Lane Larson's Legacy Should Be Honored

Several of us were upset by the Nov. 9 Guest Commentary, "By Not Reporting the Death of Lane Larson, the Dailies Betrayed the Public."

Lane was our friend, and his legacy should be honored, especially so shortly after his passing. Lane was not perfect, but he does not deserve the unnecessary vilification carelessly thrown around in this commentary. Lane was a great inspiration to us and to our community as a modern-day explorer and conservationist. We know from experience that no one had the amazing stories and perspective that Lane had.

For example, Lane navigated nearly every river on the Pacific Ocean side of Mexico, many of them first descents, experiences that brought him face-to-face with jaguars, drug runners, waterfalls and impossible rapids. Last year, Lane led our research team down a remote river in Sonora, work that contributed to the Mexican government canceling a large dam project that would have destroyed this vast and biologically diverse wilderness. Through his adventures and stories, Lane helped inspire appreciation and protection of some of our last wild places.

Lane made some mistakes in life that had serious consequences. But with adventure comes risk and ultimately a form of wisdom few know. Lane Larson was one of the most interesting, adventurous and capable men we have ever met. His accomplishments and legacy should be honored. More about Lane can be found at

Aaron Flesch and Sky Jacobs

Burns, Anti-Science Crowd Have Some Learning to Do

In his article "You Are What You Eat" (Currents, Nov. 16), Saxon Burns falls for the logic errors of the anti-science crowd. Burns quotes Theresa Leal as saying, "(Genetically modified) foods haven't been proven safe." But GM foods now on the market for years have not been proven unsafe. The common potato, however, if allowed to turn green, is poisonous.

Burns also quotes various sources as saying GM foods haven't alleviated world hunger. As the fictional lawyer Perry Mason would say, "That argument is incompetent, irrelevant and immaterial." World population growth, wars and unfavorable climate change have far more to do with world hunger than new varieties of crops.

Your writing staff and the anti-GM crowd need lessons in science and logic. For example, Leal talks about the "naturalness" of foods. Take the wild and cultivated blueberries that can be purchased in a supermarket. Cultivated blueberries, large and lacking in taste, were naturally bred to be larger and easier to harvest. The unintended side effect was the loss of taste, because such breeding depends upon natural random genetic changes.

Using fear of science, world hunger, agricultural management techniques and dislike of large corporations to justify an anti-GM stance is dishonest, ignorant and incompetent. These are separate issues from the usefulness and safety of GM foods.

D. Evans

Hernon Just Didn't Get 'Conversations With God'

People have a wide range of opinions on things like movies, but I was stunned by Linsay Hernon's trashing of "Conversations With God" (Film Clips, Nov. 9). It ranks as one of the most inspiring movies I've ever seen. Maybe she isn't aware that the movie is not "Hollywooded" with embellishments and half-truths.

According to an insider I'm an acquaintance with, the movie is a true depiction of a homeless man who triumphed big-time and made contributions that have reverberated across the world. As far as Hernon's reference to "Christian messages," the movie and the book are not about Christian messages. It is about each person having access to God's, or spirit's, wisdom. And it's not based on the man's "novel." It's based on his sharing his communications with God as he knows him/her.

Bill White

Local Actors Deserve to Get Paid

I am a Tucson actor, and I was appalled to read Ken Tesoriere's comment ("Into Another Skin," Performing Arts, Oct. 26) that actors shouldn't expect to be paid for professional-level work, because it's "trivial money" and therefore merely boosts their "self esteem." He further said that serious actors should pay for acting classes (which, incidentally, he plans to start over the next few months).

While I agree training is essential for high-level acting, it sounds as if he not only believes actors shouldn't be paid, but expects them to pay him for the privilege. I understand theater companies like Mr. Tesoriere's operate on a shoestring budget. While many high-quality actors know this and are willing to do an occasional show for free, Mr. Tesoriere's belief that real actors shouldn't be interested in money seems rather self-serving.

When actors receive a tiny gratuity from a theater company, it's generally taken as an acknowledgement that the company isn't paying the actors what they're worth, but what that company can afford. Actors spend enormous amounts of time and effort rehearsing and performing, and are frequently paid on the order of 9 cents an hour. This isn't a "self esteem" boost.

Please, Mr. Tesoriere, don't speak of actors, not a notoriously rich bunch, as if we're mercenary philistines for thinking that it's nice to get a couple of nice meals out of a couple of months' work.

Patricia Heebler

Bars Seem Afraid of Unfamiliar ID

I sympathize with Catherine O'Sullivan's young South African friend whose ID was rejected at the Longhorn Restaurant in Tombstone when he tried to order a drink (O'Sullivan, Nov. 16). However, my own experience tells me that Sullivan's cry of racism is somewhat misdirected. His experience is primarily a symptom of the larger trend my friends and I have noticed at Tucson-area bars, restaurants and clubs to automatically reject any unfamiliar ID belonging to anyone who looks younger than 30, no matter how obviously legitimate.

As a UA student from out of state, I still use my Minnesota driver's permit as my primary form of ID. Last month, I had it rejected at a certain Irish pub on University Boulevard, literally a block away from the university. When I pointed out my date of birth, the manager snapped, "Get an Arizona ID." I was speechless.

Before this, I'd always thought of Tucson as a community open and welcoming to non-natives from all over the world. Young tourists and students make up a large part of the hospitality business, and maybe when they realize they're unwelcome and start staying away for good, Tucson establishments will begin to rethink their rigid, xenophobic policies.

Claire L. Shefchik

We Got Another Reader! Yay!

Thanks for publishing the best investigative reporting on the deplorable conditions and constant corruption associated with the Tucson Greyhound Park, the "hired gun haulers" and the good and bad kennels ("Dogs Gone," Nov. 9). In addition, you provided insights into the challenges faced by Geoffrey Gonsher and his underfunded organization (which is only underfunded because of legislative maneuvering to eliminate taxes paid by the track).

This is the first time the public has had the insights of in-depth, balanced and fair news coverage. Congratulations to Saxon Burns and Tucson Weekly. You now have added another loyal reader, and I look forward to future news stories.

Jerry Tucker

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