Poison Spring

PoisonSpringCoverIf you want a book that will open your eyes to the politics in the Environmental Protection Agency, “Poison Spring” is it. It is hard to believe how the chemical and big agriculture companies have corrupted this agency meant to protect us from the harm done by poisons called pesticides. We are poisoning the planet and ourselves at the same time. This is the big insane experiment!

Kokomo Schools "International School" Follow up

Kokomo-Center School Corporation announced in mid-January the initiation of an “International School” to function within the K-C system beginning in 2011. Jeff Hauswald, Superintendent of the Kokomo-Center system, told the public that the School Board approved of three new “International” schools. These are to be housed within traditional school buildings along side the traditional academic programs offered in each location. Each will require classroom space and teachers. The “International” school label mostly means teaching Spanish beginning in kindergarten.
In other school news, the recently released Indiana school performance data show an alarming decline in math and language proficiency among Kokomo High School students. Tenth graders in Kokomo High School that meet or exceed the math standard set for 10th graders has fallen from 66% in the 2007-2008 school year to 44% in the 2009-2010 school year. Tenth graders that meet or exceed the language standard has fallen from 63% to 47%. In other words, less than half of Kokomo-Center’s 10th graders are proficient in math and language skills.
Now, the KC system is proposing to divert resources to the teaching of Spanish. They do not appear to be able to teach math and English. If additional resources are available within the system, a much better use would be to remediate the pathetic performance of students in basic skills. It is no wonder that a high percentage of applicants to universities must take remedial math and English courses before being formally admitted to university level work. They are simply not coming out of high school equipped with the required skills in either math or English.
The idea of diverting resources to establish extensive Spanish programs within the Kokomo-Center School system is a perfect example of wrong thinking. The idea should be discarded quickly.

Kokomo "International School"

[This was originally a Letter to the Editor of The Perspective newspaper]
I read with interest the lead article in the January 19th issue of the Perspective which was about Kokomo-Center School Corporation proposing to start an “International School” for K-12. In the same issue, you editorially support such a move. In short, I believe the proposal is a very poor one and should be quickly rejected. Kokomo-Center Schools have a difficult enough time teaching the basics.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, U.S. Dept. of Education, and the Indiana Dept. of Education; Kokomo schools rank 313 of 417 schools in Indiana. Looks like there is work to be done to me that does not include diversion of resources into wide teaching of Spanish. If I read the article correctly, Kokomo-Center is saying institution of this program will cost the taxpayers nothing. I am wondering what would be dropped to provide the funds needed for such a program.
Further, I taught as an adjunct faculty member at Indiana University Kokomo for several years. I was Vice Chancellor of External Relations at that campus for a couple of years. One of the issues frequently discussed among the faculty was the pathetic preparation in math and language skills among the applicants for admission to the university. At that time — and maybe it has changed now — a high percentage of those admitted had to take remedial English and math courses just to get to college entry level.
Now the Kokomo-Center Schools are proposing to divert resources. Bad idea.

Kokomo's Firsts

It’s Thanksgiving. We have a lot for which to be grateful. We have had some true innovators in our midst over the years. Our “City of Firsts” designation has been well earned. The renovated downtown library has a wonderful display of glass panels depicting many of the reasons for Kokomo being the “First”. This is the list —
First Commercially Built Automobile, 1894. Built by Elwood Haynes. Road tested July 4th, 1894, on Pumpkinvine Pike east of Kokomo.
First Pneumatic Rubber Tire, 1894. First Pneumatic Rubber Tire invented by D.C. Spraker, president of Kokomo Rubber Tire Co. in October 1894. The tire consisted of strips of three-ply rubber, canvas and other wrappings of vulcanized rubber formed around a slender pole.
First Aluminum Casting, 1895. First aluminum casting by William “Billy” Johnson at the Ford & Donnelly Foundry in 1895.
First Automobile Carburetor, 1902. First carburetor developed by George Kingston.
First Stellite Cobalt-based Alloy, 1906. First Stellite Cobalt-based Allow, a wonder metal known for its hardness, corrosion resistance, and ability to withstand extreme temperatures developed by Elwood Haynes in 1906.
First Stainless Steel, 1912. First Stainless steel invented by Elwood Haynes while attempting to satisfy Mrs. Haynes’ demand for tarnish-free tableware.
First American Howitzer Shell, 1918. First American Howitzer Shell used in actual warfare, made by Superior Machine Tool Company.
First Aerial Bomb with Fins, 1918. First aerial bomb with fins invented by Liberty Pressed Metal Company.
First Mechanical Corn Picker, 1920s. First mechanical corn picker developed by John Powell in the early 1920s.
First Dirilyte Golden-Hued Tableware, 1926. First Dirilyte Golden-Hued tableware invented by Carl Molin in 1926.
First Canned Tomato Juice, 1928. First canned tomato juice developed by Walter Kemp, Kemp Brothers Canning Co. at the request of a St. Louis physician searchi8ng for a baby food to use in his clinic.
First Push-Button Car Radio, 1938. First push-button car radio developed by Delco Radio Division of General Motors.
First All-Metal Lifeboars & Rafts, 1947 & 1943. First all-metal lifeboats and rafts manufactured by Globe American Stove Company. Life raft was named, “Kokomo Kid”.
First Signal Seeking Car Radio, 1947. First signal seeking car radio developed by Delco Radio Division of General Motors.
First All-Transistor Car Radio, 1957. First all-transistor car radio developed by Delco Radio Division of General Motors.
Not a bad list for our town. Wonder what happened to all of those companies? Wonder what has happened to innovation in the past 53 years?