Letters to the editor 2/7

February 07, 2003

Williamsport drama a great benefit to students

To the editor:

As an alumnus of the Williamsport High School SophistiCats, I was greatly surprised to read, in the Tuesday Jan. 28, article: Musical's lyrics cause discord, that someone could consider the group's director, Ruth Ridenour, to be "a terrible person who would encourage the students to use foul language."

As a former student of hers, I realize such an accusation is ridiculous. Given the insulting remarks, I must conclude that the individual(s) making them has previously had no interaction with Ruth Ridenour or her talented students. The High School Show Choir she founded is her extended family - both students and parents.

She has dedicated her life - and a great deal of her personal funds - to her students and their talents. What she has done for her pupils - past and present - should be admired and appreciated, not ridiculed and misconstrued as some are apparently doing now.


Not only is Ruth Ridenour the performing arts director at Williamsport High School, she is active in community theater with Potomac Playmakers and offers her musical talents at her church as well.

As for the lyrics in question, anyone objecting should keep in mind that Ridenour did not write them; no one is forced to attend the high school production of "Les Miserables," so if you're offended by the material, don't go. And unless the offended individuals are a parent of the students involved in the production, they really have no say in the matter.

Furthermore, keep in mind that these young adults hear this language on television everyday, and if you think that many of them don't already say those words or worse, without any encouragement from Broadway, television or teachers - think again!

Shelley (Powers) Nakopoulos


Hunters deserve respect as well

To the editor:

I would like to share the miners' goose hunt from another perspective. I also watched the Quecreek mine ordeal with a prayer in my heart. I agree their courage was inspirational.

The miners' ordeal moved many people to respond immediately after their rescue. Invitations to attend all types of events were received. These men agreed on one thing: They wanted to do some hunting.

The first hunting season after their near-death experience was the early goose season or as known locally, as the "nuisance goose" season. In September the only geese in the area are ones that have established residence here. They flock to local ponds, clutter them with feces and feathers, strip the grass and grain from nearby fields, then move on to another location to do the same. These birds do not simply eat grass and grain, they pull the plants out by the roots and destroy the crops.

It is very important to have this season because the area farmers lose thousands of dollars of revenue every year during this ritual. Also, the overpopulation of birds causes a greater risk of disease, which would cause the birds great suffering before their demise.

The "ambush" you mention is standard goose-hunting technique. I spent no fewer than five days, rising at 5 a.m. and traveling to locations, watching several flocks of geese to determine where they would roost at night and where they would feed in the morning. The day before the hunt, Joe Byers and I stood at daylight and watched where the geese were feeding in a nearby field.

The next day, several hours before daylight, I and good friends and hunting companions Kevin Morgan and Darren Daymude set out approximately 150 decoys. The next step was getting the miners in place where all shots would be safe and they would stay concealed from sighting by the geese.

Now to the naturalists. They are right about geese mating for life - as long as life exists. They will also tell you if a mating pair is broken up for any reason, the other will take up with a new mate the following season. The overabundance of geese we have would not be possible if they did not take another mate.

I am especially angered by "the hunter kills for sport" paraphrase. Hunting has been a part of our heritage forever. Remember, anything you eat was killed in some way. A dinner of marinated, roasted goose breast is a real treat. Most hunters have a favorite recipe for the game they harvest.

Managing wildlife is the responsibility of man. All states have agencies that maintain control of wildlife. Genesis Chapter 1 tells us that God said, "Let man have dominion (control) over the fish, the birds, etc."

I have been a hunter for many years and it is a very important part of my life. I know people have different interests and I respect that. I would hope you will extend that same courtesy to hunters. Mr. Phelps, you have now heard the other side of the story.

Incidentally, our heroes - the miners - were overjoyed by their goose-hunting experience. To a man, they were thrilled to a point they are already making plans to schedule another goose hunt.

Steve Davis

Waynesboro, Pa.

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