With his tie-breaking vote last on a low-income rental home project, Mayor Mark Eckert effectively put yet another nail in Belleville's coffin. In a town where property values continue to plummet, the mayor in his infinite wisdom approves yet another low income rental development. One would need only look as far the reunion development on Illinois 159 to see just how well this is going to work. He claims this will be made available for sale in 15 years. Get real. After 15 years they will be fit for demolition.
New leaders needed
It's bad when a sheriff from another county has to keep his investigation into the death of a St. Clair County judge a secret from St. Clair County officials because he was worried about corruption. This is another reason it's time to make drastic changes in St. Clair County.
Another buddy hired
Political favoritism continues. It's not surprising that former Madison County Treasurer Frank Miles was hired for the $85,000 a year job as executive director of the Granite City campus of Southwestern Illinois University. I mean, just look who the president of SWIC is -- Georgia Costello. Name ring a bell? She was not qualified for the job, neither is Miles, but it hardly matters as we cannot stop them. Ask Tom Holbrook.
Be tough on this crime
I was deeply troubled by the recent assault of an 87-year old man in the restroom of a local fast-food restaurant. The alleged perpetrator was an 6' 7", 240-pound, 22-year old. This presents a nightmarish predatory scenario for all men, but especially as they grow older. I hope this bathroom bully gets exactly what he deserves to hopefully serve as a deterrent to others.
Members of the armed forces fight for our rights that they don't fully enjoy. They don't have the First Amendment rights that others have, and when they enter a base's gates, their vehicles are subject to warrantless inspection. And with the passage of Illinois concealed carry, signs are being posted at Scott Air Force Base prohibiting weapons in buildings.
Junk food nation
It is easy to understand why our citizens are the fattest in the world when the return of Hostess snack cakes makes the front page. A large part of our population has a junk food addiction. And while they may feel it is no one's business but their own, it becomes my business when they cause everyone's health care premiums to soar because of the associated cost of obesity and diabetes. It is time we all face the facts on the majority of our medical problems and stop looking for that magic pill to cure all.
Find better photos
You can tell it's the All-Star break when the only photo that the BND staff can find of the Cards is a shot of some Redbirds in various stages of undress. A picture of Carlos Beltran with his pants around his ankles or Yadier Molina with his hands down the front of his pants is not my idea of a fitting action shot. You can do better.
Check the bathrooms
I recently ate at a Belleville restaurant and the men's restroom was dirty and the soap dispenser didn't work. Other Belleville restaurants have very clean restrooms. It would be a public service if the BND could do a survey on the cleanest restrooms in Belleville. There is no excuse for a filthy restroom, especially one with a soap dispenser that doesn't work. This means the employees are not washing their hands.
Residency at issue
So it seems everyone is focusing on the fact that Darron Suggs from the St. Clair County Probation Department was charged with Medicaid fraud. Has anyone noticed the U.S. attorney has his address as residing in East St Louis yet he is a trustee in Washington Park? Last time I checked, you had to live in the community to be a trustee in it.
Any excuse will do
Gas prices just rose 40 cents a gallon in one day. Once again OPEC, the oil companies, et al have stuck it to us. They say there might be a civil war in Egypt affecting oil flow through the Suez Canal, there might be problems in Iraq/Iran affecting the delivery of oil, etc. (I guess an asteroid might hit in the Saudi Arabia oil fields.) They always bet on bad things happening (before they actually do) in the oil market and rush to raise prices. When bad things don't happen they don't say they are sorry, but are very happy with their ill-gotten gains (at our expense) They real tragedy is that there's nothing we can do about the situation. Why don't they wait for bad things to happen before they gouge us?
Can't we clean up?
Is Belleville so depressed that it has to have kids come in from out of state to clean up the parks, etc.? I can think of many areas nearby that need it more than our city. To me, that is a slap in the face.
Distracted and driving
I was sad to read about the tragic accident recently involving the man riding his bike along Illinois 159. I also can't help but wonder how alert the driver of the vehicle was at the time. While I realize this may have been an unavoidable situation, I do notice a high percentage of drivers who talk on their phones when they should be giving 100 percent of their attention to the road and pedestrians and bikers. It is widely accepted that texting impairs driving ability, but talking on one's cellphone is also dangerous. A University of Utah study found that motorists who talk on handheld or hands-free cellular phones are as impaired as drunken drivers. I believe many accidents could be avoided if drivers would minimize distractions and focus on the task at hand.
I have lived in Belleville most of my 66 years. I have watched as the town has changed into a place of which I am no longer proud. What is the matter with the voters? We can't or won't afford a swimming pool or a fireworks display. These are things that much smaller towns do. Yet we should be so proud of the red shoe, the multi-million dollar park (the old Angler's Club ) and let's not forget Art on the Square. I'm sure our young children are thrilled. Mayor Mark Eckert and aldermen, have you even heard of the splash pads in Swansea and O'Fallon?
I had to chuckle when I read Allan Miller's recent letter suggesting that the military could help protect our southern border from invasion. First, he underestimates the skills and knowledge required to be a highly-professional border patrol agent. Second, he's misinformed if he thinks members of today's dramatically downsized military are just doing KP at the mess hall or sitting around in the barracks shining their boots.
Good news missed
I read in another newspaper about two Southwestern Illinois College students winning a national contest and just wanted to congratulate them and the SWIC precision machining program. I guess success stories about local students are not important enough for the BND.
Change the fire board
Cahokia Fire Protection District board members continue to hurt the residents of Cahokia. They put in chiefs who are not qualified; it's nepotism at its finest. Low morale and lack of firefighters harms Cahokia. It's time to change that board along with the chiefs and officers on the Cahokia Volunteer Fire Department.
Can't be objective
Can you believe that Belleville hired two new attorneys and let them write their own contracts? Of course they wrote it so that they would receive a pension. The city should check into other attorneys who would like to have a part-time job that pays $100,000 a year without a pension, but first they would have to find one who was not part of the "good ol' boys" club.
Light up the night
For next year's Tour of Belleville I'd like to suggest that the sponsors make sure all those bicyclists have lights on their bicycles. Not so much for riding during the tour, but afterward when everybody is trying to ride home. I had several incidents in which I almost ran into small children on their bikes with their parents and you could not see them. So for everybody's safety sake, why don't participants be required to have lights on their bikes? I believe that is required by law when riding after dark.
Off to a rousing start
Let's see what the new mayor of New Athens has done in his short term. He had dismissed the lawyer for the town and appointed a relative of his. He has appointed his sister-in-law in charge of emergency coordinator with his wife assisting. He has let our treasurer spend $5,600 on new chairs for board members. This is the beginning of his short term. Wonder what he can all accomplish in his four-year term?
Retirement at risk
I am a retiree. I worked for the state 25 years. My retirement check is less than $25,000 a year. I want to know why the crooked, corrupt Illinois politicians past and present now want to reduce our pensions to make up for what they stole or failed to contribute to that system for so many years. If anybody needs to be paying anything, it's them. I'm 69 and they are talking about reducing my pension when I can least afford it. These people need to held accountable.
Lead by example
I am a fan of St. Clair County Chief Judge John Baricevic and I think he should be the first one to step up to the plate and take the drug test. Set the example and ask other judges to take the drug test. If they have nothing to hide, why be afraid?
The taxpayers in Belleville High School District 201 are fools. They allowed District 201 to sell Belleville West to Lindenwood University for $1. Now they allow District 201 to buy an administrative building for $474,000.
Years ago the director what's now St. Louis Downtown Airport made a commitment to the folks of St. Louis Gardens to keep the fence line cut. It's quite apparent for the last couple of years they've failed miserably of keeping that agreement. Recently I drove by and the grass was 2 or 3 feet high. It's a shame that we have this multi-million dollar corporation that continuously begs for money from the taxpayers yet won't cut the grass.
Welfare for the rich
Don't think I will ever understand why certain politicians want to cut food stamp funding while we are still in a recession, but continue subsidies for oil companies as they make record profits. Could it be that the kickbacks they receive from big oil means more to them than the people who put them in office?
Same old politics
I'm calling in regard of Ralph Hult being trustee on the Belleville Township board. Their party ran as independents and said they weren't going to be like everybody else, no hiring friends. His wife is an alderwoman. The very first appointment they make, they put her husband on the board. It's the same thing. They are no different than any other political party. People need to open their eyes.