Letters to the editor for Jan. 7


Published: Monday, January 7, 2008 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, January 7, 2008 at 12:00 a.m.

Caring people helped find family's lost dog

I am so impressed by the people who live in Gainesville. I lost a dog this New Year's Eve. My family was heartbroken thinking about how she had frozen or died from a car collision. It was a very sad few days worrying and wondering.

At the same time I was placing a lost ad in the classified section of The Gainesville Sun, a kind lady who rescued my dog in traffic, placed a found ad. When I came home from work the following day my answering machine was full of messages from 25 different people who saw the ads and called with the phone number of the found ad to make sure I knew about it. It is touching to know there are so many good people who care.

Lynn Babb,

Gainesville

Intelligent design shouldn't be on school curriculums

Florida's public school system is under yet another assault. It is bad enough schools are at risk of losing more funding if the property tax amendment passes on Jan. 29, but now the integrity of the curriculum is in jeopardy.

In a few short weeks Florida's Board of Education will decide whether to include intelligent design, the new label for creationism, in Florida's science Sunshine State Standards. The standards determine the curriculum and testing every public school student must learn to pass from one grade to the next. These standards also dictate what is on the FCAT.

Intelligent design is no more science than numerology is calculus. It invokes supernatural causation and has been consistently refuted by the scientific community. It has not generated any peer-reviewed, scientific publications nor has it ever been the subject of testing and research. The doctrine deserves no place in Florida's science curriculum as it inherently restricts curious minds and stifles inquiry.

The Board of Education must hear from you immediately because it will make its decision in February. The anti-evolution supporters of intelligent design have been doing so for months.

Remain silent and intelligent design will become part of the Sunshine State Standards in science. This means starting next school year students would be tested on intelligent design when they take the science portion of the FCAT.

Make sure this does not happen by contacting the eight members of board at commissioner@fldoe.org.

Our children deserve a 21st century education. Send your e-mail to the board and tell them to keep intelligent design out of our public schools. And then, on Jan. 29, vote no on (property tax) Amendment 1.

Susan Bottcher,

Gainesville

Bethlehem has been made a prison by the Israelis

Harold Cohen's Jan. 3 response to my Dec. 25 letter about the Bethlehem barrier brought a painful smile on my face. I visited Bethlehem this last summer and tried to go through the barrier manned by Israeli soldiers. I was told I could not go through because I have a rental car from Israel.

My Israeli Christian friends were not allowed because they have Israeli cars that need a special permission. After arguing, the young soldier leaned forward to my friend and whispered to him directions to get to Bethlehem using the back way through another village called Beit Jala. We did that and spent two beautiful nights in an intercontinental hotel in the city.

We did not hear or encounter any violence. We did not see any Hamas or Jihad or any fighters. We did not need any bulletproof bus or vests. It was peaceful because there were no Israeli occupying soldiers in sight. They were all behind the barrier or in the towers, watching every move in the city or, more accurately, the "open-air prison" they created of Bethlehem.

Cohen is also wrong about the Christian/Muslim relationship in the city and about the reasons Christians are diminishing in number. The Israeli occupation has not discriminated between Christian and Muslim Palestinians. The economical siege and the roadblocks made the Christians leave.

Finally, those called terrorists by Cohen are the Palestinians fighters whose aim is to get rid of the occupation by the minimal means they have; fighting F-16 and Apache helicopters provided and sold by our government to the Israeli army.

John Mirav,

Gainesville

Brytan project shows disregard for safety

When the main roads coming out of a metropolitan area are arranged like the spokes in a wheel, it is necessary to have connecting roads between the spokes to prevent traffic from being forced into congested areas just to get from one spoke to another.

University, Newberry, Archer and Williston roads are examples of this kind of layout. The main in-city connector is 34th Street. The next available connector is I-75. Beyond that, there is a corridor from Newberry Road to Williston Road along 75th Street and 85th Avenue that will inevitably be an "outer belt" south and west of Gainesville.

Intelligent design of roadways in Alachua County would take this into consideration, and in the past, this was done. Both 85th Avenue and 75th Street had easements that would allow them to be a four-lane highway for their entire length.

This is something that won't happen soon. But the traffic that needs to flow between Williston Road and Archer Road is already here and can be seen going along the relatively narrow and curvy 62nd Avenue and 63rd Boulevard.

If the County Commission has its way, that outer belt will never happen. The county has actually sold the easement for 75th Street south of Archer Road to a development for use as a drainage basin. The road that was the only paved entrance and exit for a half dozen established communities has been rerouted from a direct connection to Archer into the parking lot of the Brytan development, impeding the access of those homeowners to the rest of the world, including emergency services.

The entire Brytan project borders on criminal disregard for safety, both of the people who would be the business invitees of Brytan and of the people who are being forced to drive through their parking lot on a daily basis.

Russ Nekorchuk,

Gainesville

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