Letters to the Editor 3/27/2024


Last updated 3/26/2024 at 10:33am

Don’t reuse eclipse glasses

To the Editor:

There is an important safety issue that people should be made aware of concerning the upcoming eclipse on April 8, 2024. People should NOT use old eclipse glasses, especially ones that they used during a prior eclipse, such as the one in 2017. The protective coatings on some eclipse glasses deteriorate over time and will not protect a person properly. It is entirely safe to use new glasses, and those who experience the period of totality do not need any glasses during those few minutes. But used glasses should not be reused, and should be discarded after this upcoming eclipse.

Astronomy Magazine (April 2024, p. 15) elaborates on this danger in the following way:

“No one can deny the beauty of a solar eclipse, but seeing one is not worth endangering your eyesight. Even a momentary look at the Sun with your naked eye during the partial phases risks long-lasting vision problems. A view through binoculars or a telescope can cause permanent blindness in a second or less. And the damage occurs painlessly, so you might not be aware of problems until hours later. Eclipse glasses are the easiest and cheapest way to protect your eyes... One note of caution, however: If you saved your eclipse glasses from seven years ago, toss them. The protective coating deteriorates over time and typically doesn’t last more than three years.”

I have encountered a number of people that were planning on using their glasses from 2017, so I would like to suggest some public announcements on this danger.

Michael J. Caba

The wonder of it all

To the Editor:

The recent days of sunshine have been great, and it really feels good to just stand outside and take in the welcome warmth of the sun. How blessed we are to live in America and Central Oregon. Easter is coming next week and a time to reflect on its importance in contrast with political chaos seemingly everywhere.

I just finished re-reading the series of articles written by Pastor Steve Stratos, which I had cut out of The Nugget. It was a well-written and thought-provoking approach where Steve discussed development of an individual world view, then a Biblical world view based on actual history and eyewitness testimony of the hope “built around the resurrection of Jesus Christ.” What a wonderful gift from our Creator to all of humanity; that if in your worldview false, then of no importance; but if Biblically true is of infinite importance.

I think back many years to the first flights man took into space and another perspective, a view of the physical world we live on. They were overwhelmed at the wonder of our beautiful planet in contrast to the lifeless solar system we exist in. During their ninth orbit of the Moon, astronauts Anders, Lovell, and Borman recited verses 1-10 of the Genesis Creation. Apollo 11’s Armstrong and Aldrin, first to walk on the moon, held a private communion service reading Jesus’ words from John 15:5. Something they felt deep within their souls; that view of our world was to them the “Wonder of It All,” God’s creation.

If you missed the opportunity to read Steve’s series it’s not to late to revisit seeking that which brings true hope and discernment this Easter. John 3:16 and Romans 1:20 speak clearly to Steve’s question of destiny.

Jeff Mackey

Chavez-DeRemer & Israel funding

To the Editor:

Just in case you missed the recent mailing from our 5th District Congresswoman C-D, she announced the passage of a bill she sponsored giving $10.4 billion to Israel for its defense. Folks, that is $10,400 million U.S. DOLLARS. With a population of 9.24 million, of which 21 percent are Arab, we are giving the people of Israel $1,125,541 PER PERSON or $1,458,625 for each Jewish citizen of Israel. Is this the wise use of American tax payer money? Will this reduce the National Debt? It’s time to tell Chavez-DeRemer to hit the road.

Rob Phelps

Alternatives to pesticides

To the Editor:

It is starting to be spring. Many are getting in the swing of things with the start of yard maintenance. The idea is: let’s attack weed areas before the weeds come up. Some even get out Round-Up. But wait! Please consider the following: Chemical products have unintended consequences.

Newest research shows that herbicides, including Roundup-type, have detrimental effects on pollinators. Herbicides can take away pollinators ability to navigate and find food. Herbicides can weaken insect adults and juveniles. Herbicides have found to reduce the number of butterfly offspring. Herbicides can take away food sources.

We know that any product that is an insecticide (neonictinoids) kill all insects. (https://xerces.org/blog/protect-pollinators-at-home-alternatives-to-herbicides) (https://www.beyondpesticides.org/assets/media/documents/alternatives/factsheets/Least%20toxic%20control%20of%20weeds.pdf)

But wait – there are easy solutions. There is a product, long-used but understated. It is a pre-emergent that uses corn gluten meal. It kills weeds before they start, then it decomposes into a fertilizer. A win-win. Look for the words “ corn gluten meal.” Among companies are: Concern, Purely Organic, Espoma, Pearl Valley. You can order from big box stores. You can order directly online. You can use some of our lovely local retailers like Central Oregon Lawn Center, Moonfire Nursery, some of the Ace Hardwares, Green Leaf Garden.

Having healthy soil is the primary defense. However, if needed, there are multiple alternative to pesticides. See some in the link above. Some include types of horticultural vinegar or acetic acid (like Avenger products; some are herbicidal soaps.

Be kind to the Earth and our pollinator friends this spring. Your educated gardening will help. You do have alternatives to pesticides.

Barb Rumer

Sportsmen support wildlife

To the Editor:

I'm a hunter, hiker, fisherman, and birdwatcher who is annoyed that so much space was dedicated to Mr. Bronstein's ranting column on choosing an Oregon Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) director (The Nugget, March 13, page 2). Mr. Bronstein and others of his ilk belittle science, and describe their opposition with slurs instead of civil discourse. There is far too much of that in national politics.

Let's take the wildlife science issue. For a little history, in the early 1900s market hunting had decimated many wildlife populations. Elk, white-tailed deer and wild turkeys were almost extinct. Ducks and other birds were similarly affected. National Parks, wildlife refuges, and the science of wildlife management grew out of the response to this crisis. Today there are thriving elk populations in every western state and elk have been reintroduced into Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, Missouri, Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin. This is due to scientific game management and conservation organizations such as the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. White-tailed deer have become so numerous in the east that they are a nuisance in some places. Wild turkeys are now present in places where they were never native (Oregon among others).

Those are some examples of the successes of scientific wildlife management. Here is an example of wildlife management by nonprofessionals: In the 1960s Oregon had about 600 mountain lions and a very healthy mule deer population. In the 1990s a flood of money from animal rights groups from outside Oregon resulted in passing a measure that eliminated the only effective method of hunting mountain lions. Since then the mountain lion population has exploded to more than 6,600 and the mule deer population has declined by about half with each succeeding decade.

Now a look at the finances: ODFW receives less than 10 percent of its funding from the Oregon general fund.

The majority of its funding comes from hunting and fishing licenses and tags, or federal matching funds based on the number of licenses sold. These federal funds come from excise taxes on firearms, ammunition, archery equipment, and fishing gear. In the 1960s when congress was eliminating excise taxes, sportsmen lobbied to retain these taxes to support wildlife management. In FY2023 over $1.2 billion was raised by these taxes.

In contrast the hiking and birding communities contribute little to state wildlife organizations. In fact, there have been several efforts over the years to get an excise tax on binoculars, spotting scopes, and backpacking equipment, but these efforts have been vigorously opposed by hikers and birdwatchers. It appears that they want to direct ODFW while getting a free ride.

To me it is clear that the new wildlife director should have background in scientific wildlife management and represent the constituency that provides funding for his organization, namely the sportsmen who buy hunting and fishing licenses.

Jim Thrower Ph.D.

Tree obituary

To the Editor:

On March 20, a live old growth tree with a dead top was chopped down near the Sisters labyrinth. At 300 years old (I counted the rings) this elder was way older than any humans alive today. She was born here before the United States of America existed. Before the state of Oregon was created. Before the first white settlers arrived. This tree grew from a tiny seedling into a mature tree, in lands populated by Wasco, Warm Springs, and Paiute peoples. What a different place this must have been then, with no cars or airplanes and surrounded by wildlands.

Humans tend to see older trees as being irrelevant (some of us elders can relate.) But, in actuality, old growth trees are a source of tremendous biodiversity. And it is natural for them to fail from the crown down. On spring equinox, the night before this tree was killed, her upper branches were full of chattering pygmy nuthatches – most likely enjoying the bugs that are attracted to dying wood. We heard the northern flickers that evening too. They choose the dead parts of tree trunks to build their nests.

In these times of extreme climate change, old growth trees are the most fire resilient. In fact, it’s said that ponderosa pines were “born in fire.” And, most impressively, big old trees are huge carbon sinks. At 300 years old, our

tree had sequestered 62 tons of carbon! This is carbon that would have stayed here forever, within her bark and soil, had she died a natural death and become a snag. In our present rush to development, there are big old trees being taken down all around Sisters. I ask us to take a moment to acknowledge what’s being lost for the sake of progress.

Susan Prince


Reader Comments(2)

Crosby writes:

Jim Thrower should like to know the IIJA (Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act) from the current admin is making available over 300 million $ in resources for the ODFW according to ODFW's own IIJA updating website. We need more than just deer and salmon tag fees for the budget.

MathTeacher writes:

Rob Phelps, please check your math. It is embarrassing that this letter was published with such a GLARING and basic math error. I hope this letter was a joke and not a demonstration of the state of Sisters Country education system.


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