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A boozer's Disneyland

EDITOR: The Harvest Fair must remain a diverse venue for all. It's the gardener's showcase for home-grown veggies and late-blooming flowers. It's for local photographers and teenage artists. It's for livestock growers and home-canning aficionados. Where else can you find Sonoma County's largest pumpkin?

Beer and wine are great — for our local economy, for responsible fun and entertainment — but Sonoma County is so much more than a boozer's Disneyland.

At the Harvest Fair, our growing number of baby boom retirees can explore new hobbies, learn to bake bread, grow tomatoes and watercolor paint. Pull out an old family recipe, make, bake or can it. Try something daring and new. Anyone can compete. I won first place for a decorated lunch bag last fall.

Where else can we, and our schoolchildren, be inspired and awed by the talent and bounty of Sonoma County?

We don't need to cut these parts from our Harvest Fair; we need to promote them, encourage them, inspire our neighbors and ourselves to participate more, create more. The Harvest Fair is a place where arts, crafts and imaginations grow. It needs to remain a showcase of our diversity, our talent and our fun.

MARSHA TAYLOR

Santa Rosa

Church and state

EDITOR: Many argue that allowing same-sex couples to marry would destroy the sanctity of marriage. However, this sanctity has already been destroyed through the government's involvement with marriage. The government should never have coined the term "marriage" to describe a legal bond between two people. Marriage has always been a religious institution, and, due to the separation of church and state, should not be tampered with by the state.

It would be more appropriate for the government to create laws that provide equal protections for legally bonded partners (whether this be the traditional religious-style marriage or others) while leaving religious organizations to define religious marriage in their own ways.

This, in my opinion, would help protect the legal rights of all couples without offending those who view marriage only as a man-woman relationship.

It seems to me that same-sex couples are fighting the wrong battle. Rather than trying to earn the right to marry, with all the word's religious implications, they should be trying to preserve and encourage the separation of church and state and equal rights for all.

BEN LARA

Santa Rosa

Unsafe for cycling

EDITOR: In response to concerns about cyclists and accidents, I believe it's time to recognize that there are certain highly trafficked, curvy rural highways that should be posted as off-limits to cyclists. We don't allow cyclists on freeways, so why do we allow bikes on two-lane rural highways, posted with 50 mph speed limits, blind curves and minimal or no shoulders?

The worst case scenario, for both driver and cyclist, is for a driver to come into a blind curve with a vehicle coming at you from the opposite direction and a cyclist suddenly appearing in the roadway in front of you because there is no shoulder.

If the county supervisors are really interested in saving lives they should work toward the goal of having certain two-lane highways posted with signs saying off-limits to cyclists. If they don't want to go that far, at least indicate that the road isn't safe for bike riding. The rules could be temporarily waived for approved major bike races.

I believe that most cyclists, especially novices, would appreciate knowing which roads to stay off of. Passing ordinances to make it easier for people to sue isn't the answer.

RAY CAPONE

Sebastopol

Unjust case

EDITOR: Has our criminal justice system turned into something district attorneys and judges just use to put more notches in their desk for the next election? Mike Krnaich ("Charges in death of boy on outing," March 12) has worked with young people for most of his life, and he's now suffering terribly over a mistake that cost the life of one of those young people. There is not one single day he will not suffer at remembering what happened to Trevor Smith. To a person who cares as much as Krnaich does for human life, the accident is punishment enough. Why do we, as a society, not use logical deduction in looking at a crime (accident) and know that punishment has already been handed down? Instead, we want to ruin another life because the law says we can. We should be able to do better than that.

JOHN SKINNER

Fort Bragg