Two of the letter writers criticized Irwin for bringing up her personal experiences with President Crow. I disagree strongly with their reasoning.

A fault that I found with Irwin's article on the Cancer Research Institute ("A Cancer on ASU," January 18) was that it didn't really convey the vindictiveness and mean-spiritedness of the administration in that dispute. This is, of course, hard to describe unless you have experienced it directly, and for that reason, I think inclusion of Irwin's personal experience with Dr. Crow was not only justified but extremely useful to the reader.
Thomas H. Smith, Tempe


Injustice to vegans: Your headline does grave injustice to tens of thousands of vegan couples who raise perfectly healthy babies ("Diet From Hell," Ray Stern, May 10).

The Parker couple's infant died not because they were vegan, but because he was fed a diet of soy milk and apple juice — not recommended by any authority on vegan nutrition. Prosecutor Mike Carlson summed up the case accurately, if somewhat harshly: "They're not vegans. They're baby killers!"

The diet of vegan babies begins with breast milk or fortified vegan formula and continues with fruits, vegetables, nuts, grains and legumes. This is why they are less likely to become obese and to suffer from common childhood diseases and food allergies. Sound advice on raising vegan children is available from
Alex Hershaft, National Chair, the Great American Meatout, Bethesda, Maryland

Misguided, but not bad: I feel so sorry for Blair and Kimu Parker. I lived in the same apartment complex as them and saw them often. They did not intentionally harm those children.

When the weather was nice, they would have their door open, and the kids would go in and out and be playing outside. Their apartment was always clean.

My apartment was right in front of the mailbox, and often I would see their older boy come and get the mail. He was so cute and would say, "Hi, how are you?" I noticed that the kids appeared short but not extremely skinny or unhealthy. They just seemed small.

I often saw Blair carrying laundry home from the Laundromat nearby, and his kids would be helping him, and they would be laughing and talking. I would also see him giving the kids shoulder rides all the time. They were a very happy family.

The Parkers were misguided when it came to nutrition and, unfortunately, it came down to this. I feel so sorry for them because anyone who knew them could see that they loved their kids dearly.
Kelley Najarian, Tempe

Monster parents: Kimu Parker deserves all the jail time she can handle. Her husband did more than just give them vegan meals. He made them do extreme calisthenics, too. These were monsters. Kimu knew better.
Cindy Schwartz, Phoenix

Ignorance is negligence: I understand parents wanting to make sure their children are healthy — I have three boys who are ages 11, 4, and 3. I am all in favor of that.

But when your children are demonstrating physical signs of illness, there has to be a point where common sense kicks in and you realize that something isn't right. For a child to be small is one thing, but skin-and-bones and having unexplained seizures is something else.

I absolutely believe that blatant ignorance is negligence. Especially after the family had already lost a child to seizures. I feel that they knew that they were somehow in the wrong, or they would not have hesitated to call 911.

Those poor children. With all their parents' good intentions, the Parkers didn't realize their children were starving to death.

I blame part of this on the media's constant portrayals of what is considered acceptable in our society. Whatever happened to focusing solely on health and well-being?
Nicole Niesz, Fountain Hills

Wrong diet for seizures: As an adjunct professor of nutrition for Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine, I find Ray Stern's report on the Parker family's unfortunate vegan experience ironic because medical research has determined that many cases of seizure disorders — both in children and adults — respond very favorably to a ketogenic diet.

A peer-reviewed article in Pediatrics (Vol. 105, April 2000, concluded that "the evidence is sufficient to determine that the ketogenic diet is [effective] in reducing seizure frequency in children with refractory epilepsy." A ketogenic diet consists primarily of fat- and protein-rich foods such as meat, butter and cream — the types of foods the Parker family avoided — with very limited intake of the carbohydrate-rich plant foods the Parker family preferred.

A ketogenic diet can meet all nutritional requirements for children and adults and has no adverse effects on health provided it includes [exclusively] unprocessed muscle and organ meats and bones and low-carbohydrate fresh vegetables or fruits. Previous to their acculturation, Eskimos raised their children on a similar diet for centuries with excellent developmental results.
Don Matesz, Tempe

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I think overall people should stop blaming crime on illegals, blame it on the people around you... every one is capable of crime and disceit. What's wrong with you people?

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