Union Democrat staff

Prosecution urged

To the editor:

An open letter to District Attorney Donald Segerstrom:

On Tuesday (Sept. 8), my husband and I took our two dogs to our veterinarian's office, where we first learned of the Chihuahua shooting in Sonora. Our hearts went out to Melissa Norton and Michael Baker.

The next day's Union Democrat front page article provided more details of the incident.

To make the alleged crime even more egregious, apparently the little dog suffered an agonizing and lengthy demise.

My husband, Arlo Smith (who was District Attorney of San Francisco for 16 years and was Democratic nominee for California Attorney General) and I ask that - if you have the evidence to do so - your office prosecute the alleged perpetrator to the maximum extent.

Please send a message that Tuolumne County will not tolerate anyone who causes willful harm to any of God's creatures - great or small.

Jane Smith

Tuolumne County resident

15 minutes

To the editor:

Re: The bridge on Phoenix Lake Road.

I don't get it. Just call the Corps of Engineers and they will have a bridge there in 15 minutes.

David Geyer Rhoades


Mind blowing

To the editor:

Wally George's Sept. 2 letter titled "Korean Anomaly" is mind blowing.

Mr. George states we have the power to stop incoming missiles - we do not. We only have a wild-eyed dream of missile defense system (Star Wars) that has consumed tens of billions of the taxpayers' money to fund retirement and bonus plans for defense industry contractors and their helpful lobbyists who formerly worked for the government.

One would think that after 20 years of throwing billions every year into the toilet of Star Wars people would say enough! Not so. Mr. George, a Viet Nam-era vet (I am also), thinks it would be easy to take out North Korea.

Has he learned anything at all from his military experiences? We are having trouble with Afghanistan and Korea would be many times more difficult. But if he would like to lead a band of his fellow believers into North Korea, he has my blessing.

William Bergmann


Charter dynamics

To the editor:

As a teacher at Gold Rush Charter School, I would like to explain a little about the dynamics of our educational institution (K-12).

First, our charter school is like all traditional schools: It is free and has the same course requirements as any high school. Second, we combine on-site classes (usually twice a week) with extensive, at-home assignments. Students are required to work four hours a day, every day.

Third, a great many of our student body come to Gold Rush under difficult educational circumstances. Some students may be having academic, social, health, at-home, or need-to-work problems, interfering with their normal school-work. Many have weak study skills and are poor test-takers. At Gold Rush, we try to address these issues by being flexible: We have small classes, one-on-one tutoring, study halls, personalized schedules, and treat each student with respect and concern.

We also have an excellent resource department, library, computer lab, teaching staff, and we take many field trips throughout the year. We produce our own literary journal, yearbook and public access television program. Our elementary school, part classroom and part agricultural campus, is filled to capacity. We are sponsored as a charter school by the Summerville Union High School District.

We can provide students with the opportunity to take a break from the rigors of traditional school, stay with us if they so wish, or return to their previous school "refreshed." While our test scores may not be as high as other schools (since many of their most difficult students come to us), we provide yet another "niche" allowing challenged students to obtain their diplomas, and thus become contributing members to society.

Martin Blake,

freshman English instructor/yearbook

Gold Rush Charter School

Welcome addition

To the editor:

I am writing in response to Linda Kutner's letter (Sept. 4) in which she criticized the Democrat for publishing an article about Roger and Judy Haughton's new home in Twain Harte.

The Haughtons have probably done more to provide low-cost housing in Tuolumne County than anyone. Roger's company, PMI, sponsored the fourth house built by Habitat for Humanity of Tuolumne County. The Haughtons fed and housed 25 people for a week while they were building the Habitat house.

When Roger retired from PMI, he chose to have his retirement bonus given to Habitat for Humanity. He chose three affiliates to receive $90,000, and Tuolumne County was one of them. He added $10,000 of his own money to make it an even $100,000.

When Roger and Judy's new home was completed, they hosted a fundraiser for HFHTC and raised $70,000. The Haughtons' contribution to HFHTC is only a small portion of what they have given to Habitat International. In addition, they have given countless hours of their time building homes for low income people around the country.

Roger and Judy Haughton are a very welcome addition to Tuolumne County and we are lucky to have them as neighbors.

David Bolles

Past president, Habitat for

Humanity of Tuolumne County