The Week in Comments: Benches, oil, fear and recycling

Sunday, September 5, 2010 | 5:10 p.m. CDT; updated 8:21 p.m. CDT, Sunday, September 5, 2010

Every week, readers of offer their opinions on the news and the Missourian's coverage of it. Here, we offer you a digest of some of the conversations we found most interesting.

Complaints prompt relocation of several downtown benches

Comments: 5/Commenters: 5

Pavan Vangipuram wrote about complaints from downtown business owners about benches outside their businesses being used by panhandlers more than customers. In response to the complaints, some benches have been removed, and others have been relocated.

Katie Bevan told of a couple outside Kaldi's complaining about the missing benches. Ray Shapiro said the Columbia Special Business District's actions show "an insensitivity and inconsideration towards the family members and those who have a heart." Carlos Sanchez asked, "Didn't Jesus say the poor and the destitute will always be with you?"

J. KARL MILLER: Planet managing Gulf oil spill just fine

Comments: 7/Commenters: 4

Columnist J. Karl Miller wrote about the effects of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. He described findings that bacteria are consuming the leaked oil, and he called for calls to stop drilling for oil and mining for coal to be "balanced with reality."

Ellis Smith said it makes sense that some creatures would have adapted to consume oil in the water. "Nature is sometimes smarter than petroleum engineers or environmentalists," he said. Gregg Bush said to keep in mind the number of people who died or were injured in the oil rig's explosion and the problems with BP's response to the spill. Don Milsop and Mark Foecking compared the carbon emissions from human activities and from the 1883 eruption in Krakatoa, though they seemed to disagree on the exact numbers.

GUEST COMMENTARY: Fear threatens the land of the free

Comments: 7/Commenters: 3

Washington Gikunju, a reporter from Kenya who was a fellow at the Missourian this summer, wrote about freedom in the United States and his observations of "a nation that is in the tight grip of a nagging fear."

Ray Shapiro described some of Gikunju's observations as reflecting "America's anger, not fear" about recent political developments. Kyle Denlinger told Gikunju to remember the "moderate majority in this country," saying, "Do not let the shouting of radical minorities fool you into thinking the crowd is larger than it truly is." Carlos Sanchez agreed, saying, "There are those on both sides and on all levels who feel entitled or empowered to use their clout to scare the misinformed one way or another."

Teenager collects three tons of recyclables at Boone County Fairgrounds

Comments: 5/Commenters:5

Steven Sparkman wrote about Michael York, a 15-year-old Boy Scout who collected and sorted recyclable materials for most of the summer at the Boone County Fairgrounds.

Richard Colvin, Allan Sharrock and Shirley McMullen congratulated York for his work. Dennis McMullen said that in 30 years of being involved in scouting, "I would love to have had just one youth with Michael's will and determination."

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