Letters to the Editor

Letters: State College drivers get a taste of the Old West; No future for nuclear power

Brace for the ‘North Atherton Trail’

The Oregon Trail is an important chapter in American history. The physical hardships of the trail are legendary. In Guernsey, Wyoming, a pinch point in the trail made every wagon pass over the same track, which over time resulted the “Guernsey Ruts” — parallel cuts in sandstone over 5 feet deep. Some of the greatest misery on the way west was caused by the rough track. Due to the treacherous ruts cut by thousands of travelers, and poor suspension systems, the pioneers were susceptible to being pitched out of, and run over by their own wagon. This was, unfortunately, a common cause of injury and death along the Oregon Trail.

Centre County residents and visitors can now experience this chapter of American history and feel what it was like to ride on the “Trail of Misery.” We invite you to simply drive on North Atherton Street between Park Avenue and Aaron Drive to get a taste of the Old West. If you’re a tenderfoot and want a less violent experience, put your wagon in the eastern-most tracks and drive from Park Avenue toward Aaron Drive. If you really want the full Oregon Trail experience, feel what it’s like to cheat death, possibly be thrown from your motor carriage, and generally yearn to get to back the safety of your campfire, drive the “North Atherton Trail” from Aaron Drive toward Park Avenue. The right-hand track of this passage will particularly test your will to survive. The Guernsey Ruts have nothing on us.

Mike Millard, State College

No future for nuclear power

Recently, Pennsylvania utilities with nuclear power plants have asked for public funds to support the operation of their nuclear power plants. Why? Because they can’t compete in the free market.

It’s ironic because for decades the nuclear industry (itself already heavily subsidized) argued against subsidies for solar and renewable energy because they claimed it could not compete in the free market.

Solar and renewables do have one highly desirable characteristic in common with nuclear power. They emit almost no carbon dioxide in their operation. That is worth public consideration in this era of unprecedented human-induced climate change.

Yet now solar electricity and wind are economically competitive. And they do not produce long-lived radioactive wastes nor have the potential for catastrophe like nuclear. The future for Pennsylvania and the world is solar and renewable power. Nuclear can’t compete in that future. Time to move on.

Andy Lau, State College

What has changed from Trump’s first year in office?

What, if anything, has changed from President Trump’s first year in office, to his second year, and now? After last year’s State of the Union speech, Trump accused Democrats of “treason” for failing to applaud him. Only hours before this year’s speech, Trump described Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer as a “nasty son of a bitch.”

Last month, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., suggested to Trump that he not give his speech until the federal shutdown was resolved. She was fully aware that the Constitutional purpose of the State of the Union address is to explain to Congress, for their consideration, what the executive (Trump), would like to get done, and to hold executive actions accountable to Congress. Pelosi wants to wrestle back the legislative leadership that Congress has handed the executive, and to reshape a legislative bargaining process for 2019.

In his second State of the Union address, Trump changed direction/strategy, from “It’s the Democrat’s fault,” to “America was founded on liberty and independence, and not government coercion, domination, and control.” He asked for help from the Democratic Party, for his major initiatives. He wanted more money for the “wall.” Growing impatient, Trump declared a national emergency.

Maybe he should just make a “deal” with his new BFF, China’s President Xi for the Great Wall of China, and use those 4 billion bricks for his wall on our Mexican border, with enough left over to wall off Washington, D.C.

Carl Evensen, State College