Taking a side opposite someone that buys ink by the barrel is never wise, but the after Labor Day school start issue is far too important.
Your Feb. 3 editorial is off the mark for several reasons. Your paper represents one of the best tourism areas of the state and yet you oppose an issue that is strongly supported by the entire resort industry.
By law school districts already have the authority to start anytime after Labor Day and end when they choose, Aug 31st if they desire. There are 200 days between Sept. 6th and June 6th. That gives the school districts 26 days of vacation or teacher training days, more than enough to accommodate almost any flexibility in scheduling.
Tourism being the second largest commodity in this state, one that brings in many sales tax and income tax dollars to pay for education should have a schedule that is dependable and not all over the calendar. Starting school after Labor Day gives our resorts the time and opportunity to hire young people so they can not only learn about business and the workings of the world but can help those resorts at a time when they need it. The State Fair has suffered when school starts before Labor Day along with the airline industry (they show a higher percentage of cancellations when that happens).
After Labor Day school start is what the people of our area want and it is my job to bring that forward or defend the existing law against those that want to change it. Normally this is an argument between the rural and metro area against the suburbs. Your neighbor to the north, the Bemidji Pioneer agrees with me.
Rep. Larry Howes
Political cowardice in Washington
While troops are dying, the Senate spends the time diddling over some useless, non-binding resolution in what is likely a futile effort to thwart this administration's escalation of 21,500 thousand more troops to Iraq. It will be non-binding because of the political cowardice of a Congress that hasn't the backbone to stand up to "the decider." It's an exercise in futility for a few Democrats as the Republicans will stymie any effective roadblock. Sadly, party loyalty and deference to the president trumps the good of the country every time.
As to the cost, the new War Department budget being submitted is for $622 billion. One wag headed a column with "Pay up, suckers." Estimated cost of veterans care and services alone for the next 40 years is some $662 billion, assuming the killing and maiming cease.
Now we have the specter of our sabre-rattling president, candidates for the White House, the right-wing pundits, Israel and the Jewish lobby and many members of the media pushing for war with Iran, a country that may or may not be pursuing nuclear weapons. Former National Security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski told the Senate that Iraq is a "historic, strategic and moral calamity" and that Bush is seeking a pretext for attacking Iran. As Mr. Bush apparently had no clue about the consequences of his Iraq invasion, or of the enormity of what he has done, it follows the same will be true for Iran. Whipping up anti-Iran hysteria and creating a Gulf of Tonkin type "incident" that can be blamed on Iran may be all it will take to ignite a conflagration even more catastrophic than Iraq. As we have become a purveyor of violence and the world's largest arms dealer, one must ask, will this long neo-con nightmare ever end?
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