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Open Mike

I just have two things to say...

There are just two things I want to share with everyone today. The first involves a somewhat horrific experience, at least from my job standpoint, and the other is something neat involving my kids.

I am just going to come out and say it. The Mabton School District is in need of a public relations person to act as a go-between for the district and the community. While I am sure it is not intentional, the administration office in Mabton does not come across as a friendly place, at least to me.

The Mabton School District is one of my favorite places to go. But the experience I had earlier this week didn't make me want to stay too long.

I asked for something as simple as a copy of the 2005-06 budget. By the time it was over, I was signing an access to public documents record and paying for copies of what I wanted.

In my nearly 10 years of being in this business, I have never had to pay for a copy of any kind of budget.

I might be the one who is wrong. Generally, as reporters, we are a bit spoiled. When we get information it is usually given to us for free. The idea I suppose is that it shouldn't cost anything to inform the public. But, times might be changing. Who knows?

I must clarify, though, that no one I made contact with at Mabton was rude. It just seems to me the school district made it much harder than it had to be to obtain public information.

Having a public relations designee can work wonders for a school district. I have to admit I thought the Sunnyside School District was just throwing money down the toilet in an attempt to pad the number of people that it employs by hiring a public relations person. But, I was wrong. Julie Kaplicky does a wonderful job of getting information out to the public through the media and other avenues. Julie used to work in the news industry, so she understands what is needed by both sides. A person such as Julie could greatly benefit the Mabton School District. Public relations is so important when it comes to education. The possibilities are endless with the position.

The other topic I want to touch on is the local summer swim team program.

As a parent, there are plenty of drawbacks to the summer program. Such as giving up 10 hours or more of your life every week, not including the time it takes to get the kids to practice in the morning.

Swim team is a huge commitment as a parent, but it is worth it to see the look on your child's face when they win a heat or when they improve in a particular event.

I hope we can keep the coaching combination of Carolyn Hazzard, Nikki Garza and David Elerding. These three work wonderfully together. My two boys really enjoy interacting with them.

I hope the people involved with hiring swim coaches try to get another male on staff whenever David decides to leave. Having a presence such as David to work with the young boys does make a difference.

So even though swim team is sucking the essence out of my existence, it has been more than worth it. It is a quality summer program that more of our local youth should be involved with.

Next Wednesday will be a key meet for the Sharks in Selah. The winner of that meet will most likely end up the Mid-Valley League regular season champions. So, if you see a member of the Sharks swim team around town wish them good luck. It is always a good memory for kids to be part of the winning team and it is even sweeter when a team beats another team for the league championship at its own pool.



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