Dear Editor: We just had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday — gathering with family for great food and fellowship and giving thanks to God for the many blessings He has showered upon us!
However, I am deeply troubled, not by what I experienced this Thanksgiving, but by what was missing! The president of our country and other politicians gave public thanks to many, and for many things, but made no mention of thanks to God.
“Every good thing bestowed and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights . . .” James 1:17). The Psalmist tells us in Psalm 92:1, “It is good to give thanks to the Lord . . .” Let’s not forget to give thanks to Whom thanks is due.
Support making a difference at Edgerton Center
Dear Editor: I want to personally thank everyone for their help and support with the recent Edgerton Explorit Center “Stars Come Out” fundraiser. The real stars of the center are the people we serve and the donors and supporters who make that possible. Thank you to the board of directors and the Edgerton staff, particularly Dan, Jessica, Joe, Nicole and Norm. All of these individuals inspire me daily with their passion for education, drive and willingness to go the extra mile and for their unwavering support of the center. A special thank you to Bob and Eric Edgerton for making the evening memorable and to Bob for recounting many of his famous father’s adventures and photography in his presentation.
Thank you also to Creative Cuisine, Prairie Creek Vineyards, Deb Nelson, and the Wacky Wednesday after School parents, grandparents and friends for their help during the event.
I especially want to thank all the businesses and people in the community for your help and support with our fundraiser by donating items for the auction, decorating tables, sponsoring tables, and attending the event. I know how often you are asked to help and donate for worthy causes. Your donations, no matter how large or small, allow us to fund our operating expenses, offer educational programming and instill a love of learning into the children of our community and state. All donations to the Edgerton Explorit Center make a difference!
I personally see the impact the center makes and know that Harold “Doc” Edgerton would be proud of his legacy and the work that is happening at the center. The Edgerton Explorit Center is committed to making a difference by getting children excited about science and education which is critical for our future.
Thank you to all the stars for helping us make a difference tomorrow, next week, next month, next year and far into the future. After this event, I am again reminded of what a great community we live and work in!
Mary Molliconi executive director Edgerton Explorit Center
McCook honors fallen teacher
Dear Editor: On behalf of the McCook High School Senior Celebration Parents, we want to thank all the Aurora fans who had a hot meal or snack with us Friday night. We witnessed a fine game and a display of mutual respect and sportsmanship reminiscent of the 2008 season when McCook traveled to Aurora twice, the first game McCook winning but losing the second to the eventual state champ Aurora Huskies.
The mutual respect shown by the athletes extends to not only the student body, but the fans and the communities in general. Aurora and McCook have more in common than differences. And for that reason, the loss of a beloved teacher and coach, Lauren Akerson, touches not only your community, but our’s, too. We had planned a moment of silence for Mrs. Akerson, but NSAA rules, as we found out, do not allow anything that could be construed as a prayer. The pendulum has swung too far.
So, an announcement was all that could be done. The student council quickly organized a white-out. The fans may have noticed several students dressed in white instead of the customary black and red. This was their way of honoring a fallen teacher and coach.
This brings me to why we have a senior celebration and why we invited Aurora fans to dine with us. In the late 1970’s and early 80’s McCook lost several graduates to tragic accidents. Enough was enough. In 1985, the McCook parents responded by organizing a drug and alcohol free celebration on graduation night. A great tradition was started and the parents have been providing meals ever since to pay for the celebration. No one wants a student’s last assembly to be at the cemetery. So we have been keeping them alive since ’85.
Again, our hearts go out to the family and the community, and as healing begins, may our communities be forever linked.
Doug Skiles and the MHS Senior Celebration Parents
Numbers don’t add up for baseball
A group of patrons recently asked the Aurora School Board to consider adding baseball as a high school activity. Although I can understand the benefits that would be gained by our summer baseball program and by some athletes, I think there are far too many negatives that would occur with this addition.
The number one reason I feel we should not be adding baseball is financial. Our school is struggling financially as is evidenced by the fact that the teaching staff was reduced by 3.25 teachers this year (a 6th grade reading teacher was eliminated from the middle school, 3 full time elementary teachers were replaced with 3 half-time reading teachers and the high school had a net loss of .75 teachers).
Unlike most years where teachers have their supplies ordered during the summer so they are there to start the school year, this year, because of budget constraints, most supplies were not ordered until September and many have still not arrived.
The cost of coaches, officials, uniforms, equipment and travel will be a considerable sum. Although the patrons asking for baseball have expressed a willingness to help with some of the finances, this need for money will eventually fall on the school as a responsibility.
Secondly, I think baseball will hurt our track program. The pro-baseball contingent has pointed out that most Class B schools have baseball. Unfortunately, most Class B schools are also considerably larger than Aurora. I don’t think we have the numbers to allow another sport. Current enrollment figures from the NSEA show that Aurora is the 5th smallest school in Class B with an enrollment of 281. Many of the larger Class B schools more than double our enrollment. The biggest B school is Columbus with an enrollment of 823. Even our close neighbor, GI Northwest has an enrollment of 571. That means Northwest is averaging 97 students more per grade than Aurora. It’s easy to see where they have the student numbers to justify another sport.
Thirdly, I am no Title IX expert, but my understanding of the law is that an equal number of activities must be offered for both boys and girls. If that is so, we would have to add a girl’s sport (either swimming, tennis, or soccer) which would bring even higher costs to the school as well as hurt girl’s track.
I love baseball (Go Royals!) and I love the idea of having more opportunities for the students at Aurora. Unfortunately, when looking at the financial numbers and enrollment numbers, I just don’t think it adds up at this time.
Turtle Beach saga goes on and on
The saga of the Turtle Beach and Lac-denado Road goes on ... and on.
North R Road has been treacherous for over 15 years as it is wash-boarded, rutted and pot-holed. It is unsafe for drivers and damaging to our vehicles. Yet, numerous requests to grade and hard surface this 1/3 mile of road have been ignored, stalled or action promised, but not fulfilled. In 2004 883 vehicles were recorded (traffic counter) traveling this road in six days. At that time the county board put this road on the county’s 1 & 6 Year Road Improvement Plan and, in 2007, the board voted to move this hard surface project to top priority. Nothing happened other than promises it would be done soon.
During this time the road became so wash-boarded and rough that a Turtle Beach resident filled in holes and smoothed out the road with his farm equipment. We were told by the county to stop immediately.
In 2010 commissioner Larry Fox reviewed the proposed county road budget and presented three options, each covering the expected annual road maintenance/purchases, with enough money left to asphalt North R Road. But at the commissioner meeting, when Fox motioned to move forward with the R Road project using the budgets he presented, the roads superintendent was opposed, citing lack of money available even though the budget figures showed otherwise. Larry’s motion did not get seconded.
In March of 2011 we had another meeting with the commissioners. By now the R Road project has been on the plan for eight years and nothing had been done. By this time the county had collected over $200,000 in county taxes from the property at these two developments.
In 2012 the commissioners approved a much cheaper “fix” for this road: They agreed to re-grade, pack and apply six inches of old millings in two-inch layers at a cost of $15,972, using the county’s stockpiled millings with a hot mix over the top. However, no oil was applied and the milled road broke up immediately resulting in large potholes. There was a great deal of “he says/she says” as to why no oil was added, but no one from the county followed through on this and it appears this project was set up to fail. The roads superintendant has proposed removing these millings and returning this to a gravel road.
We oppose the return of a gravel road -- why repeat what didn’t work in the first place?
We met with the commissioners a month ago. They confirmed it is the worst road in Hamilton County with the most traffic. They then agreed to take bids for asphalting this road, but warned they may reject all bids. The advertisement for bids ran in the paper for three weeks with the bid opening date of Sept. 16. But there were no bids on Sept. 16 because the road department had not submitted the specifications required for contractors to prepare bids. No specs = no bids. We lost three weeks of critical time. We later were told by the roads department the delay in the specifications was due to the commissioners not approving the cost of the survey necessary to write the specs.
On Sept. 16 the board voted to start over with the bid process promising us the specs would be available soon. On Monday, Sept. 23, we learned incorrect specs had been inadvertently submitted but would be corrected yet that day.
Is all of this just “dumb luck” or are we simply being duped by a ploy to dangle the promise of a better road with no intentions of ever following through?
Over the years our residents have spent thousands of dollars on vehicle repairs attributed to the condition of this road (front ends, ball joints, struts, tires, wheel bearings, alignments, etc). Last week approximately $7,000 of these bills were turned into the county insurance carrier as claims against the county and more are to come. Last week the school bus broke down on this road, completely losing power and the mechanic’s diagnosis was the rutted road vibrated the electrical system loose, making the bus inoperable. This week the roads department put up new 20 mph speed limit signs confirming the safety liability of R road. But, the washboard surface causes severe vibration at any speed.
Our two developments have greatly increased Hamilton County’s tax base. Most county leaders welcome and encourage growth in their county, recognizing new developments increase their tax base and the new people purchase goods and services locally. We have met resistance at every turn with the commissioners and roads department. We ask these people to live up to the opening sentence in the Hamilton County Employee Handbook which every employee must read and sign. It states: “The Hamilton County Board recognizes and declares the necessity of providing the most efficient and highest quality services for the citizens of Hamilton County. This should include asphalting North R Road to allow County citizens safe and reasonable access.