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Language immersion does work

To the Editor:

Lake Oswego School District should provide optional foreign language immersion programs in primary schools. As a parent of two young children, I hope the school board will soon decide to update the district's global curriculum. Any program should include significant exposure to a second language at the time a child is ready to learn - well before age 12.

As someone who moved to the United States from Guatemala when I was 8 years old, I was lucky to acquire English fairly quickly through immersion. It would have been much more challenging for me to do this as a teenager, which is the current model for second language education in our community. I now am able to speak both English and Spanish fluently without any accents. This I attribute to learning both languages at such an early age.

Our family chose to move to Lake Oswego for the excellent schools. Last year we enrolled our kindergartener in the extracurricular Spanish program offered via the LOSD Community Schools. We've found this program lacking because it does not give kids the opportunity to achieve proficiency in a second language. Both my husband and I are bilingual and we see the great benefits in a bilingual education.

According to decades of research, bilingual learners earn better scores in verbal intelligence, conceptualization, global thinking and original approaches to problem solving. These are skills sought by top colleges and employers across the country. Lake Oswego kids should have a chance to acquire them too.

Patty Groman

Lake Oswego

Thanks to you considerate drivers

To the Editor:

There seems to be a lot of conflict between bicyclists and motorists these days. But as a frequent recreational and occasional commuting cyclist in Lake Oswego, I have to say that Lake Oswego drivers make my life as a cyclist on the whole pretty pleasant.

I ride quite a bit in and around Lake Oswego, and I find the drivers here to be polite and considerate, almost without exception. (There is a bad apple or two in the bunch, but not many.)

When I'm waiting at a stop sign, you motorists on the cross street almost invariably wave me through. When I'm signaling a lane change, you yield. When there's no bike lane and I have to ride in the traffic lane, you give me adequate space. When you're pulling into the street from a driveway, you wait until I'm past. There are numerous examples like these.

I appreciate the attitude of Lake Oswego drivers. I'd like you to know that when you're considerate of me, I notice it.

For my part, I try to be considerate also: I obey the rules, make myself visible, signal what I'm about to do, and generally try not to impede traffic.

Since we cyclists and motorists have to coexist on the streets of Lake Oswego, we should make the best of it. And in my experience, most of us are.

To all you considerate drivers out there, thanks.

Jack Bennett

Lake Oswego

Drivers should know crosswalk laws

To the Editor:

I am surprised at the number of people who do not know state law as it applies to crosswalks. At least two people, Syd Kanitz and Terry Usina Boyer have written letters to the Review recently that are factually wrong, and could mislead other readers or drivers.

State law says that if an intersection does not have signs or signals that it is still considered to have a crosswalk, whether marked or unmarked. Thus every intersection on A Avenue from State Street to Tenth has a crosswalk! See the Oregon Driver Manual, 2007-2008, page 38. There is further information for drivers about crosswalks on pages 73, 74 and 75.

I appreciate what our local police force is doing at Fifth and A, where there is a marked crosswalk, to help keep our pedestrians safe and educate our drivers. Maybe they should also do the same at Seventh, which has an unmarked crosswalk.

Robert C. St. John

Lake Oswego

Life comes to Living Script totem

To the Editor:

There is a totem on Evergreen Street behind Our Lady of the Lake that honors our Holy Mother Mary.

I honored her by growing our state tree (Douglas fir) and after years of die cutting its dead trunk, it became a totem carved and honoring man's 36 signs, 26 letters of the sacred song of life on Earth and 10 numbers to count on to solve all our human made problems. And to open them all to see face to face the 10 positive and sacred signs of life on Earth's 10 Sacred Commands growing up into life eternal for the next life to begin with.

Well, May 2008 has brought to us a gilded red shafted flicker who is either building a nest, big enough, or having a great meal on insects that started entering the tree when a maintenance man climbed the tree years ago with his spike boots to give entry for insects as he cut off the last branches I had left for the wire walking squirrels who came down the tree to eat the peanuts left by our old neighbor Don Dickey, who always enjoyed the birds and creatures the Living Script Tree attracted.

Now the birds nesting on the north spring migration are making nests in it and make our Lady of the Lake holier and holier and holier.

Roger Long

Lake Oswego

Lawyer didn't contest charges

To the Editor:

The authors of this letter are the lead trial lawyer, and the lead investigator in the Oregon State Bar's case against Matthew D. Samwic (reported in the Lake Oswego Review on May 8). We each devoted hundreds of volunteer hours to this case. We write to correct misimpressions of the case that your article contained.

Mr. Samwick was not merely 'under investigation' for wrongdoing. The bar charged Mr. Samwick with 10 counts of unethical conduct involving, among other things, conflicts of interest, dishonesty, and misuse of client funds. The amount of money involved millions of dollars entrusted to Mr. Samwick.

Although Mr. Samwick maintains that he was merely the innocent victim of meanspirited people who failed to appreciate his efforts, he consistently delayed the opportunity to prove his innocence. He requested and obtained several delays of his trial. Yet, after the Bar presented a week of evidence against Mr. Samwick, he decided not to contest the charges and forfeit forever his license and right to practice law. Given an opportunity to testify and present evidence on his own behalf, he chose not to.

The single most important goal of the Oregon State Bar's ethics rules and disciplinary process is to protect the public. No matter what Mr. Samwick says, we believe that goal was met in this case.

Paul R. Duden

Portland

Richard H. Braun

Lake Oswego