Vol. 14, No. 19 – June 16 – June 29, 2021 – Mailbox

Dear Sheldon,

Does anyone like gas-powered leaf blowers? From neighborhoods and business complexes, to parks and schools, it’s impossible to escape their raucous presence. They are mega polluters which spew smog forming compounds, such as ozone and carbon monoxide into the air. What’s more, these machines can generate 115 decibels of sound, which can cause hearing loss and psychological stress.  

To improve air quality and reduce noise pollution, homeowners and landscapers should switch to battery electric blowers. They’re zero emission and about half as noisy. There are models that can last up to 45 minutes on a charge, and the batteries are interchangeable with other lawn equipment of the same brand. 

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could have cleaner air and quieter communities? We can. All it takes is ditching the gas blower and going electric.

Kristen Kessler Ventura

But the still “spew smog forming compounds.”

Crawl of our Ocean
By Jeff Russell

Winds that gust a wave goodbye,
Are watchful out to sea,
Misty waters with a sunny slide,
The crawl beneath the tide.

Swells retreat into warm horizons,
Deposit new life on Pacific shores,
They are the access of natures journey,
The sands of a gentle pull home.

Ventura returns a living tide.

Dear Editor:

As a person living with metastatic breast cancer, the June 15 COVID-19 restrictions being lifted makes me rather nervous.  From all outward appearances I look just like everyone else.  With my hair and makeup done, my prosthetics on and my scars covered I could even pass for a healthy person most days.  On the inside are where the real health issues lie.  What healthy people don’t understand are the worries I live with on a daily basis.  I worry about being immunocompromised from treatment, about not knowing who has been vaccinated and who has not, about being in close proximity to others outside of my germ family.  I worry that my lung metastasis could cause a more severe case of COVID-19.

Astra-Zeneca, the manufacturer of the anti-cancer drug I take, has a nurse helpline.  Shortly after the vaccine was authorized for emergency use I called that nurse helpline to inquire about the vaccine and any known side effects or interactions with my treatment.  Their answer, “We have zero information regarding that.”  I asked when they would have that kind of information.  Her answer again, “We have zero information regarding that.”

There are still so many unknowns with this virus, even the drug manufacturers don’t have enough data.  I plan to continue to wear my mask inside and in situations where social distancing isn’t possible until I feel comfortable going without.  I’m thinking I should start a movement for the immunocompromised to wear a special ribbon or something on their mask that lets others know we are wearing masks to express we have a condition which may not be visible on the outside and to respect our personal space.

The research is now showing that the vaccinated immunocompromised may not be as protected from the virus and may not develop antibodies.  So if you see me out in my mask with a ribbon tied to it, it will be your social cue to give me some space.  For now my mask will continue to be my security blanket and hopefully a reminder to others, especially to those who are healthy, that not all disabilities are visible.  As Germany Kent says, “Be kind.  We never know what people are going through.  Give grace and mercy because one day your circumstance could change and you may need it.”

Be well,
Marissa Holzer

We shall never know all the good that a simple smile can do.
~ Mother Teresa

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