The Mt. Vernon Register-News newspaper added a public forum to their website in late 2004. We participated actively, but then we, and most of our friends, were blocked from making further posts starting in mid-May 2005.
We believe the main reason is that they are unable to accept criticism of their bread and butter advertisers, and other local news providers and sources. GSRHC (Good Samaritan Regional Health Center, a.k.a. St. Mary's Good Samaritan Hospital) is a regular advertiser in the Mt. Vernon Register-News newspaper with frequent large public relations ads and inserts. We believe that is probably the cause.
We criticized GSRHC for operation of a medical waste incinerator at 605 North 12th Street, Mt. Vernon, IL. They are in defiance of the Governor of Illinois and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) who want it shut down as a health hazard. This incinerator has been a longstanding source of toxic air pollution in the Mt. Vernon area (and downwind) including mercury, dioxins, and other poisons produced by burning medical waste.
In addition, of course we criticized the helicopters which are also associated with GSRHC. They fly into and out of GSRHC almost daily, often many times per day. Consult the other threads here for further information on the helicopter topic.
We also criticized certain aspects of local government and management, which also has close ties to the Mt. Vernon Register-News.
Obviously it was just too much for them to take. We understand. If you want free speech, you must always fight for it. It is not guaranteed, not even by newspapers who are naturally fond of the notion and usually espouse it. Bottom line: You must bring your own soapbox to stand on, you can't borrow someone else's who has a different view. They'll pull their soapbox out from under you every time... This is a common phenomenon on all public forums on the internet which eventually degenerate into mudslinging then self-destruct.
The Mt. Vernon Register-News now claims that their website and forum was attacked by a "hacker" in mid/late May 2005. Their website went offline briefly, and their forum still remains unworkable as of this writing. For the record, we have no knowledge of such things. We don't have the software nor technical ability to perform such an action, and had nothing to do with it. Their problems are their own.
Aside from these limitations, the Mt. Vernon Register-News forum may be of interest for general communications on other topics, if and when they decide to reactivate it.
There are several other local forums including the following, if you care to take a look:
Those two above were started very recently in response to the Register-News forum going bonkers circa May 21, 2005.
The following is an older forum started April 12, 2004, related to the Mt Vernon Township High School.