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Sunday, February 16, 1997

Helmet law repeal

Last week, the Senate State Affairs committee approved a bill that would repeal the motorcycle helmet law.

The National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration reports helmets decrease the severity of injury, the likelihood of death and the overall cost of medical care. Its study for 1995 showed in-patient hospital charges for non-helmeted victims were 25 percent higher than for helmeted victims.

Brackenridge Hospital in Austin says 41 percent of injured motorcyclists had no insurance and received full trauma, acute hospitalization and rehabilitative services. This level of care is funded by the public.

Similar to safety belts and child restraint seats, helmets cannot and do not provide total protection against head injury or death, but they do reduce the incidence and cost of both.

Do we pay for people who choose to risk their health? Do we keep people who don't wear helmets from utilizing public health care? If so, what about people injured when they don't wear seatbelts? Do we mandate additional insurance for riders to cover health care costs?

The questions ar complex and there appears no easy answer. Please urge Austin to explore all the issues before making decisions. Write Rep. Bob Hunter, P.O. Box 2910, Austin, TX 78768-2910.

FRAN DUANE

Abilene

Save that water

We have recently been reading in our classroom about the importance of conserving water, and we want the people of our community to be aware of some ways to conserve water.

The first way is by not letting the water run when you brush your teeth. If you just wet your brush and turn off the water, you can save nine gallons of water each time. That could be 27 gallons of water saved every day.

The second way is by filling up the basin when washing dishes and rinsing the dishes there instead of letting the water run. You can save up to 25 gallons each time you wash dishes. This extra water you save could be used to wash your dog or water your plants.

The third way is by plugging the tub before you run the water for your bath. If you do this, you can save about three gallons of water in just 30 seconds. You can enjoy your bath knowing you didn't waste any water.

The fourth way is by keeping a cool jug of water in the refrigerator instead of running the tap and waiting for it to get cold. You will save money, water and valuable time by using this tip.

A final way to conserve water is by watering the lawn in the morning before it gets too hot outside. If we all work together, we will have beautiful, green neighborhoods.

We hope people who read your newspaper will begin to use these water-saving ideas to make our community a better place.

MRS. KUNTZ'S THIRD GRADE CLASS

Crockett Elementary

Bad word choice

Debra Guerra is associated with the Human Relations Committee and the Martin Luther King Luncheon and reception and in general always appreciates diversity of races and cultures. But she made a bad choice of words in her Feb. 12 article, "Black History doesn't just mean Dr. King, Rosa Park," by referring to African-American hair in a derogatory fashion.

Debra refered to her cousin as "nappy-headed." This was a term used to describe African-American hair when people were ignorant of the beauty and the versatility of African-American hair.

There is no other race with more diverse skin color, hair color and texture than African-Americans. Stereotypes used in this fashion are very demeaning, especially coming from someone who is outspoken in appreciating diversity of the races.

WYNELL WILLIAMS

Abilene

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