Daniel D. Belcher Jr.

Streaming in the dark: In your article, game warden William Skeen was quoted as saying that the navigability of Spring Creek could vary according to stream flow. As a Texas Parks and Wildlife enforcement officer, he should know that, according to Texas law, the actual flow does not determine whether a stream is navigable. According to state statutes, a stream is navigable if the distance between the midpoints of the two banks (the "gradient boundary") averages 30 feet or more.

Also, Skeen should know that does not mean that every navigable stretch has to be 30 feet or more wide. TPWD and other law enforcement officials have for years claimed that implementing the law on this issue is difficult because there is no agreement about what is a navigable stream. What they really mean is that they would prefer not to enforce the law where it would upset influential landowners.

Steve Daniel
College Station

Saintly Bubbas: I am extremely disappointed and upset with Margaret Downing's portrayal of all off-highway vehicle enthusiasts as "Bubbas." Nothing could be further from the truth.

Ms. Downing did an excellent job researching this issue. Unfortunately, she apparently researched only one side. Either that, or she wanted this article to help sway public opinion against off-highway vehicle use.

She should have mentioned that off-roaders spend much of their money and time helping to preserve the areas in which they ride. They practice the rules known collectively as "tread lightly": leaving no trash, staying on established trails and using only the land they have permission to use.

It's a shame that a few bad apples are being used by the enviro-nazis, greedy landowners and tax-hungry county governments to put an end to many people's favorite form of recreation.

Next time present your many intelligent readers with facts from both sides and let them decide for themselves which way to go.

Stephen Hadley

Protect our water: This article provided an excellent introduction to a great new project and the issues associated with protecting our quickly vanishing natural resources. Spring Creek and its riverbank forests provide benefits for more than just a few landowners. This creek and its forests are part of the ecological infrastructure that supports Galveston Bay. Without this kind of infrastructure we will quickly run out of clean water.

The Spring Creek greenway project is a great example of how we can balance public needs and private property. We need to see more of these projects all over the Houston area if we want to leave our children a legacy worth having. Thanks so much for reporting on projects like this. I hope you have many more opportunities to do so in our area.

John S. Jacob, Ph.D.

Destroying the estuaries: Thank you for your excellent article on ATVs in Spring Creek. Unfortunately, our bayous cannot be all things to all people. Excess sediments can lead to fish kills and can be very destructive to downstream estuaries.

Surely we can find a place for ATV recreation that does not result in degradation of water quality. We are very supportive of the Montgomery County and Harris County plan to set aside floodplain as park land. Thank you for addressing this important issue.

Mary Ellen Whitworth, executive director
Bayou Preservation Association


Smiles From On High

Heaven forbid: What a wonderful article ["The God Squad," by Michael Serazio, September 16]. So many members of the press these days treat Christians only with ridicule. Your article was very fair and brought a smile to my face.

Thank you.

Shawnna Casazza
Edmond, Oklahoma

Lineup double switch: Seeing how the Astros have performed in the playoffs and the clutch since Pemberton's arrival as a spiritual adviser, I can come to only two conclusions:

1. The Astros need to fire Pemberton and get a better conduit to God; and

2. Maybe they should start praying to a different god, as their present choice seems to abandon them whenever He/She is needed the most.

John Royal

Booked, Not Hooked

Festival is fair: I was quoted in your September 16 issue ["Bash-Free Zone," Hair Balls] saying that I didn't expect to be going to "get any kind of prominent place" at next month's Texas Book Festival. Shortly after speaking with writer Sarah Fenske, and much to my pleasant surprise, I found out that I am to be on a four-person panel of authors in the Senate Chamber at noon on October 31. If the book fest is discriminating against muckrakers who write less-than-flattering things about George W. Bush and his cronies, I haven't seen it.

Robert Bryce

Osso Asso

Bones to pick: I am a weekend server at Portofino's Ristorante Italiano ["Osso Buco Me? Osso Buco You!" by Robb Walsh, September 16]. I take great offense to the comments on osso buco because it is, as Alex Salmassi stated, our signature dish.

A lot of our customers are regulars, which should say something about the food. I have heard time and time again from guests about how "fantastic" our osso buco is! I can only imagine how many people do that throughout the week.

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