Our Readers' Views

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Fruit Valley garden praised

I want to thank Anna Petruolo and the other community volunteers who continue to work to improve the lives of those who live in the Fruit Valley area. The March 13 story “Fruit Valley cultivates healthy lives” reported the news of the $50,000 grant from Kaiser to expand the Sunshine Garden of Fruit Valley. This is a great example of how when a group of citizens gets together and has an idea and a passion to see it realized, the community receives the benefits for many years to come.

As development officer for Clark County Food Bank Distribution Center, I am looking forward to following the progress of this effort and to seeing it duplicated in other neighborhoods throughout Clark County.

Greg Flakus

Vancouver

Start with our own action

I frequently go walking on the outstanding trails in our area. I am saddened and disheartened with the litter and abuse that are increasing along our beautiful walking trails, roadsides, freeway ramps, and now, even in neighborhoods. I tried to make a point to teach my children to respect and take care of the world around them. From cigarette butts to plastic containers, grocery carts to tires, cans and bottles to old furniture … this problem has got to stop.

What can we do to reduce this shameful activity? To tolerate this disregard is to promote it. This inaction, or lack of enforcement, says that it’s no big issue, so why bother caring about anything? It teaches that nothing is sacred, and perpetuates the moral decay that is so prevalent in our society.

I am tired of the lack of enforcement of the existing codes pertaining to the destruction of our environment. We justifiably complain about all the damage done by “big corporations” but so many of us are guilty on a personal basis. We all need to clean up our acts, and do our small part to educate and encourage others to join in a renewed effort to take better care of what we’ve been given.

Rod Steckler

Vancouver

Redefine administrator roles

Reported in the March 14 Columbian story “Education law shifts to target outcome,” President Obama’s blueprint for reforming education “focuses on rewarding schools for progress” rather than “punishing schools that don’t meet benchmarks” thus ensuring “that students are ready for college or a career rather than grade-level proficiency.” This is reform that will redefine a graduate as someone whose education closely matches his interests and potential rather than one who has met some arbitrary standards that may or may not be appropriate for her/him.

Left unclear, however, is whether administrators and teachers should be adversaries or associates in the effort to improve education. College courses for administrators should emphasize strategies that administrators can use to help teachers be more effective. This could begin with assessing the advantages of a particular teacher. Is it presence? Knowledge of content? A passion for learning that students pick up on? Once this is determined, the administrator, who is in a position to objectively see how the students see that teacher, could help the teacher build on his/her strengths. Rather than each worrying about protecting her/his turf, they could be partners in developing the best possible learning experience for the students.

Gene Dombrowski

Vancouver

Health care reform is smoke screen

In short, we should change only what needs improving in health care. No matter the problems, complete government takeover is not the answer. There are many answers to improve our health care system. Some answers we can’t yet see because we haven’t asked the right questions.

Once government assumes control of health care, innovation and new ideas for improvement are choked to death. Governments do not innovate, nor do they invent new medical treatments. Governments are capable only of managing — badly — what already exists: Distributing only so much health care as it thinks it can afford. Long waits and denial of care are the inevitable results.

Liberals decry the fact that some don’t have insurance. So why do they think is it acceptable for government to deny health care? Let’s not turn away from the real problems, thinking that we fix everything by turning it all over to government. “Obamacare” tries to ignore reality so that socialists can advance their control over society. For the American left, that’s what this is all about — it isn’t really about health care. In the upcoming elections, pay attention. Elect the person who will speak the truth and represent our true views.

Scott Nielson

Vancouver

Cost of charge is what’s out of control

Earlier this month I went to see an internist at my medical clinic. I spent 17 minutes with the doctor, had my heart and lungs listened to, my ears and nose checked and was told antibiotics weren’t needed and was sent on my way. The bill for that 17-minute office visit was $209.29.

If I had health insurance I would still have been offended, but being unemployed, I have none. That is $12.31 per minute. That doctor makes more in 34 minutes than I receive on unemployment in a week.

I will not rail here about a national health care plan for the uninsured because I believe it misses the point. It is not insurance that needs fixing it is the cost of health care that needs fixing.

Michael Pendleton

Vancouver

Support foreign exchange students

I have been involved with foreign exchange students for many years. Personally, I was an exchange student in high school. It was one of the greatest times in my life. In addition, my family has hosted several exchange students in our own home.

In that time, I’ve learned that the world can be made better through cultural exchange. These experiences have motivated me to work with a nonprofit company, Council on International Education Exchange. This company’s mission is to help people gain understanding, acquire knowledge and develop skills for living in a globally interdependent and culturally diverse world.

Until a family has had the experience of hosting an international exchange student, they cannot imagine how rewarding it is to bring the world into your own home and to see the bond being created between a host family and a teenager from another part of the world. By having these students live with our families, we break down the barriers that divide people, not only across international borders, but also within our own community.

It’s a great opportunity to experience another country without leaving your own home. The rewards a family will reap are unlimited.

I urge everyone to consider the possibility of volunteering to host an exchange student.

Kristin Babby

Vancouver