The Canary and The Coal MineI am deeply honored by the voters of Bend-La Pine for their confidence in me as a School Board Member. I look forward to the next four years, developing agency, belonging and equity in our schools. Rather than wait to be sworn in, I am starting that work now—addressing the racially-charged undercurrents that emerged in the final weeks of this election cycle.
There is a parable about "the canary in the coal mine." It comes from the practice of keeping a canary in a coal shaft to ensure the air was safe for miners. The canary was more vulnerable, so if it stopped singing or died it was a sign that the miners were not safe either. This applies to our schools and our community as well—the experience of minorities that are most vulnerable to a hostile environment serves as a signal that we have an unhealthy system—and that it actually isn't healthy for our community as a whole (Guinier and Torres, 2003). We need to build a school system—and a community—that brings out the best in our students, families and citizens. One that is inclusive and promotes belonging, that is equitable both in outcomes and experiences, and that prepares students to have agency in a way that promotes not only their success, but a better world.
So how do we move forward with this work?
First, we need to build awareness—which is why I put forth this guest column. In a community that is 92 percent white overall and is 82 percent white in our schools, the majority of our population does not see or experience racism, prejudice and bias. But it does exist. It happens in our schools with comments made between children, it happened in this election cycle with comments made at candidates. We need to build this understanding so we can stop seeing occurrences as isolated events, but rather as something we need to address systematically that will make our whole community stronger and better, together.
Next, we need to unite forces, act with a sense of urgency and put policies in place that guide our district in both the proactive and reactive steps we need to take. There are powerful groups ready to take on this issue—Embrace Bend, the Restorative Justice and Equity Group and the Educational Equity Cadre within Bend-La Pine School District. We need to leverage the expertise of these groups—who have gathered data on the experience of our minority students and families and formulated stances on equity—and bring that into action by our district. We need a policy and personnel that can guide our teachers and leaders in how to deal with these instances using restorative practices that both heal and educate—because they happen more often than our community realizes. And we need to develop programs and practices that build inclusivity, where ALL students see their diverse assets welcomed, celebrated and reflected.
I truly believe our community is at a crossroads as it grows and diversifies—and I am filled with hope that together we can ensure it is inclusive for all.
— Melissa Barnes Dholakia— Board of Directors-Elect, Bend-La Pine School Board, Zone 6
NFS Paved Road Hazard Warning
I recently ventured out on my "adventure" motorcycle, a 1200 with knobby tires, and intended to cruise down to Newberry Volcano via NFS 18, also generally known as China Hat Road. Last year, the paved portion of China Hat was in pretty good shape. This year, it's "rider beware." Especially just past the vastly understated "Rough Road" sign where a monster pothole resides in the southbound lane. This gaping crater encompasses most of the middle two-thirds of the center of the southbound lane, and it's "on you" before you know it, even at 45-50 mph. I banged the front rim of this lurking caldera and immediately slowed even before my puncture warning light popped on. Needless to say, flat tire, badly dented rim, no possibility of fix-a-flat spray for the tubeless tire. And yes, I was riding with 34 pounds of pressure in front and 39 in back. The tow was not cheap. Thankfully, I stayed fully upright.
I mean, I don't mind a crumbling pavement shoulder and spray-pinted smaller potholes, like on NFS22 out of La Pine, aka Finley Butte Rd. But this grandaddy NFS18 pothole is going to really injure someone if it's not filled. While I was getting my bike loaded on the truck, a smaller car hit the same pothole and quickly flatted out. I called the local Deschutes Forest Service office, got the appropriate voicemail, left a polite—but concerned—message, and then heard nothing.
So, it appears that the Forest Service spends a fortune on Cascade Lakes Highway and Skyliners for all the Westside road bikers out to Bachelor and Tumalo Falls, and chooses to let paved NFS18 become a very serious injury risk hazard for dirt and adventure bikers? What's with that? This section of NFS paved highway needs immediate attention before we read about a unnecessary crash of one kind or another.
If you are headed out that direction, be warned, and be safe.
— Geoff Hance
Improving HOPE for Alzheimer's Act
For individuals living with Alzheimer's and other dementias, care planning is essential to learning about treatments, clinical trials and support services available in their community. Accessing these services results in a higher quality of life.
My late husband suffered from early-onset Parkinson's Disease and dementia. I understand all too well the enormous burden dementia has on Oregon families and the economy. Alzheimer's and other dementias are debilitating diseases that quickly overwhelm a family's physical, emotional and financial resources. Those living with dementias and their caregivers need comprehensive care plans.
Thankfully, as of January 2017, Medicare covers critical care planning services. However, not enough patients and providers are aware of this resource. That is why I am asking Representative Greg Walden to cosponsor the Improving HOPE for Alzheimer's Act (S. 880/H.R. 1873). The Improving HOPE for Alzheimer's Act would help educate clinicians on Alzheimer's and dementia care planning services through Medicare. Endorsed by the Alzheimer's Association and its advocacy arm, the Alzheimer's Impact Movement, the Improving HOPE for Alzheimer's Act will give them the knowledge and tools to better help their patients and families living with dementia.
Please join me in asking Rep. Walden to support the Improving HOPE for Alzheimer's Act. To learn more about how you can join the fight to end Alzheimer's, visit alzimpact.org.
— Sarah D. Moyed
Letter of the Week:
Sarah: Thanks for the information, and best of luck in seeing the Act passed. Come on in for your gift card to Palate! Readers can find contact information for Rep. Walden at walden.house.gov.