Readers' views for Oct. 4

Lake Superior Zoo in need of some TLC While I don't go to the Lake Superior Zoo as often as I used to when my children were small, I've always been impressed with the grounds, including on a recent visit. I always have been impressed with the ani...

Lake Superior Zoo in need of some TLC

While I don't go to the Lake Superior Zoo as often as I used to when my children were small, I've always been impressed with the grounds, including on a recent visit. I always have been impressed with the animals and the obvious care and love they are given by the zoo staff members and volunteers.

My most recent visit felt oddly different, however. The animals all looked happy and content in their surroundings, as they normally do. However, some of the habitats looked as though they could use some improvements. The grounds seemed unkempt; understandably, the dry summer had much to do with that.

It caused me think once again that Duluth is letting its Lake Superior Zoo struggle for money while the waterfront and the Canal Park areas continue to flourish.

My question is: Where does the entry fee for the Lake Superior Zoo go? Does the entire fee go directly to the zoo, or does the city take a portion? And what is the status of the proposal to let the zoological society take over the operations?


Marjorie Jackson


Referendum won't change district's pressing needs

The misguided, but well intentioned actions of those who want a referendum on the school district's long range facilities plan don't understand a number of things.

They don't understand that having an elected body finally make a decision after years of inaction is democracy. They don't understand that after hundreds of meetings with thousands of participants and well-researched surveys, 70 percent to 80 percent of the public support the long-range plan. They don't understand that a referendum could cost the district an additional $10 million to $15 million because of construction costs due to the delay. They don't understand that schools built in the early 20th century aren't equipped with the technology necessary to educate our children for the 21st century; that energy wasted on heating old buildings will continue; that principals cannot offer programs because the district is struggling to keep old buildings open. It's a matter of resources. If you don't have enough students to justify having staff to teach classes, you don't offer the classes. Programs are being sacrificed just to keep aging building open. The school district has 19 buildings that are being used inefficiently.

The school board and administration finally had the courage and vision to do the right thing. The district's long-range facilities plan addresses the inequities of programming and services needed in our community. I am looking forward to having a future in Duluth for my family and community.

Steve Knauss



Civility needed from officials and the press

The Sept. 27 Our view, "Mommmmmmmmmmyyyyy!" is a wonderful demonstration of exactly what is wrong with public/government discourse today. Rather than addressing the issue and the incident, the News Tribune has chosen instead to mock the participants. How civil!

Our schools have adopted a zero tolerance policy for bullying and bad behavior in our schools. I'd encourage anyone interested in this issue to go to the Duluth or Proctor School District Web sites and read the policies. We expect our children to behave like civil, decent human beings. Should we really expect less of our County Commissioners than we do of our children?

I want our leaders to be passionate about their jobs, without question. But there are ways of expressing that passion that are respectful and set a good example for our children. What happened to the push for civility in government that was such a hot button issue in past election cycles?

The Institute for Civility in Government explains it like this: "Civility is claiming and caring for one's identity, needs and beliefs without degrading someone else's in the process. Civility means not yelling back at someone when they yell at you. It means remaining calm in the midst of verbal attack. It means using reasoned and informed argument to make one's point of view understood. It means exhibiting patience and control... It does not mean having to surrender a belief system, as long as that belief system does not degrade others. Civility works hand in hand with tolerance."

It's time for all of us to adopt a zero tolerance policy and require that not only our children and elected officials behave in a civil manner, but that our newspapers do, too.

Shannon Sweeney



The writer is the daughter of St. Louis County Commissioner Peg Sweeney

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