Area tornadoes

Tornadoes have recently struck in Illinois and throughout the Midwest. (Jennifer M. Kohnke)

Letters to the editor from Oak Lawn, Tinley Park, Mokena, Hickory Hills and Bolingbrook.

Changing weather

We Chicagoans are extremely fortunate. While we may not be able to engage in a calm, civil or respectful conversation regarding religion, politics, economics or the state of the world, there is one subject that unites us all. When pressed for a subject with an acquaintance, family member or just a seat-mate on the bus, the fickle insanity of Mother Nature binds us all.

"How about this weather?"

Carole Bogaard, Oak Lawn

Lessons for teens

It is troubling that 48 students at Oak Lawn Community High School would attempt to circumvent the mandatory 24 hours of service required for graduation.

Perhaps even more troubling, and yet very predictable, is the reaction of some parents that the punishment is too severe.

The idea that 24 hours of service to be performed is something to lie and cheat over is astounding. It is time for parents to stop making excuses for the bad behavior and dishonesty that students sometimes exhibit.

I am certain that many of these parents are upset with the actions of their student and disappointed that the graduation walk will be withheld, but if the students learn from this mistake, then perhaps their non-graduation will be the most important lesson they learned in high school.

Timothy E. Keating, Tinley Park

Bypassing Chicago

A recent Tribune editorial slammed the proposed Illiana Expressway. The proposal does have its risks and, as usual, we cannot build a road in this state without collecting tolls. But this road's benefits outweigh the risks.

The south suburbs have always been behind when it came to roads, infrastructure and jobs. We do not have the economic engine of O'Hare International Airport and the northwest suburbs.

I lived in the northwest suburbs in the early 1960s and remember the tremendous growth through the next few decades. The south suburbs still trail way behind in jobs and prosperity without adequate infrastructure.

When the BNSF Railroad built its intermodal facility in Elwood a dozen years back, no one foresaw the growth in truck traffic on Interstate Highway 80 and Illinois Route 53. As a result, traffic backups and accidents have increased. I-80 is starting to look like the Kennedy Expressway between U.S. 45 and Joliet. Much of the traffic goes to the intermodal facility or continues east into the already clogged Borman Expressway in Indiana.

The Illiana would allow truckers to bypass the area completely and pick up I-65 at Lowell, Ind., instead of clogging up I-80. Much of the truck traffic is not destined for the Chicago area but originates in the upper Midwest with food and paper products destined for the southeast U.S.

The Burnham Plan envisioned another highway bypass of Chicago; this is a chance to build it.

Truckers and motorists would pay anything to avoid Chicago's perpetual traffic jams. I am not an economist, but this road will pay for itself. Not everyone is destined for Chicago. A lot of us just want to get around it.

Richard K. Nilges, Mokena