It was cool under my granddaddy’s scuppernong arbor. We didn’t have air-conditioning back then. But the return of school would usually bring on the first hint of a cool snap. And with sweet scuppernongs hanging everywhere, it was heaven under there.If you’re a Deep South native, chances are good you have muscadine memories yourself. Generations of Georgians have considered these special grapes one of the best things about the coming of fall.The distinctive flavor of muscadines seems to hint of the years they’ve had to mellow. People were enjoying them in the South long before the first European settlers arrived.Nowadays, people can take their backyard muscadines inside and eat them in cool, modern comfort. And the grapes are more often grown on more efficient trellises.Many More Choices NowWe have many more choices now, too. My granddaddy had the scuppernongs and a trellis of black muscadines. He called the black ones bullaces. I grew up thinking the black ones were bullaces and the bronze ones scuppanons. (We left off the “g” and never really pronounced the “er.”)In the 50 years since then, plant breeders have given muscadine lovers a rainbow of choices in shades of red, bronze, purple and black.All have attributes better than the original, two-centuries-old scuppernong, the first cultivated variety of the native wild grapes. Some of the new muscadine grapes are seedless. Some have more edible skins. Nearly all are sweeter and bigger.”Muscadines today are bigger than a quarter and sinfully sweet,” said Gerard Krewer, an Extension Service horticulturist with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.Sweet So Many WaysAmong the dozens of varieties, some are fresh-fruit favorites. Others are noted for their sweet dessert wines. Many others are wonderful in cider, jellies, preserves and syrups.Georgia has 1,000 acres of commercial muscadine vineyards, most for fresh-market grapes. Krewer figures at least twice that many grow in the state’s backyards.The grapes usually begin ripening in early August in extreme south Georgia. The harvest then moves northward and extends into mid-fall, Krewer said. The sweet, mellow grapes grow everywhere in the state except in the high mountains.Good For You, TooMy granddaddy lived to 90 years old in a time when the life expectancy was around 65. Eating all those muscadines may have helped him live so long.”Research is showing that muscadines are one of nature’s most healthful foods,” Krewer said.Studies at Mississippi State University, he said, found that muscadines are richer in fiber, zinc, manganese, iron and calcium than most other fruits.Later research found that they are one of the world’s richest sources of ellagic acid, which is thought to help prevent cancer, and of resveratrol, which a University of North Carolina medical researcher found to be a potent anticancer compound.Muscadines in SpotlightMuscadines will be in the spotlight when the Georgia Experiment Station in Griffin, Ga., hosts the 2001 Georgia/South Carolina Muscadine Meeting and Field Day Sept. 28.The event starts at 9 a.m. and includes lunch and a taste panel of muscadine cultivars. It ends with a 2 p.m. tour of the Experiment Station’s vineyards. Granddaddy would have loved it.The fee is $25 until Sept. 21 and $30 after that. Couples may attend for $40 (if preregistered by Sept. 21). To sign up, get a registration form at the nearest county extension office. Or call (770) 229-3477.
Categories: Letters to the Editor, OpinionThe wealthy already pay enough in taxesI understand Paul Krugman has a Nobel Prize, but so does Obama. It shows how easy it must be to win a Nobel Prize. McGraw, fund-raiser deserve much praiseI was surprised to read Thomas Hodgkins’ Jan. 14 letter criticizing the Niskayuna Town Pool’s Wild Turkeys Swim and Dive team’s annual efforts to raise funds for the Donna M. Crandall Foundation that serves those living with cystic fibrosis, a devastating and life-threatening disease.Specifically, the letter attacked the team’s volunteer parent coordinator, Denise Murphy McGraw. Unnecessary wall will bankrupt the country Trump’s wall is a magician’s formula to divert our attention away from his problems. It’s also a formula for national bankruptcy. He demands $5.7 billion, essentially ransom, to reopen the government. It’s a sham, as the wall price would be trillions, really a pipe dream. Trump’s demand would cover wall maintenance alone, for less than a four-year presidential term of office. We’re paying this price already in the form of the highly effective FBI and Department of Homeland Security, assuming that their employees eventually do get paid.We can learn from the Israelis’ 2002 wall along the West Bank. A 2012 article by Haggai Matar in +972 Magazine reported its price after 10 years. Maintenance alone was $260 million per year, about $500,000 per kilometer in roughly 2007 dollars (halfway between 2002 and 2012). That includes active and passive surveillance to prevent tunneling, and staffed checkpoints to control passage of vehicles and people in both directions. Extrapolating to the full 3,145-kilometer U.S./Mexico wall suggests an annual bill of about $1.5 billion for maintenance alone.The astronomical construction price shows that a U.S./Mexico border wall is a non-issue. The Israeli construction price converts to U.S. $2.6 billion for 525 kilometers, about $5 million/kilometer. Extrapolating to the full U.S./Mexico border suggests a 2007 construction price of about $15.6 trillion. We must protect ourselves against becoming victims of Trump’s practice of bankrupting institutions fiscally and morally. We also must maintain our focus and protect ourselves from being diverted away from critically important, real issues.Dr. Robert A. MichaelsNiskayuna Horrified by conduct of Covington kidsI’m horrified, shocked and nauseated to read about the total disrespect the students of Covington (KY) Catholic High School showed toward a Native American elder and a military veteran, no less, at the Indigenous Peoples March at the Lincoln Memorial on Jan. 18.Chanting “Build that wall,” these idiots didn’t even realize that if original people built such a wall, their great-grandparents, grandparents and parents would have been walled out. Have compassion for federal workersIn his Jan. 17 letter, Dr. Arthur Salvatore seems to denigrate sympathy “for these [federal] workers who will be fully recompensed.” Yes, they may eventually get paid, but for now, how do they buy food for their family? How do they pay to keep a roof over their children’s heads? The good doctor may have the financial means for performing those actions without additional current income, but many people don’t. I suggest that a little sympathy just may be in order.Jerry BoehmAlbany Something is missing in how these young people are being educated. They disgraced their school, but may only be practicing what they have been taught: intolerance. The rest of us who watched news tapes and read articles about the incident will never know, but their educators will. They are raising the next generation of leaders. I can only say: God pity us all.Sally MagidSchenectady Mr. Trump, I can’t even bring myself to call him my president, has created his own national crisis. He calls some media news “fake.” He creates the fake news with all his lies and then blames them. The border wall is a joke. Everyone knows that for a century since this country has been using drugs illegally, cocaine and marijuana have been shipped through air transport from Miami, New York, Canada and Los Angeles. El Chapo is now on trial for trafficking drugs through underground tunnels big enough to drive a truck through. A border wall isn’t a fix. Rudy Giuliani, Mr. Trump’s attorney, needs to retire. He’s an old attorney who thinks he’s still the mayor of New York City and that whatever he says about the Russian collusion, someone is going to believe.Dianne BurnsSchenectady His comment that imposing heavy taxes on the rich makes economic sense is garbage, pure garbage. Unless of course you wanted to slow our roaring economy down to, say, Obama’s economy. Then it makes sense. Krugman is nothing but a demo-hack. You know, someone that just wants to find fault with President Trump or any high-profile Republican. He cites Christina Romer, Obama’s first economic adviser, claiming 80 percent is a good rate for the highest earners. Ha. She also claimed Obama’s economic plan would result in 4.5 percent to 5 percent growth!The Democrat god JFK knew that lower taxes made for a booming economy. President Reagan cut the highest tax rates from 70 percent and the amount of revenue collected by the government exploded. Democrats immediately mention the deficits that resulted. The deficits were because of spending, not the tax cuts. Again, this is a fact that is inconvenient for the left.Perhaps Krugman can start a liberal wave and voluntarily pay more in taxes to help out.The top 10 percent pay in excess of 50 percent of the taxes. They pay enough. Our government doesn’t need more in tax revenue, it needs to cut spending. New York keeps raising taxes and the wealthiest keep moving out. Eventually, when the Democrats run out of the wealthy to punish, they will move down the economic ladder and punish you.Dave EdwardsHalfmoon Congress: Fully fund VA and keep it publicA Daily Gazette Jan. 13 news article reported the Trump Administration is intensifying efforts to privatize parts of the Veterans Administration (VA) health service, despite “critics, which include nearly all of the major veterans’ organizations.” Suzanne Gordon, a health care journalist for 30 years and author of “The Battle for Veterans’ Healthcare,” spoke in Troy Nov. 16. She acknowledged the VA is not perfect, but insisted the VA is vastly better suited to provide health care to veterans than the private sector. Unlike the private system, with its many providers and separate practitioners, the VA provides integrated care. VA physicians can literally walk veterans down the hall to colleagues with different specialties and make a “warm hand-off.” Without change, get used to wetter futureMr. Moody raised two questions about global warming in his Jan. 18 letter. First, global climate models: Why don’t they include water vapor? Actually, climate models certainly do include water vapor. Water is the most important greenhouse gas. Without it, even the tropics would commonly experience frost warnings at night.Water vapor, however, is short-lived because it rains-out on a time scale of only days. That means it responds to global warming caused by long-lived greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and is not a primary cause of it. As Mr. Moody correctly pointed out, the warmer the world gets, the more water the air can hold, making global warming that much worse.His second question was about melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet: What can we expect from its melting? Greenland is indeed melting, ever-faster, and meltwater from there and elsewhere is contributing to rising sea levels.At the beginning of the last century, sea levels rose at about 0.8 mm per year, 1.9 mm in most of the 20th century, and 3.2 mm (about 1/8 inch) now. This rate is expected to increase. That’s why coastal areas worldwide must plan for a wetter future.Kurt HollocherSchenectady Help countries protect vulnerable citizensTo fix the immigration problem, a holistic approach to South America is required. Walls alone are a Band-Aid that can be tunneled under or cut through. While the Middle East has been the focus, the elephant in the room is right at our doorstep. Teddy Roosevelt and Jack Kennedy recognized it. Why are we so blind? Climate scientists know effect of vaporRecently I’ve heard twice that the models of climate change are wrong because they don’t include the water vapor.The first time I heard this, I was worried because it seemed logical that there was lots of water vapor in the atmosphere and that it would absorb sunlight and heat up the atmosphere.I was told that it was because the climate change scientists were dishonestly trying to put the blame on CO2 and methane. However, when I checked, to my surprise, there was an order of magnitude less water vapor than CO2 in the atmosphere and that its effect is insignificant relative to CO2 and methane. The second time I heard about water vapor and climate change was in Richard Moody’s Jan. 18 letter, when he claimed the water vapor is left out of the models because “it’s too difficult to model.” I’m confident that the hundreds or thousands of climate scientists around the world have the equations and data to model water vapor if it was “far more common than CO2 or methane in the atmosphere. Rudy Macander Clifton ParkMore from The Daily Gazette:Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s press conference for Sunday, Oct. 18EDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusCuomo calls for clarity on administering vaccineEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motorists Trump and Giuliani spread lies and blame VA staff are far better equipped, she said, to care for the very specific, complex problems veterans have: chronic pain, suicide, toxic exposures, hearing loss, mental health, substance abuse and sexual trauma. Each war has a specific set of toxic exposures. Many veterans have post-service adjustment problems non-vets do not have. Veterans who have killed people in war often need special care. All VA staff work on salary, so they have no incentive to over-prescribe drugs. The VA staff is one-third veterans; they know the veteran’s culture and are thus more effective healers. Rather than being hoodwinked by the greedy privatizers, who are primarily concerned about maximizing profits, Congress should adequately fund the VA and keep it a public entity.Tom EllisAlbany Democracies do not dehumanize peopleFear is a very powerful emotion. Fear is routinely used by dictatorial leaders to unite people around them and against a perceived enemy. The most extreme example in the past was the dehumanizing of the Jews in Nazi Germany. All it took to turn a population was constant media lies and an amoral leader. Besides being divisive, fear promotes anger which in turn results in violence against the people who are demonized.Today, according to our leader, we have many groups to fear: Central American migrants, Muslims, Mexicans and others. This implies we can inflect violence and inhuman treatment against them, which is wrong and un-American. Most, if not all, are peaceful and decent. True democracies do not demonize groups of people. The people who are coming from Central America come in desperation with their small children.These people are trying to escape the rapists, murderers and drugs. The reason for the mass exodus is the result of uncontrolled violence in their native country. Their only crime is wanting to live and work in our country, like our immigrant forefathers. I have been a part of the Niskayuna Town Pool community as an athlete, coach, lifeguard and pool manager since I was in elementary school. I grew up at the pool, and it has contributed to my work ethic, spirit of cooperation, commitment to voluntarism and appreciation of community.Mrs. McGraw’s volunteer work is largely responsible for the positive influence the pool has had on my life and lives of so many others.Certainly, her guidance while organizing the swim-a-thon has made me realize the power in community-based action for effecting change.Today, I’m a scientist working towards my PhD in Neuroscience focusing on the biochemical mechanisms of psychiatric disorders with a particular interest in substance abuse disorders. I know my career path has been shaped by my experiences working for the benefit of others, experiences I may not have had were it not for the town pool, swim-a-thon and Mrs. McGraw’s guidance.The swim-a-thon is the highlight of the summer for dozens of Niskayuna children, and it should not be misinterpreted and attacked. Even more assuredly, the volunteer who makes it possible should not be attacked; she should be celebrated.Andrew StewartNiskayuna Labeling any group of people as criminals is a lie and immoral. We cannot become a country of fear because our nation of “we the people” will no longer exist. We must come together to solve America’s problems. Fear and anger make us weaker as a nation. This letter does not attempt to solve the immigration issue or dictate a solution. And it does not support open borders. John DworakRotterdam Soviet-style socialism, bad governance and the United States’ demand for illegal drugs corrupts societies from the police to the presidents. The people suffer under lawlessness from gangs that prey on unarmed victims. The government has assured their helplessness. Citizens who can’t pay extortionists or tolerate rape of their daughters are killed. Police are unable to protect them. We have a microcosm of this in the United States, in cities like Chicago and Baltimore, where strict gun control assures that only the criminals have guns.The caravans will continue solely out of sheer desperation. This plays into Trump’s hand. He should address the cause, not the effect. Border security is critical to our nation and it includes walls, but not exclusively walls. A Marshall Plan is needed to address these countries to restore the rule of law and to allow people to live free of terror. In Brazil, people are now being permitted to defend themselves. A free society needs legal immigration to prosper. We need all kinds of skills here. However, more people can be helped, and helped better, by helping them where they are, not by bringing them here. Let’s give them that chance with our foreign policy.Bruce MartindaleCharlton