-A A +A

Don’t take away our leftovers

    Bedford Primary School is the only school in the county without a gym.  Earlier this year Dr. Blevins announced at a PTA meeting that the county would most likely begin construction in August of 2009 and complete construction before the end of the school year.  Now the county is trying to put the project on hold again.

    Parents have put in countless hours making telephone calls, writing letters and attending and speaking at school board meetings over the last decade in order to get the county to make the health of its youngest students equal in priority with the high school athletic system.  In the meantime auxiliary gyms have been built while the children at the Primary school have spent minimal time in PE on unmopped floors in the cafeteria.

    In the 2004/2005 school year I took my turn speaking to the school board.  They were very gracious in hearing my plea and responded positively, agreeing to my request that the primary gym be included in the first phase of construction along with the Jefferson Forest renovation.  It would be done before auxiliary gyms.  It hasn’t been.

    Since then, the school population has grown from 240 to 350 students.  Obesity and childhood diabetes have continued to rise as well as the number of children diagnosed with ADD.  Schools have faced increased pressure to meet AYP in SOL testing.  While the testing doesn’t begin until the third grade, the pressure starts when the students walk through the door on the first day of kindergarten.  Studies have shown that movement affects performance, but these young children don’t have room to move.  Many city kids also have less safe, ample space to play within their own neighborhoods than the kids in the rural schools do.  They perhaps need the gym more than any others.  

    Two misconceptions may deter residents from setting the gym as a priority.  The first is that the school board has given the reversion of the city to a town as a reason to put off the expenditure.  The city does not own the Primary school and never has.  The city owns and maintains the elementary and middle schools.

    The second misconception is that if the county puts off this expenditure it may be able to save jobs that are being cut due to the recession.  The money cannot be used for anything other than construction.  It was federal money provided through the Public/ Private Education Facilities Infrastructure Act that has guidelines requiring the money to be used for facilities.  It therefore cannot be used to fund positions. 

    This year we were told again that the gym would be built.  The money that was to be used for the gym was money left over from the renovation of Jefferson Forest and the auxiliary gyms.  Although the Primary school was supposed to be in Phase I, it wasn’t.  We’re just asking to not have our leftovers taken away, leaving us with an empty plate!

    Don’t let this money go to bleachers, office renovations or more auxiliary gyms before ensuring that our youngest have a clean, adequate space for a well rounded healthy education.  You don’t have to have a child at the Primary school to care about our city’s kids.  Call, write and meet with our school board representatives to let them know what the priorities should be.  

Barbara Owen       


White hats?

    When did the insurance industry become the guys wearing the white hats?

    Probably everyone out there has a horror story about denied claims or abridged benefits, I do.  I am now on federally run Medicare, which I love.  What I do not love is Part D, the prescription drug plan run by insurance companies. 

    Within two years my original provider had tripled their premiums.  I realized that every year I would have to research plans in my state to find the best benefit for the lowest cost.  And don’t think changing plans is easy.  It took six months to get the paperwork straightened out and in place for my plan change. 

    Without a public option to keep them honest, what will keep insurance companies from drastic raises in premiums and deductibles for pre-existing conditions and portability? 

    Even though these terms have been mandated by the federal government, the costs could still make the policies unaffordable for most.

    By shutting the door on a public option, the insurance companies have no reason not to continue business as usual and there will be no real reform.

Phyllis W. Conrad


Where is the sense?

    After seeing the news that Obama has lifted the ban on people with HIV entering the country I wonder what idiotic thing he will do next. Where is the sense he was supposed to have? Someone will have to take care of these people. I’m sure he will not.

    By the time his term is up some of those Bush bashers will wish we still had Bush.

    God have mercy on us and our country.

Edith Turpin