A squirrel

To the Editor:

He hopped into my yard,

Alone. He did not walk.

He hopped as little kids do.

He chewed a blade of grass

and checked his whereabouts.

He lifted his pretty, fluffy tail,

and waved it for all to see.

But he was alone

and not a squirrel did he see.

He stood up straight,

and put his nose in the air.

Then he joined

his little paws,

like in a prayer.

Out in the woods

He heard a squeak.

He smiled and took a peek.

Larry Aasen

Westport

Family talk about drinking

To the editor:

Helping teens make good choices is as simple as starting a conversation, and back-to-school is an ideal time for parents to talk about avoiding peer pressure to drink underage. Research shows that parents are the greatest influence on teens. Exercising that influence by actively listening and holding their teens accountable for decisions about underage drinking is something that parents should be encouraged to do. Asking open-ended questions gets teens thinking about what they would do when and if they’re offered a drink — and the potential consequences.

Dichello Distributors, Inc. wants to remind parents about the Anheuser-Busch Family Talk About Drinking program, a free parent guide and Facebook community designed to encourage open and honest communication between parents and their children to help prevent underage drinking. Programs like this one, paired with education and effective law enforcement, are essential to reducing underage drinking.

Remember, it’s our collective responsibility to help prevent underage drinking. For more information, please visit Facebook.com/ABFamilyTalk.

Tony Lota

Orange

Put a stop to brake trouble before school starts

To the editor:

When it comes to vehicle safety, the brake system is at the top of the list. Brake Safety Awareness Month is the ideal time for drivers to stop and make sure their brakes are working properly before the new school year and colder temperatures arrive.

Motorists can put a stop to any potential brake problems by recognizing the signs and symptoms that their brake system may need maintenance or repair. Typical warning signs include the car pulling to the left or right, noises when applying the brakes, an illuminated brake warning light, brake grabbing, low pedal feel, vibration, hard pedal feel and squealing. Several factors that affect brake wear include driving habits, vehicle type, operating conditions and the quality of the brake lining material.

For routine maintenance, drivers should check their vehicle’s braking system at least once a year. A thorough inspection should include brake lining wear, brake fluid level, rotor thickness, condition of hoses and brake lines, brake and dash warning lights, as well as taking the car for a test drive to detect other potential brake system problems.

Drivers should never put off routine brake inspections or any needed repair, such as letting the brakes get to the “metal-to-metal” point, which can be potentially dangerous and lead to a more costly repair bill.

Rich White

Executive Director

Car Care Council