Clean oceans should concern inland and coastal dwellers

I was pleased to read your Aug. 23 editorial, "Bummer beaches and other ocean woes," about the environmental problems in the oceans because a large number of people are unaware of this subject. It is a problem like global warming that has crept up on us because of population growth and the way we live.

For instance, most people who live inland have never mentally connected their ground-water discharges to the rivers and ultimately to the oceans. Most people who live near the oceans do not realize that storm-water runoff from roads and highways with many pollutants quickly makes its way to the oceans. The ever-more-popular cruise boats are supposed to treat their sewage, but many do not, or only do it when they are near land. And so forth. The problem is huge.

Cleaning up the oceans is as much everybody's responsibility as is protecting all other aspects of our planet's environment. And when you think about it, there is only one ocean; they are all connected.
Dorothy B. Witwer
Key West, Fla.

Iowa State Fair shows true achievement

I'm deeply disappointed that the Aug. 22 article, "Blue-ribbon America," remains the testament of Iowa's annual exposition of industry and agricultural achievement.

The writer ignores the wealth of artistic ingenuity, much of it from the hands of our youth and tireless farming families. In short, the author went for hokey instead of authentic in the same manner that antique-dealer wannabes repaint "treasures" to look falsely antique instead of delving deep into the most forgotten parts of the land to unearth the unique, hand-hewn pride that truly is a rarity – except when it's on display at a state fair.

As an Iowan, I recognize that the same pie-eating contests and smorgasbord of unusual foods on a stick are part of what makes the Iowa State Fair amusingly authentic. Zany is on display right next to perseverance, accomplishment, and tractors. But to insist on comparing the Iowa State Fair to the culinary explorations and mayhem present during a birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese's is a disgrace to 152 years of history.
Jennifer J. Notch
Godfrey, Ill.

Engineers want material reward

Regarding the Aug. 10 article, "Germany alarmed at lack of engineers": The environmental movement is not the reason universities are not producing as many engineers. The civil engineering department I was enrolled in nearly doubled because of the addition of an environmental engineering degree program. The reason universities are not graduating engineers is because engineers tend to be conservative. Engineers use logic, not emotions, to draw conclusions. The logical conclusion is that liberalism does not work. People perform for personal rewards, not because it is best for society. If you want more engineers, forget about the incentives mentioned in the article. Start raising salaries, promoting engineers into positions of prominence, and get rid of politically correct requirements. People capable of being engineers will not follow a political appointee in charge of the Department of Transportation. Especially not when bridge designs are controlled by the esthetic, environmental, and social impact.

Bridges are designed to carry people and goods over the gap. Engineers design the bridge in the most economical method and don't really care about the political implications. The shortage of engineers will continue until engineers are given the respect, responsibility, and payment they deserve.
David Cole
Madison, Conn.

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