Your article about the regional manure digester near Waunakee ("Turning Brown to Green," 7/17/09) is very misleading and misinformed. The 26 digesters already in the state do not remove nutrients, and this digester does not either. Nutrient removal is separate from the digestion process and should be explained that way. Otherwise, one comes away thinking that manure digesters on their own remove phosphorus and nitrogen. They do not.
Mark Heffernan, Richland Center
Isthmus' article on manure digesters gives the (mostly correct) impression that the project is win-win-win: energy is produced, the lakes get less fertilizer delivered to them, and farmers make money and reduce their manure load.
But there's a problem with this otherwise laudable project. The farmers sending their manure to the county digester may not be the farmers whose practices ultimately cause algae blooms. We could send all their manure to the digester and still have green lakes resulting from farm runoff because the worst farm runoff offenders are unaffected by this project.
Given the considerable expense of the digesters, it'd be a shame not to use less exotic, time-tested and cheaper means to reduce the farm runoff polluting the lakes. They too will require money, and a good dose of political will, to compel those farms to change their practices. The will for clean water has to begin to balance our deference to farmers whose actions dirty it.
Denny Caneff, executive director, River Alliance of Wisconsin
Appalled at man's arrest
Regarding "Crimefighter Thrown in Jail," (7/24/09): I had to read this article at least three times before letting myself believe it to be true. How could a person be so mistreated by the people he turned to for help? I am appalled to hear of this behavior by our police officers.
Is there anything sympathetic Madisonians can do to [make sure] the D.A. seriously reconsiders Kelley Howe's criminal charges?
From the Madison Police Department website: "We...are committed to providing high-quality police services that are accessible to all members of the community. We believe in the dignity of all people and respect individual and constitutional rights in fulfilling this mission." Except when it means admitting they've made a mistake.
Corrections: The name of Assistant Public Defender Guy Mason Taylor was incorrectly rendered as "Gary" in an item in last week's paper. In an article on restaurant openings, Logan's was incorrectly called Logan's Roadhouse. It is not part of the chain of that name.