Speak Out 12/15/03

Monday, December 15, 2003

Deputies paid less

I KEEP hearing about how poorly paid the Cape Girardeau police are. Compared to whom? Our sheriff's deputies are paid much less. And there are fewer deputies on the road to respond to emergencies.

Others get more

IT IS horrible that the police officers get paid less than other city employees. Why should an administrative assistant or other employees with less demanding jobs get paid more than our officers?

Cause for shame

HAS MARK Bowles no shame? He cut the pay for secretaries and reduced their number to keep his bloated administrative office. Last year he added three directors by cutting two teaching positions. This is not Tiger Pride. This is Tiger Shame.

Music is important

THE CAPE Girardeau School District's financial task force worked hard on many extremely difficult decisions that will affect our children's and community's future. I sincerely hope the outstanding instrumental music program in grades seven through 12 will not be downsized unfairly. This important educational program opens tremendous lifetime opportunities, values and experiences to our young people and future leaders.

Smoking ban

SO KANSAS City is considering a smoking ban in all indoor public places. I applaud that city's efforts and wonder when Cape Girardeau might be ready for something like that. Mayor Jay Knudtson, are you watching and listening?

Persuasive photos

FOR A long time I was skeptical about whether the new Bill Emerson Memorial Bridge would be in any way superior to the old one. Then I saw the beautiful photos of the new bridge taken by Dr. Joel Ray and was convinced beyond any shadow of a doubt that it's better.

Firefighting concerns

I CANNOT believe the Fruitland Fire District's directors can sleep at night knowing property may burn or someone's loved one may be lost due to a truck not being operational. Does this mean no one will respond to any fire calls? If they do, with what? It's time for the directors to stop sitting on our money and do something. Buy a new truck. They should be ashamed for putting our firefighters and community at risk.

Buy a new truck

CONCERNED RESIDENTS of Fruitland: The fire at County Road 601 could have been fought a lot better if the main pumper hadn't broken down twice. This main pumper is a 1976 model. Firefighters have had problems with it before. This needs to be fixed. You can't continue to fix an old truck and expect it to keep running. It's old and worn out. It is a risk to our firefighters to have a truck they can't trust. I believe it's time for the fire district's directors to stop sitting on our money and do something. How dare they sit on $348,000 and put people lives and property at risk.

Need a plan

THIS IS not the Cape Girardeau firefighters' fault, but was there no forward thinking at all in the last 30 years to say, "Hey, we might need to replace this truck someday"? The city needs to look for other sources of funding before looking at the taxpayers -- like grants, for instance. The city also needs to establish a plan so that in 30 more years we don't repeat this process.

They're not familiar

IT NEEDS to be clarified that Cape Girardeau School District superintendent Mark Bowles' recommendations are not necessarily the considerations of the different budget committees. I was a member of one budget group and was shocked to see the final list of recommendations by the superintendent. It did not resemble the considerations of our group. In fact, there were considerations that were not included in the list supplied to the Missourian. It is not acceptable to cut 27 positions in this district. I hope the public realizes the negative impact this will have on students.

Great CJHS concert

KUDOS to the Central Junior High School Christmas concert. The students who participated should all receive standing ovations. Applause should also go to those exceptional music teachers who share their love of music with our children. It was truly a delightful Christmas concert.

School spending

THANK YOU for putting in the detailed budget for the Cape Girardeau School District. I think it was quite enlightening. Now what I would like to see is for you to publish the Jackson School District's detailed budget so we can see how well they spend their money.

Voluntary checkoff

ABOUT THE fire engines: Why couldn't we add the option to our water bill of contributing $1 to the fire department truck fund or something like that? I don't know of anybody in town who wouldn't pay $1 a month. That's $12 a year to keep your house safe.

Cuts at middle school

I'M OUTRAGED that Central Middle School is again losing three teachers. Last year, the school lost through attrition three teachers who were not replaced. Teachers already have 28 or 29 students in a classroom. This is going to make 30-plus students in a classroom. I don't think that's fair. It's going to affect student achievement. We already have discipline problems in that school. I would like to know why the superintendent is recommending the cutting of three teachers from Central Middle School.

Drop the fire department

HERE'S A solution for Cape Girardeau's financial problems. Sell the sewage and water systems and do away with the fire department and let residents form their own fire protection districts. In St. Louis County, where all the police officers are going for higher pay, none of the cities has these municipal services.

Federal perks

THE REPUBLICANS have increased our budget with bigger government and benefits just like the Democrats. They are big spenders. I guess they are trying to get votes for next election. Our federal legislators vote themselves raises. They have a better retirement plan than Social Security. If their benefits and perks were given to every citizen, our country would be broke.

Jackson incidents

THIS IS in reply to the front-page article about the discipline disparity of Cape Girardeau and Jackson schools. The Jackson High School principal said students who get in trouble at school most likely will get in trouble at home. I agree -- if the parents are notified. Before the Jackson principal starts commenting about Central High School's disciplinary action in Cape Girardeau, he needs to look in his own back yard and see how many incidents are happening but not being reported to him or the parents.

Use smaller vehicles

THIS IS not in criticism of the fire department, but I believe it is wrong to take these big fire trucks out on emergency medical calls like we've been doing for some time. These trucks are not made for that. And when you figure up the mileage and the wear and tear on the equipment, it's not worth it. They could use smaller vehicles that are a lot easier to maneuver and a lot quicker to get to the scene of an emergency.

Cut sports first

HOW IN the world can the Cape Girardeau School Board even consider dropping a band director? Look at all the coaches in the athletic department. I think if you're going to cut, do it there, not the music department. I am thoroughly ticked.

Voting for integrity

MONEY WON'T decide the vote on Nov. 4, 2004. Loyal Americans will vote unanimously for our strong leader, President Bush, and his truth, honesty, integrity and trust of our people in his leadership.

Thanks for money

I WOULD just like to say thank you to the person or persons who found my money outside the store in Town Plaza and took it into the store. I got it back. Thank you so very much. God bless you, and have a nice Christmas and wonderful holiday season.

Appeasing mascot

CHANGING THE names of Southeast Missouri State University's sports teams from the Indians to some less offensive names seems inevitable. I'm against the name change, but I hope the teams' fans will be afforded an opportunity to give their thoughts as to the teams' new names. My own vote would be to call the teams the Southeast Missouri State University Neville Chamberlains. This name change would be an obvious act of appeasement on the part of the university. Naming the teams after Great Britain's pre-World War II prime minister and famed appeaser of Germany would only be fitting. And think of the opportunities for the mascot. The mascot could be dressed as old Neville himself, complete with derby, white gloves and cane. He could whip the crowd into a cheering frenzy as he marches up and down the sideline offering seat upgrades to fans of the opposing teams and apologizing to opposing fans and players for any offense they might take.

Look at athletics

I DO believe before the school board cuts the music department, it had better look at athletics. I think we've got too many coaches.

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