1. Archive

Plants, trees deserve future because they may save ours

Editor: Why should I worry about clear-cutting old growth timber in the West, the Endangered Species Act or the destruction of the tropical rain forest? After all, it is so far away _ how can it affect me?

That is the attitude adopted by too many people. It is true, depending on your age, these things may not affect you in your lifetime (especially if you are as old as I am). But what about in the lifetime of your children or grandchildren?

First, the Endangered Species Act (which currently must be reauthorized by Congress) covers not only animals and birds such as the spotted owl. It also covers plants, insects, etc. Scientists have estimated that there are untold thousands of plant and tree species in the tropical forest that have not been identified. These are considered the potential source of many beneficial medicines.

Here are just two examples of why we may be missing if the destruction continues:

1. It has been discovered that the bark of the Pacific yew tree is the source of taxol, a drug used in the treatment of cancer. The yew tree could be eliminated by clear-cutting in the Northwest forests.

2. On Feb. 8, an Associated Press story reported that it had been discovered that a powerful cancer drug had been extracted from the papaw tree, also known as the "Indian banana." This drug is undergoing tests.

Many of the wonder drugs now available have been derived from plants and trees. Every species eliminated is one less chance of a wonderful new discovery.

If you are concerned about any of the above, you should so inform your U.S. representatives and senators.

David E. Walker

Floral City

Judge Graham has a rare trait: morals

Editor: I think I just figured out why County Judge Gary Graham is so widely criticized: He's a moral and respectful man judging an amoral and disrespectful society!

Janet McDonnell


Graham's plaudits also rate printing

Editor: I am not so much fascinated with Mr. Johnnie Dallal's comments in his letter of Thursday as I am with the wonderment of how he manages to get his rambling letters printed in most area papers. He now has a column in the Visitor and his Pulitzer-type thoughts of Thursday should get him the editor's job.

The man tells of 40 American Legion members who signed a petition to County Judge Gary Graham because he sent a lady to jail. He said she had a suspended license and two previous violations. She had driven a member home who drank too much. Mr. Dallal didn't bother to ask why she was arrested or what caused police to stop her or why one of the 40 didn't drive him home.

It seems that any negative comments about Graham that the man writes gets into print. He has the perfect right to say what he believes. But you, as editor, are more than a little suspect. Letters in support of the judge are not printed as readily.

Why can't you find it in you to admit the judge does a good job? The appellate judges do.

Anthony LaCattiva

Beverly Hills

Cars made in U.S. are back on track

Editor: I disagree with Barbara Fredricksen in her Feb. 9 column, "Ford family member gives up on American cars."

I have been driving American cars for many years and never have found myself stuck on the side of the road.

The Best Buys in automobiles, according to the 1992 Consumers Digest Buyers Guide, ranked American autos best for subcompacts, compacts, mid-size and full-size cars. The foreign cars topped only in the luxury and sports sedan categories.

Also, please keep in mind when you buy a U.S.-made car you are generating tax revenue, which helps pay for health care, schools, Social Security, crime prevention and deficit reduction.

I think Ms. Fredricksen should listen to her dad, who said that Ford is making them good again. Please come back to an American car!

Ethel Albert

Crystal River

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