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Sound Off! calls published on March 11, 2009
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•Watched dog get killed

Last Friday, Feb. 27, a man was out on an evening stroll with his dog on the grounds of Virginia Parks Elementary School. Several aggressive dogs ran loose on the campus and attacked this dog in front of its owner who was unable to stop the vicious attack. The dog was mauled and I do believe this dog was mortally wounded. I am saddened and outraged that yet again the public safety is threatened by irresponsible pet owners. I can only hope and pray that these predators and their negligent owners have been dealt with and this poor man can eventually look back on memories of his loyal family pet without constantly reliving this horrific event.

• Apologize to Mr. Condit

I hope that now that the Chandra Levy thing has come to light that this community will offer Gary Condit and his family an apology for destroying that man's career over gossip and misbelief. He was the best politician that we've ever had here. He was a man for the people. He isn't with us any more because of judgments, pre-judgments and being "guilty" without a trial. So let me start by saying thanks Gary Condit, I appreciate everything you've ever done for this community and for the people in it. And I am truly sorry for the way you were treated and that we destroyed a 30-year career.

• Why are vet groups fighting?

It has been brought to my attention that there are two service groups in the Ceres area with a couple of members who are fighting over things and I won't embarrass them by mentioning what they are fighting over. And I think it's pretty bad now when the president's asking us to all work together that the two groups of war veterans are not getting along. Now maybe they should have watched the president's speech to Congress where the young man was in the audience with all the medals. Maybe he could come and talk to them about camaraderie, loyalty, and how they all fought on the same side at one time. Or maybe they could have watch Oprah's show on Thursday at the Walter Reed hospital with all the young men with the limbs and things missing who've been in the hospital two or three years.

Maybe you guys should get something else going. You are respected world war veterans! And you are fighting over things that are absolutely ridiculous. You should be ashamed of yourselves! Go to the hospital and volunteer and quit bickering over silly things.

• Virginia Parks safer now

I just took my kids to school at Virginia Parks and I wanted to send a big thank-you to the principal as well as all the staff at that school. The Principal, Mrs. Backman, or the assistant, Mr. Stewart, are out there every morning and every afternoon directing and keeping traffic running smoothly in and out of the parking lot. This is a huge difference from last year where we would have cars three deep and children running in-between cars and I personally saw so many close calls where children were almost pinned in between cars or run over by cars. To think of the devastation that that could have caused and then to look at our system this year, I just wanted to again thank Virginia Parks School as well as the many surrounding neighbors who take the alternate routes just so that we can keep our drop-off and pick-up system going, and keep our children safe.

• Layoff in demolition case

Talking about Ceres layoffs. Brad Kilger should give pink slips to the city of Ceres workers who were on the proposed Wal-Mart Supercenter site when a demolition was occurring and the city's Planning Department was unaware of the demolition. Those men should be gone. They are a disgrace for not coming forward or knowing they were actually on the site when the heavy equipment was removing the buildings from its foundation and the foxes were dislodged from their environment.

• Let's see more in School Bells

I'm calling about the School Bells in the paper. We've got all these different schools here and there's only five schools - Keyes is one of them - on your School Bells page. Why don't these schools get a little spirit and write something? With all those teachers somebody ought to be able to write an article in the paper. I'm sure there's something going on at their schools.

• Tired of the gun range noise

I'm calling about the gunfire that happens at the water treatment plant near Blaker and Service roads in west Ceres. They're firing 9 mm and automatic weapons and it continues on until 9 p.m. You can't sit inside your home and even watch TV without listening to gunfire with the windows closed. According to the city code about discharging weapons in the city limits - which I understand that it is in the city limits - that weapons may be discharged over a .22 caliber weapon. The city ordinance is 161-1956 and it's under the code of 9.12.020. I think it needs to be stopped. I've called the mayor and City Council and it seems to fall on deaf ears. I sounds like a war zone.

• Disliked sports story slant

This call is in response to an article in last week's Courier about the Ceres High freshmen girls basketball team winning the Valley Oak League championship. Not to take anything away from the Central Valley girls as they finally did beat these Ceres High girls after never having won, but the article was all about Central Valley's win and really did nothing to commend these girls for a VOL championship. In fact, the reporter quoted the Central Valley team player that she was glad that they took the VOL away from them. The Ceres High freshmen girls won a major VOL title and they only did it with seven girls all season, half the time they only had six girls. Some of these teams had twice that many girls. I just think the reporter should go back and do his homework and maybe write a better article actually commending what these girls did. They have one tall player. They all worked as a team. It was a tough league and to win it with just seven girls really feel the article should be rewritten.

• Kids need a recess!

I have a student at Don Pedro that's in first grade. I've been reading that kids who get recess end up having better behavior, less problems, able to solve problems, etc. So I started asking my child and he says he doesn't get recess other than at lunch; all the other first grades do get recess. Next door there's a fourth- and fifth-grader next door in Ceres schools and they don't even get PE. If they choose music they don't have PE for the entire year; they go music during PE time. How is this helping our obesity problem? I see articles on the governor's program in helping with obesity and think Ceres needs to pick up with it.