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Letters to the Editor, Jan. 30 - Feb. 1

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Manners maketh man (and woman)

EDITOR: Admittedly, I was not born in this century. When I grew up our parents taught us basic courtesies. Say “please and thank you.” Whenever you receive a gift write a thank-you note (in those days handwritten). Respect your elders. Children should be seen and not heard. Don’t interrupt while someone is talking. Respond if someone reaches out to you, whether you agree with them or not.

I am often dismayed that many children nowadays are not raised with the same basic rules. On the other hand, I am sometimes gratified to receive a nice thank-you note from children of our neighbors to acknowledge receipt of a small gift or favor. These parents raise their children as we were raised.

Recently I had occasion to reach out to certain members of our Sonoma city government to express my concern regarding lack of enforcement of basic rules in our Municipal Code allowing neighbors to live peaceably. I took the time to write personal, heartfelt letters to our city manager, our new Mayor, our code enforcement officer, our city prosecutor and certain members of law enforcement in Sonoma County. I never expected their enthusiastic endorsement or support, but at the very least, I did expect acknowledgement of receipt of my communication and perhaps an invitation to further discuss. When, after several weeks, nothing was acknowledged, I re-sent the letters and, in one case, hand delivered it to City Hall.

I’m sure these people are busy running our city. We pay them handsomely to do that.

But even busy people should be polite, courteous, well mannered. They should be willing to communicate and discuss problems of their constituents when presented to them in a serious, adult fashion.

How can we expect our young citizens to grow up to be caring, responsive members of society when our elected officials have forgotten the basic rules of civility that should be prerequisite to holding public office? Whatever happened to basic good manners?

Fran Knight-Hill

Sonoma

Take a post-fire hike – for excercise!

EDITOR: With the devastating North Bay wildfires three months behind us, maintaining an active lifestyle is more important now than ever. The fires took an unprecedented toll on our community, causing widespread trauma, stress and anxiety. Post-fire stress is affecting many of our county’s children and families, especially those who lost homes, changed schools, or saw loved ones drastically impacted. Research shows that stress can have significantly negative consequences on the body. The good news is that exercise can relieve stress, releasing positive chemicals in the brain and improving overall health.

There are many ways for families to be active together, even in the winter months. A few ideas are to try indoor sports, like soccer or gymnastics; go roller or ice skating; go bowling; and dance to music. On clear days, take advantage of low-cost and free physical activity areas such as parks, hiking and biking trails, and tennis and basketball courts. Small things like taking the stairs and walking whenever possible really add up — it’s a just a matter of setting manageable routines and sticking to them. Physical activity is particularly important for the bodies and minds of growing children — and the habits they learn now will shape the rest of their lives.

While challenging days lie ahead in an era of post-fire recovery, I want to emphasize the importance of focusing on our community’s collective mental and physical health. I hope that you will join me in this endeavor.

Steven D. Herrington

Sonoma County Superintendent of Schools