Moving toward a better balance with wildlife

"Life with wildlife" (May 23, Editorial) makes many valid points. People must understand and respect wild animals that have returned to their former haunts. Populations do increase rapidly when checks – whether natural or man-made – no longer operate. Certainly your concern for the welfare of schoolchildren is well taken, but I do hope that the pendulum is not swinging toward forcing wildlife out of "human" territory.

My own urban backyard was honored by a visit from a young black bear in 1999. It was one of a group of bears foraging the nearby wooded hills. This welcome guest spent upward of three hours on our lawn munching acorns from two ancient oaks. An off-duty state environmental police officer, unfortunately, saw fit to shoot the bear soon after she left our premises. A few months later, two moose in a nearby neighborhood experienced a similar fate. Surely, such situations ought to be handled far more humanely and intelligently than these.
Edmund A. Schofield
Worcester, Mass.

Take care of domestic needs first

Regarding "Where septic tanks are unaffordable luxuries" (May 24): Can we honestly say that our government has its priorities set on its own people when the amount it spends on one or two bombs it drops on Afghanistan could pay for the very sewage system the poor in Lowndes County, Ala. are jailed for being unable to afford? It's good to hear that running water was installed there, but it is time for our government to help the community install a healthy sewage system as well – not only for the community members but for the environment as well.
Gary Sanderson
Rochester, N.Y.

Why Syria hates Israel

Regarding "In US 'war on terror,' Syria is foe – and friend" (May 14): Your article on US-Syrian relations failed to explain why Syria hates Israel. As former Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Dayan once said in an interview, not only did Israel seize Syria's Golan Heights in 1967 because of its rich farmlands, but he felt keeping it would be an obstacle to peace. The occupation pushed out hundreds of thousands of Syrians, who now live in poverty.
Carl Greeley
Barefoot Bay, Fla.

President's support of new volunteers

Regarding "A thousand points of hype" (April 25, Opinion): The day after his State of the Union address, announcing his USA Freedom Corps initiative, calling on all American's to volunteer at least two years to serve others, the president articulated his vision for this program, his plans to increase federal support for this effort, and even released a policy book to outline his effort.

It states his plan to: create a new White House office to coordinate federal service activities and support nonprofit and community-serving organizations; double Peace Corps volunteers over the next five years and ask for more than $200 million to support this growth; and expand AmeriCorps and Senior Corps and give them a thorough review for the first time in a decade. He is also requesting more than $290 million to support them, establishing a new Citizen Corps program with $230 million in resources to help local governments train volunteers for emergencies, and requesting $560 million to support these efforts in fiscal year 2003, plus an additional $50 million to help start Citizen Corps this year.

Despite this, your article suggests that Bush demanded nothing from his administration in connection with the initiative and had not changed his budget priorities. For more information readers should visit www.usafreedomcorps.gov.
Lindsey C. Kozberg
WashingtonUSA Freedom Corps

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