IN THE MAIL
Kathy Lieberg Professional should rethink Svedjan support GRAND FORKS In her April 28 "Nurse's Notes" column, Candice Covington, the dean of the college of nursing at UND, rightly reminds us of the dangers of smoking as well as the insidiousness ...
rethink Svedjan support
GRAND FORKS In her April 28 "Nurse's Notes" column, Candice Covington, the dean of the college of nursing at UND, rightly reminds us of the dangers of smoking as well as the insidiousness of campaigns by tobacco companies that target youth ("Tobacco wars on the home front," Page 5E).
She also implies that many of our politicians have vested interests in looking the other way: ". . . critics complain that despite health warning labels, government may not be compelled to stop Americans from smoking, as it is in the back pocket of the industry."
But when considered in the context of two letters to the Herald, the above results in a rather sad irony. The first letter is Covington's ("Svedjan's help proves invaluable on nursing issues," Oct. 20, 2006). In the letter, Covington wholeheartedly endorses the reelection bid of state Rep. Ken Svedjan, R-Grand Forks.
The second is an April 15 letter by C.T. Marhula that documents Svedjan's "no" votes since 2001 on bills that restrict smoking in public and work places, including a bill last session that would have banned smoking on state capitol grounds ("Svedjan's votes don't reflect health-care employment," Page 3D).
The letter points out that on all five of the bills, Svedjan voted against restricting smoking, against protection from secondhand smoke and for the interests of the tobacco industry.
Without any other facts at hand, it's not for me to accuse anyone of being in anyone else's pocket. It would, however, be interesting to hear Svedjan defend his votes publicly. Whatever the representative's reasons, I trust that Covington, who has not lived very long in this state and probably did not know of Svedjan's voting record on this issue, is having second thoughts about her endorsement. Tune in next election.
How to save big on
gas: Take your time
GRAND FORKS Gasoline prices obviously aren't high enough, given that people still aren't doing the one thing that can immediately reduce their bill by 20 percent or more: S-L-O-W down.
We drove to Rochester, Minn., recently and traveled at 65 mph rather than the 80 others around us were driving. Over the 800 miles, we averaged 37 mpg with our 2005 Honda Accord. From prior experience, I know that if we had traveled 80 mph, we would have gotten only 30 mpg.
Yes, it took us longer, but we ended up sitting outside of our daughter's home waiting for her to get home from work anyway. (Between Grand Forks and Fargo, the extra travel time at 65 mph versus 80 mph would be only 12 minutes. The self-discipline of starting out earlier easily would make up the difference.)
In the gas crunch in the 1970s, our politicians had the courage to reduce the interstate speeds to 55 mph, with immediate savings of several million gallons of gas per day. Such is not the case this time around. It isn't that modern cars and trucks now defy the laws of physics and are as economical at 80 as at 55, but rather that average American drivers are in a panic to get to their destinations.
Politicians no doubt realize the average driver would ignore that new speed limit even more than they do the present ones.
As an ex-physics teacher, I am always amazed that drivers will acknowledge that they get poorer gas mileage when bucking a headwind, but they don't understand that they are creating one as they drive and the faster they drive, the stronger it is.
Obviously, we science teachers didn't do a very good job teaching the fluid dynamics of air resistance.
thank lawful drivers
GRAND FORKS On May 3, the Altru Hospital Neonatal Transport Team was called to a referral hospital to respond to a premature infant's needs. En route to our destination, we used lights and sirens in town and lights on the highway.
We were so impressed with the great responses of the vehicles we met, both in town and on the highway, in that they pulled to the right and stopped. This allowed us to expedite our trip and do so safely.
One of these days, you may be the one needing an ambulance, fire truck or police cruiser. The rapid response of these emergency personnel can be the difference between life and death.
Thanks for helping us to do our job quickly and safely.
Val McDonald, Betty Gust,
and Carma Hanson
The writers are members of Altru Health System's Neonatal Transport Team.