Union Democrat staff

Off-road rules

To the editor:

I would like to bring attention to the Stanislaus National Forest Motorized Travel Management Draft Environmental Impact Statement. This plan not only addresses OHV use, but it is also a massive Forest closure plan.

The following closures are presented in the Proposed Action:

1. The Proposed Action presents road closures for every road on the Forest (paved or not) over 3,000 feet. Between 3,000 and 5,000 feet, all roads will be closed from Nov. 30 until April 1. Above 5,000 feet, all roads are closed until May 15. This means limited access on opening weekend of trout season, closed campgrounds, and no fish planting off forest roads prior to those dates. The Kennedy Meadows Resort would not be able to open until May 15. Cabin permittees and range permittees will have no access until then.

2. Parking along all roads is limited to within the length of your vehicle. This limits wood gathering, dispersed camping, and any other activity that you may want to do in the forest.

3. Wet weather closures apply to all native surface roads regardless of elevation. If it rains more than 1 inch in 24 hours during the season of use (while roads are open), all native surface roads are subject to closure until a 72 hour drying period occurs.

4. The Proposed Action map shows no public access beyond the Bennett Juniper on the Eagle Meadow Road.

The Forest Service contact information is: Sue Warren, Team Leader, Stanislaus National Forest, 19777 Greenley Road, Sonora, CA 95370 or e-mail Swarren@fs.fed.us.

Bart Bloom


The American way?

To the editor:

Your April 2 editorial absolutely sucked.

You must be a smoker, or one who has never suffered over tabacco smoke.

I remember those "good old days" when, if one wanted to work one had to keep one's mouth shut about smoke in the work place and just go home and puke your guts up - privately.

As a child I grew up in a home where my father smoked - as often as he wished. Mom kept quiet about it, even though she had migraine headaches and threw up often, all from cigarette smoke. We children learned from Mom to just keep quiet and if we wanted some fresh air - go outside.

I developed asthma at an early age. I tried to keep jobs where there was no air, but that filled with smoke and tried eating a nice meal in a restaurant and everyone in the place lights up.

Things have changed, but not before my mom died from lung cancer, and never smoked a cigarette in her life.

Sorry, I can't feel your pain for being "the nation's most oppressed minority - smokers," as you put it.

I was once a member of a truly "powerless minority," nonsmokers in a smoker's world.

I will agree on one thing: It is not right to tax something to which people are addicted. But isn't this the American way? After all, we are capitalists. Doesn't that mean that all that matters is money, not how you get it?

Karen Maciejewski


Not our rules

To the editor:

In response to Judd Houck's March 26 letter ("Burning defended"), because of limits on words, we decided to state the rules. These are the rules of the California Air Resources Board - not our rules.

Many people were affected by the 21 piles of smoldering pine needles on that day. Most of the piles were not attended, since there were only two workers. That in itself is a danger to the community. An Air Resources official did visit the property and tried to help them burn the piles more efficiently. He told the workers to put out the fires at 4 p.m., but they were still burning at 8. The Air Resources official didn't have the workers put out the fire immediately, because he thought they would just light them again another day.

Both Cal Fire and Twain Harte Fire suggested that I call 911, but I didn't want to do that. I just wanted the rules to be followed and for others to know that these are the rules that should be followed if you are affected.

Although I understand some of Mr. Houck's points on fire danger, it is important to be courteous to your neighbors and follow the rules. I don't have a problem with safe, positive burning, but I do have a problem with dangerous burning and creating a public nuisance in a populated area. The burning on Feb. 4 affected many people.

Maureen and James P. Nolan

Twain Harte

Cox applauded

To the editor:

I want to applaud State Senator Dave Cox, R-Fair Oaks, for his letter asking for restraint from the California Air Resources Board.

I have been involved in service station equipment for many years and the executive orders from CARB are almost out of line. Example: new hoses, vacuum pumps under each dispenser, steel tanks with rubber bladders inside and endless testing every year for each pump.

I like clean air as much as anyone, but I think we are getting out of control. The costs to implementing these regulations are excessive. Adding all of the regulations required over the past years has cost the industry millions of dollars and adds to the cost of gas.

Wouldn't it be OK to suspend the regulations for a few years until the economy gets better? The only problem with this idea is the 11 member board would be out of a job for a while.

One more point I'd like to make: Why do we need three grades of gasoline in California? Wouldn't it be less expensive to refine and deliver one grade to all the stations, say the mid grade? It should work in all the vehicles. If a vehicle requires a higher octane there are additives for this.

Again, thank you Senator Cox for your letter.

Jim Hassay


Same team

To the editor:

I am a concerned Curtis Creek parent, writing in regards to the closure of Sullivan Creek School:

Many comments were made about us vs. them, their school, and our school. I truly hope that, as the parents of Sullivan heal, they see a light at the end of the tunnel. I understand the attachment to Sullivan, my children went to preschool there and they are better for it. But I acknowledge that it was more about teacher Susan and how amazing she is, than any campus.

I encourage you, to work towards a positive future. We can be amazing together. The way I see it, if you combine two schools' worth of great teachers and work together, our limits are endless. I know that transition will be hard for your children. I have already begun talking to my children about their new friends, and how hard it will be for them, so that they can help out.

The facts of this situation are bigger than any parent or school. Financial difficulties are affecting everyone and our children can come together and learn from that. This transition will only be as easy as the adults make it. Children hear everything we say and mimic what we do, so let them know that they are welcome at Curtis Creek.

I am looking forward to the input from Sullivan's parents. I commend Dede Fulkerson for seeing that in desperate times we can work it out. We are all on the same team, one district. We all love our kids. It's not really about what tree you stand around; it's whom you are standing next to.

Heather Davis


Pagan origins

To the editor:

In response to Barbara Melchor's letter ("Easter message," March 25):

There is a little known fact that Easter is truly a pagan holiday dressed up with Jesus to look Christian. Here's a quick history of the true origins: Tammuz, the only son of the pagan moon goddess Ishtar (pronounced Easter) and sun god Baal, was especially fond of rabbits. Following the footsteps of his father, be became a hunter. Soon, he was killed by a wild boar. Some of his blood fell on a stump of an evergreen, causing it to grow into a full tree overnight, making the evergreen sacred.

Tammuz's mother declared a 40 day period of sorrow before the anniversary of his death. No meat was eaten during this time. Worshippers were to meditate upon the sacred mysteries of Baal and Tammuz, and to make the sign of the "T" in front of their hearts as they worshipped.

Before Ishtar was a goddess, she was a queen known as Semiramis. She taught that the moon was a goddess that went through a 28 day cycle, like human women, and ovulated on the full moon, releasing an egg on the first full moon after the spring equinox. She claims to have came from this egg that fell into the Euphrates River.

Every year, the first Sunday after the first full moon after the spring equinox became known as Ishtar's Sunday, and was celebrated by rabbits and eggs, and a pig must be eaten that day.

Do a little bit of honest, open-minded research, and you will see that Christian holidays are actually ancient Pagan holidays with a dash of Jesus.

Michael Herman


Bad timing

To the editor:

Rate increases proposed by the Tuolumne Utilities District for water and sewer are excessive and the timing couldn't be worse.

Here we all are in a major recession/depression, some unable to make their mortgage payments, others scratching to put meals on the table, and TUD lays on us a major multi-year rate increase. Is TUD unaware of the all-pervasive hard times, or do they just not care?

Clifford Simpson