Letters to the Editor, April 18, 2018

The Presidency

The POTUS gets crazier every day
Men in white coats should take him away
He keeps Muslim’s away from our soil
Except for those with lots of oil
He’s smarter than generals and the CIA
But reporters, they’re evil, keep them away!
He builds a wall to keep Mexicans out
Yet, “I LOVE the Mexicans,” he shouts
He pushes his daughter’s clothing line
Yet Nordstrom’s cuts orders, they’re not really so fine
And the EPA is no longer useful
Bad water and air, now that’s truthful
We’ll drill in the forests for money all day
How will we live when it’s all gone away?
The military gets money for big bombs and guns
Sounds like our “happiness” will be no fun
To keep us free, keep others out
The president knows all, he’s got the clout
He’s smart and good and “UGE” as can be
“No one has ever been as good as me.”
He’s smarter than di Vinci and Einstein for sure
What kind of bait is he using to lure?
He’s “famous” and can do whatever he wants
Grope “pussies” of ladies and make rude taunts
He respects no one unless they are rich
Well, ain’t that just a real stinkin’ bitch?
The country’s in chaos, that is true
So now “We the people,” what should we do?
Keep speaking our truths and keep fighting the fight
The day will come when we’ll see the light!

Louise Bacon-Ogden

Sacrificial eucalyptus trees

Not only is the proposed safety corridor deconstruction project between Arcata and Eureka a waste of highway funds, Caltrans in all its wisdom is planning to eliminate the iconic euclayptus trees, stating safety and maintenance concerns.

As far as the safety of the roadway, if that is such a concern to Caltrans, then why is the posted speed limit scheduled to be increased from 50 mph to to 65 mph, which is the main object of the project, even though the 50 mph speed limit has all but eliminated injury accidents.

Granted, the eucalyptus trees could pose a safety concern, but like all trail systems, the users need to use caution and be observant. As far as maintenance, volunteers could be utilized to keep the trail clear.

Caltrans is using the eucalyptus trees just as they created safety issues in the corridor to justify the reconstruction project.

These iconic trees have been saved in the past, and they can be saved again. Let your feelings be known.

Scott R. Baker

School libraries matter

School libraries are the great equalizers of public education. No matter what a student’s household income is, the school library can offer access to books, internet, computers, printers, and the help of a credentialed librarian. A credentialed librarian matters as much as a funded library.

Several long term studies directly link student success in reading to credentialed librarians at schools. School librarians not only offer crucial support in teaching literacy and Common Core Standards, but they also design learning commons to encourage students to communicate, collaborate, and innovate – as well as offering a safe place to just hang out or read.

School librarians are essential in helping students and teachers navigate the flood of information and resources available to them. Librarians focus on information literacy – the ability to effectively locate, evaluate, and utilize information correctly, and the evaluation part can be tricky.

The words “fake news” are prominent because technology can quickly disseminate falsehoods and biased opinions as though they were facts. As technology allows easy manipulation of data, students must analyze every information source.

Compared to when I was in school, students have more work to do to find good sources of information for both their daily life and academics. As a student, I looked at books, newspapers, and magazines – sources I could hold and flip through. There were fewer sources, they were curated by a librarian, and they went through a publishing process to guarantee quality.

Now everyone can be a publisher. At best, this gives a platform to all voices in our community. At worst, it allows for extreme bias and flagrant misinformation. Understanding how to access quality information is necessary to sustain a democratic society.

Students need training to wade through the hundreds of websites, blogs, videos, etc. that are returned in a simple Google search and to evaluate what is showing up on their social media. They need to learn how to question and research publishers, author’s credentials, and where the information originated.

For example, have you heard that 10 teenagers die each day from texting and driving? Google it. Then search the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration site and you’ll find that statistic is manufactured from a report that states 9 percent of all distracted drivers who died (3,477 drivers) were teens, and texting is one distraction.

The misinformation that 10 teens a day (3650 teens a year) die from texting and driving is cited on dozens of websites and in even more comment posts, all from a statistic being misrepresented.

Even professionals do not always research where their “facts” are coming from before sharing them, which only reinforces it is more important than ever to train our students to be information literate.

This is where school librarians come in. They hold degrees in library and information science, as well as teaching credentials for pedagogical practices. They are trained to promote reading, teach research skills, integrate technology with curriculum, and offer equitable access to technology and books. Years ago, California had several thousand credentialed librarians in schools, but due to budget cuts there are currently around 700. The poorest, and most rural, California schools cut their credentialed librarians even though there is definitive proof that students are more successful with librarians on staff. Now that funding is being restored, we must reinstate our school librarians.

Today, there are only four fully credentialed school librarians in teaching positions in Humboldt County: Arcata High’s Librarian (me) Jennifer Berube, Fortuna Middle’s Librarian/Gate Coordinator Jana Reveles, Eureka District’s Librarian Ruth Mitchell, and HCOE’s Librarian/Learning Specialist Ryan Keller (McKinleyville High’s Librarian Marsha Mielke is finishing a leave; the position is being filled by Naomi Hill, earning her Librarian degree).

Twenty-four states in our country require credentialed librarians. California does not. We rely on local school districts to do what is best for student learning and success.

Northern Humboldt Union has shown it understands libraries are essential learning commons by funding improved facilities, technology, and a fulltime library teacher at each comprehensive high school.

April is School Library month. It is a time to thank the wonderful clerical library personnel who keep our local school libraries going, often in part-time positions. But it is also time to ask our local administrators and school boards, when will we bring back our credentialed librarians to support students, library clerks, and teachers?

Because school librarians matter just as much as the libraries and the students who utilizes them.

Jennifer Berube
Library Media Teacher
Peer Tutoring Coordinator
Arcata High School



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