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Mail and Commentary Feb. 22, 2012

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Support the Levy

As a parent of two teachers and grandparent of children currently in the Boise School District, I know two very important things:

One, teachers work very hard to prepare students for a bright future enhancing their strengths and supporting their needs for improvement. And two, my grandchildren are benefiting from excellent instruction in a system that places the emphasis where it belongs--on the classroom--having already made deep cuts in administration and operating expenses.

In spite of those cuts, our four high schools consistently place among the top schools in the United States. Part of that excellence is due to programs than enhance, such as music and art, and programs that support higher education, such as AP classes. Our children will be prepared for college, because we, as a family, will see to it, but I believe in the Jeffersonian concept that an educated citizenry is vital to a healthy democracy. I am willing to pay my fair share to see that all the children in my district receive that opportunity. Please think carefully about what you believe and join me in supporting the levy on March 13 to ensure that Boise schools continue to prepare our students for their future.

--Penelope Manning,Boise

Miner's Reality

As a daughter of Silver Valley miner, I cannot thank you enough for your "Mine Over Matter" article (BW, Features, "The Bedrock of Idaho, Feb. 15, 2012). The names Sunshine, Hecla, Lucky Friday and MSHA were some of the first words I learned as a kid, and I had the educational video, "You Are My Sunshine," the story of the Sunshine mine disaster, pretty much memorized at the age of 10. When you see a group of kids fiddling with their iPhones, you can bet that not one of them realizes the little smidgen of silver inside it cost the livelihood of another kid around their age a mile below the Earth's surface, manning a gnashing rock drill and splattered in hot mud.

My dad was the kid with the drill for a number of years and has worked his way up in the industry to a respected position of authority at another mine in Nevada, and our family is damn lucky to still have him. Every Idahoan should familiarize themselves with the story of the Sunshine Mine disaster and realize that miners aren't just digging for gold nuggets so they can retire rich. The world runs on miners' drills and haul trucks, from the biggest jetliner to the smallest electronic widget.

--Markki Nelson, Boise

Un-American

The folks at Add The Words are working hard to defend the American ideal of freedom for all, and I am disappointed and angry that Idaho Republicans have made the unethical and un-American choice to deny civil rights to some Idahoans. They should be ashamed of their ignorant and unpatriotic actions.

--Daniel Foster,Boise

Driver's side

I just read the article by Josh Gross in the Feb. 8 edition of BW (BW, Features, "Road Wars,"Feb. 8, 2012), and I would like to comment from a driver's standpoint about bicycles on the roadway.

I moved to Boise from Ohio almost five years ago. For the first several months, I was totally terrified by the bike riders. Terrified one of them would become a hood ornament on the front of my car. I was not used to sharing the road with these riders. After about six months, I asked my sister if there was an unwritten rule stating bikers were not allowed to put their feet on the ground. I feel the same way today.

I still have some fear when I encounter a biker on the road because the majority of them I have seen, and it's been a lot, have never stopped at a street sign and never stop for a red light because their feet must not dare touch the ground (they keep peddling around in a circle or make a right hand turn and cut across the road to the other side to continue going straight from the light). Most of them don't stay in the middle of their lane, they ride the painted line between their lane and the vehicle lane. If there is more than one rider, they don't ride single file, they ride two, three and sometimes four abreast meaning at least two of them are in the vehicle lane.

I see families riding together with a child tagging along in the back. I see mom or dad riding along pulling the child in one of those "carts" or whatever they are called, not stopping for a street sign, crossing the street and taking up the entire motorist lane, causing the motorist to brake to avoid hitting them.

Bikers want to share the road but not the rules of the road. I don't think it should be entirely up to the motorist to look out for bikers. They should also look out for themselves and obey the same rules. There is no difference between them and us except they are the ones that will be the fatality in an accident.

I for one am not guilty of not giving them 3 feet when I pass. I will wait for traffic to be gone and will go into the opposite lane to give the biker my entire lane because of fear one might hit a rock, stub his toe, or whatever and fall from his bike in front of my car. I would not be able to live with myself if I ever hit a biker, but there have been times I'd like to reach out and slap one.

: --Judy Taylor,Boise

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