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jayhawkanne (Anne Bracker)

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Should parents have to sign a permission slip for their children to take sex education?

There is so much more to sex education than just teaching about intercourse. Parents and the school should create a partnership to start informing kids at an early age. Learning about good touches (a hug from a friend, a pat on the shoulder) to bad touches in kindergarten and early elementary school is a good place to begin. Enforcing positive self images and self confidence, while discussing appropriate behavior toward others should quickly follow. I consider these things the very beginning of teaching sex education because it can have a direct impact on how teens and adults view romantic and sexual relationships later in life. People with self confidence and a positive image of themselves are less likely to "do it because everyone else is" or some other lame peer pressure reason.

For example, few years ago I took my 6 year old (at the time) niece shoe shopping. The man who helped us find shoes for her was nice to us and appropriately friendly. My niece wanted to give him a hug to thank him. I explained to her that it was a nice thought, but we don't hug people when we don't even know their name, let alone people we don't know well, and it led to a short discussion on the topic.

As kids age, these types of discussions lead to talk about appropriate behavior for preteens, then further evolve (oops - is that a bad word in Kansas?) into the more technical details of sex. Many parents have problems describing the actual sex details with their children, but the schools can do that while they focus on instilling their own morals and values about sex in tandem with the school discussions. It then becomes not just *what* the kids know, but *how* the kids will use that knowledge in a manner that the parents find appropriate.

June 15, 2005 at 9:41 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Report says $4.7M needed for homeless

The "new shelter" the report focuses on would be emergency shelter, similar to the night time services currently provided by Lawrence Community Shelter and the existing Salvation Army. When the Salvation Army moves into their new place, they will focus on more transitional shelter services and LCS will be the only emergency shelter option for most people experiencing homelessness. I think the "new shelter" the report refers to would be a new shelter for LCS or a similar entity. I don't think the new SA building is included in this figure.

Although the figure seems very high, the report also recommends additional transitional housing similar to, but separate from, the new SA building. I wasn't on the task force, but I think that this transitional housing would be low rent and easy to move into for people who wouldn't initially be able to afford security deposits and other up-front expenses for new apartments. This is one of the most difficult steps a person can take when trying to obtain housing. It's tough to save up money for security deposit, first month's rent, utility deposits, etc. Low rent shared housing and apartments will help this goal become more achievable.

Finally, don't forget that this figure also includes increasing the mental health services at LMH. This is a critical, but expensive step.

June 10, 2005 at 10:09 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Do you know anyone who is addicted to video games?

<smirk> Perhaps the question for tomorrow should be, "Do you know anyone who is addicted to posting comments in the On The Street section of the LJW website?"

Because I sure see a lot of the same screen names here each day. <chuckle>

June 4, 2005 at 1:24 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Do you think landlords would accept homeless people as tenants if they had financial support from the city?

There are several agencies that provide assistance to people experiencing homelessness. Case managers from those agencies work with individuals to find employment, housing, and counseling (either mental health or addiction counseling or both, depending on need). These case managers monitor the progress of the individuals very closely to verify that the individual is actively working toward getting off the streets. It is these types of people who would be eligible for the financial support discussed here. Case managers would continue to work with the individual to establish budgets and provide additional services as needed. Any individual would also have to comply with the requirements a landlord has for tenants. This financial support would be a critical asset in moving people from homelessness to becoming responsible, gainfully employed, taxpaying citizens.

January 11, 2005 at 1:55 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Should the city put in a roundabout at 19th and Louisiana streets?

I'm not all that fond of the roundabouts in Lawrence. I've had problems with near miss collisions and gotten stuck trying to be patient like many people have. However, I also think that as the driving community gets more familiar, those incidents will hopefully diminish.

But, MY BIGGEST COMPLAINT about the roundabouts in Lawrence is the overall design. Several of the roundabouts are designed with a tall middle circle due to landscaping. The newest Lawrence roundabout on O'Connell Road (east side of Lawrence, going South from K-10, in the Prairie Park area) has been built up in the center using landscaping blocks (typically used for retaining walls). It is so tall in the middle that I can't see traffic coming toward me until the vehicle is almost fully on the left side of the roundabout (my left as I approach). I think this could be *very dangerous* because too many people fly around the roundabouts too fast. The tall middle section will also hide running kids, dogs, cats, etc. until it's almost too late. I understand the desire to make the inner circle attractive, but please keep the landscaping low so it doesn't obstruct views all the way across.

On a lesser scale of complaint about the roundabout design, I think there should be a larger minimum diameter. I can't remember the exact cross streets, but at about 8th and Maine, there's a "baby roundabout" that is more like a 4-way intersection with a pimple in the center. If it's gonna be a roundabout, at least make me go around something a little more significant.

Stepping off my soapbox now...

January 4, 2005 at 6:01 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Should the City Commission grant more funding to the Lawrence Open Shelter?

The funding (allocated at Tuesday's Commission meeting) from the City for 24/7 shelter services is critical to the collaborative efforts of the homelessness community service providers in Lawrence.

Although the Task Force has not officially presented a report to the commission, preliminary information has been compiled into a draft report. Because members from service providers at the Drop-In Center, Lawrence Open Shelter, the Salvation Army, WTCS, etc. are part of the Task Force, many of these service providers have already begun to work toward implementing several of the preliminary recommendations from the Task Force.

As I understand it, one of the primary goals from the Task Force is to increase collaboration between area service providers. The funding proposal for 24/7 care, presented at Tuesday's meeting, is indicative of that collaboration. Another major indicator of increased collaboration is the planned merger of the Community Drop-In Center and the Lawrence Open Shelter. The merger will help to coordinate a more cohesive and efficient plan of services for people experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness in the Lawrence community.

Anne M. Bracker
member of the Community Drop-In Center Board of Directors

December 22, 2004 at 10:13 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

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