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Thursday, July 30, 2009 08:04 pm

Letters to the Editor

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RaeLynn Costa, right, held a dog wash to benefit the church that sponsored her.
PHOTO BY AMANDA ROBERT

SECRETS OF SUCCESS

May God continue to bless Ms. Costa [see “Building a new life after prison: RaeLynnn Costa is making a comeback, with the support of Project Return,” by Amanda Robert, July 16] and the churches that are following Matthew 25: 44-45.

The article points out the secrets of success when it comes to rehabilitation: the individual decides to change and there are compassionate people on the outside willing to support the person and are not enabling them to fall back into old habits. Prisons don’t rehabilitate anyone, they are warehouses behind razor wire and guard towers. Inmates have to decide to change their hearts, if not, they will return to prison. The change, as Ms. Costa points out, is not easy but with the church’s help and lots of prayer, anything is possible.

More churches should support these types of programs instead of raising millions to build mega-churches, auditoriums, memorial gardens and running “corporate” programs — more money to carry out the Great Commission and less emphasis on the trivial.

Some churches are more like social clubs rather than places of worship, true fellowship and focal points for carrying out the Lord’s work. What good is faith without works?

Thanks to Amanda Robert for a solid article on an important subject.

Lyman Hubbard
Williamsburg, Va.



RIGHT TO REPAIR

We often hear members of Congress talk about the challenges facing small businesses and the need to help them compete. Passage of the Motor Vehicle Owners’ Right to Repair Act (HR 2057) is a chance for Congress to demonstrate their commitment to small businesses throughout the country.

The Right to Repair Act simply requires that vehicle manufacturers provide car owners and their trusted neighborhood repair shops with equitable access to accurate service and repair information. Allowing these small businesses to compete on a level playing field will ensure the long-term survival of a competitive automotive repair industry.

Many of our members have small businesses that have been in their family for generations. They are not seeking an unfair advantage, nor are they looking for access to the proprietary information protected by the bill. Instead, they are asking Congress to ensure that they are able to compete fairly now and in the future.

We encourage all vehicle owners to visit www.righttorepair.org to send a letter to their congressional representatives urging them to support the Right to Repair Act.

Paul Fiore
Service Station Dealers of America and Allied Trades
Bowie, Md.



REDUCE%u2008TEEN%u2008CRASHES

We face a national problem that can be solved if we work together. The number one cause of death among teenage Americans remains automobile crashes, and in these extraordinary times we have a real opportunity to stem this problem. A bill in Congress — the Safe Teen and Novice Driver Uniform Protection (STANDUP) Act — could be a huge step forward in reducing teen accidents.

Preventable car crashes are the leading cause of death among American teens, claiming nearly 5,000 teenage lives last year. Further, when these drivers take to the road without the right preparation, they are more than a danger to themselves — they also put other drivers at risk. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, roughly 8,000 people — young and old — lose their lives each year as a result of teen-related crashes.

Allstate has focused on teen driving as a critical part of our overall mission to make American communities safer places for parents and children. Studies show the teen brain is not fully developed, meaning that young drivers weigh the factors that go into safe driving differently than adults. As a result, they can take some dangerous risks, such as driving too fast or becoming easily distracted by passengers. We can’t rewire teenage brains, but we can give teens the attention they need to become safe, responsible drivers.

Graduated driver licensing (GDL) laws do just that, helping young drivers become safer by addressing the three main causes of teen driving accidents: unlimited driving privileges upon receiving a license, driving with passengers and driving at night.

Effective GDL systems are known to reduce fatal crashes among 16-year-olds by approximately 40 percent. The major elements of an optimal GDL program, include: a three-stage licensing process; a prohibition of nighttime driving for new drivers; passenger restrictions for new drivers; prohibition of cell phones and similar devices for new drivers; and an age limit of 16 for a learner’s permit and 18 for a full unrestricted license.

Illinois has enacted laws that increased supervised driving hours for teens and restricted the number of passengers they may have. However, few states have enacted all proven elements of reliable behind-the-wheel training for young drivers. More can and should be done.

That’s why the bill introduced by Congressmen Timothy Bishop (D-NY), Michael Castle (R-DE) and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) has the potential to save thousands of lives each year. The legislation would require states to pass uniform GDL laws that incorporate proven methods to prevent teen driving accidents. The members of Illinois’ Congressional delegation should join this cause by supporting the STANDUP Act.

Alice Byrne
Midwest region field vice president Allstate Insurance Company

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