September 19, 2012 10:42PM
Updated: October 21, 2012 2:47PM
Lauds bike safety moves
In response to Rich Lindbloom’s Sept. 5 letter that the new Homewood “bicycle signs” cost too much, anything that increases driver awareness and makes bicycling safer is worth its weight in gold.
I, too, have been riding around Homewood for years, and thank goodness I’ve never been hit. The new village program includes, in addition to the directional signs indicating where the bike lanes and points of interest are, painted bike lanes on the street and in some cases, actual widening of bike space (Ashland Avenue).
Second, what’s wrong with using a federal grant to increase public safety? One bad car vs. bike accident could result in the same cost in medical bills. Besides that, the project has put people to work.
Lastly, the bicycling initiative that Homewood has taken is a bold step in the right direction. Encouraging residents and visitors to drive less and bike more reduces our carbon footprint. The Earth is in ecological crisis, if you hadn’t noticed.
Mulch removal a must
Now that autumn is almost here, there’s something that every homeowner should be aware of — mulch removal. If you don’t remove mulch from around your trees, they likely will die in a few years.
I know it’s the latest landscaping trend, but as Martha Smith, a University of Illinois Extension Service horticulture educator writes, “Tree bark is meant to protect the trunk. Mulching causes dark and moisture and bark will begin to rot. Rotted bark cannot protect the tree from insects and diseases. In fact, diseases grow better in this type of environment. A mountain of mulch, piled high against a tree trunk, will not kill the tree immediately. It results in slow death.”
I realize that many people have put time and money into using mulch around trees, believing they are protecting the tree roots. But the roots are not at the base of the trunk and reach out as far as the branches.
Think ahead of the cost of tree removal and how awful your yard will look with the trees gone. Please consider mulch removal as part of your autumn cleanup program. More information can be found at urbanext.illinois.edu
Legislative voucher blockade
Many parents of students in Chicago’s worst-performing, most-crowded public schools wish they had an affordable alternative for educating their children.
In a study, the Brookings Institution and Harvard University tracked 1,363 New York City elementary schoolchildren who, starting in 1997, had received tuition vouchers worth up to $1.400. African-American students who received the vouchers were 24 percent more likely to attend college than those unable to get the vouchers.
In Illinois, a proposed voucher program to free 30,000 Chicago public school students has been bottled up in the Legislature for more than two years. Campaign donations seem to be the primary goal of Illinois legislators, many of whom are beholden to their donors from organized labor. What a shame.