Union Democrat staff

Flag Day

To the editor:

In 1885, a 19-year-old teacher named Bernard J. Cigrand placed a 10-inch flag on his desk and asked students to write essays on the flag and its significance.

This assignment launched Cigrand's fervent, decades-long effort to bring about the national observance of Flag Day to honor the Stars and Stripes. When Cigrand was 50 years old, his perseverance finally paid off. In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation calling for the annual observance of Flag Day on June 14.

Betty Reis


Senior projects

To the editor:

Thanks to Ben Howell and the Sonora High School faculty for the opportunity to judge Senior Projects this year. It was a wonderful experience, well organized and well executed. Being involved in judging gave me new perspective on the reasoning behind instituting mandatory Senior Exit Projects 11 years ago.

My class (1998) was the first required to complete these projects. At that time, I didn't much care to understand their stated purpose. I saw the process as a new obstacle between me and eventual graduation. Senior Projects have matured these last 11 years, as have I. Having been afforded the opportunity to judge a few of them, I can say they add true value to our community and to each student who gives it an honest effort.

The community is richer for having a youth population that has developed the necessary skills to succeed in this endeavor and other comparable life challenges. The challenge for the rest of us now is: How do we provide opportunities for these new graduates to apply their abilities here locally?

I suspect there will always be a few students who will share my naive sentiment and believe these projects are a waste of time. For those students, it probably was. However, it was clear to me that students who put in the time necessary to attempt something new and worthwhile were enriched by the experience and brought away a higher understanding of their own capabilities and the realities that exist outside of high school.

Thank you again to the SHS faculty. You do your community a valuable service.

Jupe Schiavo


Good Samaritans

To the editor:

On Monday, May 18, our car broke down on Mono Way in front of Sonora Plaza. It was a scorcher, the air conditioning on the car had failed, and my elderly mother was wilting in the heat.

I want to express our sincere thanks to the people who helped us during this difficult situation. Special thanks to the woman who stopped her car, got out and helped my mom out of the car and across two lanes of traffic to get into Big O Tires and out of the heat. And to the man who ran out of Big O, gave my mom his water bottle and directed traffic. I don't know what I would have done without the help provided by these kind folks.

Cindy Overbaugh


Still endangered

To the editor:

Open letter to U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar:

In regards to some of your recent decisions, I feel a need to express my extreme disappointment. Our president ran on the premise of change, but your recent decisions have been anything but.

By adhering to former President Bush's environmental policies, you have issued death sentences to two endangered species - the gray wolf and the polar bear. Polar bears are currently under threat from global warming; their habitat is quickly shrinking, causing several to drown. This, combined with human killings, puts them on a one-way train to extinction. Secretary Salazar, you have blatantly ignored the purpose of the Endangered Species Act.

In the Northern Rockies, the gray wolf is on a path to recovery, thanks to the protection of the Endangered Species Act and court battles fought and won by organizations like Defenders of Wildlife and others. Your decision to delist the species was premature; you forgot the human factor.

Idaho Governor "Butch" Otter openly stated that he wants to open wolf hunting and kill them off - save for 150, to keep them above the "endangered" mark. That is not enough to sustain a healthy population. Mr. Secretary, by delisting the Northern Rockies wolves, you have put them in danger and disregarded the mission of the Endangered Species Act.

In Alaska, Governor Palin is ignoring the Federal Airborne Hunting Act, slaughtering wolves, and taking pups from their dens and killing them. As a future wildlife biologist and wolf specialist, I urge you to do your job and act now to reverse your decisions before it is too late.

Michael E. Herman


VNA-Hospice needed

To the editor:

Oh my gosh. Did I just read that the county powers are considering doing away with Hospice and VNA? Are they insane? Or have they not had a loved one who required the services of Hospice or the tender loving care that VNA gives patients? I urge everyone who has had a loved one benefit from the care and support of these services to write to their district representative and/or call the county supervisors' office. This cannot happen. These services are too important to just disregard like other stupid programs. Cut underwater basket weaving for dummies, but not a service that is needed so very much.

Kathleen Mills Kracy

Former Twain Harte resident

Bagdad, Ariz.