Big red wagon

"The Red Wagon is a symbol of childhood. It can be filled with a child's hopes and dreams or filled with their burdens. Millions of American children need our help to pull that wagon along. Let's pull together."

—America's Promise founding chairman Gen. Colin L. Powell.

Sunnyside is a Community of Promise. We promise to fufill five promises to our youth: caring adults, safe places, healthy starts, marketable skills and opportunities to serve.

We recently shared our BIG red wagon with the community. I would like to thank Danny Mendoza for taking this on as his Eagle Scout project. This was not an easy task and we appreciate his determination.

We would also like to thank the following for their contributions in helping with this. They truly showed that this is a Community of Promise for our youth: Tim Bardell/B-7 Engineering; Daniel Guillen, Roger Roudebush and Canam/Sun Steel; Tom Dolan/YV Technicals Skills Center and SHS fusion technology class who put in over 2,000 student hours putting this together; the Sunnyside School District; Dave Waller and Star Trailers; Les Schwab; American Wheel; Valley Manufactured Homes; Boy Scouts Troop #623; Venture Crew #623; the Sunnyside Police Department; the City of Sunnyside and Ron Hochhalter and Advanced Collision; Dave Shrewsberry and Standard Paint and L&M Screenprinting.

Thank you for your time, contributions and showing that you care about our youth.

/s/ Lisa Fairbairn, Director, Sunnyside's Promise

Softball fields

This past weekend was a busy one for Sunnyside and surrounding communities, as the Chicano/Latino State Softball Tournament was held at SunnyView Park. Thirteen teams came to Sunnyside to participate in this traditional gathering of softball players.

The fields at SunnyView Park have been a topic of discussion in the last few weeks. Those fields have been in poor shape for most of the year. What many people don't know is that our softball association and the soccer association pay to use those fields, even though SunnyView is a city park. As spokesman for the softball association, we don't mind paying usage fees, as long as the fields are properly maintained, which in turn could possibly attract more teams and generate more revenue for Sunnyside.

In a recent meeting with Bob Stockwell, Mitch Ziegler, Joan Niemeyer and Jim Bridges, we all discussed this tournament and how we could work together to improve field and park conditions. I would personally like to say to all involved, I sincerely thank you for your hard work.

Mitch Ziegler and his work crew did a tremendous job, in a short amount of time, and got those fields in playing condition. His work crew brought in extra trash cans, picnic tables and greened up the outfields.

All too often, usually complaints are all that's heard, but a pat on the back should be given to all those involved.

SunnyView Park has the potential to become a top notch Lower Valley sports complex. Imgaine what kind of revenue can be achieved. By working together to promote and/or sponsor events like this, businesses in our community will greatly benefit, as some did this last weekend.

I will continue to work hard to promote our Sunnyside community. Contact me if you're interested in helping to achieve this goal.

/s/ Bob Sarmiento Sr., Sunnyside (830-5727)


The situation in Mabton is depressing enough without your reporter, Julia Hart, playing favorites with the existing board.

Her first article (Aug. 23) following the board meeting specifically referred to Hispanic interpreters translating for Spanish speakers. This was an obvious deception, as anyone who attended knows. The article made it sound like the district provided translators. Friends and frustrated parents interpreted for each other. There were no certified, professional translators present and provided for by the district. In fact, the board has refused (after six months of promises) to provide translators, which makes Ms. Hart's coverage even more a slap in the face.

Again, in a follow-up article on Aug. 26, Ms. Hart implied that somehow I was to blame for not getting myself on the agenda. Let me be clear. I requested to be on the agenda publicly at the July school board meeting and was contacted twice by the superintendent's secretary the week before the August board meeting. I was not put on the agenda at the superintendent's direction. The Mabton superintendent and school board has tried every way possible to keep me and other community members quiet by not allowing public input at board meetings, in violation of district policy #1430. Consistently, the Mabton School Board has not obeyed its own policies.

Mr. Guzman, the board chair, begins each meeting in a different fashion. Sometimes he opens it for public comment and sometimes not. He says public input can only be on agenda items and only in question form. It is clear that he does not know his own policy because policy #1430 does not limit what visitor presentations can be about. As community members we never know when we can address our concerns. Our frustrations grow because when we do get a voice, it falls on deaf ears.

Other parents have come to me to address their concerns because they are afraid of retaliation against their children. They are nervous about speaking in public or they simple don't know the process. Some are Spanish speaking and need the help of a translator.

If Ms. Hart has to be assigned to Mabton, please remind her, as a journalist, she needs to report the news objectively, no matter how she personally may feel about me or parents of Mabton.

/s/ Rachel Ruelas, Mabton


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