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Sound them out

Neighbors of model airplane flyers should try to negotiate a compromise

When you get down to it, there's not a lot of difference between loud parties, leaf blowing, barking dogs, drum practice, loud radios and roofing.

We're talking noise, the kind that can drive a neighbor batty.

Central Point neighbors in the Princess Way area have one more noise to add to the list: model airplane flying.

A group of neighbors approached the City Council recently to ask it to ban the flying of electric and gas-powered models inside city limits, saying the noise made by a resident's electric planes is an unreasonable intrusion into their lives.

In the words of one, After a hard day at work, it's very annoying.

— We don't doubt that. But we do doubt that the noise from model airplanes differs significantly from any other sort of grating neighborhood noise, and there are many.

Compared to other common neighborhood sounds, the electric planes are relatively quiet aside from a high-pitched whine during acceleration (think of a mosquito near your ear). Even at their loudest, it's unlikely they make more noise than, say, a leaf blower or a lawn mower.

Central Point has a law generally prohibiting loud noises in neighborhoods, but it would be unfair for it to target planes specifically just because a few people find them irritating. If you ban the planes, what else goes? Leaf blowers? Irritating noise from a neighbor's radio? Loud conversations? Laughter?

A better approach is for neighbors to work out their differences. The plane's owner should have little doubt by now that his hobby bothers some people. In the spirit of neighborliness, he might limit the time he flies or agree to fly the planes elsewhere at certain times of day.

His neighbors, for their part, ought to recognize that some noise ' annoying as it may be ' is inevitable wherever neighbors are found. The whine of a model airplane might not be as familiar as the hum of a lawnmower or the jangle of a radio, but it's all noise ' a fact of life when others live nearby.

Ask piercing questions

Devotees of body piercing should be glad to hear that Oregon piercing establishments will face harsher penalties for violating state regulations beginning in January.

The Legislature in June approved House Bill 2325. It increases penalties from &

36;1,000 to up to &

36;5,000 for infractions ranging from operating with a suspended license to poor record-keeping.

Unfortunately, even after the first of the year body piercing will remain a profession with few safeguards for customers compared to others regulated by the state health office, including tattooing, cosmetology and midwifery.

To become a registered technician you must be 18 and have a high school diploma or its equivalent; you must attend a class in basic first aid and blood-borne pathogens; and you must provide proof in training in post-piercing care. There are few requirements to license a business, except such provisions as meeting state sanitation standards and sterilization techniques and arranging for twice-yearly inspections.

These requirements are too little to protect piercing customers from people without the background to handle piercings safely.

Customers should choose piercers carefully and ask questions before letting anyone touch them with a needle. The popularity of body piercing has mushroomed in recent years, but in Oregon, at least, it's still a case of let the buyer beware.