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Sound Off! calls
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• What matters most is people in those homes

I read the article "Look at it like a stranger would" in the Nov. 7 issue ("Sound Off!") and I just have a comment. Everybody likes a clean yard but there are more important things to think about. In my neighborhood, there are neighbors who should worry about other values instead of their home values like ethics and a good conscience. You can't take your home, yard or car to the pearly gates with you. What will you say when you get there?" I stole, harassed, vandalized, committed fraud and slander against my neighbor but my yard was clean." Good luck with that one!

Remember, trashiness starts on the inside, not on the outside.

• Seahawks suffered from coaches

It's sad to see the players of the Ceres Seahawks suffer because the lack of coaching skills in their last game. The reason for the loss was not because Modesto was just a better team or more prepared, it was because of the coaching. The play calling was horrible. When you have been running the same offense and it has been working all year, don't go changing it and adding new plays, especially in such an important game such as the playoffs.

It was very frustrating to be watching the game and seeing what a horrible job the coaching staff was doing. I am really sorry and frustrated to see the Seahawks not playing for the Super Bowl because they deserved it and its not the players fault at all it is all on the coaches' shoulders.

• CUSD winners are listeners

The comments made in "The Whining Of The Unions Worked" was unfair and mean spirited. As a citizen of Ceres I am proud to say, I voted for Eric Ingwerson, Jim Kinard, and Faye Lane. Not because of their past employment but because they took time to listen to my concerns.

All three seemed very receptive to some suggestions but most of all they listened. Some of the suggestions were:

• Putting locks on the inside of doors (These are still needed in some rooms in at least three various school sites)

• Putting back the large numbers on the doors so they can be easily seen from a distance.

For those who lost their seat, I am sympathetic especially if you have lost the security of the benefits that come with being a representative of the School Board. I am especially sympathetic to any health benefits lost.

As for those members who are on the present School Board, I encourage you to take the opportunity of visiting the classrooms often. Make time to talk to the secretaries, custodial staff, cafeteria staff, paraprofessionals Special Day classes and most importantly our students and parents. Converse, converse, converse. You can maintain a united front while letting your own independent ideas and thoughts be known.

I think you would be surprised by how insightful and independent we employees can be. For example, instead of spending money on outsiders to tell the district ways to save energy we could use our common sense i.e., shut all classroom computers down at night, limit refrigerators, coffee pots, etc., in classrooms, replace lights with more efficient bulbs. Or even use the consultants near us, like TID or PG&E both of whom have wonderful educational programs already in place. Maybe we could have spent the energy consultation monies on making schools more equitable in appearances, materials, supplies and safety. And yes, like installing inside door locks in all classrooms to protect our students from the outside world when it is needed.

Before becoming a teacher of CUSD I substituted in almost all areas imaginable for the district. Having taught for many years as a teacher I can remember the days when personnel and district people greeted you by name. When asked, "how are you doing?," they listened. Now the questions and replies well, are, just "unbelievable." I am asking the new board to work on mending and rebuilding that bridge from the district to the individual work sites. I believe many employees have been eagerly waiting and are willing to meet halfway.

• Grieving with the Phipps

I just want to say how sorry I am to hear about the death of Rob Phipps. My heart goes out to Gail and his parents and Lindsay. We are all with you in our grief. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

Rob was really a great guy. He had his faults like we all do but he really was a fantastic guy who loved Ceres and loved giving to people. I am just sorry that I didn't get to tell him.

• Will Arnold pray for rain?

Recently you, Jeff, wrote about the governor of Georgia praying for rain and the grief he caught from the aethiests. Well, I wonder if Governor Schwarzenegger will lead us in prayer now that California is in an apparent drought. Our farmers need rain.

I doubt it. I serious doubt it.