Union Democrat staff

Pesky summertime yellow jackets

To the Editor,

This is in response to Tina Donovan Aug. 28 letter about the yellow jacket problem this summer. I lived in the Santa Cruz Mountains most of my life, and have observed these little "pests" over the years. I will give you my "armchair biologist" evaluation, and I think you will agree.

I have lived in Cedar Ridge for 3 years now.

Remember, yellow jackets are part of the environment, and are just doing their job in the eco-niche they have, of eating bugs, which lets the plants and trees grow (a good thing). These hornets are dormant during the winter, and they usually come out about the second week of June. At this time, they are very happy, and do not bother us humans until later in the summer, when their bug supply runs out, and they start smelling around for anything. They especially go crazy for seafood BBQ's, and of course they like other meats.

Last year, we had an unusually wet winter. Last summer they probably had lots of insects to prey upon, and remember from your high school biology class, the ebb and flow, ups and downs, of everything in the ecosystem, their populations must have boomed. The thing is, these little critters did not know the next summer would be one of the driest on record.

We will probably have a lot less hornets around next summer.

So Tina, I suggest you just hunker down, and eat all your BBQ dinners inside this year. Remember, yellow jackets are part of nature, and only in your wildest dreams will you be able to get rid of them totally, even with those yellow traps.

Paul Slemmons

Cedar Ridge

Rude dove hunters

To the Editor,

Walking down to New Melones Lake from Shell Road with my dogs on Labor Day Saturday, I heard several volleys of high-powered rifle fire.

At the shore there were about a dozen inflated dove decoys adhered improbably to rocks, sticks, and the ground. As I noticed this, a dove season ambassador blared from the slope above me, "Ya wanna tell me why you're walkin up on me?"

I called back to the voice that I was walking my dogs. He came into the open and demanded to know why I had not notified him of my presence, ending by pointing at his cap and announcing significantly, "I'm wearing blaze orange!"

Okay, fella, I'm wearing a bright striped shirt and walking out here along the water with two large white poodles and you're hiding in the trees camouflaged to the toenails except for your silly-looking hat, and I need to notify you?

He ordered me to move along out of his hunting ground, which I did, maybe a little slower than usual.

But more important than this annoying behavior on our public lands is the following: Somebody wanna tell me why this state permits large men with large guns to blow apart little grey birds (ironically, symbols of peace and joy since Biblical times)?

It can't be for the tablespoon of meat; is it to rid Tuolumne County of the dove menace? Those who consider dove hunting harmless fun might consider what Greek philosopher Bion said in 300 B.C.: "Though boys throw stones at frogs in sport, yet the frogs do not die in sport but in earnest."

Cathy Lemp-Smale


Thanks to good samaritan

To the Editor,

A few weeks ago, I got home from shopping and discovered that I did not have my purse. I immediately called CVS as that was the last place I had shopped and remembered leaving my shopping cart out in front!

I had to identify myself and sure enough some kind, honest person had turned it in intact.

I wish to thank that person, whoever you are, as you can imagine the dire circumstances I would have been in if a less honest person had found it.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

Jeanne Nissen


Thank you for donated space

To the Editor,

A big thank you to Clay Maddox, in Sonora!

Mind Matters Clinic in Murphys would like to thank Susan and Clay Maddox for so generously donating space in their office so that we could offer the Fast ForWord program to our Tuolumne County students.

Fast ForWord is a computer based program that retrains the brain, strengthens memory, attention, and processing - all essential skills for reading. We so appreciate the welcoming smile of Denise, as well as the graciousness of Susan and Clay.

We know that having six kids traipsing in and out of your CPA offices all afternoon, five days a week for six weeks could be perceived as a huge inconvenience!

Yet, you have always been there with a smile and a willingness to be of service in any way you can. I'm sure those students benefitting from Fast ForWord are also grateful (we know their parents are!). Your generosity is a blessing to many!

Ryan Thompson, M.D.

Mind Matters Clinic