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Reader Feedback 12.11.02 

Fairport efforts

The article "War, Peace at Fairport High School" (Metro Ink, November 20) was misleading. While there was initial controversy about the issue, the administrators, and especially Dave Paddock, have been working with us; Dave Paddock said he had no problem with our plans as long as we didn't hurt anybody.

                  The article made the student Peace movement appear to be a constant struggle against authority, which it is not. The peace-recruiting table was a big success. We passed out pamphlets and green ribbons, showed a video, and formed a petition against the war. Positive response from the students, teachers, and administration was overwhelming.

                  Michael Freeman, Fairport High School Students for Peace

Democracy lessons

I'm afraid your recent Metro Ink piece "War, Peace at Fairport High" (November 20) missed the real story about the Peace Club. This club is not about counterattack and confrontation. It's about participatory democracy, leaning about the world, and modeling peace and tolerance. Members have participated in peace rallies in Rochester and Washington, attended UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter's lecture at the U of R, and are planning a teach-in offering students a chance to learn from people with first-hand knowledge of what's happening in Iraq.

                  In an era when our elected representatives and the corporate news media sometimes lack the courage to speak the truth, and too many Americans lack the energy to inform themselves and vote, it is heartening to find an inspirational teacher and courageous principal who are encouraging our children to learn and participate.

                  Kudos to Jim Nowack and David Paddock. This is education at its finest!

                  Brad Freeman, Perinton (Freeman is the father of Fairport High School student Brad Freeman, who was quoted in the Metro Ink piece.)

'Columbine' forum

My husband and I were fortunate enough to be able to attend the Metro Justice/MCC/Little Theater discussion that followed the 7 p.m. show of Bowling for Columbine on November 21. Thanks to the four folks on the panel and thank you, thank you to all the people in the audience who spoke out on gun control, democracy or the lack of it, the myth of American individualism, and what's gone wrong with America.

                  There were many different thoughts and points of view expressed, and much impassioned discussion, yet I saw only one incident of real rudeness. We actually continued the conversation later over coffee with four previous strangers.

                  It was an exhilarating experience. Can we hope for more open community forums of this kind?

                  Mary Mahoney, Egypt Valley Road, Honeoye

Reducing the vote?

Our mail lady delivered a stack of colorful brochures recently. As I went through them, I opened a pretty green one, and lo and behold, I found a message from Brighton regarding the acquisition of open space. The vote to decide this purchase is scheduled for December 17 at the Brighton Town Hall. The cost to residents would be minimal --- this on top of the necessary increase of the county tax rate and the health-insurance increase most of us face.

                  Over 20 percent of Brighton's population is composed of seniors. Many live a distance from the Town Hall. Some do not drive. Some do not drive in inclement (read Rochester winter) weather. Many have left or soon will leave for warmer climes. How is that for stacking the deck!

                  Mary Gordon, Maybrooke Road, Rochester

Siragusa's record

"Bravo" to the US Second Circuit Court of Appeals for not delaying the mortgage-fraud case in Rochester Federal Court. And "hurrah" for US District Court Judge Charles J. Siragusa for remaining as the US Judge in this case. His removal would not only be a miscarriage of justice but an unwarranted blemish on a person of exemplary character.

                  From the time Judge Siragusa was First Assistant Monroe County District Attorney to the present, he has demonstrated integrity, fairness, and compassion for all people, whether victim or defendant. From the day of his being sworn in as an attorney and officer of the court, he has never forgotten his oath and has remained an example of performance excellence for all young attorneys who seek careers of honor.

                  Dr. Bernadette Tracy, Pittsford

Selling out health

As an educator and also a returning college student, I would like to voice my displeasure about major food and drink corporations purveying sugar, fat, and caffeine-based products, offering school funding in exchange for rights of exclusivity.

                  Many corporations target lower-income school districts to entice them with offers to fund programs that schools cannot afford. Yes, this funding pays for badly needed scholarships, uniforms, and even teacher training, but what is the exchange?

                  According to a report on National Public Radio, these companies have admitted to directing their marketing to children. Some school districts have decided to opt out of the National School Lunch Program because of the restrictions against selling soda.

                  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, incidence of obesity and diabetes continues to rise. Nearly one-third of Americans is considered obese, and 300,000 people die each year due to complications related directly to obesity. The CDC study also predicts that seven out of ten overweight adolescents will suffer from weight problems as adults.

                  If we are aware that poor nutrition negatively affects children's physical growth and their ability to succeed in the academic world, should we be giving an 8-year-old child the choice of a bag of chips and soda over a more healthy choice for lunch? Should our school districts be allowed to compromise our children's health for the sake of a dollar?

                  Lillane Hayman, Clinton Street, Avon

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