Letters to the editor March 29
Wanted: more innovative education models
With the current financial crisis in Eldred schools, comes the opportunity to consider a move away from a traditional structure to more innovative models of education. We should look to see if other rural or low-enrollment schools in the United States have adopted an alternative program model. We could also learn from what has been done to re-invent urban schools.
One idea would be to unify all of Sullivan County schools for high school. Each school could create programming based on a specialty area (e.g., arts, science and technology, business, health professions). Students would apply to a high school according to their interest and career goals. Obviously, there are structural challenges associated with such a plan, but the idea is that it is time to be creative and think differently about education. Innovative programs would draw people into Sullivan County instead of away.
Words vs. deeds
Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther claims that the health of her constituents is of the utmost importance. Those of us who have been following the construction of Millennium Pipeline’s fracked-gas compressor in Eldred and the Competitive Power Ventures (CPV) fracked-gas power plant in Wawayanda couldn’t agree more. Having dodged the issue for many years, Ms. Gunther’s budding awareness is most welcome. Given her past inaction, a healthy degree of skepticism is in order, and we will continue to hold Ms. Gunther accountable and insist she fulfill her obligation to voters. We hope this paper will do the same and follow up with coverage of the assemblywoman’s deeds and not just her newly discovered words.
Each day, 96 Americans on the average are killed by guns, seven of them are children or teens. For every death, two more people are injured. In a domestic violence situation, the presence of a gun increases the woman being killed by a factor of five. We lost a total of 58,220 U.S. troops in 20 years of the Vietnam War. We lost 63,628 U.S. civilians due to gun homicides in five years (2012 to 2016.)
The rate of gun murders per 100,000 residents for U.S. is 3.61. If you add up the rates for Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy. Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Slovakia, South Korea, Sweden and the United Kingdom, the total comes to 3.38. Based on their population, their average is 0.18.
When people say gun violence is due to mental health, do they believe there are that many more crazy people in the U.S.? If your elected official tells you that gun violence is a mental health issue, vote them out of office. If your elected official tells you we need more guns to solve gun violence, vote them out of office. They are not protecting you and your children.
Opposition to fracking is anti-science
As someone who lives in the area covered by the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC), I read with dismay recent letters to the editor encouraging the DRBC to usurp private property rights to appease a loud, anti-science minority who oppose the goal of energy independence for the United States and the pivotal position Pennsylvania can play in achieving that goal.
At least seven government agencies have studied the issue of hydraulic fracturing and found that it is not a major threat to drinking water. For additional evidence we need look only to our neighbors in the Susquehanna River Basin. The Susquehanna River Basin Commission performs extensive, real-time water quality monitoring that has consistently shown that the exploration and development in this region has produced no negative impacts on water quality in their basin.
Farmers have been able to preserve their land because of the freedom natural gas development has afforded them. Both business and residential consumers pay less to meet their energy needs. Local businesses benefit from increased economic activity from oil and gas workers. But beyond economic benefits, natural gas development has greatly assisted the United States in leading the world in reducing carbon emissions—an issue that should be important to all of us.
So, I, too would like to encourage individuals to register comments with the DRBC related to their proposed rulemaking, by visiting dockets.drbc.commentinput.com. The difference is, I would encourage comments based on science, based on reducing carbon emissions, and in support of our God-given rights to private property.
On the Cambridge Analytics scandal
The following is a short, poignant comment provided by a Canadian reader of The New York Times in response to its weekend story about the Cambridge Analytics theft of personal information from some 50 million Facebook users, to be “militarized,” used with specialized software to produce individualized stories and advertising that would prompt certain responses by those Facebook users. The project was paid for by Donald Trump 2016 presidential campaign. It’s worth thinking about. It reads:
America, your democracy and the values that have made America the beacon of hope and freedom for the rest of the world are being undermined and manipulated by a few for their own advantage and desire for power.
With all sincerity and respect, please stop this attack on your Constitution and unite together. You are being lied to and deceived by evil people, by enemies from within and out.
We, the rest of the world, your friends in good times and bad, deeply care for you, we always have. Please trust us when we say, you are slipping away into darkness. It is one of the most painful and frightening things the world has ever seen.