Category Archives: Letters to the Editor

Letter: Everyone should pay more attention to bullying

In every high school, students feel that they have to impress or be different to fit in while dealing with drama and rumors.

Whether they like the same sex, wear too much makeup, play on the football team, enjoy art, are a part of the cheerleading team, listen to rap, wear skinny jeans, talk differently, or even state their own beliefs, they will get judged for it. No matter how many clubs and organizations are developed at Kaneland High School to make you feel like you belong somewhere, nothing will prevent things being said about someone.

In reality, we all attend the same school and we should all get along. Though it may seem like what happens in high school won’t matter when you’re older, it will affect who you are and how you will act as you get older. Throughout the rest of your life, we are bound to experience social issues and social causes; this isn’t just made for high school. High school is giving us insight to how we can prepare ourselves for the future and how we should be able to act when we face these problems.

Teens may feel the need to bully because of their home life or past experiences. I may not know everything about everyone at Kaneland, but I’m positive a portion of the students at Kaneland have some sort of issues in their life. Students may feel that when they have to deal with issues at home, they have to somehow take their anger or their emotions out on someone at school. They may also have suicidal thoughts built up inside of them, so they feel the need to bully others.

Researchers at Yale University looked into 13 different countries about bullying. “When we see kids who are targets of bullying, we should ask them if they’re thinking about hurting themselves,” a researcher said. It is said that out of all the studies that researchers from Yale observed between the countries, it showed connections between being bullied and suicidal thoughts among children. According to studies, bullying is common and can affect anywhere from nine percent to 54 percent of children. Not only should this information be directed toward students, but adults should also be paying attention to bullying and their children.

No one wants to be the nerd who gets shoved into the locker because he’s on the chess team or the girl who gets excluded from lunch, because no one will let her sit at their table. Every day at Kaneland I see bullying affecting other students. If students are bullying others, they should realize how much it could affect the other person, not about how cool he/she looks doing it.

Kaneland provides counselors for every student, where they are able to go in and talk to get advice, help or ideas. By visiting a counselor, they may be able to guide you through what you’re feeling and be able to help and prevent you from bullying.

Students in the entire Kaneland School District should take serious thought into what bullying really is. Ask yourself: is it worth bullying other students because you have your own problems? Is it worth taking the time of day to bother someone else because you want your popularity level to go up? Everyone attends school to learn, not to be picked on because of who they are.

Katherine Lucarelli, KHS student
Sugar Grove

Letter: Fire department collects for food pantry

The Elburn Fire Department will be collecting food for the Elburn Food Pantry this holiday season.

We would encourage anyone that is able to help us stock our local food pantry, to drop food at either Station No. 1 at 210 E. North St., or Station No. 2 at 39W950 Hughes Road.

Our local food pantry is in particular need of items such as macaroni and cheese, stuffing mix, canned vegetables, canned pasta meals, bar soap, and things of this nature.

If you are unable to stop by the station and wish to help out, give us a call and we’ll gladly drop by and pick up your donation. Thanks in advance for your help.

Matt Hanson
Elburn Fire Department

Letter: Children’s movie includes unexplainable images

Recently I took my two girls, ages 10 and 7, to see the movie “Astro Boy.” When we returned, I left my two beautiful girls with my wife to have dinner, because I felt compelled to come into my office.

I spent the next 45 minutes doing some quick and easy research about two disturbing historical figures: Vladimir Lenin and Leon Trotsky. Why, you might ask, after seeing a children’s movie would I want to brush up on what I already knew about these two despicable “human” beings? There was an image of Lenin along with his name and Trotsky’s name in this film.

Well, that can be a good “teachable moment” in some movies, but in what context did these images show up in this children’s cartoon? They were in the hideout of something called the Robot Resistance Movement.

Right now, with the education of our children in the shambles that it’s in, any young American might not understand how extremely disturbing this is. I am only 39 and was about to walk out of the theater, and a part of me wishes I would have. But I couldn’t for several reasons, two of them being my children that didn’t notice and don’t understand what was on the screen. Another reason I stayed in the theater was to see if there was any more symbolism in the same vein, and thankfully there wasn’t.

For those that don’t remember, I will take an excerpt from a May 4, 1997, article by Michael McGuire of the Chicago Tribune, that ran in the Boca Raton News regarding new information that was revealed about Lenin after communism failed in Russia, and government documentation revealed more realities about the former leader who was still in a sealed sarcophagus in the middle of Red Square:

Orders given by Lenin, including directives to ‘hang without fail no fewer than 100 known Kulaks, rich men, bloodsucker;’ to shoot priests resisting seizures of church property; to shoot ‘all those who missed work’ on St. Nicholas Day in 1919; and use 10,000 bourgeoisie as a human shield, ‘placing machine guns behind them,’ in an offensive by Lenin’s Red Army … General Dmitiri Volkogoner, the late historian who once held the Soviet Union’s top political post, later wrote of Lenin as a ‘savage, cruel, uncompromising, remorseless and vengeful” leader who ordered terror, torture, violence, hostage-holding and ‘a vast array of punitive measures and propaganda on a scale never before seen in Russia or anywhere else.’”

Leon Trotsky, again for those who don’t remember, was a member of the Central Committee of the Bolshevik Party and later appointed the People’s Commissar for Military and Naval Affairs and thereby managing the founding of the Red Army for Lenin. He was an intellectual revolutionist who was a strong force behind the scenes before the fall of the Czars in Russia with Lenin, a strong force in the Bolshevik revolution which brought about communism.

For these two figures to be in a movie is, at best, unexplainable. I know that this occurrence has pushed me to write about this. I know that our children need to be taught about the true nature of evil and what it can do to a country and the world. The proper movie that Lenin and Trotsky belong in would be a documentary or horror story, not a children’s movie.

David Selenis
Maple Park

Letter: Celebrating 234 years of service

On Nov. 10, 1775, the Continental Congress resolved that two battalions of marines be raised, that they be distinguished by the names of the first and second battalions of American Marines, and that they be considered as part of the number which the Continental Army before Boston was ordered to consist of.

Since that day, the United States Marine Corps has served our country in every clime and place. They have earned the right and privilege of being the head of the column, and right of line in military formations. These honors were hard-fought and earned at great sacrifice.

Marines have fought pirates off the Barbary Coast and to the halls of Montezuma. June 1918, Marines began reducing the positions of two German divisions in the Bois de Belleau (Belleau Wood). This 20-day action was one of the most intense of the war. The brigade suffered 55 percent casualties. Marines earned the nickname “Devil Dog” from the German soldiers in that battle.

During WWII, one of the most famous pictures taken was on Feb. 23, 1945, when Marines raised the American flag on Mt. Suribachi, Iwo Jima, Japan.

During the Korean conflict (war) in December 1950, the 1st Marine Division completed fighting a breakout from the Chosin entrapment. While not a victory in the classic sense, the withdrawal from the Chosin Reservoir is revered as a high point in the history of the U.S. Marine Corps. In the fighting, the Marines and other UN troops effectively destroyed or crippled seven Chinese divisions which attempted to block their progress. Upon reaching Hungnam, the veterans of Chosin Reservoir were evacuated as part of the large amphibious operation to rescue UN troops from northeastern Korea.

From January to April 1968, NVA troops began shelling the base at Khe Sanh and the strongholds in the surrounding hills. This rocket, mortar and artillery barrage initiated the siege of Khe Sanh. The siege of Khe Sanh would be one of the defining battles of the Vietnam War. Supplied by air and supported by massive artillery and air bombardments, including B-52 strikes, the 6,000-man Khe Sanh garrison of Marines would hold out against elements of an estimated two North Vietnamese Divisions until relieved by U.S. forces on April 14.

Today, Marines still serve our country from the deserts of Iraq, to the mountains in Afghanistan. For 200-plus years, Marines have served our country, and our communities. Locally, the Marines Corps League provides funding for scholarships, charities and honor guards for local events.

If you have earned the title Marine or served with Fleet Marine Forces, please consider joining the League.
Michael Fogelsanger
Sycamore

Letter: How threatening talk of government expansion slows economy and kills jobs

Small businesses across the United States are pulling back from expansion projects and are laying workers off due to fears regarding healthcare costs and higher taxes according to a telling article in last Wednesday’s Wall Street Journal.

By forestalling expansion projects, the economy slows from the pace it would have naturally been on had the Obama administration and those in Congress not been promoting healthcare reform in a way which has created massive uncertainty among those who are oftentimes most responsible for paying for healthcare. (Hint: they’re also the ones responsible for signing paychecks and creating jobs).

This is happening in 2009 in Washington, but it’s no surprise for those of us in Illinois where we’ve seen—up close and personally—how the State of Illinois has frightened away jobs for years.

The resulting fear of significant government expansion helps to explain why Illinois finished 48th in economic performance over the last decade. After all, our two most recent governors have promoted large tax increases (Blagojevich’s Gross Receipts Tax and Quinn’s Income Tax Increase) after helping Illinois spending grow at a much faster pace than inflation and population growth. 

Just the threat of tax hikes directly contributes to Illinois finishing 48th in job creation over that same decade. When employers sense higher costs, jobs are lost. However, when government is discussing tax cuts, which I support, the business can consider moving ahead with expansion and additional employment because they figure that taxes/expenses won’t be increasing. 

There’s more to the problem, but it’s going to take the right solutions offered by the right leader turn it around here in Illinois.  That’s why I have chosen to run for office—our state needs help right now.

If you would like more information, please contact me at www.keithwheeler.net.

Keith Wheeler, Oswego
Candidate (R) State Rep. 50th District

Letter: Harassment should have no place at KHS

Has anyone around you, whether it be friends, family or just people someone you don’t even know ever called you names replacing the word “stupid”? Names like gay or retard or even racial slurs are very hurtful, even if those names are meant as a joke.

Kaneland High School’s Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) count how many times they hear insulting slurs everyday and add them up at the end of the week. On average at Kaneland High School in Maple Park, people hear the phrase “that’s so gay” 26 times a day—on average. Racial slurs at Kaneland add on about another 15 to 20 insults a day. Not only is this insulting, but it also degrades those who are gay, mentally or physically retarded or of a different race, which creates a major climate of hate and cruelty.

Being openly gay, I’ve experienced moments like these before. If people don’t like me, then that’s their own problem, and they shouldn’t make someone feel bad for who they are. When people look at me in the halls, every once in a while I’ll hear the word “fag!” shouted out in my direction. It looks like I don’t mind and ignore it, but on the inside it makes me feel lower, just like everyone else who gets mocked for being gay or just different in general.

Being mentally or physically challenged is a hard struggle for those who do have certain birth defects. If you were in that position and someone called you “retarded,” you would most likely feel hurt. Even being related to someone who is mentally challenged and hearing these insults is hurtful. Putting someone through such stupid insults makes them feel like dirt and that they don’t belong.

Harassment has led to many people believing that they don’t belong anywhere. People need to learn how to treat everyone equally and with just as much respect as they deserve. Diversity in school or around towns and cities are great to be aware of because people can see how other people live and be accepting of whom they really are. I hope that some day people would stop being such jerks and learn that no matter how different a person is from them no two people will ever be the same.

Jake Rosko, KHS student

Good fortune

Jenny, today we honor you as you would be turning 21.

Most every teen yearns for this, because it is usually celebrated with lots of fun.

The festivities to honor you would have been done in the best kind of fashion, but today we celebrate you with the utmost of passion.

We’d be celebrating Jenny in a much different way, but since you’ve gone before us, it’s a different sort of day.

Nov. 6 will always be my “good fortune” day, as only He knew He blessed us with an angel on this day.

Happy 21st, Jenny Flaherty
Forever in our hearts
Nov. 6, 1988 – Dec. 3, 2007

Suzanne Ramirez
Maple Park

Letter: I gained more than I gave while volunteering with PAA

I wanted to share a wonderful experience I had recently in Elburn.

A client/friend of mine has a child with Down Syndrome and asked last year if I would be interested in volunteering time to massage some of the other mothers who belong to Parents as Advocates (PAA) at their fall retreat. I agreed, thinking what a wonderful gift to give moms who care for children with special needs of all kinds, as well as possibly gain a client or two.

Well, last year was my first and this year my second, but it won’t be my last. I haven’t gained a client yet, and to tell you the truth, I don’t care. Yes, my massage business is a fledgling, and yes, I need clients, but giving to these women gives more to me than to them.

Today, too many people cast off children because they are not “perfect” by giving them up for adoption or even abortion, and others mistreat or neglect their needs. We hear it in the news all the time.

Not these moms. They love their children with heart, mind, body and soul—and it’s tough. To be a mom today means you will be busy if your child is “normal,” but if there are special needs involved it makes it much more demanding. Some of them have more than one child, and several of the children have more than one special need.

These ladies take a retreat each year to relax and be pampered—mostly by each other. A handful of us are the only “outsiders” who volunteer their time to help out.

Though PAA meets monthly about the nuts and bolts of how to deal with daily life, this weekend is just for them. They can awaken late if they so choose and stay up until the wee hours of the morning, giggling like school girls if they would like to. The food at the Great Lakes Leadership Campus is fantastic and served buffet style so you don’t even have to be on time to meals. Pajamas are the attire for breakfast and no need for sequins all weekend unless you would like to wear them to Knucklehead’s on Saturday night.

All parents with special needs kids are welcome to participate in this group, and yes, men are welcome to the meetings; after all it is called Parents as Advocates. If you want to be able to gather with others who know what your life is like, this is the place for you.

I very much look forward to meeting and relaxing you at PAA’s 5th annual retreat next year, which is always on the third weekend of October. Anyone interested in receiving more information about PAA can contact its founders, Carrie Capes (capesfamily@verizon.net) or Karol Peters (k.peters@foxvalley.net).

Annie Moore, LMT, NCTM
Atrium Wellness, Inc

Letter: Thank you for supporting our parents

Parents As Advocates (PAA) would like to sincerely thank all of its Kaneland-area supporters for a successful Moms Retreat held October 16-18 in Elburn at the Great Lakes Leadership Campus.

At this fourth annual event, 55 mothers, both challenged and inspired by the task of raising children with disabilities, received a much needed three-day break from their everyday lives and were indulged with delicious meals, door prizes, car washes, hair cuts, massages, manicures, live theater, movies and a concert, thanks to our community’s generosity.

In this difficult economy where many households and businesses are struggling, our donations and volunteers have never been more generous.

Our gratitude goes out to the following for their support each year: Hill’s Country Store, Blazing Prairie Stars, Elburn Car Wash, Rich Wrap, Old Second National Bank, Knucklehead’s Tavern, Papa G’s, Great Lakes Leadership Campus, Walgreens, Dr. Bob Davidson, Connie at We Care Hair in Elgin, Inspireavision, Annie Moore at Atrium Wellness, Deb Wilhite at Insight Out Life Coaching, Jenn Hanson at Road to Relaxation Massage, Jason Kralka at Alpha Graphics Printing, The ARC of IL, Paul Antonson & the Chicago Marathon, Nia Fitness, Adventure Boot Camp, Prairie Creek Massage, Genoa Pizza, Paisano’s Pizza, Greg Boerner, Nick’s Pizza, KarFre Flowers in Sycamore, Psi Beta Club, Kalina’s Kreations, Nikko’s Lodge, Natalie at Liberty Chiropractic, Minner Electrical, Avon, Kristin’s Klub, Subway, Carl Mook & Protected Tomorrows, Stage Coach Players Theater, Mary Kay, Rosita’s and Eduardo’s, and the following families: McCarney’s, Cain’s, Olsen’s, Vidlak’s, Isberg’s, Capes-England’s, Theis’, Larson’s, Estrada’s, Soto’s, Chidester’s, Amatangelo’s, Eckhouse’s, Flanagan’s, Henzi’s, Slaght’s, McElderry’s, Stahulak’s, Bogdan’s, Heiland’s, Rabe’s, Kadolph’s, Bruick’s, Weaver’s.

We ask anyone we may have mistakenly left out to forgive our error.

The PAA Retreat Planning Team
Carrie Capes
Karol Peters
Maple Park

Letter: Sharing a story about Bruce Conley

I was so touched by the recent Chicago Tribune article, “Caregiver accepts cancer,” that I wanted to share my story about Bruce Conley with others.

I can tell you from personal experience that Mr. Conley and his staff are amazing at helping people through rough times. I believe only a true healer could do what Mr. Conley did for me and for my family.

When I lost my own brother at a young age, it was a very confusing time for me, but Mr. Conley sat with me and explained my brother’s death to me.

I was only 10 years old, and I remember Mr. Conley getting down at my level and talking in “kid-friendly” language that I could understand. He not only spoke to me, but he demonstrated with stuffed animals how people might feel after a tragic loss. His words and actions brought me comfort as he discussed with me what my parents were not yet ready to talk about.

I would like you to know how thankful I am for Mr. Conley and his generous spirit. He is truly an amazing person.

Anna King
Sugar Grove
Freshman at Kaneland High School

Letter: Try to be yourself

Seems to me that today, teenagers have more problems to sort out than the latest gossip, the best friend who stole their boyfriend, or the piles of homework they continue to push to the side for later. Well, do the words “identity crisis” ring any bells? No? What about … “fake, poser, wannabe”?

In high school, it’s hard enough adjusting to the changes you encounter and trying to make you and your friends happy—not to mention, your family happy. But what might be even harder is striving to fit in. To be accepted. I don’t know too many people who like the feeling of rejection. Who wants to be that one who sits by themselves at lunch? The one that people push and shove around just to get a laugh?

Now, I’d like to know who could tell a real, down-to-earth person from a person who is faking it just for acceptance. I’d also like to know why, exactly, do teens feel the pressure to be somebody they aren’t? Would it not be easier to just simply do what you want, to be yourself? The whole concept seems foreign to me personally, but not for all teens at Kaneland.

Whether it’s teens modeling themselves after a peer or even someone they admire in the media, it’s not doing them any good pretending to be someone they’re clearly not. It’s not healthy for one to go to great lengths for something as worthless as fitting in, even though it seems like it means everything right now.

It may seem that way, but years down the road will that reflect the hard work they put into school? Will it show people that they have a real personality? I think bits and pieces of one’s life experiences shape the person they grow up to be, and in this case, growing up to be. Why deny those pieces? I’m not trying to say that teens can’t be expressive in the way they are during high school. Be unique, be creative, be fearless.

All the hype to be “cool” in school and rebel, to do what everyone is doing so you won’t be standing around like a loner, is very overwhelming. People wrap themselves around all that hype and get tangled up in a sticky web. Unable to see their true self, that wants to shine.

It’s upsetting to think that being your own self is hard for teens. It’s supposed to be simple. So when the peer pressure becomes crushing, teens must climb above that and do what they want, not what they think everyone else wants.

Katie Willis
Maple Park

Letter: School Board deserves ‘F’ for failing to address parent’s concerns

I am writing to clarify misinformation that was reported in the Elburn Herald’s “Board Votes to Examine Grade Scale” article as published on Oct. 15th.

During the two-week period between the Sept. 28 and Oct. 13 Kaneland School Board meetings, myself and several other parents collected 703 Kaneland voter signatures on a petition that was asking for: 1) The Kaneland grading scale to be changed to a 10-point 90/80/70/60 grading scale (we are the only school district in Kane County that does not use a 10-point scale), and 2) Any study or data needed to accomplish this be conducted and voted on during the current 2009-10 school year.

The voting result of the Oct. 13 School Board meeting was not a compromise. It was a total disregard on the School Board members’ parts of their responsibility to represent their constituents, as they were elected to do.

Yes, the School Board voted to try to “commence” a study this year (rather than leaving the plan for a 2010-11 study in place), but the verbiage that was signed off by the School Board left exactly the same end result—that the study would be completed no later than the original date of April 2011.

What a compromise.

In addition to this, Dr. McCormick was quick to point out that there were no guarantees the district would have the time to start a study this school year—wait, doesn’t that put us back to where we started?

Dr. McCormick also said that the parents were asking for the scale to be slid down to have “… more students getting an A.”

This is absolutely not true, and the superintendent was totally out of line for making this baseless accusation. As Ken Carter clearly pointed out with his ISU example, our scale can and is putting our students at a disadvantage for college placement, and the parents were simply asking for a level playing field to the colleges and the rest of the schools in Kane County, as well as most of the country (over 70 percent uses the 10-point scale).

During the Sept. 28 School Board meeting, I sat in horror as the interim high school principal reported that, due to the current block schedule system, Kaneland has students taking the college entrance exams (ACT and SAT) who haven’t had a math class in a full year—sometimes longer. Following that, Dr. McCormick was quick to state that making any change to the schedule system would take at least two years to make.

You have to be kidding me—do we have anything that takes top priority over the well paid administration of this district complaining about not having time? Those of us that work in the business world call a 12-hour day short, and we’d be out of our jobs fast with that level of production when facing an urgent problem.

I have much I could say, but little space to do it, so my message is this: if you are unhappy with the School Board’s vote on Oct. 13 and you feel that they did not represent you as a constituent—please contact each member and let them know—their e-mails are on the School District website.

If you feel Dr. McCormick is not doing his job as he should, let them know that too. He is supposed to report to them.

The reason that we received 703 petition signatures is that we only had just two weeks to cover a large area. We could have certainly gotten more if there had been more time, and I personally found the favorable response from people overwhelming.

Finally, please remember this School Board decision when you go to vote again at the next School Board election in the spring of 2011. Not all of the members of this board are doing what they should be—representing the interests of the voters and children in this School District.

I give the Kaneland School Board a big fat grade of F in representing its constituents.

Pedro Rivas
Sugar Grove

Letter: Disappointed in desire to lower grading scale

I was deeply disappointed when I read about the parents’ petition asking the Kaneland School Board to consider lowering the grading scale.

If these parents want their children to get better grades, why not do it the old fashioned way and motivate their sons and daughters to work harder and study more? Why are they not worried about learning?

Changing the grading scale might give your child a higher grade, but it will not give him or her greater knowledge, a better education or a higher ACT score. Rather than ask for better performance, they’re just asking for better grades—a free lunch, so to speak. That’s like fiddling with your car’s odometer in order to claim that it’s getting better gas mileage than your neighbor’s car.

With Kaneland High School on the list for failing to make adequate yearly progress in standardized test scores, according to the No Child Left Behind Act, handing out more A’s and B’s will not help. The district (and the parents) should be focused on strategies to improve teaching and learning. We should be raising expectations, not lowering them.

In my view, this is also a bit of a red herring. I have a junior at Kaneland who frequently complains to me about the grading scale, so on one level I understand the relief these parents are seeking. What these parents may not understand, and what I explain to my son, is that changing the grading scale will not necessarily—and should not, in my opinion—change the grades.

Ultimately, we have to trust the teachers and the schools to determine what is an A performance, B performance, etc. Whatever scale we use, an A should reflect outstanding achievement, not just good achievement.

Jonathan Berg
Elburn

Letter: In support of current Kaneland grading scale

Kaneland School District opened in 1958 with a seven-point grading scale, but soon afterwards it was switched to a 10-point grading scale. It was changed back to the current scale in April of 1984.

While many parents have voiced concerns about the scale since the switch, there are many good reasons for the more demanding way.

Kaneland’s mission is to “guide and challenge all students to acquire knowledge, skills and values that will enable them to contribute and successfully participate in a diverse, democratic society.”

Yet last year, the percentage of students with grade point averages of 4.5 or higher was, in the senior class, 25 percent; in the junior class, 29 percent; and in the sophomore class, 33 percent. These are all pretty high percentages, considering that the goal is to challenges students.

Looking only at the fact that nearly one-third of the classes are earning such high GPAs, it would seem that, if anything, they are not being challenged enough. Kaneland should focus on raising standards, not lowering them.

A particular problem that many parents have about the grading scale is college admissions. However, colleges take many other things into account, such as standardized test scores, class rank, extracurricular activities, community activities and essays. Even if they only took letter grades into consideration, many college admissions offices recalculate the GPA in order to compensate for the many scales around the U.S.

Many people believe the grading scale should be changed back to a 10-point scale, and I don’t necessarily disagree with them. However, I don’t agree with those who think that the change is a simple issue. The answer is only easy when your mind is already made up. What I do agree with is the fact that the Kaneland School Board will direct the administration to conduct a study this year to evaluate the possible switch to a 10-point grading scale.

I hope that the study will provide insight into which option is the better one, and for what reason, to finally put this subject to rest.

Caroline Eichelberger
Elburn
KHS freshman

Letter: Continuing the health care discussion

To Bob Morgan: Your response to my letter is mostly very heartening, and I want to commend you for taking the time and interest to involve yourself in this important issue.

Second, while the general tone of your letter is contemptuous, I find there to be an impressive amount of agreement. We share a passion for the issue. You state that “too many politicians are for sale,” “I think we can all agree that pharmaceutical companies gouge us all,” and then you offer a lot of good tactics for dealing with the problem.

Some of your arguments are circular and conflicting. You love one doctor and trust them all, but you think some other guy is so evil he killed your friend, and this is a rationale for huge court payments instead of tighter regulatory oversight.

Pharma is trying to help us out, but they are also gouging us. Maybe they are helping us by gouging us. Obama inflated the uninsured estimate of 30 million, because you find there to be 250 million insured. Excuse me, as the population of the USA is 305 million, that implies there are 80 million uninsured. I think the correct answer is around 40, but I really think this is not the issue.

You would like to pay doctors based on their value. That’s not the way free enterprise is supposed to work. Pricing is suppose to stabilize near cost. The value for saving a life is infinite, and that is the problem. Where the burden of payment is shifted from the demand, the demand is infinite.

You have some misguided notion that CHIPs is representative of government insured healthcare. Actually, “Medicare” and “Medicaid” are the case for government healthcare. And, by the way, I am intimately familiar with CHIPs. My wife had a urinary infection. She took a simple antibiotic and was well in a few weeks, but the exercise made your favored Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) unwilling to cover her at any cost. So she joined the involuntary ranks of the uninsured until I could buy CHIPs coverage for her.

BCBS wrote that policy too; it cost me something like $900 per month, for $5,000 deductible and covered nothing. The key point about CHIPs is that by definition the insured parties are uninsurable otherwise, that is they are specifically not representative of the general population as a whole. So the CHIPs program is hardly a case model for a general healthcare plan run by government.

Jeff MacKenzie
Kaneville

Letter: Knights make me proud

I have been a loyal follower of Kaneland Knights football for many years. I have always been proud of our teams. No matter what their record or how they played, I have always been proud of how they fought for their team and represented their school.

I have never been more proud than last Friday night. Not for what they did, but for what they wore.

Every member of the varsity and sophomore teams walked onto those fields wearing pink socks. I know it may sound funny that a bunch of big, tough football players would be wearing pink socks. That is what makes the message that much stronger.

It is my understanding that the pink socks were part of a fundraiser and an awareness campaign for breast cancer awareness. Both our teams played their hearts out, but apparently they had enough heart left to make a powerful public statement.

I had never had a family member touched by this terrible disease, but I saw the battle one of my wife’s special friends has had with this disease. I did not realize the drastic effect that this terrible disease can have on a person. This disease is no longer something someone else has. It is a disease that a very nice lady, that we know personally, has to continually struggle with. I am also aware of at least one former Kaneland football player’s mom who lost her life by this terrible disease.

Our players should walk off those fields Friday night with their heads held high, not only for their play, but the statement their pink socks made. It will always help remind me that even though I love high school football, and especially Kaneland High School football, there are probably more important battles that people face. A tip of my hat to these young men.

William T. King Jr.
Sugar Grove

Letter: Thank you for supporting Lions Candy Days

Thank you to everyone from Elburn, the surrounding areas and those who were just passing through, who stopped to make a donation to Lions Candy Days. Your generous donations help to fund Lions of Illinois Foundation projects as well as local charities that support our community members in need.

A special thanks to those tireless volunteers who stood at the intersections in the pouring rain on Friday and bitter cold on Saturday—Lions Greg Algrim, Phyllis Algrim, Larry Linden, Kevin Madden, Jerry Parisek, Gene Streid, Scott and Sue Karas, Michael Bendell, Uwe Rotter, Bob Thomas, Dave Pniewski; Leo Lexie Pniewski, Lions Bob Buckholder, Jerry Fitzpatrick, Tim Klomhas, Chris and Cindy Halsey, Kevin Poust, Ken Gilkey, Dr. Keith Hougas, Larry Cornell, Al and Cheryl Lee, Steve Hall, Dan Hannenman, Kyle McKittrick, Angie Callagan, Annette Siwy, Bob Britz, Dave Anderson, Linda Torres, Brandon Whildin, Kevin Olson, Nick Carter, Jerry Schmidt, Joe Kryszak, Jim Gillett, Kyle Christensen, Lester and Linda Lee, Sharon Elgar, Brad and Deb Cornell, Marlene Hewitt, Eric Kopecky.

Very special thanks to Pam Hall with help getting volunteers, and Phil Gladd for holding up his corner all day; and to anyone I forgot. All your efforts are greatly appreciated.

Ron Algrim
Dana and Marcus Reczek
Elburn

Letter: Thank you, Boy Scouts

The St. Gall Church Property Committee would like to thank all the Boy Scouts and adult leaders from BSA Troop 7 in Elburn, who helped with a major lawn renovation project at St. Gall Cemetery.

On Saturday, Oct. 3, Scouts Zach Wielgos, Andrew Burroughs, Spencer Serwin, Shane Biard, Aaron Michek, Phillip Rawers, Mike Potwin and Sam Kitz, along with leaders Jerry Hodge, Bruce Aderman, David Burroughs and Dan Rawers, came to St. Gall Cemetery at 8 a.m., anxious to help.

The boys and leaders rolled and loaded over 100 rolls of sod. In addition, they unloaded a sod-filled truck and prepared the area for seeding.

The committee could not have completed the project without their help. Thank you, Scouts and leaders; we are very grateful.

Bob Kugach
St. Gall Church
Property Committee

Letter: Community support was overwhelming

Words alone can not convey how overwhelmed I was with the outcome of the benefit held on Sept. 26. I hope, if you came out, you had a great time.

There are so many people to thank, Sue and Brett Miller, Kyle Miller and his band “Back Country Roads,” Jared and Melissa Olson for their music; Kenny for the use of The Maple Park Pub, Brad and Cindy Miller for all their hours.

I am sure there are many others with countless hours and efforts. Those that baked and cooked, thank you.

May God bless all of you, I love you all.

Sue (Dale) Olson, Maple Park

Letter: Lowering impact fees impacts us all

I note with horror that the folks in Sugar Grove are pondering a massive reduction in the building impact fees for their community (published in the Sept. 17 Elburn Herald).

Roughly translated, that means they would like the citizens of everywhere else to subsidize some housing development to the tune of $4,500 a pop. Kane County taxes are already twice what they are in the surrounding communities, and the core reason for that is unfunded liabilities forced upon us by building permit subsidies.

If Sugar Grove lowers these fees, every tax payers’ cost soars to make up what the new buyer did not. Property taxes have been rising by more than 10 percent a year to pay for these subsidies.

Who benefits? Very high on that list would have to be some very wealthy families, some of them are billionaires. Does this make a difference in housing demand? I think not—and the jobs aren’t worth the cost.

Next the tit for tat begins. Maple Park makes its sewer deal with the builders, and folks in Elburn and Sugar Grove are paying for it. Every town has its sweet deals, all politics is local—and before long no one is paying the cost.

Someone over there at Sugar Grove has some common sense. Commercial properties do not have schools, which is 70 percent of the local bill, so they are better. Houses cost money. There is something seriously wrong where towns are subsidizing their builders with other peoples’ money.

1. It is the obligation of the school district to make absolutely clear what the cost of a student is, and we know that number is more than $8,500 per pupil. The total community cost is probably over $15,000 per house.

2. The school district has the obligation to calculate and publish the financial burden that unfunded liabilities have had on the existing tax payers over the past decade. I would greatly welcome this analysis being published in the widest possible forums. That number will be in the hundreds of millions of dollars—all dumped in the pockets of rich developers by every household here.

3. The citizens of Sugar Grove should be informed:
a. What will their prorated share of the proposed builder subsidy?
b. What will their prorated share of the builder subsidies in other local communities be when the subsidies flow elsewhere? … What works for the goose works for the gander. There will be no limit to the burden Sugar Grove residence will assume from elsewhere.

4. The citizens of Sugar Grove should ask themselves:
a. Do they want to pay their prorated share of the unfunded mandates being proposed?
b. and when you get down there giving away your shirt, will it make you angry to be buying all the stuff your neighboring communities spend and pass on to you?

Because at the end of the day—it is all going to get charged out—and the biannual bond sales are driven by unfunded building permit liabilities.

Bottom line, those who are here are writing a check to every newcomer. Your check is five to ten thousand a house permit being discounted. Is that what the existing home owners want? Because I don’t think they are being asked.

I for one think it is a travesty.

Jeff L. MacKenzie
Chicago

Letter: KHS class of ‘99 ten-year reunion approaches

“I wonder what she’s doing now; been so long since those high school days; I wonder how much he’s changed since we walked the KHS hallways.”

No need to wait much longer for these answers to appear, because the Class of ’99 10-year reunion is coming near.

Food, drinks, music and fun are a few of the things in store for the alumni of Kaneland High School at Old Towne Pub in Wasco.

Mark your calendars, book your babysitters, no excuses will be accepted. All classmates must attend on Saturday, Nov. 7.

We look forward to seeing all of our KHS classmates on Saturday, Nov. 7, for the Class of 1999 10-year reunion. Please visit our website at www.classcreator.com/Maple-Park-IL-Kaneland-Senior-1999/member_ReunionSignup.cfm for more details and to register online.

The Reunion Committee
Jenae Reach, Kirsten Preuss, Lisa Weimer, Ashley Peterson, Lisa Wagner,
Danielle West, and Heather Peterson

Letter: Thank you for ‘filling the boot’

The members of The Elburn & Countryside Fire Department hosted a fundraising campaign asking community members to help us “fill-the boot” on Sept. 11 and Sept. 12.

We would like to thank the generous support of the community and those passing through. We had an overwhelming response from the community not only financially, but also emotionally.

Many of you stopped by and thanked us, shared a story from an encounter with the department and wished us well in our efforts to keep you safe.

We are proud to serve this community, and again we wanted to thank you for your continued support.

Matt Hanson
Elburn Fire Department

Letter: Thank you for supporting Kaneville Fest

Kaneville Fest has come and gone.

The Kaneville Fest Committee would like to give a huge thank you to the following volunteers, individuals and businesses that gave their time and donations: Builders Asphalt, PCI Concrete, Paisano’s Pizza, Strang Inc., Ross Electric, JRG Construction Co., Michael J. Greenan CPA, Dan Isham, Diedre Withey, Al Withey, Linear Kinetics, Workin’ Out Construction, Russell Automotive, Kaneville Seed & Feed, Bud Snyder, Blackberry Builders, Karl Kettelkamp, Carrie Kruger, Water Sports LLC, Daniels Inc., Dawn Schleifer, Dale Pierson, Lisa Weiss, AFM Electrical, village of Kaneville, Kaneville Township, Old Second Bank’s Margie Jordan, Thunderbolt Roofing, Dunteman Turf Farm, Olson Chiropractic, Law firm of Myler, Ruddy & McTavish, Kaneville Veterinarian Service, Rich’s Auto Service, Elburn Herald, Kane Co. Chronicle, Kane Co. Sheriff, Kaneville Fire Dept., Bright Cleaners, Elmhurst Chicago Stone, Hughes Creek Golf Club, Sam’s Club, Jewel Food Store Sugar Grove, American Bank & Trust, Behm Plumbing, Midwest Quick Lube, Fisherman’s Inn, Elburn Car Wash, JT Nails, Gordon’s Food Service, Hill’s Country Store, Al Plowman, Superior Beverage, Fairview Dental, Kaneville Public Library, Elizabeth Hauser, The Ottosons, The Kucera family, Mary Ellyn at Kaneville PO, The Hill Family, The Flamand family, Emil Weiss, Mike Harnach, Tim & Jenn Weiss, Gary Lisson and his grandson, Nick Sifuentes.

To all those who donated money and participated, you helped support this community event and made it successful. Thank you.

Pat Hill, Karen Flamand,
Sandi Weiss, Paul Ross, Cathy Kovach
Kaneville

Letter: Thank you

The family of Margaret Goldenstein would like to thank all those involved in the support and care of Margaret and her family following her tragic death.

Though the names and faces of those numerous caring individuals have been blurred by grief and the suddenness of our loss, the impact of their hours of dedicated service and caring actions have not diminished and will be felt for years to come.

Kay Goldenstein and family
St. Charles

Letter: Thank you for supporting Blackberry Creek Fun Fair

We would like to thank all the people who attended and helped make our second annual Blackberry Creek Fun Fair and raffle a success.

The Fun Fair and raffle came about because we wanted to combine our fundraising efforts with a community-wide event that families and kids would enjoy. We want to thank our numerous volunteers; parents, grandparents, teachers and school staff, all the middle school helpers and Boy Scouts.

We also want to express our sincere appreciation to our local business, Party Animals, for baking 500 cookies and manning the decorating booth all night long.

We want to thank Viking Office Supply for the free Halloween craft and donations, as well as Alice’s, Delnor Health and Wellness, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Elburn Fire Department, Hill’s Country Store, Jewel, Kuipers, Meijer, Ormond Pumpkin Farm, Reynauld’s Euro-Imports, 101.9 FM The Mix, Shady Hill, Subway, Sugar Grove Family Fun Center, Target, Town and Country Public Library, Vertical Endeavors and Bryan Cicchon DDS of Randall Ridge Dental for donating 400 goodie bags and pencils. We hope you will support these business that have helped us in these tough times.

Thanks for bringing the community together.

Tracy Healy and Robynn Pawlak
Elburn

Letter: ‘Throw the bums out’

Our constitution is being dismantled. We are not being represented by anyone. We say “No” and they vote as they please.

It doesn’t matter which party is in office. We are fed lies, and these lies are accelerating.

Everything must be passed quickly or the country will collapse.

I believe our House and Senate are feeding us with this offal so we are not aware of the power grab that is really going on. They don’t even take into account the cries and misery of their constituency.

Perhaps, we should all trek down to the local fast food restaurant and ask for a few of their paper crowns and send them to Washington, I do believe they would like to put them on because then they could openly show their edification to one another.

So I have to utter the immortal words of Casey Stengel: “Throw the bums out.”

Barbara A. Peterzak
Elburn

Letter: Toll authority board meeting demonstrates state’s waste

As a spectator attending a recent board meeting at the toll authority headquarters in Downers Grove I have to admit that I was impressed with all the seemingly influential, important board members.

In addition to the eight or 10 board members, the room was full of toll authority staff at a ratio that seemed to be three- or four-to-one. There was also a small delegation representing surrounding towns with an agenda to influence the board regarding their road needs; and there were two from the media.

As I was sitting through this three-hour meeting, I was thinking to myself, “What a waste of time of these influential, highly paid business men and women.”

The agenda was very elementary as they discussed the advantages of hot asphalt vs. cold asphalt to repair potholes and then spending more time talking about the life span of a road before its needing to be replaced. Another item included workmen’s compensation—how and when to pay. And then there was “employee training” to minimize injury on the job. In recent years, it seems that there have been a number of claims from employees hurting their backs while lifting coins in the counting room. There were other superfluous items on the agenda, but I left at noon, not able to give any more of my time.

It’s hard to believe that the Illinois Department of Transportation didn’t solve pothole and workmen’s comp problems many years ago and that today they are not working on essential road needs. By having a second department of transportation, the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority, the cost for Illinois citizens is in the millions of toll/tax dollars collected each year to pay just for the administration cost. The dollar amount alone in salaries for all these people, board members, toll employees and others attending these meetings, must be catastrophic.

These board meetings are open to the public starting at 9 a.m. on the last Thursday of each month. Go see for yourself what I’m talking about.

We need to tell Governor Quinn and our state legislators that they need to put an end to this shameful waste. Illinois citizens can find more information by visiting www.notolls-il.com.

Russell Johnson
Sugar Grove

Letter: Impressed with Aleburn

The Elburn Chamber of Commerce gets a “thumbs up, five stars” for their Aleburn event.

Saturday’s event deserves special recognition. Billed as a fun afternoon for the whole family, Swing Assembly, an 11-piece band, took the prize. This band was terrific. They were brought to Elburn by none other than our famous Randy Ream; you know, our great meat market guy—Ream’s Market. Randy joined the band with his saxophone too. And Marie, the vocalist was outstanding. Marie’s words, as she sang, were actually understandable. She has great diction. None of that screeching most often heard by many modern-day vocalists. I compare her to others that have made it big; like Barbara Streisand and Diana Krall. Check this band out at www.swingassembly.com.

The event had a truck, a tractor and fire engines, all of which could be climbed on and explored by the children. They, too, had a ball.

Then there was the bags tournament enjoyed mostly by adults but engaged some teenagers too. Michael and Gina Greenen were a couples team. They looked good even if lefty Michael’s toss couldn’t find the hole in the target.

The food and drinks were outstanding. Reams again stood out with their brats and franken brats. Paisano’s, as always, had a wonderful reuben sandwich. American Legion were there to help quench ones thirst. To top it all off, there was Party Animals with their homemade desserts. If you haven’t tried their desserts, give them a try.

All in all, it was a fantastic afternoon. Thank you, Elburn Chamber of Commerce. Joan and I will be anxiously waiting for the next Chamber event. The chamber’s website will be getting our attention frequently, www.Elburn.com. We think this event was the brainchild of Leslie Flint of the Elburn Herald.

Joan and Jack Hansen
Elburn

Letter: Thoughts about the ‘former recession’

Economists, politicians and pundits proclaim “The recession’s over … the recession’s over!”

If the recession is over, why don’t the rest of us feel better? If the experts are indeed telling the truth, why isn’t there more evidence beyond their “happy talk?”

So many of my constituents are unemployed, losing their homes, falling even farther behind on crippling credit card debt, and we’re scared, angry and some are becoming desperate. “Jobless recoveries” are esoteric and frankly worthless for those whom I serve.

Ben Bernanke assures us that the bailouts worked, and got reappointed. Tim Geithner has slowed the breathtaking pace of government takeovers of private enterprises, and I trust is now paying his own taxes. Vice-President Joe Biden claims that the $787 billion so-called stimulus package “is not only working, but is exceeding expectation” by “having created or saved between 500,000 and 750,000 jobs this year,” but who really takes Mr. Biden seriously?

I’m trying not to shout “You lie,” but our current administration seems to be proving the adage, “Politicians campaign in poetry, but govern in prose.” It seems like a better place to begin a true recovery is by telling the truth—Americans can handle it.

You can either believe what politicians and powerful bureaucrats say or you can trust what you actually see for yourself. The facts, as my Illinois constituents see them, do not confirm the Alice in Wonderland/Bernie Madoff blow sunshine at ‘em until the money runs out.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the unemployment rate is over 10 percent in 15 states, with high-taxing states like Michigan at 15.2 percent, California at 11.6 percent, and Illinois at 10.3 percent. The jobless rate, including those who have stopped looking, is now 16.8 percent.

Congress was pushed to pass the stimulus quickly with the promise that, if they did, unemployment would remain below 8 percent in 2009. Shouldn’t nearly $1 trillion of taxpayer money have more and a better effect than just another broken promise?

According to the Census Bureau, median U.S. household income dropped 3.6 percent to $50,303 last year, the sharpest drop since 1967, and sent income to its lowest point in 12 years. Professor Sheldon Danzinger, at the University of Michigan’s Population Studies Center, points out that second years of recessions are typically worse and predicts a drop of 5 percent or more this year.

We are told by the Fed that the banking system has been stabilized, but $49 billion of bad loans were written off in just the past 90 days, up 85 percent (almost double) from one year ago. Delinquent commercial loans for construction and land are now 21.2 percent in Chicago, with delinquent mortgages at 6.1 percent, according to Crain’s Chicago Business. I shudder to think about the impact of consumer credit card loan defaults.

With bad loans piling up, the FDIC has increased the number of endangered banks in jeopardy of closure to 416. Barron’s Financial News reports that FDIC’s insurance fund has fallen to $10.4 billion, setting the stage for the government agency to borrow up to another $500 billion from the Treasury. Taxpayers now and in the future will again be on the hook.

Yet, even with a scorching stock market rally that has increased the S&P 500 Index by more than 50 percent since March, why has the financial sector, the beneficiaries of the first Bush bailout with our money, gained roughly 140 percent during that same vainglorious stretch?

The taxpayer-sponsored Cash-for-Clunkers Program proved a boon to the U.S. economy, but an even greater godsend for Asian automakers. You and I financed 700,000 new car purchases with Asian car companies selling 41 percent (Toyota with 19.4 percent), U.S. car companies sold 39 percent of the total, and European manufacturers taking the rest. China is currently tooling up to enter the American market in the next wave with a big chunk of money provided by multibillionaire Warren Buffet.

Dollars-for-Dishwashers is the next artificial, debt-fueled stimulus program ready to be rolled out. Our children and grandchildren will pay back billions in debt incurred so that our friends and neighbors can buy washing machines, central air conditioners, furnaces, refrigerators, freezers, water heaters and heat pumps. Politicians and bureaucrats will justify this largesse by requiring the Energy Star rating for environmental efficiency.

According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, only 20 percent of 2009 graduates who applied for jobs landed one by graduation day, compared to 51 percent of 2007 graduates.

But most of all, the impact of the political and economic turmoil of the last two years is reaching deeply into the psyche and social fabric of our fellow countrymen. More people are delaying marriage and home-buying, turning to carpools just to get stuck in ever-worsening traffic, staying put but fighting constantly escalating property taxes rather than moving to new cities. The White House says that it’s a “plausible scenario” that by Thanksgiving, 50 percent of us could catch H1N1 flu and 90,000 Americans could die from it. Do you wonder why suicides are increasing?

If it were my decision alone to set our priorities, next to our spiritual health, I would focus on jobs rather than medical healthcare. With higher income, more people and employers can afford healthcare.

Sarah and I have always believed and taught our children that incentives matter: work hard, treat others respectfully, stand against corruption, rein in your appetites and productive results will occur.

Is it selfish for those of us who follow the rules and find it hard enough to take full responsibility for our own families’ actions and welfare to resent being forced by the Obama-Reid-Pelosi government, elected by the majority of Americans, to pay for other people’s mortgages, buy their clunkers, and soon their appliances?

Let’s face it, we are being coaxed into accepting the notion that “less bad” news is good news. We were promised better than this during the campaign more than a year ago, i.e. better economic conditions and a new era of bipartisan leadership. It is obviously not here yet; we are patiently hoping for change.

Senator Chris Lauzen
25th District

Letter: Lions offer Stones and Bones Festival

Saturday, Oct. 3, is the first ever Elburn Lions Stones and Bones Festival.

The title gives nothing away about what it is, except the mystique of it. Quite simply, it means “Stones,” turkey testicles, and “Bones,” barbecue baby back ribs.

Those two items are on the opposite ends of the culinary scale, so we’ve put brats and hot dogs in between.

So much for the culinary part of the title; now for the festival part. There will be a bags tournament from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., or whenever we finish the double elimination. The cost of this is $30 per two-person team in advance, or $35 per two-person team the day of, if there are any spots left. 60 percent of the entry fee will be given back as prize money. Boxes and bags will be provided by the Lions club. Rules will be posted at the registration table and on the field. I’m told that some of the best throwers in this area have signed up.

There will be a community garage sale for anyone that would like to sell items from their home. A $15 fee will get you a 10-foot-by-10-foot space to sell your treasures. You keep the money from your sale, and unsold items must leave with you at the end of the day. A $25 fee will get you a similar-sized space if you are a vendor or crafter.

We have a variety of crafters and vendors for your shopping pleasure. Crafters, vendors and community garage sale participants can still secure a space by calling Cindy Halsey at (630) 466-0341. Our website is www.elburnlions.com.

Live country music will be provided by Back Country Roads from 1 to 4 p.m. Our own Ron Algrim is the head barbeque chef and has a masterful crew that will be preparing your meal. Carry-out half- and full-slab rib dinners will be available by calling (630) 365-6315, but then you’ll miss the music and all the fun.

We have the pleasure of having the gentleman and his cook that drew hundreds of people every year to Huntley, Ill., for a taste of his famous turkey “fries.” We want ours to be as lip-smacking good as theirs.

This is a fundraiser for the upkeep of our 26-acre park, so that your family may play baseball and football, picnic, or use the playground. We look forward to serving you this Saturday, and don’t forget our car show this Sunday, Oct. 4.

Chris Halsey
Elburn Lions Club

Letter: Where were the “facts?”

I would like to know where Jeff MacKenzie got some of his “facts” for his long-winded article to Congressman Foster because some of his information is wrong or just bizarre.

I can’t attest to any agreements between Congress, insurance, AMA, etc., but that is certainly what lobbying is all about. You must contribute money and lobby to be heard.

It is certainly important to communicate either as an individual or an organization with Representatives and Senators in order for them to have facts on which to base decisions. Unfortunately too many of them are for sale and write or support legislation than enriches their campaign or helps them keeps their job rather than doing what they should be doing.

I think most of us who are savvy about health care pricing are aware of multiple tiers, not just three. Medicare and Medicaid tend to pay less than the cost of the value of what they receive. Insurance companies try to follow suit and negotiate to pay 40-60 cents on the dollar. The uninsured price is often negotiable with most providers if there is actual intent to pay. The goal of a government or public option is not, nor should it be, to pay less than the value of the care provided. Neither should the goal be to shift anyone into the public option from private insurance without some type of penalty.

There is plenty of competition in the health care industry. There isn’t much competition in the insurance industry. There is no price collusion between providers and insurers. That would be illegal. Providers are free to accept or decline any insurance they choose. Why should any provider accept payment from any insurer that pays less than the value of the services rendered? Unfortunately, with Medicare and Medicaid, there isn’t much choice. I think we’d all like to see the price structure simplified and all third party reimbursers forced to pay the same price. A big problem now is that you can’t even be sure insurance will cover a procedure after they have preapproved it.

The burden that the insurance industry has placed upon the user and the provider is untenable. Health care providers spend a small fortune employing people to deal with reimbursement and collections. Insurers make a game out of paying late because that extra day or two of interest is more money in their pocket. Insurers can be penalized for late reimbursement but the penalty is woefully inadequate.

Jeff stated that doctors need to be salaried but the question I have is, by whom? Since most doctors are self-employed, how would they be salaried? They have huge overhead with office expenses and staff. Doctors just don’t make that much money anymore. Consider that most go to school for 6-8 years. That’s followed by a residency and perhaps a fellowship. What salary would you think that would be worth, especially when you have to be on-call? Many doctors graduate with a debt in excess of $100,000. What incentive is there to work hard, perhaps 60 hours-per-week for a meager salary? Would you work long days and take call weekends and holidays?

I’m fascinated by the claim that doctors are taking kickbacks and rebates on drugs and services. What legitimate basis can you provide for these claims since these acts are illegal? There was much that went on years ago that never should have been allowed. I’m sure there are still some who take what they can get under the table, but to make a generalization that all doctors are on the take is just not true.

Jeff also doesn’t realize that continuing education is mandatory. What does he mean by “take place in Podunk, NJ or not at all?” Would you want a doctor caring for you who had no additional training in the 10 or 20 years since graduating from medical school? Health care is not static and new procedures, techniques and equipment are constantly being introduced. My mother received care (briefly) after a stroke from a marginally competent physician who was clueless about modern medicine and thought she had Parkinson’s. Fortunately she survived because of attentive family members. She’s doing well fifteen years later and does not have Parkinson’s.

The supply of doctors isn’t so much carefully controlled by the AMA as it is by the market and the desire of people to subject themselves to years of training for declining reimbursement. The government has increased the supply of qualified caregivers by expanding training programs for nurse practitioners, physician’s assistants, nurse anesthetists and nurse midwifes. The problem now is that with the tanking of the economy, the loss of jobs and benefits, it’s not so easy for some of these highly trained, skilled folks to even find a job after graduation.

I think we can all agree that pharmaceutical companies gouge us all. They spend a fortune on advertising trying to get people to believe they should take a pill for every ache or ailment. And of course it must be brand and not generic because drug companies want us to believe that the 3 cent pill is grossly inferior to the $3.50 pill even when made by the same company. The other farce is to combine two generic drugs to make a new “brand” drug and charge a huge markup. As for salespeople, some sales network is necessary as with any business. You can’t sell a product without educating people about its use, especially if it’s a drug.

I think some the biggest issues in health care fall into a number of categories:
1. Denial of insurance for pre-existing conditions.
2. Affordability of insurance.
3. Limits on deductibles.
4. Excessive profit margins by insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies and other products marketed for health care. Does a CEO really need to make $40-50 million or more in salary and benefits?
5. People needing care who opt not to carry insurance when they can afford it and opting not to pay for care received.
6. People who simply can’t afford insurance or health care.
7. Limited ability to get reasonable insurance as an individual.
8. Limited insurance options and portability of policies.
9. Too much red tape and decision-making power with insurance companies.
10. Transparency of actual costs vs. charges.

There are so many facets to the current health care dilemma. Any solution that mandates lower salaries for health care workers is going to result in fewer providers or providers of lower caliber. We are already expected to do too much with too little. How many other jobs demand absolute perfection but reimburse with the convoluted system that we use in health care?

Bob Morgan
Elburn

Letter: Response to MacKenzie health care letter

I read Jeff MacKenzie’s letter on Sept. 17 in the Elburn Herald and would have a hard time finding anything as negative as what he wrote and in fact, had a hard time reading it period. His statements below are in quotes.

“Migration to the government price—a profoundly lower price—is exactly what I need.”

Obama has never shown us concrete premiums for his plan. But a possible comparison is the Illinois insurance plan CHIPS. It’s state insurance for people who can’t get insurance elsewhere. Yes, that’s right, there already is government health care available.

But a family of four, parents in their 40s, two children under age 19, would pay $870 per month, with a $5,000 deductible each. My husband and I, both age 62, would pay a total of $1,624 per month with a $5,000. deductible. This gives you a factual premium cost of a healthcare plan run by the government.

Obama says the insurance will be paid for by those who use it, not out of taxpayer’s money. First of all, we know taxpayer money is already earmarked to be used.

And hurrah for you, Joe Wilson, yes Obama lied. Nothing will change with a government plan because those who can’t afford it still won’t be able to pay for insurance coverage. Except now they’ll be fined by the government for not buying it. We all know that government red tape will make it just about impossible for someone to prove that they can’t afford the premiums and avoid the fine.

“Pricing”: Jeff said doctor income needs to be substantially reduced. I have a friend who’s a doctor, and with the participating provider deductions from insurance companies, his income has consistently gone down over 25 years of practice. In other words, the more expertise he has, the less he gets paid. Doctors go through a long period of education before they can start making money. If the doctor is good, and especially if at times our very lives are in their hands, they deserve to be paid very well.

One year ago, I had cervical spine surgery in which the surgeon cut through the front of my neck, moved my esophagus and vocal cords to the side and filed down deformed bone that if left alone, would have possibly severed my spinal cord and paralyzed me from the neck down. A good orthopedic doctor found the problem and besides him, I consulted with two excellent neurosurgeons, before choosing the doctor who did my surgery.

There was no choice in the matter if I didn’t want to risk paralysis, and I had to trust that my doctor, the nurses and support staff, including a second neurosurgeon who assisted at the surgery, would bring me through. I had to trust that the anesthesiologist whose hands I was in would know what to do if I had a reaction, since I am extremely sensitive to medications and had never been under general anesthetic before.

The total bill for everything was $99,278.12. I can’t visualize what every minute of my five-hour surgery entailed and I don’t want to. No one involved received 100 percent of their share of the $99,278.12. My main surgeon’s bill was reduced by Blue Cross by 31 percent for his 35 years of expertise working around my spinal cord for five hours.

His “assistant” neurosurgeon received less than $1,000. If he’d had to step in for any reason, or simply because he “assisted,” he was worth a lot more than that.

I never experienced a headache or vomiting from the anesthesia mix that the anesthesiologist designed. He was paid $1,887 for keeping me alive for five hours.

My physical therapist restored all movement to my arms, shoulders and neck after the trauma of the surgery, and Blue Cross reduced his and his facilities payment by 50 percent. The nurses at the hospital stayed by my side, administered medication and checked on me every 10 minutes from the moment I hit my hospital room. For their excellent care, the use of pre- and post-surgical rooms, the operating room and all medications, including two nurses who stayed with me 100 percent of my time before, during and after surgery, the hospital’s bill was reduced by 29 percent.

The radiologists, labs and pathologists charged a total of $313.70 for their services, but only received $71 total. A total of $67,812.65 was written off by Blue Cross as a PPO reduction. I would say that doctors income has already been substantially reduced.

“The general public trusts their doctors—I’m not sure why.”

If a doctor has been successful in making you well or has handled a successful surgery, why wouldn’t you trust him/her?

“Medical liability should be eliminated.”

Here’s an example of why it shouldn’t: My husband had a friend who died of cancer at age 24. He had a growth on his thigh the size of a baseball. He was in a car accident and the surgeons needed to do a bone graft in his back. They took bone out of the leg with this baseball size growth and put it in his back. He died a short time later when the cancer therefore spread like wildfire. His young wife was left with medical bills which she figured she’d never pay off in her lifetime. What happened to him was not a simple mistake—it was gross negligence and his wife should have been able to sue and get some help with those bills.

Any doctor can make a mistake, just like any office worker can. But when something turns out to be gross negligence by a doctor, the injured patient or their remaining family have a right to compensation. Where the courts have failed us is when they’ve allowed huge payments on minor or non-negligence suits. The ones that, however, are justified, deserve to be paid.

“The pharmaceutical industry would have us believe that their high prices are necessary to support research. Far too little of their spending is on research” and “Pfiser has a single drug from which they get $68 billion a year.”

Please inform us of the drug’s name and how you got this information so I can research it. C’mon, Elburn Herald. When I did research for a letter in which I commented on building an Aldi’s near my house and included several hours of research on area stores that I carried out, you refused to publish the research as “you had no way of knowing if it was true.” But you publish an outlandish figure like $68 billion on this guys word?

“Healthcare costs the average American more than $10,000 per year.”

Again, show me where you got this statistic. I’m 62 years old and never in all my years of illness and minor and major surgeries have I ever paid out $10,000 in one year.

“A short time ago I voted for Democrats.”

Ah, finally we know where the problem is.

I’m a former employee of both a pharmaceutical company and a hospital, and a patient who has had several surgeries and here’s what people need to think about.

1. Let’s say you have a brilliant daughter who gets a masters degree in chemistry and biology. She’s hired by a pharmaceutical company as part of a team to work on a cancer drug. What should she and her team members each be paid? What is the cost of lab space, equipment and support staff (such as me, who sat for hours typing drug reports for the FDA)? The team works for seven years minimum. Finally the drug is approved by the FDA for human testing. In the cross section of people who offer themselves as guinea pigs, only 1 percent suffers a serious side effect and so the FDA approves the drug. The public loves the drug company at this point.

Once on the market, a larger percentage of patients experience the serious side affect, or new ones appear, and the company decides that it would be cheaper to take it off the market than to pay lawsuits and to risk anyone else from having the side effects. They now have no profit whatsoever on the drug and the people who could have benefited no longer have this drug available.

Now the drug company is an evil monster. (Read the excellent book “The Killers Within,” by Shnayerson/Plotkin, to see the costs to fight the current antibiotic-resistant bacteria problems. The Chicago Tribune’s business section recently wrote that Baxter Labs is investing $435 million into Alzheimers research.)

Let’s say they work several more years on this drug, and the serious side effects have been addressed. At this point the drug company has made no profit. And let’s say the drug company must now charge $100 per month for the drug in order to cover costs and make enough of a profit so that they can now work, for seven years on other promising drugs.

But countries with socialistic medicine, such as Canada, decide $100 is too much, and will only let them charge $80. To make up the difference the company must charge Americans $120. Thus our higher drug costs.

President Bush understood this and was vilified as siding with the evil drug companies when he tried to make it illegal to buy drugs in other countries.

The drug companies are trying to help us, not hurt us. Over the years they have created thousands of drugs which have made life easier and saved lives. When they release a drug, there is always the fear a side effect will rear its ugly head. All the side effect warnings on the package inserts need to be taken very seriously before you pop any pill, including an innocent seeming aspirin, into your mouth. They cannot control how each individual body handles a drug. These drugs are, in fact, very expensive to create and manufacture.

2. The insurance companies may be profit makers but they are not the devil. Why are we so against a profit when that is exactly what we wished all the companies like AIG had produced?

By offering lifetime payout limits and not covering pre-existing conditions immediately, insurance companies can offer cheaper plans to employers. This is how they stay competitive. Obama says he won’t allow insurance companies to have lifetime payout limits and that they’ll be forced to cover pre-existing. This sounds good in a speech before Congress and the nation, however, where will the money come from as the insurance companies costs skyrocket? How will employers pay the higher price for this? And Obama never tells you that they will cover a pre-existing condition after a waiting period, usually six months.

3. Few people know that when Congress enacted President Bush’s Medicare drug program that private insurance companies were no longer allowed to offer drug policies to Medicare patients. The government program couldn’t survive if it had private competition. Government backed healthcare will have the same problem.

4. That illegal aliens wouldn’t be able to buy Obama’s insurance only leaves them in the same place—ER visits where they can’t be turned away. We will all continue to pay their expenses. Since they are illegal, the government won’t even be able to fine them for not having insurance.

5. A solution: When your children graduate from high school or college and are no longer covered on your plan—get them their own individual coverage immediately while they’re still young and in good health. There are many different plans available through Blue Cross alone that can be viewed at www.bcbsil.com.

If they never let it lapse, they will never be without coverage despite an illness or job loss. My son has had three jobs. Two of them didn’t offer any insurance at all. The one that did offered an insurance policy that wasn’t as good as the individual policy he took out immediately after college. Through 14 months of unemployment he had full insurance coverage. We need to get our young people on individual policies immediately

6. Having worked as an insurance verifier at a hospital, I saw the number of people who didn’t have adequate insurance, or who had Medicaid that paid very little. I spent a great deal of time fighting with insurance companies so they’d cover patients. The hospital was often underpaid for their actual costs. That in turn, goes on others bills so they can afford to stay open. What happens when the government reduces all payments?

I also saw how, despite their discounts and PPO reductions, insurance companies usually do pay for necessary surgery. I saw that HMO’s are often flawed as they often deny patients much needed care because their primary doctor makes poor decisions.

When you think of Obama’s health plan, think HMO. And think that the government will find a way to reduce all payments to the point where expert doctors and their staffs, can no longer afford to do what they do so well. Our healthcare system will decline.

I’ve heard of people from countries with socialized medicine waiting months to get a doctor visit or medications, or being denied tests that were crucial to a solid diagnosis. A nurse at the hospital at which I worked brought her mother here from Ireland because their socialistic medicine could not supply a life-saving drug for six months, but she could get it here in one day.

This is because of the current healthcare that is, in fact, so good here. Some writers have claimed that other countries pay 13 percent of their income for healthcare and that it is a lower rate than we pay here. You have to look at all of their taxes. On the Internet, you’ll find that countries such as Norway charge as high as 75 percent of income for their socialism. Who’s to say what part of that goes to healthcare? My husband doesn’t pay anywhere near 13 percent for our insurance.

7. Finally, a note on Medicare. I see the government trying to chip away at it. Medicare was created because all people who retired were suddenly without health insurance after leaving their jobs. This left a vast amount of people who had earned their way suddenly in a dire situation.

Every legal American currently living has paid into Medicare, (along with, actually, many illegal aliens). The actual costs for co-payments and deductibles aren’t cheap once you get it. And when people say that the elderly cost so much more than everyone else with all of their medical problems, I want them to consider all of the health and accident issues caused by young careless drivers and anyone who is drug and alcohol addicted. Take a look at your medical insurance and you will probably find that insurance covers more for drug and alcohol addiction that it does for someone seeking help for other mental conditions.

What about babies who would have never survived before but now do because of expensive medical procedures? Get off the backs of senior citizens, whose age-related issues you will inherit one day. Age discrimination is rampant in the healthcare discussion.

Obama constantly brings up the inflated figure of 30 million people without insurance. A Google search shows that about 250 million Americans do have insurance.

The recent protest against our president’s speech to schoolchildren shows that more and more Americans are now distrusting a man who they should have distrusted before they voted him into office. Just because he can go on TV and have the last word doesn’t make that word truthful or right. People at town hall meetings are screaming for the same reason we all do—you scream when you aren’t being heard.

The fact that even Obama’s democrats are having a problem with his health plan shows that they either truly see all it’s faults or that maybe, just maybe they’re finally hearing us.

Paula Coughlan
Elburn