Spring planting for biodiversity

I am a retired biologist. Nature walks are still one of my favorite pastimes, but my walks are sadder now. I know the numbers and varieties of birds, bees, butterflies and other insects are drastically declining. This is partly due to a lack of native plants in our expanding neighborhoods. Our yards are mostly water demanding lawns and our gardens are full of ornamental plants from big box stores, colorful, abundant and inexpensive, but these non-native plants provide little to nothing for local insects and birds. They have not co-evolved and so do not meet each other’s needs. Native plants provide food, cover and reproductive needs for our local insects and birds and fortunately, native plants need less water, too.

Everyone wants to know what they personally can do to help the diminishing biodiversity. For easy and immediate help, put native plants in your yard this spring. To find native plant suggestions for our area, go to Audubon’s website, audubon.org/plantsforbirds. Create a miniature nature preserve in your own yard.

— Gail Sabbadini, Bend

Pay them more 

The solution to the, so-called, shortage outlined in the March 31 “Bend Restaurants Starve for Workers” should be obvious to restaurant owners who are entrepreneurs in a free market. When demand exceeds supply the price must go up to restore balance. Employers seem to understand this when it comes to the things they buy and sell —except for labor. When the catch is down, they have to pay more for fish to keep it on their menus. But they seem to believe labor is different and should be available at “normal” wages. They don’t seem to consider paying more for labor as an option and cry shortage. Mr. Swigert sees that workers are going to other jobs now available; but doesn’t see the obvious solution. Make your jobs more attractive by raising the pay and benefits. It’s called competing. You pay a higher price for fish when you have to. If you pay a competitive wage the so called “labor shortage” will disappear that’s the way capitalism works. I think it is obvious that restaurant workers aren’t overpaid and with revenues up 30 percent, why not?

When we eat in a restaurant, we understand that when the price of fish, or labor, goes up we pay more for the meal that’s also part of capitalism as it should be. Why should workers who provide me the meal be paid less than a living wage so I can pay less?

— John Alexander, Redmond

Risks for wait staff

I empathize with restaurant owners and their myriad difficulties during the pandemic. However, I seldom read about the risks of working as wait staff. Diners eat without masks (there is little choice). Indoor dining is increasing, and some restaurants don't have other realistic options. Wait staff can be masked up, but the sheer volume of folks encountered, and the risk of breathing diner’s exhalations is quite significant – even when protecting oneself with a mask. The percentage of folks that are vaccinated is still not even a majority. A reasonable person would view a wait person’s (and other staff's) personal risk of contracting COVID as frightening at the present time. Perhaps it is not so “baffling” that there are insufficient applicants for open positions in restaurants. Please support our community, the unemployed, and our local economy and get vaccinated.

— Gary Elnan, Bend

Flatter is not smarter

When I picked up Saturday’s paper and read “Worrell Park may become flatter, more accessible,” my first thought was, “hold on, wait just a minute here!” Bill Worrell Wayside Park is not only a lovely, quirky corner of downtown Bend, it is a beautiful, remnant example of the area’s natural landscape, a small haven surrounded by burgeoning development. To replace it with just another curated experience is short sighted. And to spend $2.5 million doing so is unconscionable. There is likely far greater need for those funds elsewhere.

— Julie Naslund, Bend

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