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Holt: I read with interest my friend Peter Heimlich's August 28, 2013 e-mail to you which includes this quote attributed to you from a 2003 article, Focus On Accuracy:
Editors and reporters "need to know that you value accuracy, that you care about it and that you're going to act on it." ...And don't forget to correct archived stories because there is no "statute of limitations" on errors. A mistake in a previous story is likely to show up again unless it's corrected.
Based on that assurance, this is to request a published correction of false information published in the July 5, 2005 Tribune article CPR activist targets kids as emerging heroes by staff reporter Julie Deardorff:
I've known of Carol Spizzirri and her work for more than a decade. But Spizzirri, the tireless founder of the Schiller Park-based Save A Life Foundation, or SALF, doesn't bother nagging adults. ..."These emergencies happen everywhere," said Spizzirri, a former nurse....
Per my August 3, 2009 published letter to the editor in the Daily Herald newspaper:
I was married to Carol Spizzirri from 1968-1981, when we divorced. Since 1993, I have repeatedly contacted elected officials in Illinois and elsewhere in an attempt to bring to light misrepresentations made by the Save A Life Foundation.
Per a sworn affidavit I signed on March 30, 2007, contrary to Ms. Deardorff's story, my ex-wife was never a nurse. From Where Did the Save-A-Life Money Go? by Don Bauder, San Diego Reader, November 17, 2010 (for which I was interviewed):
The Chicago Tribune of January 16, 1995, ran a story of a mother, Carol Spizzirri, lamenting the death in an auto accident of her 18-year-old daughter, Christina, in 1992. “This is my girl,” whispered Spizzirri at her daughter’s grave, said the newspaper. “I can still feel her hand. And I see her everywhere. Her hair at the grocery store. Her smile.” In 1993, Spizzirri had gone on to found the Save-A-Life Foundation, for teaching first aid to students. She was greatly responsible for a 1995 law requiring Illinois police officers and firefighters to be trained in first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation. By this time, Spizzirri was a darling of politicians and bureaucrats, although it was a matter of record that she had been convicted twice for shoplifting. Save-A-Life began raking in money from government grants. But few, if any, seemed to have noticed that less than a month after that 1995 Tribune story appeared, the newspaper had retracted key points. In the first story, the writer had said, “The first police officers on the scene balked at administering aid. By the time the paramedics arrived, Christina had bled to death on the highway.” On February 7, 1995, the Tribune stated that Christina had “died in a hospital more than an hour after the accident,” not on the highway. The story had suggested that Christina died from bleeding from a severed arm. But the Tribune had to admit she had died of multiple traumatic injuries, including a depressed skull. The police officers who came to the scene had not “balked” at administering first aid, but they were not trained in the practice. “It is unlikely that basic first aid would have saved her,” said the embarrassed Tribune.
But it wasn’t until November of 2006 that ABC 7 News in Chicago, in the first of several broadcasts, exposed more of Spizzirri’s untruthful statements. She had told the station that she was a registered nurse. But the station reported that the institution from which she had claimed to receive her nursing degree had never given her one. A hospital in which she had claimed to be a transplant nurse said she had been a patient care assistant, which is akin to a candy striper. After the announcer challenged her on the assertion that the accident was a hit-and-run, she walked out of the interview. Her abrupt departure was shown on TV.
You may be aware that the January 16, 1995 Tribune article that resulted in the lengthy correction was also written by Julie Deardorff, the same reporter who wrote the July 3, 2005 article with the false information about my ex-wife being a “former nurse.” You may not be aware what precipitated the 200-plus word correction to Ms. Deardorff's first article. Christina Jean Pratt was my beloved second daughter, for whom I still grieve. The day after publication of her 1995 article, I telephoned Ms. Deardorff, identified myself, and informed her that since founding her organization two years earlier, Ms. Spizzirri had been making false claims about how our daughter died. I also explained that the article falsely identified my daughter as “Christina Spizzirri.” Ms. Deardorff replied, “Mr. Pratt, I'm sorry for your loss, but my information has been verified by Ms. Spizzirri and other sources. Thank you for calling and goodbye.” She then abruptly hung up on me. I then telephoned James Wipper, Chief Deputy Coroner of Lake County, Illinois, who conducted an autopsy and an October 29, 1992 inquest into Christina's death. After I explained the situation, he telephoned Ms. Deardorff. The Tribune subsequently published the substantial correction on February 7, 1995. Here's what puzzles me. After she learned that Ms. Spizzirri told her a pack of lies which resulted in a lengthy, presumably humiliating correction, ten years later why would Ms. Deardorff write another flattering story about my ex-wife and her organization? By the way, if Ms. Deardorff hadn't been in such a hurry to terminate our conversation, I would have also told her what I later told Gerald Bracey, the prominent education writer. Per Mr. Bracey's last column, published posthumously on December 13, 2009:
According to a sworn affidavit by her ex-husband, a court ordered psychological evaluation diagnosed (Carol Spizzirri) as a paranoid schizophrenic and pathological liar.
Thank you for your attention and I look forward to your reply to my corrections request re: Ms. Deardorff's 2005 article. Sincerely,
Gordon T. Pratt P.O. Box 70393 Bay View, WI 53207 ph: 707-667-1746 e-mail: Gordy.Pratt@gmail.com cc: Peter Heimlich, Don Bauder, James Wipper