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Letters to the Editor: April 20, 2018

Classes joyful and appropriate

Gayle Campbell believes that our McMinnville School District has “missed the mark on using developmentally appropriate practices” in our preschool classes.

I, too, have many years as an early childhood educator, 20-plus, and member of NAEYC. I currently lead two of the six preschool classes the district offers, and can assure Ms. Campbell our preschool students are neither plopped in front of worksheets nor subjected to testing.

We do assess our students quarterly, based upon learning domains identified by the Oregon Department of Education for pre-kindergarten students — approaches to learning, social-emotional development, language and communication, literacy, and mathematics. These assessments are not tests; they are thoughtful and thorough observations of our students over a set period of time, based on developmentally appropriate practices, goals, methods and research.

Each of our classrooms offers a wide variety of developmentally appropriate activities, toys and equipment. We use research-based materials and philosophies to lead our students. And our students experience hands-on learning every day.

Our classrooms are rich with music, sensory activities, dramatic play, art, books, games, literacy activities, technology, math and science, engineering opportunities — you should see what my kiddos can do with Legos and blocks! — and just about anything else you can think of that preschool children like. They are joyful places full of energetic, bright, happy, playful and exceptional little humans.

I’m very proud of what we do and very proud of our district for its continued commitment to the youngest learners among us. I cannot speak for my two fellow preschool leaders, but Ms. Campbell, you are welcome ANY time in our classroom if you’d like to see first hand all the wonderful things that occur here day in and day-out.

Barbara Curtis

Lafayette

 

Built around best practices

I am writing in response to Gayle Cambell’s letter of April 6, in order to shed light on the high-quality preschool programs in the McMinnville School District. I believe her comments reflect a misunderstanding of the important work that takes place.

While spending time in Barbara Curtis’ preschool classroom, I saw three friends navigating important decisions about how to place blocks just so in order to create the tallest tower. I saw another group of aspiring chefs working to share materials in the dramatic play kitchen to plan the perfect meal. I saw a table of aspiring writers drawing pictures for their friends and sounding out the first letter of one another’s name. And I saw Miss Barbara with a huddle of learners at her knees, sharing a book together.

This snapshot is typical in our preschool program. Rest assured, there is no emphasis on worksheets or other “drill and kill” tactics to get students ready for a test. We know the best preparation for kindergarten — and life, really — involves building relationships, fostering social development, learning strategies for emotional regulation and developing a love of learning and curiosity.

Our preschool programs facilitate that by offering a variety of learning experiences, from fine motor, gross motor and social/emotional to early literacy and activities.

Our preschool leaders are highly trained and understand that developmentally appropriate practices are student-centered, as each one of our learners comes to us with different strengths and needs. In our community, they realize, we have a large number of children who experience poverty, childhood trauma and other inequities. The best way to avoid a lasting and devastating impact from these obstacles is to provide early childhood support in preschool programs.

I am proud of the work our district is doing. I would love to have Ms. Campbell visit our program to see this work in action. It’s a sight to behold.

Kourtney Ferrua

Principal at Wascher Elementary

 

Bond crucial for Carlton

Carlton has been the fastest growing city in Yamhill County for several years, and this trend is likely to continue. Neighboring cities also continue to experience growth, adding to the crucial public safety needs of Carlton and the surrounding area.

Carlton’s police department occupies two small rooms in a simple cinderblock City Hall constructed in 1974, plus several old outbuildings behind it.

The facilities are unsafe for the officers due to the current layout in multiple buildings and the severe lack of space and functionality. In addition, City Hall is seismically unsafe, non-ADA compliant and incapable of serving as a command center in the event of a disaster or emergency.

The department needs a modern facility capable of meeting demands of the community for the next 50-plus years. It needs appropriate space to serve existing staff, expansion space for additional resources over time, a secure, dedicated area to process and interview witnesses and suspects, a confidential area to interview crime victims, a secure private meeting room for officers, staff and visitors, a secure armory to store weapons, and a secure, temperature-controlled evidence facility.

Passing the public safety bond measure on the May ballot give us that opportunity to build such a facility, allowing Carlton officers to conduct operations in a safe, secure and confidential environment.

I love our great little town, so I plan to vote YES. And I encourage my fellow Carlton residents to do the same May 15.

Shirley Ward Mullen

Carlton City Councilor

 

Veterans deserve better

The government should protect those who have risked everything to preserve our liberty. Our veterans are at risk, not only in active service, but also when they return home.

According to the American Psychological Association, male veterans are 1.3 times more likely to become homeless than non-veterans, and female veterans 1.6 times more likely. Often this arises from PTSD and other issues associated with the dangers our veterans face when they courageously defend our borders.
Oregonians resoundingly recognized the sacrifices of our veterans in 2016 with 84 percent support for Measure 96.

However, the governor has ignored the will of the people. She has slashed the benefits our veterans would otherwise see through Measure 96.

Oregonians wanted more funding for veteran services, but Gov. Kate Brown cut $10 million of the money intended for the Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs.

This is unacceptable. Oregon needs a leader willing to fight for those who have fought for us.

I am proud to support Capt. Greg Wooldridge for governor. He is the only candidate in this race with the proven leadership experience to challenge the status quo and protect our veterans.

Zach Larsen

Newberg

 

No justification for murder

People need to know that assault weapons are already highly restricted. They are the light rifle/machine gun weapons designed to be fired from the shoulder.
You cannot go to the local sporting goods store and easily buy an assault weapon. They are reserved for combat. We would never send our young into battle equipped with look-alike semiautomatic weapons.

Some people confuse assault weapons with the civilian guns that have a similar look. Civilian versions have a legitimate use in hunting and target shooting.
I have been a member of the NRA for about 40 years. It is an organization of ordinary people who care deeply about the safe use of firearms and spend a great amount of effort on gun safety and training.

On average, more than 1 million individuals go through some form of NRA safety training every year. There are more than 1,000 certified instructors in Oregon alone.

In my 86 years, I have witnessed an increase in violence with all types of weapons — knives, bombs and guns. Drive-by and school shootings were unheard of when I was in high school.

Every year, the violent offenders are getting younger. Apparently, we have failed our kids.

Across this nation, we — all of us — must set a standard together: No matter the weapon, there is no justification for murder.

John Englebrecht

McMinnville

 

Courage and clarity

The McMinnville City Council’s decision to precipitously ban RV parking on city streets is shocking in its disregard for the safety of some of our most vulnerable citizens.

However, the courage and clarity of Councilor Remy Drabkin’s lone opposition to the ordinance and its almost instantaneous implementation  provides us with a much appreciated lesson in civics. Thanks, Remy, for standing your ground so eloquently as an advocate for the homeless and responsible problem-solving.

I am inspired by your words and actions. They remind us that we must pay closer attention to our local elections and not get lost in the distractions of our national political circus.

This ordinance does, indeed, criminalize poverty.

Our community is facing a complex ethical dilemma that calls for careful deliberation. I’m disappointed that the rest of the council didn’t opt to take more care sorting it out.

There is an old proverb, “Law is a flag and gold is the wind that makes it wave.” We need local officials who are committed to representing all of our residents fairly, homeowners or not.

Phil Newman

McMinnville

 

A caring community

Thank you, McMinnville.

For nearly 20 years, I have had the honor and pleasure of teaching the youth of McMinnville. It has been a humbling journey.

I am in awe of the fine young people and the phenomenal community that has nurtured them. I and your children have experienced the generosity of the time, talent and treasure that is provided by your local companies, entrepreneurs, engineers, scientists, professors, parents and grandparents.

Thanks to that investment, I have celebrated the successes of our students at institutions of higher learning, including MIT, Rensselaer, University of Chicago, Duke, Harvard, Linfield, OSU and countless others. Your children have carried their home-grown values around the globe to China, Japan, Malaysia, Germany, France, Mexico, Canada and all 50 of these United States.

They have built successful careers in medicine, the law, software development and homebuilding. They have made their mark with NASA, Boeing and a wide range of charitable organizations.

McMinnville, you are a community that honors and cherishes our youth and invests in their future. I am grateful to you for the past 20 years of sharing your unique and generous culture.

Please continue to believe in this community and the remarkable young people it fosters.

Michael Roberson

McMinnville

 

Vote for the trail

With the purchase of abandoned railroad property by Yamhill County for the Yamhelas Westsider Trail, this will be a summer of working on a master plan and making other arrangements for development.

This exciting recreational and economic opportunity for Yamhill County is on its way, but still needs the support of our elected officials and civic groups. On May 15, make sure you vote for county commissioner candidates who will support ongoing creation of the Yamhelas Westsider Trail.

Steve Harloff

Yamhill

 

No whitewashing Starrett

I would like to enlighten some of your readers about the candidate you have endorsed “despite her personal political heritage.”

In a June 2003 column titled “Run, Rudy, Run,” which regular contributor Mary Starrett wrote for “News With Views,” she expressed about Eric Rudolph’s complicity in bombings at the Olympics in Atlanta, a gay nightclub and numerous abortion clinics.

She cited “glaring inconsistencies” in the case developed by law enforcement agents. As counter-evidence, she contended he was “not obsessed with abortion,” had a gay brother that made a gay club bombing an unlikely target and there was no reason for him to target the Olympics.

But in his trial in April 2005, Rudolph confessed to all of those bombings. “Abortion is murder,” he asserted, so when it was legalized, Washington gave up the moral authority to govern.

In the Birmingham clinic blast, he waited to detonate the bomb until he saw someone bend down to check it out. It killed a policeman.

Rudolph said he had “nothing personal” against the victims, but harbored no regrets or remorse about their deaths. And he said any attempt to make society accept or recognize the LGBT community should be “met with force.”

For the N-R to disregard Mary’s history on national topics is appalling. Please don’t suggest I forget about this woman’s past.

Maybe you should do a little deeper investigation before you offer an endorsement. Some of us certainly will NOT disregard her past.

Peter Vetter

Yamhill

 

Righting wrongs of past

It’s difficult knowing where to start in answering Jeff Flake’s apology letter of April 13. While there are certainly dark periods in this nation’s history, which we should ensure never happen again, we need to put them in perspective.

This nation has the single greatest government that ever existed. It truly struggles to make right the wrongs of the past. While never fully able to do that, we constantly strive to improve.

We are the only nation that rebuilds the countries we have defeated in war. We pass legislation designed to ensure equal rights under the law and punish violations.

We must remember that almost every civilization now occupies land once inhabited by Native peoples who have been displaced.

The Spanish wrought genocide on the indigenous peoples of what is now Mexico. As a result, the Inca, Maya and Aztec civilizations are long gone.

There are other instances throughout history of other civilizations doing the same. But the U.S. is the only nation to acknowledge its dark past and try endlessly to make up for that.

We are a people of compassion, demonstrated over and over when people elsewhere in the world need our help. I’m certainly not proud of what transpired over the previous 200 years or so, but I am very proud of what we’ve done in the last 50 years to correct it.

The U.S. is a good nation. As for illegal immigration status of the white man, I can only answer that there were no immigration laws to break.
I am sorry Mr. Flake has such a negative vision for this country.

Dennis Carmody

Sheridan

 

Olson’s right to request plan

When I arrived in McMinnville 27 years ago, Taylor-Dale Hardware, with its wood floor, and JC Penney’s, with its tinplate ceilings, were still part of the downtown charm. Gated communities were not yet part of the vocabulary, and Second Street pretty much ended at Hill Road.

Though the bypass seemed to stand about the same chance as a state sales tax, there was already talk of how this town would change, should it go through.
Well, change didn’t wait for the bypass. And it seems to have caught us all by surprise.

Who thought we would need an ordinance regulating signs along our roadways or vacation houses in our neighborhoods? We didn’t expect to become a tourist destination, so we didn’t prepare for it.

County Commissioner Rick Olson seems to recognize we are no longer just a stop on the way to the coast, that we haven’t been one for some time. He seems to recognize that if we aren’t careful, even larger issues may arise to catch us by surprise.

The cost and political upheaval of letting growth just happen — remember the billboards? — can only increase. Paying up front for a long look at the future seems like an economy to me.

Darrell King

McMinnville
 

Comments

T.W.S.

Dennis Carmody, well said! Clearly the liberal indoctrination public education system is filling the young minds with BS PC versions of history. And inaccurate ones too. 150 years ago...*LOL* that still gets me.

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