Support Forestry in Massachusetts

In response to “Hey! DCR! Leave Those Trees Alone,” published April 11-17.

The extent of exaggeration and distortion by the anti-forestry protesters in Wendell is truly astounding. I have a degree in Forestry from UMass and over 30 years’ experience helping landowners protect and manage thousands of acres of forest land across Massachusetts.

Wendell State Forest consists of over 8,000 acres of which one half of that (about 4,000 acres) is classified as a Reserve which means no active forest management is allowed.

They say this forestry work must be stopped to help prevent global warming. However, good forestry improves a forests ability to sequester CO2 by encouraging more vigorous healthy trees.

Our forests are in dire need of forestry because of insect infestations, disease, storm damage, etc. that has greatly diminished their ability to sequester CO2.

The goals of that forestry work are to increase structural complexity and species diversity.

About 17 percent of the oak will be harvested in the 88-acre oak, hardwood stand creating small 1/3 acre openings on a total of 16 acres while thinning low quality timber between the openings.

The protesters were also against the $3 million in grants to local small businesses to help manufacture wood fuel which will reduce our use of imported oil. But these same protesters say nothing about the over 8,000 acres of forest and farm land that has been destroyed by solar “farms” with most of the solar panels imported from China at a cost of over $6 billion!

The anti-forestry protesters are hypocrites. They enjoy the forest products we help produce but they want to eliminate the local producers of such products so we import more. Imagine if they said that about local farmers.

The same small group of protesters has filed two anti-forestry bills in the State Legislature – H.853 and H.897. One would stop all forestry work in our state forests where forestry is already prohibited on the majority of the forest. The other bill would discourage businesses and homeowners from switching to locally produced wood heat and instead encourage people to burn more imported oil.

Stand up for Forestry! Defeat House Bills 853 and 897!

—Mike Leonard, Petersham


The Arrest of Julian Assange

I watched with horror as Julian Assange was taken away by the police from the Ecuadorian embassy in London to be extradited to the U.S. for exercising freedom of the press. He isn’t even a U.S. citizen, and Wikileaks isn’t a U.S. publication.

This is a turning point for us all. Do we live in a free country? Do we have a Constitution? Since 9/11 our Constitution has been ripped to shreds. Our rights to freedom of speech and the press, of freedom from search and seizure and cruel and unusual punishment, of knowing what we’re charged with and viewing the evidence, of habeas corpus, of the right to protest, of privacy, of free and fair elections have been thrown in the dumpster. They’ve grabbed innocent people in other counties and flown them to secret and not so secret torture chambers, letting them languish in prison for years, no trials, no charges. They can assassinate any one of us if they arbitrarily decide we’re a terrorist. We’ve morphed into some sick, Orwellian, 3rd Reich country.

What was Julian Assange’s crime? Exposing abuses of power like kid soldiers, with permission from superiors, mowing down Iraqi civilians like they were targets in one of our sicko video games; and Hillary’s and the DNC’s blatant sabotage of the Sanders campaign in the 2016 election. Either we stand up for our Constitution or it’s gone. I’m not very optimistic. With our rubber stamp press, afraid to speak up for fear of the Assange treatment, it’s not likely there will be much resistance, even though it’s a fight for their own press freedom.

—Charlotte Burns, Palmer

Hurrah for Gluten Free Beer

In response to “Beerhunter: The Gluten Free Beer Problem” published April 11-17:

As someone with a GF partner who loved beer before the diagnosis, it’s very much appreciated that more companies are making the effort. Element’s rice-based IPA is an excellent example of GF beer, and it’s one of our go-to choices.

—Brian McDonald, Facebook comment


HVA = Hypocritical Valley Advocate

In response to “Hey! DCR! Leave Those Trees Alone,” published April 11-17.

Hey! HVA! Leave those trees alone! A print publication, made of trees, telling others to leave the trees alone? Pot? Kettle? Black?

— Gary Fitzgerald, email