Reader Contributed

Don't Log Farragut - If the Idaho Departments of Parks and Recreation and Fish and Game have their way, 162 prime recreational acres along and near the Pend Oreille lakeshore in Farragut State Park will be logged in the name of restoring ponderosa pine.

Bike paths obliterated into logging road, skid trails, burning sediment going into the lake, damaged wildlife habitat, ugly scarred land -- this is not what parks are supposed to be all about. This is a PARK, not timberland.

This beautiful recreational forest is criss-crossed by hiking and biking paths and enjoyed by many thousands of people every year. The proposed timber sale would ruin the natural beauty of this area, as seen from the ground and from the lake. I find it hard to believe that anyone could think that cutting down the majestic Douglas firs is a good idea. The sheer volume of the proposal is also sickening: 1.67 million board feet from 162 acres, or the equivalent of 350 logging trucks.

Brining more ponderosa pine into the park is fine, but there are much more suitable areas for the project, such as the parade grounds higher in the park. They are dry, unlike the lakeshore areas, and they are open, ready for planting. A beautiful forest wouldn't have to be ruined in order to bring the pine in there.

I just ask that the Idaho Parks and Recreation and Fish and Game departments reconsider this project. In particular, I ask that they leave the lakeshore acreage alone.

Karen Shill

Spokane, Wash.

Go Veggie Now - The cover story in this week's Time Magazine confirms that more than 30 million Americans have explored the vegetarian diet and 11.4 million consider themselves vegetarians. Half made the switch to improve their health and one-third did so for ethical, religious or environmental reasons.

Mintel Consumer Intelligence projects a 100 to 125 percent annual growth rate for the $1.25 billion vegetarian food market, as an estimated 25 percent of consumers use meat alternatives for at least some of their meals. What's even more encouraging is that Teenage Research Unlimited found that nearly 25 percent of adolescents consider vegetarian diets "cool."

Consequently, traditional animal products purveyors like ConAgra, Kraft, General Mills and Dean Foods are launching their own lines of meat and dairy alternatives at many supermarkets.

The national trend toward wholesome non-violent plant-based eating is clear. What is terribly unclear is why 1.3 million Americans still have to suffer and die each year from heart disease, stroke, cancer and other killer diseases that have been linked conclusively to consumption of animal products.

The only effective long-term solution to this national tragedy is to act on the unanimous recommendations of leading health authorities and replace meat and dairy products in our diet with wholesome grains, legumes, vegetables and fruits. Let's make tomorrow the first day of our long and healthy life.

Peter Irwin

Spokane, Wash.

Where Are the Jobs? - As of this moment, I am afraid of my financial future in Spokane. After reading the On The Street in The Inlander about the trials of young graduates (6/20/02), I felt the need to add my two cents to the subject.

Let me say first, I do not plan to leave this town. My family and friends live in Spokane. My life is here. For those with a little money, Spokane is a nice place to raise a family. But you need a job that pays well first.

Unfortunately, I am just getting ready to graduate with a master's degree in communication and I'm scared I won't have a job waiting for me.

When I attended high school, everyone wanted to leave Spokane. Kids complained about the lack of entertainment for young people, until they turned 21. Hundreds of high school graduates left town then and haven't returned.

Four years later, I left to go to graduate school at Washington State University. I held a job, like I always did. I studied hard and I maintained a good grade point average. But as I finish up my thesis and begin the quest for employment, I have no idea where my future is going to take me.

I told my colleagues and teachers at WSU that I wanted to work in Spokane. The most common response to that was a sympathetic look. Most people know the job market here is not prosperous. I have put in more than 10 applications so far, without a nibble.

Spokane has drawn a variety of new restaurant and retail chains in the past few years. Repeat after me: seven bucks, seven bucks, seven bucks. We don't need any more minimum wage jobs. Half of Spokane already works there.

So, if I'm lucky, I'll get a government job at one of the colleges. If I'm unlucky, I might do some temp work or wait tables until something permanent comes along.

Spokane does have its good qualities, such as its beautiful parks and its low chance of natural disaster damage. And it has the people I love. That is its finest quality.

But, is Spokane a good place for young graduates? No. Does it attract graduates who don't have ties here? Absolutely not. Will I keep looking until I find a good job? Yes. Because there's no place I'd rather be.

Angela Johnson

Spokane, Wash.

Exhibit: The Hanford Site @ North Spokane Library

Mondays-Sundays. Continues through Nov. 30
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