Weather Updates

Letters to the Editor

Updated: January 6, 2013 9:39AM

Relates WWWII story
of ship sinking

I was stunned at a name in the morning paper. Elmer Renner was gone; all that positive energy had stopped short.

I had made minor contributions to his book, “Sea of Sharks,” and I was amazed at what a motivator he was. Years ago I wrote to Congressman Hastert urging that some kind of award be found for this unique person.

His story is immense. While I had been living a comfortable life, at age 12 — he and eight others had been clinging to the wreck of a raft in the stormy Pacific. He was never one to complain, but I perceive some injustice there.

USS YMS 472 sank in a typhoon on Sept. 16, 1945, just after the Japanese surrender of Sept. 2. Elmer’s wife was notified of the loss of 472 — but the Pacific Fleet, with all its search and rescue capability, was not. The raft, with he, and only six others, was found accidentally by two sharp-eyed Navy pilots after five days of near death.

Elm wouldn’t criticize,but he confided to me that he, the engineering officer, and the 472’s captain had bad communications. When the little ship got in trouble he had some thoughts that he could not voice, about the problem of heavy sonic gear stressing the bow. Dumping that weight might have made all the difference.

He left behind a ship model which I have seen, of 472. It ought to go to the Smithsonian; it illustrates the problems of those perilous wooden ships.

John Heinz


Our least popular
Governor Quinn

It appears that Illinoisans have reaped another bitter harvest regarding our amazing capacity for dismal electoral choices. Recent news tells us that our governor Pat Quinn is the nation’s least liked governor with a 25 percent approval rating).

We dislike/distrust our head-of-state more than any other state constituency dislikes theirs. Though the polls spewing such results might also be considered a measure of how much we distrust our own judgment, it’s doubtful that our obtuseness (evidenced by litanies of poor choices) will permit such insight. One must wonder when the recall movement (ala Scott Walker and Wisconsin) will begin.

Considering our predilections for criminals for public service or depraved fiscally incompetent/irresponsible power brokers, or any of an assortment of other characters with records of betrayal of the public trust (including two ex-governors), it’s surprising that so much venom is expended upon Quinn.

North Korea and Illinois are bankrupt thanks in no small measure to the denseness of their leadership. At least the North Koreans can claim electoral purity in that they didn’t vote for their guy — while we Illinoisans continue to make strong arguments for the folly of democracy.

Les Lopinot


Private project going
federal project isn’t

The home improvement store Menards is hiring people in Wisconsin, “shipping” them to North Dakota for a week, bringing them home for a week, and then back again for another week, ad infinitum, it seems. Why?

I just heard about this on the radio, and then checked it out on the web. Unemployment in North Dakota is roughly two percent. They are running out of people to employ, so companies like Menards are hiring folks who don’t mind being sent up there to work every other week.

Thought the national economy is slogging along? Well, yes, it is. So what’s going on in North Dakota? Why the anomaly?

Huge deposits of oil/natural gas on private property are being mined, and because it’s on private land, the feds cannot stop it. Lots and lots of people are being hired to work these fields, and those people need “support” services, and those companies, be they food stores, restaurants, or home-building stores such as Menards, have apparently been hiring like mad.

Adding fuel to this fire, recent major flooding has caused extensive damage in the Minot area, and demand for building materials shot through the roof.

So what to do when the worker supply dwindles like that? You do like Menards and bring in whomever you can, however you can, from wherever you can.

Which brings me, once again, to the Keystone pipeline, a project controlled by the feds, i.e., big government and is, at best, stalemated, providing few, if any, jobs. The N.D. projects are owned and operated by private enterprise, and are booming.

I’ll let the readers come to their own conclusions.

John Babush

Big Rock

© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit To order a reprint of this article, click here.