From the pages of
The Sublette County Journal
Volume 5, Number 6 - 10/5/00
brought to you online by Pinedale Online

Letters This Week

Criticism is Unjust

"I've simply grown tired with education professionals' continued complaints and excuses when it comes to the WYCAS or any other measure of public accountability." This is how the editorial written by Rob Shaul was ended in the September 21 edition of the Sublette County Journal. 

I would like to address what I consider to be an inconsiderate remark made by Mr. Shaul. In my opinion this is an unprovoked attack against all educators. One aspect involving education that I have come to realize after teaching for ten years is the amount of nonsense that is blamed on the educational community. The term accountability was thrust upon us several times in Mr. Shaul's scathing editorial. I feel that Mr. Shaul's biased remarks regarding accountability are unjust. First of all, the whole statewide system that was designed to help both teachers and students has been changing directions ever since its conception. Because of this, the real question of accountability centers around the actions of the legislators and the State Superintendent of Instruction. If as much indecision and waste surrounding the WYCAS test occurred in the private sector, either many people would lose their jobs or the business would fold. Because of these changes, the reason for the original assessment has also changed. As a result, in order to measure true accountability, one must first measure the success of the state "leaders" demanding this accountability. Interestingly enough, this information was conveniently left out of Mr. Shaul's editorial. 

Accountability, Mr. Shaul, goes far beyond a mere test score and the few governmental beliefs which you publicly sympathize. Unlike you, I believe that accountability is truly measured by what my students walk away with from my program. As far as accountability, I can only hope that my students will search for the truth regarding an issue before publicly ridiculing any group of people. Mr. Shaul you publicly ridiculed a group who have not only devoted their lives and income, but their hearts and souls to the students of this great community. I hope that Mr. Shaul realizes that before he criticizes our students he needs to take a look at the real scores, our one on one involvement with the students as well as the interventions taking place to enable students to be successful not only on the WYCAS but in life!

I would like to help Mr. Shaul on his personal quest for accountability. I have a real hard time with someone telling me how my boots should fit before he tries them on. Let's start by having Mr. Shaul step off his soapbox and take a walk through the reality of the modern educational professional's life. First I would like Mr. Shaul to address how much these so called "overpaid educators" have invested of their "higher salaries" to subsidize their own programs in order for their students to have the needed supplies, equipment and experiences to achieve success. On Mr. Shaul's journey through these people's lives he must also take a walk through their home lives, oh that is if they are even at home. Students aren't the only ones with homework. Add in the numerous meetings, school activities and events and he might find the amount of time that is stolen from families and given to the school goes far beyond the normal 9-5 work day. Anyone reading this who interprets what I'm saying as a complaint has missed my point. These investments are made for OUR future and out of choice and not chance, for we, as professional educators, realize that the students are worth these valuable sacrifices. Once again, I am not complaining at all about my career or the sacrifices that I make, but rather I am addressing that Mr. Shaul's editorial forgets to mention the real facts associated with modern education. 

Mr. Shaul, I tend to question your true motive and implied sincerity in this "accountability" issue. Are you truly interested in my students or merely sensational headlines and topics as a way of boosting your newspaper sales? Should we base the success of everything using only one form of evaluation? Last I checked, you haven't been recognized as one of the best weekly newspapers in the United States or Wyoming for that matter. Pinedale High School on the other hand, is recognized as being one of the leaders in Wyoming education according to both the WYCAS results and the state. Are YOU ready for the scrutiny you called for in your editorial? I know I can live without the store flyer, and it will be difficult not reading the "Weatherin' It" section, but if it means supporting your personal attacks on our community I'll pass thank you and I hope I'm not the only one with this belief. Maybe your true accountability will be measured when people like me choose to keep our fifty cents and not support the unfounded public scrutiny that seems to flow so easily from your pen.

I would like to end with a familiar quote, which still rings true, "People who live in glass houses should not throw stones." Oh and by the way, I just sheet-rocked. 

Toby Terrell 
Pinedale Ag Ed Instructor and FFA Advisor 
President - Wyoming Vocational Agriculture Teachers Association

Thank You

I want to take a few minutes to say thank you to the people of Sublette County for your support during my ongoing bout with cancer these last few months. Your cards, calls, meals brought to my home, and compassion have lifted my spirits and reminded me that I'm not alone dealing with this. With 16 more weeks of treatment coming up, it's great having your encouragement!

I particularly want to thank the Courthouse employees for being so supportive, and especially my assistant in the County Planning Office, Darlene Staley. I had to be out of the office during six weeks of our busiest time of year, and Darlene carried the ball throughout that time. I am very grateful and appreciative of her hard work and dedication.

My absence may have meant some had to wait a little longer than normal for answers to questions or other help. I apologize for that and hope to pick up the pace in the coming months.

I'm so glad that I call Sublette County my home. Best wishes to you, in return. 

Joanne Garnett
County Planner

Don't Change a Thing

Regarding your article on tourism and balancing values. We visit Pinedale from Clay City, Kentucky. I agree that something gets lost when the soul of a small town sells out. Don't change a thing you don't have to. One of our favorite places to visit there is Faler's General Store. The T-Shirts are as far as I hope they ever go to supply, "Tourists". Encounters with local folks is another plus. Talking to the wrangler in the laundromat with his dog or the outfitter getting supplies at Faler's, means more to us, (we farm) then some fake theme park type hype. If the, "local folks", are reduced to living lawn ornaments or motif stand vendors, the place doesn't exist anymore. I guess my point is, you don't have to become a tourist trap to have tourists. If Pinedale wasn't just what it is, we wouldn't go there. For folks who want that kind of thing, let them go elsewhere. Faler's logo is profoundly correct, "If we don't have it, you don't need it". 

Chuck Donaldson
Clay City, Kentucky

Great Hospitality!

A great backpack trip into the Wind River range ended on a sour note for our party of four when we returned to our vehicle at the Elkheart trail head on Saturday September 9 and found that we had a dead car battery. Efforts to jump start the vehicle failed, and this being late on a Saturday afternoon, things were not looking good!

Our luck began to change when we were able to hitch a ride with Chris, who took us into Pinedale, used his cell phone to locate a tow truck, and took us well out of his way to pick up another vehicle. Bill Belveal broke away from his Saturday evening at home and expertly towed our van down to Pinedale, and called Steve at Pinedale Auto Parts to see if he would reopen his shop to fix us up with a new battery. Steve completed a tricky installation as it became dark and cold, and soon sent us on our way.

These three men all went the extra mile on a Saturday evening to help out four strangers. We would like to thank them all, and to let the Pinedale residents know they have some great neighbors. We will remember the Pinedale area for its hospitality and great service as well as its great natural beauty.

Howard and Barbara Ross
Salt Lake City, Utah

Bed Tax is a User's Fee

I am writing in response to comments made for the Proposed Lodging Tax. I would venture to guess that each and every citizen of Pinedale has paid a lodging tax on a motel room at some point in their lives, and found it a lot less intrusive than an additional 1% sales tax for Sublette County. One lodging owner proposed that if we were going to impose a tax then, let's be fair, and impose it across the board for everyone to share, and suggested supporting a 1% additional sales tax for the County. I disagree. We already pay County Tax for the benefits this county has to offer. The Tourists however, use County facilities, and participate in events which is great, but why not let them share in the upkeep for these events and facilities. Over and over again, at the Public Meeting, it was brought up how we were forcing a tax on the Lodging Owners who didn't want it. Let's be clear, the Lodging Tax is paid by the people who will be using our County Facilities, and vacationing here, not by the Lodging Owner. The Lodging Owners will be collecting the tax and as it was clearly explained, it would only take them a few more minutes a month to allocate it appropriately on the existing form they now use.

Tourism is on the rise in Sublette County. Wouldn't it be nice for all the organizations to not have to go pleading for donations? This Lodging Tax could be used to help sponsor and support such events as the Sublette County Fair, Rendezvous, Chuck Wagon Days, the Sled Dog Races, Fishing Derby's, Billboards, National Publications, Advertising, Video Tapes of the area, and 800 Inquiry System, and Printing Costs for the Chamber. Grants could be awarded to the Ag Center, Hockey and Ski Competitions, Youth Horse Shows and Rodeos, Art Festivals and Shows, Community Promotions, Runs, and Bike Races, and so much more. 

So I am confused as to the harm in this temporary Lodging Tax. But don't take my word for it, ask others, or think about this yourself. Do you decide where you are going on vacation or traveling to certain events, by the lodging tax they charge? Would 3% more on your lodging accommodations prevent you from going? Would you feel damaged if Sublette County Charged a 3% Tax increase to benefit the Events, and Facilities you came to participate in? I think all the citizens of Sublette County, can look at this proposal and make a conscientious decision for the future of Sublette County.

Cyd Goodrich

Attend This Meeting

On Monday, October 9 at 7 p.m. in the Courthouse, the committee appointed by the Rural Health Board will present its options and suggestions for paid EMS contracts. I urge everyone to attend this important meeting because it is critical that around-the-clock EMT ambulance coverage is available.

Sally Mackey

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Publisher/Editor: Rob Shaul