Sadly, we recently attended the funeral of beloved Westside Elementary school counselor Karen Cooper, widow of fallen Claremore Firefighter Guy Cooper.
Karen represented the very best schools have to offer our children in her 35-plus years of service -- first as a speech pathologist and then as a counselor. She served at several schools in Claremore. Karen was an advocate for ALL children and their families. Many a frightened or angry student was calmed and eager to go back to class after a talk with Mrs. Cooper--possibly about OU football or the Pittsburg Steelers! She coordinated our efforts, along with the Firefighters, to sponsor needy Westside families at Christmastime and was so joyful at that task. Karen would always be an “honorary” Claremore firefighter.
At Karen’s funeral, there were over 40 teachers from all over Claremore, bus drivers, maintenance workers, custodians, central office personnel, parents of special needs students that Karen had taught, neighbors, PTO members, community leaders and about 20 firefighters in uniform who walked in reverently and sat together. One police officer from Pryor attended, remembering that Karen had helped him with an articulation problem when he was just a little boy. Karen’s efforts impacted all of Claremore over the years.
Six Honor Guard firefighters in their dress uniforms and white gloves stood at attention to greet the congregation, while a firetruck in the parking lot, with crane extended, proudly flew a huge American Flag.
Who but an educator could truly draw together a whole town--so diverse, yet so alike, for an afternoon to reflect on the life of a woman who devoted her whole career to the service of the children and families of Claremore? At the end of the funeral, we stood and proudly sang “BOOMER SOONER”, no matter what our college allegiance --- Karen wouldn’t have had it any other way! “Goodbye” to our dear friend was so hard to say; yet, her love for and work with the children of Claremore Public Schools will be remembered forever.
Lou Robertson, Claremore
(Ms. Robertson is principal of Westside Elementary School.)
For those citizens who believe we are a nation of laws and those laws should be selectively enforced, that personal responsibility is an admirable concept except when applied to one’s own political party, that trillion-dollar federal deficits are a good thing, that government operates best in secrecy instead of transparency, that the requirements of national security nullify individual liberties and rights, that the constitutional system of checks and balances no longer applies, that individual privacy is a fiction invented by crazed activist judges, that the basic American value of fairness should be honored except when applied to those not like us, that the Internet should not be neutral and open to all on an equal basis but handed over to private corporations, and, if you happen to be a Christian, that the teachings of Jesus Christ are something to be talked about instead of taken seriously and implemented, come November there is a wonderful electoral opportunity to have your beliefs realized: Go ahead, Vote Republican.
John Wilborn, (e-mail)
If 12 million illegal aliens were granted citizenship, it would go against our government of laws and result in twice that number invading our country when they bring in their relatives.
Here is what we should do:
• Secure our borders, using the military to enforce our laws.
• Issue tamper-proof “guest worker” cards, with an expiration date and picture, through our embassy in the applicant’s country of origin.
• Charge hefty fines and criminal prosecution of anyone hiring an illegal alien who does not have a valid card.
• Require all government documents to be in English only, with encouragement to manufacturers and retail outlets to follow suit.
• Illegal aliens should not be given welfare, food stamps, public housing, voting rights, free medical care, in-state college tuition rates or citizenship for their children born in this country.
Karen McGregor, Catoosa
(In order to implement a couple of these suggestions would require rewriting the U. S. Constitution. -- The Editor)
Ask for ethanol
I am no Al Gore fan or supporter. Never voted for him even once, but he just may be right when he says global warming is real and perhaps irreversible. Just in case he is right, why don’t we start asking about ethanol when we visit the pump? After all, oil is not a renewable energy source, and corn is.
It is a proven fact that each time we fill our vehicles with gasoline, we use high-sulfur fuel and lubricants that poison the air and pollute our rivers and streams.
Since 1979 when methyl tertiary-butyl ether (MTBE) was introduced into U.S. gasoline as a lead replacement and combustion catalyst, it has been continuously dissolved into watersheds.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, more than 200,000 barrels of MTBE were produced each day in 1999.
The Clean Air Act amendments of 1990 even facilitated this as a mechanism for reducing benzene and sulfur byproducts.
Today, however, MTBE isn’t needed to oxygenate fuels and has been aggressively eliminated from gasoline sales in California.
Oklahomans also need to promote clean air and to reduce global warming by asking for eco-friendly biofuels similar to those developed in Europe and Brazil.
The next time you visit a local gas station, ask about ethanol made from Oklahoma’s own corn, and how together you can convince distributors to provide more alternatives to fossil fuels.
We could be helping protect the environment while simultaneously helping revitalize our state’s number one farm crop.
What could it hurt?
J. D. Wilson, Yukon