Letters to the editor – Feb. 28

From state Rep. Lynn Findley, R-Vale:

Please accept my apologizes for not being able to attend the Chamber of Commerce, Annual Awards Banquet. I had hoped to come home for the weekend, however our Legislative Calendar is limited to 35 days and timing would not allow a trip home for the weekend. Many thanks to Sheriff Wolfe for accepting the award on my behalf.

The Lifetime Achievement Award is greatly appreciated and I am quite humbled by the recognition. I would like to thank my family for supporting and allowing me to pursue these great adventures. I feel the accomplishments I have enjoyed have only been possible because of my family and the people of our community.

As many of you know, for the last two years I have written articles for the Malheur Enterprise and the Supplement, Western Treasure Valley Magazine that have given recognition to our great community and why this area is such a great place to live. The community support given to the Chamber and incredible honorees who have given the precious gift of time and knowledge is a measure of the quality of people that live here.

I would really like to thank the Chamber for this award, however, I am somewhat intrigued that this lifetime achievement award is presented to me as I start my Legislative Career.

Congratulations to all the well-deserved honorees and many thanks to the incredible community supported auction items, the table sponsors, the Sheriff and his family and lastly all the hard work of the banquet committee.

From Amy Williams, Fruitland, Idaho:

I have known Claire Holderman for six years and have always found her to be extremely friendly, kind, giving, and very professional. Claire has opened her home up to myself and my daughters, and I have witnessed her lending a hand or helping those in need.

Over the past several years, I have known many students who have studied a foreign language at Treasure Valley Community College in Ontario. All of those students have expressed their fondness and respect for Mrs. Holderman and how she professionally conducts herself inside and outside her classroom. They have expressed what an amazing educator she is, and how she works hard to see that each of her students succeed. She has high expectations in her classes yet she is willing to provide extra help or support to students when they need it, and she provides motivation for them to learn.

Mrs. Holderman is an excellent example of a master educator who loves her job and loves seeing her students succeed. She is dedicated to her profession, her students, and her community.

As a public school teacher in Idaho, I was devastated to learn that TVCC is considering cutting some of its programs and/or classes, especially foreign language. Physiological studies have shown that learning a second (or even a third) language is a great asset to our cognitive process. Being able to understand different languages and cultures is beneficial to our thinking processes.

Students who are bilingual can become more perceptive, have better memory, and build better multi-tasking skills than those who speak and understand only one language. Creating a culture of educated thinkers should be one of the main goals of TVCC. Cutting the foreign language courses will be detrimental to current and future students. This could even become a reason for a potential new student to not attend TVCC.

I urge TVCC to reconsider cutting the foreign language courses that Mrs. Holderman has worked hard to develop.

From James Hutchens, Boise (formerly of Vale):

I am writing in my support of cannabis legalization and dispensaries in Ontario. 

I am a retired military pilot, currently working as a commercial pilot. I have been enrolled in random drug testing for 34 years. I am not a user of the product but I have a unique perspective, having flown for law enforcement for several decades. I have flown for several law enforcement agencies including Idaho and Oregon Department of Narcotics, MEPs (Marijuana Eradication Program), DEA, Border patrol and most recently flying gunships in Afghanistan for the Department of State supporting DEA/FBI missions for removal of heroin labs.

The City of Ontario has made public its financial problems. There is an unpopular push to impose a 1 percent sales tax, and if not passed there doesn’t seem to be a backup plan. Where is the city going to get the money? Or do they just start laying off employees like firemen and police officers etc.?

Legal dispensaries are the only option if the sales tax fails that can create enough revenue to support the city’s budget and past shortfalls. In the unlikely event the sales tax does pass and dispensaries are also legalized, then the city would have the ability to increase services or lessen other taxes. 

The current situation, not including medical use, is illegal. The use of marijuana for recreation is not being controlled or monitored for safety and the city is not receiving the 3 percent tax that other municipalities are receiving. It is entirely run by criminal elements which creates more demand for law enforcement intervention. Illegal marijuana is not tested for chemical properties such as pesticides or other harmful chemicals where by OLCC controlled dispensaries are tested for health safety. 

I understand there is a moral objection to the product. I had the same objection for many years. After considerable research and education I changed my mind. We need to get past the city council’s personal opinions and put it to a public vote; let the people decide.

· Legal Marijuana increases tax revenue on a voluntary basis.

· Legal Marijuana lessens the demand of illegal criminal activities associated with black market Marijuana.

· Legal Marijuana will provide jobs in the local community.

· Legal Marijuana will attract commerce from Idaho.


From Robert Williams and (extended) family, Vale: 

On behalf of my family and community, I’d like to thank you and your staff for the informative and evenhanded coverage of the TVCC debacle. I’m sure there are valid opinions on both sides of the issue and your efforts to validate them showed some good journalism. Please share our thanks with your staff, you all did a great job bringing this to light. Please stay the course until this is resolved. 

From Jennifer Blackaby, Boise:

I was born and raised in Ontario. I know many people who have attended or taught at Treasure Valley Community College. I even completed my sophomore year there before transferring to a university, and I remember my experience at TVCC as a positive one. 

I was shocked to hear that TVCC was possibly disposing of their foreign language program!

While I can imagine that a first instinct during low enrollment might be to cut programs, I foresee both immediate and future fallout. I don’t understand how a school can remain competitive without offering these courses when the courses may be a requirement for students who plan to eventually transfer to a university, in which case those students may ultimately choose to attend elsewhere altogether.

I also think it is important for a school’s curriculum to reflect the cultural diversity of the region, at the bare minimum by offering language courses. Knowing a second language is a valuable tool in the job market. Cutting this program will have an impact on students. 

The other individuals who will no doubt feel the impact are the amazing instructors. One of these instructors is Claire Holderman. I have known Claire for over 35 years and am honored to call her my friend. She is actually more like family, and has stood by me and supported me through some of the hardest moments of my life. I know her to be thoughtful, encouraging, creative, intelligent and fiercely loyal.

I also know that she puts that same energy into her teaching. She loves her community and has made many sacrifices to build her career here. That commitment deserves to be acknowledged and valued, and it is dedication like Claire’s that should be used to recruit new students. 

Right now, the TVCC Board has an opportunity to honor their teachers and current/future students. Please, save the foreign language program! 


From Lynda Gastanaga, Ontario:

I am writing this letter out of concern for what I see happening at Treasure Valley Community College. I graduated from TVCC in 1988 and currently teach in a local elementary school. Our daughter, Kacie, is a 2014 TVCC graduate and our son, will be graduating from this institution in June. TVCC has served our family well and I feel very fortunate that we have had the opportunity to receive a quality education in our local area from professional and dedicated instructors.  

I have recently learned that a group of teachers at TVCC are being considered for retrenchment. One of them is Claire Holderman. When our daughter attended TVCC, she had an opportunity to take many of Claire’s foreign language classes.  Claire was and continues to be such an inspiration to our daughter.  Claire has gone above and beyond to help our daughter not only while she was attending TVCC but almost four years after her graduation she is still advising and leading Kacie. Claire does this because she truly cares about her students. Claire has worked to develop online classes, thus helping to bring more revenue to TVCC as well as to foster the learning for students out of our area. She had shown her dedication to TVCC and its students for many years, and I feel that Treasure Valley Community College cannot afford to lose such a dedicated, hard-working staff member. 

Claire and her husband are invested members in our local communities. Claire wants to continue her own education as well as expand her programs at TVCC to reach more students. Being a teacher myself, I realize how much time is put into teaching and how difficult it is to find the type of instructor who is willing to continually strive and improve their programs and instruction. The students at TVCC deserve to be offered foreign language classes and deserve to be led by a true professional like Claire Holderman.