Maybe Michelle Obama had to leave the South Side to find ‘culture,’ but I sure didn’tLetters to the Editoron October 1, 2021 at 9:44 pm

The Avalon Regal Theater, at 1641 E. 79th Street in South Shore. | Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times

At the Regal Ballroom, we saw the Temptations, James Brown, Stevie Wonder and hundreds of others. As far as art, we had the Hyde Park Art Center.

I felt bad when I read in a Lynn Sweet column that Michelle Obama’s family, when she was growing up on the South Side, felt they had to head north to the Loop to find culture. My memories of shows at the Regal Theater on the South Side include the Temptations, James Brown, Stevie Wonder and hundreds of others. As far as art, we had the Hyde Park Art Center.

We had “happenings” and “be-ins.” We had the Arie Crown Theater, too, once McCormick place opened. There were always free classical music concerts at the University of Chicago, and students organized concerts by Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf and many others.

Most of my friends who lived on the North Side complained that all the good shows were on the South Side. I think Michelle has a selective memory.

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I don’t object to the Obama Presidential Center, but I do object to its location. It should have been located adjacent to Washington Park, as there is vast open space there for fairs and festivals. It would have expanded that park.

Ross Petersen, Lincoln Park

Get the lead pipes out

Sitting on the shores of Lake Michigan, it’s understandable how someone might take this vast natural resource of fresh water for granted. But this Sunday, Oct. 3, kicks off Chicago Water Week, an annual event that aims to bring attention to water’s important role in our lives and understand the varied and complex factors that ensure clean and reliable water delivery.

Though our region is blessed with a nearby resource of fresh water, not all of us can rely on safe water to come out of our taps. And, unfortunately, some of those people are here in Illinois.

For years, Illinois has had the dubious distinction of being the state with the most lead pipes in the country, largely due to the amount of lead pipes in the City of Chicago (the city with the most lead pipes in the country).

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At the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District, our mission is to protect the water environment so that a source of clean and safe water is available for all. But the presence of lead in our drinking water is incredibly dangerous and we know that it doesn’t take much lead to have disastrous effects, particularly among children.

Fortunately, efforts at the federal and state levels are poised to make a real difference: President Biden’s infrastructure plan would eliminate 100% of lead service lines in the United States, and this summer the Illinois legislature passed the Lead Service Line Replacement Notification Act, which mandates that water suppliers develop plans to remove lead service lines across the state.

These investments and commitments in our water delivery infrastructure are crucial and cannot be delayed. Our water supply must be accessible to all Chicagoans because it is an essential component for a healthy life.

Join the MWRD as we partner with Current, an organization dedicated to being a catalyst for cleaner water. for Chicago Water Week. Learn more about this most important of natural resources at CurrentWater.org.

Mariyana Spyropoulos, commissioner, Metropolitan Water Reclamation District

Frats get foolish every fall

It happens about this same time every year. No, I’m not referring to the waning hours of sunlight or the brilliant autumnal color changes. I am referring to frat parties and initiation ceremonies that go terribly wrong.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m totally in favor of frivolous hijinx on campus. Heaven knows that immoral and unlawful conduct is a pleasant way to shake the monotonous pattern of attending classes and writing term papers.

But enough is enough, already. People are getting hurt and the scar tissue can linger well into adulthood. Co-eds are being drugged and molested and unwitting pledges are being forced to conduct themselves in a manner that is not only embarrassing but potentially dangerous.

Particularly disturbing is the fact that many of these events are occurring on the campuses of well-respected institutes of higher learning. Apparently SAT scores bear little or no relationship to a student’s level of common sense or maturity, especially when alcohol is introduced into the equation.

Has the time finally come to eliminate frat parties and initiations once and for all?

Bob Ory, Elgin

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