A collection of recent letters to the editor published in the Wisconsin State Journal.
City is helping protect pollinators -- Ellen (Elena) Rulseh
A June 20 State Journal story reported that “37.7% of U.S. honeybee colonies died this past winter, nearly 9 percentage points higher than the average winter loss.”
For those of us who like to eat, news that our bee populations are in decline is worrisome. Experts say that one out of every three bites of food we eat depends on bees.
Recently, bees scored a minor yet important victory locally, where Winnebago Street is being reconstructed at Linden Avenue in Madison. In two areas of the terrace, native wild flowers such as golden alexander, baptisia, spiderwort, butterfly weed and bee balm have recently bloomed, and dozens of tiny bees were recently sighted, feasting on the crowns of golden alexander.
We alerted the city engineering staff that the plantings in this about-to-be-demolished terrace provide food for endangered pollinators. Soon after, two members of the city engineering department came by with a couple dozen 4-foot-tall, thin wooden stakes, which they pounded into the ground surrounding the plantings. Each stake was marked in big handwritten letters with the words “protect” and was wrapped and connected to the next by green tape.
Thanks to our new mayor, her city engineering department and the respectful work-around of heavy equipment operators, the plantings and our pollinators have indeed been protected.
Ellen (Elena) Rulseh, Madison
Heat waves linked to climate change -- William H. Tishler
Madisonians just sweltered through another heat wave, and more could be on the way this summer. Why? Climate change.
Respected scientists tell us climate change makes heat waves more frequent. It is also making heat waves longer.
If we don’t rein in greenhouse gas emissions, this dilemma will continue and worsen. We need to cut our carbon-producing lifestyle and demand that our politicians, many of whom seem to be ignoring this problem, act to do something about it. If not, the quality of life on this beautiful earth we have inherited will change forever for future generations.
William H. Tishler, Fitchburg
Other amendments are more pressing -- Mark K. Allen
Does Wisconsin need another constitutional amendment to limit the governor's line-item veto? While I could support such an amendment, I would suggest other amendments are needed and deserve priority.
First, we should have a constitutional amendment requiring that legislative and congressional districts be drawn up by a nonpartisan commission. The Legislature's and governor's roles should be limited to approving the redistricting plans.
A second constitutional amendment should prohibit the Legislature from limiting the governor and other elected officials powers and responsibilities during a lame-duck session. These type of changes can be made, but only in regular sessions.
And a third amendment should allow citizens the right to binding referendums. These referendums would force our state government to better address citizen concerns.
Only after these amendments are addressed would I address concerns about the governor's line-item veto powers.
Mark K. Allen, Madison
Pelli made Overture more accessible -- Peggy Rakow
I was sad to read of the passing of renowned architect Cesar Pelli. When Pelli was in Madison to work on his design for the Overture Center for the Arts and the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, he learned part of the process was submitting his designs to various city commissions.
As a member of the Commission of People with Disabilities, I have a wonderful memory of Pelli attending a meeting held to address concerns about access for people with disabilities to the Overture Center and MMOCA.
Pelli arrived accompanied by a young assistant who was struggling with several huge framed copies of the blueprints. Pelli and his assistant willingly shifted the various framed blueprints so commission members could indicate the areas of concern clearly. It was quite a workout.
Our commission was pleased that Pelli was extremely open to our concerns about access to the theater, especially for wheelchair mobilizers, blind guests and people with hearing impairment. He was equally eager to identify solutions and improvements in design and special adaptive equipment.
It delights me to think the knowledge gained here in Madison may have impacted Pelli's international projects.
Certainly those changes have ensured the enjoyment and participation of many here in the Overture Center and MMOCA.
Peggy Rakow, Madison