Bouquets and Brickbats

We need more adult courses — not fewer

Lucia Mar should have done more to find alternatives before canceling its fee-based classes used by county’s retired people

letters@thetribunenews.comJuly 26, 2013 

The Lucia Mar Unified School District gets a blindsided brickbat for the cavalier way it canceled all fee-based adult education classes. Teachers — some of whom had worked for the district for 20 years or more — were notified via email in late June that their classes were being cut, leaving them out of work.

On top of that, there was virtually no public discussion of the decision. If there had been, perhaps alternatives could have been considered — including raising fees to cover administrative costs, which the district has been shouldering.

At the very least, the district should have spent more time working with local recreation departments, senior centers and Cuesta College to find new sponsors for the classes.

The Arroyo Grande Recreation Department will pick up five, but that’s only a small percentage of the courses typically scheduled.

Last spring, for example, 45 fee-based courses were offered. These are, for the most part, enrichment classes such as quilting, cooking and exercise. But that doesn’t make them any less important than more academic classes.

Adult education classes provide opportunities to learn new skills, to socialize and to keep the brain active. Low-impact exercise classes help medically fragile seniors maintain mobility.

Given our large population of retirees, we should be looking for ways to expand these programs instead of gutting them.

Food bank’s lost angel, indeed

We offer a heaven-sent bouquet to all involved with the Christine Allen Memorial SLO Food Bank Fund. As reported in Thursday’s Tribune, the fund honors the 19-year-old San Luis Obispo woman who was killed in a Utah rock slide in May.

As a 4-H Club member, Christine raised steers to show at the fair and then offered them for sale at the fair’s Junior Livestock Auction. She persuaded family members and friends to buy the animals and donate the meat to the Food Bank Coalition of San Luis Obispo County.

The fund created in her honor will encourage similar donations by covering the cost of processing fair animals donated to the food bank.

What a great tribute to an exceptional young woman; it will help keep her memory alive and benefit residents of our county in need of a helping hand. To learn more, go to http://www.slofoodbank.org.

A whale of a close encounter

A glad-you-got-away bouquet goes out to the divers who had a close encounter with a couple of humpback whales last weekend. Two of the four men were snorkeling off the coast of Avila Beach during a break from diving when the humpback whales surfaced just a short distance away — so close, in fact, that the snorkelers could have been accidentally swallowed or their nearby boat capsized.

The incident was captured on video and posted on YouTube — proof that this whale of a tale is no fish story. To see it for yourself, go to Whales almost swallow divers off Avila Beach in viral video.

Two strikes, and you’re out

We generally don’t weigh in on mayoral contests in New York City, but we can’t resist joining the chorus of commentators calling on Anthony D. Weiner to drop out of the race.

He may have deserved one shot at redemption, but he’s used that up.

Weiner is unfit for public office, and for his bad behavior, we’re texting him pix of a bare-naked brickbat.

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