Youth programs

We commend The Inquirer for its editorial "Juvenile offenders don't deserve no-parole sentences" (April 21). Research has shown that most young people who engage in crime will grow out of it, and that more serious punishment does not do a great job of deterring other would-be criminals.

More effective are alternative programs that address factors that lead to involvement in crime and prevent recidivism. The Youth Violence Reduction Partnership (YVRP) provides young probationers who have a history of engaging in violence with increased support from street workers to address the challenges they face, such as lack of employment, low levels of educational attainment, and idleness, while simultaneously providing increased supervision from probation to increase public safety. District Attorney Seth Williams' initiative, The Choice is Yours (TCY), also offers critical support to young offenders instead of a harsh prison sentence. Eligible individuals must enter a guilty plea and undergo 12 months of programming, including case management, education and vocational training, job training and placement, life coaching, and restorative justice and community services.

Not only do programs like YVRP and TCY make a difference for young offenders, but they benefit us all. Instead of giving up on these youths, the programs change lives and promote a safer Philadelphia.

Wendy S. McClanahan, senior vice president, research and evaluation, Public/Private Ventures, wmcclanahan@ppv.org

Keeping bees

We sympathize with Trish McArthur and others who are allergic to honey-bee stings ("In Montco, a battle of hives and hive-nots," Monday). We want to emphasize, however, that for more than 98 percent of the general population, being stung by a honeybee does not pose a serious health hazard. Furthermore, honeybees are gentle and unlikely to sting unless directly threatened. It has been our experience that it is more likely that yellow jackets, wasps, and hornets, being more aggressive than honeybees, are the cause of most insect stings.

We work to promote responsible and sustainable beekeeping in our region. We acknowledge that as beekeepers, we owe it to our neighbors to effectively communicate, educate, and be sensitive to their concerns. We encourage all of our members to register their hives with the state Department of Agriculture and to follow the state guidelines for keeping bees in densely populated areas.

Honeybees are already everywhere around us, whether there are beekeepers near your home or not. Living near honeybees is not a risk for the vast majority of people, and limiting their placement to land parcels of an acre or more will not really mitigate risk for those who are allergic to honey bees.

All of our members keep bees in and around the city. Several have apiaries at elementary and middle schools; many of us keep them in small back and front yards, and on decks and patios. Our honeybees coexist happily and safely in close proximity to our families and neighbors.

Adam Schreiber, president, Philadelphia Beekeepers Guild, info@phillybeekeepers.org

Animal cruelty

We kept bees for many years in Concord Township, and while one neighbor complained about our bees, there also was a bee tree just a few doors away that was active for many years.

My biggest issue with beekeeping is that there are so many ill-advised people who jump on the bandwagon but do not understand that along with the acquisition of bees comes a responsibility for caring for them. Too many people seem to think it is something you can do at your own convenience. That that may be the case with experienced beekeepers, but it is not the case with the amateur. Consequently, some hives don't survive.

All animals require some care, and if it is not forthcoming in the way the animal needs, it is cruelty.

June Paterson, Glen Mills, jpaterson_2000@yahoo.com

Tough decision

The decision to stay in or to leave a church that has serious flaws is a deeply personal and individual one. The writer of the letter "Like mother, like daughter?" (Tuesday) chose to leave. Monica Yant Kinney is choosing to stay, to pass on precious faith and traditions to the next generation, and to speak out courageously against blatant missteps. Both are being true to their consciences; both deserve our respect.

Marie Conn, Hatboro, mconn56@yahoo.com

Power outage

Maybe it is time to take a different angle to explaining the Phillies' "power outage." When the pitching wasn't as dominant as it is today, the team was a power-hitting juggernaut. Hits rained down on the opposition. Always dangerous, the team was hard to beat. It could come from behind to win games late, and had Brad Lidge to protect those late leads. The starting pitching wasn't so critical. Sure, Chase Utley and Ryan Howard were going great then, and doubtless the team needs them now, but it is hard to believe that the team's hitting, even without them, has gone from one of the best to one of the worst over three years.

One thing is obvious: The team needs consistent heavy hitters. Weak bench acquisitions such as Jim Thome and Laynce Nix aren't going to make a bit of difference.

David Goluboff, Philadelphia

Fight ID law

Just as I suspected, when I went to the polls on Tuesday, no one asked me for ID ("New voter-ID law gets a 'soft rollout,'" Wednesday). I have voted at the same poll since I was 18, and am now 51. Why would the ladies sitting behind the table need ID from me? They have known me all my life. I visited another poll where the judge of elections told me he would not ask for ID now or in November. He said, "People died during the civil rights movement to secure the right to vote. Who am I to take it away now?"

While it is scary to know that there are people who want to block our constitutional right to vote, it is comforting to know that they will not be helped by people such as the judge of elections I spoke to. We need people who are ready to practice civil disobedience in order to overturn this unjust law.

Jonathan Snipes, Morrisville