Hobby Lobby not restricting anyone

Last time I checked, we still have a Constitution of the United States. It guarantees freedom of religion and free speech. The recent letter, "High Court got it wrong with ruling," ignores this fact. There is nothing in our Constitution that guarantees free birth control and free abortion.

Hobby Lobby objected to four out of 20 birth control devices. Those four, morning-after pills and/or IUDs, work after conception rather than before conception, which many people feel is a form of abortion. So Hobby Lobby will still pay for 16 types of birth control for their employees, which they have been doing for some time.

If their employees do not like this decision, they do have choices. They can buy their own birth control for as little as $10 per month. They can go to Planned Parenthood. They are even free to leave Hobby Lobby and find a job where all 20 types of birth control are covered.

This decision does not stop women from getting birth control.

Louise Champion

Cyclist is lucky to be alive -- tips to stay so

I witnessed a young lady on a bicycle have an accident with a DHL van traveling southbound on Constitution Way around 4:30 p.m. July 21.


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I bike close to 10,000 miles every year -- I have several things to say. First, she is extremely lucky to be alive. She should be grateful. Second, she should wear a helmet every time she gets on her bike. The physics of riding a bike are such that, if you fall and hit your head before any other part of your body, you will either die or be permanently brain-damaged. The only thing that saved her was that she didn't hit her head first.

Third, she should consider getting a rearview mirror for her eyewear or helmet. This will eliminate surprises from behind -- as well as allowing one to gauge whether the car/van/truck behind him or her has recognized one's signaled intention to turn left.

There is no way to control the poor behaviors of everyone else on the road, but every bicyclist can make him- or herself much safer and happier by practicing better habits.

Peter Lenhardt

People need shelter more than animals

It is distressing to find cute stories about people who are actually designing special suites for pets while so many folks in this country are unable to afford even basic shelter. This is totally contrary to the American dream, and must have poor Thomas Paine turning in his grave.

Communities and designers at all levels should turn their creativity to sustainable housing on a large scale for a desperate and growing U.S. and world population rather than wasting time and resources on the shallow pleasures of a self-indulgent few.

Red Wetherill

Smoke from grills all throughout home

Smoke gets in my eyes, lungs and throat. It fills my house, and there is no escape. I have lived in my lovely home for more than 20 years. Long enough to know the problems of grilling fumes, and now wood smoke, are getting worse and worse by the year.

I cannot escape, even with the windows closed on a cool evening after a hot day, when I so long to let in the breezes that will bring my family a healthy and restful night's sleep. I am trapped. The smell of charring meat fills every corner of my house.

And, perhaps even more concerning, on many late nights we found our house smothered in wood smoke. I awake choking, my eyes burning. I did not realize how toxic wood smoke exposure is, but it is as toxic as secondhand cigarette smoke, and the particles are so small, so invasive, they will pass through the walls of our house, and we have absolutely no way to stop it. The Bay Area Air Quality Management District website lists the dangers of wood smoke.

We cannot change the direction the blessedly cool breezes of Alameda blow. They blow the grilling smoke and wood smoke directly from our neighbors' backyards into our house. I sometimes wonder if these homeowners -- if forced to situate their grills and whatever is generating the wood smoke in front of their own homes so that they themselves experienced the flood of fumes and choking smoke in their own living rooms and bedrooms -- might have more awareness and compassion and take more responsibility for not only the discomfort, but the health hazards they are creating.

My options are few, I cannot even count on being able to open my windows late at night to cool my house as much as possible before the next warm day. I cannot change the direction of the wind. I should not have to purchase air conditioning in Alameda, and that would not protect my family from the dangers of wood smoke exposure.

I can call the Alameda Fire Department, and they will track down the source of the smoke. I can file a complaint with the Bay Area Air Quality Management District. It does not have to be a Spare the Air day for a valid complaint to be filed. And fines can eventually be levied. I do not want to have to do these things.

I simply want to be able to breathe clean, healthy air in my home.

Noelle Robbins