Vol. II No. 05 3/1/2021
Reader to Reader – We Got Mail
I am pleased that many city folks have come to settle in Stockbridge during the pandemic, but there are some other new residents who have settled in Stockbridge recently who are posing a serious threat to our environment. Climate change has allowed them to migrate to the north, and they have plans to decimate Ice Glen.
Thanks to Patrick White's article in the last Stockbridge Updates, we now know that the woolly adelgid is attacking the hemlocks in Ice Glen, an Old Growth Forest, which contains the oldest and tallest hemlocks in Massachusetts. After the woolly adelgids arrive and start feeding on the hemlocks, the trees will die in only a few years. As a result, Ice Glen might be changed forever, and become a graveyard of dead hemlocks.
The good news is that we can solve this problem and allow Ice Glen to continue to be a special refuge for both wildlife and nature lovers.
Our family has experience with combatting woolly adelgids; we have a lake cabin in north central Massachusetts which is in a hemlock forest. Our hemlocks were badly afflicted by woolly adelgids several years ago and we treated the trees by injection. Those trees are now in vigorous good health, and we were able to avoid a catastrophe.
Patrick White has taken initial steps to assess the problems at Ice Glen, and has plans to seek support from the town, the state, and Stockbridge residents for financial contributions to restore the health of our stricken trees. I hope that many people in town will support and contribute to these efforts to preserve an environment that is a unique Stockbridge treasure.
Thank you for your letter and your cogent thoughts. Also please thank your wonderful wife, Lenore, for all she does for Stockbridge Updates.
As a sometimes contributor to Updates and as a writer who has been known to get carried away on any number of subjects, I have run up against our esteemed Editor's rule limiting article contributions to 400 words. I argued that I had much to say and it was of great value, but to no avail. Could she just make an exception just once for my vital contribution? No, she said, everyone plays by the same rules.
So I became an editor of my own work. I noticed it was faster to just write 400 words. And often much clearer, more concise, and accessible. Hey, not a bad idea! But I also realized that part of having a free press is that it must be allowed to set its own terms and limits. Want proof? Here is Chief Justice Warren Burger's decision on the subject from the Supreme Court decision which protects this basic freedom to choose for the press. And his concluding paragraph is well under 400 words!
Miami Herald Publishing Co. vs. Tornillo, April 1974 In a unanimous decision, Chief Justice Burger argued that: "forcing a newspaper to print something that reason tells them should not be published violated free press guarantees. Furthermore, telling the Miami Herald what it must print is no different from telling them what not to print. Coupled with this argument was the point that enforcing the right to reply statute would incur printing costs and limit column space, effectively preventing the editors from printing other items that they may deem more important."
In conclusion, Justice Burger wrote: "A newspaper is more than a passive receptacle or conduit for news, comment, and advertising. The choice of material to go into a newspaper, and the decisions made as to limitations on the size and content of the paper, and treatment of public issues and public officials — whether fair or unfair — constitute the exercise of editorial control and judgment. It has yet to be demonstrated how governmental regulation of this crucial process can be exercised consistent with First Amendment guarantees of a free press as they have evolved to this time."
Bless your heart for self-editing, for sharing this very important Supreme Court decision, and accomplishing it all in 385 words. My wish and the policy of Stockbridge Updates is to include all articles submitted as long as they follow the rules. So please keep them coming, and please follow the rules. There are only 3: all articles and opinion pieces must be 400 words or less, must have the name of the author attached, and must not have ad hominem attacks.