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Cedar Rapids Gazette (Newspaper) - November 5, 1974, Cedar Rapids, Iowa Too little food-giving worse than none Editorial Page Tuesday, 5, 197.1 Rainmaking referendum When Mark Twain noted that all most people do about the weather is discuss it, obviously he didn't envision the spunky farmers who would try to gener- ate rain just as soon as technolo- gy provided the means. Such an enterprising band lives in Iowa's Adams county, where men of the soil not only contract for weather modification but levy a small tax for the ser- vice. The levy applicable solely to citizens owning 10 acres or more was made possible through enabling legislation in- troduced by State Sen. James Briles (R-Corning) in 1971. Ad- ams is the only Iowa county to adopt such a tax, and the levy may be the only one of its kind anywhere. Do Adams county farmers get their money's worth? The ques- tion was put to Don Drennan, ru- ral Mt. Etna, who is chairman of the county weather modification board. "For two cents per acre (maximum) annually, I'd sure say replied Drennan, who operates a 560-acre farm. "Why, a person spends that much for cigarets." Alas, however, some rural Adams county residents do not agree. A quietly-circulated peti- tion has forced a Nov. 5 referen- dum on the proposed cancellation of the weather-modification levy. So furtive was the signature- gathering campaign that the county supervisors placed the question on the ballot before Drennan had even heard about it. Why the dissatisfaction over using tax funds to help increase rainfall in Adams county? Drennan attributes part of the problem to a increase in the annual cost of services. The present price, exceeds the annual levying capacity by If the program is continued, the balance would have to come from voluntary contributions, same as when Adams and seven other nearby counties (two in Mis- souri) cooperated in a weather modification effort some years back. A more likely source of dis- illusionment is this year's hor- rendous drought. Adams county farmers have been socked about as hard as any in heat-seared Southwest Iowa. But Drennan does not blame the weather mod- ification service. The ground- based generators (which seed clouds with silver iodide crys- tals) do not actually make rain, Drennan explained; they-can only produce more moisture from a rain cloud (10 to 20 percent) than would fall normally. The term "rainmaking" thus is a misno- mer. What are the chances of rural Adams county landowners scrap- ping the rainmaking levy? Drennan said the narrowness of the vote-to-approve margin two years ago (about 20 votes) sug- gests another close tally. (Fifty percent is required for passage.) Adams county is too small (pop. and too far removed from the state's bright lights to draw much attention in the Nov. 5 election. Nonetheless, the rainmaking, referendmum there is more intriguing than some multi-million dollar blockbusters elsewhere. What farmers down Creston, Nodaway and Bedford way have is original and mani- festly equitable. Would it not be foolish to scrap such an attribute merely because nature won the 1974 round and rainmaking costs have bounced above the targeted clouds? The cost of everything else has risen too. From here. Adams county cloud seeding looks pretty economical. Shrunken turnout Before Tuesday's elections, es- timates on how the voters would attend them nationwide ranged to lower than 40 percent of those eligible this year. That small a turnout would rank as the lowest in 28 years. As usual in criticism of this prospect, "apathy" got a heavy workout among the decriers. Apathetic voters are democracy's worst enemy, the cliche goes. So what is apathy? Indifference. A lack of emotion or feeling. Noninterest in things generally found interesting or moving or exciting. Mouthwatering, that is Some elections do, of course, have elements that rightly can be called exciting to others than those who are running. Once in awhile a number of races in a given election imbue it with real excitement, and apathy indeed is what makes many voters turn their backs. But apathy can neither tell it all nor tell it straight in some elec- tions, notably with atmospheres around them such as what has wrapped itself around the election of 1974. A sharper word than apathy fits now: Disgust. Gourmet dogfood By Jim Fiebig If many low-income Americans real- ly are eating pet food, it may be be- cause some pet food manufacturers are unwittingly encouraging human con- sumption. Consider the unwitting TV commercials for Mighty Dog, a canned dog meat that looks good enough to cut with a fork. In fact, that's how they show it being cut with a fork. The commercial stresses that Mighty Dog is 100 percent pure beef, which is the same thing McDonald's says about its hamburgers. The ad also makes it very clear that no byproducts are in- cluded, which refers to such unsavories as hooves, lips and smelts. What really sets the mouth to water- ing, however, is the information that Mighty Dog is the "best-tasting" dog food. Not the best tasting "lo just the "best tasting." By whose standards? It seems un- likely the makers of Mighty Dog have scientifically confirmed that canines consider their product the best tasting. Even if controlled testing shows Fido consistently turning up his nose at the competition, who is to say thai tasle as we understand it is the deciding factor? An animal's preference in food may have absolutely nothing to do with taste. Offer your pet a choice of lobster or horse meat and you'll see what I mean. I must conclude, Ihen, that Mighty Dog's manufacturers are really saying that humans, not dogs, consider their product the best tasting. And why bother to point that out at all, unless Well, at best, it is an unwilling commercial. Gcnerol Feotures Coroorollon Jim Fiebig By Anthony Lewis BOSTON In Western Europe, which many would consider a densely populated area, there are now about 85 people per square kilometer. South Asia, on the most cautious estimates of population growth, will ADD 140 people per square kilometer over Ihe next 25 years. There is virtually no unused farm- land in India, Bangladesh. Pakistan, Sri Lanka. The chance of their obtaining the capital for intensive development of agriculture on the scale needed to feed the indicated population is near zero. To avoid starvation deaths in the tens of millions. South Asia will depend in- creasingly on outside food aid. By early in the next century, on the population projections, the aid needed would equal total U.S. agricultural production. Those two paragraphs are abstracted from a recent speech by Dr. Philip Handler, president of the National Acad- emy of Sciences. Many of us have had the experience of reading something that dispelled comfortable assumptions and forced us to open our minds. That happened to me in reading Dr. Hand- ler's speech, "On Ihe State of The fundamental problem addressed by Dr. Handler is the pressure of grow- ing population and production on the world's resources and on man's or- ganizational capacity. Acceleration There are now four billion people on earth. The number is doubling about every 35 years. The poor are growing very much faster than the rich, and a new study by the Environmental Fund shows that the rate of population growth has actually increased in some less- developed countries despite "family planning" programs. The problem is most acute, by far, in South Asia. Resources there are scarce, (he population huge and growing, the prospect of multiplying food produclion dim. Dr. Handler raises Ihe possibility that the developed world may simply decide to "forget" the countries of South Asia "lo give them up as hope- less." Then, he says, "Ihe adjustments required by the rest of the world as hu- forum Impact of rezoning To the Editor: To whom do the city zoning agencies (the zoning and planning commission and the city council) owe responsibility to the people of Cedar Rapids or to anonymous commercial interests? This is the question troubling more than 400 residents of the city's northwest quad- rant, signers of a petition submitted this month to the council. The issue at stake is the rezoning of 51% acres to permit construction of a behemoth complex of exclusive con- dominium apartments. The residents adjoining the proposed development are unanimously opposed to the rezoning. Yet there are indications their rights as property owners may be swept aside for massive commercial development. At present the neighborhood is a pleasant residential area with quiet streets and rolling, wooded hills. Re- zoned, it would turn into a crowded urban landscape of concrete and sky- blotting apartments. Its streets, on which children now play, would be con- gested with traffic. The peacefulness which attracted home-buyers lo< the neighborhood would be shattered by a staggering influx of people, ears, pri- vate swimming pools and tennis courts, and at least five noisy years of construc- tion. Additionally, severe new strains would be placed on the neighborhood's schools, its drainage system, and its streets strains that would result in lax increases for the residents. Development .of the city's land re- sources, consistent with the well-being of its people and contingent on their consent, is the proper role of the city zoning agencies. The commission's deci- sion on the present issue will show whether it is fulfilling this important re- sponsibility or merely serving the in- terests of powerful and unidentified developers. Victor L. Moravec 1721 Hillside drive NW Burdened? To the Editor: In your editorial of Oct. 28 "Tale of two you make a comparison of Grand Kapids, Michigan's record of move-ahead action in passing bond is- sues for a new airport, jail, hospital, ju- venile court center, library, county mental hospital, and a city income tax. The comparison that you did not make was: What is their present bonded debt? What is their property tax mil- lage? How many limes has their proper- ty been reappraised upward for a great- er taxable base and bonding limit? inanity seeks lo come Into equilibrium with our host planet will still be severe but can be feasible, and one can look lo the prospect of a decent standard of liv- ing for the rest of mankind assum- ing, of course, that the developing na- tions of Latin America and Africa will soon adopt effective population poli- cies." He evidently would like to see a massive program of aid ment for the countries of South Asia. But if we do not do that, he says as a scientist that it would lie better to do nothing because a lesser effort would be "counter-productive." It would en- courage continued population growth and more deaths later. "Cruel as it may Dr. Handler says, "if the developed nations do not intend the colossal all-out effort commensurate with this task, then it may be wiser to let nature take its course as Aristotle described It: 'From lime to time it is necessary that pesti- lence, famine and war prune the luxu- riant growth of the human race'." Even without counting South Asia, Dr. Handler says, the rich countries will have to divert immense amounts of capital to the less developed world if they want to avert economic disaster, dangerous resentments and growing terrorism. That means cutting back their own development perhaps even an absolute decline in per capita income in (lie developed countries. It is difficult to suggest the scope of Dr. Handler's vision in a newspaper column. His discussion of the food problem is only one part of a large canvas. He sees famine, climatic changes, inflation and, environmental damage as warning signals of basic 2001 What property tax do they pay on the so- called house compared to the same house in Cedar Rapids? And, last but not least, how many of those indebt- ed taxpayers wish that it required a ISO percent vote in their slate to pass bond elections? I do not have the answers to the above, but I am sure The Gazette could obtain them without (oo great an effort, except the last one, and I am sure that those answers would be mighty interest- ing. We all know that you can have any- thing or everything if you are willing to go into debt deep enough, but what happens if our "recession" continues or worsens? Edward J. Rehak 2517 Kathryn street SW Helpful youth To the Editor: I wish to express publicly my sincere appreciation to members of the Greater Cedar Rapids Youth for Christ Move- ment who came to my home Oct. 26 to lend a helping hand in my fall cleanup by raking leaves and washing my windows on the outside. They not only did a good job but were so polite and courteous. Their conduct really por- trayed a Christian attitude of caring and "wanting to be involved in helping those unable to help themselves." Although their primary concern is with youth, age didn't impose a barrier when they learned of a need. So they stepped over the gap to help and did what the wise man, Solomon, said: "Whatsoever your hands find to do, do it." (Ecd. This deserves commendation. They helped not only me but other senior citi- zens in the area Viola A. Gibson 1301 Sixteenth street SE Over-actives To the Editor: There is a growing awareness among parents and teachers of the special needs of children who are over-active at home and in the classroom. By this 1 mean children who are persistently rest- less, distractahle, impulsive and excit- able in the eyes of parents, teachers, and doctors. Extra effort is required lo give these children the kind of attention they need. Some of the characteristics of these children may give enough clues to the problem to gain one's Interest. Brief de- scriptions are confusing, however, be- cause these children arc much like other children. It is only that their be- havior is even more unpredictable and uncontrollable than other children's behavior. Children who are often over-active and restless usually have a passion for touching things. They poke and louch other children until a brawl results. They are unusually hard on clothing. In school such a child will jump up and run around when others are listening quietly. The child is late to bed and ear- ly id rise. These children are easily distracted especially from mental tasks like school work. While classmates are dong math, this youngster will be distracted by any movement outside the window, noises in the hall, reflected light from bright objects. They are impulsive. They appear to have little fear or inhibition. In class they blurt out the answer to a question, interrupt a lesson, or talk during a quiet period frequently. Punishment is not a ready deterrent to the impulsive be- havior. They are easily upset, unusually excitable, and easily frustrated. Mood changes are very frustrating to parents, other family members and classmates. A peaceful scene can suddenly turn into an uproar. For some adults the problems may seem too great, or too simple. Neither is the case. Much can be done to make the life of the parent and the child better. A few parents who are trying to cope with these problems would like to meet with others to share concerns and give mu- tual support. A meeting is planned for interested parents Thursday, Nov. 7, at 7 p.m. in the First Lutheran church. Third avenue SE. More information is obtainable at 365-3982. 362-2301) or 362- 2995. Roy Watkins 3505 Vera court NW Farm program To the Editor: May I present the farm program that I would establish if 1 were U.S. secre- tary of agriculture in place of Earl Butz, regarding this calf-killing in Wisconsin and Dubuque? Immediately farmers would receive their full cost of production plus a profit for farmers' products. This profit will need to be high enough so experienced farm youth will want to farm. I would also withhold calves like this to increase dislocation in mail's relationship In earth. Essentially he is pleading with those who have money and power, especially Americans, to abandon the illusion that they can go on as they have, multiplying numbers and appetites. The dream of perpetual growth and prosperity for a on earth is exceptionally difficult to dispel. When studies suggested that there were problems in the notion of an endless up- ward curve that man was already encountering physical and psychological limits there was a rush to dismiss it all as the work of computer mechanics. Many maintain their desperate cheerful- ness even now, amid all the signs of economic and political strain in the world. Gross oversight My favorite recent example of des- perate optimism was an article in The Economist of London last summer mocking the concern about resources and the environment. Why. if all countries grew food as efficiently as the Netherlands does today, the article said, the world would have enough to feed 60 billion people; it would be buried under rice three feet deep. There was only one little problem that The Economist forgot in its vision of a boundless future: Energy. If every country poured oil and fertilizer into its agricultural production as the Nether- lands does, almost all the world's avail- able energy supply would have to he used for [arming alone. The prospect is about as realistic as raising everyone to an American standard of living which Dr. Handler notes would require us to multiply our use of critical minerals, many already in short supply, by 17. It will be difficult to dismiss Philip Handler as a cranky crier of doom. He is a respected biochemist, an eminent adviser to governments, a man of wide experience and common sense. His voice is not so much gloomy as uncom- promisingly realistic. How good it -.would be if some politi- cal leaders heard his voice and un- derstood, instead of pinning buttons on themselves and insisting that all will soon again be for the best in this best of all possible worlds. New York Times Service the production of not only milk and beef but all products of agriculture so sales may be increased. This will make agri- culture competitive with all other in- dustries for experienced farm youth. There should also be a strategic re- serve of grain on a per capita basis. A 60- to 90-day moratorium on all farm debts to refinance farm loans so we may keep these experienced farmers on their farms and homes. This will stabilize the cost of living and create more demand for farm equipment, meaning more jobs for labor and an increase in sales for all industries. Ing Opheim Decorah Too smoky To the Editor: My husband and I visited in Cedar Rapids Oct. 24 through 26. On Saturday we were taken on a sightseeing trip through the city (we lived and worked in C.R. before moving to Harpers Ferry in 1968 when we As we rode around we could hardly see and breathe with everyone burning their leaves. We think Cedar Rapids is too large of a city to allow leaf burning. The city certainly has a deep ravine where these leaves could be taken to deteriorate. We think cigaret smoke is terrible, but the fumes from leaf burning is just as had, if not worse. Cedar Rapids is really getting to be a big city, so why not keep it as a great city? Mr. and Mrs. J. A. Powell Harpers Ferry With a 'J' Tho world stands out on ci- ther side no wider than Ihe heart is wide. Edno St. Vincent Milhy To the Editor: I noticed your editorial of Oct. 30 about the way President Ford might clarify his nickname's spelling, as lo whether it is "Jerry" or "Gerry." Thoughl you might be interesled in the enclosed copy of a letter thai our son received from him on his 14th birthday back in-1969. This was strictly a person- al letter and had no business aspects to it. (The signature was "Jerry Our late son Kim was a victim of muscular dystrophy and was in poor health most of his life. On his 14th birth- day Aug. 24, 1969, his aunt arranged a mammoth birthday-card shower for him. ft grew and grew, and he received letters from very prominent people all over the United States. It was highlight- ed by a Sunday morning personal visit from Governor Ray. It did much lo make life a little more Interesting for him, and we have always felt that this prolonged his life a few more years. Kim passed away on Feb. 20, HI74, at the age of 18. To all of the people who helped make his life a little easier, we have always been most grateful, Dean L. Morse North English
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