Letters to the editor

Nov. 20, 2013 @ 09:23 AM

Thanks for helping state retirees

For the first time since my retirement in 2005, state retirees had the difficult decision of choosing one of three healthcare plans offered by the state.  We had a choice of the 70/30 State plan, Humana Advantage or United Advantage Plan.  

Most of us were confused about which plan to chose, particularly, those of us who had previously been warned about advantage plans.  Although, the state provided information sessions in many counties, we were still confused.  To add to the confusion, the state assigned each retiree to one of the advantage plans.  However, we were told that we could switch plans.

Before our deadline to choose a plan, I was blessed to receive a one-page information sheet which compared all of the plans.  Having the plans compared on one sheet made it simple to choose a healthcare plan best suited for me.  I received that valuable information from Gina Upchurch, director of Senior PharmAssist. Question: I wondered why those sheets were not provided to retirees even at State information sessions?

Kudos to Upchurch for the help she provided to me, members of the AARP Durham Chapter and  all others with whom  I shared that information.  Upchurch and Senior PharmAssist are invaluable to the Durham community. 

Helen Featherson ,  President


Headline inflammatory, biased

No doubt it was because of a slip of the editorial tongue that you attached such an inflammatory and biased title to the announcement of the Kinnaird talk (“Kinnaird to speak on voter suppression laws,” Nov. 17. 

Stating that Kinnaird will speak “… on voter ANTI-suppression laws”  would be an accurate description of the new laws.  Enabling voters to be aware of the new laws and to appreciate the ways in which the laws protect each vote is also an act of anti-suppression, as I am sure The Herald-Sun is fully aware.

Furthermore, uncertainty about the legitimacy of the voting system is itself suppressive and so enlightening us on ways the new laws strengthen confidence in the security of our individual votes will be anti-suppression for voters.   Confidence in the legitimacy of the voting system is credited with the increase in minority voter turn-out in Georgia after that state wisely initiated voter identification laws which are similar to those we will now enjoy. 

Of course, we might wonder in what way the League of Women Voters will be “combating” the new voting legislation, as the article states.  Do they believe that encouraging voters to make consequential decisions well before the campaign has had the opportunity fully to air their cases will lead to a more informed voting public?  Eighteen states have no early voting provisions at all, and for us there will be a minor shortening.    It will be interesting to hear how the LWV explains their combative goals.

Laura Gutman


Curb Emissions

Industrial carbon pollution was just measured at the highest levels in human history. The costs of inaction are already apparent: more destructive and deadly extreme weather, rising global temperatures, life-threatening diseases and skyrocketing costs for disaster recovery.

I was glad to read the EPA's announcement regarding its first steps to reduce carbon pollution from new power plants under President Obama's Climate Action Plan. Until now, there have been no federal limits on the carbon pollution that fuels climate change, despite current safeguards against mercury, arsenic, soot and other dangerous pollution.

Climate change is of significant concern for North Carolina because of the potential for sea level rise, which could dramatically change our famous coastline. But North Carolina and the United States government have the ability to take meaningful action. I urge them to support the EPA's proposed rule on curbing carbon pollution from new power plants.

Kenneth Crews