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Thursday's Letters to the Editor

Helping young people

EDITOR: In response to the Dec. 5 Close to Home article (“ 'Dream Center' requires more thought”), I want to let the community know that the Sonoma County Board of Education has enthusiastically endorsed Social Advocates for Youth's Dream Center project.

We took this action at our November meeting because we know from firsthand experience with the Office of Education's alternative education program that at-risk youth need residential, employment and counseling services.

The young people that the Office of Education and SAY serve are trying to turn their lives around in the face of many obstacles. They are at a critical point — the transition between youth and adulthood. For this transition to be successful, they need the support, care and counsel that every young person deserves and that most receive from their families. This is not true for these youth, many of whom have parents unable or unwilling to care for them.

SAY has more than 40 years of experience serving high-risk youth. The former Warrack Hospital is an appropriate site, in a safe neighborhood. Many residents of that neighborhood have endorsed the project.

We as a community must support all of our young people. Their future as successful thriving adults depends on getting the help they need now.

HELGA LEMKE

President, Sonoma County Board of Education

Let a jury decide

EDITOR: It is clear that the people — the people whose child was killed — want Deputy Erick Gelhaus to answer for his actions. District Attorney Jill Ravitch should charge Gelhaus with manslaughter and let a jury of his peers decide the fact and measure of his guilt if any.

ED SHOOP

Sonoma

End the bag debate

EDITOR: I'm responding to Saturday's letter by R. Stephen Elkins (“Grocery bag debate”). Elkins favors recycling but is misinformed about the proposed ban on single-use plastic bags. Plastic produce bags are not included in the proposed ban.

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