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Posts Tagged ‘Trees’

One of Nashville’s favorite Hockey players, Predator’s Viktor Arvidsson, was recently signed to a seven year contract for 29.75 MILLION dollars! All he’s got to do is show up and have fun. https://www.nashvillescene.com/news/cover-story/article/20999248/viktor-victorious-an-interview-with-viktor-arvidsson

You don’t have to attend college to play hockey, you just have to be born with some natural talent and determination. And the juxtaposition of that almost 30 million contract next to the starting salary of 30 thousand a year for our teachers (the same educators some think we should train in firearms) says volumes.

In many states across the country, public school teachers are organizing for a living wage and better conditions for their students after years of funding cuts.

” For K-12 expenditures, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities showed that in 29 states, total state funding per student was lower in the 2015 school year than in the 2008 school year in real terms. In Arizona, spending per student was down an astonishing 36.6 percent; in Oklahoma, it had dropped 15.6 percent; in Kentucky, 5.9 percent.”

Why is this union walk-out different? Because teachers aren’t just looking for a pay hike; they want well-maintained, not crumbling buildings, they want a smaller student-teacher ratio, they want every student to have up-to-date textbooks. This did not just happen overnight or after our 2008 “recession;” I recall outsourcing janitorial staff in the 90s to save money. Property taxes were funding everything from an increasing need for special education staff and transportation, to maintaining teachers’ rising pensions and medical benefits.

In TN, teachers can expect a starting salary of $36,402. Of course you don’t risk loosing your teeth due to pedagogy, and you don’t have quite as much down time as say a hockey player. But you are expected to furnish the ever-present supply of tissues and Purell, pencils and paper, and the patience of a saint. It’s no wonder there’s a teaching shortage – even when both partners are working, it’s nearly impossible to provide for a family of four on a teacher’s salary.

“Inherit the Wind” was playing down the road at the Nashville Repertory Theater, so Bob and I braved the cold and Lyfted over to see a play about a man who was trying to teach evolution to his high school science students. Based on the real “Scopes Monkey Trial” that took place in 1925 just east of here in Dayton, TN, the courtroom battle between science and religion ran in almost every newspaper in the country and around the world.

The ACLU was challenging passage of the Butler Act earlier that year; “The Butler Act forbid the teaching of any theory that denied the biblical story of Creationism. By teaching that man had descended from apes, the theory of evolution, Scopes was charged with breaking the law.”

The play was turned into a famous movie in the 50s in partial reaction to the McCarthy hearings. But the playwrights were more concerned with our “right to think,” rather than a battle between evangelicalism and facts. Still, this anti-intellectualism is alive and well today at a time when almost 40% of the American people still believe in Creationism.

On the brighter side, since the election there’s been a growing resistance to Trumpist ideology; red states are electing their first blue legislators in years, students are leading the country fighting gun violence and the NRA, and the #MeToo movement has ushered in a new wave of feminism.

The more Mr T chips away at fundamental human rights in the name of personal and corporate greed, the more WOKE our citizens are becoming; it would seem that critical-thinking skills are thankfully still being taught in our schools. My generation started a sea change in the fabric of American society, now it’s up to our children’s generation to repair some of this past year’s damage. And young voters are registering in record numbers!

After all, who doesn’t want to save the polar bear’s ice? Or is ice hockey more important than the Antarctic? Granted, the 24 year old “R-V” Predator seems like a great guy, and who doesn’t love a good hockey game? Are they both mutually exclusive?

Meanwhile, remember our cherry tree the Love Bug was climbing? It’s in full pink pom-pom bloom despite freezing temperatures.

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This morning I have chain saws in my woods. We’ve hired a man to do what Bob used to do all the time in Windsor, MA, cut down trees.

Except these trees are not for fire wood to be used in our stove, no this time around we installed a gas burning fireplace. We’re felling only the dead trees around the house. Now when Bob gets into the hot tub and there’s a strong west wind, I won’t worry he may never get out! We are seven years down the road from carving out this serene spot in the forest, time enough to know which oaks will live, and which are gone.

And speaking of “gone,” should I see David Fincher’s “Gone Girl?” I’m conflicted since I love a good murder mystery, however I didn’t read the book. Yes, I am part of that small minority of women who didn’t, and I’m not sure why.

Maybe because the idea of someone going missing is anathema to me, and it’s also hitting close to home with our own missing UVA student, Hannah Graham. We have had too many girls disappear in this college town. The FBI has traced evidence, presumably DNA, from Jesse Matthews who is the last person seen with Hannah, to the Morgan Harrington case; which is also related to a rape in Northern VA.

I would not be surprised if we hear about more charges in December, when his hearing is scheduled. This is the hot topic around town. One woman told me had such a sweet demeanor, and then we hear he was a suspect in 2 other college rapes that were never prosecuted. I saw many state police cars parked on the side of the road yesterday, troopers with sticks were walking up and down Barracks Road, past grazing cows near Ivy Farms, an area we lived in when we first moved to town. Helicopters and drones are searching for Hannah. A multinational media circus has taken over the Historic Downtown Mall. There is a $100,000 reward for information leading to her safe return. And yesterday we heard this plea from Hannah’s mother:

“Somebody listening to me today either knows where Hannah is, or knows someone who has that information,” the mother, Sue Graham, says in a video released by the city of Charlottesville, home to the university. “We appeal to you to come forward and tell us where Hannah can be found. Please, please, please help end this nightmare for all of us,” she continues. “Please help us to bring Hannah home.” http://edition.cnn.com/2014/10/04/justice/virginia-hannah-graham-case/index.html

I cannot imagine how her mother is standing, the pain of not knowing must be unbearable. On this too beautiful Fall day, may her family find  grace, courage and healing during this not knowing time.    IMG_1220

 

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