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Look north for water

EDITOR: We can’t conserve water if there’s nothing to conserve. Even the early Etruscans knew enough to find reliable water sources and transport it to where it was needed. Since we’ve been counting tree rings in California, we know this area suffers from periodic droughts, some of which lasted 30 years or longer. You’d think we would have made plans for such a contingency.

Back in 1977, there were serious discussions about where to go for water, and that was north. Since we share this drought with other states, obtaining water should be a shared responsibility. Alaska and Canada between them may have a quarter of the continent’s fresh water. Canada’s Great Slave Lake alone could probably recharge the entire Colorado River aquifer.

There are river systems that could be utilized to carry water for much of the distance, supported, of course, by pipelines, pump stations and canals. Such a project would be monumental in scope, but considering the resources we could bring, it would be perfectly feasible.

We have no idea how long the present drought may continue, but in the face of climate change can we afford to wait? Perhaps it’s time to pull together all interested parties and see if we can get a secure source of water for the American West.

CONNEL MURRAY

Kelseyville

Reading to kids

EDITOR: It was exciting to read that digital technology is successfully overcoming the “word gap” in Napa Valley schools (“Digital learning for preschoolers,” Sunday). Low-income children enter kindergarten exposed to 30,000 fewer words than children from high-income families. Using a computer program called Footsteps2Brilliance, Napa schools are expanding word exposure for nursery school children. Hopefully, all Napa parents have access to this technology.

In June, the American Academy of Pediatrics issued a policy statement prescribing reading aloud to infants and young children. Yes, good old-fashioned reading aloud. Here in Fort Bragg, census data tells us that we have 535 children 5 or younger. Fort Bragg Rotary President Craig Woods set a goal of reaching all 535 children. He called his project “Read Aloud Lights Up Lives.”

Exploring how to promote reading aloud, Fort Bragg Rotary Club members found a website called readaloud.org that urges parents to read aloud to their children for 15 minutes every day.

Let’s all utilize the wonders of technology, but please read aloud for 15 minutes every day to every young child. You give a gift of words, bonding, brain development and curiosity.

RUTH SPARKS

Fort Bragg

Zane abuses position

EDITOR: If there was going to be condemnation from the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors regarding Deputy Erick Gelhaus returning to patrol duty without the board being notified, this should have been addressed by the entire board. I feel that Shirlee Zane was completely out of line in co-authoring the Close to Home column in Friday’s paper (“Return of deputy was ‘slap in face’ ”).

The phrase Zane used in Friday’s news article — “Leadership is not about making decisions in isolation: it’s about listening to the wise council of others” — was ludicrous (“Zane blasts sheriff over deputy decision”). Just who comprises the wise council? Certainly not the Board of Supervisors or the Santa Rosa City Council, whose members can’t seem to agree on anything.

This in no way reflects my feelings on the Andy Lopez case. It does reflect my opinion of the current Board of Supervisors and the Santa Rosa City Council. The right foot doesn’t know what the left is doing.

I would hope the voting public would give more thought to their selections when positions on the board and council come up for election.

PAT NEES

Santa Rosa

Community health centers

EDITOR: An article in the Aug. 15 edition focused on the lack of primary care physicians in Sonoma County and concludes that health care delivery and those who depend on it will suffer as a result (“Primary care doctors in short supply”).

Although there is an acknowledged, lack of primary physicians overall, Sonoma County is particularly advantaged by its number of community health centers — including the two largest, the Petaluma Health Center and Santa Rosa Health Centers — and the high quality of care they provide.

In fact, community health centers serve more than 20 percent of Sonoma County’s population and utilize numerous health care providers including physicians, physician assistants and nurse practitioners who provide top quality medical, dental and mental health care in addition to delivering necessary specialist care through their extensive network of partnerships.

Community health centers are nonprofit providers, efficiently run and focused on disease prevention — a much more cost-effective model of care. By combining care providers who self-select to serve a diverse population, putting patient care and prevention first, cooperative partnerships with other care providers, supporters and grantors, community health centers are at the forefront of efficient, patient-centered care and represent the best kind of health reform in action.

HOLLY BUTLER

Petaluma

Gelhaus reinstated

EDITOR: I have no respect for the district attorney who conveniently and precipitously absolved Deputy Erick Gelhaus of culpability in the death of Andy Lopez after her election to office. Now there is an added insult to injury. Gelhaus has been reinstated and is on patrol. Officers of the law put their lives on the line and are paid well for it. But if an officer is so paranoid about losing his life that he would shoot a kid with a toy gun seven times, then I don’t want him protecting me, nor do I want to pay his salary.

D.M. McCURDY

Santa Rosa