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Monday, March 27, 2023

Letters: Proposed amendments to Illinois’ Crematory Regulation Act would hurt families

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State Rep. Anthony DeLuca of Chicago Heights has introduced House Bill 1367, which seeks to amend the Crematory Regulation Act in a way that could have devastating and long-term effects on many people in the state of Illinois.

I read through the bill as presented, and, as an Illinoisan, I have deep concerns about what this bill is aiming to do and the possible effects it will have on families, funeral homes and hospitals.

This act would make it illegal for crematories and funeral homes to give the cremains of loved ones to family members/“authorized agents,” unless they have a cemetery in which to bury the cremains.

As a clergy member, I have done services for many families who have chosen to have their loved ones cremated. Some of these families bury the cremains; some take the cremains home and keep the cremains in a place that brings them comfort. Some have scattered the ashes in a place of significant meaning to them and/or their deceased loved one. The bill would allow an “authorized agent” to receive 8 ounces of cremains. I believe this would cause undue emotional, financial and spiritual harm to family members who are already grieving the loss of a loved one.

I am concerned about what this bill will do to funeral home directors and hospitals that would, no doubt, be left with abandoned cremains and bodies because of families that cannot afford to bury their loved ones.

I am concerned for those who have already made plans with places like the Cremation Society of Illinois. What happens to these people and their prearranged plans?

The cynic in me thinks there is something behind this bill that has to do with money. At the presentation of the bill, there were 21 proponents and 250 opponents. Of the proponents, there are two out-of-state companies that appear to buy up and/or consolidate cemetery properties. Veneration Holdings says it “seeks to acquire successful death care businesses across the United States.” StoneMor Inc. owns 301 cemeteries and 69 funeral homes in 24 states and Puerto Rico, according to its website.

If you believe you and your family should have the right to decide what happens to your body after you die, where your remains will go, contact your Illinois state representative today and make your voice heard!

— The Rev. Suzanne Anderson-Hurdle, Romeoville, Illinois

Great editorial on the Illinois innovation of developing long-range electric car batteries (“Thanks in part to Illinois innovation, ‘range anxiety’ won’t hamper electric cars for long,” March 16). But the Tribune Editorial Board fails to address a number of issues that are really important, more so than the feel-good proposition of electric cars, boats and planes.

When will these batteries be available? A year? Five or 10? How much will the battery increase the cost of a car? How about the cost of a truck or plane? How long will it take to charge? For instance, every time I gas up on my cross-country trip, it takes about five minutes, and I get about 500 miles. So there is a likelihood that an oasis with snacks, restrooms, reading rooms and motels may have to be built every 1,000 miles or so to accommodate the extended charging times and layovers. Don’t worry about truck stops going away. And how much will all this infrastructure cost?

Finally, and most importantly, how are we going to make all this electricity?

— Robert Stasch, Chicago

There is a lot of talk about Joe Biden being “too old” to be president — not based on any cognitive issues but purely based on age and the bias of the observer, especially the media. Having a bias against someone based purely on age is ageism.

My hope is that we are able to see this and adjust our thoughts and words to reflect that the judgment we bring upon a president is not based on the age he or she has attained but on the person’s ability to carry out the required tasks of the office. In my opinion, Biden is doing a fine job based on this criteria.

Just as the media no longer expresses a judgment based on sexual orientation or ethnic background, age should also be a nonissue. Can you imagine the uproar if the media were writing stories about an officeholder being “too gay” or “too Black” or “too fat”?

My hope is that in short time, it will be as embarrassing and shameful to judge one as “too old” just as we once did on other immaterial characteristics.

— William F. DeMarco, Chicago

I really enjoyed Christopher de Vinck’s op-ed on grandparents (“As a first-time grandfather, I give thanks to a gruff military man,” March 11). Just like Christopher, I spent many times with my grandchildren eating pretend food they prepared in their make-believe kitchens and restaurants. I watched a small grandson build a complex set of tracks for his Thomas trains. I wouldn’t trade a moment of these times.

I am blessed with seeing these same grandchildren, who now are adults and teenagers, and I couldn’t be prouder of them. Ogden Nash had it right when he wrote, “When grandparents enter the door, discipline flies out the window.”

Thank you to Christopher for bringing back these memories.

— Ann Meeker, Elk Grove Village

Kyle Abraham's "Are You in Your Feelings?" is performed by the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.

Paul Kolnik’s photo of the Alvin Ailey dancers in midair on the March 10 A&E front page is phenomenal (“Timely and timeless”). I couldn’t take my eyes off it as words rolled through my head: beauty, discipline, grace, energy, harmony, lightness, confidence, joy and more.

An uplifting photo truly worth a thousand words.

— Randy Lewis, Deer Park

Join the conversation in our Letters to the Editor Facebook group.

Submit a letter, of no more than 400 words, to the editor here or email letters@chicagotribune.com.

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