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Computers cannot replace human element

     A friend of mine recently made a point worth sharing. He said that psychotherapy, acting, teaching, and nursing have one fascinating commonality: These professionals improve their work by improving their ability to be present, to be appropriate, to do or say the right thing at the right time. Human presence is the quality they strive to magnify.

     “Removing artificiality from instrument,” means reaching out to other people and inviting them to be present, asking them to give of themselves fully. It’s not always easy to do, but the payoff is a profound sense of realness and connectedness.

     Consider when you last saw a computer reaching out to your child when they were frustrated about an online assignment. As we experience a trend toward increasing use of technology in the learning environment, we need to acknowledge the concurrent shift toward increasing artificiality, and away from the human factors of compassion, discernment, adaptability, and understanding that set flesh and blood teachers apart from computers and software. Even the most learner-adaptive software programs cannot replace a caring, responsive teacher.

     As a parent, I appreciate those hard-working teachers who give of themselves on a daily basis, in an environment that is not always supportive of their efforts. May I offer a plea for the judicious use of technology in the classrooms. Teachers don’t forfeit your skills and humanity, or unnecessarily give over the education of our children to the blank stare of the computer screen. This cannot happen without a profound sense of loss.

Paula Willis



State Fire Commissioner sides with citizens’ group

     Joe Stear, current board member and immediate past president of the Idaho State Fire Commissioner’s Association has sided with the Harpster Citizens for Honorable Government.

     Patrons requested Joe please evaluate Harpster Fire District commissioner Kevin Kehoe’s nebulous January 2013 meeting minutes regarding the fire station’s water procurement needs.

     Joe responded, “The minutes they keep are very short and not acceptable to me or my district.” Joe Armstrong-Nelson’s suggestion (Idaho County Free Press, May 1) that patron’s must attend meetings to be kept current is unreasonable. He is missing the reason minutes are kept and why they are considered public records.

     Regarding Kevin Kehoe’s refusal to provide specifics regarding our fire station’s water procurement needs, Mr. Stear promised he would, “...continue to talk to Kevin and see if we can’t help him to do a better job with minutes and disclosure.”

     All of this hoopla could have been avoided had Kevin Kehoe chosen to not engage in a game of hide and seek. Those who choose to be public servants are obligated to serve the public with truthfulness and honor.

Harpster Citizens for Honorable Government

Linda Netto



Unhappy transplants oppose everything

     There appears to be a major question concerning honesty and integrity at Harpster. It took a lot of people a lot of hours, weeks, months and years to build a fire department that is capable of fighting both wildlands and structure fires.

     When Kevin Kehoe came on board, he brought a wealth of business knowledge that has helped move the fire department forward. Like everyone who worked to build this needed community asset, Mr. Kehoe has been extremely honest in every way. General meetings are run so that citizen concerns can be voiced, which they are.

     Anyone can look over the books, if they so desire. There has never been any dishonest practices in the Harpster Fire Department.

     Enter the Nettos: They have opposed everything from raising the voluntary dues, to the way meetings are conducted. (I was there.) They were shown the books. This resulted in accusing the board of “cooking the books.” It wouldn’t matter what the board did, or did not do, the Nettos have to pick it apart. Why? It could be they are just plain unhappy living here. I would suggest they go back to California where they can be looked after properly.

     “Harpster Citizens for Honorable Government?” It’s a volunteer fire department, not government.

     Two more items: the Nettos’ house is surrounded by wild berry patches, brush, and overripe tall grass. If they have a fire I don’t know who they’ll have fight it. You see, they have a sign up that reads, “Trespassers will be shot. Survivors will be shot again.”

     Oh, and one last thing: the water procurement needs are: a drilled well. The Nettos will be lucky if they don’t get sued for slander and defamation of character.

Jim Gribble (one of the original founders of the Harpster Fire Department) Harpster property owners and resident for over 50 years.



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