Published 12:00 am Sunday, June 24, 2007

Support early in life
can reduce many problems
The recent focus in our community on gang activity should bring to the forefront the idea that perhaps one key to impacting these issues is to ensure that we start at the beginning. It is vital that our youngest citizens are given every opportunity to be healthy and prepared for success before they even enter school. Two powerful studies, Rutgers University’s High Scope Perry Preschool Project and UNC’s Abecedarian Project demonstrated that children who took part in high-quality preschool experiences reaped many benefits, compared to children in a control group. Some of these benefits included: higher IQ scores by the age of 7; higher academic achievement by 14; jobs with higher incomes by 27; and fewer arrests. The High Scope Perry Project concluded that every $1 spent on quality early education services saves more than $7 in costs to society in the future.
While it is clear that the gang issues we are dealing with here in Rowan County are pressing and that an immediate plan of action is necessary, the big picture for constructing a longterm solution must include an emphasis on ensuring that our community clearly understands that we can’t wait until children enter school to begin. Learning begins at birth, and if we strengthen our support for programs and services that help provide our 0 to 5 population with high-quality early learning experiences and family support, we will go a long way in making some inroads toward decreasing, in the future, the issues we are facing now. Empowering children when they are young will follow them the rest of their lives.
ó Cam Downing
Editor’s note: Cam Downing is executive director of Smart Start Rowan,
Many dedicated teachers
As a 2000 graduate of East Rowan High, seventh-grade writing instructor and daughter of parents who are RSS educators, I disagree with Meghan Free’s June 17 letter regarding lack of learning.
While at East, I witnessed dedicated teachers devoting countless hours for the betterment of students. My peers and I utilized time after school with educators to enhance our learning skills. We understood the pressure to cover material in an allotted time. Therefore, we took advantage of teachers willing to help us improve. My parents have spent countless hours making themselves available to students possessing the desire to improve their future.
In regard to writing: Was I prepared for college? No. However, I don’t blame my teachers. Exemplary marks on my writing tests in seventh and 10th grade indicate the quality of teaching I received. As a seventh-grade writing instructor, I understand the pressures and frustrations involved in “teaching to the test.” NCLB makes schools accountable for test scores among other things to avoid administrative takeover. This forces educators to teach for the test, not for the sake of learning.
Typically, educators show videos and conduct “cultural experiences” to appeal to the variety of learning styles within the classroom. Videos provide a visual approach to learning, appealing to approximately 29 percent of learners. Educators with a class of diverse learners must appeal to all their needs to ensure comprehension of the material. Cultural experiences appeal to the haptic (moving, touching, doing) learning, which makes up roughly 37 percent of learners. Creating “bean dip ó for a grade of course” or flan, fried ice cream or arroz con pollo ó allows the hands-on learner to evaluate and appreciate cultural differences as well as apply knowledge through something fun and interactive.
When it comes to quality educators, there are many, especially at ERHS, dedicated to educating students.
ó Kayla Justham
New Bern
A fine officer and leader
I am absolutely shocked at the disgusting comments R.E. Peele made about Lieutenant James Schmierer. He should truly be ashamed of himself and his actions.
I’ve known Lt. James “Jim” Schmierer for some time now, and I can honestly say that he is a wonderful person. He’s thoughtful, caring, hard working and generous to a fault. He is a fine police officer and leader. The people of East Spencer are fortunate to still have him.
Mr. Peele should get over his “sour grapes” and move on with his life. That would be the adult thing to do.
ó Jerri Coleman
Proud of department
I’ve been a member of The East Spencer Police Department for five years. I’m proud of what has been accomplished and equally as proud of the officers who have worked hard to make it all possible. Nothing has come easily, and there is still more work to be done. Departmentally, we’ll continue to move forward and accomplish our goals.
As for the comments made by R.E. Peele, I have no need or desire to entertain any of them. My level of professionalism and integrity are of a much higher standard.
ó Lieutenant J.R. Schmierer
East Spencer
Editor’s note: Lieutenant Schmierer is interim chief of the East Spencer Police Department.
Many supported Juneteenth
The Juneteenth 2007 Committee and First Legacy Federal Credit Union would like to thank our area sponsors and supporters for this year’s Juneteenth event.
Special sponsor this year for our event was Food Lion. We also would like to thank Uniform Express of Cooleemee for our Juneteenth T-shirts. Other sponsors were Cheerwine, Wal-mart, Salisbury Parks and Recreation, Cornerstone Church, White’s Barber Shop and city of Salisbury officials.
Activities were provided throughout the day by the Corvette Club of Salisbury, Andy Mitchell, Brian Miller, Krystal Connor, Dennis Eller and Cedric Witters.
Special thanks to Officer M.A. Hunter and Lt. M.A. Dummitt for security. Also, music and sound set up provided by Officer G. Ford.
The Juneteenth Committee gave away three community service awards: William Peoples, John McLaughlin and Aggie Harrington.
Tasha Moss provided food for performers.
We had a nice turnout. More than 30 vendors traveled from different areas to participate.
The Juneteenth Committee plans to work on several events for our area teens this year. Our goals are to provide something positive throughout the year to help keep some of our area teens from being on the streets and making bad choices.
ó Sherry Hawthorne
Bikers are no threat
The recent uprising over the Smoke Out has gotten out of hand. The commissioners are only looking for a way to keep their “undesirable biker people” out of the county. These people do not threaten citizens’ lives by riding through town shooting and robbing people, or killing goats. They aren’t the threat that the commissioners have propagated. They just want to ride their motorcycles and have fun. They will get rowdy at times, but most are law-abiding people. This is not 1947 Hollister, Calif., and Marlon Brando is not coming to terrorize the town (all of that was propaganda also).
The events at the Smoke Out may be a little wild. These people may break the law a little, but it usually is confined to the fairgrounds. There is a fence around it, and ways that it can be made so someone can’t see through it. Commissioner Tina Hall, you know what is going on out there. Don’t be driving by with your family, trying to get a peek, if you don’t want to see it.
It is surprising that the commissioners want to run the event off. It brings money and revenue into the county. If they were ever concerned about the outrageous spending of taxpayers’ money that occurred from the fiasco of the previous county manager and the useless investigations that took place, you think they would try to bring income into the county.
As a Christian, I applaud the commission’s convictions. As a citizen for equal rights, a taxpayer and motorcyclist, I am appalled. Their efforts should be concentrated on managing the county, not imposing their religious convictions on it. I never attend this event, but no one should be “run out of town” because they ride a motorcycle.
It’s not illegal (yet) to be a biker.
ó Steven D. Reavis
Deal with real problems
In regard to the Smoke Out this weekend, it’s a shame that such a big deal has been made out of this event. So what if a group of bikers is coming to Salisbury?
I’ll bet if you ask 500 residents at random, 499 either never heard of it or don’t care. These guys and gals are coming here to have a good time, blow off a little steam and spend some of their hard-earned money here, pack up and go home. They’re not here to live or move in to your neighborhoods, rob and pillage.
Come on, people, get a grip. These festivals go on every weekend across these United States, not just for bikers but also music, where tens of thousands invade quiet little communities, spend their dollars and go home.
People are people, and it takes all kinds.
Maybe we should turn this energy to keeping out illegals instead of a group of hard-working Americans here just to have a good time.
You should concern yourselves with the illegals and the amnesty bill ó now there’s an invasion.
ó Mark Truex