Letters to the Editor

Posted: Wednesday, April 10, 2002

Former Alaskan urges continued informed care for Kenai River

Hello from Southern Oregon!

I was moved to write in response to the editorial written by Ken Tarbox. I lived on the Kenai Peninsula from 1984 to 1995. During that time I fell in love with the Kenai River. I enjoyed sport fishing for salmon, both guided and non-guided, every spring, summer and fall for 11 years.

Some of my finest moments and memories are centered around the recreational experiences I've enjoyed on the Kenai. As a user of this resource I recognized what a special, unique, river ecosystem comprised the place that I experienced as "the Kenai." From the mud flats at the mouth to the glacial lake headwaters. I loved her. I loved her and I began to worry about her future.

Oregonians know well what happens to a river when development within the ecosystem isn't well planned out. Oregonians would love to have the chance again that Alaskans now have. Decisions about land use are much easier in hindsight. I personally, would love to have just one of Oregon's historically major salmon-producing rivers in as unaltered a state as the Kenai is now.

Imagine the Rogue River, before dams, irrigation and over-allocation of in-stream water, clear-cut logging and over-fishing. Or the Snake, or the Klamath or the Willamette ...

Do people there still call the biologists crazy? Well, it is just a scare tactic to divert the message that the people who, perhaps, care the most about the river are trying to tell. People who study a river system in order to better understand the changes that system is experiencing are wearing their hearts on their sleeves. They care enough to do the science, in the best way they know, with the best understanding of the issue, that is known at the time.

Science is not perfect. It is trial and error. Humans are arrogant to believe we were born with all the answers. Hypothesize, experiment, report the results. It is the best system that we have. So, do one of your "neighbors to the south" a favor, for the Kenai River that I love so much. Listen to Ken Tarbox, one of your biologists who obviously has his heart on his sleeve. Sounds to me as if he has his information straight.

Oregon is now involved in an intensive statewide effort to try to understand and turn around declining salmon stocks and deteriorating habitat. On a grass-roots level, get involved! Hypothesize, experiment and report the results. But, do it together. Every one of you -- guides, sport fishermen, commercial fishermen, environmentalists, Alaskans, visitors -- all of you are responding from the same emotion. That emotion is love -- love for the river, love for the peninsula and your way of life there, in that special place.

Tracy Cohen

Ashland, Ore.

Kenai Peninsula horse lover shares hobby with readers

Every girl has a love for horses at one time or another, but they often lose interest by the time they're 13. Not so with me.

I swear, when I was born, I whinnied instead of cried. By age 2, I knew all the breeds of my model horses, every coloring, face marking, even parts of the world they came from. Instead of bedtime stories, my parents would read me horse textbooks. By the time I was 7, I think I knew more about horses and horse care than half the people out there who own horses.

All my life I had a dream: to own a horse. My parents kept telling me we didn't have the money, the land or the time. But come fall of 2000, it all changed. The day started out as usual -- me bugging my mom about how I needed a horse. An ad in the newspaper had caught my eye, and I, of course, brought it to her attention. She only regarded me with sad eyes, telling me she was sorry, but we didn't have the money, land or time. Sound familiar?

It was a few days later and mom finally gave in. She surprised me by calling on the ad and taking me to see the horse.

The minute my eyes fell upon the chestnut steed, I knew he was the one. Paladin's coat glistened like a new copper penny pulled taught over rippling muscles. His blaze, pure and white as snow, swirled around in an interesting shape, much like that of the offspring of the champion Arabian Khemosabi. His soft nose was gentle as he nudged my arm through the car window, searching for little tidbits amidst the folds of my clothing. Laughing, I fed him a few Altoid mints.

As the day went on, I groomed him, rode him and lunged him. That night I returned with my riding instructor, who fell in love with him as well. My mother was already head over heels in love with the horse called Paladin, but we had one obstacle -- my father.

This was soon overcome when Paladin worked his magic and charmed my horse-leery father. Now, the whole family was in love with my dream steed. My mom and I started to plan, and before I knew it I had a hundred dollars down on the copper coated Morab.

The hard work began. I soon learned that the cost of a horse is minimal compared with the expense of putting up a shelter, hay storage and paddock area.

Then we purchased our first ton of hay. Whoever thought dead grass would cost that much?

Along with the realization of the high cost of feeding a horse, I also discovered I was allergic to hay. Even still, it was a dream come true. It took several months of waking up groggily and thinking just that: "It's just a dream, I don't own a horse," until I finally realized I really did own him.

Usually that reality set in about 7 a.m., when I had to be out of bed to feed, muck the stall, exercise, train, groom, haul the hay and fill the water trough.

It amazes me that close to two years have past since Paladin became my own. I have done so many things with him: horse camp, competition and endless miles of trails. One of my greatest joys is now being the president of the Midnight Sun Riders 4-H group. This gives Paladin and me the opportunity to be around other girls who love their horses. Owning a horse brings hard work, joy and more hard work. Would I recommend it to other young girls who have the love of horses? Absolutely.

Molly McIsaac, 13, 4-H Club

Forest Service survey available to all residents of Sterling

Residents of the unincorporated area of Sterling, if you do not have a P.O. box or HC address in Sterling are you aware of the survey, funded by the forest service, for a long-range plan for the Sterling area? It consists of 90 issues mailed to the elite P.O. and H.C. mail receivers in Sterling, but not all property owners or summer residents.

Can an area that doesn't support two gas stations fund or support these pie-in-the-sky community facilities? Grant money is not "free money." Isn't it time for people to go back to community involvement and have less government? The more government governs, the more control they take over your life.

"Sound Off" is a good place to give opinions -- for or against -- to share with everyone, not just with a few select or the survey committee.

For a copy of the survey, you can pick up one at the Sterling Senior Center or call Barb Blakeley at 262-7344, Dick Bogard at 262-4985 or Walt Galetti at 262-6055.

Walt Galetti


Christian solution awaits conflict in Middle East

Dear Mr. Arafat,

Hello, I'm not sure if this letter will ever reach you, as I don't have your personal address. I want to assure you though -- I write it with God as my conscience.

Mr. Arafat, you say you want to die a martyr? Than why are you hiding? In my opinion, a true martyr would stand up and face the music. The Bible says the Lord Jesus is coming back soon (Rev: 22-20-21).

Now, I know you are not of the Christian faith, yet -- and, of course, the choice is yours -- but we all have to face our maker at some time or another, and it looks like your time may be sooner than most. Also, not only will we have to face God, we will have to account for our actions on earth. Are you ready for this Yasser? If not, I pray you have a change of heart soon. In John 3:16, Jesus gives us all we need to enter the only Kingdom that will last forever. He is ever loving and merciful and yes, Yasser, even you are welcome. The choice is yours.

Sheryl Main

Kenai (Matthew 24)

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