Letters to the editor on water, gun rights, foster care, living in Midwest

05/26/2013 12:00 AM

05/24/2013 5:33 PM

Don’t water your lawn too much

It’s good to see the city of Wichita take action against those who grossly over-irrigate their lawns (May 23 Eagle), but city officials should have put together guidelines for proper watering practices. As someone who has spent my entire career in the turf industry, I find it frustrating to see not only the wastefulness that comes with overwatering but the damage it does to the turf.

For example, on Monday I noticed several properties that were watering their lawns. Storms had moved through a day earlier and provided well more than an inch of rain. There was no reason to be watering, other than pure laziness on the part of the property owners.

Our city has received adequate moisture this spring, and there hasn’t been a need to provide supplemental moisture to our fescue lawns. By doing so, property owners are saturating the soil and suffocating the turf and landscape plants, thereby causing long-term damage to their lawns.

I firmly believe that if we water our lawns by their actual needs, rather than by the mindless setting of irrigation controllers, we can accomplish the city’s goal of eliminating 50 percent of the city’s summertime outdoor irrigation. The even better news is that we won’t have to sacrifice the quality of our fescue lawns.

SEAN LEHR

Wichita

More than shock

If the drought continues, the city of Wichita thinks it has no choice but to shock citizens into a different behavior (“Using too much water could cost you $1,000,” May 23 Eagle).

A city drought response meeting was held last week. The city’s short-term goal is to reduce water use by 25 percent. There was some reasoned clarity beginning to form around long-term conservation, even though many elements of the plan started out as knee-jerk punitive actions and quick fixes.

Though rebates for installing low-flow toilets, dishwashers and clothes washers were suggested, the rush to action did not evaluate more effective solutions such as lawn-water sensors or alternatives to fescue lawns. After three hours of discussion, some longer-term solutions and more possible “gray water” recycling opportunities emerged. Additional sources not discussed were Canal Route water and redirecting current treatment plant water to be mixed with raw water from Cheney Reservoir.

It will be interesting to see citizens’ reaction to The Eagle article. If shock brings awareness and discussion, OK. But leadership needs to frame the issue properly and educate both the City Council and the citizens.

Change requires building public trust. City staff’s first step is to create a strong water-conservation plan for the city and implement it. Wholesale water contracts and business rates need to be discussed openly so that citizens do not think that residential customers are the only ones being ask to conserve.

HOYT HILLMAN

Wichita

Rights for all

The author of “Competing rights” (May 20 Letters to the Editor) said there is a balance of rights, which I can agree with. But he then asked if it is worth giving up a little freedom to secure some measure of safety. Benjamin Franklin answered that question: “They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither safety nor liberty.”

The issue is not one of giving up liberty by either side; it is finding a way to address a problem without unduly infringing on anyone’s rights.

The answer to providing safety to our children or anyone else comes not from imposing restrictions on those who are not a part of the problem but from enforcement of existing laws. Restricting the capacity of magazines and types of weapons that an individual may own is not addressing the problem. The problem is how to keep guns, regardless of type or capacity, out of the hands of those who, by existing law, should not have them. The focus should be on stricter enforcement of laws prohibiting a felon from possessing a gun and on prosecuting those who commit crimes with a gun.

Giving up rights is not a solution to the problem and should not be a part of the discussion. The Bill of Rights is there to protect all law-abiding citizens. It was not intended to be used selectively.

ROBERT S. KAILER

Wichita

Deserve homes

Each May, National Foster Care Month provides an opportunity to shine a light on the experiences of more than 440,000 youths in foster care. Right now in Sedgwick County, 900 youths are not able to live at home.

All children deserve a place to call home. So throughout May, Youthville encourages the community to get involved.

We want to express our sincere appreciation to the 400 Youthville foster parents for the care and support they provide to foster children. Without their guidance, these children would not have someone who can point them in the right direction or lend a helping hand when they need it.

However, additional foster parents are still needed so kids can stay in the community in which they live. If you’d like to be a foster parent, mentor a child, or volunteer, please call 800-593-1950 or visit www.youthville.org.

SHELLEY DUNCAN

CEO and president

Youthville

Wichita

Why live here?

In light of the tragedy in Oklahoma, the question that keeps coming from some in the media is: Why would anyone live in the Midwest? The real question, however, is: Why not?

Like Dorothy said, “There is no place like home.” She couldn’t be more right.

Though we may not have the awe-inspiring skyscrapers, crystal-clear beaches or beautiful mountains, we do have a sense of pride and serenity. The vast plains and majestic sunsets instill in us a fear of God and love of country. The simple but hardworking spirit of Midwesterners is what unites us.

These recent tragedies in Oklahoma show the resilience of the heartland and its get-back-up mentality. I am a proud Midwesterner and couldn’t be more blessed to call this place my home.

DALTON GLASSCOCK

Wichita

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