Union Democrat staff

Math scores

To the editor:

Sometimes partial information does more to misinform than to inform. Your recent article, "STAR report: Mother Lode schools surpass most in state," included comments about low math scores at Gold Rush Charter School.

Let us tell you the rest of the story: At the traditional public school, all of the students must attend the school their district assigns them to. Because school attendance is based upon geographic location, it would also be likely that an eighth-grader would have attended that same school for eight years. Under those circumstances, it would be reasonable to draw some conclusions about the school's math program based upon its STAR scores.

However, students who attend charter schools choose to leave their assigned district schools. We find that many of our students were struggling at their traditional school and come to us to get more one-on-one help. Last year 24 eighth-grade students tested for math on the STAR test at Gold Rush. Of that number, 13 enrolled at Gold Rush as eighth-graders and four enrolled as seventh-graders. That means that 71 percent of the students tested had recently transferred, and their math scores reflect more on the schools which they transferred from than upon the Gold Rush math program.

We are thankful that the residents of Tuolumne County to have so many outstanding schools to choose from. We also believe that they are fortunate to have the option to transfer to Gold Rush Charter School if things aren't working out in their assigned school.

Kathleen Hansen, principal

Jim Gallno vice principal

Gold Rush Charter School


Recycling issues

To the editor:

The first Tuolumne County curbside recycling program (Bag Lady Recycling), was born in 1986 and died in 1991. It was a real personal recycling system. Sadly, as one person, I was only able to handle 100 clients.

As its founder, I applaud Larry Stanley's letter in regards to the "flagrant fraud" concerning how much gets recycled in Tuolumne County. As was quoted to me by a previous manager of Cal-Sierra, "Laurel, there is more money in garbage than there will ever be in recycling."

Your prediction may be true that the collection of the recycled materials may, again, be mixed with regular garbage, causing contamination as before. The first time I took a bag of plastic items with recycle symbols higher than 1 and 2 (the only numbers that can go in your blue bags) to the Cal Sierra Recycle Center, I was told they don't take them and I would have to put them in the regular trash. I, of course, challenged that and was later told to put them in the a big green bin.

An uninformed employee I am sure. But how many were there before me?

I personally use the "prepaid bag" system and, as I understand it, I will no longer be able to curbside any of my recycled material if I do not subscribe to the two-cart system. I hope I am wrong.

As you have stated it, only the concerned citizens of this county will ever correct this situation. I have written my letter to my county supervisor.

Laurel Utecht


Letter to Lungren

To the editor:

Our group was not able to get into Dan Lungren's Town Hall Meeting in Jackson on August 22, 2009, due to the great number of attendees. So, the next best thing is this open letter to the Congressman.

Dear Congressman Lungren:

Please oppose HR 3200 (Health Care Reform) and all other expansions of the federal government into areas not authorized by the Constitution. We have found at least 52 parts of this bill which would violate the fundamental rights of the American people.

Please be reminded that the "general welfare" clause of the U.S. Constitution is not a grant of power, but rather a requirement that the use of Congress' enumerated powers in Article 1 Section 8 promote the "general" welfare of the nation rather than that of special interests. James Madison, the Constitution's principal author, said, "With respect to the two words 'general welfare,' I have always regarded them as qualified by the detail of powers connected with them. To take them in a literal and unlimited sense would be a metamorphosis of the Constitution into a character which there is a host of proofs was not contemplated by its creators."

Please oppose "Cap and Trade". This bill is based on the discredited carbon theory of global warming and would result in a disaster to our economy.

Please oppose all federal bailouts and government takeovers of private companies.

Please support reform of the Social Security and Medicare programs to require conformance to the constitution and reduce unneeded and expensive regulations.

Please support tort reform to abate frivolous medical and environmental lawsuits.

Albert J. Segalla, president

Calaveras County

Taxpayers Association


Smart meters

To the editor:

In the Valley Springs area we have many folks that are really upset about the sharp increase to our PG&E rates. Some went from a $200 average to over $700 - all since we had new "smart meters" installed. I wrote to our local editors and had a huge response from folks from other areas that were also having the same problems. I've written to the California Public Utilities Commission and it is looking into it, I've advised others to do the same and tell their county supervisors about it too.

It seems the new meters can tell when you are using power during "prime" time (much more expensive). So you are billed more. But unless you know when prime time is, you don't know how to set your appliances (i.e., washer and dryer, pool filter, air conditioning, hot water heater, etc. etc.

Also, different sections of the county have different allowances for usage. Why the heck is that?

My friend in Florida has the same type meter, except his power company gives customers a set of red and green lights that let you know when prime time is so you can adjust your usage.

Al Duncan

Valley Springs