Letters for February 26, 2004

Good job, Sister
On behalf of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Butte County, I want to publicly recognize Fran Peace, district director for Congressman Wally Herger. Our organization, which provides critical mentoring services to Butte County’s youth, has countless volunteer mentors and financial supporters.

However, Fran Peace has distinguished herself by helping Big Brothers Big Sisters recently secure much-needed funding, as well as volunteering her time to the organization. We are very fortunate that Congressman Herger has chosen such an outstanding representative to serve our community. Thanks, Fran, for all that you do for Big Brothers Big Sisters and the community.

JoAna Brooks
Executive Director, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Butte County

Watch out for parks
Park Watch volunteers enjoy the city’s parks while providing a community service as the eyes and ears of the rangers.

Members may walk, bike, ride horseback, skate, sit or take their dogs for a stroll whenever and wherever they choose. There are no dues or required meetings. Members receive a monthly newsletter and a photo ID badge and are invited to special events. Park Watchers’ requirements are spending a minimum of four hours a month in the park, completing a one-time training session and being fingerprinted.

New members are welcome to join Park Watch by attending this year’s training session March 18 and 20. Register now at the Park Office, Chico Municipal Center, third floor. For more information contact a volunteer at 343-3185, 343-0448 or e-mail ParkWatch@ci.chico.ca.us.

Larry S. Jackson

Why home-school?
The article on the pending budget cuts in our local schools [“Strapped schools,” cover story, Jan. 29] reiterated for me my decision to home-school. We are part of an amazing home schooling support school called Camptonville Academy. Because of the school we are able to purchase curricula that fit our needs and educate our children in the best way possible.

My perception is that many of the low numbers in enrollment are due to parents choosing the alternative of home schooling. Camptonville offers many on-site programs and classes for the children to learn in a classroom-type setting if the family so chooses. We have wonderful, supportive lead teachers and hold our children up to all the standards public school kids use.

Home schooling is not for everyone. But, just like any teacher would, I put dedication and drive into every day of my son’s education. I see amazing results. And, my son is learning in a nurturing, open-structured environment. I hope the school system perks up because all kids deserve a great education—and air-conditioning in their classrooms.

Heather Colbert

Freedom from oil
Excellent editorial in the Feb. 5 issue, “Our Expensive Addiction,” in which the true costs of gasoline turn out to be about $5 a gallon. Granted, we get most of our oil from Canada, Mexico, South America, etc., but the costs of maintaining our military presence in the Middle East for their oil is prohibitive in any rational sense.

All we have to do to free ourselves from our abject slavery to the oil culture is to use already-invented alternative sources of energy. This would also free us from our abject slavery to PG&E. There’s a device called a Carnot engine that generates electricity from heat differential (houses are cold on the outside in the winter and warm on the inside—this heat differential can produce electricity); solar power, of course; wind generators; liquid crystal energy storage units (they go from solid to liquid); new windows that capture energy in the day and release it at night as light; etc. There are myriad energy sources.

Since alternative energy sources have already been invented, all we have to do is implement them. Then we’ll have no more friction in the Middle East, and Al Qaeda can collect camel dung for a living.

Why doesn’t the engineering department at Chico State build a miniature of a free energy house? One good prototype can change the world.

Michael M. Peters
Red Bluff

Danger alert
In the Jan. 29 issue of the CN&R, I turned to page 4 and saw the editorial on the Arab-Israeli conflict. Though oversimplified, it had some merit. Then, on page 6, there was a letter to the editor that was criticizing Bush (rightfully), but then said… “We have a generation of young adults who mumble rude advice under their breaths like a Jewish mama’s subliminal expletives.” Finally, on page 22 regarding a Web site that connects liberal people looking for love, I read, “Sure, you know she’s Jewish, but you won’t know until that first, interminable date that she favors the construction of more settlements, has no problems with Israel’s past support for the apartheid government of South Africa, and her idea of a sexy man is Ariel Sharon.”

Hmmm. If I were Jewish I might be feeling the hair on the back of my neck rising. Would this paper have similar references to Muslims, African-Americans, Asians or Latinos? What I’m getting at is, when you write about any group of people as “other,” danger begins. By the way, I am not Jewish, but I am an observer of human everyday, garden-variety prejudice. I was around a few years ago during the “Jewing-down” reference made by an unaware councilmember.

Please be aware when you write and edit your newspaper. People unconsciously absorb and accept stereotypes so easily.

Gordon Mackie

Daffodils for cancer
Cancer touches everyone, everywhere. I don’t know the why of cancer, but I do know the hurt. I think everybody gets to feel it at some time in their lives.

I know there’s not a lot a newspaper editor can do about this devastation except print the stories of heroism and need, support from strangers, and miracles that happen everyday. One such miracle is the annual Daffodil Days in March that the American Cancer Society organizes, with the help and support of zillions of volunteers.

At first, I couldn’t understand the connection between flowers and cancer. Then I saw the blue vase filled with daffodils given anonymously to a cancer patient awaiting treatment. They call it the “Gift of Hope.” It brings sunshine to the darkness of disease and recognition of valor, in the patient and the caregiver. Daffodil Days helps fund the largest nongovernmental supporter of cancer research, and it funds all the other stuff cancer demands: services for cancer patients, educational programs, and on and on.

Daffodils and the good news about donating to this great project are all available by calling the local office at 342-4567, option 3. Sponsors, people to take orders, or people to fulfill daffodil orders are still needed. I hope you choose to participate in this project and spread this special form of hope this year. It doesn’t hurt and it can really, really help.

J. Bowman