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Letters to the Editor – Opinions

We are 17 years old and we believe tanning is out

Because of that belief, we are taking part in the Canadian Cancer Society’s Tanning is Out Challenge from April 29 to May 3. We will be hosting events all week and spreading the word to all students at Chatelech Secondary about the dangers of tanning.

Tanning still seems to be a strong trend in our society, with many youth visiting tanning salons (once they turn 18 in BC), hitting the beaches, or baking out in the sun during their vacations all to achieve what they perceive to be a ‘healthy glow.’  Sometimes the long-term consequences do not hit home for people until much later.

As Tanning is Out Challenge leaders at Chatelech, we and our fellow leaders are on a mission to educate our peers about the health risks of tanning, as well as to encourage everyone to own their skin tone. The fact is no tan is a safe tan. Tanned skin is damaged skin, which can lead to skin cancer including melanoma – the deadliest form of skin cancer.  Unfortunately there is no way to repair this damage, so each time people tan the damage is building up and so is their cancer risk.

We are lucky here in BC that the provincial government has banned indoor tanning for youth under 18. We still have a lot of work to do to discourage youth from tanning outdoors and from using tanning beds once they turn 18. We are also hopeful that through educating our peers we can help increase awareness of the dangers of UV exposure.

Coral Robinson and Reanna Popp,
Sechelt, BC

Ask candidates where they stand on a dementia plan

I’m sure most Coast residents know someone who has been touched by Alzheimer’s disease. Over 70,000 people in BC have dementia. That’s a lot of people and it doesn’t include the husbands, wives, family members and friends whose lives are also affected.

As a community and a province  we’re not prepared to deal with this, a problem that will only get worse. BC, and in particular our Coast has a lot of retirees and a lot of Baby Boomers who are reaching the age of increased risk for different kinds of dementias.

I have been a caregiver for nine years.  I belong to a Caregiver’s Support Group.  I, and all those who share this difficult journey, am all too aware of the gaping hole in support services.  On the Coast we have inadequate respite spaces (one for the entire Coast), and inadequate or inappropriate home support services.  The strain and stress on caregivers takes a serious toll on their health.  The lack of services means we are not able to keep our loved ones at home for as long as possible.

In BC, and locally, there is also a shortage of facility spaces.  Our hospital is often clogged with bed-blockers.  Yes, that’s what they’re called, our loved ones who can no longer live at home and are waiting for a facility bed. In the hospital they take up valuable and costly acute care beds, the most expensive component of health care, sometimes for months at a time. And worst of all, it’s not appropriate care for a dementia patient.

We need a plan with money behind it to deal with what is becoming a crisis – not only for people with dementia, but also for taxpayers who will have to pay the resulting rising health-care costs.

It’s time to stop ignoring this and for those of us who are caregivers, we can see that action is long overdue.  I join with thousands of others in this province to back the BC Alzheimer’s Society plan that includes things like support for family caregivers, programs that help with early diagnosis and new training for health-care workers.

There’s a BC election coming up.  I hope readers will ask candidates where they stand on a dementia plan and the money that will be needed to make sure that the right things get done.

Judith Fitzgerald,
Sunshine Coast

Smart Meter grid insecure

Cyber security is at risk when any messages are transmitted wirelessly. This is discussed in relation to smart meters in an April 30 article from tech publication, The Register. Author John Leyden informs: “The data relayed between these devices and their headquarters can be intercepted, captured, jammed or replayed using SDR [software-defined radio] equipment, providing the hacker with network-wide access to individual home meters, control stations, generating stations and transmission facilities.”

And this doesn’t require much equipment or training. Security expert, Greg Jones, has tested several of the smart meters to be installed in the UK. He’s found that a soldering iron and some basic programming Is all that’s needed to exploit them. Ross Anderson, professor of security engineering at Cambridge University has warned that hackers could use smart meters to remotely switch off elements of entire electricity or gas supply grids. Apparently BC Hydro refused to entertain such a thought when they told us smart meters will allow quicker restoration of power when outages occur,

Susan Fletcher, Sechelt



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