I would like to give a huge thanks to all the good people working for Sierra Pacific Industries for all the good they are spreading around the Sierras. This is not just for the millions in tax monies they have paid, or all the volunteer work they have performed as individuals. This is for their tenacity; ingenuity and hard work that is required nowadays to log and thin their own properties.SPI, a land holding and logging company, owns about a million acres of Sierra forestland checker boarded with USFS land. As most people are aware of, Forest Service has embarked on a forest plan that relies heavily on fire to thin the public lands under their management. Unfortunately, the brush and high tree count of the tree farm density public forests (over 6 million acres) has shown them to be highly susceptible to catastrophic wildfire destruction, along with adjacent communities.The logging and thinning being performed on SPI’s private tree farm will eventually save millions of acres of over-grown, sick and dying USFS managed public lands by creating defensible fire zones dispersed throughout the Sierras. These logged and thinned private lands will give fire fighting crews a huge advantage in slowing wildfire, which will result in preserving many of our communities and much of our surrounding ecosystems.If this state gives an award for good neighbors or environmental stewardship, my vote is for SPI.Scott DenhamTruckee Energy bill out of gasGas prices are up. Demand for oil is up. Americans are dying in Iraq, and dependence on Persian Gulf oil is up. Even the President agrees that climate change is a growing concern. Instead of addressing these problems head on, the energy bill just signed into law by the President displays an abject failure of leadership.America needs a bold new energy strategy, but the President and the Congress have punted. This energy bill is just another corporate giveaway which ignores forward-looking solutions, fails to help Americans at the gas pump, and deepens our dependence on foreign oil.While White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan says that this bill will, “reduce our dependence on foreign sources of energy, and help address the root causes that have led to high energy prices,” the reality is that the energy bill does nothing to reduce our dependence on foreign oil or lower energy prices. Even the conservative Heritage Foundation said that “we’ll be dependent on the global market for more than half our oil for as long as we’re using oil, and the energy bill isn’t going to change that,” and President Bush’s own Energy Secretary Sam Bodman cautioned that motorists should not expect a quick decline in gasoline prices.America needs a new, visionary program for energy independence. The Apollo Alliance has outlined a 10-step national agenda of strategic planning and investment that drive for energy independence by the year 2015. Apollo’s bold vision for energy independence will create three million new jobs, more than a trillion dollars in new economic activity and freedom from reliance on Persian Gulf oil. Our leaders have missed an important opportunity to declare energy independence – but, the stakes are too high and we must continue to pressure our leaders to enact Apollo’s bold solution.Aaron ChaseTruckeeSchool structure?Congratulations to the newly formed Forest Charter School Creekside Cooperative opening on the West Shore of Lake Tahoe. I applaud the parents who rallied and were able to get the program together yet there are some confusing statements in the article written in the Aug. 5, issue of the Sierra Sun. For example, “a more structured classroom option with thematic instruction in small class sizes” and “the program allows students to learn at their own pace and gives flexibility if families travel a lot.” It seems contradicting to offer a more structured classroom and be more flexible? With approximately 40 students and two teachers isn’t that the same ratio as our “traditional” public school? As many parents already know, the loving and talented teachers at Tahoe Lake Elementary and Kings Beach Elementary are also able to structure their curriculum by offering small class sizes (one to 20 or less) with teacher’s aides and parents who help in the classroom, to provide a wonderful and nurturing environment that all of our children succeed in. Karen RoskeTahoe City
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