News and Tribune

August 24, 2008

LETTERS: August 24, 2008

An open letter to NA-FC’s Dr. Brooks

I'm writing to you because I am extremely concerned and upset about the possibility of the closing of Silver Street Elementary.

My son is a fourth grade student at Silver Street and has had a wonderful learning environment in which he has thrived and become an honor roll student.

As you know, Silver Street Elementary is not only a historical fixture in our community, but it is a part of our hearts and souls. Generation after generation has flourished not only in their education, but in their community involvement and spirit at Silver Street Elementary. Families and neighbors of these students band together to help nourish our children’s' educational futures by volunteering, supporting, cheering and protecting our children and our school.

My son and I purchased a home on Depauw Avenue five years ago, only because I was assured my son would be able to attend Silver Street Elementary. This school not only provides an "Exemplary" education, but it provides a culturally diverse environment for my son to learn in.

As the economy moves to a global market, the workforce is being challenged with new cultures, demographics and backgrounds. It is important to give our children experiences that will teach them that it is possible for all backgrounds to work together to achieve common goals. Silver Street Elementary helps instill these values in our children.

The August 12, 2008 edition of the New Albany Tribune states that Silver Street is one of three schools in the entire district which has scored "Exemplary" status. Silver Street is the only school in town which is above "Academic Watch." Silver Street has outperformed all but one of the schools in Floyds Knobs, which typically receive special treatment from the school board. We have even done this without asking for expensive building renovations.

We are only asking that this precious piece of our community be left open so that more generations may continue to get the best of the best in terms of education inside as well as outside the classroom.

This is where I must ask: What other choice have you left us?

The other schools that surround us are either on Academic Watch or on Academic Probation. This is unacceptable! You may not care about my child's education, but I do! And I will do what is necessary to see that my son receive the best quality education that is available to him.

Dr. Brooks, before you consider closing an Exemplary school, you better get the other schools in your district to a rating of Academic Progress or higher. Academic Watch and Academic Probation are just unacceptable.

— Jennifer Grose, New Albany

Reader: A rose isn’t always just a rose

It has been brought to my attention that many of the flowers that Kroger sells are imported from Columbia.

In Columbia, highly toxic nematicides, such aldicarb and fenamifos, are heavily used in rose factories. The use of these chemicals has an impact on the delicate eco-system and the crops harvested by farmers around rose-growing farms, and the use of these chemicals is detrimental to the health of rose factory workers.

A study of a population of 8, 867 workers, who are employed by Colombian flower plantations near Bogota, showed that the workers were exposed to 127 different pesticides — three of which the World Health Organization considers to be extremely toxic.

An estimated 20 percent of the pesticides used are banned in the U.K. and the U.S., because they have been found to be carcinogenic and extremely toxic. Nearly two-thirds of Colombian flower workers suffer headaches, nausea, impaired vision, miscarriages, congenital malformations, still births, conjunctivitis, rashes, asthma, and respiratory and neurological problems that can be attributed to the use of these chemicals. Yet, products produced under these conditions continue to be exported and purchased by flower companies worldwide. Krogers is supporting this inhumane industry by purchasing flowers from South American countries.

Eighty percent of the 80,000 workers in the Colombian flower industry are women and children. The majority of women working in the flower industry are in their procreative prime, 15 to 28 years of age. Most flower factories fire workers by the time they are 35, because their hands have been ruined by the work. The workday for a woman in the Colombian flower industry begins at 6 a.m. with cutting, cleaning, classifying and packaging flowers for export.

Doctors in the flower producing regions of South American countries report up to five work-related cases of acute poisoning a day.

I urge you to only buy flowers grown in the United States. Otherwise, behind every flower there is a death to which you are contributing. I want to buy flowers, but the price is too high.

— Skye Smock, 17, homeschooled, New Albany

Boat ramp needs work

I have tried twice this year to launch my boat at the New Albany boat ramp and could not, due to the poor condition of the ramp.

If I had backed far enough to float the boat, my trailer would have been damaged due to the drop off. The park has been renovated and looks very nice but the ramp has been ignored and many boaters, including myself, must go to other places to launch.

Another change that was made is the reduction in the number and size of parking places for a truck and trailer.

Other communities in the area have nice ramps, plenty of parking and courtesy docks. I hope that the city will recognize the need for a decent facility for boaters. After all, this is a river city and that heritage should not be forgotten.

— Jerry Hay, Floyds Knobs