OUR PLANET (CONT.)
In his status report on environmentalism (Whither the Earth? May 5), Jerry Kirshenbaum makes clear that environmentalists are not trying to stop progress, but to make sure that progress follows life-supporting—rather than life-threatening—paths. When environmentalists oppose, they usually propose as well.
For example, as an alternative to perilous man-made nuclear power, we environmentalists are pushing for energy efficiency and full utilization of that one safe nuclear reactor, the sun. Instead of damming rivers and destroying natural resources with monumental federal boondoggles—e.g., the Dickey-Lincoln project in Maine and the Orme Dam in Arizona—we contend that more energy can be produced and floods can be controlled more effectively by using existing dams. Instead of employing deadly pesticides to protect crops, we believe it is often feasible to use benign biological controls. Instead of indiscriminately killing wild animals and poisoning our environment, we think coyote predation can be curtailed by targeting only those few animals that actually do kill sheep or, better yet, by using nonlethal methods to protect livestock, such as sheepherders and guard dogs. Instead of filling in and paving wetlands, we contend that greater environmental and economic benefits can be derived by leaving them alone.
It is a matter of working with nature, not against it. To say, as Senator Hatch does, "Environmentalists are against everything" is to misunderstand the Earth Day movement.
RUSSELL W. PETERSON
National Audubon Society
New York City
That was a well-written report on the environment by Jerry Kirshenbaum, but I was surprised you did not include the following quote by Dr. Paul Ehrlich of Stanford University: "It is the top of the ninth inning. Man, always a threat at the plate, has been hitting Nature hard. It is important to remember, however, that Nature bats last."
DAVID A. LANG
Pleasant Hill, Calif.
Jerry Kirshenbaum is obviously on the side of the environmentalists, and, in my opinion, his article presents a heavily biased view of the status of environmental concerns in the U.S. He tries to give his essay credibility by describing Monsanto Chairman John W. Hanley, whose quote supports Kirshenbaum's premise, as "no flower child." Yet when it comes to Washington Governor Dixy Lee Ray, whose words do not back up Kirshenbaum's point of view, he mentions that her political rivals refer to her as "Madame Nuke."
At the beginning of the article Kirshenbaum states, "The issue isn't whether steel mills will be built—of course they will—but how to keep them as clean as possible." Later on he mentions that U.S. Steel announced last November that it would fully or partially close 16 plants. Well, if U.S. Steel is closing all of those plants, what makes him think there are going to be any new ones? Maybe the issue is whether steel mills will be built.
In other parts of the article he says environmentalists are unhappy with President Carter for "giving the timber industry the go-ahead to cut trees faster than they can be replenished" and that in Maine they are "fighting the proposed Dickey-Lincoln Dam." Yet he subsequently mentions wood as an alternative to conventional energy and says that Carter's goal of supplying 20% of the nation's energy needs with renewable resources, including wood and hydroelectric power, by 2000 is attainable. Where does he think wood and hydroelectric power come from?
Certainly, Kirshenbaum has a right to voice his opinion. I just don't think that SPORTS ILLUSTRATED is the proper medium for such a biased viewpoint.
CHARLES E. WILDER
While I am not a fisherman, I certainly enjoyed reading the article about muskies (ichthyological, not political) much more than I did Kirshenbaum's pointless and inconclusive diatribe.
Peach Springs, Ariz.
William Oscar Johnson's article, That Muskie Madness (May 12), brought back many wonderful memories. When I was a boy growing up in Peoria, Ill., my family reserved a cabin on the Chippewa Flowage each summer. Although we usually had abundant success fishing for walleyes and crappies, we spent many exceedingly frustrating and fruitless hours casting for muskies. Even so, all it took to get us to scurry for our poles was the toll of the bell at Herman's Landing signaling the triumph of man over muskie.
Although I never did get so much as a bite, my father finally landed his keeper with, of all things, a No. 2 hook and a night crawler. When he brought his muskie into the bar at Herman's Landing and gave the bartender the vital information, including the bait and tackle used, which was dutifully recorded on a blackboard set up for this purpose, he received only scowls from the seasoned muskie veterans. Only a couple of college students, swigging beer, appreciated the irony and howled with laughter.
Your article on muskies is by far the best I've ever read in the eight years my family has subscribed to your magazine. Living near Chautauqua Lake, I've seen some big muskie catches—the longest fish having been 62 inches. But rumor has it that there's a six-foot monster lurking in "the deep."
KELLY L. KILMARTIN
Eleven pages! I couldn't believe it. You spent 11 pages on a fish story.
RUSS OF ALL TRADES
E.M. Swift's fine article on the incomparable Russ Francis (A Tight End Who Hangs Real Loose, May 12) gave short shrift to the facts of Francis' javelin career, while at the same time adding a legendary element to his javelin throwing that just doesn't wash.
Saying that Francis "set the national high school javelin record" is like saying that Bob Beamon was a good long jumper. In a sport where records don't last long, Francis' still stands, the oldest prep field-event record on the books. More remarkable is the manner in which he set the record. Russ had "never seen" a javelin until March 29 of his senior year in high school (1971). In his ninth meet he threw a high school-record 253'1" (no other high schooler has reached that distance yet). Between that and his ultimate throw of 259'9" came another record of 254'11".
It's there that Francis' notable javelin successes end, however, as he never again threw more than 250 feet and never qualified for the Olympic Trials, much less "just missed" the Olympic team, as Swift reports.
Track & Field News
Los Altos, Calif.
I enjoyed the story about Russ Francis learning to freefall. However, you made a mistake in the picture caption. The man shown freefalling with Russ is my son, Merle Clawson, not Mike Gennis.
MERLE CLAWSON SR.
READIN' 'N' 'RITHMETIC
Thank you very much for Ralph Graves' fine NOSTALGIA piece in the May 12 issue. Although I learned to read before I became a baseball fan, batting averages and ERAs played an invaluable part in my early math training. My childhood, though it was not so long ago, was in the days before electronic calculators, so I became handy with a slide rule while most of my friends were still struggling with the intricacies of the multiplication tables.
By the way, I can sympathize with Graves' frustration. The ineptness of his beloved Nats is matched only by the futility of my Indians. Had I been born two years earlier, I would at least have been able to claim that I was alive during the Tribe's last pennant-winning season (1954). And please don't mention the World Series.
EVERYBODY INTO THE POOL
In his letter (19TH HOLE, May 12) David Prybys said that South Orange-Maplewood, N.J.'s Columbia High may have been the first high school in the U.S. to have an indoor swimming pool—installed in 1936.
I've got news for him. I swam in the Lakewood (Ohio) High pool in 1932. At that time the pool had been in use for a few years, and I believe it was built in the late 1920s.
R.H. MERSBACH JR.
I disagree with David Prybys. East Orange (N.J.) High had an indoor pool in the '20s and, as I recall, several state champion swimmers in that era.
IVAR C. AKERBLOM
•Research by school officials reveals that David Prybys' memory was a bit faulty. David Wade, district director of health, physical education and athletics, says that the Columbia High pool was constructed in 1926, not 1936, and "became functional" in 1927. Lakewood High's pool, which, like Columbia's, is still in operation, was opened in 1928, according to Swimming Coach Bill Dorsch and Buildings and Grounds Department Secretary Ruth Hinshaw. However, East Orange High's pool, which is no longer in use, predated both Lakewood's and Columbia's by several years. Assistant Superintendent of East Orange Public Schools Morgan Loesch says that it was built in 1922.—ED.
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