Joco Opinion

Letters to the editor

Senior living plan

Forty plaintiffs in Prairie Village are actively against converting their Mission Valley Middle School into a senior-living complex. But why?

If I lived near the school and my loved ones were in need of such a facility, would it not be a blessing to have them so near? And, for those with a more fiscal mind-set, a new commercial facility would add significant dollars to the county’s budget and perhaps lower residents’ tax bills.

To me, the structure that eclipses the Corinth area sits heavily on the northeast corner of 83rd Street and Mission Road, perhaps because of its immediacy to curb’s edge, or so it seems.

Stephanie Hamil
Leawood Fluoride in water

There is something in the water in Wichita that could be lowering IQs of certain state representatives, and it’s not fluoride. Rep. Steve Brunk, a Wichita Republican, has introduced a measure directed at municipalities that fluoridate their water.

It would require them to notify citizens that “the latest science confirms that ingested fluoride lowers the IQ in children.” (2-10, A-4, “Fluoridation fight boiling.”) To the contrary, dentists will tell you that people who grow up in places with fluoridated water generally have less tooth decay than those who didn’t.

This includes my 43-year-old daughter who remains virtually cavity-free to this day. And what about her IQ?

She was recently accepted into a major state university school of nursing with nearly a four-point grade average. Could her academic success be because of all the fluoridated water she has consumed in her lifetime?

Such a claim would be as silly as those who believe fluoridation adversely affects intelligence.

Ron Fugate Overland Park Greater acceptance

Kudos to The Star for the recent outstanding coverage of issues relating to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities. The Feb. 9 front-page article, ‘“I am a girl,’” on transgender young people was well-written and enlightening, and a powerful reminder of the wide variants in the human condition that some use to ostracize and punish rather than to appreciate and integrate.

Also, it was very gratifying to read that the campuses of both the University of Missouri and Benedictine College are places of welcome for gay athletes, rather than places of derision and misunderstanding (2-11, A1, “Struggle validates success for Sam”). The more facts that are known, the less false assumptions there will be about gender identity.

All of us should be accepted because of the humanity we share, not shoved aside because our individuality may not conform to someone else’s idea of what is “normal.” I commend the brave athletes and others who are taking the risk to share their true selves with a public that is not always accepting, and The Star for its role in educating all of us about differences.

Janelle Lazzo Roeland Park Kudos to carriers

Hats off to The Kansas City Star newspaper carriers for their dedicated paper delivery, especially during the recent inclement weather. Each day the paper is delivered in either clear or orange plastic.

I am not a rocket scientist, but the paper wrapped in the bright orange plastic would be much easier to find in the snow. Thank you for considering this “bright” idea.

Jane Toliver Leawood U.S. rights, wrongs

We should all be thankful for The Star’s opinion pages. It is here that all the diversity within the area can “come to light.”

Our phobias (-homo, xeno-, Islamic-, etc.) and paranoia can be aired. You can extol your version of the Bible, excoriate the Quran and delve into the delusions of conspiracy and fanaticism.

Some venerate President Ronald Reagan. Others vilify President Barack Obama or visa versa.

The future is full of hopes or fears. The past is to be regretted or regaled.

Gridlock in Congress is the fault totally of one side or the other. We chastise the welfare recipient and top 1 percenters.

Abortion, education, evolution, socialism, tea party, war, patriotism — the squabbles are endless. However, as we are almost daily reminded, the one saving grace in all of this discord is that we have the right to carry concealed weapons.

John Nelles Shawnee Snakes, development

Although neither Smooth Earth Snake nor Redbelly Snake is classed as endangered at a national level, neither is widespread nor abundant (2/10, A1, “Kansas legislators wrangle with snake preservation”). They may be locally abundant, but both live in habitats that, especially in eastern Kansas, are dwindling rapidly. In fact Redbelly Snake is legally protected in states other than Kansas along the west edge of its range.

The sole prey scientifically documented for Smooth Earth Snake are earthworms. And Redbelly Snake is highly specialized for a diet of snails and slugs, often hated as horticultural pests, so if the snakes eat them, what’s to fear?

The underlying issue is that officially recognizing them as threatened actually “threatens” various Johnson County development wishes. Oh my gosh. How can we let two snakes (or any wildlife) get in the way of that?

Well, it so happens that the habitats used by both species, when intelligently conserved, add value to planned developments as natural areas along the lines of Lawrence’s parks and hiking trails. All that’s needed is some planning.

Intelligent planning that is. And in Kansas, both species occur infrequently in scattered sites well south of Johnson County, making regulation of them by a state agency totally appropriate despite objection by one group of single-county officials.

George Pisani Lawrence