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The week of November 4

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Please, don’t let pandemic rob us of respect for others

Sir: I was dismayed at Marg Johnson’s piece in your Oct. 7 edition titled “Self-centred vaccine whiners missing the Big Picture.”

When has it ever been OK to resort to bullying, name-calling and blanket stereotyping to get your point across? Ms. Johnson’s piece is a glaring example of how COVID has somehow made it OK to have no respect for another’s opinion.

I have friends who are vaccinated and unvaccinated. Some of my vaccinated friends did it for the greater good, because a family member asked them to, for work or travel, or to protect themselves.

My unvaccinated friends also have a wide variety of reasons for their decision: some feel it’s unnecessary, some want to see a longer test period for the mRNA technology, and some follow those scientists, doctors and nurses who feel the risks outweigh the rewards. Some had a bad reaction to the first shot, a family history of blood clot-related illness, or a family member with an adverse past vaccine reaction.

Except for one true anti-vaxxer, all of them are up to date on their other vaccines.

I can assure you none of them are trying to hurt their fellow man.

As long as we all remain respectful, it truly doesn’t matter to me what decision they make. It’s their body, and that is very personal.

Those of us who are vaccinated should feel safe knowing we are protected, and those of us who aren’t must feel comfortable knowing that – like anything in life – there are potential consequences to our decisions.

This risk assessment applies to everyday life: not exercising, smoking, speeding, and eating fast food all contribute to ill health, potential loss of life, risk to others, and a taxation on our health care system. Looking at the statistics, what makes this any different?

So much has been taken away from us. Please don’t let it take our kindness and respect for each other on top of everything else. We can – and should strive to – live together in harmony, despite the division we’ve seen over the past year and a half thanks to COVID.

Lynae Morningstar


Widespread student testing could keep classrooms open

Sir: Regarding the Oct. 14 story, ‘Teachers warned not to give students advice on vaccines.”

Local Catholic school board director Scott Johnson cites a policy requiring teachers who choose not to be vaccinated to undergo rapid testing and verify negative COVID-19 results at least twice a week.
This is a sensible policy decision. So why can it not be used selectively to screen our children?

My two grandchildren attend Gregory A. Hogan School, which recently experienced it its second brush with COVID-19.

I realize that rapid testing is not 100% accurate, but if it’s sufficiently accurate to test teachers, why can it not be used to test students?

Testing would avoid the blanket policy of keeping whole classes in quarantine when one student is infected.
Why can’t a ready supply of rapid test kits be supplied to the families of students in the affected class, to be administered by the parents two to three times weekly? Such a policy has been has been widely used in schools in the U.K.

Though other measures are in place, we can do no more until a vaccine in available for children under 12.

I would like to understand, with a logical explanation, why this isn’t happening.

I would also like to welcome back Dr. Sudit Ranade, Lambton’s medical officer of health. Ottawa’s loss is our gain. Perhaps he can supply some answers.

Maureen Bennett


Indoor sports complex needed, but at what cost?

Sir: It is interesting to note that city council is looking into the potential of building of an indoor sports complex.

A few years ago, when council was mulling over what to do with the closure of Germain Arena, a sports interest group from the Toronto area came to Sarnia with plans for an indoor sports facility.

They were seeking commitment from local sports groups. They had a site picked out. However, council had yet to arrive at a final decision on the old arena.

I agree that a sports complex is long overdue in Sarnia, but at what cost to the taxpayer?

I wonder about that as I dodge the sunken manhole covers on the streets.

Phil Nelson


Don’t punish all drivers for a handful of attention-seekers

Sir: To the outspoken few that would impose a 40-km/hour speed limit in Sarnia, please think about it before you speak.

Speaking with emotion, and not reason, will punish all local drivers.

And the speeders, well, they will continue to speed. They know the difference between right and wrong, and they don’t care.

Some say the police aren’t doing enough. But it’s difficult and time consuming to stake out and catch speeders, and they don’t have the time or resources to do more than they do now.

What people are really complaining about are the individuals who have had their vehicle noise abatement systems altered.

Why? To produce the most noise possible and attract the most attention possible (low self-esteem).

Manufacturers have rules they must comply with when they manufacture vehicles. Is it not a crime to alter these systems?

The Ministry of Transportation has numerous studies attesting to the seriousness of damage caused by noise.

We live in a large subdivision (663 homes) and many of these vehicles pass our house, twice, every day. There are at least 20 souped-up cars, an equal number of trucks, and at least seventeen motorcycles. Only one has not been altered to produce noise.

And they all speed.

At least one car has a trunk full of amplifiers complete with microphones and speakers. He sucks in the noise, amplifies it, and blows it out, at whatever level he wants. Seriously.

Downshifting, gearing up, revving, tire-squealing, deliberately getting their ride to back fire. This is what get’s people’s attention. This is the speeder they want.

I have a suggestion. Contact the police and let them know the true hot spots. Then noise and speed- activated cameras can catch them in the act. It works on Highway 402, why not in Sarnia?

Did you ever ask yourself why motorcycle riders aren’t deaf?

I asked one. He took his helmet off and said, “What?” as he took out his earplugs. Cheers.

Paul Spiers


Not everyone thinks skunks are adorable

Sir: Regarding Bob Boulton’s Oct. 21st guest column, “Showing skunks a little love just makes so much scents.”

Actually, skunks can carry parasites and disease, including rabies, which they can spread to domestic pets.

Many homeowners spend a lot of time working on their lawn to make it look fantastic, only to wake up one morning and find it dug up and heavily damaged by skunks hunting for grubs underground.

Unlike most wildlife that passes through, skunks can destroy a gorgeous lawn overnight, and it will take the homeowner time and mega-bucks to get it back in shape.

Burrowing skunks also damage gardens, and they spray pets and people in the yard at night. It can be very difficult getting everything cleaned up after that.

Duane Skuce


Carpenter deserves recognition for work on Canatara cabin

Sir: What happens when you have several huge piles of rough-hewn lumber, some faulty architectural drawings and some suspect engineering diagrams? You get an expert to figure it all out.

The Seaway Kiwanis Club has been responsible for many fine projects that have enhanced Canatara Park, especially in the area of the Animal Farm. The latest is the new log cabin.

As a volunteer who had his boots on the ground at the construction site, I want to ensure the community knows who took charge of the building and has supervised every facet of its construction. That person is Dan Abraham.

A number of people, especially those in Carpenter’s Local 1256 and past carpentry students at Lambton College, will recognize Dan’s name. He retired June 30 after teaching the college’s carpentry course the past 13 years.

He took on the challenge of taking piles of lumber and fashioning it into the structure now nearing completion.

Dan Abraham’s professionalism, expert knowledge and hands-on work ethic made this abstract puzzle a reality. He is to be congratulated. It’s the house that Dan built.

Brian MacDonald


Don’t spend more on under-utilized Sarnia Transit system

Sir: When I see large, hulking Sarnia Transit busses on the streets I am always struck by the fact they are either empty or have one or two passengers.

Regardless of the current dip in ridership from Lambton College, city busses have always seemed to run far under capacity.

Large busses are more suitable to large cities that actually do operate mass transit. Replacement by small “handi-bus” sized vehicles; adjusting allocation to seasonal demand at Lambton College; or even perhaps “bus-on-demand” as some cities have implemented, are alternatives worth considering.

Surely, we do not need to expand the tax base to support such an underutilized service.

Bob MacIntyre


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