Letters to the editor-07-03-2013

July 3, 2013 

DRIVING LESSONS

Ada, Canyon drivers should pay attention

Idaho City is my home! With summer upon us the warm weather brings people from all over to our little community. Locals welcome the visitors, however, inconsiderate behavior and dangerous driving we do not!

I know this potentially dangerous highway well and with the increase of traffic there is an increase of danger. I'm becoming increasingly impatient with inconsiderate motorists who sadly seem to be completely unaware of anyone but themselves on the highway!

Here's some driving advice that I'm frustrated enough to share. If you have a 1A or a 2C on your license plates you may need to listen up. There are speed limit signs clearly posted, however, slower is not always safer ... when you have 10 cars behind you and you're refusing to pull over. There are pull over areas every half mile! Why not use them? When someone attempts to pass you, allow that to happen, do not speed up! Not allowing someone to pass accomplishes nothing more than an accident! Not everyone is sightseeing, some of us have somewhere to be! If our plates have a 6B .. we've already seen it! Common sense and consideration welcomed.

One more thing - if you drive and smoke, use an ashtray.

MARY PROVICK, Idaho City

DRIVING APPLE STREET

A pleasant day in which safety laws didn't apply

As I looked through the windshield there were two cars in the oncoming traffic. A bike rider, going my direction, was on the sidewalk to my right; moving fast, keeping up with me, and swooping off the sidewalk onto the road and back onto the sidewalk again and again. A runner was coming toward me in the bike lane on my side of the street. Two young women were riding abreast and against the traffic in the bike lane on the other side of the street. There were three jaywalking pedestrians standing in the turn lane in the middle of the street waiting for traffic to pass.

From a parking lot, a car pulled out in front of me. I hit the brakes and just managed to avoid hitting the car, slamming into the bike rider, flattening the runner, scaring the heck out of the jaywalking pedestrians and rudely interrupting the conversation of the young women riding the wrong way on the other side of the street.

But no worries - it was a mellow spring afternoon ...

Shhhh, listen, are those ambulance sirens I hear in the distance?

JOHN ARRINGTON, Boise

IDAHO GOP

Narrow agendas work to state's disadvantage

Idaho's Republican leaders have again lost their credibility. They have claimed for years to value local control in government and an individual's right to liberty, but now they want to nullify ordinances that six Idaho cities have passed to ban discrimination.

They claim to have a "big tent," but their loyalty oaths dictate a narrow ideology as well as disdaining "those people" who ride buses, running our good teachers off instead of treating them fairly, and keeping the majority of our workers at the lowest minimum wage.

Democrats in the Idaho Legislature tried hard to find reasonable Republicans to work with this past year, but that's a pretty small pool. Too many Republican lawmakers come with narrow-minded agendas, are under the influence of big money, and smugly count on the "R" behind their names to win re-election in Idaho.

I am a concerned citizen who wants intelligent thinking, open-mindedness, democratic practices and maybe even honesty and integrity from lawmakers. I propose that we all study our legislators' agendas and pressure them to be statesmen, not just partisan Republican activists.

We need legislators who want the best for all Idahoans regardless of their party.

LOIS MORGAN, Boise

FRANK CHURCH

High standards lacking

As a former two-year resident of Idaho who has lived in Utah since 1976, the recent debate over the National Security Agency again reminds me that it was Idaho, not Utah, that produced Sen. Frank Church. How sorely this country needs thoughtful, visionary legislators like Frank Church! Instead, we send back people like Utah's current congressional delegation, and, frankly, Idaho's isn't much better.

STEVE WARREN, West Valley City, Utah

COMMON CORE

There's no proof that system works

So the Statesman's criteria for supporting Common Core is, "It promotes engaging students to exercise critical thinking with their accumulated knowledge." But where on earth is your proof that Common Core actually does this?

There is a lively national debate as to how Common Core and its corresponding tests will affect children educationally, and it is extremely difficult to know how for sure because no one has ever tried it out before. That's right: Common Core is an entirely experimental sequence of learning. With your references to the well-noted failures of No Child Left Behind and Outcome-Based Education, two similarly unexamined programs thrust upon the nation, one would think your conclusion would be "Where is the evidence?"

History does teach us that massive education programs usually have highly frustrating unintended consequences, and research shows us that Common Core does not include the systematic background knowledge that provides essential material for children to critically think about, and without which critical thinking cannot occur.

If Common Core were so rife with critical thinking skills, one would think its proponents would exercise them a bit more heavily.

JOY PULLMANN, Education research fellow, Heartland Institute, Chicago

FOREST RESTORATION

Golden egg is rotten

The Clearwater Basin Collaborative has laid their golden egg, the Clear Creek Integrated Restoration Project. Inside the egg is a timber sale that could log between 62-85 million board feet of timber in the Clear Creek drainage on the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests.

This single project is about twice the volume of timber that currently comes off both national forests in two year's time.

When holding the egg you will see that it is comparable in size to the infamous Cove-Mallard timber sales of the '90s. Rotate the egg and find that it proposes to log in a watershed that doesn't appear to be meeting watershed standards, nor does the data clearly show an upward trend.

Further rotation of the egg will show that old growth will be "treated" and clear-cuts or "openings" will checker the landscape. Final rotation of the egg will reveal that twice the amount of roads will be built than removed. All of this is conveniently labeled "restoration" in the collaborative circle.

Now try and eat the egg. If the odor causes you to gag and drop the egg on the floor don't worry. It turns out the egg is rotten after all.

BRETT HAVERSTICK, Moscow

PRESCRIPTION DRUGS

U.S. fails to use drugs to our advantage

The U.S. has prescription drugs, tobacco, fast food and recalled vehicles. These weapons of mass destruction could easily reduce American deaths and injuries in war zones, but instead of using them to our advantage, we use them to kill ourselves and our children.

Enemy fighters on prescription drugs would be less dangerous if suffering from side effects like diarrhea, depression and trouble breathing. Heart attacks and strokes, some fatal, have been reported.

Enemy smokers would be less combative carrying their bottles of oxygen everywhere they go and stopping frequently to cough up lungers.

Build fast food outlets in hostile countries and the enemy would soon be too fat to fight. Many would end up diabetic and blind.

Vehicles recalled due to sticking throttles, which may cause them to crash and burn, could be parked close to enemy strongholds with the keys in the ignition and a full tank of gas.

If military weapons fired only paint balls, was could be fun and school children would be safe.

KEN WHITE, Twin Falls

WILDERNESS

Protection needed

For the past seven years I gathered natural history information on 14 roadless areas in the Lochsa and North Fork Clearwater River drainages. This included flights over the sites by Lighthawk, a volunteer organization of pilots that provides visual images of the open space, and wildlands so loved by Idahoans and the nation.

Working with Friends of the Clearwater, booklets of each roadless area were assembled to describe the geology, terrain, flora, aquatic resources, trails, water features and wildlife including photos and maps to help detail the place's geography. In addition, we held on-site workshops to familiarize folks with the countryside.

Of over 1.5 million acres inventoried roadless areas in the Nez-Perce-Clearwater National Forests less than one-fifth of this land was recently recommended as wilderness by the Clearwater Basin Collaborative. Apparently, CBC doesn't recognize the value of the remaining 1.2 million acres of roadless country - abundant wildlife, rare life forms, headwaters to anadromous fish, undisturbed scenic vistas and some of the best hunting and fishing in the lower 48 contributing to the state's economy. All of this makes Idaho special and as the population increases and cities expand, such country will not only be priceless but irreplaceable.

FRED RABE, Moscow

JEROME WATER

Thanks for nothing

To Mr. Gary Spackman, director of Water Resources, I would like to take a moment to personally thank you for your recent decision of water transfer No. 78352 in Jerome County.

I am so grateful for the time spent coming to such a conclusion. After identifying the obvious inaccuracies i.e.(1) the Harold Dimond well is not even 2,800 feet away, let alone 28 miles (2) a growing heifer only drinks one gallon of water per day? (3) "hearing" means a one sided meeting (4) the list goes on, it is very apparent that the Milk Mafia and government officials work very well together.

The citizens of the great state of Idaho have reason to be proud knowing they are in such capable hands. Thank you for making an appeal unnecessary in this case, so it too, won't fall on the same deaf ears and waste everyone's time. But most of all my humble gratitude goes to you for so politely informing me that I have NO rights under your direction and this means even more to me when I realize what my tax dollars are being used for. Thanks again for all you do. Nothing.

CAROLYN DIMOND, Wendell

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