Our Voice: Thumbs up to protecting our apple trees

Battle of the bugs

To the $195,000 grant that will help researchers learn more about apple aphids.

Apple eaters probably don’t care about the pest nearly as much as apple growers do. But more knowledge helps our community make better decisions.

A study by Washington State University will be looking into the differences between conventional orchards and organic ones, particularly when in comes to aphids. It is interesting that applying pesticides to apple trees may actually increase the aphid population.

While the aphids don’t invade the apples directly, they create “honeydew” which can drip onto the fruit and result in black mold or rust spots. Not only do the aphids drop the value of the affected apples, they also can impact the health of the tree and a heavy infestation can kill young saplings.

Aphids aren’t a new problem. The WSU webpage says they were first identified in the United States in 1842. But there’s more we can learn about them.

In our ever-changing environment and with all of our improving technology, it’s great to be able to keep accumulating information.

Water rights

To Kennewick Irrigation District for providing water where it can.

We’ve slapped KID’s hands several times in the past for different issues. Here’s the chance for a pat on the back.

Water rights are complex and wrapped tightly in bureaucratic red tape. And getting irrigation water is a constant source of irritation for many folks. There are people in the KID system who pay for water, but can’t get it. And there are people who want water, but it’s not available. And the bridge to close these gaps is entangled with limitations from the Bureau of Reclamation.

So on behalf of the the people who have been waiting four years to get access to water — and it has finally been granted, “Good job, KID.”

As per usual, there are some critics of the agreement. The agency says they are being thorough. We hope they’re right. Time will tell.

Death of an inmate

To the situation that makes the Benton County settlement necessary.

Benton County has settled a wrongful death lawsuit with the family of Kevin Culp who died in the jail almost two years ago.

The county admits that the death was caused by a combination of human mistakes in reaction to Culp’s medical condition. The agency also has used what Sheriff Steve Keane called a “tragic accident” to change some policies at the jail.

It’s a costly way to learn a lesson — one that no doubt affects Culp’s family as well as the officers involved. There’s no real winner in this kind of case.