The recent article concerning declining membership in the Veterans of Foreign Wars makes me wonder about their outreach programs. I am a veteran of a foreign war, and I have never been contacted by the VFW. I drive by their building regularly, and I always assumed it was a social club for white World War II veterans. I was kind of surprised that Korean and Vietnam vets are also members. Where do I sign up?
A letter (to the editor) about poor teens' literacy rates was received, but I would like to add another part of a necessary look at how children are educated in the public schools. The National Association of Educational Progress findings for both reading and math of fourth-graders show a significant percentage of children fail both reading and math. That percentage figure is consistently in the 24-25 percent range and is virtually unchanged since the 1970s. What happens to these children who fail to achieve in reading and math? Well, let's look at prison rates: the number of jailed in this country and Chattanooga; the level of juvenile crime and that dreaded word, gangs. When a child fails to achieve reading competence he does not "catch up" and instead a year and one half behind his grade level in reading will be, and likely, to be 2 1/2 years behind by the following year. What is needed is a program that is not one-size-fits-all reading preparatory materials but a sustained and involved educational community that strives to meet the unique needs of all children. It can be done, and is a crime to see these percentages of failing children.
So let me get this straight -- our recent spring and summer, with mild temperatures and beautiful days perfect for tourism and outdoor adventures, is to blame for EPB not having funds for necessary projects? So we shouldn't blame the "Gig"-generated $500-plus million debt burden that Chattanooga rate-payers are carrying for the next few decades? We shouldn't blame the "necessary service that allowed us to match Hong Kong" that will cost Chattanoogans more than half a billion dollars? No? It's the sun? And mild temperatures? Oh, good. I was afraid EPB had invested poorly by pumping $500 million into an Internet service that had only a few customers. Silly me. I am glad Mr. DePriest set the record straight and clarified that the sun is to blame, not Mr. DePriest's bad decision making.
NANCY PATTY, Hixson
There seem to be a number of people who are missing the Judge Parker daily comic strip. If they have a computer, they can go to the Houston Chronicle site, where they can keep up with the comings and goings of the Judge and his family.
BARBARA TUCKER, Ringgold, Ga.