Coverage of Speed Eater

Is Slap to Truly Hungry

I have to express disgust at the prominence given to a so-called "champion eating" tournament ["Making Room for Whatever it Takes," the Fairfax Extra, Nov. 24].

Why would The Post choose to feature such events at all, much less celebrate them as newsworthy? The concept of competitive eating is a slap in the face to everyone in this community who experiences real hunger. This is perfectly good food that could be used to meet the genuine nutritional needs of so many people, yet it is gobbled down by those who do not need it, who do not even taste or enjoy it, in the service of sport and publicity. Doesn't anyone on your staff see this as decadent, even obscene?

I was raised with dire warnings about hungry children in China. Yet we need not look nearly so far. Fairfax County, for all its wealth, has pockets of poverty that we do not see unless we look closely, and then they are all around us. I wonder how many people would have appreciated the food shown in the pictures. And for how many would that have been the only hot meal they or their children saw all day?

Yes, there are groups that provide for the hungry, but the need is always great. These contests insult that need. Food can satisfy hunger. It can taste good. It can be offered as a celebration to be shared with family, friends and, yes, strangers. It is too important to be played with or used for sport.

We can't outlaw these contests, but you don't have to promote them. Please do not glorify these revolting events by giving them publicity.

Alice McKenna


Speed Eating Competitions

Waste Food and Money

I find these pictures and the three-page article most appalling, careless, thoughtless, callous and just plain disgusting. In these days of hunger all over the world, the money spent on this affair is frightening. Where are we heading?

Barbara L. Donnell


Tri-County Parkway

To Take the Right Route

It was heartening to recently read of the selection of a route for the Tri-County Parkway that will preserve parkland and provide a more westerly location for the 10.4-mile roadway between Manassas and the Dulles corridor ["Tri-County Parkway Route Is Approved," Metro, Nov. 18].

We believe that members of Virginia's Commonwealth Transportation Board heard our pleas and responded appropriately. Similarly, we commend the Army Corps of Engineers, which contributed to this decision-making process.

You may recall that earlier this summer, the Fairfax County Park Authority board and the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority board joined together to express our grave concerns over the possible routing of this roadway through hallowed grounds containing cultural and historic artifacts, as well as the potential for significant damage to wetlands and wildlife. At risk were stands of Virginia's native bluebells, which define the natural beauty of this region, as well as the health of our drinking water and streams.

So it is with great joy that we welcome this recent announcement. This was the right decision for all the right reasons. This alignment protects the environment. We understand the desire for this north-south road vitally needed to improve traffic in Prince William and Loudoun counties. We understand the need as it relates to support of the Dulles business corridor in Fairfax County. But we also understand our role as stewards of the land, and it is within that purview that we find comfort in these decisions.

Please be vigilant as the studies and discussion on this roadway continue. We must protect these gains and stand ready to continue to press for planning decisions that make sense. We thank all those who have joined us in this rally for preservation and ask again for your continued support.

Harold Strickland


Fairfax County Park

Authority board