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Letters to the Editor

Youth need to

seek education

Mr. Ted Storck's letter to the editor "1984 all over again" (Sun Tribune, Sept. 5), which suggests that President Obama used his speech to American students in order to brainwash them, fails to take into account the degree to which the speech will positively impact the Morris community. Demographic studies indicate that the number of students graduating from high school in the U.S. will steadily decline over the next 10 years, and this is going to have an enormous impact on higher education. Put simply, colleges and universities will be competing for a much smaller pool of students, and if the numbers are correct, this means that some colleges and universities will be closing in the near future. To avert a potential catastrophe, President Obama is launching a massive initiative, which will encourage more students to go to college. This is one of the reasons why he wanted to address America's students.

In Orwell's 1984, political leaders brainwash people with strategic misrepresentations and falsehoods, the same kind of distortions that are in Mr. Storck's letter. President Obama encourages students to get more education and to become more critical thinkers who respect inquiry and dissent, which is the exact opposite from what occurs in 1984. With some luck, President Obama's long-term vision of higher education will produce more thoughtful, educated and intelligent Republicans and Democrats, who will engage in sophisticated and spirited debates about real issues.

To conclude, let me second Mr. Storck's suggestion to read 1984. But in addition to reading the novel, I would also encourage everyone to listen to President Obama's speech, and then ask the following question: Is President Obama brainwashing people in a 1984-manner with a specific political ideology or is he encouraging our youth to become educated? If the latter, then he is doing what any well-respected Republican or Democrat would do.

Michael Lackey


Courthouse waste

I am a member of the Stevens County Taxpayers and am writing this letter as an individual, not as part of the taxpayers group.

This last year we have tried to get our commissioners to use some common sense in this project and try to conserve, but instead it appears that they are trying to punish the county's taxpayers (who are going to pay for this project) by the sheer waste of resources and space in the new courthouse. The new design was Option 4, which adds approximately 21,500 square feet of new construction per plans and specifications dated Aug. 17, 2009. The purpose for this was that they were moving human service's personnel back to the main building. They also were going to move public health employees to the human service's building. The moving of the public health employees made the public health building for sale. The square footage in that building is approximately 4,200 square feet. The net gain of square footage for the county buildings is approximately 17,300 square feet with no additional employees. The total remodeled portion in the existing courthouse that will be used by the county is approximately 20,000 square feet, part of which is new construction also and is on the lower level of the existing courthouse. This does not include the courts area at the north end of the second floor that had been remodeled before but will get some upgrades. If you add 17,300 to 20,000 you get 37,300. If you divide 37,300 by the number of employees in the new facility, 74, that equals 504 square feet, or a space approximately 25 feet by 20 feet per employee.

The county employed 109 full-time and 31 part-time workers as of May 1, 2009 and the total that will be in the remodeled old building and the new construction will be approximately 74. That does not include the personnel for the Morris Police Department, which is also housed in this building.

It would be nice if an official from our county government would tell the citizens of the county why this is necessary.

Sounds like a bit more than they need and the county can afford!

Anyone can verify this information if they want to by going to the courthouse and looking at the plans.

Where are our commissioners coming from? How can they justify the cost on this courthouse remodel and new construction?

Any amount of money is too much with this economy. We need every concerned resident to get involved and express your opinion for or against this project.

On Sept. 15, 2009, the commissioners will accept or reject the bids.

This is our last chance to react. Show up!

Gordon E. Lea