Praise for PHS students
On Nov. 16, I had the opportunity to chaperone a group of 27 PHS students on a field trip to Chicago. I accompanied Dr. Jeff Jacobson, teachers Janis Miles and Diane Hope, and students from the personal finance and accounting classes. We toured the Chicago Board of Trade and the Federal Reserve Bank, as well as other Chicago sites.
The students represented the high school, their families and themselves very well. Despite a few last-minute unexpected changes to the schedule and horrendous traffic, the students handled the changes maturely and “rolled with the flow.” Their questions at the financial institutions were thoughtful and respectful.
Their behavior on the walk downtown, at lunch and in the financial places was exemplary. While waiting to cross the street with the group by the Board of Trade, a woman on the street asked me if this was a group of graduate MBA business students; I responded with who we were and she said that observing the students walking down the street, she thought that they looked like a “fine group” of students.
I know that in difficult financial times, sometimes school districts look to cut out field trips like this. I see this trip (or a trip on Physics Day, or one to American Players Theatre, or to an FFA event) as a logical and necessary extension of the classroom. When we talk about making the educational experience a relevant one to students, field trips like this are a valuable part of the student experience. Mrs. Hoppe, Mrs. Miles and students, thank you for letting me share your day!
Get over the election
Will electioneering and name-calling never end? Just when I thought things were at last returning to normal — e.g., even Viagra commercials not looking so offensive after months of political ads — Marco Rubio begins his 2016 campaign for president by visiting Iowa. Then, I received a robocall asking for contributions to fund impeachment of Obama for a host of bogus offenses, including “no one having seen his birth certificate.”
We are told that in his second term the President will continue to “strip us of our freedoms,” becoming even more of a “dictator,” taking away our guns, for example. Really? How many gun control laws has he proposed since taking office? None, not even a ban on assault rifles. And just how dictatorial can he be when the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says “no” to any substantive law he proposes, and the Republican minority in the Senate filbusters even the most innocuous bill?
Come on, folks, we are better than that. The president was re-elected with the unemployment rate at 7.8 percent, a feat not accomplished since FDR. We may differ on whether his election constituted a “mandate,” but unlike George W. Bush, he won the popular vote as well as the electoral vote. The majority of us prefer his policy proposals to his opponent’s.
Let’s reflect, then, on what we can glean from Nov. 6: We can be thankful that voters still have more clout than big donors regardless of how many millions are spent by Karl Rove and other outsiders to buy the presidential election. We applaud those voters who are able to see beyond the distortions, lies, and character assassinations we are bombarded with. Sadly, however, outside money clearly tipped the balance in many state and local elections, the dastardly ads targeting Maureen May-Grimm in her Assembly race, for example.
Above all, we learned that voters want their representatives to work together to solve the nation’s pressing problems.
So, please, let us put off extreme partisanship, bickering, and positioning for the next election for at least a few months, focusing instead on economic and social issues that should be uniting us, not dividing us.
Sand mines and pollution
During the Nov. 14 sand mine hearing at the Bridgeport Town Hall, many citizens shared concerns in their attempt to protect the river, their health, their lifestyles, and their families for years to come.
Were concerns really heard? Extensive research is needed before the Bridgeport Plan Commission and Town Board can make a knowledgeable decision. What a responsibility! Their decisions will impact the lives of future generations of southwest Wisconsin citizens and visitors to the area.
A sampling of concerns presented:
• Safeguarding the Lower Wisconsin Riverway.
• Air pollution and health hazards.
• Noise pollution disrupting the peace.
• Destruction of farmland and wildlife environment.
• Light pollution interfering with Wyalusing State Park astronomy events.
• Effect on water table and the river.
• Consideration of neighbor’s “rare bat.”
• Truck traffic; safety of school children.
• “Line by line” review of the Comprehensive ‘Smart Growth’ Plan.
Each year, Starsplitters astronomy club members give numerous volunteer hours presenting astronomy programs and ‘teaching’ the night sky at Wyalusing State Park. I’m certainly concerned about the future of our astronomy events (potential light, air, and noise pollution produced by mining), but more importantly, I am fearful of changes that will be forced on people and the loss of the outstanding natural beauty and serenity of the riverway if this sand mine is permitted.
It is imperative that in-depth research be conducted before making a decision that affects many people and future generations.