raw honey (copy)

The Rev. Steven Whitaker pours a jar of pure raw honey from hives at the former Chouteau elementary school in Tulsa, Okla.

Honey loss distresses

It was distressing to read of Nebraska’s loss of Adee Honey Farms (“Nebraska beekeepers suffer huge losses from chemicals, mites, weather,” Sept. 24 World-Herald).

In the middle 1960s, as director of the Boone County Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service, I first met Richard Adee. In converted buildings on main street in Cedar Rapids, Nebraska, his local employees used special equipment to extract and store raw honey in clean, 55-gallon drums that were stacked to the ceiling.

Those were the years of the USDA’s crop diversion programs, when farmers could divert or idle 50% of their farm’s crop bases. The “idled” acreages were usually planted to yellow clover and became a bonanza for honey bees.

Honey, as with other farm commodities, was eligible for the Commodity Credit Corp.’s low-interest, nine-month loans. Borrowers could redeem the commodity when markets were favorable or forfeit the commodity to USDA at loan maturity.

As I recall, loan rates for honey were 10 cents to 12 cents per pound. A 55-gallon drum held 550 pounds.

If one can visualize a storage room with hundreds of drums of honey, one may realize what our nation has lost.

Rex L. Kuntzelman, Fremont, Neb.

A bag of trash per day?

Like many Omahans, I am wary of the upcoming changes to our solid waste program. I recently received “Wasteline,” the periodical with updates on the City of Omaha’s waste program.

I was horrified to read, about the new, larger bins, that “The 96-gallon cart will hold 7, yes 7, kitchen size trash bags of waste (one for every day of the week).” This is progress? We are touting the ability to accommodate the production of an entire bag of trash per family, per day? Come on, Omaha, we can do better than this.

According to U.S. Census information, there are about 185,000 households in Omaha. Assuming every one of them produced one bag of trash per day, that would be 1.295 million bags of trash sent to the landfill per week, or over 67.3 million per year.

In the future, at least don’t present the idea of “one trash bag per day” as a positive aspect of this antiquated view of managing our solid waste.

Katie Sommer, Omaha

Polarized climate

It shouldn’t matter what political party you affiliate with, if any — you should want to be able to hear about issues without the information being presented to fit a certain narrative.

However, due to the polarization of today’s political climate, this seems impossible. With the 2020 presidential election on the horizon, it is imperative that people get news in a way they can make decisions on their own.

As someone who will be voting for a president for the first time in 2020, I find this increasingly concerning. I want to be an informed voter but find myself not being able to rely on the mainstream news for information. I don’t believe the news is being reported objectively.

According to a research study conducted by the Knight Foundation, “most U.S. adults, including more than nine in 10 Republicans, say they personally have lost trust in the news media in recent years. At the same time, 69% of those who have lost trust say that trust can be restored.”

This study is an extensive one and one of the more interesting data points is 45% of people believe there is inaccurate/fake news in reporting and another 42% of people believe there is a clear bias/agenda shown.

News organizations need to take responsibility for the spread of false or misleading information. Truth is more important than a political agenda.

Joe Masi, Omaha

Fix Underwood

The folks in Midtown who are campaigning to “Fix Farnam “ are badly overlooking a much bigger problem in the area: That would be the four-way stop signs at the intersection of Underwood Avenue and Fairacres Road.

During rush hour, traffic is typically backed up for blocks in both directions on Underwood, while traffic on Fairacres is minimal. This situation could easily be remedied by either removing the stop signs on Underwood or by installing a traffic signal timed to heavily favor Underwood, possibly operational only during rush hour.

The city would probably argue that the stop signs on Underwood are necessary to slow down traffic (in that regard, they have been wildly successful: It usually takes me several minutes to get from 69th Street to this intersection most days on my drive home from work.)

If this is the case, ever heard of speed bumps or photo-radar?

John A. Zukaitis, Omaha

Green sewer solutions

An Oct. 24 Public Pulse letter was critical of the Metropolitan Utilities District with regard to rates and particularly the sewer use fee.

As a ratepayer, I understand the frustration. The sewer fee is collected for the City of Omaha to meet an unfunded federal mandate to reduce the release of untreated water into the Missouri River. We are the messenger, but we do not set the fee. Our billing offers an efficient way for Omaha to collect the sewer fee, and that is a win for local taxpayers.

This sewer fee has been climbing, and continued growth is anticipated. When I was a state senator, I worked with city leaders and also approached our representatives in Congress, seeking ways to reduce the impact of the unfunded mandate and to promote green infrastructure projects that reduce the volume of storm water runoff overburdening the city’s sewer system.

I am pleased many of these green solutions have been initiated or completed under Mayors Jim Suttle and Jean Stothert and encourage city, state and federal officials to continue to seek creative solutions that might reduce the overall costs for Omaha to comply with the federal mandate. Some of the most visible of these water runoff projects have been in Spring Lake, Elmwood and Fontenelle Parks.

I encourage and salute developers who incorporate green solutions in plans for commercial projects where large parking lots contribute to storm water runoff.

In the meantime, I welcome concerns and comments from our ratepayers.

Gwen Howard, Omaha

vice chair, MUD board

Helping to avoid suicide

People in the suicide prevention workforce are currently struggling immensely.

According to asfp.org, suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the U.S. In 2017, there were an estimated 1.4 million suicide attempts. That year, suicide and self-injury cost the US $69 billion. Personally, I find that the way our health care system is structured, with psychiatrists treating patients with medication, doesn’t cure or eliminate the depression, suicidal thoughts or suicidal actions. It only masks the underlying mental illness.

A close friend of mine from middle school, Joe, was affected by the horrifying disease of depression, which led to his suicide. The absolute worst part about it was that almost no one knew what Joe was battling. There was a facade, created by medication, that masked Joe’s inner feelings.

An organization where people can reach out, such as QPR Institute, might have been the best solution to the crisis. QPR stands for question, persuade and refer. It involves people trained in QPR who learn how to recognize the warning signs of a suicide crisis and how to question, persuade and refer someone to help.

Gabe Bianchi, Omaha

Straying from principles

I recently came across “The American’s Creed,” by William Tyler Page, a copy of which was given to me by then-Rep. Donald F. McGinley, a member of Congress for Nebraska’s 4th District, upon my high school graduation in 1960:

“I believe in the United States of America as a government of the people, by the people and for the people; whose just powers are derived from the consent of the governed, a democracy in a republic, a sovereign Nation of many sovereign States; a perfect union, one and inseparable; established upon those principles of freedom, equality, justice, and humanity for which American patriots sacrificed their lives and fortunes. I therefore believe it is my duty to my country to love it, to support its Constitution, to obey its laws, to respect its flag, and to defend it against all enemies.”

This is what will make American great again. We have strayed far from these principles. As Nebraskans, we are better than this. We must insist that our elected representatives return honesty, loyalty, integrity, civility and common decency to our government.

If they continue to place the good of their party above the good of the nation, they need to be replaced. They may represent their political party, but they don’t represent Nebraskans.

Virginia Weston, Papillion

France honors U.S. vets

My gallant neighbor Eddy Cohn, who passed away a few years ago, was wounded on D-Day. While doing research on his Purple Heart, I came across information about the French Legion of Honor Award.

I contacted the French consulate and received a letter stating, “Unfortunately the French Ministry is unable to send medals to veterans who are deceased. As you mentioned, Mr. Cohn would have been eligible for the Legion of Honor medal.”

However, if documents are provided about a deceased veteran who served in northern France, southern France or Normandy, the consulate will write a letter to his family honoring him. Information required includes the veteran’s enlisted record, honorary discharge papers and battles or campaigns he served in. The consulate also has a form that must be filled out.

The consulate address:

Consulat Général de France

31 St. James Ave., Suite 750

Boston, MA 02116

Robert Moore, Omaha

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