Winnebago County taxpayers) to pay Paul (developers, politicians) backfired big time to the sounds of hip, hip, hurrah.

What a shame the valiantly-fought rights of the Ditzler family didn’t fare as well. I say shame on state and county politicians who mistreated this blind American veteran whose dilemma is ongoing.

Would it be too much to ask if an investigative reporter from your paper would bring the taxpaying homeowners up to date on what has happened to the Ditzlers and how they are faring? Many see no justification in that quick-take action.

I would also like to make a suggestion for an addition to the voter’s ballot. When a person is running unopposed (as many judges do), there should be a spot directly under that name with a punch hole and an option to vote NO. Manipulation of the parties having an unopposed candidate could then be voted out as well as in.

Let each of us take a long, hard look at whom we vote into office and not just vote to be voting. Our lives as well as our pocketbooks depend on it.

Pauline Giambrone


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Camera exhibit appreciated

Dear Editor:

Kudos to Jerry and Doc of the Kortman Gallery, to our four mayoral candidates, to Pitkin Studios and to unnamed others for their exhibition of and participation in the Candidate Camera exhibit which opened on March 9th.

Apparently, different individuals in the arts community approached the gallery and asked them to host a forum in which the candidates expressed their views on the arts in Rockford. After giving it some thought, the gallery made the decision to give the mayoral candidates a different kind of “voice” when they issued disposable cameras and asked them to capture their views of and/or vision for Rockford. Each of the candidates had two weeks in which to submit their photographs along with a statement. The photos were then juried. Those selected for display were then cropped, enlarged, matted and framed. It was extraordinarily fun and insightful to see the unique perspectives that each of the candidate’s cameras captured.

These photographs and candidate statements are currently on display at the Kortman Gallery. I urge everyone to see the exhibit and to VOTE for your mayoral candidate of choice on April 3.

Lorna Sullivan

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Candidate helped seniors

Dear Editor:

These are exciting times for Rockford, and I want to share my hopes for the city. I want the city government to be responsive to our residents. During the last six years as state representative, I have worked tirelessly to serve the public; whether assisting people in filing for Circuit Breaker or Energy Assistance, working with long-term health care and Medicaid issues, or even helping people find supplemental insurance policies for Medicare.

My office published Senior’s Guide to Services, has a booth every year at the Senior Expo, and visits senior residence buildings. I want that same level of service to be available at City Hall.

The city has been financially supportive of the Mobile Meals program, and I would continue that support as mayor. I have obtained funds for new furniture for Lifescapes, vans for seniors at St. Elizabeth Center and Luther Center, as well as for Mobile Meals. I care about these issues and will continue to work for your interests as mayor. I’ve fought hard for seniors as a member of the House Aging Committee on issues like home health care, assisted living, prescription drug costs and heating bills.

I want to continue to work for you as your mayor. With your help, there is much we can do in our wonderful city. I would appreciate your vote on April 3rd.

Doug Scott

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Doug Scott’s stand on life issues

Dear Editor:

I became disturbed by Doug Scott in 1997, when I was Chaplain of Wesley Willows, a retirement and nursing facility, where I served for nine years.

I was disturbed that Doug Scott had introduced HB-0691, a bill to give medical doctors the legal right to kill their patients. The legislation was written by the Hemlock Society. The Hemlock Society advocates euthanasia, the purposeful killing of oneself and others. Hemlock Illinois, in its Spring 1997 newsletter on page 7, stated, “Representative Doug Scott of Rockford, the chief sponsor of our bill, proved here and on many subsequent occasions that he is an articulate and committed standard-bearer for our cause.”

At the same time he was the Hemlock spokesman, he was also supporting the right to kill infants. On April 11, 1997, Doug Scott voted against HB-0382, an act to prohibit partial birth abortion. In voting “No,” Doug Scott was giving permission to kill an infant who had been partially delivered down the birth canal. A sharp instrument is stabbed into the base of the skull, killing the child. A tube is then inserted and the brains sucked out, allowing the skull to be crushed. Doug Scott voted to allow this violent, murderous act against a human infant.

Please do not let his warm smile and mild manner fool you! Doug Scott clearly counts himself among those who have decided that death is a solution. Do we want this man and his philosophy to represent our community? I think not!

The Rev. Dr. David L. Powers

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South Alpine construction schedule delayed

Dear Editor:

I talked to my alderman in late January about the South Alpine Road’s upcoming construction and concerns I had. I provided all the information on the construction project to the alderman at that time. As of today, there has been very little input from him on my concerns, or to the extent of the construction period, for people using South Alpine Road. I also contacted the other major newspaper about printing something on this project. The reporter I talked to said, “They would check into it, and if it were newsworthy, they would print it.” So far, nothing has been printed.

It seems strange how the other major newspaper felt that the “North Main Road Construction Project” scheduled to take nine months was newsworthy enough to print, but the southeast side “South Alpine Road Construction Project-Replacement of the Two Bridge Decks” south of Hamilton-Sundstrand that will also take nine months is not newsworthy enough to print. Is the other major newspaper telling me, sorry, you live on the wrong side of town? I take exception to this: A newspaper’s foremost duty is to print the news and to be of service to the community. For all the citizens that use South Alpine Road, this is to let you know that it would be in your best interest to find an alternate route to use during this construction period or face possible long delays.

It is quite evident that the only major newspaper that adheres to the above exception is the one you are reading.

William E. Lyons, Sr.

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Morrissey’s “positive attitude”

Dear Editor:

I met with Larry Morrissey for the first time last week, and he didn’t seem like the rotten lawyer type I expected. Rather, his manners were very calm, his demeanor was likeable, and his attitude was caring. Morrissey appeared to be a man that would stand strong to his beliefs and not back down. Amazingly, his beliefs seemed to align with my personal attitudes. He has a positive attitude toward the people of Rockford. Larry Morrissey desires to and will bring Rockford to a place of social and fiscal prominence. The next mayor will have Rockford on his or her agenda. Larry Morrissey has Rockford on his heart.

Bradley J. Argyle

Editor’s Note: Bradley Argyle is a student at Rock Valley College.

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Keep the business at home

Dear Editor:

A campaign mantra from the Johnson for Mayor campaign has been the promise that Johnson will bring business to Rockford. My first question would be: Why hasn’t he moved any of the businesses he purchased in Wausau, Green Bay, Dubuque and New Albany to Rockford?

His recently aired campaign commercial featuring Brent Johnson, CEO of Ringland-Johnson Construction, has Brent Johnson proclaiming the need for Dennis Johnson to end the school problems and stop the school district from sending money to “out-of-town lawyers.” This is a contradictory statement from a Dennis Johnson supporter who has moved his construction company out of the city of Rockford. He is also encouraging Rockford businesses to move out of Rockford and relocate to his Cherry Valley “Huntwood Business Park.”

“Out-of-town” Ringland-Johnson and Johnson Press have taken dollars from Rockford just as well as the “out-of-town” lawyers. Millions of construction dollars through projects like Old City Hall, the NIU Center, the Satellite Jail, Ellis and Roosevelt schools and the YMCA are no longer circulating in Rockford. I fear if Dennis Johnson has his way, the export of dollars from Rockford through construction contracts, businesses of friends and his printing bueiness will only accelerate.

This is not the type of “business-as-usual” mayor we need for Rockford. Denny Johnson does not practice what he preaches.

Kyle Beversl l l

Does life imitate art?

Dear Editor:

This week I was watching on the Turner Movie Network, no less, the 1948 Humphrey Bogart film, Key Largo (Florida), where Edward G. Robinson, playing the part of a mobster, related:

“… dish out a lot of groceries and coal, get my boys to bring the voters out. And then count the votes OVER AND OVER again until they added up right and HE was elected.”

It seems they knew something in 1948 that we’ve forgotten until this past election. It apparently worked then and still is being used by the Democrats and those ladies with the long fingernails poking those chads. History repeats itself, but not by accident. The system needs some repair.

P.S. – Those articles by Ed Henry and Judy Howard are the greatest–always!

An ardent reader from the north,

Robert Ballard

Beloit, Wis.

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Comparing the candidates

Dear Editor:

After watching debates by our mayoral candidates, I can only say this. Dennis Johnson wants to run the government as a business. Has anyone pointed out to him that government is not a business, and running it like one is a prescription for disaster.

Doug Scott says “quick take” is eminent domain, and we should stop complaining. Technically he is right, but “quick take” is an end run around the property owner’s right to “due process” before the government acts. We all pay taxes and politicians to protect our rights. “Quick take” is bad behavior by politicians. Otherwise, his long experience in government is obvious by the depth of his knowledge about the workings of governments.

Guy Spinello has done his homework. He seems to have good knowledge of economics and the realities of limited resources. He also seems to understand that social services are necessary to make a community whole. However, the delivery of his messages is weak, and we need to know how he would use scarce resources effectively.

Larry Morrissey is an idealist. That is refreshing in a time when our ideals are less important than symbols. His promise to include citizens in decisions is admirable, but he will be disappointed. What people want is government to make decisions in their best interest and keep them informed about actions that are going to impact their everyday lives. That means letting them know what is going to happen before the mold is made and the casting is being poured. That would be a refreshing change, too.

I do not know who I will vote for. I don’t want a patronizing windbag or an arrogant know-it-all. Some experience is desirable, but let’s face it, it is a sit-down job. I’ll decide on April 3rd.

Larry A. Webb

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Pete MacKay cares about taxpayers

Dear Editor:

For those of you interested in the race for Rockford Township Highway Commissioner, please vote “Yes” for Pete MacKay!

In our opinion, Pete MacKay is genuinely concerned about property rights as well as constitutional rights of individuals. Pete MacKay voted “No” on both Eminent Domain and Quick-Take in regard to the Ditzler property. A vote of “No” should be obvious that he is a friend of taxpayers and people concerned about property rights.

Mr. MacKay’s opponent, Chuck Jefferson, showed no concern whatsoever in the right to take over our property, and we live in his district. He voted “Yes” on both Quick-Take and Eminent Domain.

Pete MacKay is always ready to listen and help whenever possible. He does not believe in raising taxes for unnecessary spending! We strongly urge people to vote for Pete MacKay for Rockford Township Highway Commissioner if you want your voice to be heard.

Tom & Jan Ditzler

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Dear Editor:

In June of 1967, we joined together in the passage of a referendum which brought to Rockford new and needed schools, among them: Eisenhower, Kennedy, Beyer, Montessori, Carlson, the Voc. Tech Center. You made that decision possible by your vote and the determined support of the several student councils from the Rockford high schools, including Guilford, West, East, Auburn and also Boylan.

It was the committed adults of 1967 joining those students–who have now become adults, now in their 50s, now grown citizens–who made possible those much-needed schools. These citizens now have another opportunity to vote (on April 3, 2001) for good education for Rockford by supporting the referendum.

Just as urgently needed on Tuesday, April 3, will be decisions for the support of the election of three school board candidates. We will vote in our [sub]District D for Nancy Kalchbrenner, and we hope you will, if you are in District D; or for Mark Burns, in District E; or for Jay Nellis, in District F.

Do seek, if you live in another district, to persuade friends from Districts D, E or F to cast their important votes for Nancy, Mark or Jay.

JoAnn and I were educators in the Rockford schools during that time (JoAnn as director of the Teacher Development Center; I as the superintendent of schools). JoAnn and I moved back to Rockford almost five years ago because we remembered many of you, hoping that we could spend our retirement years with you. You and we together have the chance to improve the schools of Rockford.

Again, let us join together to give Rockford one more chance for good schools.

Tom & JoAnn Shaheen

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Vote for Denny Johnson

Dear Editor:

I have known Denny Johnson for more than 50 years, and I am a supporter and volunteer in the campaign to elect Denny Johnson the next mayor of Rockford. Denny has demonstrated through his personal and professional life that he is a man equipped to handle the job of leading our city for the next four years.

Denny is a man of strong faith, committed to his family and a man of unquestionable integrity. His business acumen can be seen in the success of h.c. Johnson Press. His political ability to bring people together to resolve controversial issues is a matter of public record, and few can match his generosity when it comes to time, talent and money. Denny has spent literally countless hours and money building playgrounds for underprivileged children.

Denny exemplifies all that is good about the people of Rockford and will bring a sense of pride back to Rockford. Denny will be a mayor of whom we can all be proud. I ask you to join me on April 3rd in voting for Dennis Johnson for mayor.

Steve Sjogren

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Learning disabled students cheated

Dear Editor:

Bravo to Barb Dent’s guest column on school board elections. She gave a lot of startling info on the candidates.

I have an Afro-American son at Jefferson High who is learning disabled, and he very seldom is allowed to even take home a school book. My experience differs with their being “textbooks purchased for all core curriculums.” In my entire life, I have never heard of school books not being given to the students to take home and do their homework from and study with their parents at home.

I think “learning disabled students” are in particular need of homework and need to take books home.

I did talk with his English teacher, and she told me that she didn’t give out homework because the students don’t do the homework when it is assigned; therefore, she makes time for the students to do the “homework” while they are still in class.

This policy seems wacky to me. It seems if the teachers gave the students homework, then there is a possibility that the students would study at home with their parents’ help and have a chance to catch up with their peers. But current school policy seems to encourage “learning disabled” children to remain disabled. Possibly, this is because the district gets more state dollars to educate disabled students than it does for “normal” students. I’d like to see candidates address this issue.

Anthony Hinrichs

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Vote for Denny Johnson

Dear Editor:

I am a Rockford native, born and raised in the Rock River Valley. I started high school when the school district lawsuit was brought against District 205. I remember the threats of losing our sports programs, reducing the number of classes offered, and building repairs put on hold due to funding. I could never imagine things being any worse for a Rockford high school student. But from what I have heard and seen since, things have gotten much, much worse.

I have often contemplated moving back to Rockford permanently to be near friends and family and perhaps someday raise a family. Yet, with no resolution in sight for the school district lawsuit, I would be hard pressed to even consider Rockford as an option.

I have worked with Denny Johnson on several playground projects for Kids Around the World. I have seen his commitment and compassion to children across the world. He has that same commitment and compassion to resolving this lawsuit and improving District 205 for the children of Rockford. His pledge to an equal and excellent education is unparalleled by his opponents. We need someone like him in City Hall. Vote for Denny Johnson on April 3rd.

Emmy Sjogren

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Vote Yes for Schools

Dear Editor:

Why should we vote YES for the Rockford school tax referendum? I know why I will vote yes. I want a school district that I can be proud of. I like Rockford. It has a lot of problems, but all in all, it is a great place to live. It has the Waterfront. It has great parks. It has great neighborhoods. It has great places to shop and great places to eat. It has great places to worship. It has great people. And it has a school district that has the POTENTIAL to be the very best around. It has a school district that has a lot of dedicated people that do their very best to provide our kids with a decent education. But Rockford also has a school district that is beset with problems. But problems are not forever. Problems can be fixed. We can help fix those problems. We can start by supporting the referendum.

By voting YES to a tax increase that will still keep our school taxes 10 percent LOWER THAN LAST YEAR’S BILL. By voting YES with such an overwhelming majority that it sends a message to all communities, a message that says WE REFUSE TO GIVE UP ON OUR SCHOOLS. A message that says WE REFUSE TO GIVE UP ON OUR COMMUNITY. Supporting the referendum is but one way of us helping to fix our schools. Equally important, and perhaps more important, is for us to support this district. Rather than seeing only the negative, let us also look at the positive. There are a lot of wonderful, very positive things going on in our schools. Things that we can be proud of. We need more of that, and we, as a community, can bring about more of that. If we are unhappy with our schools, then let’s work together and fix them. Nobody else can. Only we can. Let’s work together as a community and make our schools better. Make our schools something we can be proud of. Make our schools the very best that they can be; our children’s education will be the best it can be, and our community will be the best it can be. On April 3rd, please join me in voting YES to our Rockford School District 205 tax referendum. Join me in taking the first step in making our community the very best it can be.

Mark Sargent

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Vote for Bill Timm

Dear Editor:

Bill Timm has been a proactive alderman for the 9th Ward. His routine drives through his ward have resulted in abandoned cars being towed and code violations being reported and corrected. Night phone calls to his home of complaints of unplowed streets resulted in a supervisor’s inspection of the problem and plows appearing early the next morning. Mr. Timm has faithfully attended neighborhood and business group meetings, even if not in his ward. He has been available for advice and help to many residents of the other wards in the northwest part of the city.

Show your support for Bill Timm by casting your vote for him on April 3, 2001.

Bill & Loretto Peterson

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Vote for Dennis Johnson

Dear Editor:

Only one person in this election for Rockford mayor, Dennis Johnson, has provided a substantive vision for our city.

Dennis Johnson’s vision of creating a Regional Medical Center has merit and impacts virtually every issue expressed in this campaign. A Regional Medical Center would create jobs. Medical-related jobs are good-paying jobs with good benefits. Medical services and research is always in demand and typically unaffected by economic downturns, like in the past and confronts us now. Drawing new and transient population to Rockford can create demand for commuter services such as planes, buses and even possibly trains. The potential increased need for hotels/motels, restaurants and retail stores, draws them to the area and would increase the tax base without tax increases. This would pay for any needed municipal services. Building and maintaining these facilities and businesses would create labor-related (union) jobs.

Dennis Johnson has a proven record of turning vision into reality. This will put Rockford on the map.

Terrence W. Peterson

Whatever it takes?

Dear Editor:

Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, while in Rockford recently, told local media of his supporting the Rockford Democrat mayoral candidate. Speaker Madigan said he was willing to do “whatever it takes” to get Doug Scott elected Rockford’s mayor. “Whatever it takes” implies much, given the perception of the practices related to Chicago politics. I have to ask what “whatever it takes” means, coming from the Chicago machine politician? If the Democrat mayoral candidate were to win the election, what would the Rockford taxpayers be required to repay the speaker and Chicago? What does the Chicago political machine want with the Chicago political machine want with Rockford’s mayor’s office?

I am a lifelong Rockford resident and find this implied intrusion rather frightening. I urge the residents of Rockford not to throw caution to the wind. We have our own problems and issues. We don’t need to assume some from Chicago. Vote for Rockford for our next mayor, not for indebtedness to Chicagoans.

Roger Jansen

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Vote for Dennis Johnson

Dear Editor:

I am supporting Dennis Johnson for Rockford’s next mayor. April 3rd is a very important election that can literally change the face of our community and set the direction for years to come.

I have known Dennis Johnson for more than 40 years. He is a lifelong friend and someone we can trust. I know he will do what is right for Rockford. I have witnessed his ability as a public servant. I know him to be a man of integrity. His political ability to bring people together to resolve controversial issues is a matter of public record, and few can match his generosity when it comes to time, talent and money.

However, in order for Denny to win, he needs our vote, yours and mine. Thank you and have a wonderful day!

Franklin C. Beach

Alderman, 10th Ward

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Vote for Dennis Johnson

Dear Editor:

Enough of the lawyers and consultants! It’s time to put a business leader in the mayor’s office. Vote for Dennis Johnson. He is a business executive, not a lawyer. His opponents are lawyers, and that seems to promise more of the same at City Hall. We need a fresh view, not more lawsuits.

Wayne Stahl

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Doug Scott–‘stop the epidemic’

Dear Editor:

In a televised mayoral debate, Rockford Urban Ministries and the Harm Reduction Outreach’s needle exchange were denigrated by two of the four candidates. Larry Morrissey said it was bad for the neighborhoods. Denny Johnson attacked supporters of the needle exchange because it “sends a mixed message to the kids.” Guy Spinello said he didn’t know about the exchange.

Candidate Doug Scott was the only one who said that since we do have a drug problem in the community, we have to fight the epidemic of AIDS and Hepatitis C. Thank you for some intelligent statements and understanding.

First of all, we do not give free needles away at high schools or distribute them willy-nilly throughout the community. People have to register for our program. We go only to those neighborhoods where dirty syringes were found lying on the ground. We do this to limit the spread of disease.

Harm Reduction also distributes condoms to women who prostitute themselves. Does this mean we support prostitution? No, we try to stop the spread of sexually transmitted diseases (and there’s a mini-epidemic here on Seventh Street). We also want to show some compassion for those whom society apparently would rather have die.

What disturbs me is that Mr. Johnson and Mr. Morrissey did not seek our side of the issue but attacked the program without knowledge or basis. I am worried that when controversial issues arise, they will not be open to new and/or innovative ways of dealing with them.

We are a small faith-based group with limited resources. We try to put those resources into areas where we can do the most good. Harm Reduction’s needle exchange is one of our most effective programs. Over 400 IV drug users and untold men and women have been affected, and HRO has placed over 50 into recovery programs. It’s difficult to find an opening now for addicted people to recover their lives.

We hope and pray for a change of heart and some compassion.

Stanley Campbell


Harm Reduction Outreach Board

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A special visit

Dear Editor:

I am an educated 39-year-old. I’m on disability and work volunteer jobs. I am “retired.” I met Larry Morrissey at charity functions. He always spoke with me. I told him I had nothing to offer him, that I don’t work, and that I live in public housing. I took his encouragement as “political kindness.” He came and spoke at my building. He spoke to a small group of seniors. Losing his voice, he still spent the same amount of time with them as with the large crowds.

I invited him and his sister to my apartment. He looked out my windows at Rockford. He was quiet. Time passed, and I asked, “Larry, are you all right?” In a quiet voice, he replied, “Yeah,” then paused and added, “I love this view!”

Now, I don’t know politics as well as I’d like, but I do know feelings really well, and I saw a look in his eyes. Larry loves this town! We visited, then phoned my friend as a joke and had a blast! On valuable time, Mr. Morrissey visited a young “retired” man. I then thought, maybe I can offer him something. If called, I’d help Larry with homeless, health and mental health issues in Rockford, and gladly direct him to people in these fields. “Retired?” Maybe not! Thanks, Larry and Eileen, for visiting. Thanks, editor(s) for listening.

Paul Javurek

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