Letters to the Editor, April 17

Apr. 16, 2014 @ 01:57 PM

Reduce scourge of noise

April 22 is Earth Day -- a day to reflect on the wonders of nature and the need to protect the earth. Since the founding of Earth Day in 1970, the United States has greatly reduced air and water pollution. However, during this same period, noise pollution -- another major threat to environmental well-being -- has increased significantly.
Americans are constantly pounded by excessive noise from loud car stereos, blasting motorcycles, leaf blowers, airplanes, Muzak, barking dogs, car alarms, sports stadiums, nightclubs, car honking and train horns. Our nation is getting louder all the time -- with major consequences for public health.  Excessive noise is related to hearing loss, sleep deprivation, aggravated behavior, chronic fatigue, tinnitus and heart problems. The EPA estimates that more than 130 million Americans live in areas with excessive noise levels.
Excessive noise is a violation of a person’s right to the peaceful enjoyment of his or her own home. It is time for the nation to take action to reduce the scourge of noise. Local governments should pass strong anti-noise ordinances, which the police should strictly enforce. Congress should re-establish the federal noise pollution control office.

I encourage all peace-loving individuals to join Noise Free America (www.noisefree.org), a national non-profit organization devoted to noise reduction. Working together, we can create a quieter, more peaceful world.
Ted Rueter
Chapel Hill

Pilot anti-poverty efforts important

Following up on the article, “Officials debate anti-poverty strategy (April 13th),” it is important to note that all the city, county and school officials at the meeting have agreed to support Mayor Bill Bell’s neighborhood-level anti-poverty effort by  co-chairing committees on housing, health, education, jobs, public safety and finance.

The meeting discussion was important since neighborhood-focused anti-poverty initiatives are challenging to implement and particularly challenging to measure impact. In fact, a literature search shows that researchers are still trying to assess best practices and how to measure outcomes.

My involvement with the East Durham Children’s Initiative (EDCI) has alerted me to the fact that many of the families we work with today may not be in the neighborhood in three years. The high transiency in the neighborhood makes it hard to work with families over time and see how systematic and sequential support can have a positive effect on outcomes for children. To the degree that the Mayor’s initiative helps to reduce transiency, it could be a boost for EDCI’s efforts.

While the challenges are great, it is important to pilot efforts and see what works to help improve outcomes for low-income families and children. Structuring our efforts so we gain a better understanding of what interventions are effective will be critical.

Ellen Reckhow