Perspective on infant mortality
I read with interest Mary Ellen Bell's article on the drop in the black infant mortality rate here in Dane County ("A Medical Mystery Tour," 10/16/09). I am a retired program manager of a family support program and a member of an advisory committee that's looking into this "mystery."
During the early '90s and into the early 2000s, a group of committed service providers came together, with leadership from the city of Madison Mayor's Office and its Health Department, to address gaps in service provision in south Madison.
This led to the creation of the South Madison Health and Family CenterHarambee, a collaboration of public and private agencies committed to improving the health status of community residents. Over time, networking with community residents, service providers, community leaders and others resulted in better health outcomes for babies, children and families.
I am not suggesting this is the answer to the "medical mystery," but I want to give credit where credit is due. The dedication of these service providers, coupled with leadership from city government, played a major role in setting the scene for our current search for answers about the drop in the black infant mortality rate.
Secrets to school success
Re: Vikki Kratz's "Yes, We Can Teach More" (10/16/09). I say, keep the kids in school all year long and extend the school day to 12 hours and only give them one two-minute bathroom break. Then they'll know how to "succeed in a global economy."
It's no accident that children today only get to participate in forms of expression like art and music a half-hour each week, less than on skill assessment tests; it's the same reason social studies is being phased out. The "owners" of this country don't want a population able to critique and analyze their environment. They want obedient workers just smart enough to do the job and just dumb enough not to question authority.
How about teaching kids that the only people making money in the global economy are those running the private Central Federal Reserve Bank? The job for the rest of us is to keep that money moving around, kind of like tilling a field of dirt. Oh, we can teach them more, but we won't.
More tree carnage
Regarding your recent article "A Tree Falls in Madison" (10/2/09), Loon's tree won't be the last to go due to street construction in that area. On Monday, Oct. 5, Ald. Rummel and city staff presented a plan for reconstructing the western end of Schenk's Corners, where Willy Street splits into Eastwood and Winnebago. Those streets now form a triangle with First Street, containing 30 trees.
While staff were clear that the plan would entail cutting trees, they had no idea how many trees would be removed deliberately, or how many would be lost to "collateral damage."
You may recall the story reported by Bill Lueders "Oaks Croak, City Blamed" (10/17/08) and my letter (10/31/08) on the 14 Burr oak trees killed when the city sewer was extended to the end of Willow Lane in 2004. The problem there was not with contractors but city engineering, which didn't give a damn about the trees, and city forestry, which acted as handmaidens.
In her final report, city forester Marla Eddy claimed the trees died from drought and two-lined chestnut borer, not the construction. Yet not a single other burr oak in the vicinity has died since this project began. Go figure.
Why we move
Leave it to Mike Verveer to add another wonderful chapter to his legacy, this time to make more comfortable benches to promote sleeping ("Let My People Snooze," 10/2/09). How about luxury condos for pigeons? Let the homeowner pay through higher taxes. This is just what this city needs. It is one reason why we chose to move out to the suburbs, to get away from unnecessary spending and blatant use of taxpayer dollars.
T. Akey, Madison
I am writing to express my disgust with your xenophobic advice columnist's response (Tell All, 10/9/09) to a woman who is considering a nose piercing. Aside from the advice being boring and substandard, your columnist turned this into an opportunity to make gross generalizations about tribal peoples who engage in body modification practices.
After stating that a "a lot of tribes that wear lip plates don't actually eat their food off plates," the columnist expresses shock that these people haven't figured out how to use the "table setting on their faces" to "eat their mush" - which the columnist says is not surprising as these people don't even use light bulbs.
An excellent example of ethnocentric trash masquerading as a banal advice column.