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From Missouri Conservationist: Sep 2010

Street Trees

Graham, Miller and Stonner are all to be highly commended for the excellent article in your July issue about how we take our trees for granted and enjoy them without realizing what a financial asset they are to our communities [Street Trees Pay Us Back].

Brought up in a small town in Ohio in the 1930s and ‘40s, I was accustomed to trees lining most of our streets and loved them without ever thinking how very different the place would look without them. Later, living in Rochester, NY, we also had great mature elms lining many of our streets. I’ll never forget the feeling of desolation we experienced when the Dutch elm disease killed off those beautiful elms on Goodman Street. That street was naked for quite a few years before new, different trees could be grown there. Nobody wanted to live there any more, and you can imagine what that did to real estate values and, eventually, indirectly to taxes.

People so often kick about city taxes. The points you made about how well-kept trees affect our taxes will be an eye-opener to many who have never considered them in that light.

James F. Whitacre, Columbia

Many thanks for the good article on street trees. Let me offer two comments. First, when considering where to plant street trees, take into account where underground utilities are located—water, sewer, gas, electric, phone, cable TV and fiber optic lines. It is very disappointing to have a backhoe rip out a good tree to make necessary repairs on a leaking water or gas line. Check for recorded utility easements and call Dig Rite before planting. Second, consider overhead lines. A tree planted under overhead lines becomes an expensive problem for the utility and can cause outages during wind and snow storms. Plus, a tree with its top half sheared off just doesn’t look good! For trees that can grow for decades, a few hours of planning is time well spent.

Dan Overbey, Semo Port Southeast Missouri Regional Port Authority, Scott City

A Safe Barracuda

I was thrilled when I opened my July issue. On Page 4 is a wonderful picture of a young man and his father enjoying a canoe trip together. This young man, Atul, is a member of the Jefferson City Barracudas swim team. As a USA swim coach, Red Cross water safety instructor, and YMCA swim instructor, I was so proud of this father and son for wearing their life jackets. We teach water safety constantly, but too often people feel that they are “good enough” swimmers, and therefore do not need a life jacket. However, especially during the summer months, we read of drownings that occur because someone was not wearing a life jacket. I just wanted to applaud this family’s great water safety skills. Have a wonderful and safe summer!

Ronnie L. Phelps, via Internet

Catfishing Culture

Really nice piece comparing bass and catfish tournaments [Catfish Tournaments; July]. Funny and entertaining. Eating a sandwich after handling stink bait—not something I could stomach. I live on a farm and get lots of distasteful stuff on my hands, but soap and water is a must before eating. I guess I’m a pansy. I hope to read more of Jim’s work in the future.

Tom McSparren, Odessa

I must admit, I never really cared much about catfish tournaments, but I still liked your article! Also, did the catfish tournament really have a polygraph?

Jodi Pfefferkorn, via Internet

This Issue's Staff

Editor In Chief - Ara Clark
Managing Editor - Nichole LeClair Terrill
Art Director - Cliff White
Staff Writer - Bonnie Chasteen
Staff Writer - Jim Low
Photographer - Noppadol Paothong
Photographer - David Stonner
Designer - Stephanie Thurber
Artist - Dave Besenger
Artist - Mark Raithel
Circulation - Laura Scheuler