Saturday, November 1, 2014

Letters to the Editor

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While we're on the subject of ward parades, the past two years' handling of bus transportation issues--(and I blame both the CTA and the parade sponsors/district and ward officials for their lax attitude toward public transportation commuters) was a nightmare-- not on Elm Street, but on Archer Avenue!

COMPLAINT: Definitely not enough heads-up community mentions about times and re-routing specifics on Archer (which needs to be stated in media outlets and on street postings well ahead of time--say, at least a week).

COMMENTS: In 2013's parade, the driver of the CTA bus I was riding on (I hadn't learned of the parade that day) suddenly turned left off Archer-- well ahead of the usual route end-- without any explanation to the group of passengers.  She opened the doors and as most of us, bewildered, piled forward, querying her, she mumbled something vague and inarticulate, and unceremoniously left us and drove off (including a couple of seniors in their 70s and 80s). We were left to cross the street to wait at the westbound bus stop (not knowing--nor did this driver tell us--that the CTA buses would not be going further west until the parade ended-- a parade most of us still didn't know was happening, as we were at least a mile away)!  

I begrudgingly was forced to walk to my long-off destination, but kept thinking about those poor seniors (who had canes and bags)-- don't know how they got to their homes. On the way back-- well after the parade ended-- the buses still weren't running along Archer, so I walked yet again.  And met up, yet again, with another senior lady (carrying two full bags!). She was confused and tired. I told her she would have to walk a long way (roughly Central to Cicero!), and proceeded to help her by taking both bags and walking very slowly.  Needless to say, it took us a LONG time to get to Cicero.  And there, we waited another 20 minutes or longer.  Finally, a Cicero southbound bus showed up and I helped her on (she still had to get to her home near Midway Airport-- and it was dark by then)!

As the rest of us waited at this corner, no Archer bus was showing up (it was at least an hour now)...until someone Archer bus was on Cicero about to turn eastbound (apparently, while we were all waiting and watching for a bus to come down Archer, from the nether-regions of west Garfield Ridge, at least two Archer buses, must've re-routed down 55th and 'snuck up behind us' on Cicero, to turn back eastward on their merry way down Archer! Well, that young lady yelled loud enough across Cicero to stop that Archer bus in its tracks...we all scuttled across Cicero and scowled as we boarded. All the driver could say, was, "I don't know about that; I just came on shift"!

Earlier this year, I told myself, the parade fiasco wouldn't, couldn't repeat itself. Officials would certainly have straightened out the commuter/bus problems along Archer.  Wishful thinking!  Before I realized what was happening (again, no advance warning/postings in Archer Heights, on the parade about to start in Garfield Ridge), the bus stopped very short of where I (and others) wanted to go-- further westbound.  This time, the CTA driver didn't even know what was happening (she said she was just told to turn here, go there...she wasn't told about any parade).  So, another year, another pile of people left behind to walk helter-skelter along an empty Archer Avenue, like in a zombie movie!

On the way back, the same story. Had to walk for a long time, and wait a long time at Archer and Cicero for a bus (again, at least 45 minutes to an hour after the parade had ended).  Among the group waiting with me this year, was-- the irony!-- a senior veteran with a cane, and proudly wearing his military cap-- thanks to the Veterans Day Parade, this elderly gentleman was left stranded, along with the rest of us (including a woman in a motorized wheel chair, and another middle-aged woman with luggage)!

SO, moral of the story:  It's much less important where a parade is held.  It's direly important that the parade organizers get the logistics right!  Especially 1) transportation issues 2) timing issues 3) proper notification/postings well in advance.

I for one am glad the parade was moved off Archer Avenue in Garfield Ridge....maybe next year, I can get to where I need to go, without walking miles, waiting hours and wasting precious time!


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Dear Editor:

Thank you for speaking with me on the phone the other day and clearing up the misconception I had. It was not your paper that ran special pages about October being Breast Cancer Awareness Month. It was another paper.

To reiterate what I said on the phone, my mom is a breast cancer survivor and it bothers me to no end to see these little newspapers with their annual "fight breast cancer" pages that are filled with paid advertising from politicians and businesses. My sister's business was solicited by a saleswoman to purchase an ad in these pages.

When she learned the cost of the ad, she asked, "So, how much of that is the newspaper donating to the American Cancer Society (or some similar charity)?" to her shock, the ad saleswoman said, "Nothing."

"Nothing?" she asked. "You mean your newspaper is pocketing it all? Isn't that like a scam? And if I don't advertise in your special Breast Cancer Awareness section, I look like I don't care, by my absence, right? Is that the game you're playing?"

The saleswoman left in a hurry.

What angers me further is that these pages offer no significant, useful advice for women. They are just a cluster of ads that basically say, "We think breast cancer is a bad thing."
Gee, ya think?
Sue Vencuro
Archer Heights

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I want to thank Congressman Dan Lipinski for staging such a nice parade on Archer Road this year. You could see from the look on the children's faces how much they enjoyed it, and that was the point, right?

Ester Fernandez

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