Long train running

EDITOR: Let’s think outside the box(car) for a moment about the 10,000-foot trains. How long does it take to load 10,000 feet of boxcars? Quite a while, right? Let’s ask the port to load in such a way that shorter sections -- perhaps no longer than those currently in use -- travel across the river and remain there. As more trains are ready, they would do the same until a 10,000-foot train is formed, but without having passed through the city at that length.

Even if new infrastructure were needed, it surely would be much less than the plan that was recently reported on in the StarNews. Of course, it’s likely not as simple as I suggest, but isn’t it worth exploring?

Gilbert Burnett, Wilmington

Celia doesn’t get it

EDITOR: In her March 4 column about arming teachers, Celia Rivenbark wrote 16 ugly paragraphs full of unsubstantiated and insulting opinion -- "dumbest idea since the Snuggie;" "unrelentingly stupid;" "data … coaxed from his posterior." Put your thesaurus down, Celia, we get the idea.

But opinion and insults do not make your point. Would you rather be gunned down in cold blood with 20 of your students than get into a "gunfight"? Armed guards would be the first targets.

President Trump’s idea has merit. Every schoolroom could have a firearm in a digital safe. Only proficient, interested staff would have access. A specific alarm would be sounded in a life-threatening emergency. Only then could the guns be accessed.

Please, don't let my student be among those defenselessly cowering behind desks while some maniac slaughters them. The teacher, once armed, and the now-armed wrestling coach and janitor running toward the gunfire give everyone a chance.

Yes, it's an ugly scenario, but infinitely better than what we have witnessed time and again. And the knowledge that a shooter will likely be killed before he can achieve infamy may deter him ...

There is a reason those of us with decades of experience and wisdom tend to vote Republican: common sense. There is also a reason that one must be at least 35 to be president: life's experience and wisdom. Such a plan could be put into place within weeks, while additional necessary measures are crafted.

Robert Yunaska, Wrightsville Beach

Rentals compromise

EDITOR: I live in downtown Wilmington in the 100 block of Castle Street. A definitive vote could be coming soon on the regulation of short-term rentals homes.

This is a complicated issue and I appreciate the care that city leaders have taken in the deliberations as they seek an equitable solution. And that is what I would urge City Council to adopt -- an equitable solution.

Permitting STRs everywhere is not equitable. It puts the interests of speculators who (might) have no stake in Wilmington other than to maximize the return on their investment above the interests of residents. They leave in their wake hollowed-out communities like North Myrtle Beach (no disrespect intended).

It would be short-sighted to use short-term gains (additional revenue for the city, for example) from such operations as the rationale for (lax rules) when the long-term viability of our unique communities -- the Historic District, Carolina Place, Wrightsville Beach and Dry Pond come to mind) is at stake. For an example of a recent equitable solution, consider Echo Farms.

I know the city is capable of finding a solution that recognizes the legitimate right of landowners to develop their property but within the rules and needs of the community.

Denise Chadurjian, Wilmington

GenX toxicity level

EDITOR: Regarding recent discussions about possible GenX-related health risks:

Chemical & Engineering News is a weekly trade magazine published by the American Chemical Society. It provides professional and technical information in the fields of chemistry and chemical engineering. In an article on Chemours in the March 5 issue, senior correspondent Cheryl Hogue said this about GenX and other fluorochemicals:

"While information about the toxicity of these substances is incomplete, a growing body of research suggests that they are more toxic than a previous generation of hazardous and widespread industrial fluorochemical pollutants that includes perfluorooctanoic acid” (known as C8).

This class of chemicals has been banned in Europe.

Ed Ablard, Wilmington

Sandy Hook Promise

EDITOR: Regarding the recent school safety roundtable held by the New Hanover County Board of Commissioners:

For years I have watched news about gun violence and done nothing. Sandy Hook wrecked me, yet still I did nothing. I simply had no faith that anything I said or did could change the outcome. So I would cry and feel helpless and embarrassingly grateful that it was not my children who were hurt, then move on. Another shooting would happen, and another, and each time I would rinse, lather, repeat my emotions; but I can’t stay silent anymore. My kids deserve better. All kids deserve better.

At the March 1 meeting, the phrase “If you see something, say something” was often repeated. I agree, and that’s why I want the Sandy Hook Promise programs implemented in our community. They offer age-appropriate, violence-prevention programs at no cost. Campaigns like “Start with Hello” and “Say Something” teach students and community members how to spot the signs of trouble before someone hurts themselves or others. …

I believe in these programs so much that I volunteered to be a leader to help bring them to our community. ...We need concrete, practical systems in place. I urge us to start the conversation and make the Sandy Hook programs available for our children before we experience a tragedy.

Gwen St. Pierre, Wilmington

A natural solution

EDITOR: The cheapest, most reliable and cleanest hydrocarbon energy source by far is natural gas. Americans are being duped and cheated by those opposing a natural gas pipeline expansion into their localities.

Natural gas is a readily available energy source for the entire United States East Coast. The more it displaces coal, fuel oil and propane, the cleaner America's air becomes as the carbon footprint is significantly reduced.

Jim Mulligan, Wilmington