Letter to the Editor

Open Forum

Friday, August 8, 2003

Air Base memories

Dear Editor,

Bob Hope, Francis Langford and Jerry Colona entertained the GI's and the civilian workers at the McCook Army Air Base in January 1945. They flew in from Denver on a C-47. This was remembered as a wonderful experience for the soldiers as well as the civilian workers.

The sound systems were very crude, compared to the ones we use today. The picture I'm enclosing was sent to me by Judy Johnson Nelson of Monroe, Neb., and her mother, Mrs. F.B. Johnson of Fremont, both formerly of Danbury.

F.B. Johnson of Danbury and Capt. Anderson are shown setting up an outdoor speaker system at the base. This type of speaker would also have been used for the Bob Hope show and was used for takeoffs and landings for the huge planes at the base.

If the old councils of the '40s and '50s would have had foresight and common sense, the air base could have been a money-maker for the town. Spray pilots loved to keep their airplanes in the hangars and their spray supplies. And, as they took off and landed, didn't have to worry about spray fallout in the country. Rent from those businesses and the farm ground would have brought in revenue.

Large planes could have still landed and fueled up. It would also have brought tourists and visitors, just as Fort Kearney, Fort Laramie, Buffalo Bill's home, Gettysburg Battle Ground, just to name a few from long ago generations. These types of places are visited by thousands every year, to get a feeling for the history of our country.

You say it as too far away from town. What about shuttle buses?

Most recently, Grand Island was awarded a big contract for helicopter operations from their city. Just think, if even part of the air base had been kept, mcCook could easily have had that contract.

The Air Base Historical Society has saved and still has enough memorabilia to show to schools and tourists, more than Fort Kearney had to start with many years ago, and this all should be saved before nothing is left of this wonderful World War II site.

There are so few left to help work at the base, and it would be a wonderful project for youth groups, history classes clubs, etc. The artifacts this group will have to show during Heritage Days is worth driving out to see. Also, monetary help is needed if we are to succeed in this endeavor. If you can't help this way, then go out, cut weeds, help dust and get displays in order. Just get involved.

Pat Redfern

McCook Snuggles kidnapped?

Dear Editor,

A couple of days ago in the triple digits of heat, my husband came rushing home from being in the intense heat unable to find our little dog, Snuggles.

Where did he go? He is always in our home or fenced in. The door did not properly latch, and Snuggles took off. A 19-year-old young man loaded my dog, Snuggles into his car and took him to the dogcatcher.

Around 2 1/2 hours later, the dog catcher called me to let me know that he had taken him to the vets -- as that is where they keep the dogs, at a fee of $40, even for a few minutes. Then the dog catcher gave me a ticket for some $55. My dog had his proper vaccinations and dog tags. What a ripoff. Can you believe that I asked the dog catcher if he would like a tip?

Elsie Wolters

Oberlin Did God plant weeds?

Dear Editor,

In response to Dawn Cribbs' (column) from Aug. 6, "God sure knows how to water a lawn" ...

Did God introduce weeds into her lawn? Did God intend that she spend 12+ hours pulling them out? Did God prefer that she spend so much time doing something so self-serving rather than visiting the infirm, feeding the hungry, helping to shelter the homeless, assisting disadvantaged or handicapped children, or any other truly worthwhile activities?

Sandra Van Maren

Chicago Better research needed

Dear Editor,

As a mother with a 6-year-old child, diagnosed with arsenic poisoning, last summer. I'm appalled at your lack of knowledge on the subject (Glory Daze, Thursday). If you're going to write an article, please do some research on the subject. As a biochemist, I would like to inform you that not only is arsenic carcinogenic and the number one toxic contaminant on the ASTDR list of many. It is also killing thousands of people a day in India.

Arsenic also kills many Americans but much more slowly, childhood diseases, of all kinds, cancers, learning disabilities, are all on the upswing. My child has lost her health, thanks to a dose off a bad batch of pressure treated wood (not that I believe any wood treated with arsenic was a brilliant idea) and still has peripheral neuropathy.

She had to be flown to out to hospitals twice, and will go again in late August. Arsenic is transdermal as well. Think about what people are bathing in. My child did not ingest the wood; the chemicals ran out of the sap, and her exposure was transdermal.

And unlike many Americans we did not run out to sue, no amount of money can undo the harm it has caused her. We will lose our home due to medical bills. Add up the cost, of exposure to arsenic; it takes its toll in more ways the one. Tell my six-year old that arsenic is safe, and it's better to save a few tax dollars, then to lower the water standards for this toxic contaminate.

Arsenic is in the earth's crust, that is correct, but drilling into it is where all the hardship in India started. Pesticides contain inorganic arsenic, and it is no longer legal in either your country or mine to use them for spraying. If you would like more information on the dangers of arsenic, I would gladly send you information, or perhaps you could read the ASTDR on arsenic, and Dr. Joshua Hamilton's work on how little arsenic it takes to change ones DNA, much less then 10 ppm. He is not alone in his findings. We are fortunate in Ottawa, Canada, not to have detectable levels in the water supply, but we drink bottled just be safe.

Regards, and Think please.

Michele Lafantaisie

via e-mail

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