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Letters to the Editor

August 30, 2008

Buchanan renovation long overdue



To the editor:

As a member of the James Buchanan High School renovation steering committee, I applaud and support the Tuscarora School Board's construction plan for the long-overdue renovation to the deteriorating high school.

The board heard and heeded many community members' council that if you are going to do a construction project then "do it right" and not a "piecemeal" approach. This of course, was a reaction to the JB Middle School renovation where some much-needed improvements were cut to save tax-payers' money. Now some are asking why the board didn't "do it right" the first time.

I am voting "Yes" on Sept. 9 because the proposal is the board's attempt to "get it right." The plan covers the comprehensive academic, facility and athletic needs anticipated for the next 20 years. The state will help subsidize renovation of each building on a 20-year cycle. If any improvements are necessary within the next 20 years, it will be totally at taxpayers' expense.

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I am voting "Yes" because it is cheaper do it all at once than to spread it out over several construction phases. The state's reimbursement for this project is $5.25 million and will not be available for several phase-type construction plans.

I am voting "Yes" because delaying will cost taxpayers more. Each year construction costs go up. Delaying this project just one year will cost an additional $1.75 million. Five years from now it will cost $45 million. We either pay now or pay a lot more later.

I am voting "Yes" because with the present economy, now is the best time to save taxpayers' money because of low interest rates.

I am voting "Yes" because the current board members are trying to change the future and are not responsible for the past and the present crisis. (Five of the nine present board members have less than three years on the board.)

They have been handed a deck of cards of poor decisions, low maintenance commitment, lack of vision and poor financial planning by past board members. For seven consecutive years (1994-2001), there was less than a one mill increase and five of those years there were zero mill increases.

I am voting "Yes" because I recognize that the present crisis is partly my fault. I voted for those board members in the '90s and thought it was great that we had little increase in taxes during those years.

Unfortunately, I was wrong and those boards did us a disservice by not raising our taxes gradually to implement improvements and long-range planning.

Our present board has now hired a director of facilities operation proving they are committed to making changes for the future and not repeating past mistakes.

However, to make necessary improvements will require some financial sacrifice for taxpayers and our trust and support for the current board.

I am voting "Yes" even though I do not want my taxes to increase, yet my wife and I are willing to make sacrifices necessary to pay the increases that will occur.

Based on the value of my home, my tax increase resulting from the current project will cost me just 26 cents per day the first year, 53 cents per day the second year and 79 cents per day the third year. That is a small sacrifice on my part so that future students, athletes and teachers will not have to contend with the adverse learning environment that my three children (who are recent graduates from James Buchanan) experienced.

I urge you to vote "Yes" on Sept. 9.

Ralph Lehman
St. Thomas, Pa.




Reclaiming our foundation



To the editor:

There looms in the background of this next election a group both the Democrats and Republications would both love to win over.

It is the Evangelical Christian vote. Mostly ignored in the past, due to a quiet and more passive political stance, conservative Christians have become more outspoken. It is not what they hope to gain in politics, but what they pray they will no longer lose that is the center of the conflict.

They want to hold onto their right to pray, read the Bible, not have God removed from our society or to have what the Founding Fathers fought so hard for to be watered down. They are not looking to take away the rights of others, but are tired of seeing their own religious freedom mocked and destroyed.

For those who condemn Christians because their leaders fail, the church leaders are not Jesus Christ, but only human flesh. We could say America is no longer a great nation because of politicians like John Edwards or Bill Clinton betraying our trust, but they, too, are only men who have stumbled. America's foundation is one of faith and to ignore it is to rip apart the very threads that wove our great nation together apart.

In September 1864, Abraham Lincoln stated this about the Bible. "In regard to this great book, I have but to say, it is the best gift God has given to man. All the good the Savior gave to the world was communicated through this book."

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