Chicago, save your historic trees

Campaigns to save heritage trees are growing in the city by residents who want a pro-environmental tree ordinance to protect our urban trees.

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Hybrid elm trees that were planted in 1982, according to Steve Hier, a neighborhood tree steward, line Palmer Square Park in the Logan Square neighborhood, Friday, July 14, 2023. | Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

Hybrid elm trees that were planted in 1982, according to a neighborhood tree steward, line Palmer Square Park in the Logan Square neighborhood, July 14.

Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

Kudos to Sun-Times reporter Andy Grimm for his recent front-page story “Can a tree be historic?” Grimm’s great journalism often covers some of the more “grim” stories, but he hits the ball out of the public parkway with this uplifting, how-to-improve Chicago’s environment story.

We Edgewater residents join the Palmer Square residents in our collaborative fight to save our historic “heritage” trees by identifying mature trees of 50 years and older. We have identified species and ages of more than 400 Edgewater historic heritage trees, which will be tagged and enjoyed by our students, seniors and future generations.

SEND LETTERS TO: We want to hear from our readers. To be considered for publication, letters must include your full name, your neighborhood or hometown and a phone number for verification purposes. Letters should be a maximum of approximately 375 words.

Campaigns to save heritage trees are growing in West, South and North Side communities. We want a pro-environmental Chicago tree ordinance that is transparent, elicits public input and protects our urban trees.

The flood of refugees and new immigrants fleeing a deluge of adversities, unprecedented violence, wildfire smoke, flooding and soaring heat here in Chicago are all facets of climate change.

We thank the Sun-Times for its stellar reporters and editorial leadership on environmental issues we can control and improve in our own neighborhoods. Yes, we can see our urban forest through our magnificent life-giving trees.

Mary Ann Smith, former alderwoman, Edgewater/Lakewood Balmoral Historic District

Mayor is missing in action on crime

How sad is it that we now live in a city torn and convulsed by rampant and brazen street criminals who drive stolen cars and know the police will be ordered not to chase them and whose behavior is justified, excused and encouraged by a mayor who is reluctant to show his face and aggressively speak out — simply and directly — about these thugs and gangsters.

We see Brandon Johnson at every concert, ballgame and event, but never at a press conference following regular weekends of robberies, carjackings and vandalism, where he could be asked about his inaction, ineptitude and indifference to the way our way of life in the city is being corrupted and destroyed by “kids” just having fun.

Every opportunity the largely invisible mayor has to make bold and convincing statements about taking any kind of effective action on the crime issue is weakened and emasculated by weasel words, excuses, justifications and blame shifting.

What kind of city will be left when every plan, trip, entertainment or shopping excursion, or simple dog walk to the park in any neighborhood will need to consider and account for the crime and the risks of masked and armed bands of thieves rampaging through our streets?

How quickly our lives have changed under this new mayor who proudly professes that nothing has surprised him about the city in his first 100 days. Only a fool would think he had mastered and understood the challenges and complexity of a city of this size and former greatness in a matter of months. This attitude and admission simply confirm the grave error we made in electing someone with no business experience and no management history.

Howard A. Tullman, Lincoln Park

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