Letters for November 8, 2001

Hansen crossed line
Re “How Ira Hansen Got the Boot” (RN&R News, Oct. 4):

I feel I must write about the real reason Ira Hansen was removed from his KKOH radio program. It was not because he was critical of Israeli policies.

A caller to Mr. Hansen’s program noted the dimming of lights by local downtown casinos to commemorate the September bombing attack. She mentioned that only one major casino did not seem to participate. Mr. Hansen then made the unfortunate comment that crossed the proverbial line. He paused and made sure that his listeners knew that the owner of that casino was, after all, Iranian and Jewish.

The tone and drama of his answer clearly impuned the “un-Americanism” of that individual. Later in the program, concerned callers reported how this casino was handing out American flags, and its large lightboard constantly showed American themes with no casino promotions. But the ugly words and their implications hung in the air, almost palpable.

Free speech is our heritage and encouraged. Hate speech we have deemed unacceptable. I am sure Mr. Hansen has learned an important lesson. Marsha Lee Reno

Bad kitty
Re “Cat Litter Fever” (RN&R News, Oct. 18):

I am appalled that the kitty litter mines and manufacturing plant are being proposed for Hungry Valley. A pristine, open-space valley next to a residential community is no place for two open-pit clay mines and an industrial factory. The article points out the air quality concerns from blowing dust and possible impacts to the water table in a rapidly expanding area. Oil-Dri, the Illinois-based corporation that is proposing the project, may be required to monitor air quality impacts. This monitoring, however, would be self-reported and would use baseline data from Reno and Sparks, not Hungry Valley. The air quality in Hungry Valley is cleaner than that in Sparks and Reno. This is not an accurate way to evaluate changes in the air quality of Hungry Valley.

Yes, mining is an important part of Nevada’s history, but do we want to be known as the state that permits residential mining to fill a litter box? The small economic gain to Washoe County does not outweigh the impacts the mine will have on our air quality, water quality and quality of life. The people of Hungry Valley and all of Washoe County deserve better.

Karel Malloy
Great Basin Mine Watch

McQueen director deserves better
Re “A for effort” (RN&R Theater, Oct. 25):

I’d like to congratulate Catherine Atkins on getting a job as theater critic while actually knowing very little about the subject. FYI, in 1961, Neil Simon wrote The Odd Couple, and approximately 20 years later, he wrote a female version of his own play. It was performed on Broadway starring Rita Moreno and Sally Struthers. If Ms. Atkins doesn’t like certain aspects of the play—songs, jokes, etc.—she should take that up with Mr. Simon, not [McQueen High School theater director] Leo McBride.

I have complete confidence that Mr. McBride has the talent to be a great playwright, if and when he chooses to do so. He is incredibly talented and has wonderful vision and a terrific sense of humor. But he didn’t write either version of The Odd Couple. Neil Simon wrote them both.

Leo McBride is a complete professional. He is a great teacher who loves his craft and the kids. Mr. McBride combines his strict professionalism with strong academics and lots of fun. I thank God he lives in Reno, not New York City, so he can teach at McQueen. I feel totally blessed that my daughter has had the opportunity to learn from Leo McBride for four years. He is giving these kids a very strong foundation on which to build. Whether or not they choose to pursue a career in theater, he teaches them teamwork, cooperation, responsibility and confidence in their abilities.

To accuse Leo McBride of re-writing or altering the lines of any copywritten play is absurd! Every play his Royal Lancer Players perform is kept true to the script as written, with the possible exception of the elimination of most swear words! These are kids, after all … a fact Ms. Atkins seems to have forgotten.

Leo McBride has a well-deserved reputation for excellence in theater, and we are very proud of him at McQueen.

Melinda Nelson