Letters to the Editor Spring 2020

Clear Cuts and Conscience

I worked on a Forest Service fire crew for one season out of the Oakridge ranger district. Our crew went to three fires, leaving lots of time in between. That time was spent mostly digging fire lines around clear cuts, burning off the logging debris called “slash,” and standing by to ensure that the fires didn’t jump over the lines. The clear cuts were sometimes on steep hillsides that never should have been logged and denuded. The loggers with a conscience (“Allies in the Woods,” Winter 2020) evidently didn’t raise their voices in protest against that destruction. I doubt that ever happened on any logging site.

Philip Ratcliff, BA ’79 (journalism)
Salem, Oregon

Role Models, On and
Off the Field

After this year’s Rose Bowl, I am prouder than ever to be a Duck alum. It is with great pride that I see the quality of people who have become the quarterback leaders for the Ducks, referring not just to Justin Herbert, but also to Marcus Mariota and Joey Harrington. All are fine young men who are great role models on how we should treat other people in our lives.

I am proud to have acquired a significant portion of my education in Eugene. I am grateful for the mentoring and special opportunities provided to me by Edward Novitski, professor of biology. Go Ducks!

Blaine Tolby, PhD ’74 (biology)
Longview, Washington

Whitelaw Epitomized Engagement

I was thrilled to read about Ed Whitelaw (Autumn 2019), who drew me to economics as a major before I switched to geography. Ed made the major come alive in Microeconomics 101, held in a lecture hall of more than 100 freshmen and sophomores. I sat in the front row, arriving early to snag a prime seat. After day one, he astoundingly had learned many of our names. I went on to work as an intern at ECONorthwest, but then drifted into the worlds that a major in geography revealed. Due to my brief stint in economics, Ed may not remember me (though it wouldn’t surprise me if he did). I can say that my micro/macroeconomics course work gave me a foundation for graduate school and a career as an economic development urban planner, and it continues to serve me well today. More importantly, Ed Whitelaw is the epitome of an engaged professor who inspires young minds. Thank you, Ed!

Sylvia Chinn-Levy, BS ’83 (geography)
Akron, Ohio

Sentimental About Sarajevo

Vivid, once-in-my-lifetime memories came back as I read Jesse Summers’ “Path to Peace” (Winter 2020).

As a Northwest newspaper sportswriter, I was privileged to report on the 1984 Winter Olympics in Sarajevo, Yugoslavia (now Bosnia-Herzegovina). The tragedies in the 1990s that ultimately led to the deaths of at least 130,000 people and the creation of five strife-torn countries sadly marred the joys and victories of that special time in ’84.

Summers’ tribute to Will Johnson and the Human Rights and Peace Studies program he leads in the summer to the Balkans rekindled memories. And it made me envious that I wasn’t still a student. But I am also hopeful that past and future Ducks in the program can learn about human rights and use those lessons to be saviors in the peace building so needed in the Balkans.

Craig Weckesser, BS ’64 (journalism)

Olympia, Washington

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