I am responding to the Dec. 4 letter titled “Indoctrination.” I too would like to see strong math skills developed at school, but I also want our children to be capable and informed, so that they can make good choices about their futures. Accurate information is essential, which the Get Real curriculum provides.
As I understand the curriculum, parents and students are encouraged to talk about the information, so that they can also discuss their families’ values. And here’s a little math: In Brewster and Bridgeport, implementation several years ago of the Get Real curriculum has been associated with delay in the onset of sexual activity and lower teen pregnancy numbers. (Association does not mean causation, but still, a welcome report.)
Finally, the author mentioned the American College of Pediatricians. The Southern Poverty Law Center has this to say: “The American College of Pediatricians (ACPeds) is a fringe anti-LGBT hate group that masquerades as the premier U.S. association of pediatricians to push anti-LGBT junk science, primarily via far-right conservative media and filing amicus briefs in cases related to gay adoption and marriage equality.”
If you’d like to read about what mainstream pediatricians and family physicians think about effective and comprehensive sex education, I suggest looking at a reputable website: American Academy of Pediatrics, aap.org, or the American Academy of Family Physicians, aafp.org.
Allison Fitzgerald, MD, FAAFP, Family Health Center, Twisp
Barry’s snowblower reminder
To my fellow snow country folks: Now that it looks like winter is showing her face, I feel moved to pass on some annual advice.
Over 25 years ago, I had a moment of brain-deadness and ended up turning off a snowblower with my left hand, being flown to Harborview Hospital in Seattle where three hand surgeons spent 21 man-hours rebuilding my hand. I write to remind all of you snowblower operators this winter season to not repeat my stupidity!
Even with new designs and safety features on today’s machines (mine was 20 years old), blowers can still jam with wet snow or “yard” objects. Due to the potential kinetic energy stored in the engine compression and belt tension when jammed, the impellers in a blower can rotate slightly when a jammed or clogged machine is freed up. There is very little clearance in the impeller housings. If your hand is the “freeing” agent you can lose fingers or an entire hand.
Never use your hand or foot to clear a clogged or jammed snowblower. Use a broom handle or long, stout stick. All new blowers come with a plastic paddle used to clear jammed blowers. Some even advise removing the spark plug to release any engine compression before working on a machine.
Snowblowers, like many powered devices, are in and of themselves not dangerous. They do need to be respected and operated with care and attention. Fatigue, being in a hurry, distractions, objects left out in the snow, etc., are the real dangers. Hopefully you will remember my story every time you operate a snowblower and not create your own story. Have a safe winter season.
Barry Stromberger, Twisp
Forest health and jobs, too?
I would like to praise Gina McCoy for her informative piece in the News. What she left out, from my many conversations about forest management with her, is she takes a strict scientific approach when trying to look at this forest management problem we have, all the wildfires, all the damage that we have had here in the past years and trying to find a good path to a solution to a healthy, less flammable forest.
She and her technological team have met with state/federal agencies and elected officials, along with business and nonprofit leaders, about what might be a solution to our problem from a century of forest mismanagement. Her team is also proposing a carbon capturing business model that would bring back our forest jobs while at the same time making our forests more sustainable and fire-resistant. This business is called “BioChar” and previous news pieces have brought this up. We already have this business in our state, so we don’t need to reinvent the wheel.
What Gina and her team needs is your support, from all sectors and thinking. There are those that believe that Mother Nature will cure our forest problems herself if we leave her alone. Recent history from this approach to forest management shows it to be philosophical and dramatically flawed. Mother Nature is not benign, she is dynamic and can be ruthless.
The scientific conclusion is: Since we have managed our forests out of balance, we need to manage them back into balance and like the Native Americans learned over thousands of years living here, we also need to maintain that balance through sustainable management, today, as well as tomorrow, using best science practices.
If we can pay for managing our forests back into balance with sustainable forest management practices while improving our pollution and fire problems it would seem to be a win-win for all of us.
I suggest you find out more about “BioChar” and then put your support behind Gina and her team to help bring our forests jobs and forest health back to sustainability, which we all know we don’t have today.
John Willett, Methow/Kitsap
Defending the Constitution
Is the current impeachment a partisan political ploy or a Constitutional defense? I clearly see it as a defense of our Constitution.
Impeachment does not seek to punish a President. It seeks to defend the Constitution, the law of the land, from the conduct of a President who is believed to endanger it. Our Founding Fathers understood all too well that humans are fallible. And because of that, they provided for impeachment.
Impeachment is a very serious matter which I believe should be treated in a correspondingly serious fashion by all members of Congress. They all swore to solemnly support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic and that they would bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution. So it angers me when I see members of Congress behaving in a fashion that makes light of the impeachment process. To say it is a three-ring circus, a sham, a waste of time, is turning the process into a political ploy and detracting from the real issue – defending our Constitution from an individual who is believed to have endangered it and our nation through their actions.
I would like to remind all members of Congress that the oath they swore said they would bear allegiance to the Constitution, not their political party. They must make an informed decision based on an open-minded, open-eyed review of the facts and on the will of their constituents; not on the will of their respective party. Stop acting like petulant children and start taking your oath seriously. Focus on the facts and forget partisan politics. Defend our Constitution and our democracy.
Patti Nordby, Winthrop
Educated and protected
As a physician, I cannot let the ill-informed and deceptive letter by Marcie Jateff in the Dec. 4 issue stand without comment. Jateff cites the American College of Pediatricians, which is an organization of between 200-500 people who have been labeled a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. They have nothing to do with the American College of Pediatrics (note the intentional name similarity), which represents 67,000 pediatricians who care for our children.
Unhealthy, uninformed or risky sexual activity may lead to health and social problems, such as unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including gonorrhea, Chlamydia, syphilis, hepatitis, herpes, HIV infection, AIDS, and HPV (human papilloma virus), the cause cervical cancer and about 70% of mouth and throat cancers in the United States.
The purpose of good sex education, which is provided by Get Real, other similar programs and organizations like Planned Parenthood, is to try to avoid all of these. Furthermore, an evidence review done by the group of 67,000 pediatricians has found that research conclusively demonstrates that programs promoting abstinence-only until heterosexual marriage occurs are ineffective.
So I ask readers, do you want your children educated and protected, or are you going to be duped by unscientific and misinformed information?
Mark Miller, Winthrop/Seattle
Recycle cell phones
In the United States, 110 million cell phones are replaced every year. Only 2% of those are donated or recycled. The other 108 million are discarded, delivering valuable but toxic metals to landfills. Ninety percent of the rare earth metals used in these devices are mined in China. Not only does this make manufacturers of cell phones, tablets and computers reliant on the policies of the Chinese government, it also comes at great environmental and human cost. Surely we can do better. Some discarded devices can be refurbished for further use. The rest can be recycled for re-use of their valuable materials.
Here is a chance to do the environmentally responsible thing while supporting the funding of the new Winthrop library: donate your unwanted cell phones and tablets to the Friends of the Winthrop Public Library (FOWL). There will be collection boxes at the Twisp and Winthrop libraries, at least until the middle of January. Please consider donating your used devices to our group (after erasing all personal information). All will be responsibly repurposed or recycled.
Gina McCoy, Winthrop