Congratulations to Mark Fritz of Bloomsburg for his letter of Jan. 30. He is one who recognizes what propaganda looks like. Our photo-op president thrives on the accolades while successfully selling his “fix-all” solutions. Whether it was all of the doctors surrounding him for Obamacare, Super Storm Sandy photo-ops, promising to by-pass the red tape (New York and New Jersey are still waiting in the cold) and now the gun ban. He appeals to our compassion and generosity while suggesting his motives are for the good of the people. By the time the American people realize what our president is really all about, it will be too late. The world is on fire around us, but by all means, please ignore the man behind the curtain. --- “Cyber schools and charter schools hurt local districts,” published Feb. 17 in the Sunday Dispatch presents some significant inaccuracies that should be addressed in the continued effort to give families of Pennsylvania the proper information as they navigate the state's changing educational landscape. The author inquires, “Why are charter schools so much different from other private schools?” Simply put, charter schools are different because they are public institutions, chartered by public bodies, like your local school district. Charters and cyber charters cannot discriminate in admissions, impose religion or charge tuition. The writer also claims that local school districts are being forced to pay 100 percent of the tuition of students who choose to enroll in a charter or cyber charter school. While it is true that funding follows a student as he or she moves from a district school to a charter school, on average, charter schools and cyber charter schools receive 52 to 80 percent of tax funding per student that taxpayers pay to fund traditional district schools. The district keeps the remainder 20 to 48 percent without the responsibility of educating the student who opted for a charter school. Suggesting that the state mandate the use of district-run cyber schools is simply repackaging a product that has failed some families in the first place and driven them to find an alternative. Hastily developed district cyber programs are, in many cases, being used to compete with cyber charter schools that have been refined over several years and serve students with a full-time staff of teachers and support services. Recently, the GED Testing Service announced it would alter its test moving to a computerized version and reworking the curriculum. It is the latest example of a new approach to education in our nation. Changes to education in Pennsylvania and beyond are sure to spark debate with valid arguments on all sides. But we must remember that we are fighting to give our students the best shot at becoming contributing members of society and as they face new choices, we must be sure not to make their decisions more difficult by providing inaccurate information. It is from insistence from my friends and friends of animals that I write this article. My dog cannot be brought back to life, but hopefully this may help another dog and the owner from experiencing such terrible trauma. --- On Dec. 3 the police came and shot my dog. The reason why the police visited the property is still a mystery. The dog was shot in his own driveway. He did not bite the police officer nor tear his cloths, but did dirty his pants from jumping on him. A dog does not possess a gun or a knife. A dog cannot decipher if the intruder is a burglar or a police officer. I am a Christian and on the same evening forgave the police officer for shooting him and it took the Holy Spirit in me to do so. The pain inflicted is tremendous and everlasting. One purpose of this article is to make people aware a police officer may come to their property and kill their dog without giving an acceptable reason why. I felt he could have used mace, a Taser, or gotten back in to his vehicle, which was 2 feet from the incident. My pain is severe and the Lord will get me through it, but dog owners take this as a warning, “Your pets are not safe on your own property”. Hopefully this letter may reach one police officer or citizen and spare some child the severe pain of seeing the face of the dog they love writhing in pain and blood dripping from his mouth. This trauma does not go away. This letter transcends into life in the USA today. If it were not for my Christian background instilled by my family I would not have faced this tragedy in the same way. Revenge and hatred cause major problems. The removal of a strong belief in God is making this country a very negative place. --- Feb. 13 marked the beginning of Lent, the 40-day period before Easter when Christians would abstain from meat and dairy products in remembrance of Jesus' 40 days of fasting before launching his ministry. Devout Christians who observe meatless Lent help reduce their risk of chronic disease, as well as environmental degradation and animal abuse. Dozens of medical reports have linked consumption of animal products with elevated risk of heart failure, stroke, cancer, and other killer diseases. A 2007 U.N. report named meat production as the largest source of greenhouse gases and water pollution. Undercover investigations have documented farm animals being beaten, caged, crowded, deprived, mutilated, and shocked. Lent offers a superb opportunity to honor Jesus' powerful message of compassion and love by adopting a meat-free diet for Lent and beyond. It's the diet mandated in Genesis I-29 and observed in the Garden of Eden. Every supermarket offers a rich array of meat and dairy alternatives, as well as the more traditional vegetables, fruits, and grains. Entering “vegetarian” in your favorite search engine provides lots of meat replacement products, recipes and transition tips.