Letters to the editor (02/29/12)

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Writer not trying to be vindictive in letters
Editor:
My thanks to Mr. Glover for his comments regarding the occasional battles being fought in the letters section.
To many they are, like Rush Limbaugh’s rantings, at least entertaining, but I would like to explain the ulterior motive that runs through every word I send in for publication in the News-Bulletin that prevents me from settling things behind the woodshed.
Noah, working for 120 years building a boat and preaching a warning in the process, brought only seven people to Christ: his wife, three sons and their wives.
All the people he warned about the coming flood and the invitation to come to avoid becoming worm food (eventually) by coming to Christ via the ramp to the door of the boat were met with persecution. And you know what the result was.
Please consider my publications like Christian pigs-in-a blanket. They are always invitations to come to Christ wrapped in a secular topic.
Yes, I know that Mr. Mehaffey will never understand that estate taxes are taxes on money that has already been taxed, and I’m done trying to convince him of this from an expert in the field.
I know this simple truth because I was an estate planning lawyer and I saw the long arm of the IRS reach into estates to take every after-tax penny that they could, and I was appalled.
My boss was the best in the business at writing wills and trusts so that the IRS could only grab the minimum allowed under the law.
That’s the blanket, Mr. Glover. The pig, as I said, is to draw people to Christ. How do I try to do that, amidst the resulting persecution?
I’m just trying to be myself, never be insulting or vindictive, be helpful with my explanations, and to be patient and instructive. In that way, I hope that someone who reads the hearts of the combatants in the “battle of the letters” will see that I harbor no ill will, refuse to do battle with an unarmed man and wants to have what I have.
The summation of my argument is this: Take two topics, which will produce four outcomes and pick the one you believe.
First, the two options are that you believe that God exists (and thus you have been born again).
The second option is that heaven and hell exist. Now, combine the truth or falsity of each.
The first outcome, you’re right that both God and Heaven and Hell exist. When you die, you’ll go to Heaven, right?.
Second, you’re right that there is a God, but believe that there is no Heaven and Hell (not likely, but one of the four outcomes).
Here, you’ll go to Heaven (I don’t think that God will send you to Hell if you have accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord and Savior, but somehow missed the point about Heaven and Hell — think of the thief on the cross beside Jesus).
Third, you’re correct that God doesn’t exist and you are correct that Heaven and Hell do exist. Here, you’re worm food because there is no God to send you to either place.
And forth, you’re correct that God doesn’t exist and correct that there is no Heaven and Hell. You’re still worm food.
So, here’s the point. The two outcomes for the believer are Heaven and Heaven. For the unbeliever, the two outcomes are Hell or worm food.
Given your position on the first option, belief in God, which two outcomes would you rather choose?
So, Mr. Glover, I can’t, and won’t apologize for why I write letters to the editor and submit guest columns on any topic to apparently any specific person, or no person in particular, for any apparent reason. But now at least you can see the true method of my madness.
I will apologize, however, that my pig-in-the-blanket style can get a bit wordy at times. I try, believe me, to keep it short.
But as you said, such is not always the case. But, now you are clear as to the reason.
Noah brought seven to Christ. If I can, through my letters and guest columns, bring but one, then all the letters to, and the persecution from, are worth it.
And, I must refuse your offer to settle matters between the two combatants in isolation behind the woodshed. From my perspective, there is too much at stake and I have too much work to do.

J. Reid Mowrer
Los Lunas

Pre-school programs valuable to education
Editor:
Are you ready for some sticker shock? In 2011, New Mexico spent more than $280 million on corrections, with more than 6,500 prisoners in state and federal facilities.
As a police chief, I know these costs are necessary. But I also know that our state could save millions by steering more kids toward success in class, college and career instead of prison, probation and parole.
The answer on how to get there may surprise you: Invest in early childhood care and education for children ages birth to 5.
Why so early? Because the vast majority of a child’s brain develops before age 5.
If we don’t do more to support the development of these kids during their youngest years, we’re missing a crime prevention opportunity in the long run.
Investing in high-quality early childhood education can actually cut crime. Children who receive high-quality early education are more likely to enter kindergarten well-prepared academically and well-adjusted socially, which can improve their chances for success in school and in life. Research bears this out.
A long-term study of Michigan’s Perry Preschool found that children who did not attend the high-quality preschool were five times more likely to be chronic offenders than children who did participate.
By age 40, the kids left out were seven times more likely to be arrested for possession of dangerous drugs and 50 percent more likely to be arrested for violent crimes than those who participated.
The early intervention approach can save millions over the long-term. The Perry Preschool, for instance, returned $180,000 to the public for every child served, with the vast majority of the public savings coming from reductions in crime costs.
Early childhood education is working in New Mexico. A study of New Mexico pre-K, launched in 2005, is already seeing strong results in improved literacy.
Across the first three years of pre-K classes, participating children answered an average of 24 percent more questions correctly on a literacy test, and in the fourth year, children who attended had much higher literacy scores on average.
Pre-K participants showed significant improvements in vocabulary for three of the four initial years and consistently improved in math for all four years.
Additionally, every $1 we invest in New Mexico pre-K returns an estimated $5 to society from reduced K-12 education costs, including grade repetition. Notice a pattern here?
The earlier we invest, the less we will have to spend on corrective action down the road.
Unfortunately, pre-K serves less than one out of every five of the state’s 4 year olds, so there is still significant room for serving more eligible children.
Many families can’t access other services for young children like high-quality child care.
My daughter, Catherine, attended preschool at the Los Lunas Elementary School last year and flourished. This year, Catherine is attending kindergarten at the Sundance Elementary School, and is at the top of her class reading at an advanced first-grade level, and is advanced in all of her other studies.
This would not have been possible without the high-quality early education offered in preschool at the Los Lunas Elementary School.
My wife and I moved from Arizona to New Mexico three years ago because the Arizona community where we resided did not offer preschool for Catherine.
Many years ago, my other five children all attended a private preschool because the community where I resided in New Hampshire did not support and offer a high quality early education.
Today, those five children have flourished, have all graduated from college and now are employed in successful careers and raising children of their own.
Many New Mexico families were not as fortunate as I was and are unable to afford private preschool.
I applaud Gov. Susana Martinez’s focus on education reform and ensuring all New Mexico students read at grade level by third grade.
I urge Gov. Martinez and legislators keep funding for early childhood care and education and ensure that more of New Mexico’s youngest children have early learning opportunities.
Sure, my profession deals more with high-security incarceration than high-quality education. But I know that our public safety, and also our fiscal strength, depends on the opportunities that our kids receive.
Let’s cut those corrections budgets down to size by investing in New Mexico kids today.

Chief Roy Melnick
Los Lunas Police Department

Traffic signals get the best of him
Editor:
The traffic signals at Main Street and Don Pasqual in Los Lunas will be the death of me yet.
I walk through there every day. It seems every darn time the “Do Not Walk” light comes on just as I get to the intersection.
I have to push the “walk button” and wait, and wait, and wait. I feel sorry for the poor cars too. They get backed up too in both directions.
I am lucky at the Main Street intersection though. I always seem to have a green light.
I can never seem to get the best of the traffic light at Main and Don Pasqual. I have tried to cross Main Street before I get to the intersection. That is downright dangerous.
Even just this afternoon, I tried to cross on a red light, and sure enough, a policeman was right there.
I have been involved in an accident at that intersection. I pulled into the intersection without looking and a truck had to swerve to miss me.
He crashed into a car. The police told me to go home.
Maybe once, that I can remember, I got a green light in a timely fashion.
Once, I had to move like a linebacker to avoid a car. And once, four vehicles in a row turned in front of me right in the middle of the intersection.
And don’t even talk about snow pack. As far as I can see, it is impossible to cross that intersection walking in snow pack.
And don’t even talk about it being a school crossing. The tykes will give us walking forever.

Martin Frank Kirtley
Los Lunas

School grading system gets an “F”
Editor:
Although I do not claim to be all knowing when it comes to the business of education, I do have a considerable amount of educational experience.
To begin with, I have been a teacher, coach and administrator. The powers that be at the state and federal levels regulating public education, in my opinion, have been focusing on the negative and have paid very little attention to the positive.
The most recent form of school evaluations in place is, I feel, really missing the point in evaluating schools. I doubt very much that all schools that have recieved low grades were ever visited, or even given the opportunity to present their achievements.
We all know that our schools are not perfect and that, in fact, education, as well, as almost everyting else, can improve. What I have seen is that there is way too much pressure being placed on school districts.
In recent years, we were imposed upon by the No Child Left Behind legislation. Schools were giving close to impossible goals to achieve. This, of course, came only after school budgets had been cut.
Accountability in the school, as in any organization, should be expected. The Public Education Department should also be held accountable for the decisions they make.
What it all comes down to is that all school personnel are under so much pressure to meet regulations and to raise test scores that the main focus of teaching kids is made much more difficult.
This once again, is my opinion, forces school districts to have to sometimes go to extreme measures to assure compliance.
Last year, a school district in one souther state was caught changing answers on students Standard Based Achievement tests.
I have observed that statewide, the dropout rate is alarming. Once again, not enough focus on the students, but rather on being bogged down with state regulations and local political pressure.
I feel that as the public, we need to remind the powers that be that schools are for all kids, and we need to concentrate on keeping kids in school and raising the graduation rate.
One a separate, but related matter, kids, as well as adults, sometimes make mistakes, and they should be corrected, but not thrown away.
Once such instance, a while back, a group of Valencia High School (football players) had very serious allegations made against them. I know some of the families which makes it somewhat personal, however, I do feel badly for all who were involved.
Most of us have heard different versions of what occurred; however, I, along with everyone else who did not witness anything, can only speculate as to what really did happen.
My hope is that all involved will heal and go on with a contented and prosperous life. We need to keep in perspective that people are not perfect, and any one incident in a person’s life should not hinder or destroy their future.

Ted Padilla
Albuquerque

Fourth-grader needs information
Editor:
My name is Tiffany Tope. I am a fourth-grader at Tangent Elementary School. My class is working on state reports. I have the state of New Mexico.
I am interested in receiving information about how New Mexico’s people make houses, what kind of foods do they eat, what jobs they have?
I want to know how they make money and how they teach.
Are they mean or are they nice? Because some people are mean enough to kick a kid out of school.
Any information you could give us would be a great help for my project.

Tiffany Tope
Tangent Elementary School

(Editor’s note: You can send information to Tiffany Tope, 3200 Old Oak Drive, Tangent, Ore., 97389. Some of the information needed includes the state flower, local animals, local culture, famous residents, local food and weather.)