Letters to the Editor Vote for Schools... Dear Editor, I am writing this letter with the hope that you will continue seeing the impact of the Lake Pend Oreille School District levy on the potential future of Sandpoint. Coming from a community member that can more or less be defined by the levy’s contributions, I have realized more than ever in my brief absence from home the ways in which my participation in extracurricular service clubs, sports and organizations joined in high school have all uniquely shaped my successes post-graduation. It’s interesting to consider the opportunities I took advantage of that, if I had not—or worse, had no access to—would have lessened my ability to acquire the skill(s). It took some time to come to the awareness, but I believe one of the most important concepts I learned in my ability to provide service through levy-funded activities was the power of community; and how lucky we were to self-witness and create the reality of its definition. The thought of the future of Bonner County not having access to the same resources that I did is unsettling, and I do not wish it upon anyone. I have found value in the ability to apply skills [I] gained in critical thinking and communicating that I otherwise likely wouldn’t have had the ability to experience. I think Sandpoint is pretty special, so we may as well do our best to honor its education system. Sadie Nitcy Sandpoint High School Alum Student, University of Utah
Age Diversity Important – Vote Yes for Levy... Dear Editor, One of the many life lessons my parents instilled in me is to value all ages of people who live in our community. This includes learning from my elders, honoring the men and women who serve our country, supporting local business owners, giving a hand up to young families, and supporting quality educational opportunities for the youth of our community. I appreciate the wisdom of my parents and know that a sign of a healthy community is strong age diversity. We need to provide proper care to the elder population, respect to our veterans, support local merchants, keep housing affordable, grow an economy which provides job opportunities, and support our local public education system with a goal for students to become career/ 4 /
/ February 16, 2017
college ready. My fear for this great community that has given so much to me is that we will become void of age diversity. Without a quality K-12 educational system families will move, the economy will struggle, and we will become a playground for people seeking seasonal recreation. There is a movement to discredit our local school district, falsely claiming mismanagement of funds, excess opportunities for students, and fear of standards based curriculum. If you read information on social media, local press, or are being told sensationalized information that just does not seem to be right or leaves you wondering, please contact the LPOSD office or your local school administrator for answers to your questions. Thank you for supporting your local schools on March 14, 2017. Tom Albertson Northside Elementary and Sandpoint High School Alumnus Gold Creek
Schools Need Support... Dear Editor, My ability to write this letter and thoughtfully read this paper is due, in large part, to the efforts of public school teachers. Not able to afford private schools, I am a public school graduate. I imagine most adults my age (retired, fixed income) have had jobs and careers made possible by basic skills they learned in school. Idaho state funds allocated for public education, remain 6 percent below 2008 levels. Thus, each school district must find the means to support schools. March 14 is a levy election. Reviewing current county tax information, I contribute about $18/ month to our public schools. That is less than one tank of gas a month! The replacement levy used to pay staff, support school activities, update curriculum and technology equals a 2-percent increase in property tax. So, in 2018 I pay $18.50/mo. and 2019 $19/mo. toward schools. This increase is 48-percent below the state average for school district levies. And it’s still not a full tank of gas. Lake Pend Oreille District’s students and families deserve quality public schools. They deserve opportunities open to those who can read, write, calculate and think carefully about information that floods our lives. Let’s come together, making sure this American value- -access to public education--thrives in our community. Vote YES March 14th. Mary Toland Sagle
For Our Children... Dear Editor, I am the parent of a kindergarten student at Northside Elementary. In five years my youngest will also be there and I will have two kids in the Lake Pend Oreille school district. I am very committed to doing all I can to help my children and their schools thrive. This is why I will be voting yes for the supplemental levy. This levy is to fund things that our children desperately need to have a successful school career. It goes towards all curriculum materials, full-day kindergarten (which I believe is very important), extracurricular activities (also important), and most importantly, one-third of all district staff. This is huge! There are 28 children in my son’s class. He needs his teacher, and he also needs their aid! I know that not voting for this levy denies children the fundamental items that they require to excel in school. It is our responsibility, as a community, to help our children reach their full potential. To give them all the skills and tools they need to succeed in life and better our future. Reducing staff and increasing class sizes (things I assume would happen if the levy didn’t pass) will not benefit the children. Our school needs the support of our community to grow a better tomorrow. The best place to start is with our future leaders, our children. Thank you first your time. Sincerely, Sara Pyle Sandpoint
Support the Environment... Dear Editor, I indubitably support public lands. I indubitably support wilderness. I indubitably support Greenprint. I indubitably support the Scotchman Peaks Wilderness. I grew up in Texas where there is no public land to speak of and developers have cart blanche to make a piecemeal out of the environment, and I tell you with all my heart it sucks! It’s savage. It’s immoral. It’s rape. It’s unhealthy. It’s culturally barbarian and it needs to be illegal. The ultraright-wing lawmakers in Idaho over the past 25 years want to do the same here. They want to turn our precious public lands over to the state which is cryptic for privatization and development. Imagine the absolute best part of this state (it’s public lands and wilderness) looking like the Houston suburbs in 50 years. Far, far we have come. No one seems to remember as recently as the 1970s. Do you have
any idea what they used to call this state on Capitol Hill in the 1970s? “Liberal Idaho,” I swear it! Frank Church, Cecil Andros: people who actually cared about other people instead of this thickheaded lone cowboy “goberment ain’t going to tell me what to do” white privilege culture we see today. “We all know how liberal Idaho is going to vote” was the lighthearted joke on Capitol Hill. That all changed when George H.W. Bush the hero of the Reagan revolution rightfully lost to Bill Clinton in 1992, and America experienced the biggest right-wing reaction fallout in human history. Here we are today paying the unimaginable consequences. I moved to the Northwestern United States 14 years ago for the public land. I am an avid hiker, backpacker, mountaineer, kayaker, snowshoer, skier and nature enthusiast. Public land to me is a godsend and wilderness is my Valhalla. I am beyond appalled and disheartened by the increasingly popular hostility towards public land and the bigoted, insidious hatred towards Mother Earth. There is absolutely no cons or negative repercussions of wilderness, and I’m sick of hearing that there are! It’s all pride, misinformation, ignorance and bravado. As for these conspiracy theorists, they’re just infinitely absurd! How could anybody even think of listening to them! I personally believe that public lands and wilderness should be a right not a privilege. I believe that the 28th Amendment to the United States Constitution should read: “All people and living beings shall enjoy the right to a clean, healthy, beautiful, spacious, intact environment.” Jack Green Sandpoint
Take Scotchman’s Off the Auction Block... Dear Editor, Now that a Scotchman Peaks Wilderness Bill has been introduced in Congress, the question is raised again, “How will this affect our community?” Studies have reliably shown an economic benefit to communities located near designated wilderness. Does this mean large numbers of tourists from all over the world will descend on Scotchmans? Of course not. The economic advantage comes in part from people desiring the lifestyle of a community permanently and uniquely touched by a beautiful and free place left in its natural state. Let me give you a few examples of how living with our wilderness neighbor has enriched and enhanced our community, in addition to the
protected traditional uses of hunting, fishing and hiking. It is a story about family and friends, and how shared values of special wild and free places are enshrined and preserved by our community. In addition to leading many summer and winter hikes through the wilderness, Friends of Scotchman Peaks Wilderness (FSPW) has brought in inspirational naturalists, historians, geologists, trackers, and even, lichen and mushroom gurus to share their knowledge. Walking Jim Stolz, a legendary distance hiker and songwriter, came to the Hope School to inspire our youngest schoolchildren with the wonders of nature. Each October, dozens of talented artists come to Hope, and spend the fall weekend painting in and around the Scotchmans, before sharing their labor of love with our community. Led by FSPW in the summer, poets, writers, sculptors and painters put on their backcountry gear and go into the heart of the Scotchmans to enjoy and capture its beauty. Essays inspired by literally growing up with the Scotchmans in your backyard are written by seniors at Clark Fork High School for the annual scholarship contest. Each 4th of July the FSPW float and supporters roll through Clark Fork, and the sound of “This Land is Your Land” from our local marching band echoes off the mountains. For the past 12 years, free maps and newsletters are distributed throughout our community. There are many ways the wilderness presence enhances our community, even without putting much gear on. The Scotchman Peaks area has been a wilderness for millions of years. It was a wilderness before the Native Americans arrived, and much later, the Europeans and Americans. You may have heard of proposals to take away our federal land or even sell it to raise money. It’s time to take our Scotchmans wilderness permanently off the auction block, so that no matter how many generations follow us, Scotchmans will always be a wild and free place for all to enjoy. Let’s all get behind Sen. Risch’s leadership in placing a Scotchman Peaks Wilderness Bill before Congress, and permanently protect our special place. Neil Wimberley Board member, FSPW Hope, Idaho
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In this issue: An educated decision: The community takes sides on the LPOSD supplemental levy, County commissioners pass counter-resolution...