Union Democrat staff

Brainless idea

To the editor:

I find it interesting that fuel nozzle hold-opens are being eliminated without the consideration of the impact it would have on the elderly and those with arthritis or other related disabilities.

I would think a proper equipment modification would be in order. How about a breakaway swivel where the hose meets the pump, and have a good old-fashioned check valve mated to the pump and another on the hose swivel?

I have a rough time holding anything for long with my arthritic hands, and my truck has two fuel tanks.

Let's do it right, and come up with a cure instead of some brainless idea like forcing people to the fuel pump nozzles open by hand.

Pat Luepke


Thanks to these angels

To the editor:

My mom, Janet Morgan, spent the last four years of her life in Tuolumne General's long term care unit, and finally passed on July 16. My sister and her son and I sat with Mom on her last day, and watched as she passed peacefully and painlessly.

The staff always felt like family, but during Mom's final hours, it really felt like home in Room 140B. It was safe and calm.

Susie, the nurse, came and went with love and hugs and reassuring guidance, and Sarah and Jacqueline, bless their hearts, attended to Mom's needs right to the end and even after, with tears in their eyes.

We all shared in Mom's passing, and I am forever grateful for the support and beautiful care.

The bottom floor of the red brick Tuolumne General Hospital building is still busy with aides and nurses tending to those with long term care needs, and my mom and I were honored to know them. I think of them as angels.

Thank you for everything. From Janet with the blue eyes, and her daughter.

Sally McClellan


Immoral, unpatriotic

To the editor:

Let's not let lazy people sit back and draw big bucks at the expense of the average taxpayer.

No, I'm not really talking about needy folks who may qualify for a little welfare or some food stamps. I'm talking about the investor class.

Did you know its top tax rate is 15 percent, while their cleaning women may pay over 30?

Some may resent the wealthy, but this writer does not envy or hate the rich. I do, however feel that making piles more money, just because you already have a pile, without lifting a finger, and not paying a hefty tax on those investment earnings, is horrible for the economy and immoral and unpatriotic.

When the country finally gets over the Reagan fantasy of trickle down economic theory and restores progressive taxation (read tax the very rich), the rich will invest in growing their businesses rather than piling up vast under-taxed wealth, and our economy will recover.

We need big regulatory government and we need to have high taxes on investment earnings. The alternative is that the working class keeps getting screwed.

Bob Wetzel


Inexplicable joys

To the editor:

Thanks to Sharon Giacomazzi for her July 19 article on the inexplicable joys of backpacking.

Although she claims not to be able to explain it, she nailed it with phrases like "to stare spellbound at flower-starred meadows and sapphire alpine lakes" and "to feel the bones of the Sierra beneath my boots." Sharon's perceptions mirror the premise of Richard Louv's book, "Last Child in the Woods," in which he cites research showing that "direct exposure to nature is essential for healthy childhood development." He adds that "nature is a potent therapy for depression, obesity, and ADD."

In some children, an experience in nature can be so intense, Louv writes, that it "burns itself into memory to animate adult life." It can be evoked by the most insignificant place, "as small as a patch of weeds at the edge of a sleeping porch," or by a sudden awareness of the enormity of the universe when gazing up at the stars on a clear, dark night.

We are so blessed to live in the foothills, close to open space, flower-flanked paths along "the ditch," shady fishing holes, camping spots in the woods (or the backyard), and mountains offering not just scenery, but solitude.

Visitors to our hills understand the need to refresh and relax, and drive many miles to be "in touch with nature." Sharon Giacomazzi knows what John Muir was talking about when she quotes, "The mountains are calling, and I must go."

See you out there!

Rich and Nancy Schwarzmann

Twain Harte