My thanks to Leigh Montville for the hilarious article Cherry Bombs (March 29). The flamboyant Don Cherry is refreshing to grind 'em up, chew 'em up hockey fans like myself. May he have many more years on the Grapevine.
The wonderful sport of hockey has been spoiled by goon players like Dave Schultz, a goon owner like Harold Ballard and now a goon TV personality like Don Cherry. Call it a hat trick.
How about showing us a picture of Don Cherry in his minor league playing days?
In 1972 I attended a coaches' clinic at a sporting-goods store in Rochester, N.Y. Don Cherry was the guest. Everything about him in your article may be true today, but in '72 life was simpler. At that time Cherry's advice to the coaches was to let the kids have fun playing hockey. He was great with kids. He would do anything to help youth hockey programs. I'll bet he still feels that way.
RAY L. KOCHERT
Readers might wonder what a story on the environment was doing in SI (The Killing Fields, March 22), but it is an important subject for all who hunt, fish, hike or camp on public lands in the American West. Boyle is to be commended for bringing attention to the fact that an irrational federal water policy is the cause of the poisoning of much wildlife, particularly in California's western San Joaquin Valley. Simply put, the Interior Department allows national wildlife refuges to be used as dumping grounds for toxic drainage from factory farms.
With that being the case, why don't the lawyers in the Justice Department enforce the Migratory Bird Treaty Act? They enforce the act when they want to go after poachers who illegally kill a handful of protected birds, but why don't they use it to go after the politically powerful growers who poison and mutate protected birds by the thousands?
North Fork, Calif.
I take issue with Lloyd Carter's accusation that the U.S. Geological Survey keeps "its head in the sand over the extent and implication of selenium poisoning in the West." The USGS has long conducted a broad research and data-gathering program on toxins associated with irrigation drainage in the West. These scientific findings have greatly advanced our understanding of selenium in the environment and have a direct bearing on water treatment and remediation of contaminated sites as well as on the management of these regions.
For more than 100 years the USGS has served as an independent data-gathering and data-interpretation agency that federal, state and local governments use as a source of unbiased and sound information. Hence we have neither regulatory duties nor an advocacy component.
RONALD S. OREMLAND
Project Chief, USGS
Water Resources Division
Menlo Park, Calif.
The article largely linked the death of birds to the accumulation of selenium resulting from irrigated agriculture. Unfortunately, SI implied that rice production was one of the causes. For the record, nearly all of California's rice production occurs in the Sacramento Valley, not in the San Joaquin Valley.
Rice fields provide habitat for no fewer than 128 species of wildlife, including at least 21 special-status species (some of which are endangered and threatened). The National Audubon Society, Ducks Unlimited, the California Waterfowl Association, The Nature Conservancy and a number of other conservation organizations have recently expressed the importance of rice production in California for restoring bird populations, especially migratory waterfowl. These organizations' support for the role that rice production plays in saving bird populations has been widely reported.
JOHN R. ROBERTS
California Rice Industry Association