Letters to the Editor

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Cyanobacteria and MS

The possible link between ALS and cyanobacteria (Spring 2009) really struck a chord. My grandmother spent every summer at Webster Lake in Franklin, N.H. She was diagnosed with ALS in the 1980s and died in 1990. I spent my summers at the same lake in the '70s and '80s. (I think it was during these years that they found blooms.) Now in my 40s, I was diagnosed with MS a few years ago. No one in my family has ever had MS, and part of me wonders if that lake could have held the neurological trigger that began my MS. I realize that they believe that you have to be genetically predisposed to MS and I'm probably jumping to outlandish conclusions, but if there's an ALS connection with the lakes, couldn't an MS connection exist too? I'd be interested to see more studies done.

A King, but Not First

The caption in "Stimulus Plan" in the Spring 2009 issue gives me the honor of being the first "king" of the Pan-Hellenic spring dance. I was crowned king, but I was not the first. My 1947 Granite shows that on April 26, 1946, Walter Page '49 was crowned as the Pan-Hell King.

king of spring dance, photo courtesy of University Archives

In 1947, I was living in the brand-new Hunter Hall and evidently had made a number of friends. When some of my dormmates went up to T-Hall to vote for king, they noticed that the ladies were using the student directory as the check-off sheet. They realized that there were many veterans who had not returned for the second semester, so they went back to the dorm, went through the directory and found the names, and rounded up guys to go back to vote. Some of them voted many times.

I guess that it was quite a surprise that I won, because both John Atwood '48 and Ned Glynn '49 were members of a fraternity and I was not. I think it was Syd Merritt '50, one of the ringleaders, who told me the story a couple weeks later. What a downer, after thinking that I was not only the best-looking man on campus but that I must also have been the most popular, especially with the women! But I never did abdicate.

Editor's note: Dick Dart is correct: MERP Week—an annual four-day Sadie Hawkins Day social event—began in 1948, but it was preceded by two years of Sadie Hawkins-style Pan-Hell dances, complete with kings. Dart was crowned king of the second dance in 1947. Bill Haubrich '51 was the king of the first MERP Week in spring 1948.

Men of Character

A slight correction in honor of a very good coach: Coach Clarence "Chief" Boston did not coach from 1949-1960, as reported (Winter 2009), but from 1949-1964. He won his last Yankee Conference Championship in 1962. I played one year of varsity ball for Chief Boston and two years with Bill Bowes as my line coach. They were both superior coaches, and, more importantly, men of excellent character.

The Future of the Planet

"The Future of Fishing" in the Spring 2009 issue presented a variety of ways in which UNH is helping to develop new technologies and scientific strategies to help protect the ocean's supply of food resources. However, I fear that any gains made, such as increased aquaculture yields or more eco-friendly fishing practices, will be offset by the increased fishing due to increased demand from an ever-increasing global population. It would seem unreasonable to ignore increased population pressures when studying ways to preserve fishing stocks, yet the article doesn't mention increasing population as an issue of concern once. It instead obliquely refers to "increasing demand," which could be interpreted as arising from the health benefits of eating fish or changing culinary tastes.

Studies show that the United States is already beyond an environmentally sustainable population at our current standard of living. If the marine department, along with other related departments such as environmental resources, worked with the political science department, some new solutions to the population problem could be developed and proposed to policymakers.

Of course, politicians and policymakers have probably already been presented with similar evidence that the United States population, and nearly everyone else's, is too large to be in sustainable balance with our environment. What could be different this time, though, is the proposal of feasible and reasonable solutions. These could include reducing the number of immigrants allowed into the United States, or incentives like small yearly tax refunds for families, which, after a certain period following the birth of a first child, have only two or fewer children.

UNH could help propel forward population policies that would benefit many ecosystems and conservation causes. With lower populations, local fisheries would not be so heavily fished, pollution would be more manageable, and far less housing would need to be built, saving natural habitats. The policies would serve as complements to the current scientific advances being made in the preservation fields.

Fond Memories

Thank you for publishing the photograph on page 42 of the last issue of UNH Magazine. Upon initially viewing the picture, my heart skipped a beat. I instantly recognized, without a doubt, my late husband, Paul Finnegan '72, at the exact same age that our youngest son is now. Following his graduation from UNH, Paul went on to acquire a master's from the UConn School of Social Work and earned an A.B.D. from Boston College. His career in social work spanned nearly 25 years, including holding various offices in NASW, prior to his untimely death in 1999 from melanoma. A native of Berlin, N.H., Paul was an avid skier, hiker, canoeist, marathon runner, devoted father and coach. It was heartwarming for our two sons, Brendan and Dan '12, to see their dad in the magazine. Thanks for bringing back some fond memories.

Football, photo courtesy of University Archives
DURHAM, APRIL 13, 1971: Almost two dozen alumni wrote in to identify students in this 1971 photo of the hillside in front of the MUB. In front, throwing the frisbee is Donna Lorange Ruddy '74. In the rear, from left, are Caryl Bemis '72, sitting cross-legged; Dick Skogland '72 with sunglasses; Michael Aubin '73, lying down in the light jacket; Paul Finnegan '72 with his hand on his chin; Peter Zwerner '72, sitting cross-legged and facing the camera; and Christine Alexander '72, far right. Just visible to the left in the rear is a rock memorial constructed by students in memory of those who died at Kent State and Jackson State. Thanks to all who helped identify students: Marye Arnold, Rebecca Audley '09P, '11P, Margot Censullo Brennan '71, Jeff Cook '72, Rick '75 and Harriet DeMark '75, Pat Finnigan Allen '74, '05G, William J. Keefe, '72, Carol Lavoie '79, Linda Dugas Mistretta '74, Bill Pitt '72, Patty Quinlan '73, Sheila Renaud-Finnegan '75, Donna Lorange Ruddy '74, Christopher J. Seipt '98 and Peter Zwerner '72.

Or Dan, Either

In response to the letter from Myles Friedman '64 ("Don't Forget Curtis," Spring 2009), you should know that Dan Kreider '99 was a fullback for the Steelers in the Superbowl XL win.

Missing People You Never Knew

Anne Downey '95G does a fabulous job with the obituaries. I so enjoy reading them as wonderful portraits of her subjects. It makes me wish I'd had the opportunity to know them. She's a wonderful writer.

Two Suggestions

UNH Magazine, Spring 2009, was outstanding! The rich mixture of its articles, the depth of discussion and the coverage represent for this reader (and fan) an important contribution to building an informed community in this great institution.

Congratulations on a job well done in a long career to Gregg Sanborn '66, '77G, executive director, Alumni Association.

Two suggestions: encourage yearbook editors to run group pictures of faculty so alumni can remember those who taught them, and start an active program of inviting faculty to speak at alumni functions.

Fiction Writing Contest

UNH Magazine is holding a contest for previously unpublished short stories, 3,500 words or less. The contest is open to UNH alumni and current UNH students. Novelist and National Book Award winner Alice McDermott '78G will serve as judge.

First prize is $1,000 and publication of the story in the Spring 2010 issue of UNH Magazine. The top two runners-up will appear in the "Web Extra" section of the online magazine.

Submit entries by e-mail at alumni.editor@unh.edu or write "Fiction Writing Contest," Elliott Alumni Center, 9 Edgewood Rd., Durham, N.H., 03824. For contest details, please visit the Contest Rules page.

The deadline for submissions is Feb. 1, 2010.

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