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Cracker Barrel brings memories, good food

I welcome the Cracker Barrel restaurant which is coming to Santa Maria in February. Their home-style food is always delicious, but it is the nostalgic ambiance that takes you back in time before cell phones, when friends met for lunch or dinner and actually had a conversation and the music had a melody that you could hum or whistle, that keeps me returning.

The Cracker Barrel will take you back to the time when you could expect a handwritten thank you note if your grandchildren received a gift, a time when you could tell the make, model and year of the cars on the road, none of which had computers. You could actually do the routine maintenance yourself. It was a time of trust, when food containers had no safety seals and you would be shunned if you used four-letter curse words. Thank you, Cracker Barrel, as we are reminded to stand and remove our hats as the flag passes by or we hear the national anthem. When you do open I'll be there along with my appetite and memories.

Ralph Bush

Arroyo Grande

You can help curb global warming

As we begin the new year, you may be asking yourself: what can I do to stop global warming? It’s easy to despair, when we hear that 14 of the 15 hottest years in history have occurred since 2000, and when we read about the devastating effects global warming is having around the world and particularly on California.

Nevertheless, there is much we can do. Here are just two things you can do right now which can have a positive impact on our climate: 1. Urge your representatives in Washington as well as friends and family across the country to support the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act (H.R. 7173), a bipartisan bill which could reduce America’s emissions by 40 percent in the next 12 years. This revenue neutral bill taxes users of fossil fuels, returns all money earned directly to the American people, and is projected to create over 2 million clean-energy jobs. 2: Reduce your carbon footprint through changes in lifestyle. For example, ride a bike, walk, or take a bus to work; instead of flying around the globe for vacation, choose a beautiful location near home (both of these options will save you much money); avoid plastics; eat foods grown locally; wear a sweater indoors when it gets cold; if possible, avoid air-conditioning.

I wish you all good luck in your efforts this year to turn back global warming.

Tom Weinschenk

San Luis Obispo

Stuff happens

Clean water for drinking and ag use is surely a good thing. Three oil companies want to vastly increase drilling between Santa Maria and Los Alamos. If they have their way, hundreds of new wells would be drilled right through the groundwater basin that provides water for tens of thousands of people. If our water is contaminated, what the heck, most of their shareholders live out-of-state anyway.

Now let’s consider something the oil companies don’t like to talk about — breaches of well casings. These wells would go down directly through the aquifer, our drinking water, to reach the oil below. They tell us that there are layers of clay that act as impermeable barriers protecting our water. And barriers, static and dynamic, are put in place to prevent blowouts and the potential release of oil. However, operator error, mechanical failure and equipment malfunction occurs.

Beyond this problem, one company assumes there would be one spill per year for every 130 of its wells in the area between Santa Maria and Los Alamos. In addition to oil spills, more millions of gallons of other toxic and cancer-causing liquids from oil drilling operations accidentally or unintentionally make their way into the ground and percolate down.

Over the long life of a well, whether active, idle or abandoned, it is very likely to experience a breach. The profit would all go to the shareholders while we would take the risk of losing our drinking water.

Seth Steiner

Los Alamos

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