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I WILL NOT VOTE FOR A MILLAGE INCREASE JUST SO MORE PEOPLE CAN BE HIRED AT CENTRAL OFFICE. HOW MANY DANG PEOPLE DOES IT TAKE TO RUN MARION? Have never seen a district so top heavy!!

THEY NEED TO HIRE TEACHERS AND HAVE SMALLER CLASS SIZES!!

[Editor’s Note: Em re-running this from Wednesday, because the end of my response got cut off… Eve taken a pretty good look at what all the Marion School District plans to do with the money generated from the proposed millage, and I honestly don't see anything about “more people” being hired at the Central Office. I see teacher raises, a new indoor sports complex for school and community use, improved campus security, renovations to athletic facilities, and a focus on expanding math and science programs. There are a few other things as well, but again, nothing about making the district more, as you put it “top heavy.” The one thing you specifically demand is more teachers and smaller class sizes, and I don’ know what you’re basing that on, but Marion’s student-to-teacher ratio is currently 16-to-E which is well below the elementary (22) and secondary (25) state limits. Most schools, at least according to what Eve been seeing recently are actually looking for slightly higher student-to-teacher ratios. The current average in the state is 14, which some say isn’t an efficient use of teachers] *** Is it just me or does there always seem to be someone soliciting donations outside of Marion’s Walmart? Personally, it’s an annoyance most people choose to ignore but this past weekend, the group wanting donations to fight addictions was quite aggressive. Does Walmart screen these groups and find them legit before allowing solicitation on their property? [Editor’s Note: No, it’s not just you. And while Em all for supporting local charitable causes and non-profit organizations, it has gotten somewhat into overkill territory, especially when the group in question becomes very in-your-face with their solicitations, which causes some people anxiety and might even be causing Walmart some business] *** This is in rebuttal of your comments about the deplorable condition of the Avalon and Forrest Park apartments. I didn’t say I don’t care for poor people or want them to live there. To the contrary, I said they deserve better. There should be affordable housing that is not falling apart. My family moved to West Memphis about 60 years ago and we lived in those apartments. I would dare say that little has been done to upgrade them in all these years. Guaranty loan has upgraded their apartments and did not increase rental rates. I would think that could also happen in this case if the owner wanted to. Once again, I’ve got nothing against poor people. Would like better for everyone. [Editor’s Note: I feel you. And you may be right. The owners might be able to afford to make renovations and not raise the rent. But Em no real estate expert, and it might just not be economically feasible to them, depending on how willing and able they might be to get a return on the investment] *** I am reflecting on the upcoming Memorial Day, May 27th. I have been a member of the VFW, Veterans of Foreign Wars since 1970. At one time this Post had over 2000 members, the number one Post in America and in the top twenty five Post in the World. This Post served the community as well as the Veterans. The Post had Bingo, swimming pool, at Thanksgiving and Christmas, the needy families were given generous Holiday baskets.

This Post sponsored football, basketball and baseball teams for boys and girls. The Post also gave away many scholarships to students in our schools. A home away from home for Veterans. There were many things behind the scenes that this Post did for the communities; West Memphis, Marion, Crawfordsville, Earle, Parkin and others. The World War Two Veterans are almost gone, Korean Veterans and Vietnam Veterans are getting on up in years and the Gulf Wars and Afghanistan have joined, but we could use more. If I missed anyone excuse me. Well I don’t know how many Memorial Days the VFW has left. The doors are about to shut for good. What we need more than anything is Veterans in the community to become members. The next thing is for the community to support us. Our building needs some repairs, especially a roof. Us old guys that have kept the doors open need a little support to keep the doors open.

We need the community and the Cities of Marion and West Memphis who our Post is named for, Marion-West Memphis Post 5225, to help us. If we can’t get support for this Post, Memorial Day may go by the wayside like many other things have done in this city. We are only as good as our members. We bury one daily. If you are eligible to be a member you should give it a try. Remember this, “It’s not the price you pay to be a member, it’s the price you paid to be eligible.” Come visit anyway. My name is Gary Ollison and I am a Past Post Commander. Call the Post @ 870-735-9102. [Editor’s Note: A few years ago, I did a story on the good old Post 5225 and their dwindling membership. I think at the time, the building itself was being put up for sale, although it seems as though that’s not happening now, which is good. It would appear that there are a number of factors causing the dip in memberships. Not only is the VFW seeing smaller numbers, but similar civic organizations are as well, such as Rotary, Lions, Kiwanis, etc., as older members, for lack of a better phrase, die out. The later generations apparently simply don’t see the value in being a part of those types of clubs. Another is that nowadays, everyone is just “too busy ” to be involved in VFW or other groups.

And if you look at the numbers, there simply aren’t as many veterans as there used to be. Back in the day, when there was a draft, virtually every able-bodied male was called to serve. There hasn’t been a draft in 40 years and the U.S. has seen much more limited military action since WWII, Korea and Vietnam

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