Queen's University

Letters to the editor

More Ralfe Clench Lore

Re: “Truly one of a kind”, ISSUE #3-2012, P. 37

I enjoyed Editor Emerita Cathy Perkins’ article about Ralfe Clench. He was indeed a character. We attended the same high school in Hamilton, though our paths did not cross very often. It was a large school with two buildings and about 2,500 students – slightly larger than the student body of Queen’s in 1954.

Ralfe and I did visit occasionally in Kingston. I do recall that he made carbon copies of the voluminous notes that he took in class. Ralfe always sent one complete set of copies home for safekeeping, and his mother refilled the tin containers with fresh cookies and sent them back to Kingston.

Don Cooper, Com’58, LLD’07
North York, ON

Parade Participants Identified

Re: “The colours of autumn”, ISSUE #3-2012, P. 39

[Archival photo from the autumn of 1971]The letter writer spotted herself, her sister and a friend in this archival
photo from the autumn of 1971

My friend, Nancy Van Den Steen, Artsci’75, brought this photo to my attention because she recognized me in it. I’m the one pushing her hair back, wearing sun glasses. I graduated with a general BA after three years – on June 1, 1974, the same day my brother’s twins were born, and so I’ll never forget it.

My sister, Pam Farmer, was visiting from Montreal that weekend and is immediately to my right, wearing the blue coat. (She went to McGill, our parents’ alma mater). My friend and fellow Queen’s alumna in the red plaid coat is Leslie (Taylor) Smyth, Com’76. She was also visiting that weekend from Western and had such a good time that she decided to transfer to Queen’s.
Thanks for printing this photo. What a great memory!

Cindy Farmer,
Artsci’75, North York, ON

Many Hazards to Birdlife?

Re: Letters: “Complaints about wind turbines and our coverage”, ISSUE #3 – 2012. PP. 3-4

I am appreciative of Dr. Barrie Gilbert, Arts'62, pointing out the limitations of my technical education, which he alleges will lead to the extinction of bird life in eastern Lake Ontario.

As a more broadly and liberally educated professional, I am sure that Gilbert can set me straight on bird mortality related to the other forms of power that feed Kingston, such as large transmission lines and the Lennox Generating Station. I share his love of birds, which is why I am proposing renewable power sources in the first place. Bird mortality is very well studied worldwide, and the lights of Kingston buildings, the smoke stacks at Queen’s and at the Lennox Generating Station (west of Kingston), the radio and TV towers, and the electric transmission lines kill far more birds in one night than all the turbines in one year. In fact, cats alone kill more birds.

Those birds that cross the island also cross the city with its many dangers. I suppose that we should ban buildings, ­radio and cell towers, transmission lines, and cats. It will be a dark and lonely place, Kingston, but at least no birds will die.

As for my narrow technical education, well, we all have our crosses to bear. I have to admit something: these ideas are not my own. I borrowed them from Germany, Spain, Denmark, France, and the U.K. In all the years that I lived and worked in ­Europe, speaking and working in four different languages, this narrowly educated engineer rarely ran across the kind of head-in-the-sand [wind turbine] “experts” that we are seeing commonly in Ontario. In fact, with more than 8,000 megawatts of wind energy operating or under construction offshore, the Europeans seem ­remarkably ignorant of all these alleged horrors that Barrie Gilbert is conjuring.

Ian Baines, Sc'74
Burlington, ON

The letter writer is founder of Canadian Renewable Energy, the developer of the Wolfe Island wind-power project. He is also founder of Windstream Energy, which is developing an offshore wind project ­located in Lake Ontario, 14 km southwest of Kingston. – Ed

Counting the Grads in Calgary

Re: Editor’s Notebook: “Exciting times in the Stampede City”, ISSUE #3 – 2012, P. 2

I’m a proud Queen’s graduate living in Calgary, but I am somewhat dubious of the claim in the “Editor’s Notebook” that “Calgary is home to more than 4,200 Queen’s alumni – the city’s largest contingent from any out-of-province university.”

While I don’t doubt the ­accuracy of the number of Queen’s alumni in the city (because Queen’s is one of the best at keeping records on its alumni), I’m not convinced we can claim to have the largest contingent from any out-of-province university. I think that claim might belong to the University of Saskatchewan (U of S). I’d guess half the engineering graduating class from U of S moves to Calgary every year. My U of S friends suggest that might be a thousand grads every single year for the past 20+ years. If there is any doubt as to how many Saskatchewan people are in town, simply come to a Roughrider-Stampeder football game here in Calgary. There seems to be an overabundance of green fans – granted, not all attended university.

Although U of S may have the largest contingent in Calgary from any out-of-province university, I do make a point of advising them that the smartest and best-looking in town are still Queen’s alumni.

Bern Frasson, Sc’80, MBA’90
Calgary, AB

Perhaps it’s time for a head count – the same way naturalists count bird species. – Ed.

The Wrong Dates

Re: “Spring honorary degree recipients”, ISSUE #3 – 2012, P. 13

Une petite erreur slipped into the reference to Peter Milliken, Arts’68, LLD’12. Peter was the Member of Parliament (MP) for Kingston and the Islands from 1988 to 2011, not 1973 to 1988. He was no doubt on the MP track and MP in waiting from 1973-88.

Doug Yonson
Waterloo, ON

Guilty as charged. We got it wrong. Flora MacDonald, LLD’81, was the Conservative MP for Kingston and the Islands from 1972 to 1988. Peter Milliken won the seat for the Liberals in 1988 and held it until his 2011 retirement. – Ed.

Queen's Alumni Review, 2012 Issue #4Queen's Alumni Review
2012 Issue #4
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