Archive for Wednesday, January 16, 2002

Letters to the editor

January 16, 2002

To the editor:

What a meek and docile community we are!

A developer puts up a house within a few yards of a unique historical site and there's scarcely a word of protest! One has to turn to the Lawrence Journal-World to learn that there are those who prize historical sites and resent their being compromised in the name of earning a buck!

It was a great story over Joy Ludwig's byline. A photo shows historian Katie Armitage standing in the site of the ruts from the Santa Fe, the offensive new building behind her. The story tells of a "field of tall prairie grass about 3 miles east of Baldwin (where) a few hundred feet away new houses are being built, destroying the once-pristine view." The historian is quoted as saying, "It just totally changes the atmosphere of the vista where you could once see these huge wagon trains It takes more imagination to create that image in your mind with that house there."

She's right sadly, deplorably right.

The Ludwig story goes on to say that in Baldwin, "a new McDonald's, a car wash and gas station soon will be built next to the Bishop Quayle house which has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1995." Great! Baldwin needs a McDonald's like Job needed another boil! For years that corner has been an eyesore. Now the offending structures are gone and what goes in their place? A fast food outlet and a car wash! What will the McDonald's do to the Black Jack Inn that will be its neighbor? Almost every time a giant chain opens a new outlet, a locally owned business offering the same goods or services goes under.

But our city council has given approval to the coming intruders, so that we'll have two car washes facing each other, and two businesses selling hamburgers side by side, three gas stations within a mile! Right on, city council!

And where, by the way, is an outcry against the council's stand that the results of a six month investigation of the police department remain secret? Didn't Baldwin City taxpayers fund this investigation? Am I the only one who resents the implication that Baldwin residents aren't capable of handling the information intelligently, putting the findings in context?

A popular film some years ago had an irate citizen opening a window and yelling, "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore!" It seems to me we need a Mad As Hell Committee to sit in on the city council and stir up the slumbering community.

I nominate Phyllis Hobson as chairperson!

Don Mueller
Baldwin City

To the editor:

This is a note of appreciation for the many acts of kindness and joy that were shown all of us at Vintage Park during the holiday season. The true spirit of Christmas was very evident in the caroling groups from the churches, family groups, 4-H clubs and Scout groups. A special thank you to the Rainbow Experience Preschool and the delightful program they presented. Cheryl McCrary and her Girl Scouts gave us a great time and lots of goodies. Jody Eldridge and the Chansonettes were a great addition to our Christmas party.

The plates of goodies that came in the door and settled on our counter made our home feel just like the ones we left. A big thank you to the Boy Scouts who made us a beautiful evergreen wreath that hung in our dining room. Our third grade reading partners added to our holiday dining with very festive homemade place mats.

It was an extra special Christmas and holiday season at Vintage Park and many of you helped make it possible. We thank everyone who had a part in our holiday festivities.

The residents and staff of Vintage Park
Baldwin City

To the editor:

Please allow me to join Council Member Cohen in asking every household to complete the citizen survey which you will be receiving. As you complete the form, please follow through in the comment section (with each question and also on the back) letting us know for any area in which you are dissatisfied what it would take for you to become satisfied. If you need more room, please attach additional pages as needed. The details you provide will build a more concrete knowledge base of what the citizens of Baldwin City would like to accomplish. Hopefully, there are areas where you are satisfied and for the areas which need improvement, this is a great opportunity for you to be heard. The time you contribute in answering this survey will be greatly appreciated!

Peggy Nichols
City Clerk

To the editor:

I couldn't let this week go by without a response to Baldwin Supt. James White's comments regarding year-round school. This proposal would not only be a student's worst nightmare, I'm sure many teachers, faculty members and parents have had nightmares or thoughts of what this change would mean. It is ridiculous to think that this school district would consider such a proposal at this time.

Year-round school is not a concept seen in the State of Kansas. Many conferences and workshops on year-round education are held periodically throughout the state. Over the years of study, research shows that students forget at different rates. Educationally disadvantaged students not only acquire knowledge more slowly, but they tend to lose it more rapidly. A New York State Board of Regents study found that above-grade level achievers continue to learn during the summer months. This is due primarily to efforts by parents to provide enrichment activities and experiences outside the formal learning environment. Educationally disadvantaged students forget more over the summer months when they go home to a non-stimulating environment.

I admire and respect every teacher that has the desire to do what they do. They must really enjoy their jobs; after all, they are not paid very well. One of the perks of the profession is having summers off. If I were a teacher, since no schools in our region go year-round, I would have to negotiate a better salary to even consider teaching in this district. "The district could experience some extra minor costs." Regardless of the cost, we, the taxpayers would have to pay.

Athletics would be an issue. Yes, most games are played at night, sometimes until 10 p.m., the choice would be no sports or no homework. At this time there are too many issues to consider year-round school. There are church camps, 4-H camps, Boy and Girl Scout camps, basketball camps, baseball games, swimming lessons, vacation Bible schools, football camps, county fairs and family vacations. Until the entire State of Kansas recognizes this program, our students would miss out on all these types of activities. Academics can be learned outside the classroom.

Yes, there are less farm families today, but we still exist. We still require our youngsters to be home during the summer months to help on the farm. Do you know how many farm families live in this school district? Perhaps you should have done your homework!

It's difficult for our children, teachers and parents to be away from school for a week or two. We all struggle to get back into the routine. Our summers provide other learning opportunities for our children. Summer school was developed to help educationally disadvantaged students. I believe we are providing quality education with our current system. Let our children grow academically outside the classrooms. Don't take that away.

Twilla Brown
Parent and Taxpayer
Baldwin City

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