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Page 2 CLINCH VALLEY TIMES St. Paul, Va. Thursday, July 28, 2016 g wax.. by Ann Young Gregory The magic circle begins again Reprinted from August 16, 2007 The very first discussion about the first day of school--the beginning of the magic circle--which appeared in this spot was in 1974. The children who were entering kindergarten that year are thirty-nine now. Some of them may even be grandparents. Yet I'm still writing much the same kind of thing that I wrote then, and those words apply to kindergarten students in 2007 just as much as they did to the five-year-olds who trudged off to kindergarten with varying degrees of excitement--and/or trepidation--thirty-four years ago. Of course, today's kindergarten students have to wrestle with a number of new kinds of things that did- n't even exist id 1974. These children are required to work with computers, and most of them do it as though they are genetically predisposed to handle these ubiqui- tous machines which have taken over our lives. They must master the Standards of Learning, at least the ones at the kindergarten level...the SOLs were not even a gleam in anybody's eye when I started sharing my thoughts about school and reading and learning way back then. Actually, the thirty-four classes of children who have gone through (or are going through) school since 1974 have been the guinea pigs for a number of programs designed to determine whether or not students have achieved the desired level of achievement at criti- cal points during their twelve years of public school (thirteen if you count kindergarten). Most of today's children have also been exposed to television's "Sesame Street" and other entertaining but- also-instructional television programs, and most of the books and games that they've enjoyed for their brief five years talk to them and help them put words and sounds together. All of which is to say that today's kindergarten students have probably almost achieved the point at which they can read themselves, so progress in that department should be more rapid than usual. Certainly when they hit first grade, reading skills should come fast. You don't have to have talking books and games to achieve that, however. I'll never forget my first grade experience--I may have told you this before, but it won't hurt to repeat it. When I was four, I was desperate to learn to read. My parents read to me, and my grandmother read to me, and my babysitter, when I had one, read to me. That was great, except that I wanted somebody to teach me how to read all by myself so I wouldn't have to wait until it was convenient for somebody else to do it for me. Alas. Those were the days when the conventional wisdom from the public schools was: "Don't teach them how to read--parents don't know how to do it, and we'll have to undo everything you've done before we can get them started on the right path to reading." And of course there was no "Sesame Street" (what am I saying--there was- n't even any television, and wouldn't be any, at least where I could see it, for another eight or nine years!) So when I was that young, I listened to "Let's Pretend" on Saturday mornings, and there were a few other pro- grams intended for children, but mainly, I just listened to the programs that were tuned in for my parents. In other words, nothing was there to help me read. I went to kindergarten half a year early--the children on my street were all just a little older than I, and were already in school, so my mother and father decided I would be happier if I were in school, too. Even though I was too young for public school, I was accepted at the University School the K-12 school operated by the University of Kentucky, where my father taught. Although they offered to put me in first grade at five, my mother said no, and so I was in kindergarten for a year and half. All I remember about it was learning dopey songs--and receiving a bad cut on my eyebrow when a swing hit me at recess. No reading, though. Finally, however, I was six, and was headed for the public school M.A. Cassidy School--in our neigh- borhood. My teacher Miss Mignon Newburn, was a very bright woman who understood what first graders wanted. That very first day of school, she distributed sheets of paper to each child--they'd been mimeo- graphed, I guess--and each pictured a ball, a fire engine and an apple. At the top were the letters RED. At some point during that first day, we discussed the paper and colored each of the three articles red. We were allowed to take the paper home. I remember--and very vivid- ly-that I ran all the way home (the school was about two blocks from our house), and I ran in the door yelling, "I can read! I can read! I can read!" And so I could it was just one word that day, but it didn't take long. Our first real book was "Fun With Dick and Jane." Anybody remember that one? But I learned to read fast and I loved it, and have long considered reading to be one of my greatest sources of entertainment. Just so you younger people who were concerned that we didn't have television as children don't worry about us, I must hasten to tell you that broadcast entertain- ment in those early days, of course, consisted of the radio, and it was different in that time before television. There were all kinds of programs (not just music and news), including shows for children. The favorite radio program of my friends and I (this was after we were in elementary school we were probably seven or eight) was Tom Mix, who had been a cowboy movie star in the 1930s. I never saw a Tom Mix movie, but we all loved that radio program, and faithfully collected boxtops from Ralston Purina cereal (our parents wouldn't buy it for us since we all refused to eat it, so we had to depend on generous neighbors). Anyway, a boxtop and a dime would get you a wonderful Tom Mix memento. A favorite, which I desperately wish I had now, was my Tom Mix Whistling Ring and the little booklet all about Tom Mix (actually about his movie adventures). I expect collectors are eager to fred those kinds of things in good condition. Then there was the offer that required fifteen cents and a Purina boxtop----for those two things, one could acquire a book called "Championship Basketball" by Coach Adolph Rupp. It was another favorite. Since Coach Rupp lived across the street from us, I was electrified by the offer, and couldn't believe that somebody ha my neighborhood was so important that something he wrote took a boxtop and fifteen whole cents to acquire. ! wish I had that book now, too! However, I digress. The magic circle, which leads children to the world of reading and acquisition of wonderful knowledge, gathers in its~ midst a new group of wide-eyed and bright youngsters as the 2007-2008 school year begins. Bad policy, flawed implementation Dear Friends, Since April 22, Governor McAuliffe has been busy consolidating power and breaking with tradition and interpreta- tions of Constitutional authority to restore the civil rights of over 206,000 convicted felons through executive order. This order is blind to violent vs. non- violent crimes, restoring political rights to sex offenders and murderers. Meanwhile, Virginians have become highly con- cerned over the disturbing headlines that are a result of the implementation of this order that is based on political expediency rather than good governance and sound policy. The restoration of civil rights for felons is not a matter to which I nor my colleagues are opposed; however, the process through which those rights are restored is crucial to upholding the integrity of our criminal justice sys- tem. Currently, the Commonwealth of Virginia has a process in place to restore a felon's civil rights. This process is com- pleted on a case-by-case basis and considers infor- mation specific to the indi- vidual offenders, such as the nature of their cnrne and whether restitution has been made. A blanket restoration of rights that fails to take into account case-by-case information is irresponsible and con- trary to the interpretation of the Governor's clemen- cy powers. The concerns that I and others have voiced since the election stands by Lee H. Hamilton The next few weeks in politics are a little like the All-Star break in baseball. With the Republican and Democratic national con- ventions upon us, it's a good time to step back and assess this year's election. Which carries bad news for both parties. The Republicans face a steep electoral challenge. If Hillary Clinton carries Florida (where polling shows a very close race) Plus the District of Columbia and the 19 states that have voted Democratic in each of the last six pres- idential elections, she wins. Yet victory for Donald Trump is hardly out of the question. He'll have to retain the support he already has from white vot- ers -- especially working- class whites in swing states -- and try to make some inroads among non-white voters. He'll also need to hope that any third-party candidates take more votes away from Clinton than from him. Trump floated through the Republican primaries by tackling the anger and discontent that course through this year's elec- torate. His talk about a bro- ken system and his emphatic, brash style appeal to a lot of people. His ability to dominate news coverage without spending much on adver- rising has been extraordi- nary. And even though he's passed through a difficult period for his campaign, the polls'have grown quite close. On the other hand, the Republican Party is splin- tered and off its game. Its leaders are having a diffi- cult time with a Trump candidacy. A sizable num- ber of GOP stars are find- ing excuses not to attend the convention, which is remarkable. Conventions are where parties fire up the faithful and gird for the general election; to find elected officials staying away is clearly a problem. And any revolt at the con- vention will be messy -- though fortunately for the GOP, the months from August to November are an eternity in politics. Yet the Democrats should take no comfort from this state of affairs. For starters, below the presidential level the party is struggling. Since 2008, Democrats have lost 69 seats in the U.S. House, 13 Senate seats, 12 governor- ships, and over 900 seats in state legislatures. Nor do they have much of a bench. The two most prominent Democrats this year, Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders, are both senior citizens: Clinton is 68, Sanders 74. Despite President Obama's relative youth, his years in office did not usher in a new gen- eration of national Democratic leadership. And while Clinton's path to the presidency may be wider than Trump's, that doesn't mean she's a strong candidate -- at least, not for this particular year. She's put out carefully make both parties uneasy. thought-through, even But then, so should the impressive position papers course of this election, on a wide variety of current issues that get very little attention in the press. At a moment when voters clear- ly want change, she appears to favor incremen- talism as the way to get things done in Washington. And despite the FBI's decision that it wouldn't bring criminal charges on her handling of emails when she was Secretary of State, the issue is clearly dogging her. She went into this election facing a lot of voters who simply didn't trust her, and that has only gotten worse. In politics, you cannot talk someone into trusting you -- you have to earn it, inch by inch. Moreover, if Trump faces tough arithmetic in the electoral college, Clinton faces her own diffi- cult equation: It is extreme- ly hard for a political party to win a third consecutive term in the White House. It happened 28 years ago, when George H.W. Bush succeeded Ronald Reagan. The last candidate before that was Franklin Roosevelt, in 1940. The British vote on Brexit is a reminder that resentments and anger can fly under the radar. And Washington, where there's money everywhere you turn, is a ripe target for "take-our-country-back" populism. The anti-estab- lishment, anti-Washington mood captured by both Sanders and Trump should which has put a premium on sound iand fury at the cost of true engagement with the issues confronting the country. On that score, we all lose. Lee Hamilton is a Senior Advisor for the Indiana University Center on Representative Government; a Distinguished Scholar, IU School of Global and International Studies; and a Professor of Practice, IU School of Public and Environmental Affairs. He was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives for 34 years. the Governor's announce- ment of this order have unfolded in a series of news reports. First, the Washington Post reported in early June that political rights were mistakenly restored to violent felons in prison or on supervised probation. According to the Richmond Times- Dispatch, a man alleged of killing a Virginia State Police trooper wanted to use the Governor's order to have felons whose rights were recently restored con- sidered for jury duty in his trial. Reports go on to detail how 132 sex offend- ers who finished their sen- tences but remain commit- ted civilly to the state had their rights restored. When commonwealth's attorneys began to raise concerns and criticize the Coffee time at library invites senior citizens Every Monday at 10 a.m. the J. Fred Matthews Memorial Library will host Coffee Time for all area sen- ior citizens. Seniors are invited to stop by the library from 10-11 a.m. and have a cup of coffee, tea, cider or hot chocolate and light refreshments. Visit with your friends, talk about the news going on in the area, read the local newspapers or browse through the library's magazine selections. Make plans to come by the library each Monday for coffee and conversation. For more information contact the Fred Matthews Memorial Library at 276-762-9702. I CVT Deadlines: Monday 3 pm Monday 12 noon Governor's order, he responded by telling them to "do your job". Most recently, two fugitive sex offenders listed as "want- ed" on Virginia's sex offender registry had their rights restored. The Governor's spokesman characterized it as "...just basically an oversight". The list goes on. Good governance requires communication and collaboration despite opposing political and philosophical views. 'As was noted in a June 26 Roanoke Times . article, Governor McAuliffe coor- dinated news of his order with activists days before the official announcement. Members of the General Assembly were made aware of this sweeping executive action from the announcement itself and voter registrars, whose work is directly impacted by the order, were seem- ingly given no prior notice or guidance on implement- ing these reforms. It is clear the Governor's under- taking is politically moti, vated and not policy'based. It is for these reasons - and many more that space will not permit me to write here - why this executive order is bad policy. Republicans in the House and Senate have filed suit to stop this reckless order. Oral arguments in the suit will be heard in the Supreme Court of Virginia on July 19. I will keep you updated as we push for accountability and a responsible process that is fair and within,the bounds of the Constitution. Please call Governor McAuliffe's office at (804) 786-2211 and let him know you sup- port a responsible, case-by- case process for the restoration of political rights of convicted felons. Stop for any school bus loading or unloading children! IT'S THE LAW! Clinch Valley Tintes MEMBER VIRGINIA PRESS ASSOCIATIO]~ Published weekly in St. Paul, VA 24283, by the CLINCH VALLEY PUBLISHING CO. INC. The Climb Valley Times serves the fottr-eotmty area of W'~e. Russell, Dickenson and Scott, ~4th offices and plant located in the CLINCH VALLEY TIMES bttilding, 16541 Russell Street. Periodicals postage is paid at the ?ost Off~ce in St. Paul, VA 24283 Allen Gregory Editor/Adv. Susan Trent Adv./Graphics ANNUAL SUBSCRIFFIONS: Ia advance: $28.50 in Wtse and Russell Counties; $30.00 in other 24-zip-codes; elsewhere $32.50. 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