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Published on Mon, Nov 23, 2009
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Lake Stevens students deserve benefits of Levy

Dear Editor,

I am writing in response to a letter that a gentleman wrote in regards to his feelings about the LSSD levy.   
I have been a teacher for over 12 years, with the last three years being in the LSSD.
Before coming to Lake Stevens, I taught in the Lake Washington School District where every classroom had progressive equipment and technology available to both students and teachers.    Students in our Lake Stevens District deserve at least the same opportunities for advancement in education as those just down the road.
I have shown videos in my classroom from time to time as well. They are not only tied to the curriculum and grade level appropriate, they are one of the many different tools in teaching listening and observational skills to students as they interpret all information.  I trust that the public doesn’t think all we do as educators is show movies.  In fact, I don’t think “hi def” or plasma TV’s are part of the fund through this levy. 
Kids are using Facebook, Myspace, Ipods, blogs, etc. to communicate and survive in the world.  As educators we need to be able to educate the students to be successful when they leave our classrooms.  We need to educate them with tools that they are using in the real world which are different than the “tools” we had growing up.  How are we supposed to do that if we don’t have the resources that allow us to educate the students? 
The levy is supporting student learning and I know times are tough but there is nothing better than investing in our student’s future!
Emily Dykstra

Taking personal responsibility leads to success
Dear Editor,

As we watch legislators in Washington D.C. move to pass Universal HealthCare Reform, I am reminded that our society no longer holds itself responsible for our actions and inactions.
If you don’t have a job don’t worry, the federal government will give you a job. I don’t have health insurance (I do have a new car and a mortgage), but no fear the federal government is here to save the day and give you free health care.
I am over-weight, wait while I put my Big Mac down, it is fine the government will outlaw all trans-fats and force a special diet on you. Our society has become a bunch of whiners and excuse makers. A lawyer and therapist mindset has over-taken this country.
It isn’t your fault that you got in your car after drinking fifteen beers and killed that nice family, it is the alcohol manufacturers fault or the bartender. I rape young children, it is fine because internet porn caused your “illness”. I beat my wife and kids, no don’t blame yourself, it is because of television and video games.
Each and every one of us need to look in the mirror then say, I am responsible for myself and my life. If I want to be a better person and improve my life, then I will work harder and become better educated. I drink too much, so I will not drive to a local bar or not go down the beer aisle at the store.
I don’t have health insurance, I will make it a priority in my life to pay for it myself and not buy that new boat yet.
Until we (as a society) realize that big government is not the answer, personal freedom and responsibility is the only way to live a successful life, we will continue to struggle both economically and morally.

Todd Welch

R-71 gives same-sex couples equal rights

Dear Editor,

I would like to respond to Angela Jacob’s letter regarding R-71 and protections for same-sex couples. Traditional marriage is not threatened by rights of domestic partnership; the only thing that is threatened is the exclusivity of the rights such a relationship ensures.
If we are to fall back on individual rights being equal then should any coupling receive additional rights? And if marriage is afforded additional “privileges and sanctions” because the parties involved contribute to the “propagation” and “nurturing” of society (i.e. future generations), should those “privileges and sanctions” only apply to marriages that produce offspring? Similar arguments can and have been extrapolated on either side of the issue.
I must admit my own bias, counting same-sex couples among my friends and family. My husband and I don’t feel like our marriage is in any way threatened by the idea that same-sex couples might share the same legal protections and benefits if they are to be had.
Marriage viewed from a religious perspective is one thing, and I would never dictate to any religious group what they must accept let alone sanction.
Problems arise because relationships that are being privately defined are being afforded public status and benefits. In my work as a volunteer chaplain I have witnessed some very painful situations where same-sex couples have been denied access to information, participation in decision making, even the ability to be present with a partner in a time of crisis or to say goodbye.
I have seen them lose homes and children after losing a partner, adding insult to injury. Circumstances husbands and wives seldom, if ever, have to face and that most would not tolerate.
So you see, whatever their individual rights, many of the “equal rights” same-sex couples are calling for make issues of property, taxes and the like seem petty distractions and our demand for their exclusivity to heterosexual couples prejudicial.
At the heart of this matter are some very simple questions with complex answers that challenge our individual and collective intellectual and psycho-spiritual maturity. Questions about how and by whom a marriage or partnership is defined and recognized. Simpler still is the question of whether or not we feel we have the authority to question the validity of love and commitment between two people.
Are we bolder in our questions or are they braver to assert their rights?
Rev. Laurel Sager
Lake Stevens
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