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Preserve the beauty of sports pages

Sun-Times Library

In the rampage to capitalize on every major sports extravaganza, compressed into a headlock of product assertions and retouched faces and former players with their deft analysis, I hope the succinct beauty of our sports pages is never lost in the bramble of compressed commercialism.SEND LETTERS TO: letters@suntimes.com

I learned to read from such pages as a young sports fan turning the real pages for scores and columns. Today it is done on devices borne each day. Bravo for such progress! Nothing can replace the texture of paper and ink for me, however, the beauty of its content across the breadth of four-quarters, halftimes and periods: the real language of sports instead of argumentative debates held during halftimes.Vincent Kamin, Loop

Give EMTs body cameras

Since Los Angeles has taken over the title of America’s Second City, ahead of Chicago, principally from population growth and little else, here’s an idea that might place The City of Big Shoulders first among the great cities of the world.

It’s well known that the Chicago Fire Department is legendary, its virtual birth stemming from the catastrophic fire in the 19th century, serving its millions of residents for the last 150 years.

And now, metropolitan firefighters, wearing cameras to combat virtual infernos, can rely on them to assist their efforts, to save even more lives, further embellishing their international reputation.

With the Chicago Police Department on the verge of wearing cameras, if officers can provide incontrovertible evidence of a potential crime being committed, why not furnish all EMTs and on-site attending medical personnel the same advantages to do the same, interacting on-scene with local physicians, clinics, and hospitals?

After all, what should be the prime directive for any city other than to protect, serve, and save lives?

James D. Cook, Schaumburg

Making roads safer

Earlier this month I took the oath of office for my fifth and last time. I am writing to thank your readers for giving me the honor and privilege to serve as their Illinois Secretary of State for a historic fifth term.

Illinoisans deserve the very best from their government. As Secretary of State, it has been and continues to be my mission to run the office with honor, integrity and in a manner that the public deserves. This is a responsibility that I have never, and will never, take for granted.

Since 1999, when I first took the oath of office for Secretary of State, I have focused my work to restore integrity, to make the office more efficient and customer friendly, and to make our roads safer. I am proud to say that we have made great strides in each of these important areas.

Working with my Inspector General, Jim Burns, the former U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, we have changed the culture of the office, restoring integrity and weeding out corruption and wrongdoing.

Through the implementation of new technologies and streamlined operations, wait times at Driver Services facilities have been significantly reduced. My job is not done, and we will be rolling out new initiatives that will further improve customer service.

To make the roads safer, we toughened our DUI laws, which are now considered the best in the country. Since 1999, drunk driving fatalities have dropped by 60 percent. But we didn’t stop there.

Nationally, the leading cause of death for teens is traffic crashes. Tragically, in a 15 month stretch between 2005 and 2006, 15 teenagers in Tazewell County lost their lives on Illinois roads. I was heartbroken, and I was angry. As Secretary of State, I needed to do something about it.

I created a task force made up of legislators, educators, law enforcement officers, judges and traffic safety experts from around the state and country.

Together, we revamped the licensing program for new teen drivers. We required more training, extended the length of the learner’s permit, and enhanced the penalties for failing to comply with the program. The result: Teen driving deaths in Illinois have dropped by over 57 percent.

That’s good, but let’s be clear – I’m still not satisfied. One death is one too many.

That’s why I will be reconvening our traffic safety task force to further improve road safety initiatives.

Before closing, I want to remind your readers that I served our country as a paratrooper in the Army’s 101st Airborne Division. We had a saying there: when you jump out of an airplane, you don’t go half way, you go all the way.

That’s the way I live my life. I never quit.

And that’s why I thank the people of Illinois for the opportunity to continue serving them over the next four years.

Jesse White, Illinois Secretary of State