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Letters to the editor for Feb. 9

Baby Boomers needed to drive buses

To the editor,

Your skills are in great demand.  You are needed to transport the most valuable cargo on the road, our children.

In November 2016, a Tennessee 24-year-old school bus driver was charged in a crash that left six dead, including five children. I pray for that man and the families of all victims, including his family.  Accidents happen less with mature, experienced drivers. Your community needs you. If you have a good driving record and are relatively healthy, please consider being of service. You MUST be dependable, with a good work ethic.

You don’t have to drive a big bus with 70 kids. I drive a short bus for special needs kids and am accompanied by an aide. Many children are transported in cars and vans. I LOVE MY JOB. I gave up morning routes, because I’m not a morning person. I love my afternoon shift. Substitutes can fill in if some drivers go south for a couple months in the winter. With advanced notice, you can request time off. (I took off for Grandparent’s Day at my grandkids’ school). Substitutes are available.

Pluses: No nights, weekends or holidays. You can choose mornings, midday or afternoons or all. There is summer work if you like: summer school, camps, YMCA and other charters. I choose to have my summers off. The pay is great. It never hurts to have some extra cash.

Negatives: No health benefits. (That’s why it’s a great job for retirees on Medicare, or if your spouse is still working and carries health insurance.) To drive bus, you have to get your Commercial Drivers License (CDL). The bus company trains you. They want you to succeed. I’m an old lady. I trained, learned and passed.

School bus drivers are always in need because too many competent retirees sit in a recliner or walk the golf course. There will still be plenty of time to do that. But step up to the plate. You are needed. If you’re not comfortable driving bus, be an aide. Aides are required on all special needs buses.

I’m in my fourth year driving bus. I love it. It gives me purpose and something to get out of bed for. Please call your local bus company for comprehensive details. In Hastings it’s the Hastings Bus Company. The bus company didn’t pay me for this endorsement. The deaths in Tennessee prompted me to encourage you to support your community. Joke to follow: I was always good at making my kids feel guilty. Have I succeeded with you? Tell them Charlotte sent you.

Charlotte Pierce, Hastings

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Consider the Dakota County farmers

To the editor,

Large beef/pork feed-lot farmers and large corn/soybean growers ship and trade their products to Mexico, Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, Australia and New Zealand. Smaller farmers do the same, more locally.

Donald J. Trump pens a “no” to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, forcing Minnesota farmers to seek markets for their exports in competition with the TPP countries. He pens a go-ahead to build a wall on our border with Mexico — not as large as the Great Wall of China, yet costing in the billions. (It will add construction jobs and crime-prevention occupations to our economy.) He says Mexico will pay for the wall, one way or another.

A trickle-down effect begins:

  1. Farmers need workers on their large acreage, but today’s Minnesotans are not very interested (foreign workers are).

  2. Farmers need soil enhancers, pesticides, medicines, etc., for their land.

  3. Farmers must follow the Minnesota ordinances pertaining to runoff buffers to keep our waters clean for consumption and recreation. One of Minnesota’s top three industries is tourism. Every Minnesotan needs to show concern here.

  4. Minnesota farmers seldom grow tropical produce, especially in winter.

The White House (although not Congress ) has decided that tariffs will be levied on imports to the U.S., moreso on those from Mexico. Thus, Mexico will have to charge more for its goods (which include “big box” products). It appears we could be paying $5 a head for lettuce in Hastings or $20 for a tank top.

To be sure, there are farmers in Dakota County who are secure in their operations. We need to help those who are hurting. Pick up your pen; let Washington, D.C., and St. Paul know of your “growing” concern. Do it for the 7-year-olds who will no longer be able to bring $3 apples to their teachers. Isn’t Mexico supposed to pay for that wall?

JC Keetley, Hastings

Editor’s note: In late January, White House staff suggested that an import tariff on Mexican goods could be applied to pay for the border wall. However, no formal funding plans have yet been established.

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