Domestic violence victims need support from all of us

Thank you for putting such an important story on the front page recently, “Calls for Help.” The increase in domestic violence calls since COVID-19 is heartbreaking. I answer those calls on the crisis line once a week as a volunteer for a domestic violence agency. I have referred callers to the hotline number that the Sun-Times listed at the end of the article more times than I can count. The wait-list for counseling in a one-on-one setting is also too long.

I think about the empty schools, churches, stores, and office buildings around Cook County. There must be a way to convert these places into shelters for both migrants and domestic violence victims. Of course, such conversions cost money. Could not landlords, store owners and school districts receive a state and/or federal tax break for doing this work?

The cost of doing nothing will be high. Children caught up in domestic violence many times turn out to be victims or perpetrators. What is the societal cost of dealing with the problems of the next generation?

Please give generously when the local domestic violence agency in your area comes calling. We know how to stop the cycle of violence in families. But it takes all of us.

Jan Goldberg, Riverside

Don’t let anger over Gaza lead to a repeat of 1968 at Democratic convention

Pro-Palestinian leaders who are calling for mass demonstrations at the Democratic convention have invoked the anti-war protests at the 1968 convention here. They need a history lesson. The outbreaks during the convention greatly aided the election of Richard Nixon, who as an election strategy sabotaged peace talks secretly underway by President Lyndon B. Johnson. Nixon then continued the war for two more years, a period that included the invasion and bombing of Cambodia and Laos, leaving thousands of innocents dead, not to mention the deaths and wounding of thousands of American troops.

So, today we have a president who is working to bring a solution that ends a war and creates a Palestinian state while insisting that Israel has a right to exist. His opponent has often shown disdain for the Palestinians and dismissed any possibility of a state of their own. Anger does not always bring good outcomes.

Roger Flaherty, Andersonville

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More questions to be answered after horned owl deaths

I’m glad that the Sun-Times has given attention to the fact that the mother great horned owl in Lincoln Park (following her mate and their young) has now perished. I know this is anthropocentric, but the story packs more of a punch after having watched these owls for several months: first the mother perched in front of the nest hole with the father keeping watch, day after day, from a nearby tree; then the owlet peeking out from the nest cavity beneath the mother; finally all three perched on the same limb. (Once when a strong gust of wind blew through, I saw the parents actually squeeze their progeny from both sides to keep it secure.) Ironically, all this living and dying took place steps from the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum.

Perhaps the Sun-Times could look into some underlying questions: Can forensics determine whether these owls ingested the “second generation” anticoagulants, which are highly regulated and have been prohibited in California? How prevalent is the use of these poisons in Chicago, particularly in the vicinity of parks and other wildlife areas? Is the Department of Streets and Sanitation doing all it can to reduce the demand for anticoagulants by vigorously enforcing the sanitation code? (I see plenty of city garbage cans, as well as private dumpsters, overflowing with trash in the alleys of my neighborhood.) Is the city, Cook County, and the state of Illinois looking into other rat remedies? Is the Notebaert museum planning any use of its prominent reputation and resources on what seems a uniquely appropriate issue?

While in November I was thrilled to see these birds in Lincoln Park, now in May I would be inclined to warn them to get as far away from Chicago as possible before they meet certain doom.

Andrew S. Mine, Rogers Park

Lawmakers don’t understand ‘balanced’ budget

How delightful to wake up today (May 27) to read that the Illinois Senate has approved millions more of our tax dollars going to support “migrants” and “undocumented people.” When will the people of this state wake up and vote out of office this irresponsible Democrat governor (a millionaire himself) and his minions who seem to have no concept of what a balanced budget is? Those who do not bear the consequences of their actions do not deserve to be making decisions that force others to bear those consequences.

Sherry Szilage Stoffel, North Aurora


The USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has decreed that dairy cows must be tested for the deadly bird flu, which has already killed millions of chickens in the U.S. The unprecedented transmission of the H5N1 virus to cows has drawn public health concerns because cows are mammals, just like humans.

Although the precise cause of the outbreak remains uncertain, the horrendous conditions in today’s factory farms make egg and dairy production extremely vulnerable to disease outbreaks. Sick, crowded, highly stressed animals in contact with contaminated feces and urine provide ideal incubation media for viruses.

Indeed, 61% of the 1,415 pathogens known to infect humans originate with animals. These include Asian flu, dengue fever, Ebola, bird flu, HIV, West Nile fever, yellow fever, and the more recent COVID-19. Each of us can help end animal farming and build up our own health by replacing animal products with delicious, healthy, cruelty-free, eco-friendly plant-based meats, cheeses, and ice creams. These foods don’t carry flu viruses, or government warning labels. They may have been the preferred fare in the Garden of Eden.

Claude Prescott, West Town

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