Letters to the editor: 09-26-2013

September 26, 2013 

Wasting water

My husband and I own a business called Bounding Hound Farm, and we were impacted by the early irrigation shutoff.

Every day, I see examples of egregious overuse or misuse of water: sprinklers running in the heat of the day, causing much of the water to evaporate before it provides any benefit to the grass; large swaths of landscaping along busy streets, providing nothing but water-guzzling road adornment for travelers; decorative waterfalls at countless subdivision entrances, cascading into ponds that serve no purpose.

Where are our priorities? If we as an arid climate city will allow our water to be used for purely decorative purposes but will cut usage for the farmers of our community, what does this say about our values?

Boise touts itself as a progressive and small-business-friendly community, but mine is one of many feeling the impacts of the shutoff. For as many people that I know who claim to love buying local produce and supporting local business — note how large the Capital City Market has become, not to mention the various other markets that have popped up in the last few years — I am deeply disappointed in our city’s seeming apathy on this issue.

ANNA DEMETRIADES, Boise

STEM study

The Statesman report on the University of Idaho study runs contrary to my experience as a high school teacher.

I had the opportunity to participate in several projects investigating student attitudes toward science and math. In each, students became more positively inclined toward science and math as the course progressed.

What produced results that ran contrary to the U of I data? I don’t know for certain, but I can describe project activities. Teachers collaborated to make certain each course built on the one before it. They made certain all students had one hands-on and minds-on laboratory experience per week. Students wrote to summarize procedures and to report results. They constructed data tables and graphs and derived equations. All were graded using a schoolwide lab report scoring guide. Progress was mapped. Feedback was given. Having one lab per week ensured multiple opportunities to improve.

Today, I get community college students who have had little lab experience. They come from overcrowded classrooms having had few labs but lots of test prep exercises. They come with bright dreams of becoming a physician, a nurse or a software engineer.

Isn’t it time we invested in children instead of the testing companies?

MARY G. OLLIE, Meridian

Cato Institute

The sound of one hand clapping.

Permit me to offer subdued applause to Audrey Dutton for her Sept. 2 article (“Cato: Actually, Idahoans on welfare are working”), essentially doing some of the fundamental journalism she should have done before unleashing her Aug. 2 article (“Think tank: Idaho welfare benefits too attractive”).

It is one thing for the Statesman to present its neoconservative viewpoint on its editorial pages, but quite another to have that stance encroach upon what we would hope should be nonpartisan “news” pages.

Since its founding in 1977, the Cato Institute has been forthright in its small-government-is-good-government perspective, and Ms. Dutton was quite generous in her unquestioning referral to her source for the original article as “the free-market Cato Institute.”

The fact is there is no such thing as a “typical welfare family” in Idaho. Each person, young, old or in between, is unique in needs and benefits, and the Statesman has an editorial responsibility to point that out in the interest of balance and fair play. Let us take the high ground here and thank the Statesman for getting it at least somewhat more right the second time.

CAY MARQUART, Boise

Do Not Call list

What part of Do Not Call do solicitors, telemarketers, political action committees, pollsters, phishers and other entities not understand? What good is the Do Not Call registry if everybody can ignore it? Why must I keep reporting the same numbers for violating my privacy?

KELLY HUDGENS, Boise

Politics

Health care reform is coming just in time. The Republicans are giving me whiplash. The president is too harsh and too quick to use force of arms. The Republicans are against a military response. The world is turned upside down.

JOHN OWENS, Boise

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