Letters to the editor

Set food standardsWould you feed your baby something that you thought might be toxic? Would you eat it yourself?U.S. farmers are planting crops of genetically engineered corn and soybeans that were developed by the biotechnology industry. One of these corn crops was reportedly altered to produce a toxin that kills the European corn borer. All this has been done to increase production and, therefore, profits. I can sympathize with the farmers. I am a farmer’s daughter. But what is the resulting “cost” to the consumer?Genetic engineers say there is no clear evidence that the crops are unsafe. But it has been reported that a minority of scientists say the crops are so new that there is not yet enough evidence to prove the food’s safety.

Therefore, the European Union has stopped buying all U.S. corn, in spite of extreme pressure from our administration. Ditto, Mexican producers of corn tortillas and two Japanese beer producers. Japan has also suggested mandatory labeling of gene-altered products. Even some major U.S. baby food companies have already announced that they will not use these altered foods in their products.

To console the farmers, industry officials here have stated that what cannot be sold as food products will be ground into animal feed. (Wait a minute. Aren’t animal milk and meat food products?)Let’s hold our leaders to the same standards — to follow the examples of Europe, Japan and even Mexico’s leaders who are more concerned about the health of their citizens on this issue than the bottom line — profit. Let your voice be heard by legislators and retailers alike. And then, if our societal “leaders” persist in literally “cramming potential toxins down our throats,” shouldn’t they at least label them, so that the choice is ultimately ours?– LINDA K. BERRY, Topeka.

Bias apparentThere are two or three points in your lead story regarding the teaching of evolution in schools that drew my attention and comment.

The implied threat to invalidate the level of education that private schools offer that emphasize the creation theory in their science classes, so that students of those schools would not be eligible to enroll in state universities, reveals the bias of Rep. David Adkins, and the willingness of the media to foster that bias, as well. If he did not “intend to block private-school graduates from attending state universities,” why did he decide to introduce legislation that could exclude them? It would be a “non-story” without that point.

The second comment has to do with The Topeka Capital-Journal’s Jim McLean’s reporting that: “Macroevolution is the controversial, but scientifically supported theory,” and quotes Larry Miller, Topeka Collegiate science instructor, as saying that “the theory of evolution (is) ‘pretty solid fact.'” It is not at all clear that this is true, and one may cite many scientists, from what I’ve read, as writing that there are serious flaws in this supposition.

The third comment has to do with Rep. Adkins’ definition of “normal,” when he says that only “normal people” should be elected to the State Board of Education. Perhaps he should reflect that the same majority of people who elected him to his office might turn out to be the minority, following the next election to the Legislature, when normal people go to the polls to vote.

— ALBERT L. COBB, Topeka.

Better place for roadI first want to say I believe Gov. Bill Graves is doing an overall good job.

I do not agree at all, though, on giving Haskell Indian Nations University a large amount of money for a roadway that would probably be better suited to an area south of the wetlands so the road base would hold up. I’m sure bridges over the river would be cheaper than the money Haskell is requesting. The west bypass is a little out of the way but used heavily and surely appreciated by us when we go north of Lawrence.

And, yes, I have a right to feel this way; my great-grandmother was an Indian.


Great day for kidsThis is in response to the letter written on July 6 by Denise Latendresse and in defense of Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway and its “take your children to work day” that took place this past April.

Upon arrival, my son and daughter were name tagged and put into groups in what was a fun and well-organized day as well as a great learning experience. The children were taken by the Topeka trolley to visit the shops, saw a film on train safety, rode on a train and were given T-shirts celebrating the special day. All of this was accomplished before lunch. The rest of the day was spent at their parents’ work space. In my case, my children ate lunch with their dad and returned to school before 1 p.m.

It’s too bad that little was done at some companies as Ms. Latendresse stated, but I feel that probably is the minority. I don’t feel that this is a waste of a school day. Parents are the best judges of their children and know they should attend this optional event. It is required by BNSF to get permission from the child’s teacher and parent, and most children who attend had classwork saved for them to do as homework, so they didn’t fall behind.

It’s only one day out of the school year, and the kids love every minute of it. They get to see how their parents spend their workday and have wonderful memories of that time. My children are already looking forward to next year’s event.

— DANA HAHN, Topeka.

Copyright 1999

Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning Company. All rights Reserved.

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