Left Justified: Odds and ends

Left Justified: Odds and ends

By By Stanley Campbell

Here are some odds and ends that have cropped up that I can deal with on these hot, lazy summer days.

Rockford’s 2020 Plan is coming up for public comments (no, I don’t know when), but you can submit any thoughts on the future of the city through the Mayor’s Office. Please encourage the city to spend our meager resources on urban redevelopment instead of new sprawl. We, the taxpayers, usually end up paying for new housing projects on the outskirts of our town while some neighborhoods are finding boarded-up buildings in their back yard.

Any talk of a gambling casino coming to Rockford should be put to the vote of the city and county residents. Most casinos suck money out of a city (unless you can get suckers from other communities to drop their dollars here). More studies should be done on the increase in addictive behaviors and how “gaming” affects the surrounding community.

Rockford’s worst gun shop, the Shootin’ Shack, went out of business. Hooray! This outlaw facility sold guns out the back door, and at least 96 illegal weapons ended up in the hands of criminals and youth. Ten percent of all guns picked up by the Rockford police originated from this one store. Unfortunately, the owner is still selling, probably out of the trunk of his vehicle. There is one other gun shop in the area that caters to the criminal elements, but surprisingly, a lot of ne’er-do-wells get their ammunition at K’s Merchandise.

Please say a prayer that the city will not experience any more killings. Lord knows, it will be a miracle if we can bring the murder rate down. We pray for the protection of the city and especially its youth.

Rockford New Hope will be acquiring the building at 712 Kishwaukee St. (I’m on their board.) We hope to have a blessing of the house soon, and we thank City Hall for their help. New Hope looks forward to rehabbing the building for a large single family. Any volunteer carpenters and plumbers out there?

On a lighter note, for exercise and relaxation, I run out to Anna Page Park on the northwest side of town by Springfield Avenue and throw some discs (frisbees) at those wire baskets dotting the landscape. It’s called disc golf (as opposed to “ball golf”) and is a popular sport among the younger generation and some of us older hippies. Believe it or not, we have one of the best disc golf courses in the country, which attracts many people from across the nation to come to Rockford and play the 18 “holes.”

And finally, I’d like to thank everyone for honoring Rockford Urban Ministries on its 40th anniversary. I’ve some new good stories and will share them with you in future columns.

Stanley Campbell is executive director of Rockford Urban Ministries and spokesman for Rockford Peace & Justice.

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