Neonics harmful

Each spring, we gardeners eagerly scan the greenhouse ads for best bargains and biggest selections. What’s missing from the ads is the pesticide history of the plants we choose.

Neonicotinoids are a recently developed family of insecticides implicated in injury and death to bees, butterflies and other pollinators. Since their adoption, a growing body of scientific evidence has led several countries to ban outdoor application of neonics. Local municipalities and public agencies have also taken steps to limit their use.

Does the grower of those beautiful plants you’re considering take similar care? In our area, knowledgeable growers were able to tell me whether they, or their plant suppliers, use neonics. A large chain in the Twin Cities has sworn off neonics and showed me which of their plants had come from neonic-free sources. A farm-based nursery in Chippewa Falls gave me information about the alternative pesticides they use to start and raise their own plants. I bought annuals confidently from both.

Some local growers have been unsure about the pesticides they use. Others have been open about using neonics. One small greenhouse, advertised as part of a faith community, owned up to using Venom, a neonic, on all their flowers. A different grower told me his use of Mantra, another neonic, was not a problem because he sprays only once (but the half-life of Mantra can be up to 229 days). One grower said that the real issue for bees is farm use of neonic-treated seed and the spraying of neonics over many acres. But why should I add toxic bedding plants to the local ecosystem?

This year, as you select plants to beautify your corner of our amazing and fragile Earth, please consider bees. Avoid neonicotinoids. Encourage growers to choose alternatives. Patronize nurseries that prioritize pollinators.

Barb Flom


Solution ill-advised

I think it simply ludicrous to believe that a roundabout at the bottom of State Street hill and Roosevelt Avenue is going to alleviate the congestion/pedestrian problem at that intersection.

First of all, a roundabout on a busy thoroughfare at the bottom of a hill would present a virtual nightmare in winter, much less in the other seasons. As a former resident of one of the affected properties built by the late L.G. Arnold for his parents helping to spur development of the Third Ward, I can say without reservation that this would render the four affected properties essentially worthless to prospective buyer(s).

Arguably, there have been some minor accidents at that intersection, but surely not enough to warrant destruction of four properties. There has to be a better solution.

Perhaps pedestrian crossing coupled with Roosevelt being one-way east from Park to Wilson and McKinley being one-way west from Wilson to Park might work, thereby preserving the value of those properties. However, if the city is adamant about having a roundabout, then I believe it only fair they pay full market value to acquire those properties and either tear them down or rezone them for multiple dwelling and turn them into student rentals as that’s all they would be good for.

Perhaps, if the city were strapped for the necessary funds, it could approach Larry Lokken and his accomplices for a no-interest “loan” to fund such a project. I reiterate there has to be a better way than installing a roundabout.

William Hanson

Eau Claire