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Our View: Cheers and Jeers to solving problems, taking a moment for equality and low-income misconceptions
OUR VIEW

Our View: Cheers and Jeers to solving problems, taking a moment for equality and low-income misconceptions

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Cheer

The Jerome Joint School District is trying something different. Educators have seen need for English-language assistance rise and is now No. 6 in the state in that need, surpassing Twin Falls.

What use to work isn’t anymore.

“Our population is slowly and continuously increasing,” Kim Lickley, the district’s grant writer and Title III coordinator, said. “We knew this was a point where we needed to change ... Doing the same thing over and over isn’t working.”

Stepping back and looking as what needs to change isn’t easy. We commend the district for looking to outline a vision for students and employees that will help kids succeed.

At Jefferson Elementary, there are 250 students identified as English learners and only one teacher to instruct them along with paraprofessionals assisting her. Her classes are just 25-30 minutes a day. That’s simply not enough.

One solution the district wants to turn its focus toward, is giving regular instruction teachers the tools to help English-learners continue to pick up language skills in their classes.

We look forward to seeing how this and other solutions help Jerome kids.

Jeer

The Twin Falls City Council Monday rejected a proposal for two five-story apartment buildings near City Park and the old clinic building this week. Fine. We can see some potential issues with parking in the area, but we see little merit in other arguments against the Masqueray Lofts.

There was a lot to be disappointed about in listening to comments at the meeting. But Sen. Lee Heider, a Twin Falls Republican, took not-in-my-backyardism to a whole new level.

He’s not worried about keeping the historic integrity of the neighborhood, changing the skyline of the town he grew up in or even parking. He’s most worried about low-income residents living in a ... residential area.

“I love low-cost buildings,” Heider said at the meeting Monday. “But a location in the middle of a residential neighborhood is totally inappropriate. … Let’s build it somewhere else.”

We’d like to know where the senator thinks low cost housing should go. Among abandoned warehouses? A commercial area? The outskirts of town? Why shouldn’t those with lower incomes be able to live downtown within walking distance of parks, grocery stores, restaurants and places to work?

Heider said he grew up in the neighborhood and wants it to stay the way it is for his grandkids. These apartment buildings will lower residents’ quality of life, he said.

We recommend Heider speak to some of his low-income constituents to see what they hope for the future of Twin Falls, its neighborhoods and its housing.

Cheer

Cheers to health care employees who took a moment of silence — 8 minutes and 46 seconds to be exact — for racial equality.

“That’s a long time to have someone’s knee in your neck,” Arlen Blaylock, chief operating officer and chief nursing officer at St. Luke’s Magic Valley Medical Center as the employees stood up again.

St. Luke’s mission is to improve the health of the communities it serves, and therefore it must reflect on bias and inequity in the health system to be able to do that, hospital administration said.

“We know black and brown patients in the U.S. have worse health outcomes than white patients,” Joshua Kern, vice president of medical affairs at St. Luke’s Twin Falls, Jerome and Wood River, said. “Our job is to help solve that issue.”

Correction: A previous version of this Our View included the incorrect name for the Masqueray Lofts. The Times-News regrets the error.

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