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New Moon = No Moon

Re: “Naked and Alone in the Ocean at Night,” April 10 cover story.

Near the end of the story it says that she entered the water “sometime around midnight.” Two sentences later it states, “The sky was overcast and blocked out the new moon.”

This is not possible. A new moon is the first phase of the moon, when it lies closest to the sun in the sky as seen from Earth. More precisely, it is the instant when the moon and the sun have the same ecliptic longitude. The moon is not normally visible at this time except when it is seen in silhouette during a solar eclipse.

Anyone else catch the mistake? Just trying to help.

  • Blake J. Finlay
  • Bonita


Those People Are Like Rats

This concerns your cover story in the April 10 Reader, “Naked and Alone in the Ocean at Night.”

I just wonder, with all these different theories they came up with trying to figure out what happened to her, I wonder if some Mexican speedboat might have run her down. This is just speculation, but they’ve been coming up here in boats for years and years trying to run dope, or aliens, or what have you.

Have any of the detectives or coroner’s people ever thought that she was out there swimming at night and some Mexican boat ran her down in the dark and just left her there to die out in the water?

People like that have no conscience. They have no morals, no soul. I can very easily see that Mexican drug smugglers might have done something like that.

The coroner did say that the condition of her leg bone where it had been severed did not look like a shark bite. It looked like maybe a boat propeller had cut her there. I don’t know how they’d ever catch the people. Those people are like rats. You’ll never catch them.

Actually, this was the first time I’ve ever heard of this occurrence. I don’t remember every having read anything about it twenty years ago.

  • Name Withheld
  • via voicemail


All the Right Notes

Thank you for the piece on the assisted-living facility for people with Down syndrome and other developmental disabilities (“We Should All Live So Well,” April 3 cover story). I have an adult son who has been living at a similar home since 2005, and I think you hit all the right notes.

It’s encouraging to read about the caring and competent people who run Noah Homes – specifically the way they provide an enhanced quality of life to their clients without going into debt. Over the years I’ve often been dismayed by the “resources” available to my son. Like many other families, mine sought to fill the gap with our own efforts, for as long as that was possible (and I remain involved — fatherspledge.com).

This is a human rights issue, for people with few real advocates. Articles like this are important, both for general consciousness-raising, and to acknowledge those who are doing something right.

  • Steve Gallup
  • Carmel Valley


Taking Care of Bees’ Nests

Thanks for publishing the story about Hilary Kearney and her beekeeping work (“Bees on the Brain,” March 27). It was very interesting. Just a few days after reading it, a swarm of bees arrived in my back yard. I visited her website, girlnextdoorhoney.com, filled out a handy online contact form (Live Bee Removal), and received a quick reply.

Her father came out a few hours later, put the bees in a temporary hive, and removed them. The bees will be placed with someone who is able to take care of a hive. A program is also offered where people can host a hive, installed and cared for by people from Girl Next Door Honey.

As noted in the article, bee populations are declining worldwide, in large part due to the use of pesticides, particularly a class of pesticides known as neonicotinoids. It was gratifying to see firsthand how some very good people are working to fight this trend by encouraging and helping us to utilize this precious resource instead of wasting it by exterminating unwanted bees.

  • Hal Truschke
  • Bay Ho


Side of Drama, No Charge

Thank you, San Diego Reader, for publishing “It’s All Free,” (March 13 cover story) a fantastic example of San Diego’s successful adult education system. Students creating their own small businesses at an education cost of zero, thanks to San Diego Continuing Education’s free classes. We need more of this — especially during this economy.

In the South Bay, the Sweetwater Union High School District adult school program has been cut repeatedly, leaving the current class schedule a sad fraction of its previous glory. We need more classes for our population.

As illustrated by your article, adult school can be an important step in creating financially stable, independent adults better able to provide for their families. Dale Carnegie, author of the iconic book, How to Win Friends and Influence People, initially began as an adult educator.

In this immigrant-rich area, thousands of Spanish speakers need additional English skills and job training to go forward in life. Yet most evening classes have been shortened by 15 minutes. That’s one hour of instruction lost per week.

During the 2012-2013 school year, Montgomery Adult School was threatened with closure. Teachers received notice to remove all personal property during summer break. A decree issued by Governor Brown perhaps saved the school, stating that adult schools open during the 2012-2013 school year were to remain open into the next school year. But damage was done. Student enrollment is down by 20% as students opted to enroll in other adult schools rather than gamble on whether their school would still be open. Montgomery could face a 20% budget cut if future funding is based on student attendance. Classes and teachers would be cut.

Happy teachers make better teachers. A culture of fear among Sweetwater’s adult school teachers has been cultivated throughout the years with cautious reminders that Sweetwater’s adult schools remained open because of the good grace of the school board which, despite the needs of the area’s adult population, could divert adult school funding elsewhere. The district losing money speculating in real estate, expensive consultants and legal council, iPads for 7th graders (instead of much cheaper tablets), the intent to buy a new office headquarters in the expensive Eastlake area away from most of Sweetwater’s student population, and teacher negotiations over benefits could lead to budget issues. Sweetwater’s teachers have been working without a contract and this March overwhelmingly approved to strike if and when the union deems it necessary.

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