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Bulletin letters to the editor: Cottage Grove chicken ordinance, District 833 communication on class changes

Council should be open-minded, support chickens

Why is it so hard for our City Council to pass an ordinance allowing chickens and ducks? Many small cities allow them, as does St. Paul and Minneapolis, and more are passing them every year. St. Paul Public Schools Community Education even has a teacher who teaches "Urban Chicken 101."

I have heard and read many reasons for a no vote in Cottage Grove:

-- Noise. Chickens and ducks can't make the noise that barking dogs do.

-- Odor. Have you smelled the odor coming from poorly maintained yards with dog feces or dog kennels? There we have odor plus noise.

-- Rodents. How many of our residents feed wild birds and animals and have bins of seed or seed debris in the yard? I haven't seen a rat in my yard or garage and I feed a lot of birds and squirrels.

-- Real estate value. Who would want to buy a house with chickens next door? Well, I bet that also applies to barking dogs or loud children.

I have talked to many people who either have chickens of their own or people who have neighbors who have chickens and they had no complaints and they love the fresh eggs that are shared.

I had ducks when I was growing up in St. Paul and had a neighbor who had a rather large chicken coop and neither of us had noise or rodent issues. It was a huge enjoyment as a child and as an adult to have these fun animals in our care.

There is no doubt that there could be those issues, but we have them now with all of the barking dogs in the neighborhoods.

How many residents do you actually think will pursue this in the first place? It won't be for everyone.

I sure hope that the members of our council can be open-minded and vote for this ordinance. Mayor Myron Bailey, you are right. The council has more important issues to have its time consumed with. Like bringing in business that can provide livable wages to the residents of Cottage Grove.

Betty Anderson

Cottage Grove

District not communicating on high school class change

Recently I found out the school district was planning on eliminating all Family and Consumer Science classes in all of the middle schools. I was shocked and disappointed.

After speaking to a few other people, they too were not happy about the change. I am also disappointed and frustrated that there seemed to be very little communication with the community with regard to this change. It does not seem like the district inquired with parents as to whether this was a desired change or not. There was certainly no survey on the district listserv.

After emailing the superintendent and school board members I was told they were replacing all Family and Consumer Science classes with a new class based on four C's (Creativity, Communication, Collaboration and Critical Thinking), which seems awfully vague to me. A school board member told me they were implementing a college and career readiness course. Although a career readiness course may have advantages, I wonder why the schools couldn't add a unit on college/career readiness to the Family and Consumer Science classes instead of eliminating the entire department. Couldn't there be a compromise?

As far as the four C's, there is certainly plenty of creativity in sewing and cooking. Reading a sewing pattern requires critical thinking and a foods lab with five students requires communication and collaboration. Family and Consumer Science classes are also hands-on, which is fantastic for students who normally have difficulty in a traditional classroom setting. Math is involved in sewing, cooking and financial management. Students learn technical reading skills by reading sewing patterns and recipes. Basic life skills are taught by Family and Consumer Science teachers. With the recession and economy you would think we'd want to teach our kids about financial responsibility, saving, investing and banking.

If you would like your children to receive a well-rounded education versus an education focused solely on testing, please contact the school board and superintendent.

Jolene Abelson

Cottage Grove