Letters to the Editor

June 16, 2012

Letters to the editor on garden stroll, River Festival, evolution, movie review, elderly drivers

The gardeners were completing their final touches when the hailstorm of May 30 ripped through the North Riverside neighborhood. Not only were the gardens devastated, the gardeners and the 2012 North Riverside Garden Stroll committee were in shock.

Garden stroll ready, thanks to help

The gardeners were completing their final touches when the hailstorm of May 30 ripped through the North Riverside neighborhood. Not only were the gardens devastated, the gardeners and the 2012 North Riverside Garden Stroll committee were in shock.

With only two weeks to recover, it was decided to take 48 hours to consider what to do. Our streets were covered with leaves and branches, and the lawns were matted with leaves, but our spirits were not broken.

With the help of Vice Mayor Janet Miller, we contacted the Wichita Public Works and Utilities Department. Aaron Henning responded to our request to have at least part of our streets swept before the stroll today. This was completed ahead of time, and we thank the city for helping to beautify our already beautiful neighborhood.

Johnson’s Garden Centers and Ace Hardware stepped up and provided replacement plants for some of the gardens.

Perhaps the most significant accomplishment was having the neighbors pull together to help the gardeners trim and replant their gardens so the stroll could go on. Most of our yards have been cleaned up, and we are ready for visitors today.



Festival costly

What has happened to the Wichita River Festival? In the earlier years, it was about getting people out to mingle and enjoy entertainment, such as the bathtub races. The best thing was that families could participate in many of the events, and the only cost was a River Festival button. The food court had more specials, so families could afford to eat there.

Now, the buttons cost more and the families get less for their buttons. The prices at the food court are very high. A meal for a family of four cost $20 to $30 for the cheapest things. It cost $2 extra to see the birds, and $3 to see the animals. The zip line cost a lot, and a boat ride on the river was $5. Special events cost $15.

They still have the ice cream social and the symphony and fireworks that everyone can enjoy. But it seems that making money is the No. 1 thing the festival is doing.



Religion, not science

Once again, the citizens of Kansas are looking at whether the theory of evolution should be considered teachable science, or whether we should we espouse the notion of creation by a supreme being.

If Scripture should supplant systematic observation, data collection, collaborative conclusion and peer review, then it may be necessary to teach other biblical events.

We will have to teach that large bodies of water do indeed defy gravity and surface tension (Red Sea), that humans and other animals can survive for three days inside the stomach of a whale despite the presence of digestive acids and enzymes (Jonah), and that water can instantly be converted to wine without the process of yeast-produced fermentation (wedding at Cana).

I do not deny the occurrence of miracles. I have read and heard of too many instances to dismiss them as impossible. But what makes a miracle miraculous is that it contradicts explainable circumstances.

The Bible is a beautiful book with valuable teachings of a God of love, mercy, forgiveness and redemption. However, it cannot and should not be a textbook for science. Teach science in the public school setting, and teach the Bible in a religious setting.



Aimed at ‘faithful’?

The Eagle’s original mini-review of “For Greater Glory” said that the film was aimed at “the faithful” (June 1 GO!). Because most journalists know that Kansas is overrun with religious extremists, some of whom take a quaint pride in being called “faithful Christians,” it is understandable that the second publication of the mini-review on June 8 eliminated the words “the faithful.”

Perhaps this change made the review less offensive to some. It also, however, made it less honest.

I think I understand the reviewer’s viewpoint: Mexico’s anti-clerical revolutionaries may have done some things that now, with hindsight, look like regrettable excesses. But, after all, they were for intellectual progress and against religious bigotry, and you can’t make an omelet without breaking eggs. It’s reactionary and boorish for anyone to dwell upon isolated, long-ago mistakes made by courageous, intelligent progressives. And what we in the contemporary U.S. should be worrying about are the grave dangers posed by the religious right.



Elderly drivers

Most people older than 70 should not be allowed to drive anymore. At that age, their vision isn’t that great, and their reflexes aren’t that good, either.

Police should stop worrying so much about teen driving and start focusing on those old folks on the road. The fatality rate for drivers 85 and older is about four times that of teens.



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