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Your Views: Coal no longer the answer for clean energy
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I owe an apology to the readers of this letters column. Up to about three years ago, I thought coal was just the right fuel for power plants. Coal is cheap and in good supply. If only the electric plant owners would use scrubbers to keep the soot out of our air, I thought all would be fine. Anything would be better than that nasty radioactive garbage.

Then came the awakening. Soot is not the only problem. Coal also is a major producer of carbon dioxide, now known to bring on climate change. In addition, burning coal gives off mercury, which harms our children. And now, to compound the problem, mine owners have been given permission to blow the tops off our mountains to let them gain easy access to the coal.

What do they do with the resulting debris? They dump it on those sparkling mountain streams and kill the fish. The final insult to what was a gorgeous, productive landscape.

Wonder why it took us so long to get the message? The coal companies are big and powerful, and generous with their donations to our officials, both state and federal. It's hard to resist all that generous campaign money from the industry.

The final straw was the spill of poison slag from the TVA electric plants that covered hundreds of acres in Tennessee.

Enough already! Bring on the clean renewables! It's time for wind and solar to take the spotlight, with a little encouragement from us. And maybe the bankers would see the light and stop funding the coal chiefs.

Adele Kushner
Alto

Leaders out of touch with Canadian-style health plan
As I remember, while our president and other Democrats were seeking office, they said we need a change. Boy, did we ever get a change.

Our government now has control of all of U.S. automakers except Ford, and most of the banking. Some of the banks were forced to take the stimulus money. Some of the banks tried to return the money, but the government said "no."

Now our government is trying to take over our health care. Our president said he was going with a program like Canada has. Has our president and other representatives not checked into the type of program Canada has? With Canada, if you get sick and need to see a doctor, you go on a waiting list that could be as long as 1-3 years. Even if you have a life-threatening illness there is a long wait. If you want to pay, you can see a doctor with no delay.

Our representatives said this was a great program. If this program is so great, why has not one single Democrat said they would drop the health program they now have and go with this one? They have been asked. No takers.

To me, this is saying our representatives think they are better than the rest of us common people. It sure would be nice if we got representatives that would represent all the people of the U.S.

Are the people that represent us that detached from reality or is it that they just don't care about the people they were elected to represent?

Ray Lingerfelt
Gainesville

Reports show host families needed for foreign students
A recent story reports that exchange students were placed in improper homes, which should alert the communities of the need for great hosts to step forward.

Hosting an exchange student can be a wonderful experience, and it is amazing to make a difference in the life of a young person. I have hosted 31 students and can say that my extended "family" from all over the world has enriched my family's life as no other experience could.

The need for great hosts is high. What is a great host? A family is defined by the love you have to share and an interest in our youth. You may have young children, teens, no children, children that are grown and gone, single parents and even single people. Students just want to be a member of a family, they are not coming to be entertained or guests. They want to do well at school, become involved with our youth groups, spend time with the family in chores, leisure time and fun time.

Gayle Meagher
Demorest

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