Sen. Koering deserves commendation not only for his heroic efforts to thwart crime ("Koering walks tall in encounter with two would-be robbers"), but also for his efforts to make English Minnesota's official language by sponsoring Senate bill S.F. 165.
Instead of encouraging new immigrants to learn English, Minnesota is encouraging the opposite by providing government services in a growing list of foreign languages.
Sen. Koering's bill would correct this. S.F. 165 cannot be characterized as "English only" because it makes common sense exceptions for things like tourism, and doesn't prevent anyone from speaking another language in private conversations or at home.
Besides saving Minnesota taxpayers the cost of paying for translations and interpreters, S.F. 165 would encourage new immigrants to learn English.
This is critical. Census data show that immigrants who speak English earn over twice as much on average as those who don't. So S.F. 165 is pro-immigrant, and those who promote multi-lingualism in the name of "diversity" are actually doing immigrants harm.
Making English Minnesota's official language would simply mean that for the government to act officially, it must do so in English. It would also mean that no one has a right to demand government services in any other language.
That's a policy all Minnesotan's should embrace.
Making choices for the long haul
The current labor dispute in Crosby points up one of the shortcomings of "local control" of our schools. The school board has proven inept at dealing with the delicate process of collective bargaining. According to a recent interview in the Dispatch, the board chair mistakenly believes his allegiance is to the financial bottom line instead of the social bottom line.
Not too long ago both businesses and working folks in the Crosby area were united in the goal of having the best school system money could buy. They knew that obtaining a first class education was the best way for their children to achieve in our society.
I would rather boast that my community had the best supported, best-trained teachers in the state working to educate my children than the current mentality of trying to pay just enough to get by and hoping for passable results.
It is unmistakably the role of community leaders to foster a healthy learning environment for our children. To that end all stakeholders should be asking themselves "Am I making choices that will benefit our children and our community over the long haul?"
The cost of energy conservation
In the Feb. 25, 2005, Brainerd Dispatch there was an article comparing the construction of two homes. One home incorporated energy efficient features and the other conventional features. The sale price for the conventional home was $50,000 less than the energy efficient home. The article then compared mortgage payments, with identical down payments, and annual energy bills with the conclusion that the energy efficient home had a lower annual cost even with a $50,000 higher initial mortgage.
What the article did not compare was property taxes. The added $50,000 in property assessments and corresponding property taxes will more than eat up any energy savings. Since property assessments and taxes have increased at a greater rate than energy costs I believe the article is in error.
The family in the energy efficient home will have a more comfortable home environment but at a higher cost. A question could be asked, does government only give lip-service to home energy conservation as it increases property assessments and collects more property taxes?
A second opinion on recruiters
In "Keep Military Recruiters out of High Schools" letter, the writer states that we "send our youth into a war that nobody can justify." I can justify it.
On March 8, 1985, I swore the following, I, Steve Lanz, do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.
On August 2, 1985, I swore, I solemnly pledge myself before God and these witnesses to practice faithfully all of my duties as a member of the Hospital Corps. I hold the care of the sick and injured to be a privilege and a sacred trust and will assist the Medical Officer with loyalty and honesty. I will not knowingly permit harm to come to any patient. I will not partake of nor administer any unauthorized medication. I will hold all personal matters pertaining to the private lives of patients in strict confidence. I dedicate my heart, mind, and strength to the work before me. I shall do all within my power to show in myself an example of all that is honorable and good throughout my naval career.
With daily updates on the number of soldiers and sailors that have died in service of their country, no one, regardless of age would have any illusions about military service. I swore an oath in service to my country. We the People, took an oath, to free the people of Iraq, and help to restore their country in democracy. The justification, we promised!
Hospital Corpsman Second Class,
U.S. Navy retired
Our children are our future
It was very disheartening to read the disparaging remarks made by many C-I residents at their recent community meeting. What accomplishments were made by this negative gathering? At best, it allowed the attendees to vent their frustration re: the school strike. At its worst, it attacked teachers for being teachers and choosing to be employed in a profession with benefits.
Is this a situation of the "have-nots"demonstrating jealousy toward the "haves?" Is it parents stressed because "school daycare" is not available? Or is it just ignorance about the "real facts" involved in this strike?
Personally, I tire of hearing how other professions don't have the same wages/benefits as teachers. If you feel like life has been unfair to you, fix it, but don't berate others for making their own career choices.
Several years ago, I left a decent-paying job with the county to explore other career options. I chose to work as a paraprofessional at the C-I High School for 1/4 the salary that I was accustomed to earning. I remained in this job for 10 years because I was committed to the students that I worked with and because the staff aided and supported my personal growth in a different career. I cannot thank them enough for this.
If the community truly wants to be productive and useful, they should insist that the school board, superintendent, and teachers meet on a regular basis until an agreement can be reached to end the strike. They should demonstrate to the youth in the community that they can put aside their personal feelings to focus on finding positive solutions. Our children are our future -- what are they learning?
Jill Zauhar Backberg
Share information with teachers
We, as a few frustrated parents, started putting things together for last night's meeting on Monday, March 1, 2005. I can say, from my heart, that I was going to be happy to see a turnout of 50 people. To see the Deerwood Auditorium floor filled, and overflow in the balcony area with a turnout of over 400 people was an answered prayer that our community truly cares about our children and future.
I, personally, do not feel that I deserve the credit for pulling our community together. Many dedicated people deserve this credit. I want to say, "Congratulations" to everyone in this community for pulling together with one main goal of getting our children back in school where they desperately want and need to be.
It is my opinion that the teachers on the "Teachers Negotiating Team" may not be sharing the EMC-I Negotiating Team's proposal with our teachers. If you share this view, I greatly encourage you to contact all of the teachers to let them know that you believe the "last best final offer" that our school board has placed on the table is fair. Let them know you value their teaching.
I have attached a list of the EMC-I Negotiating Team and an e-mail address for strike headquarters. I urge you to contact them now and often.
Stan Nagorski, Doug Mayfield, Mike Beseres, Wendy Gindorff, Jean Callisto, Jill Olson, Nikki Jacobs. They can be reached by email at: email@example.com.
Parent of C-I children
Unite in health care fight
I have been working in Human Services for 20-plus years. I am a union member, but more than that I am a mom, grandmother and daughter and was a single parent who lived "hand to mouth" for many years. It terrifies me that we fight amongst each other when the real "terrorists" of health care are the pharmaceutical companies and their "political bedfellows" that abused Medicaid over the years and CEO's of health care companies that get a $93 million bonus like the President of United Health Care. Did you know Pfizer Pharmaceutical donated $74 million in hard and soft money to Bush's presidential campaign? Did you know the Bush regime recruited reporters to put a positive spin on Bush legislation for Medicaid that will end up costing billions more than what he told Congress?
My mom was forced out of her job at 58 years of age. Others of her age group were also forced out to save money. A class action suit was filed and my mom died at 66 years old, still working and choosing to go without a medication she could not afford and too proud to ask for help.
The suit was settled after her death. Wake up people. Support those that are fighting for affordable health care and by God that includes those brave teachers in Crosby.
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