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Issue Home January 28, 2009 Site Home

Letters to the Editor Policy

We Salute You

Blue Ridge School District celebrates Board Appreciation Month. Thank you to our Board of Directors. Your willingness and resolve to solve complex educational and social issues and carry out initiatives and directives from both federal and state governments, to face the demands of governing our public schools and to spend countless hours of personal time are greatly appreciated.

You provide the framework for our Blue Ridge schools to excel.

Your dedicated service enables us to have local control of the public schools, meaning that decisions on school programs are made by local, elected representatives who understand the community’s unique challenges, values, culture and circumstances. Your leadership has a bearing on virtually every aspect of our schools. Your actions directly affect our children – what they learn, who will teach them, and what kinds of facilities house their classrooms.

This year marks a special milestone, as we remember the 175th anniversary of the signing of the Free Schools Act in 1834. This pivotal piece of legislation firmly established public education in Pennsylvania, and ensured that decisions about schools would be made locally by elected members of the community.

This January, communities are encouraged to honor the contributions of their local school board members. Too often we neglect to recognize the commitment and hard work of these men and women who serve as advocates for our schools. The staff and students of Blue Ridge ask all members of the community to take a moment and tell a school board member, “Thanks for caring about our children.”

So let’s all salute the dedicated men and women who make it possible for local citizens to have a say about education in our community. We applaud our board members for their vision and voice to help shape a better tomorrow.


Chris Dyer


Blue Ridge Schools

More Than The Economy

In these times of plunging milk prices, it must be remembered that traders on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) who are driving down milk prices to dairy farmers nationwide are real people, with real names and real motivations. There is more involved here than just the economy.

This reminds me of a quote by Kenneth E. Boulding, Ag Economist, Department of Economics, University of Michigan, member of the Research Advisory Board for the Committee for Economic Development (CED), An Adaptive Plan for Agriculture, 1962. He said, “The only way I know to get toothpaste out of a tube is to squeeze, and the only way to get people out of agriculture is likewise to squeeze agriculture. If the toothpaste is thin, you don’t squeeze very hard, on the other hand, if the toothpaste is thick, you have to put real pressure on it. If you can’t get people out of agriculture easily, you are going to have to do farmers severe injustice in order to solve the problem of allocation.”

Dairy farmers will be forced out of business in order to “clear the market,” while everyone else in the dairy food chain will maintain their margins and the likes of Jerry Kozak and Rick Smith will retain their high salaries. Retail prices for dairy products will still probably remain fairly high, thus not sending a clear signal to consumers that there is really any oversupply. CWT will likely slaughter more cows, even as dairy cattle are imported from Canada and a stronger dollar is sure to spur more dairy imports. All of this fits into the agenda of free trading globalists who have figured out a way to greatly increase their wealth by stealing the equity of voiceless farmers, and why not? What few regulators that are left seem to go out of their way to ignore corruption in the dairy industry. Even the US Department of Justice (DOJ) sent its own clear message by ignoring thousands of pages of evidence against key players in the dairy industry.

S-1722 (The Federal Milk Marketing Improvement Act of 2007), which was introduced by Pennsylvania Senators Specter and Casey, would have provided a fair and stable milk price from the marketplace to dairy farmers. This bill also had a supply management provision which would be working today if demand has really dropped off as much as some claim. The Secretary of Agriculture could reduce payment to dairy farmers up to 50% on up to 5% of their production. This money would then be used by the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) to purchase dairy products to distribute to those in need. Dairy farmers would receive the full fair price for the other 95% of the milk that they produce. This makes good sense, would not cost the government money, and would add real stability to our dairy farms and rural communities.

Power to establish milk prices must be taken away from speculative traders on the CME and be replaced with a pricing system based on total economic cost of production with supply management. The agricultural infrastructure of our nation will be destroyed if we fail to do so.


Gerald Carlin

Meshoppen, PA

Facing The Gas Rush

Last month, the citizens of Franklin Township polled themselves about zoning. Their poll showed a 65% response rate, with 87% opposed to zoning. That response was more than double the response to the original Northern Tier Coalition survey of 2003 with a very different outcome. With time and awareness, people had become far more interested and opposed.

Their town leaders should listen to their views and act accordingly. Indeed, all towns should make a comparable assessment before voting any new regulation so dramatically different and rigid as zoning.

There are benefits and costs to zoning. A major cost and risk is rigidity of zoning ordinances, especially those based on a comprehensive plan that never considered natural gas exploitation. The "Gas Rush" is new and gas exploitation is likely to be the primary driver for our economy.

State code does not allow zoning ordinances to be changed rapidly or frequently, with even less flexibility for joint ordinances or individual ordinances subject to a joint planning commission.

We need to understand the real changes facing us and be able to adapt quickly and flexibly. Consider this excerpt from Penn State's website on Natural Gas Impacts : "The fast pace of gas drilling... means planning has to be done on a continuous, daily basis... Once-a- month meetings of the planning commission can't keep up with the change. New thinking about how to plan for gas exploration must also exist."

There are alternatives to zoning that can meet local needs and provide for flexible county-town partnerships. For more facts, references, and ideas on gas and zoning, along with a high-growth non-zoning success story, visit www.jessupjottings.blogspot.com.

To meet the uncertainties of the gas rush, we need flexibility, not rigid zoning based on a plan already overtaken by events.


Gene Famolari

Montrose, PA

Help Defeat This Act

I just finished watching the 36th annual March for Life in Washington, D.C. After the disappointments of hearing plans to eliminate almost all protection for both pre-born babies and their mothers, this march was a true morale shot in the arm. This morning there was a special ecumenical youth gathering in D.C. to begin the day, with 30,000 of our best young adults and children present. Thousands more attended last night’s and today’s Masses and gatherings. The Congressional representatives who spoke were many, and seemed to have a central thought. Knowing our president’s desire to follow in the footsteps of Abraham Lincoln, they were calling on him to have a change of heart and declare an Emancipation Proclamation for the 3000+ babies who die each day in our country of abortion. They also stressed prayer and fasting to help defeat the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA) that President Obama helped write and is determined to bring to law. This bill would return partial birth abortion – an atrocity that over 80% of Americans strongly oppose. It would also remove all safeguards for young girls from having access to abortions that are not regulated to protect them. We claim we want to diminish the number of abortions, but this bill would vastly increase them. By executive order, the president plans to remove the law that stopped federal funding of abortions outside the U.S., which means my taxes will be used to fund abortions. All of this news could depress those of us who have been fighting the life battle all these years if it were not for these marches. It was estimated that at least 200,000 people took part, and I could not help but see that most of them were under 30. I know I sat for about 2 1/2 hours and watched a packed Constitutional Ave. as the participants wound their way to the Capitol. I know that many of the speakers who assured us that this is God’s fight, we are just the soldiers, and that eventual victory is always God’s, spoke the truth. I know that the hundreds of young men and women boldly standing, holding signs that they regret their abortions are the salvation of this cause. The love and applause they received made some of them cry. One such woman said the only people who care that she is hurting are the pro-life people. They have a website, silentnomore.com where women can get help. Another help site is rachelsvineyard.com. If you would like to help this cause, please contact Senator Specter and Rep. Carney and ask them to not support the FOCA. And take a moment to thank Senator Casey, who has said he will refuse to support this bill.


Annette Corrigan

Jackson, PA

Where Does It Go?

Where does all the paper money go? Who has the paper money we just lent to the banks and the auto makers? The money must go somewhere. A paper trail has to be there. We print (on paper), money daily. Who is collecting the paper money? Why can't we see it? Does it vanish into someone’s closet? Doesn’t it get moldy and smell like mothballs?

Questions, somewhere, someday will someone answer them? For example, say the money is not in American banks and Americans’ pockets, then where is it? The paper trail seems to end into thin air, poof. Cash money does not disappear, and only so much fits into my wallet. It’s my opinion, if America has to print new paper money each day and in different colored ink (so it can't be reproduced), fewer people have all the old money, paper that is?

Maybe just the real rich ones have it? How do they keep so many paper bills, what do they do with it? Paper or plastic are two words that we are used to hearing in the grocery stores. Do they mean bags, also?

America, we need to ask these questions to ourselves. Start using the paper dollar instead of storing all of it in our closets, like pennies. Come to think of it, maybe a paper dollar bill is like a penny, most say it is worthless and troublesome.

Paper dollars, do they print trillion dollar bills? Save ink, print large bills! I am sure my wallet will fit a few of them!

I am glad I am rich at heart.


Peter A. Seman

Thompson PA


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