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Dave Valle is the type of ballplayer that kids should look up to.


I was thrilled to read about the work Dave Valle and his wife,
Vicky, are doing in the Dominican Republic (A Ray of Hope, Feb.
17). When my wife and I got married, we made a commitment to
help others. We became supporters of Freedom from Hunger, whose
philosophy is "credit with education." You don't have to be a
baseball player to make a difference. Together with friends we
have started four credit unions in Bolivia. Microenterprise does

As a volunteer for a couple of years in the Dominican Republic,
I observed firsthand the tragic conditions described in your
article. Valle's relief efforts qualify him for more than sports
fame. The only thing lacking in your story was information on
how we may contribute.

--Contributions may be sent to Esperanza International
Foundation, 600 108th Ave., N.E., Suite 1014, Bellevue, Wash.
98004, or call 206-451-1080.--ED.


The photography in Elaine Farley's first swimsuit issue has
broken the mold (Winter 1997). From the eye-gripping photo of
Tyra Banks on the cover and through the pictures inside, Farley
has given us a new spirit of fun and sexuality. Congratulations
on her debut. She is a worthy successor to Jule Campbell.
MARK MANGOLD, Camp Springs, Md.

Cheers to Steffi Graf for appearing in the swimsuit issue. I
consider myself a feminist, but I think the whining about the
objectification of women has gone too far. There is nothing
sinister about human sexuality. It should be celebrated.
JULIE PETERSON, Ann Arbor, Mich.

I am probably one of the few who actually read the swimsuit
issue. It mentions Bikini Atoll as the place from which the
"two-piece, atom-sized swimsuit" took its name. As a resident of
the Marshall Islands for 16 years, I thought your readers might
find it interesting to learn that no Bikinian woman would be
caught dead in a bikini, because it is against Marshallese
custom for a woman to expose so much flesh. My wife, who scuba
dives, has to wear a hip-length T-shirt over bicycle pants in
the water. Journalists often come here looking for a Bikinian in
a bikini. Doesn't exist. Nothing but Bikinians out here.
JACK NIEDENTHAL, Majuro, Marshall Islands

Why did you tease us with the beautiful Yasmeen Ghauri in the
Table of Contents and then not show her again? Please give us
another look.
DAVID REGAN, Ukiah, Calif.

Why bother including the prices and where to buy the suits if
you can't even tell what they look like?

In previous swimsuit issues, what separated SI from its
imitators was the blending of beautiful models, fashionable
suits and exotic environments. All were integral elements of the
shot. This year I did not get a sense of this artistry. Most of
the shots could have been taken in my backyard.
ROBERT BULMAN, Anola, Manitoba

Why do you find it necessary to change your focus and get into
the pornography business once a year?
TAMARA COBURN, Corona, Calif.

For the first time in eons of ogling your swimsuit models, I'm
no longer fantasizing about which ones might, in a charitable
moment, go out with me. Now I'm wondering which ones would I
deign to ask out.
DEAN EVERETT, Norman, Okla.

How can you have a swimsuit issue when the models have lost half
their suits?
SUZANNE SNOAP, Grand Rapids, Mich.

COLOR PHOTO: ANDRE RAU If you felt cheated by seeing only one photo of Ghauri, here's another, at St. Tropez. [Yasmeen Ghauri]