Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor - Dec. 28 edition

Angry about negligent financial oversight

My husband, Ron, and I taught at Yosemite High School for 20 years before we continued our teaching careers in the the Bay Area - myself in English, Advanced Placement, and Ron, Theatre Arts.

While teaching at YHS, we were very proud of our incredible students, a progressive school’s direction, our fellow teachers, dedicated staff, and a consistently excited and supportive community - all were wholeheartedly behind their respective school. These powerful amenities enriched our lives and the lives of the students we taught.

I am actually angry to read of the negligent financial oversight that has occurred, and the unbelievable human disregard due to a major financial mess those good people have had absolutely no part in creating, or sustaining, is unconscionable.

Good, strong, ethical and well-educated young people enrich your community for decades. My two children were educated at a thriving Yosemite High School. I can not be prouder of the foundation they received. My daughter is now a teacher of Philosophy and my son works in the film industry on many successful TV shows you’d all recognize.

Asking the community to “save” the schools they themselves did not bankrupt, with a bond, is simply wrong. To precede this with a $5,000 phone “survey” of the community is beyond my comprehension. Where is this $5,000 coming from if the district has none?

Every year I taught at YHS, this quote from William Faulkner was on the wall behind me: “Facts and Truth don’t really have much to do with each other.” You are seriously ignoring this valuable concept. Your fact is you are faced with a massive financial travesty, but the truth is you are faced with many talented, engaged and passionate teachers and staff you are thinking of letting go. You are robbing your community of the best of the best.

M. K. Huizing, Campbell

Thank you from the bottom of my heart

I would like to thank those that donate to the Manna House in Oakhurst. As life hands us some challenges I find myself going there to get food for my family.

The desire to crawl in a hole, the tears, the shame that overwhelms me when I find myself using food stamps, or getting a handout is almost bearable when I go to Manna House. When I get judgmental looks at the grocery store for using food stamps, I sometimes want to shout that I did everything ‘right.’ I got the expensive graduate education, I had a career, and now I get to face the humiliation of getting help.

It’s not in my nature to be okay with that. But I choose to be a caretaker, and a stay-at-home mother of two babies with a husband that works minimum wage. I choose to not have a cell phone, or cable TV, or any luxuries just so my loved ones can have fresh veggies.

But, I am truly humbled by the genuine kindness of those that make it so my family is able to survive.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Thank you to those who work there, and thank you to those who donate. Just so you know, you have made a big difference in one family’s Christmas.

Connie Rivers, Oakhurst

Wonderful article

I just wanted to give a big “thank you” for the wonderful article about the Elks Children’s Christmas party on the front page of the Dec. 14 edition of the Sierra Star.

It’s a lot of work for us but we know how much the kids and parents enjoy and appreciate it. When we see the looks on the children’s faces, we know it’s all worthwhile.

As the article mentioned, it’s not just the Elks that get involved – the whole community does.

It’s amazing what we can do when we all work together to make our community better for everyone. Keep up your great work. The great articles in the Star about our community are very much appreciated.

Donna Hughes, Elks Children’s Christmas Party committee member

Dead trees less likely to burn than green trees

The Dec. 14 Sierra Star article “Record 129 million dead trees” quotes Forest Service Regional Forester Randy Moore who promotes timber industry paradigms about forests.

Moore implies that dead trees pose a fire hazard, when numerous scientific studies have concluded that dead trees are less likely to burn than green trees under extreme fire conditions. The reason is simple.

Fire burns through fine fuels like needles, small branches, shrubs and other materials. Large trees do not burn readily which is why you get snags after a major blaze. Green trees, by contrast, have a lot of the fine fuels including flammable resin packed needles.

Furthermore, Moore implies that thinning forests makes them more resilient. Again he is spouting off industrial forestry propaganda. Our forest ecosystems need dead trees to be healthy. Snag forests and the dead wood that result from beetles, wildfire or drought are critical to the long-term health of forest ecosystems.

For instance, more carbon is stored in unmanaged forests than thinned forests, and even dead trees store more carbon than thinned forests.

Some 2/3 of all wildlife species rely on dead trees at some time in their lifetime. It may be foraging on dead trees, hiding under dead trees on the ground, and/or living in a cavity.

Many lichens, insects, and even fish depend on dead trees. For instance, more than half of the habitat in most rivers is created by the presence of snags and down wood in the river.

It’s wrong to suggest that removing trees increases forest ecosystem health. The only thing that benefits from subsidized logging is the bottom line of the timber industry.

George Wuerthner, Bend, Oregon

NOTE: George Wuerthner has published 38 books including Wildfire: A Century of Failed Forest Policy and five books about California topics including one on the Sierra Nevada and three on Yosemite.