Letters to the editor 5/30

May 30, 2004

RRD endangers all roses

To the editor:

I read with interest Don Schwartz's column about Rose Rosette Disease (RRD) in your paper of Tuesday, May 11. His report neglected to tell the rest of the story. RRD is also fatal to almost all cultivated roses. Once a rose is infected with RRD, there is no cure.

People who grow roses for pleasure have been and are continuing to lose roses to this disease. When RRD infected multiflora persist upwind of rose gardens, even at distance, the roses in those gardens will sicken with RRD when mites are transported by gusts of wind and dropped in those gardens.

Schwartz' recommendation that farmers neither spray nor destroy roses sickened with RRD ensures that both cultivated and wild (including native) roses in Maryland will continue to die of RRD. The cost of clearing fields will be passed on to home gardeners, but the fields will not be cleared of multiflora by this disease.


In east Tennessee, we are dealing with RRD that has moved in during the past five years. Rose bushes that sickened five years ago are still alive, many are still producing seeds and the fields the bushes infest are no cleaner nor are they better pasture than they were five years ago. Of the infected fence lines I've seen in Maryland (and there are many), I've not seen any that are clear of multiflora, even in your westernmost counties where the disease pressures are highest and the disease has been present the longest.

Much about RRD has been extrapolated from field observations in southern Iowa, but both Maryland and Tennessee are far from Iowa in growing conditions. Even southern Iowa still has hillsides covered with multiflora over a decade after its intentional spread in that state. The warmer climate of the southeastern USA allows for longer survival of roses with this virus-like disease.

Farmers should realize that this is not a universal panacea for a pest rose; they should also know that they will kill roses that are not their targets. Their family roses will die as well and a part of America's and their personal heritage will be lost. Yes, although Rose Rosette Disease is fatal to multiflora, the fatalities are slow to accumulate except in rose gardens where the collateral damage should not be underestimated.

Ann Peck

Blaine, Tennessee

Some lessons are missing

To the editor:

The soldiers in the disturbing pictures coming out of Iraq are not strange creatures from some other country or planet. Certainly, these are our offspring. Certainly, they are graduates of our school systems. As we prepared our children and students to perform competently as adults in modern society, it appears that an important life skill was left out of their school training.

Knowing when to "Just Say No" involves more than illegal drugs. When do we teach our students to "Just Say No" to co-workers and superiors under certain circumstances and also teach that unpleasant consequences usually do follow? (Known as the "darned if you do and darned if you don't" life situation.) When do we teach our students to refuse to participate in hazing? When do we teach our students to tell their coach that they will not follow a suggestion to engage in unsportsmanlike conduct?

When do we teach our students what happens to them when they refuse to follow the coach's suggestions? We teach our students to follow the orders of the boss. When do we teach our students to say no when the boss suggests that they cook the books and then how to handle the consequences for refusing to follow the boss' orders?

Our students know that in the military you follow an officer's orders. When do we teach our students to just say no to an officer's questionable orders and the consequences for refusing to follow those orders in a war zone? Do we teach our students when to report to the proper authorities fellow members of the team or the platoon, a coach, a boss or a superior military officer and how to cope with the consequences for taking such an action? (A reading of the newspapers suggests that whistle-blowers often suddenly become "incompetent employees.")

And when do we teach our students the most important lesson of all? When a boss, a coach or a superior officer gets in trouble because you have followed his/her orders to do something wrong, that boss, that coach or that superior officer will deny all knowledge of having ever given such an order and our present or former student will be left to hang and twist in the wind. The news suggests that the solders in the Iraqi pictures are now learning this lesson.

Daphne Bradshaw

Frostburg, Md.

Bush record is terrible

To the editor:

We are in the midst of yet another election year and we the people must choose between the two parties.

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