Letters to the Editor

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I’m writing to let locals know about the drive to rebuild and reactivate American Legion Post 9. Looking for current and former members to return or rejoin, also looking for new members.

The American Legion is inviting veterans who have served during times of war or conflict to join Post 9.

Meetings take place at 7 p.m. on the first Tuesday of each month at the Veterans Building on the corner of Central Avenue and Walnut Street.

American Legion membership is limited to honorably discharged veterans and current personnel of the U.S. Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force or Coast Guard who have served at least one day of active duty during times of conflict, including Iraq and Afghanistan.

For further information, call 542-0662, or email jgc337@yahoo.com.

Larry Fukuba

Editor:

About 4:30 p.m., on Monday, July 21, I witnessed a traffic accident that involved a bicyclist and a van traveling southbound on Constitution Way.

I bike close to 10,000 miles every year and want that bicyclist to know that she is extremely lucky to be alive. She and other bicycle riders must wear helmets every time they get on their bicycles.

The physics of riding a bicycle are such that, if you fall and hit your head before any other part of your body, you will either die or be permanently brain damaged. The only thing that saved this young lady was that she didn’t hit her head first.

She and other bicycle riders should consider getting rear-view mirrors for their eye-wear or helmets. This should eliminate surprises from behind and allow riders to gauge whether the car, van or truck behind them see their signaled intention to turn right or left.

There is no way to control the poor behaviors of everyone else on the road, but bicycle riders can make themselves much safer, and happier, by practicing better habits.

Peter Lenhardt

Editor:

Smoke gets in my eyes, lungs and throat. It fills my house and there is no escape. I have lived in my lovely home for more than 20 years, longer, I am pretty sure, than the various neighbors whose houses back up to mine on my street — directly behind, to the right and left — long enough to know the problem of grilling fumes, and now wood smoke, are getting worse and worse by the year.

I cannot escape, even with the windows closed on a cool evening following a hot day, when I so long to let in the breezes that will bring my family a healthy and restful night’s sleep. I am trapped. The smell of charring meat fills every corner of my house, upstairs and down.

And, perhaps even more concerning, on many late nights — starting as late as midnight and lingering into the early morning hours, we found our house smothered in wood smoke. I awake choking and my eyes burning. I did not realize how toxic wood smoke exposure is, but it is as toxic as second hand cigarette smoke, and the particles are so small, so invasive, they will pass through the walls of our house, and we have absolutely no way to stop it.

Please feel free to refer to the website of the Bay Area Air Quality Management District about the dangers of wood smoke.

We cannot change the direction the blessedly cool breezes of Alameda blow. They blow the grilling smoke and wood smoke directly from our neighbors’ back yards on Moreland Street, into our house. I sometimes wonder if these homeowners situated their grills, and whatever is generating the wood smoke — fire pits, fireplaces, meat smokers — in front of their own homes, so they themselves experienced the flood of fumes and choking smoke in their own living rooms and bedrooms, whether they might have more awareness and compassion, take more responsibility for not only the discomfort but the health hazards they are creating.

We all live too close together, so we all must be conscious of the fact, nothing we do in our own backyards, stays in our own backyards, it affects our neighbors, and sometimes harms their health.

My options are few; I cannot even count on being able to open my windows late at night to cool my house as much as possible before the next warm day. I cannot change the direction of the wind. I should not have to purchase an air conditioner in Alameda, and that would not protect my family from the dangers of wood smoke exposure.

I can, I have been told, call the Alameda Fire Department — in the case of wood smoke — and they will track down the source of the smoke. I can file a complaint with the Bay Area Air Quality Management District. And it does not have to be a spare-the-air day for a valid complaint to be filed. And fines can eventually be levied. I do not want to have to do these things.

I simply want to be able to breathe clean healthy air in my home.

Noelle Robbins

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