Left Justified: Singing the blues and with the Greens

Left Justified: Singing the blues and with the Greens

By Stanley Campbell

The Greens

Last year the Sierra Club came out with a “Nasty Nine” list that pointed out good and bad development in the Winnebago-Boone area. This year we’ve developed a sinful and saintly list. Some of the things indicative of Nasty (or “sinful”) developments: (1) Developments stuck out in the middle of corn fields (not “contiguous” to existing communities); (2) commercial development with no controls for traffic; (3) ugly building design, signage or parking area; (4) roads that spawn development; (5) developments on flood plains, wetlands, etc.; (6) any disruption of established neighborhoods.

“Saintly” nominations include: (1) developments that preserve historic structures or protect flood plains and wild areas; (2) good design features that save energy, reuse existing buildings, and/or recycle materials and incorporate natural landscaping into the design; (3) designs that reduce traffic on local streets and promote walking, biking, car pooling or mass transit.

Last year’s Nasty Nine included the North Alpine, Forest Hills and Riverside intersection (the unbreatheable corner—they should plant some trees in that vacant triangle); River Keys subdivision; Inverness subdivision; Chicory Ridge and Hawk Point subdivisions in the Village of Roscoe; Winnebago Corners on Highway 20; development plans of Route 173 west of Interstate 90 in Machesney Park; Candlewick Lake and County Line Road subdivisions.

The Fabulous list included: the Nygren Wetland Preserve; the Morrissey Building in downtown Rockford; Rockford Plaza on Charles Street; the Holland House on Walnut Street; and Guyer & Enichen on Reid Farm Road.

This year, Sierra Club requested nominations for the list of exceptionally good and bad development and reviewed each one individually. We came up with six saints and five sinners. I’ll talk about them next week. The members of the committee included myself (who takes all the blame), as conservation chair, of the Blackhawk Sierra Club, Sue Breidigam, the president of Blackhawk Sierra Club, Rebecca Olson a member of Sinnissippi Audubon Society, and Ken Coonley, Sierra Club member.

Speaking of the environment, one of the best environmentalists in Rockford will give a presentation this Thursday, June 5 at 7 p.m. at the public library downtown. Jerry Paulson is the executive director of the Natural Land Institute. Jerry is a local farm boy who did well. During his 30-year conservation career, Jerry worked on saving many prairies and wild areas in the state of Illinois. He knows this area like the back of his hand, and knows where the most critical and environmentally sensitive areas are. He’s got some great ideas, and I hope you can come and hear him. The program is hosted by the Winnebago Boone Green Party. I’ll try to have the list there.

Blue collar blues

With the economy so bad, a lot of businesses are taking advantage of their employees. Major corporations try to renegotiate their union contracts so that workers aren’t covered by medical insurance, pensions, and have to take cuts in pay. Sundstrand Corporation, owned by United Technologies, in Connecticut, has locked out their UAW workers, our friends and neighbors. United Auto Workers Local 592 represents Sundstrand’s employees, the laborers on the factory floor. Their contract was coming up, but the company refuses to let them enter the shop (the action is called a “lock out”) in hopes of forcing the union to take cuts, primarily in their medical benefits. In a showing of solidarity, the union voted over 90 percent to oppose the contract.

I don’t usually get involved in strikes and wage disputes. But I’ve worked with the UAW on a lot of issues, and I find them very caring, reputable and sincere folk. I hope and pray that Sundstrand Corporation will change their minds and let the workers keep their medical insurance.

I also pray that the dispute will be resolved quickly and peaceably. I will take my prayers to the front of the gate on the South Alpine side of the Sundstrand plant No. 9 (just off Harrison) on Wednesday, June 11, at noon. You are welcome to join me in this prayer.

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

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