Letters to the editor on waste water, Boy Scouts, cancer tests, lawn codes, River Festival

06/14/2013 12:00 AM

06/13/2013 5:08 PM

Wichita is wasting its wastewater

I have read, with increasing disappointment, the numerous articles concerning Wichita’s impending water shortage. The inevitability of the situation has been blissfully ignored for decades, and the need for the draconian measures contemplated a month ago apparently has momentarily eased because recent rainfall has increased the water in Cheney Reservoir.

Instead of knee-jerk reactions, why has there been no evidence of a long-term plan to provide adequate water to our community? Further, and more disappointingly, why has there been no mention of a potential water source that exists within our city limits?

Every day 20 million gallons of marketable water are dumped into our waterways – an obvious wasted resource. If the peak consumption is as published, 120 million to 130 million gallons per day, this resource could lessen the demand for potable water by some 17 percent, and substantially more during off-peak days.

There is a ready market for this resource among industrial users and private golf courses, as well as at the city government (parks, median plantings, municipal golf courses, etc.).

The idea is hardly revolutionary – nearly every golf course in the Phoenix area is dependent on wastewater. And we need not go that far to find municipalities that make use of this resource, some quite close to Wichita.



Scouting needed

Seeing Boy Scouts as honor guards at a community Memorial Day ceremony brought to mind my own Scouting experience. My participation in the program from the level of being a Cub Scout to senior Scouting gave me skills that I did not learn at home from my overworked father. I learned to appreciate fellowship, patriotism and the great outdoors through many camping trips and community activities. Later on, as an overworked father myself, I made Scouting camping trips with both my oldest son and daughter.

Because today we are overwhelmed by children without fathers, not because of overwork but rather abandonment, Scouting is even more needed. Sadly, Scouting is less prevalent than in my day, and the admission of gays will accelerate its decline.

We owe it to the countless children who are forced to grow up without a father to support Scouting in the format that was so successful in years past. Scouting that sends the wrong message, or is no longer available, is a preventable and unforgivable tragedy.



Saves lives

The article “Are cancer tests harmful?” (June 4 Healthy Living) was appalling.

Since widespread screening mammography began in the late 1980s, deaths due to breast cancer have been reduced by at least 30 percent. Though there certainly have been improvements in treatment over the years, most of these women’s lives have been saved by early detection with mammography.

Physicians Gil Welch and Clarence Brown would have us go back to the dark ages of medicine. The Welch “research” on this topic recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine is severely flawed and should never have passed peer review. Calls have been made for the retraction of his paper.

As with the treatment of any cancer, early detection is extremely important. All responsible medical societies involved with breast cancer recommend yearly screening mammography for all women beginning at age 40. There is no upper age limit if the woman is in reasonably good health.

Mammography is not perfect, but it is the best screening tool for breast cancer we have. Once breast cancer is detected, we cannot determine with certainty that it will spread or be lethal. However, we should not stick our heads in the sand and ignore the chance to save so many women’s lives.


Diagnostic radiologist

Via Christi Clinic Breast Imaging


City code prevails

Our tiny, verdant forest was rustic and cozy, a haven for kids. The sun twinkled through leafy canopies, with wood violets and wild strawberries underfoot. It had been that way since the 1970s.

Then the city declared that all lawns must be mowed and all volunteer trees removed. Our yard is now badly shaven and shorn, with brown stubs in need of watering, mowing and poisoning.

Down the street, sprinklers twirl and mowers spew fumes. Men in white masks spray the cookie-cutter lawns.

“City code” prevails.

Is this smart, people? Visit Boulder, Colo., and learn. There, wildflowers and native plants abound, front and center – sometimes more than 12 inches high.



Too managed

Back in the early days of the Wichita River Festival, there was a spirit that now seems gone. It seemed to be a more free-spirited event, not the managed thing it has become – more people managed, less people spontaneous.

There also needs to be more water. I know there is a shortage, but the city should turn on every fountain during the festival. The trash haulers and city water department also should do more to help clean up the river.

Also, barriers are OK, but there are far too many unnecessary ones. Try pushing a wheelchair or baby carriage three blocks out of the way and uphill. Think before you block.

And make it easier for people to cross Douglas or access Kennedy Plaza. What were all the tall barriers for?

Let people have fun, maybe their own way and not a dictated way.



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