Boy, is our school district going bananas to even think of changing school bus service? Elmer Reichert built this school bus service from scratch. They are very good and reliable. Do you believe this other company is going to save $381,458 more for you? Nonsense. Maybe the first year to get their foot in the door! We better keep Reichert as they are, locally owned.
If you get another company and things go bad do you think Reichert Bus Co. is going to come back? If the school board and district want to save money, start at the top and cut your wages on administration. Thousands of dollars are over paid to you. Too much wages is uncalled for. You could pay your own medical insurance, that would help. You'll be sorry if you let Reichert go. Our kids are safe now and we know it! Keep it that way.
Put kids first instead of the almighty dollar! Just because it's cheaper doesn't mean it's better! Darn poor law if you have to take the cheapest. Call your district office and school board and demand Reichert Bus to stay. If you should need them they are only a couple miles away. The new superintendent can leave anytime he chooses and the school board does change, so get behind Reichert and stand up for your kids! Kids come first! You pay the bill.
Don't go to war
It is time in the history of human beings to unconditionally accept choosing dialogue, negotiation and mid-course settlement, not war, to settle nations' disputes, however serious those disputes may be. Not to do so at this particular time, the time we human beings now live in, will result in a return to barbarism and an uncivilized worldwide condition.
This citizen does not support armed force war on Iraq.
God, the Almighty, Creator of all that has being, human beings, all human beings included in that creation. It is tragic that almost two-thirds of the human beings killed in the 9/11 attack were United States citizens. Does that give our President Bush reason to retaliate by killing 100,000 to 200,000 Iraqi citizens, non-combatants, by unleashing our high tech weaponry on these children of God?
Since when does U.S. government policy of imposing democratic principles of governing through use of force square with conservative Christian principles? If this citizen remembers true historical events, the use of armed force was a miserable failure for all non-combatants caught up in the power politics of governments, especially in the Crusades of the late 12th and early 13th centuries; the repercussions of those policies are with us to the present time.
Peace of Christ be with you.
Beyond the phrase "Minnesota nice" is the decency that most of us really try to show toward others. By "others," I mean people who are different than we are, but whom we recognize as fellow human beings. This is what bothers so many about the governor's proposals. In attacking the deficit only with budget cuts, real people will be hurt:
Low-income families will lose affordable health coverage.
Low-income families will lose assistance with child care fees.
Low-income families will lose the comprehensive support provided by Head Start.
Low-income elder citizens will lose vital services to themselves and vital opportunities for service to others.
Low-income students will lose the financial aid that allows them to attend college.
Disabled children and adults will lose the services that give them independence.
There is nothing decent about these proposals. They are not humane. They are not "nice." The governor proposes them because he has not yet grown into his job. His proposals are politically savvy, but they lack the wisdom that comes from a genuine feeling for the people he governs.
The governor says he has no choice, but of course he does. In the short run, to support the most vulnerable, he could raise taxes sensibly -- like the cigarette tax, which would benefit the health of Minnesotans, and internet sales tax, which the state is presently not collecting. In the long run, for all of us, he could attack the main cause of rising government expenses: escalating health care costs. If he fought to stabilize health care costs with the same tenacity he shows in cutting these, the governor would be leading Minnesotans toward the best image of who we can be.
I find it somewhat disheartening the Brainerd School Board would consider school bus transportation for our children from a company outside of the United States.
First Student Bus Company, listed as a national firm actually originates our of England -- and is owned by British Petroleum Company. The other "national" firm, Laidlaw, headquarters out of Canada.
I question if First Student Bus Service would purchase their fuel locally, as Reichert does, or would they come in with their own fuel transport? Would they procure their tires locally, as Reichert does? I doubt it. Would they obtain their printing locally? Very unlikely. I'm sure other local businesses would lose Reichert's trade.
I understand First Student Bus Company presently operates in certain metro school districts in Minnesota (with some questionable results) and are seeking entry into an outstate district -- ours! Unlike metro school bus routes which are very well defined, our Brainerd school district bus routes are quite varied and somewhat complicated. This causes some concern with a newcomer to the area.
My major contention with all of this is the creditability Reichert Bus Service has established in this community for over 56 years. They have donated many services to various local organizations over the years, with very little fanfare!
Reichert's have offered a quote 2.6 percent below the current rate and are probably willing to enter into further negotiations. Laidlaw Bus Service offered a quote 3.5 percent over the current rate.
If First Student Bus Service is able to come in with a quote 12.6 percent under the current rate I strongly question how this "savings" will be made up.
School bus contract
A recent paper listed the proposal of three service companies competing for our school bus business. The rates were listed in millions and for a certain number of years. How about looking at some averages before we compare the bottom line?
What is the state or national average cost to bus a student a mile? What is the average time a student sits in a bus? How often does a student get abandoned on the bus service? What are the bus driver and student relationships for the service?
I am sure there are many other ratios and variable that could be looked at; then look at and compare with our present service. How does our present service match these? Or are they above or below these?
Are the new companies proposing to come into the area charging the rates they proposed in other areas that they serve? Or are these rates predatory, to simply buy more business? After answering these and other questions we can have a bus service that is great for our children.
This is in response to the person who questioned HART's policies regarding stray animals. The shelter does the best they can with the space and the funds they have available. Crow Wing County has a dog ordinance that allows stray dogs to be handled by the animal control officer and brought to HART. Aitkin and Cass counties are without a dog ordinance (some specific municipalities have an ordinance) resulting in strays being added to a waiting list and taken in as space becomes available. In those situations a small surrender fee ($18) is requested to help pay the overhead at the shelter. In the case of the Malmo rescue the lady had run out of money attempting to care for 70 dogs. HART organized the rescue but only ended up with 10 dogs of which we found immediate homes for seven. All three counties are without a cat ordinance although a few specific municipalities include the felines. Stray cats are also added to a waiting list and taken in when possible. Our mission statement is to promote animal welfare in Crow Wing, Cass and Aitkin counties, through adoptions, education and cruelty investigations.
HART acting director
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