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<b>Outrageous noise</b>

EDITOR: I take issue with the letter from Wendy Gustafsson ("One man's quest," Monday) regarding leaf blowers in Sonoma. I find her suggestion that those whose homes are literally invaded on all sides with the outrageous noise from these dust distributors "put in earplugs, turn up (their) music or take a shower" to be insulting.

If I parked in front of her home and played loud music, revved up a Harley or ran a chainsaw every week for a half-hour, I think it wouldn't be long until I attracted her displeasure.

When I can't hear my television with all the windows shut, and as I watch the cloud of dust from my neighbor's yard settle in my yard and on my vehicles, it reminds me that the listed towns that have banned these obnoxious screaming machines are all very nice places to live and have shown an appreciation for assuring a quality of life that Sonoma could use as a good example.

DAN COLVIG

Sonoma

<b>New bike law</b>

EDITOR: I can just see it now. A 10-foot lane, a double line; bikes get three feet, and cars get seven feet. Any coastal road or winery road will have four bikes with 20 or 30 cars backed up behind them. Don't lawmakers have even an ounce of common sense?

WAYNE DIGGS

Cloverdale

<b>Combating truancy</b>

EDITOR: Tuesday's article about truancy ("Truants cost local schools $20 million") underscores the academic and financial impact of chronic absenteeism in the Redwood Empire.

A Sonoma County elementary school pilot program called Project School Attendance Mediation is innovative in its approach because it doesn't limit its support to families with students who are "truant," meaning "absent without a valid excuse, such as illness, medical or dental appointment." Recourse Mediation Services intervenes and provides local agency referrals to parents whose children may be missing 10 percent or more of instruction for any reason, including anxiety, physical complaints, lack of social engagement or family problems.

The Sonoma County Office of Education, in partnership with the California Mental Health Services Agency, is engaged in a three-year K-12 student mental health initiative designed to provide early intervention and prevention services to families struggling with health or other issues that contribute to chronic absenteeism.

Through resources provided by the county education office, these families are being offered critical support and encouragement to effect positive change. The good news is that between November 2012 and April 2013, 55 percent of the elementary children participating in the mediation project increased their rate of attendance.

KATHRYN CARLSEN

Santa Rosa

<b>On furlough</b>

EDITOR: On Tuesday morning, I received my official furlough notification. The official explanation: "due to lapse of appropriations." Unofficially: due to more obstruction by the Republican minority in the House.

The Affordable Care Act was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court. It is based on a plan with its origins in the Heritage Foundation (a very conservative think tank). It is closely matched to the health plan signed into law by former Gov. Mitt Romney in Massachusetts, where that health plan is working very well for its citizens.

With all that background, one can only assume this obstruction by the Republicans is just more of the just-say-no policy that they adopted after President Barack Obama's initial election in 2008. In doing so, the Republicans are willing to eliminate health coverage for the estimated 48 million Americans who have not had any until the Affordable Care Act became law.

So, again, this country is held hostage by a minority party that is willing to thwart any advances for the majority of its citizens so they can please lobbyists and the likes of the Koch brothers.

Rather disgusting.

JACOB W. BOUDEWIJN

Santa Rosa

<b>Don't negotiate</b>

EDITOR: The GOP has accomplished what the 9/11 terrorists failed to do — shut down our government. I urge President Barack Obama to stay strong and not negotiate with the Republican terrorists.

SUSAN SEITZ

Cazadero