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Thursday's Letters to the Editor

<b>Helping young people</b>

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

<b>Let a jury decide</b>

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.


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