Too many tragedies at the Brookfield Zoo

I keep getting these “Animails” from Brookfield Zoo, announcing new animal babies and displays. I can’t figure out why they think this is good PR; inevitably weeks or months later, I read about a featured animal being killed.

When I went to the zoo to see the baby tiger twins, I was horrified to learn that the father tiger attacked (and ultimately killed) the little male while the mother frantically bit off bits of both cubs’ tails trying to save them. Recently I returned to the zoo, taking a friend’s 10-year-old son to see the baby gibbons, only to discover it had died. I never did get around to seeing the much-publicized stingray bay, and never will, after a faulty thermostat killed 16 stingrays.

Add to the above tragedies the premature death of Mame the African elephant, who was mauled in an altercation with another elephant in their small enclosure; the recent death of one of the giraffes who strangled himself on items left within his reach; and a recent dolphin loss due to infection.

Yet Brookfield Zoo remains open for business, carelessly allowing animals to be killed, one after another. I have never heard of so many animals being killed at one zoo on a regular basis, and I’m tired of reading about how the staff was “upset about the tragedy.”

The Association of Zoos and Aquariums needs to hit Brookfield Zoo where it really hurts: with heavy fines and closure, until the zoo can demonstrate it has the knowledge, skills, and ability to keep the animals – who are at their mercy – comfortable, safe, and alive.

Lori McDaniel
Forest Park

A failing school district

Am I the only resident curious as to why there has been no mention of District 209’s yearly report card failure? Is the board’s objective to keep us occupied with the legal bills of a person who perhaps should have focused more on the job at hand?

Proviso East failed to make Adequate Yearly Progress four years in a row – they are required to offer parents the choice of attending a non-failing public institution. Proviso West has also failed, categorizing the whole district as a failure. This little talked about federal law is called No Child Left Behind, and it came about in 2001. As a parent, I was wondering why, when our children are to enter high school, Forest Park has no educational platform other than to move to a district that cares about education, or pony up the dough for a private one.

It is a shame that no one seems to be talking about the school system at all. You can check for yourself, and I encourage you to do so by accessing the Illinois state report card Web site,

Ashton Hahn
Forest Park

The family business

After over 80 years, having prospered through three generations, it is with much respect for the members of our community that I announce that R. Quitsch Florist will be closing our doors permanently on Aug. 2.

Our family has enjoyed working in, living in, and being a part of Forest Park since the early 1920s. We’ve been privileged to share with you your happiest and saddest of times; holidays, birthdays, weddings, births and deaths. We have appreciated not only your business, but your friendship and kindness throughout the years.

We will truly miss each and every one of you, especially those that have just stopped by the store to say “hello.”

Our family worked together – grandmas, grandpas, moms, dads, sisters, brothers, cousins, aunts and uncles. Along the way we were happy to add friends to our long list of dedicated workers. We will fondly remember working together within the community and hope we have touched your lives as much as you have touched ours. You will never be forgotten. Thank you to everyone for many years of joy.

Peace, and remember always to stop and smell the flowers!

Dixie Quitsch Paugh
R. Quitsch Florist, Forest Park

Visitor’s observations

I had another of my infrequent visits to a close friend in Forest Park over the weekend; grew up here and am always interested in how the community is fairing. I was a rambunctious youth, somewhat on the wild side. Still to this day I can’t answer a question without a wisecrack. The police couldn’t break me of that, nor could my drill sergeant.

Forest Park seems to be the bellwether for the collapse of American culture and society. Eighteen years of patrolling is close to 40,000 hours of serving the community and Mr. Murphy needs to add another 200, after 12 months visiting with his Excellency, George Ryan?

Procedures are procedures. Thirty-five years ago the procedure was to do as little paperwork as possible; we were never brought in or booked. Few, if any of us, are at this time in life less than model citizens.

In five years how often has the unnamed panhandler been a burden to the court system?

John Nickels