Sunday, June 20, 2010
The Golden Pen Award: Nanny wins!
June 19, 2010
It was tough to pick a winner of the Golden Pen Award for May. The letters to the editor written by three finalists were out-standing.
I finally picked the strong letter written by Shirley K. and so did a majority of the readers who cast votes online or through the mail. If their vote is an indication, our incumbent lawmakers shouldn't plan for a party after the Nov. 2 election. It might be wiser to plan a "moving out of Springfield" sale.
Shirley was pleased to win the award. "This just made my week," she said.
Shirley's letter suggested cutting lawmakers' pay and the trappings of elected office instead of slashing funds for education. That made sense to me and the 86 others who picked her letter as last month's best. Letters from Robert Harper of C-dale and Carol Conder earned 54 and 11 votes, respectively.
Shirley resembles my first grade teacher, a lovely and patient woman. I wondered if Shirley got worked up about the educational budget slashing because she was a retired teacher.
Nope. Just concerned about state government. Very concerned.
"It irritates me that they've raised taxes for schools and it didn't go to schools," she said. "They have asked people to take furloughs. I don't see any of them taking furloughs. I don't see any of them saying I don't want the last raise I got."
Shirley worked briefly in the office at International Shoe Co. after graduating from high school. She married her high school sweetheart, Willard K., a few months after getting her diploma and worked as a homemaker, wife and mother as he worked for the Illinois Central Railroad. He died last September, but Shirley's love for him is alive.
"We were married for 55 years, 10 months and 24 days," she said.
Shirley lives near her 95-year-old mother, two grown daughters, four grandsons and one great-granddaughter. It's a close family, she said, and they are able to see one another daily - a rare blessing in our move-to-get-ahead world.
When she's not helping her mother, Shirley said she enjoys being outdoors on her acreage, which includes animals, a barn and pond.
For a glance at Nanny's letter, continue reading:
To the editor:
I was reading Gov. Quinn's report on raising income taxes to pay funding for schools. It seems we are sacrificing our children's education. I didn't see anywhere in the article where all of our elected people, from the governor on down, were going to take a 10 percent to 15 percent reduction in pay to help out the budget.
Why does it seem logical to raise taxes and cut school funding? Excuse me. The taxes are supposed to go to schools.
Those of us that are on fixed incomes have to budget out money every month. If something comes up unexpectedly, we have to adjust our budget. We do not cut out our major expenses.
Our children are our leaders of tomorrow. They need the best education possible. That doesn't mean closing schools and putting children in already crowded classrooms. It doesn't mean putting teachers out of work.
Slash at the top and cut out vehicles, trips and other non-essential expenses.