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Airplane noise

EDITOR: Aaron Rosen's thoughtful letter ("Airport expansion," Thursday) regarding the possible noise impact of expanding Charles M. Schulz-Sonoma County Airport missed a couple of points.

As a commercial pilot for more than 40 years, I've watched air transportation trends at smaller-market airports, and I am very interested in this one since I've been a resident here for 23 years. If Sonoma County is able to get service directly to larger hubs such as Denver or Salt Lake City, it will be on regional jets, the 50-80-seat planes used by the major airlines' commuter partners, such as American Eagle and United Express. These aircraft have no greater a noise footprint than the business jets that already use Sonoma County's airport several times each day. We won't be seeing "large jets," such as Boeing 737s or Airbus 320s, coming into our airport, even with the runway expansion. The market just doesn't call for that.

Lastly, we had service to two of our local major airports (United Express to San Francisco and American Eagle to San Jose) before post-9/11 cutbacks by the airlines. New lower-cost service from Oakland after that trumped the market for bringing those flights back.

DWIGHT DALEY

Santa Rosa

A library's value

EDITOR: I agree with Jonathan Greenberg regarding library hours ("Shame on supes for not restoring library hours," Close to Home, Thursday). However, I believe that the Board of Supervisors is not lacking in political will or leadership. What they lack is a self-awareness regarding their own values.

Clearly, they do not seem to value the needs of families, seniors and children. If the supervisors were more aware and perhaps capable of more self-examination, they would have a greater respect for the values and needs of the wider community.

GERRIE BEARG

Santa Rosa

Noisy balloons

EDITOR: Friday's feature on hot-air balloons ("Fun is in the air") didn't cover the annoyance level of those who live in the path of these balloons. They are as loud as the commercial airliners that pass overhead, but the balloons take much longer, waking us up, causing our dogs to bark and other animals to be agitated, increasing our blood pressure, heart rate and breathing, etc.

Your printing, "From the ground, you see the brightly colored spheres rising quietly into the sky in the distance," demonstrates just how ignorant people are of the issues in areas such as west Santa Rosa. Quietly? These balloons are not quiet, and for many of us they are not "in the distance."

We regularly see balloons caught in down-drafts, descending upon us, while pilots frantically run their burners right above us. A hot-air balloon burner generates a level of noise between that of a freight train (88 decibels) and a circular saw (107 decibels).

We love Sonoma County, but we are disappointed in your ongoing failure to represent the issues facing west Santa Rosa.

SCOTT WILSON

Santa Rosa

The benefits of trees

EDITOR: The city of Santa Rosa has decided to save money by not irrigating lawns, apparently unaware that trees planted in lawns rely on this regular irrigation. As an example, a redwood in front of City Hall is mostly brown, and it is likely too late to save this tree. It's unfortunate that shortsighted decisions will deprive our community of the benefits trees provide.

The benefits of trees go well beyond the aesthetic beauty they provide. They include increased job satisfaction, faster recovery time for patients and improved child development. This translates into a happier society.

Trees provide oxygen for all life and reduce air pollution by trapping toxins in their leaves. Trees intercept large amounts of rain, reducing the amount of runoff. Trees absorb carbon, reducing greenhouse gases. When trees shade roads and buildings, they help reduce energy consumption.

Planting and maintaining trees is an expensive effort where the maximum benefits are not seen for years. As trees increase in size their benefits grow exponentially. It's imperative to maintain the health of our trees to protect our investment. A more rational way of saving money needs to be found.

GARY BALCERAK

Santa Rosa

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