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Week of March 31

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Need to work together on school merger

Sir: Re: the consolidation of St. Clair and SCITS.

Change can be good, change can provide opportunities, and change can either bring communities together or tear them apart.

I ask that people consider our students and communities as they shout from the top of your lungs, “SAVE SCITS!”

This is not a debate over which school has more pride, better experiences or a longer history. This is about finances, building conditions and the school board’s best options to provide quality education to all students.

How can the board, which has $200 million in backlogged work, justify the continued maintenance and operations of a 94-year-old building? Its pool is under used, in poor condition with high liability and utility costs. The school is limited for expansion and renovations because of costly asbestos in the walls and little real estate.

SCITS also continually has costly sewer backups that have yet to be resolved.

But it has an auditorium, people scream! It has PSI designation and more tech programs! Actually, St. Clair offers 17 to SCITS 15 tech programs, and the PSI designation has historically been transferred to various schools throughout the Lambton Kent District School Board, and will be again.

An auditorium does not make a school, it is not required for public education, it is not required for SCITS revue to continue, though perhaps on a new platform, and is within a few blocks of two other auditoriums.

With the money that could be saved by letting this costly school go our 63 other schools would benefit, with the board able to address backlogged work, creating better learning environments and enhancing our students’ education.

We would be better served by working together to find a feasible solution for the SCITS building that would attract investors and boost the local community. This is a change we need to offer our students to provide better course selection, positive co-curricular opportunities and a healthy learning platform.

We need to encourage this change to provide a fresh start for our kids, starting with a new name, new colours, new mascot and a new school song.

Kristen Schrie

St. Clair parent and ARC Committee member

Sarnia

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City skating appreciated

Sir: Thank you Sarnia.

We have so enjoyed the adult ice-skating at the Clearwater Arena this past winter. It is wonderful for adults to have the opportunity to skate four times a week.

It is both physically and socially rewarding.

Another community asset!

Jean and Bob MacIntyre

Sarnia

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Praise of Trump was disappointing

Sir: We are disappointed that our MP, Marilyn Gladu, praised Donald Trump for championing free speech in America.

Mr. Trump’s brand of so-called “free speech” involves bullying, boorishness, sexism, racism and incitement to violence.

We certainly expect our MP to carry out her representative role using much higher standards of civility, dignity and public discourse.

Ms Gladu’s admiration of Mr. Trump and his perverted approach to “free speech” is not representative of the views of Sarnia-Lambton residents.

Eileen Viola, President

Sarnia Lambton Federal Liberal Association

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Bridge toll hike backward thinking

Sir: Re: Toll rising on Blue Water Bridge

For 20 years I directed a children’s camp in Muskoka. We ran full camps of 128 campers per week, plus an overflow capability that increased it to 160.

A number of years after leaving, the new board found the numbers dwindling and decided to raise the fee from $300 to $600 per camp. They did this to increase the bottom line.

Guess what happened? Camper registration bottomed out. Loyalties were shifted to more inexpensive venues. Now they were really in trouble.

I see this same mentality with the bridge fees – a decline in passenger vehicles and they up the cost of using the bridge. Goodness, I wonder what will happen?

Not only that, but after installing the automated system, they’re phasing out tokens. Perhaps they feel it will keep Canadians shopping at home.

Let’s see now, 1,000 vehicles at $3.50 each is $3,500; 500 vehicles at $4 each is $2,000.

Maybe that’s a little simplistic, but it will help when the real numbers come out. These people need to give their heads a shake.

Don Ballantyne

Sarnia

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We should encourage a drug-free lifestyle

Sir: With reference to Jeff Meyers’ March 10 letter: ‘Pot a relatively safe drug.’

The accompanying graph was compiled by two doctors in 1994 and presents good information – if you have to be impaired in some way. It lists a number of choices: Nicotine, Heroin, Cocaine, Alcohol, Caffeine and Cannabis.

Here’s a thought – somewhat outdated and rather old-fashioned – why not direct our youth toward a drug-free culture, rather than encouraging them to smoke pot because it is the so-called ‘safest’ drug.

The legalization of marijuana should not be at the forefront; directing our youth to a healthy drug-free lifestyle should be the priority. More funding is needed for mental health, not only for youth but for everyone needing assistance.

Over-wrought parents are unable to access help for their sons and daughters in a timely manner. Many are on waiting lists due to insufficient government funding, and by the time they do access help, they are deeply mired in the drug scene. Many feel they are in a hopeless situation and smoking pot or some other drug is the answer.

With regard to my earlier remarks about Tommy Chong on Dancing with the Stars, Mr. Meyers stated that I “may not realize that he was stoned on previous rounds and danced well enough to avoid elimination.”

Not the case. The show usually has a dark horse or an ‘elder statesman’ every season who gets voted through week after week, even though he or she may have ‘two left feet’.

These dancers get the vote out of respect for their longevity and pure entertainment value. That was the case with 76-year-old Tommy Chong.

Nadine Wark

Sarnia

 

 

 

 

 

 

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