Tuesday, July 29, 2014     Volume: 15, Issue: 20

Weekly Poll
Are you in favor of the county building a solar facility in Cuyama?

Yes; we need more clean energy!
Maybe; I hear those things take a lot of water, like the one in SLO.
No; it's a big money sinkhole.
I don't have an opinion.

Vote! | Poll Results

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Santa Maria Sun / Letters to the Editor

Keep fracking out of the county and state

Richard D. Hall - Santa Maria -

Andy Caldwell and other proponents of fracking ignore vital questions about the hazards of this new technology that extracts crude oil and natural gas.

New York State has imposed a moratorium on fracking, pending a state Health Department study of its potential health effects. More recently, New York’s highest court has ruled communities may ban fracking through zoning ordinances if the state ban should be lifted.

Besides health questions, is a surge of earthquakes in Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas only coincident with the start of fracking operations? Oklahoma has experienced 145 quakes greater than 3.0 between January and May, compared with a long-term average of two a year.

Measure P on the November ballot would prohibit fracking in Santa Barbara County. Voter approval could be a bellwether for other counties.

Answers to the many questions about fracking should be determined before the controversial extraction work begins. That would be the intelligent approach to take.

We need to tackle Alzheimer's

Donna Beal, MPH, MCHES - Santa Maria -

Public health—the practice of preventing disease and promoting health—effectively targets environmental factors and health behaviors that contribute to chronic conditions. As a public health professional, I know that with even a small reduction in the prevalence of chronic disease, the combined health and productivity cost savings of prevention lead to a positive return on investment within a short time.

Alzheimer’s is the public health crisis of our time. It is the sixth leading cause of death and the only one that doesn’t have a cure or adequate treatment. It is the most expensive disease in America, and it’s set to increase like no other.

Nearly one in every $5 in Medicare spending is spent on people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias. Smart investments by our federal government have been shown to have a profound impact on the health of our nation. Our government has made significant commitments to combat disease such as heart disease, HIV/AIDS, and breast cancer—and deaths from these disease have declined.

Additionally, adequate funding for CDC, HRSA ,and the Prevention and Public Health Fund is needed to support a strong public health system, respond to everyday health threats and unexpected public health emergencies, and ensure that all individuals have access to the health care and preventive services they need. Without adequate funding to address the many public health challenges we face, the net effect will be more death and disability and higher long-term economic and social costs.

These two issues may seems at odds with each other, but the reality is that Alzheimer’s will be the biggest issue that our public health professionals face in the coming years, and the federal government must address the challenges the disease poses and take a bold action to confront this epidemic now.