Letters to the Editor

Letters: Community showed kindness during shutdown; more to talk about than a wall

Community showed kindness during shutdown

The Transportation Security Administration team at University Park Airport would like to sincerely thank the Happy Valley community for the incredible level of support that was shown to the TSA officers during the recent government shutdown.

Your thoughtfulness through words of encouragement, donations of food and gift cards were greatly appreciated. Your kindness kept up our morale and inspired us to continue with our daily work in spite of our working without pay. Your assistance and generosity, regardless of political party affiliation, made a difference to the TSA employees. It was a much welcomed reminder of the kindness that truly surrounds us.

I would like to specifically acknowledge the assistance offered by Juniper Village, the Pennsylvania State University women’s basketball team, the Pennsylvania State University Catering, Irving’s, the Pennsylvania State University Police, the airport fixed base operator, the University Park Airport, Mileto’s, Chick-Fil-A, Olive Garden, Sheetz, Domino’s Pizza, Texas Roadhouse, Delta Air Lines, SkyWest Airlines, and the numerous local residents who dropped off cards, food, gift cards and shared kind words as they traversed the checkpoint.

Karen Keys-Turner, Pittsburgh; The author is the federal security director for the University Park Airport

Much more to talk about than a wall

The Department of Housing and Urban Development estimates that 40,000 veterans are homeless and almost 1.5 million veterans live in poverty. That is immoral. All too often the very government that puts those veterans in harm’s way forgets about them once they have returned home. That is immoral. The National Assessment of Educational Progress recently issued a Nation’s Report Card showing 60 percent of graduating high school seniors are not considered college or career ready. That is immoral. Big pharmaceutical companies have bribed doctors to over-prescribe opioids and helped create a crisis that tears apart families, drains county government coffers, and annually costs 90,000 American’s their lives. That is immoral. Social Security is in crisis and if we don’t fix it, 14 years from now, tens of millions of seniors who faithfully invested in the program over a lifetime of hard work will be thrown into poverty. That is immoral. According to Harvard Medical School and the American Journal of Public Health, 45,000 annual deaths in the U.S. are associated with lack of health insurance. That is immoral. Both parties have done nothing to seriously abate climate disruption which, if not soon addressed, will become irreversible, lead to mass starvation, and alter the course of life here on earth. That is immoral. Despite working longer and harder, 80 percent of Americans report they are living paycheck-to-paycheck and only one crisis or two missed paychecks from financial disaster. That is immoral. But the only thing politicians are talking about is a wall.

Wade Jodun, Mill Hall

Effects of polar vortex could become more severe

There has always been a polar vortex hanging around the Arctic Circle. The polar vortex spins to life every winter 10 miles above the ground in the high latitudes. Typically, it has a single center, surrounded by a wall of powerful winds. But sometimes the walls weaken, allowing the vortex to shift and even break into pieces. That’s what happened on Jan. 3rd. It’s a pattern that is happening more frequently and is often followed by severe cold and winter storms down south in our part of the world. The split takes two weeks to affect the weather: It warps the polar jet stream, bringing freezing arctic air south and warm air north. The effects of the polar vortex could become more frequent and severe. Scientists believe that the rapidly warming Arctic could bring about more intense periods of cold snaps and storms, even as winters become shorter and warmer.

While climate change is warming the earth, not all parts of the earth are warming at the same rate; the Arctic is warming at a rate twice as fast as the world average. This arctic warming has disrupted the vortex pattern bringing the brutal cold south. Meanwhile, in the southern hemisphere there have been 33 recorded all-time high temperatures.

The Citizens Climate Lobby has the only known way forward to reduce our emissions of global warming gasses.

Eric Boeldt, State College