I received a card from Canada Post about keeping the walkway and drive clean of snow and ice. The card goes on to say that I can win a prize if I enter their website. The problem I have is the letter carrier doesn't use the driveway, but cuts across the snow-covered lawn over a rock garden to get to the neighbour's yard.
Now, if the employee falls and breaks his or her neck, am I responsible? I find it ironic that they stress safety for their employees to the homeowner, but they violate their own safety rules.
Thinking about skeeters
Practically all our mosquitoes hatch in roadside ditches dug deeper than will drain, and therefore trap water. The water is only a few inches deep, so it warms fast. It's sheltered and, because it eventually dries, contains no predators -- ideal for hatching mosquitoes.
There are miles of mosquito ditches within the City of Winnipeg. Because the water is only a few inches deep, all that is required to drain it is a small amount of fill placed in these ditches.
Getting rid of mosquitoes through the entire Red River Valley isn't much harder. It would require the provincial government and the rural municipalities to drain their roadside ditches as well.
The right response
Re: A disastrous response (Jan. 22).
It's very true that right now supplies are needed desperately for people living in Haiti, especially places drastically affected by the earthquake and it's clear that the response system has its flaws. However, the letter writer's proposed solution makes the solution sound so simple -- feed the people. He says to get planes to drop packages of food and supplies to remote areas not receiving help. This solution, however, is not practical, which is why it's never been done.
What many people don't seem to realize is that when faced with these types of situations people revert to a survival mode. People are essentially animals. It's easy for us to pretend that we're all above the barbaric and animalistic behaviour exhibited by an animal in the wild that's starving, but we're not. In situations like this when food is scarce and you have to fight to survive, the worst is brought out in people. You can't simply go around in a plane dropping off packages of supplies to areas because there is no control. Supplies must be distributed appropriately to ensure that those who need it the most get it and that riots don't break out fighting over the supplies. It's a well-meaning idea but in reality it would cause more mayhem and chaos.
I think we all need to remember that organizations in Haiti like the Red Cross and Doctor's Without Borders and the Canadian military are doing the best that they can and that they need our support instead of our criticism.
CWB was wrong
Re: CWB loses gag-order challenge (Jan. 21).
I really object to you misusing the term "gag-order" in reference to the Supreme Court of Canada decision against the Canadian Wheat Board. As it was not a court-ordered publication ban, the inference was that it somehow was a censorship action or suppression of legitimate information.
That is so ridiculous and the Supreme Court clearly indicated that in dismissing the case with costs.
And even if there was a reason to use the term before the decision, there certainly was no cause to reuse it after the fact of the decision. A Crown corporation is under the direction of the minister. They are not independent entities that report directly to Parliament. The mandate of the CWB is to promote fair pricing in grain markets, not distributing public propaganda patting itself on the back for a job well done and endorsing its indefinite continuation. If the minister tells them to jump, the proper response is "how high" not "why should I." The refusal of the CWB to comply with a direct government order on this non-operational issue is gross insubordination.
Think and chew gum
Re: A matter of priorities (Jan. 22).
Does Kathy Peters think that because an article is written in the paper about the treatment and welfare of pigs, we are somehow belittling the plight of Haitians? How can anyone not be moved by the tragedy that has befallen this impoverished nation and not want to help them in any way that we can?
We should have big enough hearts that we don't develop tunnel vision to the exclusion of everything else that is going on in our world.
The farmers' contribution is essential to the welfare and nourishment of the world, but all the article was trying to point out was that we need to find more humane ways of raising these hogs so they do not end up trapped in crates with no chance of escape from a fire.
We live in a global environment and what happens to all of God's creations around the world should matter to us every day, not only when disaster strikes.
Policing is a vocation
Re: Soaring overtime costs more than money (Jan. 23). Robert Marshall states that the Winnipeg Police Service has an agreement that pays overtime to police for any hours beyond their scheduled shift. One low-rank officer made close to $200,000 per year, which is more than the income of the premier of Manitoba or a general in the Defence Department.
I was chief of the investigation police in Chile before Gen. Augusto Pinochet's dictatorship and we never received overtime payment when we were called in from vacation or when going to testify in court. We joined the police force because we were called to fight crime as a vocation, not for the salary. We answered to a central command for the whole country to enforce the same code of conduct and rules for disciplinary action. Maybe it is time to introduce changes in Canada to improve the situation.
I also hope they will not spend millions of taxpayers' dollars on a helicopter for Winnipeg. Increased foot patrols are a better answer.
Now hear this
The article Crank up tunes during workout, wreck eardrums (Jan. 22) has a very important message for protecting our hearing from the damage caused by excessive noise exposure. Many people are aware of the dangers of loud noise at work but forget that we are exposed to a lot of noise at home and in our recreational activities.
The danger of noise is not damage to the eardrums, but rather, damage to the delicate tiny hair cells in the inner ear that convert the sounds we hear into meaningful messages to our brains. These tiny hair cells are easily tired by working in noisy environments and can be overtaxed. If we don't give them time to recover by avoiding excessive noise for periods of time they begin to die off causing permanent hearing loss. So, the more we expose the hair cells to loud noises the more we are abusing them and losing them.
The article cited a research study by Bill Hodgetts at the University of Alberta, which found that when iPods or MP3 players are used at the gym, the users crank up the volume to dangerous levels because of the background noise. It is suggested that people use noise-reducing or noise-cancelling earphones to be able to use a lower volume on their iPods. This is valuable advice and should be taken to save our hearing.
Doctor of audiology
An approved toilet
For Winnipeg citizens who want to take advantage of the city's dual flush toilet rebate program, let me advise you, it's not as simple as it appears. In my mind a dual flush toilet is just that, one that uses less water and saves you money.
Brand name should not enter into the equation, as long as the toilet does its job. Not so, says the city. To be eligible you have to buy one of the more expensive toilets (top name brands), and it has to be on their approved list or you don't qualify. Taking your old toilet to the Brady landfill site will get you a receipt, after you pay $5 for the recycling fee. My new dual flush toilet, which may not be on the city's approved list, works fine.
WILLIAM J. BALACKO