Keep Peninsula Learns alive

$2.09 per hour is what it costs for each of the 50 children who attend the after-school program, Peninsula Leams held at Hilltop Elementary School Monday through Thursday. This program is due to end as of Dec. 31 because a grant proposal was turned down which would have allowed the program to continue and grow for the next five years.

This program has enriched the lives of over 250 children over the past three years. Day-in and day-out, four days a week, nine months out of the year, 50 to 80 children per day were given tutoring and help with their homework plus receiving invaluable opportunities to learn and grow in numerous areas offered by paid and volunteer staff of Peninsula Learns.

So, if the community wants this program to continue, we need to support it. $2.09 per hour per child works out to $5,000 per month or $45,000 per year to enrich the lives of 50 children per day and keep them off the streets after school, keep them away from the TV babysitter, keep them actively engaged in becoming happier, healthier, more intelligent citizens who will shape our future. I call on anyone reading this to step forward and lend a hand, donate a dollar or more, help our kids to help themselves. Call the Peninsula Learns Office at 642-1215 and come to the Hilltop Library, Dec. 4 at 6 p.m. for a community meeting to forge the future of the Peninsula Learns After School Program.

Larkin Stentz

Long Beach

Volunteer at the Peninsula Learns Afterschool Program

Fifteen reasons to like our president

I enjoyed your editorial about the elections. You did say you might look for some reason to like the current president. Here are some reasons that I think he is just the right man for the job at this time. Perhaps you will give them some thought.

Why I like President George W. Bush:

1. He is not Bill Clinton.

2. He tends to do what he thinks is the right thing to do regardless of the opinion polls.

3. He has responded to the horror of Sept. 11 with a commitment to fight terrorism that we all know he will keep.

4. He has restored dignity to the office of president of the U.S.

5. He has assembled a leadership team of the best talent available who are committed to an agenda for the good of the country, not their party.

6. Nearly all of the criticism of his administration are distortions and outright lies.

7. The opposition has always and always will underestimate him while he runs circles around them, beating them at every endeavor.

8. He knows what the meaning of the word "is" is.

9. For the first time in a long time the U.S. has a clear foreign policy not dictated to us by the Europeans.

10. For the first time in decades our country has successfully demanded that the United Nations Security Council do its job.

11. For the first time in a long time our military has a president they can respect.

12. We have a president that is committed to finally doing something positive about the abysmal education system.

13. The labor unions are no longer dictating the nation's policies.

14. The citizens can reasonably expect the president to keep his pants on in the Oval Office.

15. He is not Al Gore.

This president has the highest sustained approval ratings of any president since such statistics have been kept. It is truly rare for well over 60 percent of the American people to agree on anything for such a long time. I am glad I am not alone in liking Dubya.

In the upcoming year listen carefully to the screeching condemnations of the Democrats. Then check out what they say. Their only agenda to date is to make up things to accuse the president of. They have been entirely negative with no clear agenda of their own other than leftist dogma. The voters have clearly rejected the socialist agenda. That is another reason to like the president. He has shredded the Democrats.

Pierre Stephenson

Ocean Park

Powerfully presented play from IHS

I was indeed fortunate to be able to attend the Nov. 14 recital of "The Sound of Music" presented by our wonderful IHS Drama Club. I was doubly fortunate because of the scheduling. While I had planned time for the five-and-a-half-hour round trip from my residence in Portland for parent-teacher conferences, the play was a convenient option, but not "mandatory," since none of my children were participating. Normally I wouldn't be able to drive up here just to see and support the efforts solely for other people's children; but I'm sure glad I did!

One word can sum up this play - WOW!

The awesome acting, creative choreography, dynamic directing, magnificent music and musicians, stunning sets, stupendous singing, superb support staff, and terrific technicians, all smoothly and professionally melded together into a presentation that the standing ovation couldn't begin to convey to the participants how much the audience enjoyed and was thrilled by this musical. Speaking of participants, I counted over 90 individual children and adults directly responsible for this extravaganza; and with the unsung parents, spouses, etc., well over 200 people in our community made this possible, so I won't try to list their names, but each one contributed a vital part.

We are proud and fortunate to have a pool of this caliber of talent here on the Peninsula! Thank you all, and again - WOW!

Marck Wroble

Portland

Letter of Thanks

`I would like to take this time to thank those people who helped during my campaign and those who voted for me. I appreciate your kindness and support more than you know. I met a lot of great people in the last four months and am truly blessed with the new friends I have made. Thanks so much to all of you. The one plus to not winning the election is that I do get to keep my job!! So I will still be out there appraising your properties. If I can be of any assistance give me a call.

Thank you,

Lisa OlsenVSouth Bend

President's 'army of compassion' ready to take on the First Amendment

I was concerned prior to the election about the constant cable network coverage during the president's campaign stops in which he pounded home the points about homeland security and the pending war with Iraq. I accused MSNBC and all the cable networks of turning the election into a referendum about the president's policies and taking the election away from the candidates. Since that evening has come and gone I have realized how wrong I was.

Rather than a referendum rally the "old yell king" was rallying the "armies of compassion." It wasn't the constant coverage of the president by the networks that saved the day for the Republicans, it was the content of the messages that the president delivered and the armies of compassion who heard the message.

Since election day I have read the text of some of the president's campaign speeches. My thoughts are now filled with many new phrases that he used to rally the army of compassion and to assure the Republican candidates of votes on election day. I now know who the "social entrepreneurs" are and what they will be doing. If you don't know, but I think you must, they are the church leaders and volunteers who will manage and supervise the spending of tax dollars in many faith-based initiatives. I also know now what "charitable choice" means and how it can change my life and the lives of others.

Along with financing many faith-based initiatives with tax dollars, charitable choice will give us all an opportunity to deduct charitable giving in ways not open to us in the past. I have also learned about "unlevel playing fields" and how difficult it is to play ball with the government on such a field. Leveling the playing field refers to making it possible for more church organizations to dip into government funds. Financing the army and getting a few more votes in return was what it was all about!!

All in all, I have learned what a "compassionate conservative" really believes is the proper agenda for domestic politics and programs. When you couple an army of compassion with an office of faith-based initiatives in the White House and in five cabinet-level departments you have established command posts and the troops to carry the day in most any government led movement. When you know that the command posts have sent out scouting forces armed with dollars, workshops, brochures and video messages from the president and sent these forces to all parts of our country, then you will understand how armies of compassion can be mobilized prior to election day.

All of this hard work is dedicated to making the playing field level. Add to this momentum the fact that the House of Representatives has passed HR7, the Community Solutions Act, and the Senate is working on S1924, the Charity, Aid, Recovery and Empowerment Act, and you can see that faith-based initiatives are well on the way to being established as part of the fabric of our democracy. The rules and regulations are being changed and the playing field is being made level. In the end, most social services, educational endeavors of all kinds, housing problems, problems in employment and urban development will be handled by church-related service groups with lots of help from the federal government and the roles of many public institutions that used to handle these problems will be diminished.

Providing social and other services through private, non-profit and church-related service organizations is not a new idea in our federal government. I have just never seen us expand the church-related service part so rapidly and with such gusto. The new laws being passed will place all Catholic, Protestant, Jewish and Muslim church groups in the competition for federal funds along with the traditional public institutions and private non-profits that have participated in the tax dollar race. Forget the old saw about the separation of church and state. Forget also some widely held views about parts of the First Amendment. Get the dollars! Get the votes!!

I apologize for the length of this letter, but there is so much to say and so little time, for me that is. I just wish I had started paying attention 50 years ago.

Ralph Farrow

Ocean Park

How about more news coverage for Sou'Wester events?

As a frequent visitor to the Peninsula in the past and a current part-time resident, I am continually surprised by the failure of the Chinook Observer to cover the wonderful events happening at the Sou'Wester Lodge. Len and Miriam Adkins provide a marvelous opportunity for both local folks and visitors to appreciate the world of Long Beach and the wider world of Washington, the country and the planet. Their current programs are an example of that opportunity. In addition, Len and Miriam promote programs that earn proceeds for local public programs.

A friend and I were delighted to attend two recent programs and upset to find there was "no room at the inn" for a third. We missed seeing guitarist Owen Smith, whose music inspired a 45 minute discussion on the value of music in healing both the body and the spirit following the show. We could only appreciate the program vicariously through the reports of friends.

We were able to attend both the lecture by Dr. Elio Frattaroli, M.D. about the growing need for psychiatrists to return to encouraging patients to talk about problems versus relying solely on drugs. The following discussion covered many subjects including the growing tendency to prescribe drugs for kids diagnosed with ADHD, the conflict between local kids, business people and police, and whether persons suffering from depression were physically ill or spiritually demoralized.

A local educator was on hand, but no other local professional from the community chose to attend and there were few people from the general community. I found Dr. Frattaroli's lecture most informative and the discussion that followed interesting. It was a conversation between the audience and Dr. Frattaroli that I would welcome around the dinner table.

This last weekend we scored again with a Sou'Wester program that featured an Olympia dramatic ensemble called The Heart Sparkle Players. The group features an ensemble of men and women who perform Playback Theatre. They act out stories told by audience members. The stories on Saturday night covered many themes including the loss of a loved one and campaigning for a cause. The group, used music, acting, dialog and mime to reflect back the stories those audience members who chose to participate. Once again, however, there was no one from the Chinook, no one from the local professional community, no minister, local therapist, no doctors or priest. Only a few from the local community chose to attend.

I intend to continue attending the programs at the Sou'Wester. They are fascinating and affordable. Admission to hear Dr. Frattaroli was a couple of cans of food for the local food bank. The group on hand was accepting and welcoming. The intermission goodies were delicious and the Sou'Wester itself was a great place to visit.

Next time I am there I hope to see someone from the Chinook Observer covering the event and more members of the local community, especially those involved in community leadership.

Joan D'Andrea

Long Beach

Bank appreciates Cougar, Husky fans

The Bank of the Pacific is going to do something a little different with our customer appreciation days this Friday at the Ilwaco, Long Beach and Ocean Park branches.

We're encouraging our employees to come dressed in their favorite Cougar or Husky attire in celebration of the upcoming Apple Cup. They will also be decorating their desks, teller windows and work areas. The Long Beach branch is having a tail gate party and serving hot dogs to all who want to partake. In addition each branch will have two donation cans - one decorated for the Cougars and one for the Huskies. We will encourage our customers to donate to their favorite team.

All proceeds will be given to the Ilwaco Sports Boosters. At the end of the day (Friday, Nov. 22) we will count each can and report which team (Cougars or Huskies) was able to raise the most for the boosters.

Mavis Shucka

Long Beach

Stars in our midst at Ilwaco High School

We have "stars" on our hands! I went to the Hilltop School play, "The Sound of Music" and it was fantastic!

I was so moved that I had to write people and say, "If you want an enjoyable evening and a great time, go to this play."

The bottom line is, the Hilltop School play "The Sound of Music" has star power! The kids are so very talented. It was amazing. The play was so well done.

Just one of their fans!

Marie Nelson

Long Beach

Please pull together for Peninsula Learns

Two months ago I hadn't even heard of Peninsula Learns After-school Program. Now, it is a huge part of my life. More importantly, the program is a huge part of many people's lives. Peninsula Learns gives 60-plus of our community's children a safe place to be and learn from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., the hours when many of these students would be considered "latch-key" kids. Unfortunately, if the Long Beach Peninsula doesn't come together now and pool our support, Peninsula Learns will end!

In reading about the current issues regarding young people in downtown Long Beach, one theme jumps out at me - the children of the Peninsula need something constructive to do. In actuality, for children ages 9-14, a program already exists. For three and a half years Peninsula Learns has been successfully keeping kids off the streets and out of empty houses! The program has given hundreds of children many opportunities they wouldn't have had otherwise - the opportunity to improve their schoolwork, the opportunity to socially and physically participate in cooperative activities, the opportunity to work with and learn from community members and to become active community members themselves, the opportunity to experience unusual challenges and environments such as tagging salmon at Sea Resources Learning Center in Chinook, the list goes on ... Without Peninsula Learns After-school Program, these students would add to the numbers of kids lacking constructive after school activities on the Peninsula.

Peninsula Learns is an integral part of the Long Beach Peninsula community and many children's lives. Staff and a number of caring souls have been fighting to keep this program alive since its first 21st Century Learning Center grant ran out. The Ocean Beach School District recently applied for a new grant and learned that only eight out of 53 applicants were awarded funding. Ocean Beach was not among the recipients.

Now the choice is ours. Do we let this wonderful, established program end? Or do we band together as a community and create an action plan of how to make Peninsula Learns survive? If you care about the future of this program that positively affects the youth of our community, contact Peninsula Learns! Come to our potluck community meeting at 6 p.m. on Dec. 4 at Hilltop library or call (360) 642-1215. The choice is ours!

Jenny Schmidt

Site Coordinator Peninsula Learns After-school Program

Comments on kids, gasoline prices

Kimberly Crockford is on the wrong track in child rearing if she thinks city police should do it. Historically, police only get involved with kids when said kids have stepped over the legal line and need to be restrained. The people responsible for training kids to stay within the confines of the law used to be the parents. When I grew up in Vancouver, we didn't have community sponsored programs, but we played ball, helped around the house, spent a lot of time with our moms and dads, participated in church activities, and if everything else failed to keep us busy, we did our homework and read lots of books. Point is, mom, it is your job, not the city's, to direct and monitor your children's activities.

On an entirely different subject, I would guess someone has asked about this before I moved here a year ago, but what do the local gas stations offer to compensate for the 30 cents per gallon higher prices than in other parts of Washington. I bought Chevron in Vancouver for about 35 cents per gallon less than here on the Peninsula. Probably isn't distance, either, as gas is much less on the Oregon coast, too. Perhaps Oregon has different tax program, but it was still about 25 to 30 cents less, all the way down to Tillamook. An article in Vancouver's Columbian yesterday said the average price in the state is $1.40, and the average in Clark County is $1.30. Anybody got a reasonable answer? Personally, I think we are being ripped off.

John Salsbury

Ocean Park

Federal retirement system unfair

Perhaps we are asking the wrong questions during election years. Our senators and congressmen do not pay into Social Security and, of course, they do not collect from it. Social Security benefits were not suitable for persons of their rare elevation in society. They felt they should have a special plan for themselves. Many years ago they voted in their own benefit plan. In more recent years, no Congress person has felt the need to change it. After all, it is a great plan.

For all practical purposes their plan works like this. When they retire, they continue to draw the same pay until they die, except it may increase from time-to-time for cost of living adjustments. For example, former senators and congressman and their wives may expect to draw $7,800,000 with their wives drawing $275,000 during the last years of their lives. This is calculated on an average life span for each.

Their cost for this excellent plan is $0, Nada! Zilch! This little perk they voted for themselves is free to them. You and I pick up the tab for this plan. The funds for this fine retirement plan come directly from the general fund - our tax dollars at work! From our own social security plan, which you and I pay (or have paid) into - every payday until we retire (which amount is matched by our employer) - we can expect to get an average $1,000 per month after retirement. Or, in other words, we would have to collect our average of $1,000 monthly benefits for 68 years and one month to equal former Sen. Bill Bradley's benefits!

Social Security could be very good if only one small change were made. And that change would be to jerk the Golden Fleece Retirement Plan from under the senators and congressmen. Put them into the social security plan with the rest of us and then watch how fast they would fix it.

Bud Geist

Ocean Park

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