Bury all utility lines

to prevent storm damage

Downed power lines are a financial and safety burden to government and the utility companies.

Today, most power lines are located above ground, and the costs of repair due to storms and accidents are conceivably in the millions of dollars, to say nothing of the cost of injuries and damage to people and property.

With every approaching storm, the utility companies have to mobilize manpower, equipment and other resources, sometimes from neighboring states. Businesses, medical facilities and homes are put in danger or inconvenienced from outages.

You would think that after all this cost and the risks, the utilities would have a capital program to start burying all utility lines. It would certainly have been cheaper if that were the case from the beginning.

It would also be nice not to have to worry about trees falling on electric lines or cars hitting utility poles.

JEANNE PICARDI

Egg Harbor City

Where is discussion

of climate change?

I've called two places home in my life: Atlantic City and New York City. This week both were utterly devastated by Hurricane Sandy. Although my family and friends are safe, I fear for the future.

I fear for a future that will involve more natural disasters with greater intensity due in large part to man-made climate change, and a future where political calculations trump science.

I fear for a future (and, unfortunately, a present) where presidential contenders feel the political landscape doesn't allow for an honest and open discussion about man-made climate change.

For the first time since 1984, climate change was not even mentioned in the presidential debates, even though in 2012 we've seen unprecedented natural disasters, including hurricanes, wildfires, droughts and a derecho.

My question to the president is how is it possible that such a large threat to all Americans does not even get mentioned during the debates?

My request to Barack Obama is to make good on his comment that climate change is a "critical issue" and his promise to "restore science to its rightful place." In the face of this crisis, he must display political courage and lead America to a better future that does not accept this "new normal" without meaningful discussion of its causes and what we can do about them. The stakes couldn't be higher, nor the opportunity greater.

EVAN SANCHEZ

Astoria, N.Y.

Helpful young drivers

restored our faith

Recently while driving from Ocean City, Md., we crossed the Delaware Memorial Bridge, headed east on Route 40 and I thought, this is great, another hour or so and we'll be home.

Just then, we got a flat tire. Here we were, four seniors, pulled over on the narrow shoulder. AAA said help would arrive in 30 to 45 minutes.

For about 20 minutes, cars flew by us, making us hesitant about getting out of the car. Then a young man stopped to help. We thanked him and said AAA was on the way.

Then another young man stopped, and another, and another, and another.

Five young men stopped to help, each in separate vehicles.

How many times have we heard what's happening to our younger generation? We are so grateful to these young men who still care and wanted to help.

JEAN WARD

Tuckerton

We must be prepared

for more severe weather

After the storm passed we were inundated with pictures of incomprehensible devastation. Our thoughts and prayers are with the people who suffered great losses.

I want to thank all the people who worked tirelessly during this crisis. For the first-responders who went to care for others, for the medical personnel who kept our elderly and sick safe and warm, for the utility workers who braved the elements to return us to a semblance of normalcy, please know your efforts were appreciated. We also thank the many people who provided us with goods and services during our storm preparation.

Since our weather is becoming more unpredictable and more harsh, we need to be prepared. I was amazed at how many people did not have the simple necessities of a flashlight and batteries. By having a few emergency items such as candles, nonperishable food and water on hand, we can eliminate that last mad dash during an emergency. After the derecho this summer, it is evident that sometimes we will have no warning.

This time, there was little disagreement that we were in the path of an epic and potentially deadly superstorm. Yet some on the barrier islands chose not to heed the evacuation orders. Unfortunately, some of them put our first-responders at risk when the storm lived up to its predicted potential.

My childhood was spent in North Jersey and at our summer home in the Long Beach Island area. Yearly trips to Seaside Heights continued with my children and grandchildren. We realize the shore will never be the same place it was years ago. We will clean up, we will rebuild, and we will remember. After too many years of being mocked, we will prove that we are not "Jersey Shore." We are Jersey Strong.

LINDA SIMCOX

Egg Harbor Township