SEN. MIKE CRAPO
Additions to ethics list
It appears the Guide for Ethical Behavior for Elected Leaders may want to add a couple of chapters in the revised edition. One on drunken driving and one on carjacking. Thanks for your hard work and your moral example. What would we do without you?
DAVID K. DILISA, Meridian
Story includes cheap shot
OK, Ill buy the reasoning for doing a front-page story on Sen. Crapo being arrested on a DUI charge. I guess that is news. But never before do I remember reading the religious affiliation being included and his official capacity in his church. Outrageous of you. Thats not reporting thats cheap muckraking.
GENNIE ISON, Boise
Who paid for the drinks?
I have some sympathy for Sen. Crapo. The conduct of this Congress would drive anyone to drink. My question is: Which lobbyist paid for the drinks?
PAUL B. PUSEY, Meridian
SALMON AND DAMS
Director misrepresents economic impact of dams
Terry Flores, executive director of Northwest River Partners, is at it again in her Dec. 11 Readers View. Hyperbole seems to be her forte.
She claims the Lewiston port shipped products worth billions and provided thousands of jobs.
Facts are that the Lewiston port shipped 500,000 tons of wheat worth about $165 million .... maybe she was counting the grains of wheat to get to billions.
Flores said that the barge system of transportation kept 700,000 trucks off our highways. Facts are that one could ship all 3 million tons of wheat and other products both ways with just 100,000 trucks or 300 train loads. In the not-too-distant future, these trucks and trains will be running on natural gas and electric.
While the dams do produce power, they dont fill the energy gap anymore. Wind power does! And soon a combination of wind and solar power will make these dams look like fiscal cliffs ... demanding more and more federal money to maintain them and the locks.
Free the lower Snake River of dams and let local economies from Stanley to Salmon to Riggins to Whitebird to Lewiston thrive on a sustainable fishery and its multiplier.
The world needs more drift boats, not barges.
RICH HOWARD, Boise
Dams do not provide help to agriculture
NOAA Fisheries recently announced it hired two contractors to conduct interviews to provide a better picture of what it would take to get salmon recovery.
NOAA is looking for straight talk not what appeared in a Readers View penned by Terry Flores, executive director of Northwest River Partners.
Flores continues to obfuscate salmon recovery in the Columbia and Snake rivers. Columbia River dams are not considered for removal the four lower Snake River dams are.
She talks of the benefits of the Port of Lewiston that moves products worth billons providing thousands of jobs. In 2011, the Lewiston port shipped 500,000 tons of wheat priced at about $10 per bushel worth $165 million not billions. The Port of Lewiston has six full-time employees.
Flores said shipping by barge helps keep 700,000 trucks off our highways. You could ship the entire 3 million tons of commerce in and out of the lower Snake with 100,000 trucks or 300 shuttle trains not 700,000.
She said the lower Snake dams provide vital irrigation to farmers in Idaho. Just the opposite because of the dams, Idaho sends irrigation water to move salmon smolts through four slow-moving reservoirs.
BERT BOWLER, Boise
Salmon recovery possible with dams in place
The Statesman recently made a vague claim that the silver bullet for Idaho sockeye recovery is through the elimination of the four lower Snake River dams.
Many things contribute to fish mortality. These include the absence of spawning habitat in the upper watershed, manmade pollution and hydro projects upriver of the four on the lower Snake.
The Statesman implies that breaching would eliminate the need for costly hatchery programs. The hatcheries provide catchable fish for commercial and sportfishers, and a number of jobs. Dam removal would not speed elimination of these hatcheries or their costs.
Dams on the lower Snake also provide a vital piece of the regions generating puzzle. Replacement power would be expensive and likely nonrenewable with higher emissions.
Science is showing that federal measures are bringing back salmon on the lower Snake. In addition to sockeye, the numbers for other salmon and steelhead species that live in the Snake River are trending upward.
These dams are an important, cost-effective resource to the region and much is being done to aid salmon on the Snake. The Statesmans oversimplification of this issue does a disservice to its readers.
BO DOWNEN, PUBLIC POWER COUNCIL,
Colorado program opens alternatives for parents
Yet another front-page article on education reform. The most pertinent sentence in the article Task force recommendations should be research-based .... There is at least one school in the Valley that follows proven research. It is called Fresco Arts Academy.
1) Choosing the right teachers is the most important element of successful education (treat them as professionals not as employees).
2) Class size matters (keep it small).
3) Engaged students are successful students (do not waste their time).
4) One size does not fit all (individualize instruction).
5) Make arts instruction an important part of the daily curriculum (not extracurricular).
6) Encourage students to chase and practice their chosen passion (facilitate the 10,000-hour rule).
7) Utilize parents and guardians (communicate and listen).
8) Guide students to ownership of their learning goals (accountability and creativity).
9) Encourage big ideas (embrace the occasional failure).
10) Use technology as a wonderful tool for assisting great teaching (do not try to replace teachers with technology see 1).
Idahos best reform might be a voucher program similar to Colorados new 25/75 plan. Then any child could choose to go to a research-driven school like Fresco Arts Academy.
KENDELL NIELSEN, Eagle
Merit pay plan rewards schools, not teachers
Wayne Hoffman states the transition from high school to college should be seamless. My observations as an educator, thats so in Idaho. Many seniors with whom I work typically leave Skyview High School with as many as 30 to 38 college credits (college algebra/trig; calculus; stats; biology; chemistry; U.S. history; U.S. government; psychology; credits via AP English, etc.). This is so in many schools here in the Valley and elsewhere. I had supposed everyone was aware of this fact.
As for his advocating for public, charter, online and home schooling all are options in our state and readily available to practically any student. Why continue to argue for these?
The tax credit (read: vouchers) seems to hint at violating the separation clause, which I am certain someone from a freedom foundation would not favor.
Mr. Hoffmans reference to merit pay is curious I received $1,430 in merit pay (no cost of living for the past eight years, but this). So did every teacher in my building. There simply are no metrics that can accurately determine individual teacher quality and reward it properly. Our merit pay was based on school achievement, not teacher performance, which smacks of subterfuge.
AL STOUT, Boise
Teach moral values to kids
Liberal ideas cause another problem. The easy availability of abortions, late-term abortions and euthanasia teach young people that life does not matter.
Judicial leniency, toleration of drug use and hiring illegal aliens as Senate interns teach young people that illegal activities have little consequences. Creating gun-free zones makes a target-rich environment for trouble-makers.
We teach young people that it is incorrect to say the word Christmas, but then have the president quote the New Testament.
We cant stop crazy or sick people from acting outside of societys norms. All we can do is mitigate the results by teaching moral values, teaching the importance of life and allowing society to protect itself from the rare catastrophic events.
DAVID SZPLETT, Kuna