A couple of weeks ago, Jasmine Gallup wrote about an Orange County program that is giving feral cats in the area “work” as barn cats in order for them to be able to continue to live healthily in outdoor settings. 

But one reader, Betty Anne B., wrote us an email entitled “Of Dead Birds and Meows” and argued that the program comes at a cost for other wildlife.

“Re: Of Mice and Meows, Nov 16, 2022

“No matter how we characterize the wonderfulness of cats, free-roaming cats—both feral and owned—are responsible for killing well over a billion birds and small native mammals each year in the U.S. alone. Just keep that in mind, please, as you applaud programs that release feral cats (TNRs) or enthusiastically recount your roaming cat’s charms.

“If you are interested in the impact of free-roaming cats on birds, both the American Bird Conservancy and the National Audubon Society provide information on the subject. The Wildlife Center of Virginia presents a strong case for keeping cats indoors.”

Last week for print, Thomasi McDonald wrote about the return of the Children’s Defense Fund’s Freedom Schools to Durham Communities this summer after a three-year pause. While it’s a welcome return for a program that teaches school-age children about the importance of social justice, a Facebook commenter says she has reservations about the role of faith-based groups in the program.

“I was at a CDF presentation about Freedom Schools years ago, and don’t remember religious groups being a part of the program,” wrote Anne Havisham on Facebook. “That’s not to say that churches should not be involved, but it strikes me as unnecessarily divisive that the ‘faith’ in ‘faith-based’ requires anything other than faith in Justice.”

Finally, for the web, Lena Geller wrote about Durham brewery Barrel Culture Brewing and Blending’s decision to close its doors. The brewery championed imaginative fruit-forward beers, but some readers say, ultimately, regular old beer-flavored beer is always going to win the day.

“Living proof that at the end of the day, most of us just want a normal tasting beer,” wrote commenter Jesús Gutiérrez on Facebook.

“Yep. Regular beer,” agreed commenter Sandra Fleming.

“They made plenty of ‘normal’ beers,” responded commenter Bryan Rodgers. “They were just more known for the experimental stuff. Many factors led to the decision to close, not just the beers.”

We at the INDY will miss Barrel Culture and applaud them for a five-year run.

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