Saturday, December 20, 2014
   
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Letters to the Editor

Kudos to community, school

I have always been proud of growing up in Gothenburg, but now, even more so. Recently, 40 or 50 classmates of 1961, from 11 different states and all across Nebraska, from Alliance to Omaha, came together for our 50th-year high school reunion.

We had the splendid opportunity to take a couple tours. The Gothenburg school tour was guided by superintendent Mike Teahon, and the community tour by Matt Williams. If these two individuals are representative of your Gothenburg leadership, it is easy to see why you have grown and prospered, while many other Nebraska communities are, sadly, closing their doors.

The two leaders displayed incredible knowledge, passion, devotion and focus as they shared the vision and the philosophy of the school and community. Showing humility, each one spoke of the tremendous effort of Gothenburg’s many volunteer citizens and their willingness and interest in ensuring that whatever was needed could be accomplished.

The community should be applauded for long term planning to strategize, invite, recruit and support the best possible services to attract and keep families, from the schools’ excellent staff, facilities and community involvement to the business and farming community’s recruiting and supporting top notch companies, with financial and educational incentives in addition to recreational opportunities.

As expected, the reunion was most enjoyable; visiting and becoming reacquainted with many of the “best people” on earth. But what we did not anticipate was the feeling of great pride and pleasure many in our group expressed, as we walked in your hallways, and drove down your streets, and used your services. We found everyone welcoming and accommodating. Just seeing the growing, thriving, connected community of Gothenburg, where we developed our roots, was most rewarding. Keep it up! Pride renewed!

Elaine (Anderson) Peters

 

 

Two sides to a story

According to a letter to the edttor in last week’s issue of The Times, “Barack Obama immediately cut funding for (Egyptian) democracy promotion .... and eliminated money given directly to civil society groups altogether.”

However, according to an October 2009 inspector general audit, “The Government of Egypt has resisted USAID/Egypt’s democracy and governance program and has suspended the activities of many US NGOs (non-governmental organizations) because Egyptian officials thought these organizations were too aggressive.”

“Per the Egyptian government’s complaints, the U.S. now limits it’s funding to NGOs registered with the (Egyptian) government, therefore excluding most human rights groups,” according the Huffington Post.

Most times there are two sides to a story.

I did not mean to pick on aid to Egypt specifically in my 3-2-11 letter. Aid to Egypt is just one piece of the foreign aid pie. My point was that I think it is ironic that the Republican tea partiers continually pick on entitlements which help people in our own country, calling them socialistic, communistic, etc., but don’t seem to mind the aid that goes to foreign countries.

Penny Fattig, Gothenburg

   

Community trusts Teahon

In response to your letter to the editor in regard to the cost per pupil at Gothenburg Public Schools, I would invite you to visit the following web address

If you look at this site, prepared by the Nebraska State Department of Education, you will see the values Mr. Teahon referred to during your tour of the school. This table shows the cost per pupil of every public school system in Nebraska. I believe during 2010 only eight of the 255 school systems in the State had a lower cost per pupil than did Gothenburg. This is something that as a member of the District 20 Board of Education that that I am proud of.

Mr. Klein, this letter, nor the facts as presented in the DOE’s data, are not intended in any way shape or form as an attempt to challenge your interpretation of data or change your opinion of the Gothenburg Public School district. Nothing I could say would change your opinion and likewise nothing I have ever read in your letters has ever changed my mind. Nevertheless sir, you are entitled to your opinion as am I.

That being said, Mr. Klein, make no mistake, when you publicly question the honesty of my superintendent you go beyond opinion and I will take you to task. I could write hundreds of examples that illustrate the honesty and integrity of Mike Teahon but I don’t have to. All anyone has to do is ask somebody who knows him. They will all say Mike Teahon is one of the most reputable people they know. Are there people who disagree with his decisions of the district? Of course there are; that comes with the job. Rational people can disagree without attacking the other’s character. Mr. Klein, you may disagree with what Mr. Teahon said during your tour of the school and that is your right. But when you distort what he said to the point of publicly questioning his honesty and integrity that is low and shame on you.

You, sir, are wrong and you owe Mike Teahon an apology.

To the people of the district, please allow me the following:

Mr. Klein’s letter states that public officials need to be honest. I would like to talk about another virtue that supersedes honesty and that virtue is trust. During the process of hiring a new superintendent which resulted in the selection of Mike Teahon, someone asked me what is the most important characteristic a candidate can have. I said, the most important characteristic any superintendent can have to have the trust of the board and the district. Mike Teahon has that trust.

At Gothenburg Public Schools we are entrusted with the education of your children and the prudent use of your tax dollars. We take that trust very seriously. As president of the Gothenburg Board of Education I trust Mike Teahon to make the right decisions to continually maintain and improve the district. As a land owner I trust Mike Teahon to use my tax dollars as efficiently and effectively as possible. But most importantly as a parent, I have trusted Mike Teahon with the education of my children. I know he works everyday to earn your trust as well.

Scott France

President, Gothenburg Board of Education

 

   

Here’s the rest of the story

A well-known radio personality used to talk about “the rest of the story.” This saying needs to be applied to the District 20 superintendent of schools.

During a recent group tour of the school complex, the superintendent spent time describing how low the cost per student is. What he failed to mention is that the numbers he was boasting about do not include the capital cost of bond issue repayment. When asked about whether the numbers he was so proud of included the bond repayment costs, he said no, and brushed off the question and quickly moved on to something else.

An analysis of my tax statement on the family farm shows that the bond repayment adds nearly another 25% to the taxes collected by District 20. Does the claim made about being the lowest per student cost among over 200 other schools still apply when “the rest of the story” is considered? That question needs to be answered honestly and publicly.

I think the whole truth needs to be told, not just that part which sounds so good. After all, taxpayers pay the entire bill and not just the part which “sounds good.” Of course, if he would like to remove the rest from my tax bill, then I would be quite happy to use that money for something else.

Public officials have an obligation to be totally honest with the public. I strongly suggest that it is time the superintendent of  District 20 begin to be totally honest on such matters and not essentially deceive the public. While it may look good on his resume when he moves on, it essentially harms the taxpayer.

Ron Klein, Berthoud, CO

Editor’s note: The taxpayers of District 20, on March 27, 2001, approved an $11.4 million bond issue to build a new junior-senior high school. A total of 68% of those voting approving the project which passed 1016-478.

 

   

Evolution of Egypt aid

A letter in The Times (03-02-11) stated that we haven’t heard much squawking “about us giving Egypt $1.3 billion per year in aid.” This is not the kind of thing our government advertises in the paper. It’s likely most people didn’t know about it before the protesting erupted in Egypt.

Ever since Israel’s creation, they had been “at war” with Egypt. In 1978, Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin and Egyptian President Anwar Sadat signed the Camp David Accord. This brought about a peace treaty that has lasted up until this time. However, in 1981 Sadat was assassinated by the Muslim Brotherhood.

Not wanting to re-create how Jimmy Carter single-handedly brought back the radical Muslim presence in Iran (which spread throughout the middle east), the U.S. wanted to keep the peace between Egypt and Israel. Like always, the plan was to throw money at it. The total aid was closer to $2 billion/yr. with $1.3 billion going to the military.

While the military funding has remained intact over the years, aid to the people has been in decline. Sadat’s successor Hosni Mubarak, has not been an ideal example of humanitarianism toward his people. President Bush tried to correct this by direct funding for civil society groups and democracy building programs through non-governmental organizations (NGO’s). It was having an effect until...

Barack Obama immediately cut funding for democracy promotion by 50% civil society funding by 70% and eliminated money given directly to civil society groups altogether.

What effect did that have? If you remember, the protests started out because the people wanted food. The protests were quickly ratcheted up into riots by groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood. How were they able to mobilize so quickly?

After six days in office, Obama gave his first interview to Al Arabiya, starting out by saying “...all too often the United States starts by dictating.” He went on to say that his job “...is to communicate to the American people that the Muslim world is filled with extraordinary people.” Then said “We sometimes make mistakes. We have not been perfect.” He also said “...America was not born as a colonial power...”

What he was saying was, as bumbling fools, America really should stop harassing warm and fuzzy Muslims—you have our permission to do whatever you want.

Five months later, Obama was off to Cairo where he addressed the Muslim world. He insisted that 10 members of the Muslim Brotherhood be in attendance. I guess it figures that our community agitator, would also want to surround himself with terrorists when going global.

You can make your determinations about what they discussed privately. I think it’s pretty evident. Maybe the U.S. didn’t keep a good “handle” on how our money was being used in Egypt. Maybe Mubarak wasn’t the best leader for their country. At least there was peace. Now that Mubarak is gone, it is unsure who will eventually come to power. What does Obama want to do? He wants to give them more money.

Neil A. Davis, Gothenburg

 

   

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