Happy 20th, Chicago Parent With the August 2004 issue of Chicago Parent in hand, I am moved to let you know how wonderful the front cover image is, and what a wonderful message I think it sends to families. This seems like a bit of a departure for your publication, and one that I truly appreciate. Also, wanted to congratulate Chicago Parent on your upcoming 20th anniversary. We share some of the pride you must all feel for this important landmark, for the Music Institute has been a client and partner with the publication for 19 of these 20 years. To your next 20 years! ADRIENNE N. HIRSCH Music Institute of Chicago Winnetka

Please, more reader essays I loved the reader essays in the July issue of Chicago Parent. Could you do this more often- like every issue? That would be great. I am a longtime reader of the magazine, about 10 years. VICKY LUDLOWSKI Elmhurst

Thanks for rip-worthy essays Rip! Rip! Rip! Thank you for publishing all three well-written, relevant reader essays in your July 2004 issue. Rip out No. 1: Party is such sweet sorrow. My granddaughters are 3 and 1, and my daughter, Jean, is always looking for celebration ideas, tips and short cuts. Rip out No. 2: Business secrets of the lemonade stand. Another daughter, 17-year-old Jessica, will be taking her first business course at school this year, and I think she may benefit from 6-year-old Hailley's experience. (The participants in the first episode of Trump's "The Apprentice" might have learned a thing or two, as well.) Rip out No. 3: Making the jump to minivan speed. Here's another article for Jean, who has been toying with the idea of purchasing a minivan. Thank you to those parent writers for sharing. JUDI STEPHENS Niles

Can we complain about TV? I was pleased to read Dave Whitaker's "What are they watching" story (September 2004). I have shared these same feelings with several of my friends, although not as eloquently. I especially appreciate the statement about how such programs affect children's language, behavior and development.  I actually adhere to these concerns much more diligently when selecting the movies I permit my sons to watch. My only suggestion is to inform parents of how to challenge the responsibility of the shows' creators. Provide contact information for TV stations and movie theaters so parents may voice their concerns. I've e-mailed movie studio Web sites to complain about the language they have used in movies. I never receive the courtesy of a response. JACKIE GORDEN-PLATEK Wildwood

Editor's note: Here are some options for complaining about television shows and movies: • The Federal Communications Commission, www.fcc.gov, takes complaints about television programs. Write a letter and send a copy to the general manager of the local station that aired the show. The local station holds its own license and is responsible for the programming aired, no matter who produces the shows. When the license comes up for review before the FCC, the local station's application must include viewers' letters.  • The Parents Television Council, www.parentstv.org, will walk you through how to file an FCC complaint.  • Children Now, a group that studies the effects of media on children, www.childrennow.org, has a section on advocacy for children's television.  • The American Academy of Pediatrics' Media Matters campaign, www.aap.org, explains media ownership and has template letters to send to television and movie officials.  • New American Dream, www.newdream.org, has a section on its Web site called "Kids and commercialism," which explains effective letter writing for changing television.  • Stop Commercial Exploitation of Children is a national coalition of health care professionals, educators, advocacy groups and concerned parents. Its Web site, www.commercialexplotation.com, has a list of national groups under "links" and also lists current federal legislation on marketing that might affect children.  • The Motion Picture Association of America, www.mpaa.org, take complaints about movie ratings or language. Send them to: MPAA, 15503 Ventura Blvd., Encino, CA., 91436, and copy your congressional representatives.

Good job on IEP explanation I thought your information about Individual Education Plans (September 2004) was most informative and helpful to parents. I started the Education Center in Oak Park in 1979. MICHAEL H. LITOW Aurora

Chicago Grandparent? I read your publication each month. I really enjoy the up-to-date parenting info and share it with my daughter and daughter-in-law. I spend a lot of time with my grandchildren and have them overnight frequently. As I glanced through your July issue I couldn't help but think: Wouldn't it be nice if there were a publication out there similar to yours that was specifically for grandparents? I sure could use some special grandparenting tips! Why not start with some grandparent articles in the Chicago Parent publication? Possible topics: "What's normal by today's standards?" "Discipline, grandma style," "How to explain grandma's rules vs. mom's rules," "What happens when the second one comes along?" and "The new generation of grandparents." I'm a grandma to three at age 52. Thank you.   ELLEN PRUS Elmwood Park

Bush bashing? No, reality I had to reply to Eric Simon's letter (September 2004). Chicago Parent was not Bush-bashing. Bush is finally showing his true colors. Rather than being the amiable good guy he pretends to be, he has shown his willingness to slander men who faithfully served their country in Vietnam. A disturbing pattern has emerged in which Bush's opponents are attacked at the most personal levels, rather than on their actual policies. The distortions in the Swift Boat controversy would have stopped immediately without Bush's approval and backing. As much as he pays lip service to being impartial, he did not come forward to make any statements about the slanderous ads until he was forced to from political pressure; he still has not actually disavowed the Swift Boat incident ads. Bush will do whatever it takes to win. Does this seem like a "compassionate" man? ELLEN DEITELBAUM LUNZ Wilmette

Question our government In response to the mother who was trying to explain the war in Iraq for her child (August 2004), I'd like to congratulate her on her patriotic fervor. Our Congress and our politicians and a bipartisan commission tell us now that we were duped, and good patriotic Americans paid the ultimate price. Not only did Iraq not threaten us explicitly or implicity, but the so-called weapons of mass destruction were not found, and perhaps did not exist. Now, with the U.S. invasion, Iraq became, in the words of a high-ranking U.S. general, "a terrorist magnet." I believe it was President Truman who said: "War is too important to be left to generals" and, I would add, to politicians. It is indeed patriotic to question your government and politicians when you see that they will put the country on a course that is detrimental to its interest and its people-just as patriotic as fighting for it when it is threatened. SAMIR DIAB Bridgeview

Thanks for Gable story I appreciate the story you ran on Carolyn Gable (September 2004). It looks great and letting more people know about her foundation is terrific, too. TOM CIESIELKA Chicago

PETA not giving all the facts I read "Save the shivering elephants" (August 2004), written by Nicole Meyer with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, and it didn't seem she presented the whole story regarding the elephants at Lincoln Park Zoo. I have been a frequent patron of the zoo as well as a member. My questions to Meyer are: Who owns the elephants in question (it is my understanding that many zoo animals are moved around the country for a variety of reasons, so the zoo they reside in may not be the owner), and if these animals are not owned by Lincoln Park Zoo, why is PETA concentrating on the zoo they happen to reside in and not their owners? 

Second, I would like to know exactly what vet care is available in the Elephant Sanctuary. Will the animals receive the level of care they are used to? Also, not all types of elephants get along with all other elephants. I'm certain PETA would not want any elephants to be killed by other types of elephants.

Third, what are Meyer's credentials? Does she have a zoology degree? Has she worked with exotic animals? How does PETA get its information regarding these animals? She wrote, "… these elephants show visible signs of physical and psychological decline." What signs? Most animals in captivity experience some type of physical or psychological stress due to their confinement, not to mistreatment. What are the other options? Elephants are still being slaughtered in many countries.

At Lincoln Park Zoo, I have seen firsthand the dedication of the keepers. I believe PETA is doing the public a disservice by making these unverified accusations. CHRISTINE DRUMM Channahon 

About letters Chicago Parent welcomes letters from its readers.  In order to publish a letter, we must have the name and phone number of the writer, and the name of the town in which he or she resides. Please send letters to:  • Susy Schultz, editor, Chicago Parent, 141 S. Oak Park Ave., Oak Park, IL 60302 • Or fax them to Susy at (708) 524-8360 • Or e-mail them to [email protected] We may edit letters for space or clarity. We will not divulge the addresses or phone numbers of letter-writers or forward messages to them.


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