Letters to the Editor

‘Star Trek,’ Apollo program, biofuels, lucky dog

The crew of “Star Trek,” DeForest Kelley, left; Leonard Nimoy, William Shatner, far right, and Nichelle Nichols.
The crew of “Star Trek,” DeForest Kelley, left; Leonard Nimoy, William Shatner, far right, and Nichelle Nichols. Paramount Pictures

‘Star Trek’ took him to the future

Fifty years ago today, on Sept. 8, 1966, on Channel 3, I heard, for the very first time, “These are the voyages of the Star Ship Enterprise.” Yes, folks, half a century has passed since “Star Trek” premiered. I was one week past my ninth birthday, and thought I had found the greatest thing ever.

It was the future, with aliens, computers (can you just imagine talking to a computer, Siri?), spaceships and teleportation. Immediately, I was an avid fan.

I also remember crying myself to sleep on the night of June 3, 1969, when the last episode aired. This great show was over?! I would never, ever get to see Mr. Spock, Capt. Kirk and Bones again? Say it ain’t so.

It wasn’t. In the 50 years since that first episode, Star Trek has turned out to be my near lifelong companion. “Star Trek,” in one form or another, has 726 episodes across the 30 seasons of TV, 12 major movies.

I now own several computers, speak to one regularly, drive an electric car and know there are other planets out there. Thank you, Gene Roddenberry, it’s been a wonderful 50 years.

Stephen R. Stapleton,

Sacramento

Space program’s lasting friendships

Re “Black math whizzes were hidden during space race” (Page 4B, Sept. 6): It seems the bonds of friendship created while working in the space program have endured for decades. Like Christine Darden and Katherine Johnson, the former Douglas/NASA employees involved in the Apollo program at the Douglas Missile Test Site in Rancho Cordova have maintained their friendships over the decades.

Since 1970, the Douglas/NASA retirees have met for their annual picnic in June. A 1960s Douglas Aircraft sign greets the group. Ages vary with the oldest retiree ready to turn 100 next month. While they talk about families and other subjects, conversations will turn to the Apollo days as if it were yesterday. Memorabilia and pictures line the table. Pride in a job well done is evident, coupled with a humbled and honored demeanor to have been part of the Apollo program.

Terri Pennello, Sacramento

No agreement on good of ethanol

Re “Biofuels present solution to harmful airborne chemicals” (Viewpoints, Sept. 7): Studies and analysis on the life cycle impacts and benefits of using ethanol as a motor-vehicle fuel have been conducted since the 1970s. Environmental organizations and research institutions continue to assess the overall value of ethanol as an alternative fuel.

David Vander Griend cites the positive characteristics of producing and using ethanol compared to gasoline. Nevertheless, the claimed environmental benefits of ethanol when compared to gasoline have not been universally agreed upon because of changing technologies in automotive emission control, production of the primary feedstock for ethanol, corn, and production of hydrocarbons used to produce gasoline.

Because of politics, the U.S. maintains a 45-cent per gallon ethanol subsidy, providing producers more than $50 billion in 2015. While the author serves the Urban Air Initiative, he is also the CEO of ICM Inc., a builder of ethanol production facilities.

Dan Fong,

Rancho Cordova

That Melo is one lucky dog

Re “Blind and deaf cocker spaniel finds happy home in Elk Grove” (Local, Sept 2): Amid all the articles concerning political turmoil, senseless killings, disrespect for the flag in the NFL, etc. the story about little Melo finding a new home made my day!

Ever since reading about his plight with his original owner and his disabilities, I have been hoping to read that he had been adopted. God bless Sandy Wellington and Nelson Kempsky for opening their hearts and their home for that sweet little boy. Looks like Melo hit the jackpot.

Kathy Andreis,

El Dorado Hills

Part-time legislature needed

Re “789 bills make it to Brown. Which ones will he sign?” (Insight, Sept. 7): It is difficult to understand the need to rush 789 new bills with associated additional taxes and pork to the governor. The tail is wagging the dog. It’s time for a part-time, citizen legislature like other states.

Robert Reark, Granite Bay

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