Letters to the Editor

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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


Can anyone imagine anything more unnecessary than a Walgreen’s at Park Street and Lincoln Avenue?

There’s a CVS not three blocks away in addition to there already being a Walgreen’s in South Shore Center and another on Webster Street. Do people do any kind of research about which kind of business to open here, and where?

Ken Hensley


In 2013, the first-ever Police Canine Competition was a great success. The event showcased more than 50 canine teams from across the state. These teams came together to compete in narcotic detection and patrol scenarios which resulted in the largest attendance in recent history of the Western States Police Canine Association (WSPCA). More than 300 spectators and local media groups watched these special handler/canine teams in action.

Funds from the 2013 competition were used to cover competition costs; the remaining monies were donated to the memorial fund honoring the Galt Police Department canine officer who was killed in the line of duty.

None of the aforementioned successes would have been possible without the generous support and donations provided by the businesses, organizations and communities. This year, we are donating monies to the Friends of Alameda Animal Shelter (FAAS) and the Sean M. Walsh K-9 Memorial Foundation.

Alameda Police Department’s (APD) is preparing to host the 2014 Annual Police Canine Competition. This year, the event will be held on Saturday, Aug. 9, at the San Leandro Ball Park, from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.

The public is welcome, but please leave pets at home as they can distract competing teams. Food vendors, police association booths and SWAT vehicles will be present.

For more information on how you can help, visit www.gofundme.com/2014k9trial.

Alameda Police Department