Letters: KC Readers discuss Hispanic heritage, truck drivers, coddled pro sports teams

·5 min read

That’s America

Before the pandemic, I volunteered at a food pantry. While working there, I met a volunteer from Honduras named Hector. We worked together every Monday morning for several years. Hector was the glue that held our Monday morning group together. He was always there to do whatever was necessary to keep the ball rolling. His work ethic was excellent, coupled with a delightful smile and a positive attitude.

Hector had a full-time job and volunteered at the pantry while studying to become a U.S. citizen. Both he and his wife have now achieved citizenship.

As our nation honors Hispanic Heritage Month, I honor my friend Hector.

- Bob Washburn, Kansas City

Smarter yards

Dennis Patton recommends September application of fertilizers to our lawns, especially nitrogen (Sept. 12, 2C, “Feeding your lawn in fall will help it thrive in spring”) However, let’s reconsider such practices in light of the damage that greenhouse gases are doing to our climate, as evidenced by recent droughts, wildfires and hurricanes.

In 2018, a Kansas State University researcher reported that fertilizing turfgrass with nitrogen might emit significant amounts of nitrous oxide (a powerful greenhouse gas) into the atmosphere. Furthermore, production of synthetic nitrogen uses fossil fuels, contributing to excessive atmospheric carbon dioxide and trapping heat in our atmosphere.

Smart farmers are realizing that instead of costly fertilizer applications, they can produce more, at less expense, with practices that regenerate soil microorganisms that interact with plants. Even General Mills has recognized that reliable production of food depends on shifting to these methods. And we city dwellers should encourage this necessary shift in farming by reducing the use of synthetic fertilizers on our lawns.

Thousands of Americans enrich soils with bioreactors pioneered by California State University, Chico adjunct professor David Johnson and his wife. This biostimulant material, applied with compost as top-dressing on lawns, will produce healthy grass at less cost to our climate.

- Jim Turner, Earthcare Team Chair, Westport Presbyterian Church, Kansas City

Keep us moving

Professional truck drivers are the backbone of the American economy. Visit any grocery stores or businesses here in Kansas City and that becomes immediately obvious. Virtually everything around us and nearly every part of our lives is made possible by the work of a truck driver.

Sept. 12-18 was National Truck Driver Appreciation Week. When the world stopped during the COVID-19 pandemic, the men and women behind the wheels kept moving by delivering essential goods across our country and to Kansas City. The sacrifices that drivers made to help carry the nation through the pandemic deserves our recognition and appreciation.

When you’re in a grocery store, take a minute to notice how stocked the shelves are — and always remained, even during the most challenging moments of the pandemic. And when sitting at home, look around and realize that almost everything was at some point in the back of truck before it got to where it is now.

Please take a minute to recognize the role that truck drivers have in keeping Kansas City supplied with the critical goods that we often take for granted.

- Jeff Lynch, Kansas City

Military lessons

Listening to Secretary of State Antony Blinken being castigated for the Afghanistan evacuation chaos reminds me of the definition of an Army auditor as one who goes around the battlefield after the firefight and executes the wounded. I hear lots of woulda/coulda/shouldas, but the bottom line is that the abrupt cut-and-run by the Afghan government, and the no-show by most of the Afghan armed forces, doomed the effort.

Scant attention has been paid to the efforts during the evacuation of our armed forces, who again performed above and beyond the call of duty. They deserve our thanks and praise.

Long term, we will come to know military and diplomatic aspects to our involvement there. This is only the beginning. I was a lieutenant colonel in the Army, and there, once a decision was made, you had three options: Help lead the implementation of the decision, follow those who were leading or shut up and get out of the way.

Would that some of our learned Congress members take that to heart and focus on lessons learned rather than executing the wounded.

- David B. Smiley, Shawnee

Not on our dime

The owners, players and sponsors of professional sports teams should pay for their own new stadiums. (Sept. 17, 9A, “Downtown baseball would be an immense ask of taxpayers”) The day of public financing for these private enterprises should be over. Teams are now worth billions. Players are worth millions, and companies such as Nike make a fortune off professional sports teams.

Players have financial stakes and opportunities outside the cities they play in and shouldn’t get a free ride. They can build their own stadiums or move somewhere else.

- Frank Green, Kansas City

Let them be

I grew up in Kansas City, and it still occupies a favored position in my heart. Could somebody please offer the city code inspectors a reality check? Regulating plants that appeal to butterflies? (Sept. 14, 7A, “Senior may be headed to court for butterfly garden”) Excuse me? How much more beneficial is it possible to be?

Can somebody there in Kansas City please help that inspector see beyond his little bureaucratic guidelines to what is good and beautiful for the local community and — is this too extreme? — for the world at large?

I remember my childhood years. Beauty and kindness were paramount in my experience there. Please help Kansas City continue that tradition, will you?

- Linda Jenks, Grand Junction, Colorado

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