The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on April 6, 2001 · Page 9
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 9

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Friday, April 6, 2001
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THE SALINA JOURNAL FRIDAY. APRIL 6, 2001 A9 Tom Bell Editor & Publisher Opinions expressed on this page are those of the ]\ identified writers. To join the conversation, write a letter to I the Journal at: P.O. Box 740 Salina, KS 67402 Fax: I (785) 827-6363 I E-mail: SJLetters® saljournal.com Quote of the day " "They have plflced him on the i' rotunda of ,, sentimental ^1 inelevance.We forget he was a leader in a '<< revolutionary in movement." Joseph Lowery ",;',president of the Southern Christian \. Leadership 'I'l,' Conference, speaking against the increasing . commercial uses "^of the words and image of Martin Luther King Jr. OPINION Priorities in order? THE ISSUE Heritage Commission THE ARGUMByT Decision is proper. Attitude is not. M embers of the city's Heritage Commission did the right thing Wednesday when they agreed to allow Ron and Julie Stratman to install vinyl siding on their home at 727 Highland. But the entire matter makes us wonder if some commission members have their priorities in order. The Stratmans came before the commission because their home is located in a historic district, where vinyl siding generally is not allowed. The Stratmans sought an exception after their 2-year-old son was found with dangerously high levels of lead in his blood. A study by the Salina-Saline County Health Department determined the problem was linked to lead- based exterior paint on the Stratmans' home, which they have been remodeling. The Stratmans' options included wet-scraping and repainting the home at a cost of $25,000 over a 20-year period, installing new wood siding for $32,406, or installing vinyl siding at $11,400. They sought vinyl siding because it is the least expensive long-term option and one of the options recommended by the health department because it would not disturb the lead paint. But the Stratman's request was rejected by a Heritage Commission subcommittee. The Stratmans appealed to the entire commission, which overturned the subcommittee's decision, thus allowing the Stratmans to pursue the quickest and least expensive way to protect their child. The most troubling aspect of this process is not found in the final vote. It is in comments made by members during discussion. In particular, we are concerned at the caUous nature the commission handled a child's very real and dangerous health concerns. For example, commission member Rob Peters voted against vinyl siding originally and said his initial reaction to the Stratmans was: "You caused it, you pay for it." Later, following Peters' vote to allow vinyl siding, he made sure no one would confuse his momentary compassion with future policy, stating that other homeowners in the historic district should not construe this vote as approval for vinyl. We doubt any other homeowners in the historic district will make that assumption, based on gyrations the commission forced on the Stratmans. Historic preservation is important. The Heritage Commission is charged with significant responsibility in protecting older homes, and members appear sincere in those efforts. However, their actions and comments in this case, and their inflexibility in matters concerning Salina Regional Health Center, lead us to believe that some members of the Heritage Commission are more interested in exercising control than in behaving as responsible citizens. And the commission is losing public support as a result. — Tom Bell Editor & Publisher • TORY NOTIONS LETTERS TO THE JOURNAL SJLetters@saljournal.com Collocation is not 'cronyism' The Salina Journal recently printed an article and editorial concerning the collocation of USDA state offices in Kansas. Both the article and the editorial had statements suggesting that my motive for trying to collocate these offices was due to "political cronyism." The narrow-minded and parochial statements made by isome people involved in this debate have no validity. Unfortunately, these attacks also fail to address the concerns of the people who pay the bills; The ,U.S. taxpayer. The main reason to collocate the USDA state offices in Kansas is to save taxpayers' money If Congressman Moran P.O. Box 740, .Salina, KS 67402 and various Salina boosters truly believe that Salina is the cheapest and best location, then they should continue to work to collocate the USDA offices in Salina. This would save money for the government and provide Salina with at least 70 new jobs that are currently in Manhattan and Topeka. The desire of the new Bush administration to stop the collocation of USDA state offices suggests that this administration is not interested in efficient government. Rather, they prefer to continue to waste money instead of taking actions that may offend someone. This is truly bad politics and bad government. — ADRIAN POLANSKY Belleville It is time for Cliina to grow up GEORGE F. WILL The Wasliington I'osi China's power will grow as its economy grows, but that need not be a bad thing W ASHINGTON — When the spat with China concerning the U.S. intelligence-gathering plane began, it was commonly caUed the first foreign policy "crisis" to "test" President Bush. Actually, it is testing his ability to see that not everything that roils relations between nations is a crisis. And it is testing his ability to discern that not every trouble is a "test" of his fiber or the nation's stamina. As this is written (Wednesday noon), one thing is clear, and one thing is not. Clearly the plane was using technology that enables it, operating in international airspace, lawfully to perform the routine but important function of gathering intelligence that enables U.S. policy-makers to understand the evolving strategic environment. It is unclear whether China's government knew what was going on in the increasingly aggressive reaction of Chinese aircraft to U.S. intelligence flights. If this affair is the result of an accident — a Chinese cowboy-pilot crossing a line of prudence, and losing his life — then the episode can be quickly tidied up. If the affair is the result of a Chinese military decision not sanctioned by Beijing's civilians, that is disquieting evidence of command-and-control problems as China approaches a leadership transition. China's government probably did not consciously provoke this dust-up. However, it has deliberately and recklessly, prolonged it at a moment when (to cite just two matters) the U.S. Congress is considering Taiwan's request for new military equipment, including defenses against missiles, and the International Olympic Committee is considering China's application to host the 2008 games. Is this smart? Does not Beijing already have a plate heaped high with problems? On a recent visit to Beijing, Henry Kissinger was struck by proliferation of "Internet cafes." Those small businesses are huge portents. Totalitarianism, which aspires to nationalize the public's consciousness, de- T THE WEEK OF THE YOUNG CHILD pends on intellectual autarky, which depends on a government monopoly of information. Totalitarianism is rendered impossible, and perhaps even tyranny is rendered difficult, by technologies that make nations porous to information. China already was becoming porous in 1989 when students there learned about the Tianan­ men Squai'e massacres by e-mails from Ann Arbor and other American campuses where they had studied and made friends. During his recent visit, Kissinger was told by a Chinese official that 100 million Chinese — think of the U.S. population west of the Mississippi — are currently on the move, either from country to city in a migration-of modernization, or away from employment in sclerotic state-run industries, into the private economy And this instability may be just a minor prologue. The 19th century — in Germany Italy the United States, even in France, and elsewhere — was a century of nation consolidations. But the 20th century — from the dissolution of the Ottoman and the Austro- Hungarian empires to the unraveling of the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia — was a disintegrative century So ask yourself, as China's leaders must be asking themselves: How likely is it that — and what will be required in the way of repressions or concessions to guarantee that — 50 years from now one-fiftli of the human race will still live in one country called China? U.S. policy-makers should not see U.S.­ China relations as analogous to U.S.-Soviet relations during the Cold War. Then it was sensible to try to impede the growth of the power of an implacably hostile Soviet Union. But China's power is going to grow as China's economy grows. And hostility need not grow, indeed should wane, as China becomes immersed in the culture of commerce — contracts, lawfulness, transparency promise-keeping. However, as during the Cold War, there is in America an appeasement caucus'. During the Cold War it was eager to explain, and by explaining to justify Soviet misbehavior as the "understandable" result of historic Russian "insecurity" about "encirclement." Today the caucus reflexively rationalizes Chinese misbehavior as the "understandable" result of historic "humiliations" at the hands of the West. Such reasoning always is a recipe for turning U.S. foreign policy into psychotherapy for victim nations. It is tiine for the caucus, and China, to grow up. Play's the thing that works for a child Children learn best from playing with their first teachers — their parents P lay is a child's work. In fact, play is the main task of childhood and the process through which children learn and develop. They need to play Children are naturally curious and active. What we may see as being loud, messy and nonproductive play is actually how children learn about their world. They observe, explore, imitate others and practice the skills learned in play repeatedly Children play for the pleasure and enjoyment of what they are doing — enjoyment of the "process of play" As children have successes in play they want to play more, which leads to gains in self confidence. Play encourages children's development in every area. A child's play helps develop curiosity self-esteem, strength, co-ordination, self-direction, values, problem solving and cooperation. And it is fun. Infants' play consists of observing and exploring what is going on around them. Your child will reach, grab toys, hit and bang toys, pat whatever she sees, crawl and babble to himself or anyone around. Infants experience their world through tasting, seeing, hearing, touching and smelling. These experiences through the senses cause the child's brain-cell connections to multiply become more efficient and to organize — learning is taking place now and for the future. As children get older, they add to their play skills with creative play dramatic play and construction in play All forms of play give children endless opportunities to develop social, emotional, physical, intellectual and language skills. As parents and caregivers, we have responsibilities to children's play and the learning which will take place. We need to provide a space for the child to explore and play It needs to be a safe place in all respects for your child to play in. Toys and activities should be accessible for the child to get on his own and to put away. As parents and caregivers, we can offer children a variety of experiences through the toys we select to have available. These toys may be of a variety of textures, may encourage several types of development, be appropriate for child's age, and can be homemade. It is also important to provide time for your child to play and the opportunity to play at their own pace rather than at our adult pace. It is important that you as adults realize that the time you spend in play with your child does more to encourage development than any formal education program. They learn best from their first teachers — their parents and/or the people they love — especially if you are an active participant in your child's play You will be a role model for sharing, cooperation, conflict resolution and social relationships. You will be talking to your child about what they are playing and may use play to help your child learn to express their feelings. You can use play as a way to encourage exploration, investigation and trial-error problem solving. Play is a natural way to initiate and support your relationship with your child. Playtime also offers you the opportunity to teach safe boundaries for your child. We may influence our child's play as observers, as supporters of their activity as questioners to guide their thought process or as an active participant. Toys and the learning which takes place with them do not have to be expensive. Time is one of the most important investments you give to your child's play. Next time you watch a child scribbling, think about the practice they are getting in strengthening their fingers to gain more control, noticing differences in color and how they are using this as a way to express themselves. When you see a child flip through a book every day, several times a day, think about the recognition of items, the connection of pictures with printed words, reading from left to right and storytelling practice. If you read that book to your child, you are also encouraging their listening skills. As they run, they are building body strength and co-ordination. Spend time watching your child(ren) at play to discover all the skills they are experimenting with in math, science, reading, co-ordination, problem solving and all other areas of learning. It is fascinating to watch your child at work. Parents and their partners Parents and all caregivers need to work together as a team for the benefit of the child. Many people touch your child's life on a daily basis. This could be anyone from the bank teller, a carryout person from the superstore, a neighbor, a Sunday school teacher, a Scout leader or a childcare giver. Parents have the responsibility to show children acceptable and positive ways in which to relate to the people they meet. While parents know the most about their children, they may also rely on the community and caregiver to provide information, support and resources to supplement parent's efforts with their children. If yoij have made the effort to get to know these people, it is easier to reach out to them for the information or the support you may be seeking. Whether your child is in childcare or in school, it is important to keep the lines'of communication open. Parents, providers', and teachers are a team. The child beneHts if this relationship occurs include a sense of security positive self-esteem, a sense of self-worth, and a consistency of care. When the child's needs are met, they will feel free to learn. Benefits to the child and the adult make it worth the time and effort by the teach; ers/caregivers and families to get to know each other, understand the others perspecr live, and respect one another By doing all of this, we hope to accomplish productive partnerships for the children. Building positive relationships between all who touch the child's life is not hard. Will you take the first step? • The first segment of this column was written by students in the Early Childhood Methods II Class at Kansas Wesleyan University. The second segment was written by Salina students in the Parents, Provider and Community Relationships class frotn Cloud County Community College. Elairie Mills is the instructor for both classes. .' This is the last in a series of four columns marking The Week of the Young Child. ;• By G.B.TRUDEAU Letters to the Journal are welcome but, like everything else ! in the newspaper, are subject to being edited for space, '- clarity and taste. All letters must include a daytime i telephone number for confirmation. a ^/i^, YCliHAPJUSrr RI\RAP/6M THIS, NeW

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