Letters to the Editor: Honoring Illinois foster parents and child welfare staff

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During National Foster Care month, let’s take a break from the challenges facing Illinois’ child welfare system to instead spotlight the unsung heroes of Illinois: our foster parents and child welfare staff. Amidst public narratives that can overshadow their efforts, these individuals work tirelessly to support children who have been traumatized by abuse and/or neglect.

They embody compassion, resilience, and selflessness as they dedicate their lives to caring for vulnerable children who, upon entering foster care, become the responsibility of our state and by extension, all of us as its citizens.

As president and CEO of Lutheran Child and Family Services of Illinois, one of the state’s largest private child welfare agencies, I see their impact on the lives of the children in our care. Behind closed doors, away from the spotlight, foster parents create safe havens, nurturing environments, and opportunities for healing. Child welfare staff work tirelessly, navigating complex systems to ensure these children receive the care and support they need.

Yet, their efforts often go unnoticed or underappreciated. It’s time we change this narrative. Let’s honor these individuals for the invaluable, albeit often thankless, work they do. They are the backbone of our society’s safety net for children and families in crisis.

As we celebrate National Foster Care Month, let’s not only express our gratitude, but also commit to supporting policies and initiatives that strengthen the foster care system and prioritize the well-being of our most vulnerable.

Mike Bertrand, O’Fallon

It takes two

Here’s a novel thought for you. It’s said that it takes two combatants to have an argument. International events and politics must follow suit.

So, it should come as no surprise to anyone when I say that Vladimir Putin does not bear the sole responsibility for the war in Ukraine.

My point? Why did we insist on allowing that war-torn region of the world to join NATO when the Cold War had ended years before?

Food for thought.

Frank Conrath, Belleville

Bird flu threatens nation’s dairy supply

The deadly flu virus is not just “for the birds” anymore!

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has just 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 pandemic.

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 offered by our favorite supermarket. These foods don’t carry flu viruses, or government warning labels. They may have been the preferred fare in the Garden of Eden.

Billy Evanson, Belleville

Not an example of integrity

A previous letter claimed President Joe Biden is a man of integrity. Let’s see.

A New York police officer was killed in the line of duty, and Biden doesn’t reach out to his family, not even a phone call. But he did have time to attend a multi-million-dollar fundraiser in Manhattan. He apologized for calling Laken Riley’s killer, who had no right to be in this country, an “illegal,” but no apology to Laken’s parents for their daughter’s horrific murder.You call that integrity?

Biden has used the power of his office as a senator and vice president to enrich himself and his family. He uses his Justice Department to go after his political opponents, not just Donald Trump, but people praying outside abortion clinics. That’s integrity?

Biden lied about border patrol agents whipping migrants even though that accusation had been completely debunked. But no apology to those agents. He lies that he reduced the national debt, which has significantly increased on his watch. The Supreme Court ruled his loan forgiveness plan was unconstitutional, but Biden looks for ways to circumvent decisions he doesn’t like. That’s not integrity.

He lectures American corporations to “pay your fair share” of taxes, but the biggest corporate welfare scam is from Biden’s payoffs to green energy behemoths. Most of these corporations pay nearly “0” income taxes. But despite the tax breaks and all the subsidies they get, we still get over 80% of our energy from fossil fuels and nuclear power. What a ripoff.

Mallory Hayes, Belleville

Lessons learned from COVID

What did we learn from COVID? It came on the scene four years ago and stuck around.

On Tuesday, May 7, the Madison County Health Advisory Committee discussed COVID and everything that surrounded it.

From the beginning, many of us were skeptical of the message from Dr. Anthony Fauci.

Four years ago, we were in lock down, and on May 2, 2020, I wrote a letter to Gov. J.B Pritzker, requesting that our county be allowed to reopen. Hearing nothing, the county board voted 26 to 2 to reopen, according to our own schedule.

Later, the county board passed resolutions encouraging school districts to let parents make decisions regarding masks (July 2021) and opposing employer-mandated COVID shots (January 2022).

During the past four years I wrote letters to the editor, encouraging people to think for themselves regarding the COVID shots.

What did we learn?

One lesson is the importance of the First Amendment — freedom of speech and freedom of the press.

We heard the message “safe and effective” repeated again and again.

But others were saying “harmful and not effective.” These voices were censored.

This is what our Founding Fathers feared – that the government would try to censor free speech, as our government is trying to do today, with the excuse that it is “misinformation” or “hateful.”

Is there a way for us to hear alternate views?

Yes, may I suggest X/Twitter? The platform now allows a variety of views, which are often banned from mainstream and other social media.

Kurt Prenzler, CPA, Madison County Board Chairman

Too many innocent victims

How many of our children have to die by the hands of illegal criminals?

To name some of the few who recently died and were raped are beautiful 22-year-old Laken Riley from Georgia. A 14-year-old girl from Louisiana was raped by an illegal from Honduras who then stabbed a man numerous times while robbing him. A Venezuelan illegal is charged with sexual assault against a 14-year-old girl in Virginia. A Salvadoran illegal is arrested in connection to a Maryland murder of a 2-year-old boy.

And the list goes on and on.

The blood of these innocent victims is on the hands of Joe Biden and his Democrat cronies, who just ripped open the border for every lunatic to come waltzing in and receive free everything as long as you vote Democrat.

And now Biden decides he needs to go to the border … and do what?

Too much damage has been done. These beautiful young people should still be alive, enjoying their family and friends.

Please wake up, America. We can’t afford another four years of Biden and Democrats while continually losing our daughters and sons to murder, rape and illegal drugs from lunatics crossing borders into our country illegally.

I thought Biden took an oath to defend our borders when he became (and I use this word loosely) president.

Obviously, he doesn’t remember what an oath is, but he knows his ice cream.

Myra Sewald, Mascoutah