Letters to the Editor
To the editor:
It's a shame that you did not wait until the conclusion of the Republican National Convention to proclaim the "largest television audience ever for a national convention." According to the most recent Nielsen ratings, that accolade goes to Sen. John McCain. McCain's acceptance speech topped his opponent's by 500,000 viewers.
To totally blame the Republicans for all the other woes (during a period where Democrats have been in control of both houses of Congress) is like blaming Noah for the flood.
The current administration was not responsible for the blunder after Hurricane Katrina. The state and local government share that distinction. The situation in New Orleans was a time bomb waiting to explode. Some of the city should never have been developed. The infrastructure in New Orleans has been sadly lacking for decades. It still is. I know. I grew up there. I survived two hurricanes - Betsy in 1965 and Camille in 1969. Those storms spared the city with a track different from Katrina that caused Lake Pontchartrain to surge over levees.
Let's assume Baldwin City is flat and below sea level; place a 15-foot wall around town, fill the town to the top with water. Make sure the wall is surrounded by water as well. Then add some crazy people on the ground that are shooting their rescuers. Let most of your local police department flee the city during the storm. For added measure, throw in hundreds of looters, dope addicts and various angry reptiles. In addition, dismiss the canal pump operators. Did you see the pictures of the destruction to the Super Dome caused by all the "grateful" people rescued? This certainly does not resemble an aerial view of Baldwin City during the Maple Leaf Festival.
Check the record. Then and now. Because the current Republican administration took charge before Hurricane Gustav (along with a new Republican governor), events similar to Hurricane Katrina did not occur.
The Democratic solution is that we need more government. The people of Iowa affected by recent flooding and the residents of Greensburg, Kan., have shown us that we do not need more government in our lives. I'm not sure your "change" is the answer.
To the editor:
Now that the primaries are over, it is time to look ahead to the general election. Not just the media surrounded Presidential campaigns, but elections closer to home. Specifically, the 10th district house seat where I believe John Coen is the best candidate to lead. His dedication in pushing for constant improvement and the overall success of this district has been something to admire. John was born and raised in Franklin County and has seen this district transform before his eyes. John lives in northern Franklin County with a Wellsville address, an Ottawa phone and in the Ottawa school district, but is closer to Baldwin City than any other municipality; making John well aware of the issues that exist within each of these communities, while still allowing him to understand the hardships of rural life.
He has been actively involved in the community, spending four years on the Ottawa School Board, more than 25 years as a member of Ottawa Area Chamber of Commerce, 10 years as the Chair of Ransom Memorial Hospital Board of trustees, and also more than 25 years as a member of Kansas Farm Bureau. John has not only served this district locally, but also on the state level. For the past two years John has served Senate Majority Leader Derek Schmidt in policy development and constituent services. Prior to working for Sen. Schmidt, John spent 24 years running a dairy farm from his current residence.
When you start to look at the issues that truly affect this district, John Coen is without a doubt the best choice. When looking at the needs of Kansans - areas like agriculture, business growth and development, education, and healthcare - John's experience far surpasses that of his challenger Tony Brown. I encourage all members of the 10th District to examine both candidates closely before going to the polls on Nov. 4. You can access John Coen's Web site at www.johncoen.org and Tony Brown's at www.tonybrownforkansas.org.
To the editor:
Please, for the sake of future students, pass the technology portion of the 2008 proposed bond, or better yet increase the funding even more.
To give you a look inside the student's period, we spend the first 5-10 minutes attempting to log in. The next 5-10 minutes are spent trying to load the web browser, and when it appears, we spend the next 5 minutes waiting for the home page to load. We then type in our determined Web site address and do other homework for the rest of the hour, only to look up at the screen when the bell rings to find our webpage half loaded.
This is no exaggeration. Our technology department can only make the best of what they are given, so please provide our future students with the right resources.
Baldwin High School senior
To the editor:
Why this bond issue and why now?
A facilities committee consisting of a cross section of the community and district spent a year studying these questions. The initial needs assessment returned an estimated price tag of $60 million. The bulk of the year was spent prioritizing the needs and determining the appropriate size for this bond. The recommendation from the committee, supported by 90 percent of its members, and unanimously adopted by the Board of Education, was a $22.9 million bond that addressed the top needs of the district at a size the community could support.
It includes a Baldwin Elementary School Primary Center ($14.6 million), performing arts auditorium ($3.8 million), youth activities (ball fields and practice track $2.8 million), Baldwin Junior High School repairs ($1.2 million), and district-wide technology/safety enhancements ($500,000). This bond supports the most pressing needs in the district across a wide spectrum of the educational experience we strive to offer our kids. Removing any of the larger elements ignores the needs of a cross section of our kids and correspondingly loses the support of a section of the community.
Why now? These needs are real, significant and will only intensify as our current facilities continue to age, construction costs increase and the district grows. I encourage everyone who doesn't see the need to get out in the district and talk to students, staff and parents. Just as important, visit some of our neighboring districts and take a look at what we're competing against to attract and retain families and the top teachers.
In addition to the several million dollar price increase we'll see because of increased construction costs and higher municipal bond interest rates if we delay, is the risk of losing state funding for new facilities. School funding is under intense scrutiny by the state legislature and there is no guarantee the current formula will be in place next year. Currently the state will pay 27 percent of the cost of this bond. That means we'll be taxed to pay for $16.7 million of this bond and the state will pay $6.2 million. Through this provision your and my tax dollars have helped build the facilities at other districts in the state including recent bonds at Eudora ($45 million), Lawrence ($63 million), Gardner-Edgerton ($50 million), Ottawa ($26 million) and Louisburg ($30 million). There are other state funding benefits that would result in hundreds of thousands of dollars in new money to the district related to these new facilities. It would be a shame to miss out on getting this help for our district.
The facility investments made with this bond are part of a long-range plan. The trigger for future facilities bond requests will be driven as always by district growth, facilities quality, capability and cost of upkeep. A "yes" vote on this issue in no way obligates us to the next phase in the long-range plan. This bond stands by itself and this investment is maintained going forward.
More information can be found on informational flyers available at each district building and the district Web site at http://usd348.com/?home&bond_issue.
Baldwin School Board member
To the editor:
I don't, of course, know who you are. You didn't ask if you could "borrow" from my bonsai display, and I'm concerned that you probably don't know what you have. You need to know how to care for our friend (unless you actually did "borrow" it and return it to the bench in my yard). It is a Chinese Elm about 10 to 12 years old. It is not a "houseplant" - it's a deciduous tree that requires the same weather patterns of other trees. Soon, it must be "plunged" into a protected section of earth (in the tray) so it can continue the life cycle - leaves turning yellow this fall, then dropping so that new growth can continue next spring.
It has been three years since it was repotted, so it is due to have the roots combed and trimmed next spring with fresh potting soil and a new tray. It will need pruning and shaping (re-wiring) next summer. But, you really must attend to the watering! There is little soil to hold water, and the moss really is more decorative than functional. It can dry out quickly - particularly with Kansas winds. I've been watering the tree daily - often twice a day in hot, dry spells - since it came to live at our home. Also, it requires watering through the winter, but less - only enough to keep the roots from becoming dry and brittle. If you don't attend to it daily, keeping it in a heated room, you will kill it rather quickly!
You can, of course, return it to the bench where it has lived during growing seasons, and I can take care of it. I'd like that! (And if you didn't take it, but read this letter and know where our friend is, please do what you can to see that it has a chance to survive another year. It can have a long life if given proper care. I visited an older cousin of this tree in Seattle last year. It was more than 500 years old.)