This week in The Times: Stephen Clemons

Vitals: Steve Clemons, 37, is originally from Dubuque, Iowa. He has lived in Rockford for the past year, and is currently unemployed. Clemons enjoys spending time with his wife and children, and also reading.

1. Do you think Illinois’ 10-day tax holiday, which suspends the collection of the 5 percent state sales tax on qualifying items, will stimulate our local economy? That’s hard to say. From what I’ve read, the qualifying items are things like school supplies, sneakers and other back-to-school items. Parents spend a ton of money getting their kids prepared for going back to school, but I’m not sure if this will jumpstart the local economy in a meaningful way. Do I think people will be encouraged to go out and spend money? Of course. But, I also think there will be some confusion on what items qualify.

2. Do you support Mayor Larry Morrissey’s (I) reduction in firefighters as a way of balancing the city’s budget? It’s a double-edged sword, of sorts, I guess. When you start talking about cutting services, like fire and police, you run the risk of not being prepared for emergency situations, and the city may not be as safe. However, the entire state is facing a budget crisis, so cuts have to be made. It’s tough to decide where the cuts will be made, but they have to be made nonetheless. We’ll see how this affects our city’s budget and safety, I guess.

3. What is your opinion of the efforts to stop the Gulf oil spill to date? The cleanup crews have done all they can so far. The problem, in my mind at least, started when the oil began pouring out into the Gulf of Mexico. After the oil spilled, all you could do was clean up the mess left behind. I think they are doing an admirable job for now. They are reacting quickly, and many beaches are cleaned on the same day oil is reported, from what I understand.

4. With summer almost over, how do you plan on getting the most out of the warm weather? I spend a lot of time taking care of my lawn. So, I’ll probably use the rest of the warm weather to keep doing that, and to also get my lawn ready for winter at the end of the season. Plus, we are planning a camping trip closer to the end of summer.

5. Question from last week’s “This week in The Times” participant, Whitney Miller: In your opinion, how do children benefit from participating in organized sports? I played sports when I was young, and I think I learned a lot about responsibility and accountability from those experiences. My kids both play sports, and I think they are better for it. Kids also learn how to work as part of a group and how to get along with others, which is important in their younger years.

“This week in The Times” is a weekly survey of people selected by The Rock River Times staff. The column does not accept unsolicited submissions.

From the July 14-20, 2010 issue

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