Letters to the editor
SUV drivers need to be part of solution
To the Editor:
Wow! Have you noticed the number of huge SUV’s and pick up trucks in the Truckee Tahoe area? I read a report recently from the director of the Department of Mechanical Engineering, co-authored by the Center for Environmental Energy Engineering from the University of Maryland. I feel that their findings should be addressed by American consumers.
In the 1970’s, the United States imported 21 percent of our oil. Today, we import over 50 percent and 23 percent comes from the Persian Gulf region.
Our growing hunger for oil has been fueled by the steep increase in the light truck and SUV market in the last 20 years, which now makes up more than half of all new vehicles sold. Obviously, these big, heavy vehicles do not get the fuel economy that a lighter vehicle does.
Now, for some people, their truck is a necessary tool for their occupation, particularly for those involved in the building trades. But for the vast majority of light truck and SUV owners, their vehicle is a luxury primarily used for purposes well suited for a lighter, more economical vehicle.
The aforementioned report states that if every vehicle on the road were two miles per gallon more efficient, the amount of oil saved would be the equivalent of that imported from Iraq. An improvement of five miles per gallon is equivalent to our Saudi oil imports. An increase of nine miles per gallon would equal imports from the entire Persian Gulf.
U.S. manufacturers already produce vehicles that have very high fuel economy, but in some cases they are not even released onto the domestic market where gasoline is still relatively inexpensive and fuel economy is not a consumer priority.
When I have asked some people why they put such high mileage on their truck or SUV for purposes such as commuting to work, I get responses such as, “I like driving a truck that will cruise at 75 mph uphill,” or, “I like luxury,” or “it’s a tank, I feel protected in here,” or, “I need something that will pull my trailer,” or, “I can seat five adults comfortably in here.”
Well, these are honest answers. But although there may be an American flag in the window, I feel that this attitude is rather unpatriotic and disrespectful. If you want to do something for your country, I say keep the flag, get rid of your ‘tank’ (or at least drive something else for 99 percent of the time), and perhaps we can keep our troops out of the Persian Gulf.
If you are not part of the solution, you are a part of the problem.
Garbage all around
To the Editor,
With the spring thaw and Earth Day approaching, I would like to bring to light a subject that affects our entire community. Litter, actually garbage!! you see it all over town. One area that is the most appalling is Donner Lake, especially around the public docks and along Donner Pass road. I would like to personally organize a clean up day, followed by a more permanent solution, garbage cans at the public docks. Who would install them? Who would maintain them? These are questions I would like to get some response on. Should it be the Parks and Rec or the Town of Truckee?? Someone needs to take the responsibility, as a community, we all do. Donner Lake is one of the greatest gems of our area to be enjoyed by our families, friends and visitors alike. Anyone who would like to help with a cleanup, please contact me so a date and time can be set.
perspective on teen voice
To the editor:
On April 4, 2002 10 Truckee/North Tahoe teens were invited to share their viewpoints with the Children’s Collaborative of Tahoe Truckee. Those in the audience heard honest and articulate dialogue from these 10 teenagers around issues that are important to them. This panel was mentioned in last week’s Sierra Sun article, “Truckee Teens Speak.”
We were present at the meeting as audience members and as youth advocates (we work with teens in the region on a variety of projects). We would like to share some of what we heard that day.
First, we would really like to acknowledge the teens and the adults for taking the time to listen to one another. Having teens as part of public discourse only makes our community stronger. While we did hear issues of substance abuse come up, we also heard many ideas from the teens about the positive things that they are doing and can do. For example, two teens spoke highly of the Service Learning Program D a program that links school curriculum to community and school service projects D where students are encouraged to engage in civic action.
Teens have also been involved in organizing a campus unity project at area high schools, called Challenge Day, a day-long event shows students how to be more compassionate and tolerant towards one another and breaks down the stereotypes that often keep them separate.
Also mentioned were the positive roles parents, friends, teachers, coaches and youth group counselors play in their lives.
The teens also talked about what they need from the community to be successful and safe: More places to hang out, such as a bowling alley; a place where they can dance and listen to music that is drug and alcohol free; more recreational/sporting opportunities (to name a few). The teens said that sex and substance abuse education programs come at the wrong times and are inconsistent – sex education is too late and substance-abuse education is too early.
While we know the issues teens face aren’t going to be resolved overnight, listening to our teens is the first step. It is our commitment to empower the youth of this community and support them in gaining the skills that will lead to their ultimate success.
Here’s something to think about: Who was there for you when you were a teen? Are you committed to being there for our teens now?
Please keep an eye out in the newspaper for upcoming youth-adult interaction opportunities.
Thank you for your support,
Stacie Creps and Abby Hutchison
p.s. (For information on how to get involved, call us at 587-1509 or 550-9506)
Thanks for operating outside the box
To the Editor,
Los Medicos Boladores (The Flying Doctors) is a self-funded volunteer organization that provides healthcare services in remote areas of Mexico. We fly private plane teams of doctors, dentists, optometrists, interpreters and volunteers every month from various Northern California and Nevada cities.
Last October I flew a team onto a remote island off the Baja Pacific coast. Dr. Frank Long was asked to assist in the diagnosis of a village fisherman who had a runaway problem with his thyroid. The only doctor on this tiny island was a recently graduated medical doctor who was partly paying back the cost of his medical education by serving this remote area for a year. This type of doctor is called a posante. This young lad (age 24) was particularly challenged by the fisherman’s condition due to a mix up in pills that were to have preceded an upcoming thyroid operation to be performed in Ensenada. Frank was able to help the diagnosis and a follow-on prescription but only after a blood work up could support his findings.
We first investigated flying the blood sample to Ensenada, however when we radioed our request we were informed about bad weather and impending darkness. The team would be returning to the United States the following day, so we decided to take the blood sample to Truckee for testing.
The next morning my wife and I went to Tahoe Forest Hospital to explore the possibility of testing here in Truckee. “Hi, I have this blood I brought in from Mexico last night and I was wondering if you could test it?” Questions like social security number, patient medical history, patient’s physician, residence address, etc., etc., stopped us in our tracks. Then a lady appeared from behind a partition who explained that our request was contrary to policy but if we were able to get a local doctor to provide an order, we might have a chance. We contacted a local pilot/physician and his office provided the necessary order. The next obstacle was that now the sample was too old to provide a complete analysis.
The doctor stepped in and all we needed was a certain parameter so the test went forward. The results came in and they were faxed to the island. It took a couple of people to step outside of our stateside thinking and for that we thank you.
Last, but not least we had the matter of the bill for the lab work. The hospital staff was so helpful, my wife and I did not have the courage to ask that the bill be waived. In stepped the Rotary Club of Truckee, a.k.a. Noon Rotary. We have had the fortunate experience of guest speaking the LMV subject to their luncheon meetings which has resulted in three new members and now a check to cover the blood work bill. Thank you Truckee noon Rotary.
Bob and Mo Horvath
Los Medicos Voladores, High Sierra Chapter