A gift to all who knew him

I’ve really been enjoying Gene Pepper’s columns, and especially his most recent, “Memories of a Noble Gift That Was Taken for Granted.”

I, too, grew up in Salt Lake City in the ’40s and ’50s and knew Gene and his dad, Doc Pepper, who was in fact my doctor. Gene and I coincidentally both wound up in beautiful La Cañada Flintridge.

The best description of life in Salt Lake in those years was a story I like to tell about how I was playing outside when a neighbor girl ran up to me screaming that the president had died. I was horrified and ran home to tell my mom and she explained that the girl meant the president of the Mormon Church, not the president of the United States.

But back to Doc Pepper. He was indeed a “noble gift.” The only thing he didn’t do well was golf. He and my dad would play and I would caddie and they were quite a pair. The only safe place when they were on the tee was down the middle of the fairway.

Doc Pepper was revered by everyone in Salt Lake. Gene, we all considered him a gift.

Sid Karsh

La Cañada Flintridge


More education, rather than less

What’s going on?

The La Cañada school board recently negotiated an agreement with the teachers union that reduces class instruction by four days next year. These “lost days” will be used for teacher training — which certainly has value — but why does it have to be at the expense of our kids’ education?

Our family just donated $2,500 to help maintain the quality of education at La Cañada schools. I donated that money because I believe in La Cañada schools. But now, in addition to increased class sizes, the loss of teacher’s aides and some key programs, we are reducing the quality of our kid’s education even further.

La Cañada schools has fantastic teachers. Our girls had two of the best teachers in the district this past year. I understand that teacher training is important, but it’s a mistake to cuts class instruction. Our kids need more education, not less.

I urge the school board to reverse this decision.

John Flynn

La Cañada Flintridge


Board should add school days

My wife and I have two daughters at Paradise Canyon Elementary. One just finished fifth grade, the other finished second grade. Both love their school and teachers. Both were sad to have to part with school for the summer. Our children cherish their education and have an unquenchable thirst for more.

I was utterly dismayed to find out that the La Cañada school board recently voted to drop four school days in 2011-2012 for “teacher professional development,” a program involving local teachers instructing other teachers, with little or no accountability or metrics.

I am all for training teachers and giving them opportunities to gain skills, but not at the expense of four days of instruction at our children's expense. Teacher training should be pursued when school is not in session, for example, during the summer break. As it is, our academic year is already too short and the quality of our children's education is suffering. Dropping another four teaching days is a step in exactly the wrong direction. Nor does it bode well at all for the reputation of our school district.

I urge the board to reconsider its decision to drop four school days and reverse it. The board should not wait until the following academic year. This decision should be reversed now, so that our kids will not miss another four days of school in the upcoming academic year.

As a parent of La Cañada kids, a city that until now has rightly prided itself on its terrific schools, I expect the board to fight on our behalf — to not shorten our school year, but to lengthen it.

An online petition is available here: http://tinyurl.com/3jfgcxw, and will be submitted to the school board at its next meeting in July.

Daniel Lidar

La Cañada


The academic year already is too short

As a parent in the La Cañada Unified School District, I was very upset to discover that the Board of Education voted to drop four school days in the 2011-2012 school year for “teacher professional development.”

I believe that the LCUSD teachers should have opportunities for professional development. However, teacher development must be done without eliminating four days from an academic year that is already too short. In addition, this decision will place a tremendous burden on the parents in this district who — like myself —already struggle to accommodate the many “pupil-free” days of the LCUSD.

I urge everyone who is concerned about this decision to contact the La Cañada school board. Please ask the board to bring this decision back for review so that public/parent input on this issue may take place.

Although my family is not the largest donor to the La Cañada Flintridge Educational Foundation, we do donate at the Platinum Level, in addition to giving donations to the schools. However, given this decision, my family is now re-considering all future donations to the LCFEF and the schools.

Brooke A. Wharton

La Cañada Flintridge

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