Speak Out 1/23/08

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Ambulance care

I WANT to thank the Cape County Private Ambulance Service people for helping my son. Everyone was great, and he is doing fine now. I was panicked when the incident occurred, and the woman on the phone helped calm my other son down, which helped me. The paramedics got here fast and took good care of my son. Thank you.

Spending essentials

"CAPE GIRARDEAU is facing millions in upgrades to its own drinking water and sewage treatment systems over the next few years ... . That cost is estimated at around $15 million." Perhaps instead of wanting to raise (or even use) taxes to pay for recreational purposes, the city should concentrate on spending its money on the essentials. If a household needs a new furnace but wants a 54-inch flat-screen TV, which should be purchased? It's called "priorities."

Recognizing a problem

I WAS present when Nancy Jernigan of the United Way of Southeast Missouri asked her questions that have touched off a prolonged dialogue. She wasn't confrontational, nor were any obligations mentioned. Simply put, she asked what role the city and the chamber could play in addressing the issues facing our public schools and the community as a whole. I don't know about the LIFE initiative, but I am glad to hear the United Way is bringing significant amounts of grant money to begin tackling issues that are too big for any entity to take on alone. If we don't at least acknowledge the problems facing us, it will not be long before Cape Girardeau is related more to Cairo than Paradise.

Local pork

OINK, OINK. Cape Girardeau says it needs to raise taxes to work on the sewers, but it throws in a water park, perhaps more manpower, raises and who knows what else for the park system. This is local pork. It's the same way Congress sticks it to us every day.

Fresh French air

THE AIR is cleaner in France than any other industrialized nation, and that country's carbon dioxide emissions have been decreasing. How is France doing it? Clean and cheap nuclear energy. We should be building nuclear power plants. They would provide power for our homes as well as for electric cars in the future. We are being left behind and will become Third World if we don't act now.

Abortion rates

IN RESPONSE to the story "Wide range of women in U.S. get abortions; most have at least one child": Guttmacher Institute researcher Stanley Henshaw comments that abortion rates remain relatively high for black and Hispanic women, suggesting the need for wider availability of contraceptives such as IUD's that don't require attention as frequently as condoms or birth-control pills. What is he trying to say, and is his statement appropriate in today's PC world?

A teacher's worth

A PREVIOUS comment opposed Missouri House Speaker Rod Jetton's proposed raise in starting pay for teachers by saying teachers should "get a different, higher paying job." You can't pay me enough to teach. Teachers are worth every penny and more. It sickens me to think that well-qualified teachers are leaving the field due to financial concerns. This opens the door to less-qualified teachers. If this happens, what hope do our children have? As for the statistic that teachers make more money than half the people in Cape Girardeau County, I would say, "So what?" They also have twice the education than half of the people in the county. Who said teachers have to be lowly paid? We need good teachers. Let's pay them what they're worth.

It's just a bad dream

WITH THE possible death of Reaganism and its nefarious offshoot, neoconservatism, our long national nightmare may be nearing an end.

More than lip service

TEACHERS SHOULD be the highest paid of all professionals. Society does a good job of paying lip service to the crucial role of teachers and by patronizing them ad nauseam with various and sundry awards but never has and never will back it up with big bucks.

Teacher deductions

A TEACHER commented that he brings home less than he pays out in taxes, health care and other deductions. He must be putting a ton of money in a flex account or something like that. I am also a teacher, and after talking about this to more than 20 teachers in my building, we all agreed that these must be voluntary things he's paying out, not those required such as retirement and taxes. The highest percent being paid out by these 23 teachers, including flex plans and other options, was 32 percent. In fact, the teacher in question stated, "If you hear that a teacher is making $30,000 a year, that teacher is probably only taking home $18,000 to $20,000 after taxes, retirement, MSTA dues, health insurance etc." MSTA dues are optional. If a teacher is making $30,000 and bringing home $18,000, he's bringing home more than the 50 percent the writer claims. I've been teaching, and so has my husband, for 14 years. We contribute to a flex plan, buy optional family insurance and every other thing you can imagine, and we both still bring home around 76 percent of our gross pay.

East sides' problems

I AGREE that Cape Girardeau's east side for the most part is in horrendous shape despite some spotty efforts at revitalization. If downtown is to improve, the major routes into downtown must be addressed. Sprigg Street and Broadway have to be two of the ugliest main routes of any town in the U.S. With few exceptions, there is little worthy of historic preservation. Some of the streets into Southeast Missouri State University near Houck Stadium are also eyesores and leave terrible impressions with visiting teams and their guests. While Cape Girardeau has its positives for living, anyone who thinks Cape is a pretty town hasn't been to many downtowns across the country.

Ads in Spanish

IT WAS disappointing to read that some political candidates are running ads in Spanish. Isn't English one of the requirements to obtain legal citizenship (which presumably is necessary in order to vote)? If so, why have ads in a foreign language? If not, then why isn't English a requirement?

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