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Never Give Up
The “over-achieving carcass-recovery robot” [“It’s in the Water,” Lake Effect, July 5, City Weekly] just pulled the body of my 24-year-old niece from Harding Lake in Alaska.

Authorities had given up the search after four weeks, and I guess that, according to the Neanderthal you have writing for your paper, the family should have shrugged their shoulders, gone home to Chicago, forgot all about their daughter and drunk some beer'brilliant! I don’t wish the pain and suffering the families endured on anyone, but if someday your emotionally castrated copy editor finds himself wandering the shoreline of some pristine lake or river trying to imagine where the body of a loved one might be, I hope he is lucky enough to find closure through the aid and extraordinary capabilities of the dedicated people who go out on the water every day'even for people like Brandon Burt.

By the way, “it” is not in the water. “It” is a husband, wife, son, daughter, cousin, niece, nephew, grandchild'a human being who was loved and will be missed the rest of the survivors’ lives.
tPaul McKenna
San Anselmo, Calif.

Keeping Searches Going
I suppose Brandon Burt considers himself to be a clever writer [“It’s in the Water,” Lake Effect, July 5, City Weekly]. But this essay on the subject of drowning-recovery operations is one of the most crass, disrespectful and disheartening pieces I have ever read.

Do you have any idea what families who lose loved ones in the aquatic environment must endure to try to recover their loved ones?

My fiancé, Earl Higgins, lost his life while attempting to rescue a child who was swept down the flood-swollen Los Angeles River in 1980. By some miracle, the child survived, but my fiancé, a good Samaritan, lost his life. He was swept 30-miles downstream past rescue personnel who had neither the training nor equipment needed to perform a swift-water rescue.


His remains were not recovered until nine long and extremely painful months later, due to the fact that no one was willing to even look for them. His disappearance and presumed death were written off as, “Oh, too bad. What a tragedy. There was nothing else we could do nn

You may mock me and other family members who have lost loved ones in water, but I will tell you that when the “authorities” announce that they are not going to do anything, that they will not perform recovery operations, this is an additional layer of shock and trauma for grieving family members who are frequently left on their own to figure out some way to recover their loved ones.


As a society, we do not hesitate to spend millions of dollars and man-hours searching for and recovering victims killed in airplane crashes, vehicle and other accidents, as well as in collapsed structures, whether the cause is a bomb blast in Oklahoma City, the tragedy of 9/11, an earthquake or other catastrophe. We spend millions of dollars and man-hours helping families search for and recover loved ones missing in the wilderness. We spend millions on murder- and missing-persons investigations. Families are treated with compassion and provided with the solace of knowing that everything possible was done to find and recover their loved ones.


Unless you lose someone in water.


Most public safety agencies usually make some attempt to recover victims, although not always. And there are dive recovery teams, canine search teams, and other volunteer search-and-rescue teams with very dedicated personnel. However, there is only a limited span of time allowed for success before a recovery mission is called off and families are left with nothing but grief and dismay. This needs to change.


With today’s advanced technology, including side-scan sonar, the majority of drowning victims can and should be recovered quickly, including some who have been missing in deep, cold lake water for years. Most families long for some measure of closure when it comes to the recovery of their loved ones, regardless of how many years have passed.

There is no room now for any more excuses as to why recovery efforts are called off or not even mounted to begin with. And there is definitely no room for the kind of disdainful disrespect expressed by this columnist.
tNancy J. Rigg
Drowning Support Network
Camarillo, Calif.

Abraxas Is God
Thanks for the mention in the “Talkin’ Bout Shaft” article. [Dining, June 28, City Weekly].

I just felt obligated to give you a little history on the name Abraxas. Its origins come from long before Carlos Santana was born. Abraxas was the Egyptian Gnostic god of the 365 heavens. He (or she) was overlord of the lesser gods, each responsible for the days of the year. Since this wine is a direct result of, and reflects, the vintage year, Abraxas seemed like a good name for a wine.

We almost didn’t call it that because we thought people might make the connection with the Santana album … like Ted Scheffler did.
tRob Sinskey
Robert Sinskey Vineyards
Napa, Calif.

He Looked Into His Heart
Although I agree with virtually nothing in City Weekly, I do wait anxiously each week for its delivery and read it religiously over the next few days. I find it highly entertaining. And, though many articles have made me think and even made me angry, reading your June 28 issue has finally brought me to write. The article in particular is “Black Elephant” by Geoff Griffin.

As I read and pondered it for a few minutes, the one word that came to mind was … pathetic.

First of all, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints lifted the ban on blacks holding the priesthood back in 1978. In quoting the Rev. Al Sharpton, Griffin also left out a couple of important points, or at least failed to correct them. First, there has never been a ban on blacks joining the church. Even before 1978, there were thousands of blacks who had accepted the doctrine and were baptized. Second, Sharpton himself retracted his statements and apologized just days after the quotes were made.


As a Mormon, I don’t deny that the ban on blacks holding the priesthood existed. However, the mistake, if it was a mistake, has long been corrected. To continue to bring it up is like saying, “I hate baseball because no blacks were allowed in the majors prior to 1947.” The issue of Mormons, blacks and the priesthood is old news, and it is time to move on.


The idea that Utah fans won’t accept black players is just plain idiotic. Mentioned were Carlos Boozer and Daron Williams. Both seem to be happy playing here and have stated they are looking forward to next year. In fact, Jazz owner Larry Miller stated recently on KFAN 1320 AM radio that Boozer told him last year that he was mad at Miller for not drafting him to Utah when he had the chance, that it was a dream of his to play for Jerry Sloan.


Karl Malone did have his detractors, but the reason Malone wasn’t as well regarded was his constant moaning about his contract, about the players around him and what Miller said about him.


And the “calm, peaceful feeling” when Jeff Hornacek was shooting came from the fact that the ball usually went in. To say that jump shooting is a lost art is not code for “the league is too white.” It is code for the fact that jump shooting has become a lost art, period. Please, Geoff, resist the temptation to overthink this to make a story where none exists. There are many other examples of black players being welcomed here: Darrell Griffiths (number retired), Adrian Dantly (number retired) Thurl Bailey and Ron Boone just to name a few.


Lastly, Griffin’s assertion that players were dreading being drafted by Utah and that no one wants to play here is simply not supported by actual fact. Sure, there are players who don’t want to come here. Since the article was printed, the NBA draft has taken place. The Jazz, with the 25th pick, selected Morris Almond, who happens to be black. I wonder how he felt about being drafted by Utah.


“I don’t think things could have worked out any better for me tonight,” Almond said in a recent phone interview on KZAN 1280 AM radio. “I had my eye on some teams that I thought I was a good fit for, and Utah was definitely at the top of that list for me.nn

It doesn’t sound like he was thinking, “Anywhere but Utah,” does it?

As a Jazz fan, I have looked into my heart and have decided that race in not an issue in my loyalty to the team. I’m sure that sentiment is shared by the vast majority of Jazz fans throughout the state and around the league.
tScott Monsen