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Kudos to [UW Social Work Professor] Jennifer Stuber and the great work she is doing to change the image of mental illness and those with a mental illness by working with the media.

I am a clinical psychologist with the Human Development Center in Duluth, Minn. As part of my job, I co-host a weekly 30-minute live talk show / call-in show on mental health issues called “Speak Your Mind,” with a different topic each week (depression, addictions, etc.).

This is a collaborative project between my agency and our local public television station, WDSE. Our collective aim is to educate the public to reduce the stigma associated with mental illness and seeking help for psychological and emotional problems.

The show has been well received in this, our first year, and I am hopeful the show will be picked up for a second season. It is nice to see that efforts to educate the media and the public are occurring in many different areas across the country.

Carolyn Phelps, ’81, Ph.D.
Duluth, Minn.


Dr. [Dee] Boersma [Penguin Pad, December 2010], how did you convince the Galapagos government or conservationists to [give you] permission to build the “condos” [for the penguins]?

I would have thought the conservationists’ position would have been that you were interrupting a natural event regarding the evolution of these penguins.

Unless they take the position that climate change comes strictly from human intervention and therefore is not a natural event. Keep building.

Shun Ling


It should be noted that (then) Major [Jon] Rider [A Born Leader, December 2010] was the Marine officer instructor of the UW NROTC Program during the early 1970s. Some of us remember a bit of a legend about how some perhaps overly enthused anti-war demonstrators, apparently intent on making mischief in Clark Hall, were met at the top of the stairs by an even more determined Major Rider.

He was among the most memorable of instructors, a warrior of great tenacity and demonstrable courage, who taught us by example to take care of those who would follow us. And perhaps because of and not despite his long career in the military, indeed a gentle soul with a warm manner and quick laugh.

He is missed.

Thomas J. Lewis, ’76, ’81
Dripping Springs, Texas

As an NROTC midshipman at the UW, I remember (then) Major Rider well. He was a legend at Clark Hall, as we all knew about his parachuting accident when a midshipman himself at Washington. Midshipman Rider had fallen onto hot power lines after parachuting. He sustained serious burns but managed to finish college and receive his commission as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Marine Corps.

Once, as I was entering Clark Hall, campus protesters (in the fall of 1973) were marching en masse towards the building, yelling and chanting. The protestors carried large signs and were holding bricks. Entering the building, I saw Major Rider walking down the stairs and I yelled, “Prepare to repel boarders, anarchists are coming!”

The major took control of the situation and calmly negotiated with the hippies until they decided to disperse, another victory for the U.S. Marine Corps.

William Curtis


This public school teacher first encountered Rick Steves’ work [Rick’s World, December 2010] in 1990 when, just about to wrap up a semester abroad, a friend mailed me dog-eared, highlighted, and underlined pages from Europe Through the Back Door. My travel partner and I protected these pages as our bible as we whisked ourselves across the European continent, and I returned to America infected with the travel bug.

Now I take my students on educational trips to Europe, hoping that they, too, will gain a greater appreciation for the diversity of our world and the people in it. I have found that after people travel and experience other cultures, they cannot help but take the broader view of social issues facing home and abroad.

Keep up the good work and candid messages, Rick!

Russell Rice, ’96, ’98

I like Rick’s notion of speaking out “in an area where others cannot speak out.” This is very far removed from the Hollywood celebrity concept that if you have fans, it follows that people must want you to teach them how to think on political issues.

And what a surprise to learn that he is a classmate!

William Tolin Gay, ’78
Irvine, Calif.

One thing that was not mentioned was the trip that Rick and his camera crew took to Iran in 2008. I made a trip to Iran that same year, and upon my return, I tried to spread the word as widely as possible through writing articles and giving talks about the positive experiences I had there.

My efforts were nothing, however, compared to the audiences reached via the excellent one-hour program that Rick put together after his trip and that has been aired many times on PBS.

I’ve heard Rick’s talks about Iran and recall that he covered the costs of the trip with his own funds. This is an example of his activism at work; putting up his own money to make a program that sheds light on a country that is poorly understood by most Americans—yet one our politicians talk about bombing.

Nancy Penrose

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2 Responses to Letters

  1. Tammy coward says:

    Hello I am writeing in hopes of help from this awful disease it has rob me of my driving independently able to do things for my self have it really bad have been laid up as long as three days not able to move m head or eyes in any direction I am at my ropes last days I am 53 year old Grandmother of one and a half year old granddaughter Vivian and can not get to enjoy any time with her I some times just want it all to stop my life is depressing with this disease it all started three years ago I was born with deafness in my left ear some hearing loss in my right ear I have ringing in my ears really bad some times and pressure I can’t honestly deal with this anymore I have to cathe and can’t even do that when in this shape because can’t move my eyes in any direction what it don’t start all over again.

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