We regret the errors EDITOR’S NOTE: Since August 2002, writer and educator Barbara Abromitis has written and reported four stories for Chicago Parent. They are: "The inside guide to room parenting" in August, 2002; "Solutions to chronic behavior" in November, 2002; "Are friendships forever" in April, 2003, and "Why kids choose the friends they choose" in June, 2003.
In all those stories Abromitis quoted parents she found through an Internet listserv for mothers who write. She asked questions only via e-mail and did not represent that in the story. Further, she misrepresented where the families were from, saying they were from the Chicago area when they were not.
These are both violations of Chicago Parent practices. In all our stories, Chicago Parent strives for the highest standards of journalism. Accuracy is utmost in our minds.
Chicago Parent staff realized this only after receiving a note from someone on the listserv. Unfortunately, we can no longer assume tacit understanding of our standards. As a result, we have tightened our procedures.
Abromitis offered an apology to Chicago Parent staff and readers, saying it was not her intent to mislead. Nonetheless, she will not write again for Chicago Parent.
We never would have imagined that our Chicago Parent world would be rocked by ethics issues in the midst of a national discussion among journalists, sparked by charges that New York Times reporter Jayson Blair plagiarized and made up facts.
It proves to us that no one is immune and any news organization must be vigilant. We apologize for the errors.
Thank you, Naomi Thank you for taking note of the new family audio from August House. We often feel that we labor in a vacuum--what with the overwhelming marketing of the Disneys and Sonys of the world--so your kind words are a breath of fresh air. TED PARKHURST, President, August House Publishers
You have great readers Last year, I published the book, Our Camp Our Children. Your magazine put information about the book in ShortStuff (March 2002). It has since been reviewed in many other publications. Today, a mom called from Chicago. She had saved the article. Chicago Parent readers are so nice! Thank you so much for providing a magazine that parents can get such a wide range of information for the area we live in. Our local camp (from the book program) has 22 families signed up this year. ANNIE LEIBOVITZ, Buffalo Grove
Don’t overreact to hazing The recent "hazing" among Glenbrook North students was repulsive, mean-spirited and moronic, but overblown. What I wonder is: Why did the juniors stay and take it? The answer, I believe, is peer pressure. It would have been uncool not to. Never is the pressure to be popular stronger than in high school, but teens have to understand there’s a price to be paid for popularity. In the Glenbrook North case, the cost could be life-altering: expulsion from school, a possible criminal record, maybe even jail time. Which leads me to the lesson every youngster needs to learn in a civil society: THINK FOR YOURSELF. Question. Walk away. Defy convention. And in the case of the Glenbrook North girls: use female intuition when things don’t seem exactly kosher. JUDY MARCUS, Glencoe
A warning about strollers This may or may not have been brought to your attention before, but I noticed that Historic Long Grove was advertised in your magazine. I was there last summer with my 3- and 2-year old and a double stroller. Most of the shops had signs on the doors "No strollers allowed." It was a short and final trip for us. TINA SKOREY, Chicago
A warning to women Berry and apple picking are a great way to spend quality family time, but pregnant mothers should be warned that their unborn child could be harmed by a fungicide called Benlate, manufactured by DuPont and used by many farmers in Illinois.
Exposure to this chemical in the first trimester can lead to a severe birth defect known as microphthalmia, or underdeveloped or non-existent blind eyes. Although DuPont has pulled this product off the market, some farmers still use the product.
Please warn your readers to ask farmers what chemicals they use before visiting. AMY KELLOGG, Rockford Editor’s note: DuPont stopped making and selling Benlate in 2001. The company says it has spent $1.7 billion so far to settle Benlate-related litigation.
Thank you Erica, part 1 I was so pleased to read your cover story on "A Long Journey to Motherhood" (May 2003). I, too, am a single mother who decided to give it a go on her own. I have a happy 7-year-old boy who thinks it’s "really cool" that Mom "figured out a way to bring him to life." This path is certainly not for everyone, but we’re an "intact" family that’s delighted to be together. NAN SILVA, Chicago
Thank you Erica, part 2 Thank you for your cover story on single motherhood and infertility (May, 2003). Ms. Salem reminds us that families come in all shapes and sizes and that what is important is a home filled with love. MARCIA SHAPIRO, Chicago
What about the dad? I wish Erica Salem and her two children (May 2003) only the best. But if her experience as a single mother has caused her to realize that there are times when would be "nice" to have a husband, why does Ms. Salem not go on to wonder if her children might one day think it nice--or perhaps more than just nice--to have a father around? I think we take the issue of fatherless children far too lightly. Errant and unfaithful fathers deserve part of the blame for this. But the deliberate removal of fathers from the family, except in their function as sperm donors, is something that deserves our closest scrutiny rather than our uncritical acceptance. DAVID KUNER, Evanston
Correction Reservations are required for the 1-hour factory tour of Long Grove Confectionary in Long Grove and may be made by calling (847) 459-3100. Cost is $2 and tours are offered Monday-Thursday from 9 a.m.-2 p.m.
Please Tell Us... Next month For August’s Reader Poll, it’s back to gift certificates for those whose best kids-and-pets stories we publish. Deadline is July 7. In September, we want to hear about your kid’s fundraising. Is it too much? What do they have to do? Does it teach responsibility? Deadline: August 11. We’ll print your first name, the town in which you live and the names and ages of your kids; please provide us with your full address and phone number for notification purposes only. Send all submissions to: Sandi Pedersen, Chicago Parent, 141 S. Oak Park Ave., Oak Park, IL 60302. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; fax: (708) 524-8360. Deadline: July 7. And the winner is ... The Rempson Family of Olympia Fields won first prize in our random drawing of entries to win a screening for 25 kids of "Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas" as well as popcorn, soda and a $50 Baskin Robbins gift certificate. Chicago Parent and DreamWorks offered this month’s contest. Two other winners, the Vranicar family of Glenview and the Nicklaus family of Batavia, will receive a $25 Baskin Robbins gift certificate and a "Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas" prize packet. Thanks to all who entered.