I just read Mark Shuff’s letter expressing pride in helping defeat the school tax. Proud you say? Proud of what?
Proud that kids whose families and churches have failed them now have a lesser chance of being saved from a life of drugs, crime and unwed motherhood and a welfare exultance by their public education system?
Proud that a few high school kids that might have been saved by athletics will probably not participate because of the distances involved at their “new” schools?
Proud that junior high school kids that are on the fence from turning out bad or good once they hit high school can look forward to being bussed across the parish instead of attending a sparkling new school?
Proud that the absentee rates of many kids with no family support system will probably shoot up with a bussing situation?
Proud that the teachers who try to overcome great odds in filling in the missing gaps in kids lives are being rewarded for their effort by having to teach another year in a dilapidated structure?
Yes, be proud of your “accomplishments.” Sometimes it’s hard to believe that Ville Platte once produced such great visionary people like Prof Lafleur, Al Tate Jr., Mary Arden Duplechain, Duffy Soileau or mayors Harvey Lebas and Hottell Fontenot, all of whom recognized the value of a good public education system. But, if that’s what you want on your tombstone, “He killed the school tax,” you’re almost there.
/s/Alex D. Chapman Jr.
Poret asks board to revise bond issue to answer voters’ issues
The voters of Ward One have spoken again and voted down another try for a new school bond issue. I voted for and supported the bond issue, so I wish to make some observations before you try again. I was in Judge Melancon’s court along with the other 100 interested students, teachers, employees and residents who heard the judge order the board to declare an emergency and put a new election before the voters on November 4, 2008, or close VPHS (Ville Platte High School).
If you wish the bond issue to pass, listen to the people’s concerns.
To the students first, you must make a commitment to yourself and the voters you will be responsible for the new school and for yourself, that you will protect the school property, take pride in the new buildings and not destroy what is given to you. Education is the only way to improve yourself and move up in your life.
To the voters and business people of the parish a new school will not educate our students unless they want to help themselves, but we can show faith in them and in God and meet our responsibility to partially pay for the new school with property tax. The school board will pay the other half.
Could the school be built smaller and of a less-expensive material that would last for only 40 or 50 years? We do not need an ever-lasting monument to the architect of the school. Do we need a large drama department and stage if Pine Prairie High is the School of the Arts in the parish? Let the public have an input to the size.
The board should share the cost with the taxpayers and show a good-faith indication on their part by saving Evangeline Parish hundreds of thousand dollars by reducing the current size of the school board (SB) from 13 to nine members. This would match the police jury. It would also make voters’ districts the same as the police jury, saving dollars at election time. A vote by the SB before November to reduce its size would restore the voters’ confidence the SB has the students’ best interest at heart and also could reduce costs to allow more for paying for the school over the next 30 years.
I hope at Monday night’s (7/28/08) meeting the board will not go into executive session to discuss the parish’s plan. We the voters would like to know where you stand on these issues. We hope you can be fair and open in your opinion. Change your plans enough to show the voters of EP that this is not the same plan forced on us again without much change.
A smaller tax and a smaller board are something the voters could live with and pass. Maybe an eight mill tax would cover the cost of construction letting the smaller board pay the balance.
Does EP wish to be the only parish seat without a public high school? I hope the voters do not think so.
/s/Daniel R. Poret
P.S. I own a home, an office building and rental property in Evangeline Parish. I am willing to pay for a better education for all of God’s children, but I want the school board to do their part first.
‘The Tipping Point’
Mamou is approaching the Tipping Point. The Tipping Point to a better and more financially prosperous community, and that tipping point is just a hurdle away!
If the town officials and the local physicians can come together, organize and institute a long-term leasing contract to keep our hospitals operating, a domino reaction is in the making. The “hospital” as most everyone knows is the life blood of our town. Without it, decay and doom, but involved officials all seem to have a favorable opinion that a positive outcome is in the offering and good news is on the horizon.
Another great happening is the restoration of Cazan’s Hotel. Nearing completion with a grand opening scheduled in just a week or two, Cazan’s will have 17 hotel rooms available for visitors to repose in; a bar, and in the works are an ice cream parlor and coffee shop, an antique shop, and an attorney’s office.
The people of Mamou owe a great big “Thank you Blaine Chaisson” for rescuing “Cazan’s.” It was in deplorable condition six months ago, and today, with its brightly painted red brinks and sand stone exterior, it is a proud sight to behold.
Another factor making a difference in Mamou is the demolition of unsafe houses and hauling off abandoned and junk vehicles. Not fast enough in my opinion but nevertheless, with a bit of pushing and complaining, things are getting done.
Joining the fray is the American Legion. A request has been proposed to send a letter to the state office requesting a list of military equipment that might be available for our town. Perhaps a tank, a plane, or a howitzer. A possible location may be on the corner of Sixth and Main where the old service station is. There is interest in making that corner a memorial park for our veterans killed in action.
On the back burner is also a Town of Mamou Museum. Several citizens have donations as museum items and are eager for the town to make it happen. A museum would be an added tourist attraction and a place to display our history. Also another tipping point.
Even “Fred’s” is getting a face lift! Taunte Sue and Blaine are working on a new awning extending out over the front door and sidewalk; rumors of it being painted in Mardi Gras colors!
Good things are in store for Avie Fuselier’s Barber Shop too, but when is not yet known. That restoration will be another positive tipping point for Mamou!
The Plaza de Cajun is having a positive effect downtown, as is Mona’s Bridal shop with its earth town paint.
So editor, I hope you will publish this letter so as to inform the public Mamou is making progress; I hope that other communities are tipping in the right direction too!
/s/Johnny M. Fuselier,
a concerned citizen, Mamou
Fuselier discusses dilapidated buildings and low-rent in Mamou
It seems dilapidated buildings and blight is an ongoing problem in almost every village, town, city and rural community in Evangeline Parish these days and neither the police jury nor local village, town or city government seem to be doing anything about it.
No doubt, our intellectually superior elected officials will contend they have much more serious work at hand to worry about than a few dilapidated, unsafe rent houses and abandoned buildings that have outlived their intended usefulness. They are wrong! Little problems grow into bigger problems.
For instance, have you not asked yourself why some run down structure built nearly a century ago and being rented out for $75 a month (or been vacant for a long time) is still standing? I’m sure you have seen some of those old tar paper rent houses; some occupied and some abandoned; some with a noticeable lean; doors askew, barely upright but for the help of a single hinge and a nail; ancient washing machine on the porch, and broken windows!
Structures with broken windows, (which I refer to as the broken window theory) loudly announces that blight and dilapidated structures are okay. But one broken window leads to another and it can spread like an epidemic, become contagious - just as a fashion trend is contagious - and spread to an entire community where all low rent, vacant or abandoned buildings become a target of disdain; a drag on property values; a haven for vermin of all kinds; a gold mine for slum lords; places for nefarious activities; criminal hangouts.
So why do our elected officials ignore this problem? Let me count the reasons.
Politics! Politics! Politics! But I believe it is time to change what has been going on for far too long. It is time for concerned citizens to demand the people that work for us (elected officials) do their jobs! Demolish or repair! Which would you prefer having next door to your house, a $75 a month rental or $300 a month neighbor? Think about it! There are ample laws on the books that outline the procedures for demolishing unsafe and blighted structures; they only need to be enforced. Call your employee today!
/s/Johnny M. Fuselier,
a concerned citizen, Mamou
Miles Perret Cancer Services applaud hospital in its ban against smoking
This letter is written on behalf of the members of the Scientific-Medical Advisory Council of Miles Perret Cancer Services. We are writing to applaud the decision of Our Lady of Lourdes Regional Medical Center staff, administrators and board members to ban smoking on the Lourdes campus effective August 4, 2008.
According to the American Cancer Society, about one-half of the Americans who continue to smoke will die from smoking-related diseases. In the United States, tobacco use is directly to blame for nearly one in five deaths. Smoking accounts for almost 90 percent of all lung cancer deaths and is responsible for approximately one-third of all cancer deaths. While most people are aware of the link between smoking and lung cancer, smoking is associated with an increased risk of developing at least 14 other different types of cancer including cancers of the nasopharynx, nasal cavity and paranasal sinuses, lip, oral cavity, pharynx, larynx, esophagus, pancreas, uterine cervix, kidney, bladder, stomach and acute myeloid leukemia. Secondhand smoke contains 50 agents which cause cancer or are suspected to cause cancer in humans. There is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke. The U.S. Surgeon General reports implementing policies which establish smoke-free environments is the most effective approach to prevent exposure and harm from secondhand smoke. In addition to cancer-related health risks, smoking is also a major cause of heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, chronic bronchitis and emphysema and is also associated with the development of gastric ulcers.
The good news is cigarette smoking among Americans aged 18 and older dropped by 50 percent from 1965-2004. The bad news is approximately 21 percent, or about 45 million Americans, continue to smoke cigarettes.
We strongly support the courage of Our Lady of Lourdes Regional Medical Center in assuming a leadership role among health care institutions in our community in the fight against smoking. We call on other health-care related and non-health care related businesses and agencies in the Acadiana area to follow the lead of Our Lady of Lourdes in contributing significantly to an enhanced quality of life of citizens in Acadiana.
The staff at Miles Perret Cancer Services provides referral sources related to smoking cessation. The center, which can be reached by calling 984-1920, is located at 2130 Kaliste Saloom Road.
Melinda G. Oberleitner, RN, DNS, APRN, CNS
Oncology Clinical Nurse Specialist
Scientific-Medical Advisory Council
Miles Perret Cancer Services
Any Cancer, Any Age, Anyone
2130 Kaliste Saloom Road
Lafayette, LA 70508