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"Sound Off!" calls
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• We need new eateries instead of big Wal-Mart

This is regarding the new Ceres Super Wal-Mart. I've lived in Ceres all my life. Ceres does not need a Supercenter. Ceres has one Wal-Mart already, which is ran down, dirty and disgusting. The only thing that would happen with a Supercenter is we would have a bigger ran down disgusting Wal-Mart.

Ceres needs to do something different. They need to get some restaurants in this town. This town has no restaurants. All it has is Mexican food restaurants and fast foods. We need to get some restaurants such as Red Lobsters, Chili's, something different, not a Super Wal-Mart. There's a reason why Turlock and Modesto have a Supercenter.

• Older schools need safety

I'd like to comment on the woman who called in about the blinking lights at Central and Don Pedro and also in front of the office at Don Pedro School. And I believe that Don Pedro was the second or third oldest grammar school in the Ceres district. So I think when they started building these new schools and putting in all these safety things in, should have started with the old and worked to the new. Most of the schools have the blinking cross lights or they have the blinking stop light. We need more safety at Don Pedro School.

• Let teachers pay for it all

I just read the "Sound Off!" about the "Rafflegate." I don't see any wrong with the students earning money for their special projects. I worked on a chicken barbecue with parents and students for many years to send the students to Outdoor Ed. There's really an offensive odor attached to this raffle. Why have we, the taxpayers, not known about the raffle through the district's PR campaign, the articles that appear in your Courier weekly. Who allocates the money to the various programs? Shouldn't there be some kind of input or oversights from the public since we are donating the money?

And as far as the teacher mini-grants go, they should be the district's and teachers' responsibility because that's what they're there for -- to enhance the people's learning.

(Editor's note: A board of directors overseeing the spending doled out by the Ceres Unified School District Foundation).

• In support of Supercenter

I read with interest the "Sound Off!" page of Wednesday, Aug. 9 regarding the opinion, "Wal-Mart destroying towns." The writer seems to think that nobody wants a Wal-Mart Supercenter in their town and that Wal-Mart causes other businesses to fail. In reality, if a person's business is on the verge of collapse or making a very slight profit, then a dollar store or mini-mart could cause it to fail.

As far as dressing the same, unless you're on an armed services base, nobody in America dresses the same. So if you want variety in people and apparel, just check out your local Wa-Mart, or Supercenter. Oops, we don't have one of those!

And, yes, there still will be other fine stores in Ceres if our hard-working mayor and City Council members vote in favor of a Wal-Mart Supercenter.

Oh, just to touch on the subject of Nashville in 1998, you're right - it wasn't right. But Wal-Mart or the tribe wasn't aware until it was too late regarding the Indian burial grounds. By the way, Native Americans do shop at that Supercenter tax-free as all do providing they carry a tax-free card.

Now if you want to see a Supercenter that is really big, you'll have to visit Budapest, Hungary, and Romania were both ruled by Communist dictators for decades, and free enterprise was squashed and people were killed for even thinking about it. Thank God, for the good old USA where capitalism and free speech is alive and kicking.

• Thanks for column on crusade

I just wanted to say thanks for documenting the Harvest Crusade accurately and with such positive notations. It was an exciting event, I was fortunate enough to serve as a follow-up counselor and I brought my kids with me on the last two nights. Thanks for helping me relive some of that weekend.