Letters for May 14, 2009

A generation of swine

Re “Days of swine and noses” (Feature story, May 7):

After reading stories about the H1N1 flu, I have come to the conclusion that I have been laboring under a false assumption. With the recent concerns over the bird flu and SARS and a possible pandemic looming in our future, I had thought the governments of the world would have coordinated their responses in order to contain any disease outbreak.

We don’t have a coordinated comprehensive plan to combat a pandemic in this country. Each state, it appears, is left to their own devices. Some states have adequate antiviral medications while other states are short. Most drug manufacturers have their plants overseas, and some officials have expressed concern in the event of a pandemic those plants would be supplying the life-saving medications to the people in their own country first before shipping the drugs to the United States. Response to the H1N1 outbreak varied among the states. Responses from other countries was even greater. Why isn’t there any type of coordinated plan from the Centers for Disease Control for the States? Level 5 all states affected, wash hands. Level 3, close businesses, Level 1, everybody do the Joe Biden panic. Why doesn’t WHO have coordinated outlines for countries? In Europe, air passengers were given a temperature check when they got off the plane. In the United States, it was, “Welcome back to the United States. Did you enjoy your visit to the disease zone?”

Dewey Quong

Loss of sensation

Re “Days of swine and noses” (Feature story, May 7):

Question 2 was, “Is the media sensationalizing the disease?” By my count, 69 percent (24) said yes and 31 percent (11) said no. My answer is no. In fact the media hasn’t done a good enough job of highlighting the potential danger. This strain of H1N1 is a new virus for which there is no immunity. In its current form, it appears to be fairly benign, but we’re at the end of the flu season in the Northern Hemisphere and there could be a lot of mutations between now and winter. The Spanish Flu was not particularly lethal when it first appeared in the spring of 1918, but it racked up a death toll as high as 100 million by current estimates when it returned the following winter. If this pandemic follows that script, the death toll would be more like 300 million, given that there are now three times as many people on the planet. How do you “sensationalize” a potential catastrophe of that magnitude?

Rich Dunn
Carson City

Keep it local

Re “The longest foot” (Garden guide, April 30):

I attended Mel Bartholomew’s garden workshop last Saturday and was impressed with his system, except for the cost. He avoided any questions about the cost of the system. Since it was held at Moana Nursery, and they are the exclusive retailer of his system and products, it was not unexpected to see a price tag that pushed the envelope of expensive. The cheapest system, a 4-by-4 square foot garden was around $160 and the more expensive unit was $200. Wow, I’m frugal to the bone so I started to see if I could reduce the cost by shopping locally and helping out others who might live on more modest incomes.

If you go to Home Depot or Lowes, you can find the lumber for around $20 for 2-by-6 redwood, and $32 for 2-by-8 redwood for 16 lineal feet, enough for a 4-by 4-foot garden. If you use Douglas fir, you can lower your price by an extra 25 percent, but redwood will last forever and looks great.

The material that goes into the box was a little more problematic until I contacted the people who provide me with my yearly compost, Full Circle Compost, www.fullcirclecompost.com, (775) 267-5305. Sure you have to have a truck to pick it up, but they have a garden mix that sells for $42 a yard. They are local, good neighbors and wonderful to work with. I went last week with a camper shell on my pickup truck, and we shoveled it into the back of the truck through the tailgate.

The total cost for a 4-by-4 square foot garden, $32 to $48 depending if you do a 6-inch or 8-inch garden. If you use Douglas fir your cost will be as cheap as $25 each. Now if you are like me and find recycled material, the only cost is for the garden mix, and it will cost you only $14 per bed and the cost of gas. But it’s a wonderful trip and, if you share with others, the price drops and the fun increases.

Franklin Miller

Crappy critique

Re “For the dogs” (Food Finds, April 23):

For starters, I am not against negative restaurant reviews. That’s the whole point of reading them, so I can prioritize where I next want to spend my time and money. But the review of Freeman’s Natural Hotdogs was plain horrible.

It starts off by noting that the reviewers enjoy “unrelenting bashing” and were especially “salty” on the day of review, which immediately discounted the review in my eyes, since I doubted it was objective.

The rest of the short review lacked any substance or type of review of the actual restaurant. A couple backhanded comments left the reader confused about the reviewer’s impression or what they should expect. And the criticism seemed contradictory … the restaurant is not innovative, but then they complained about eccentric toppings. Make up your mind!

He loves the “whole hot dog aspect” but then complained about them only serving hot dogs. What else should they make? Pizzas and burgers? Isn’t the restaurant called Freeman’s Natural Hotdogs … what did you expect them to serve?

He also critiques the business plan pointing out that not many people regularly eat hot dogs. What does that have to do with a review of the restaurant? If someone opens a pickle stand, review the food, service and decor, not whether you think they will be around long.

The only real critiques made were about the buns and lack of condiments. That was the only value I got out of this article.

I hope future restaurant reviews can be of higher quality.

Andrew McCullough

Fire the reviewer

Re “For the dogs” (Food Finds, April 23):

Honestly, I was more than a little disappointed in the review of Freeman’s Natural Hotdogs. How can you open a review by saying, “I count my co-workers as friends, and boy, they are some critical individuals. As such, the idea of eating with me for a review appealed to a certain sense of unrelenting bashing they enjoy.” Does this not smack of bias? Is his not inappropriate for a food critic? I do not think your paper should accept food reviews from Grant Nejedlo in the future. He is obviously unable to provide an intelligent, unbiased review of a restaurant. I have eaten at Freeman’s on several occasions, and while anyone can have a bad day, I have never had a negative experience there. The food has been good and the services, as well. They are doing something really great with the organic food options they have and deserve much more credit than your ridiculous review. One more like that, and I may stop reading your paper altogether together.

Craig Belis


Re “Killer Queen” (Art of the State, May 7):

Due to a reporter’s error, John Gustave Ritter IV was incorrectly identified as John Gustave Ratter IV. We regret this error and any confusion it may have caused.