Richmond Public Library is reducing pollution

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

Thank you for the recent article on “Bay-friendly gardening” at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, describing ways to reduce pollution in the James River and improve water quality in the Chesapeake Bay.

The Richmond Public Library (RPL) has also been actively reducing pollution in the James and the Chesapeake. Spurred by a 2013 grant from former City Council member Kathy Graziano, the Westover Hills Library Advisory Group began an environmental initiative. Working with landscape architect Drew Harrigan (who first suggested rain gardens), heads of the Westover Hills Branch, RPL and city staff, The Richmond Public Library Foundation and local neighborhood associations, our group has raised more than $30,000 in gifts and grants for a number of projects over six years to develop and promote an environmentally sustainable campus.

Our goals at the Westover Hill Library have been to infiltrate stormwater runoff into rain gardens and plantings on-site, keeping it out of the storm sewers and the James, and to use our rain gardens as teaching tools for library users in protecting the environment. Working with the groups mentioned and the RiverWise Program of the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, Westover Hills Library is well on its way.

RPL head, Scott Firestine, is working with Amber Ellis of the James River Association, lead author of a major grant bringing similar conservation/education projects to the North Avenue, Broad Branch and West End libraries. The JRA has partnered with the library, the city of Richmond, Art on Wheels and the Enrichmond Foundation to promote green practices and community outreach at these three branches and at Westover Hills. Kudos to the RPL and others for their leadership in introducing these sustainable environmental practices into the city.

Carol Parke,

Westover Hills Library Advisory Group.


Has the U.S. forsaken Lady Liberty’s welcome?

Editor, Times-Dispatch;

Some people wonder why a person becomes a terrorist and is willing to sacrifice his or her life in order to harm others. I believe the root cause is frustration, depression and hatred caused by ill-treatment — of himself, his family and friends due to their religion, race or other factor. Being mistreated for being what they are rather than who they are.

I wonder how many future terrorists are being incubated within the group of people who are trying to escape a bad situation only to be treated worse than cattle in the camps near our southern border? I can almost visualize the resentment toward Americans building each day they are separated from their families and held in pens. Who can be surprised when we have forsaken the words of” The New Colossus” by Emma Lazarus, as written on the Statue of Liberty:

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,

With conquering limbs astride from land to land;

Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand

A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame

Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name

Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand

Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command

The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she

With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

We will only have ourselves to blame.

A.R. Zagayko.

Glen Allen.

Defining rights is a fickle business

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

In her letter “Health care a service, not a right” Paula Anderson takes Ike Koziol to task for declaring health care is a right. She states that our rights are only those enumerated in the first 10 amendments to the Constitution.

Defining rights is a fickle business. There is no authoritative source that dictates what is or is not a right. Our concept of rights may be influenced by religious or philosophical tenets, but they are imbued only with the authority that we bestow upon them. As a practical matter, rights are often defined by a consensus of those assembled or governed.

As a result, a society’s delineated set of rights reflects the value system of that society. I, for one, find it a poor reflection of our values that we would consider gun ownership a right but access to health care a service or commodity.

For full disclosure, both Koziol and I are physicians.

John E. Nestler, M.D.


The causes of gun violence are on TV

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

In her letter, Correspondent of the Day Kayla Hicks wrote that the cause of gun violence needs to be addressed. The cause is right in front of us. Just turn on your television and watch the extremely violent commercials for video games, movies, TV programs and national news.

That is the cause, we are dealing with the effects.

Phillip Rose.

King William.

Pay the women more because they’re better

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

The U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team (USWNST) turned in impressive victories during the 2019 World Cup. The celebration had not yet begun and chants for equal pay were being proclaimed throughout the stadium and across the media world. This cheapens the victory and with off-color political commentary by certain members of team USA, the main issue is missed completely. This is purely a business decision.

Women’s sports lag behind men’s sports in pay and benefits due to attendance and popularity. The obvious comparison is the National Basketball Assocation and Women’s National Basketball Association where tickets sales and popularity tend to determine higher pay and benefits for athletes. It’s the same with many male and female sports. This is not a Title IX or equal pay issue, it’s a business decision and should be analyzed by removing the gender bias question from the equation.

The USWNST is: (1) more successful than the U.S. Men’s National Soccer Team, (2) The women’s team garners more public interest than the men’s team, and (3) the women’s team has higher attendance than the men’s soccer team.

The bottom line is that the USWNST is better than the USMNST, so the female players should be paid significantly more based on business calculations. This is not a male or female issue. The arguments for gender pay equality need to be put aside and a firm business analysis needs to be applied. You will see that the women on the USWNST should be paid more than the men because they are better at what they do — not because they are women.

David Biacan.

Fort Lee.

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