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Stem-cell debaterequires look at facts Every once in a while something important makes the news, and a person reputed to be wise pushes for discussion by many people, ordinary or otherwise. Recent examples include immigration, energy policy, glob...

Stem-cell debaterequires look at facts

Every once in a while something important makes the news, and a person reputed to be wise pushes for discussion by many people, ordinary or otherwise. Recent examples include immigration, energy policy, global warming and embryonic stem cell research.

This letter is being written with three naive assumptions: That decision-makers are aware of the content of the News Tribune's opinion pages, that a person with a large interest can ask questions that are objective and not viewpoint-directed, and that the powers that be will answer in a like vein.

Let's try questions on the embryonic stem-cell situation. What are the biological facts? What do you see as the relevant financial facts? What moral and ethical principles are involved? How is cloning involved?

Once facts of this nature are faced, questions of needs and activities may be intelligently developed. Perhaps we could hear from decision-makers and knowledgeable readers within a couple of weeks.

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Tom Coldwell

Cloquet

Remember basic issues in school consolidation plan

As the Duluth school district moves toward consolidating buildings, resolving general-fund issues, and solidifying curricular issues, I urge the School Board to consider the following.

First of all, honesty matters. Cutting two director positions (at $110,000 in salary and benefits per person) and replacing them with two other positions -- principal on special assignment ($100,000) and assistant superintendent (most likely around $120,000 with benefits) -- doesn't really save any money. This is particularly true since one of the director positions being cut is funded from outside the general fund where the budget shortfall is located. It's misleading to the public to say these changes are for cost-saving reasons.

Secondly, remember desegregation rules. The proposed boundaries for Grant Elementary School would appear to add a minority and low-income population from the current Nettleton Elementary School area to the Grant area, which already has those demographic characteristics. As a former member of the School Board and its desegregation committee, I think this concentration of students into one building is questionable. The move would isolate these students, and I believe such action needs state review.

Thirdly, keep the varied curriculum the Duluth community has repeatedly demonstrated it wants. Research shows the arts and languages help students in math and reading. Students' test scores can be raised without limiting access to electives.

Finally, the board might reconsider its decision to put curriculum and operations in a single job description. The district will have a hard enough time keeping schools off the "failing" list as established by the federal No Child Left Behind Act.

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Regardless of that law, the district really needs someone paying close attention to curricular matters -- for consistency across the district, and so all students will achieve.

Eileen Zeitz Hudelson

Duluth

Series gives valuable glimpse of life for 148th

Kudos to the News Tribune for the "Chris Hamilton with the 148th" series that began March 29. The paper deserves thanks for devoting such a significant amount of space to a picture of what life is like for our 148th group members. I have to believe this press might be motivating some interesting local acts of kindness toward our dear family members who are over in Balad. My son works at Old World Meats in Duluth and came home from work Saturday with such a story.

During a transaction with a customer who was purchasing a bunch of beef jerky, my son shared that his dad, a member of the 148th stationed in Balad, loves beef jerky, and that he and his siblings had bought some to send in care packages. On the way out, the customer handed my son $25 and said, "Send your dad some more beef jerky."

Fleta Carol

Cloquet

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Right to bear arms still should not be infringed

The Second Amendment was ratified Dec. 15, 1791. I think it would be safe to say the Founding Fathers did not contemplate airplanes, cars, TV and radio, and I could go on and on. But I won't go on and on, because I think it's apparent the headline on the March 30 commentary by Joan Peterson and Brent Gurtek, "Second Amendment drafters did not contemplate AK-47s, sniper rifles," was ludicrous.

I doubt the Founding Fathers contemplated people who collect or hoard firearms, either.

Regarding concealable weapons, let's Google the history of Derringers and other handguns that were concealable in those days.

Out in Seattle, a gun collector stands accused of murdering a prosecuting attorney. I have never heard of a crime in the United States of America being committed with a .50 caliber BMG target rifle. Mine weighs 36 pounds.

We know where the "Brady Bunch" is coming from, as well as the group called "Citizens for a Safer Minnesota." Their goal is the confiscation of handguns and strict laws on everyone's "right to bear arms."

As a member of the Gun Owners Civil Rights Alliance, I will keep sending checks to the defenders of the Second Amendment, groups like GOCRA and the Gun Owners of America.

Michael Williams

Jacobson, Minn.

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