<b>Of meat and smoke</b>
EDITOR: On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the U.S. surgeon general's first report on health hazards of cigarette smoking, his office released a report linking smoking to several new chronic diseases. These include diabetes, erectile dysfunction, cancer of the colon and liver and stroke, in addition to the well-known links to lung and oral cancer, high blood pressure and heart disease.
The parallels between cigarette smoking and meat consumption are uncanny:
-#8226; The chronic diseases linked to both activities and the costs of associated medical care and lost productivity are very similar.
-#8226; The first government reports warning consumers about the health hazards of cigarette smoking and meat consumption were issued in 1964 (by the surgeon general) and in 1977 (by the Senate Select Committee on Nutrition and Human Needs) respectively.
-#8226; The first warning labels on cigarette and meat packaging were required in 1966 and 1994 respectively.
-#8226; Both activities are discouraged by health advocates, and both are declining.
But there is one important difference: The meat industry affects more state economies with stronger congressional clout than the tobacco industry. A surgeon general's report on the hazards of meat consumption is most unlikely.
Our health remains our personal responsibility.
<b>A village at work</b>
EDITOR: Thank you for the inspiring and positive story about Destiny Snell ("Teen's purpose is clear," Thursday). I understand her excitement about walking home by herself for the first time as I have a 17-year-old senior at Maria Carrillo High who suddenly lost most of his vision in eighth grade.
I want her to know how important it is to tell her story so others can see her positive attitude and perseverance. It's this attitude that will allow her to overcome the lack of sight and other issues and continue to achieve great success in life.
Sight loss is only a hindrance, but with the guidance of the incredibly compassionate people at the Sonoma County Office of Education, any task can be overcome, and independence and success will be hers.
It takes a village to raise a child, and this is a fine example. Caltrans fixed the light. Her family and friends provide support. The school district provided her aide. The teachers accommodate her. And the county education office is teaching her the skills to be independent.
TINA VAN TASSELL
<b>Fighting for KZYX</b>
EDITOR: It's not surprising yet another internal struggle at Mendocino County's community radio station, KZYX, has entered the public discussion ("Mendocino County's KZYX has FCC license challenged," Tuesday).
My first thought on reading the article: discouragement and dismay. Second thought: This wonderful public radio station is important enough to fight over. That is a good thing, even though this particular fight is ugly and the issues unclear.
Inevitably, good people will be hurt by the current outbreak of unreasonableness. It would be a huge loss if General Manager John Coate were to decide he's had enough and leave. He's been a real asset on the job, and like Job, his patience is endless.
As a former two-term board member, board president and still occasional programmer I know something about the station and the current situation. None of John Sakowicz's allegations should have been presented to the FCC. He should solve his personal issues here. There are procedures to handle it, and there are free and fair elections every year for new board members.