Chris Bateman, The Union Democrat

Farmers' Market - no pets

To the editor:

The Sonora Farmers' Market opened three weeks ago. It is a great place for people to purchase fresh fruit and vegetables along with baked goods and other interesting craft items. It is also a great place to connect with friends and have a pleasant Saturday morning visit.

But the Farmers' Market is not the place for pets. Over the last three Saturdays I have seen quite a few dogs, both on and off leashes, along with a chinchilla and a parrot. Before the signs were posted, there were so many dogs on leashes that it was a tripping hazard. This can be a real concern for some older people.

The Farmers' Market is a place to purchase food, not parade your animals. This is about health concerns. Pets and people food are not a good combination.

It is also the law. The California Retail Food Code, Chapter 12, Certified Farmers' Markets, Section 114371.d states: "No live animals, birds or fowl shall be kept or allowed within 20 feet of any area where food is stored or held for sale."

This code has been posted at the Farmers' Market for the past two weeks. There have probably been about 75 people there over the course of each Saturday morning with dogs.

Since the signs were posted, most of these folks have been pretty good about keeping their dogs out, but some pet owners are not that happy when told, and some just flat out ignore the regulation.

I hope that pet owners, once made aware of the law, voluntarily comply and refrain from taking their pets along when shopping at our Farmers' Market.

Chuck Holland


Stewards of the forests

To the editor:

Most religions support God's word. That word tells us that God created the universe, the forests and all our resources. He then asked man to be the stewards of his creation, to take care of the resources and to respect them. We must remember the resources belong to all of us, not just extreme environmental groups and government agencies. The restrictions forced on the general public by these groups and government regulations are destroying what God created for us.

It is time for the religious community to create a united effort against the environmental movement and government agencies that are attempting to destroy the health of our resources, our forest and our lands.

Sawmills are closing because of a lack of predictable timber supply. Even though the forest never stops growing more timber, and even though there are timber sales put up on the national forests, governmental red tape and regulations make applying for logging contracts difficult, and environmental groups continue to litigate and stall sales and harvests.

If God's people would accept the responsibility of good stewardship that God has placed before us, we could make a change for the better. We need to convince our government that this is our land and we must change the focus of resource management. We need to put balance back into our environmental laws and regulations. Our laws must reflect a common element of stewardship: Do what is good for the people and good for the land.

If you believe in God and the commission he has given us regarding our environment, please step up and support what he has created for all of us. We must all be involved in the management of our natural resources.

Gilbert Fryer