Letters to the Editor 

The Riverfront

As a voice from Friends for Our Riverfront, I would like to thank Tommy Volinchak, president of the Memphis Downtown Neighborhood Association, for his recognition of our efforts and our concerns with public property along the Memphis riverfront (Letters, March 27th issue). 

In response to his letter to the editor, I invite him and all our neighbors to visit our website (friendsforourriverfront.org) to see more about our concerns regarding proposals involving the riverfront.

Renee Lartigue, Secretary

Friends for Our Riverfront

Memphis

The Shelby Farms Trails

This is in response to the letter from Chris Smith (March 20th issue) regarding the trails at Shelby Farms following the 13th Annual City Slicker Endurance Ride on March 15th: Unfortunately, Mother Nature chose to send torrential rains both Friday morning and Saturday morning. This is the first time we have been inundated like this in the history of the ride. While the ride was postponed Saturday for an hour, the following storms found riders already out on the trails, enduring not only rain but hail.

The Shelby Farms Equestrian Alliance (SFEA), sponsor of the event, and the Mid-South Trails Association, as members of the trail crew at Shelby Farms, hold monthly trail-building and maintenance days and have six certified trail builders within both groups. Working as volunteers, they build sustainable trails, remove downed trees, improve drainage, put in culverts, construct low-water crossings, and repair bridges.

By 9 a.m. on March 16th, SFEA and Endurance Ride management were out addressing damage to the trails and consulting with the park on repairs. On Wednesday morning, the last of the flagging was removed, and the trails on the south side were walked and accessed. It was noted that the trails had been used by other park users, and while some narrow trail areas showed minimal damage, many areas showed where the horses had stayed off of the main track. Water areas were no wider than usual after heavy rains.

The City Slicker Endurance Ride has promoted Shelby Farms and has had riders from as far away as Maine and Wisconsin. This year, we had riders from seven states, plus 36 local riders.

The SFEA supports Shelby Farms both monetarily and with a tremendous amount of volunteer labor. We invite all park users who are interested in the trails to join us once a month as we improve them. You may contact the park visitor center for information on the monthly work days.

Brynda Read, President

Shelby Farms Equestrian Alliance

Collierville

Beijing Olympics

I had already planned on not watching the Beijing Olympics, because I oppose China's oppression of the Tibetans for the last 50-plus years (as well as their suppression of the press, free thought, and religion and their long, brutal history of human rights violations). China's actions the last several days have solidified my decision to watch none of the games and to try and not buy products made by companies sponsoring the games. It may only be a drop in the bucket, but I'm guilt-free.

I guess the U.S. government (Republicans and Democrats alike) thinks that since China makes us so much money through trade, they should get a pass on human rights. Cuba didn't get a break. Neither does Iran or Sudan or Syria or North Korea. We even invaded Iraq — supposedly — to end a brutal dictatorship. (Or was it those WMD no one ever found?)

So how come China doesn't get embargoed to protest its torture, murder, and suppression of ideas? Answer: money. I can't think of any other reason.

People argue that a U.S. boycott of the games only hurts the athletes. What about the Chinese family having their newborn baby taken away because they had more than one child? Or worse, the wide practice of infanticide, so mothers aren't punished for having another child? Or the Tibetan monks who get tortured and killed? Or the journalists whose families are taken away because of their writings on government reform? Or the young women taken from their homes to be sold as wives (or worse) in an industry the government turns a blind eye to? The only thing equal in China is the deplorable level at which all people are treated — women, children, and men alike.

Oh wait. We need China to loan us the money to fund President Bush's economic-stimulus package, since we can't afford to do it ourselves. We can't make China mad. Sick, isn't it?

Ben Hollaway

Memphis

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