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Wednesday, September 25, 2013
Schools look great, but waste money
There were some wonderful pictures in the Sept. 4 paper of the South Salem Elementary School (“Everything new as South Salem opens,” news story). But I have a concern with the pattern I have seen in newer schools in the area.
While they look wonderful, where is the practical side of these schools? With the high ceilings — the writer actually called them “cavernous halls” — they will be a huge expense to maintain climate control.
I believe the children and staff do deserve a pleasant environment, but there appears to be a lack of basic understanding regarding expansion, practicality and sustainability.
Plus let’s don’t forget the issue of constructing a school without a gym.
I believe the cost of the school — $17 million — would have been more than enough to have expanded the older school and provided the staff with a much-needed raise.
CHARLOTTE E. BRAMBLETT-KRANTZ
Editor’s note: The story reported that the gym was not ready when the school opened.
Just saying it’s bad doesn’t make it so
It seems Angela Allen’s delightfully droll rebuttal (“A bad day? Chalk it up to gay marriage,” Sept. 12 Pick of the Day) to John Stec’s homophobic tirade (“When will the attack on the family end?” Sept. 5 commentary) struck a nerve with recent letter-writer Tom Phelps (“Gay marriage reflects moral corruption,” Sept. 19).
Phelps hilariously whines that “Content took a back seat” while belching out a dyspeptic diatribe that itself was essentially content-free, claiming that “homosexual unions deteriorate the institution of marriage and family” yet failing to offer so much as a smidgen of evidence to prove this claim.
He also howls about “what is inherently bad,” never mind that every respected medical and mental-health organization on Earth agrees that there is nothing “inherently bad” about homosexuality and, unlike Phelps and his ilk, have the peer-reviewed research to back it all up.
It seems the only evidence Phelps and his fellow homophobes have to prove that same-sex marriage will harm them is “because I say so, darn it!”
If that’s the best they can muster, then no wonder they’ve lately been getting clobbered in one federal court case after another.
Congress needs to pass a farm bill
When Congress dropped the 2012 farm bill last September, many vital U.S. Department of Agricutlure programs were defunded. The Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program provides valuable training and technical assistance for new farmers.
The Organic Research and Extension Initiative and Specialty Crops Research Initiative fund practical research to help producers meet challenges like the invasive exotic pest brown marmorated stink bug.
The Farmers Market Promotion Program helps establish new farmers markets and provides low-income and senior citizens better access to fresh local produce. But these programs are no more — unless Congress passes a new farm bill.
Both Senate and House versions of the 2013 farm bill would restore funding for these programs, and would more than offset their cost through sensible reforms to crop subsidy programs.
Sadly, efforts to attach a $40 billion cut in food stamps to the farm bill could sabotage the entire bill.
As vice chair of the House Agriculture Committee, Rep. Bob Goodlatte must work with his colleagues on Capitol Hill to pass a final farm bill that restores vital research, rural development and beginning farmer training, without exacting such a terrible sacrifice from the food-insecure.
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