Great article!

Dear Editor:

I was very moved by Cassidy Olson’s article regarding the pet overpopulation in the Valley (“Animal euthanasia: Easy solution, difficult problem,” AFN, Dec. 9).

Thank you, for giving such an important topic top billing on A1 and allowing the space to tell the story in full. In a world of difficult problems with seemingly no solutions, the problem of unwanted pets can be remedied with education, and articles such as yours help tremendously to remind readers that this crisis still exists. It’s an old story, but one that deserves attention on a regular basis.

Sherrie Buzby


Finance 101

Dear Editor:

In a recent piece you published (by Jon Talton) about Suntech coming to Phoenix, the author lauds this arrival as having been triggered by “tax incentives” (“Sun City,” AFN, Dec. 2). In the very next sentence, he lampoons Arizona’s “Kookocracy” for pursuing tax cuts. For those keeping score at home, tax incentives and tax cuts are two sides of one coin.

Less helpful in the serious marketplace of ideas was the piece put in the paper by the “Children’s ActionAlliance” (“Digging the hole deeper: Too many tax cuts are hurting Ariz.,” AFN, Nov. 15). In it, this well-intentioned group drones on about how endless tax cuts have wrecked Arizona. The simple fact is, accounting for inflation, Arizona’s tax revenues increased more than 23 percent from 2000 to 2008. Apparently revenue hasn’t been this state’s problem. Instead, spending, adjusting for inflation, increased by 54 percent over that same period. Groups like Children’s ActionAlliance have recklessly, and successfully, lobbied for spending more money than Arizona has.

Both of these articles advocate the “Californication” of Arizona’s state finances; instead of following California’s lead into fiscal oblivion, Arizona needs to make itself an economic magnet, not an economic basket case.

L. Brown


What you don’t know can hurt you

Dear Editor:

Whoever said “What you don’t know can’t hurt you” lied. The old adage offers dangerous advice, especially for people with undiagnosed Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). Arizonans with lung disease need to be diagnosed so they can learn how to stay healthy in an area covered by “The Brown Cloud” and hard hit by H1N1.

COPD includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema and is the third leading cause of death in Arizona. It is a disease that damages the lungs and restricts the airways making it difficult to get air in and out. People often ignore warning signs until serious lung damage occurs.

The symptoms of COPD include ongoing coughing with mucus, wheezing, shortness of breath and tightness in the chest. These can be easy to explain away and ignore but once you lose lung function you cannot get it back.

People at high risk are long-term smokers and people exposed to second-hand smoke. Other potential risk factors include occupational exposure to dust and chemicals. Air pollution also is a risk factor. This is alarming considering many people live or work in the Valley, which is often covered by “The Brown Cloud” of pollution. A recent study conducted by the American Lung Association shows that Phoenix ranks ninth among the most ozone-polluted cities in America.

Further complicating matters for those living with COPD, is the outbreak of H1N1 flu. People with COPD are more likely to experience severe symptoms of this pandemic and are also more likely to need hospital care to recover. But if you don’t know you have COPD – how can you protect your heath?

Although there is no cure for COPD, symptoms are manageable and lung damage can be slowed. Early diagnosis can help you maintain your quality of life. So if you think you may be at risk, consider getting a screening or spirometry test. It easy, painless and quick, it only lasts about six seconds. You are just six seconds away from knowing how to keep yourself healthy.

For more information about COPD, visit the COPD Coalition’s Web site at

Mary Kurth

Program Director  American Lung Association (Arizona)

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