Children need better food options
A new study may make parents think twice before handing their children Happy Meals. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that one in five teens across the nation has cholesterol levels that put them at risk for heart disease. The rate more than doubled for those teens who were obese. As a dietitian, I see this as an urgent call to get serious about childhood obesity.
The best way to fight this growing epidemic is to help children develop healthy eating habits early on. The government could cut down on obesity rates -- and health spending -- by making low-fat, nutrient-rich foods more available in school lunches. Studies show that vegetables, fruits, legumes, and whole grains -- all 100 percent cholesterol-free -- can help lower the risk of obesity, heart disease and diabetes.
We must join the American Public Health Association and the American Medical Association in calling for vegetarian school meal options when the Child Nutrition Act comes up for reauthorization this year. Adding low-fat vegetarian foods in schools would pay off in a big way when our nation's youth have lower rates of obesity and need less medical care.
Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine
GOP uses racism to advance agenda
It is amazing to hear Republicans say the hatred of President Obama is not racially motivated. Nearly all my Republican friends say this with a smile.
The teabaggers and skinheads say, "We need to take back our country. If we don't, blacks will rule."
I have several Republican office holders who are my friends, and they are not racist, but they, like their leaders in Congress and Rush Limbaugh, have no problem using hard-core racism to advance their agenda.
Do you know what Rush Limbaugh, the Taliban and the editor of the Chattanooga Free Press have in common? All three think President Obama should not have won the Nobel Peace Prize. You're in good company there, editor.
Developmental classes useful
As an adjunct for developmental English at UTC, I disagree with Gov. Phil Bredesen about developmental classes at four-year universities.
For two fall terms, I have taught students from public and private schools in urban, rural and suburban settings, from working-class and middle-class families, who do a poor job of the writing prompt that they are given during orientation or have low scores on the English section of the ACT. They have the grades and ACT scores to be accepted into college.
With only 15 of them in a class, students receive more attention than they often did in high school, and they want to be here, so they work harder.
Using a book about poverty, they read, discuss, and write research papers, a task which many have not done accurately. They gain confidence about their writing skills. This developmental class keeps students in school who might just give up in the first level of college English. They need this support system in a four-year school, where they take the class on campus, if we want them to graduate.
SHANNON B. MOWRER
Stand up, don't let trees be destroyed
Citizens are all the people, those of whom that greatest president once spoke, "God must have loved the little man; he made so many of them." Are we little people helpless? Have we a voice except when they want your vote and money?
Untold billions are thrown yearly into space. If there's life up there, do them the greatest favor -- leave them alone! How much has been spent to think there is water on Mars! Talk about priorities!
When I read that the courthouse is to be ruined by "murder" of old noble trees that have stood there ages before those who plan to destroy them were even a dot in a womb -- and will stand after they are only "lovely bones" -- I felt faint.
Some years ago, someone murdered the great trees in Patten Parkway. Maybe these trees can be saved.
Almost all of downtown is asphalt, glass, stone. The courthouse is not in danger. Don't let the "destroyers murder" those priceless trees, people.
Fairfield Glade, Tenn.
Salinger's book still lives on
Subject: Death of an author, not a book.
As a displaced New Yorker, I embraced the book "Catcher in the Rye" with nostalgia and salary as a teacher. J.D. Salinger printed on students a sense of time frozen in a display case or a duck pond refreshing my worn-out anecdotes.
Having a character like "Old Man Spencer," though different than Spencer McCallie, helped sell the book as phenomenology and lead to a writing assignment, "Catcher on the Ridge." Some years, we would pass around a baseball mitt and write poems on the fingers.
When "Catcher'' was removed from American literature, I lost an American voice, the use of an essay comparing Huck Finn and Holden or an essay topic comparing Nick Caraway's New York City with Holden's.
With the advent of feminist theory, we wrote essays on the female characters -- teenage girls. Later, I matched up Holden's emotions with Kubler-Ross's "Death and Dying" and the stages of grief.
From John Lennon to the Twin Towers, Holden's New York mapped our consciousness outside the walls of a book.
If a book unleashes the teenage narrative voice of any age and race, the story of American youth will continue to be told.
'Tax' non-users of curbside recycling
The Coca-Cola Co. has built a multimillion-dollar state of the art plant in South Carolina to recycle all of their plastic drink bottles.
There is only one problem. They will not get all or even a part of their bottles back. There are 72 houses on the street I live on. Six houses use the curbside recycle program. One of the non-use houses has only two people living there, and at times they put out two garbage cans. But no recycle items, ever.
I would suggest the city set up a "tax" of $1 applied every recycle day on houses that do not put out recycled garbage. On recycle day, make note of the houses using the program. Put the bill for the month on the water bill. Everyone gets a water bill. Use the money collected to further recycling efforts.
STEVEN E. SMITH