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Letters to the Editor

How Can This Bee

Thank you for Colleen Watson's well researched article "Bee Afraid," Cover Story, Dec. 17).

Several years ago, Bayer, Monsanto and Syngenta acquired patents to coat some crop seeds with neonicotinoids. David Hackenburg, former president of the American Beekeeping Federation, told Sierra Club, "Look at what's time based. The massive bee decimation started when regulatory agencies rubber stamped the use of neonicotinoid spraying and coating."

There are holes in the science. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has failed to evaluate the risks from sub-lethal effects due to low-level exposures of the neonicotinoids on honeybees. Neonicotinoids have been quantified in the nectar and pollen and even corn syrup fed to honeybees. These pesticides can affect their navigational skills and ability to fight off infections.

Sierra Club urged the EPA to protect honeybees and the food supply over the bottom line of multinational corporations. In light of the mounting evidence that the neonicotinoids are deadly to bees, Sierra Club called for a precautionary moratorium on these powerful crop treatments, until more study can be done.

The EPA refused. It's unfortunate that regulatory agencies are using doublespeak. They claim to protect our food supply, yet they aren't doing the proper studies.

Laurel Hopwood
Chair, Sierra Club Genetic Engineering Action Team
Cleveland, Ohio  

Bugging Me

Re Honeybee Colony Collapse: Is there anything a backyard gardener can do to help? Would a hive in my own small yard (one-third acre) help the overall honeybee population? I'm not really interested in the bee products, but would like to help the problem if possible.

Mary Ann Lahann

See below for one possibility.—Editor  

Backyard Bees

This letter is in response to the excellent article "Bee Afraid."

Not only are nicotine-based pesticides used commercially, but many natural gardening recipes advocate the use of tobacco to repel insects. If organic gardeners used such a recipe the world over—and if this is, in fact, the cause of honeybee decline—there could be a significant impact even from backyard users.

Since tobacco can harm tomatoes, it's often avoided where fruits and veggies are grown. But, flower enthusiasts may use it in place of synthetics, believing they are using a safer alternative for their families, pets and the environment. I bet if they knew they maybe risking the health of honeybees, they'd rethink the application.

Lisa Bracken
Silt, Colo.

Local Shopper

Re Shop Local campaign: I regularly shop local. I buy groceries from PW Supermarket and chose local fruit and veggies (when they have them), baked goods, Treat ice cream (very local) and Clover organic dairy products (real happy California cows) and eggs. I dine at Antipasto's, House of Siam, El Sabroso, E&O, Hukilau, Kubota, etc., rather than chain restaurants. I usually buy handmade items from local artists for myself and others. Except for my guys, who just want Sharks stuff, which I buy from the store at the Tank. Not sure if that's good for S.J. or not, but ...

Anyway, good luck with the shop local movement! I've been shopping local for years and hope lots of others join the bandwagon!

Lori Wallace
San Jose  

Other History

Re "The Valley at War" (Arts, Dec. 10): Even though German-Americans and Italian-Americans were excluded, relocated, arrested and interned, there is no mention of this aspect of what took place in a "Valley at War" during World War II.

Just as Japanese-Americans were either being rounded up from their homes and/or their businesses being raided by the FBI, so were the homes and businesses of German-Americans and Italian-Americans raided, and in many instances they were arrested and rounded up.

Names like Bersano, Francesconi, Pio, Krieple, Frugoli, Schmidt, Molinari and Maiolo appear in the annals of the FBI as being rounded up in San Jose, Calif. Are not these nationalities worthy of mentioning in History San Jose?

Christyn Kidwell
Tempe, Ariz.  

See-Through Review

Re The Ground Truth review (Sept. 6, 2006; I was fascinated by your review. Being a veteran myself I chose this documentary to show to my English class. I took the liberty of explaining to the class that not all veterans felt this way and that in my opinion these were mostly a bunch of whining privates who have yet to discover the whole realm of the military. I thank you for being fresh and honest. I also work at the VA and know they are not as "evil" as this movie depicts. Good for you for seeing through the nonsense!

Christyn Kidwell