"As military action
is under way in Iraq, my prayers are with the brave men and women of
the American armed forces and the millions of innocent Iraqi
citizens who will soon be free from the despotic reign of Saddam
Hussein. It is my sincere hope that this military action will be
swift, the loss of life will be minimal and the Iraqi people will
soon live in a land of freedom and liberty.
"For 12 years the
world community has called upon Saddam Hussein to abandon his
efforts to amass terrible weapons. For 12 years the world community
has called upon Saddam Hussein to abide by the mores of a civilized
and just society. And for 12 years the world community has watched
as Saddam Hussein has ignored these calls, plunging Iraq deeper into
his perverted world of torture, oppression, tyranny and fear.
"The decision to defy
or to abide by the will of the world community was Saddam Hussein's
to make and his alone. He has chosen to thumb his nose at the
nations of the world. He deceived weapons inspectors. He refused to
disclose what has been asked of him. He has harbored terrorists. The
time has come for the world to stop watching Hussein. Instead, it is
now time to take action and remove this menace before he once again
acts against other nations.
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"Make no mistake, the
world is united against Saddam Hussein. United Nations Security
Council Resolution 1441, adopted more than four months ago,
unanimously called upon Iraq to completely disarm or 'face serious
consequences.' Since 1991, the U.N. Security Council has passed 17
resolutions calling on Iraq to disarm. While nations may disagree
over the methods to disarm Hussein, all nations share the resolve to
"Sept. 11, 2001, put the citizens of the
United States on notice that this is not our parents' world. We must
no longer view the international community in the terms of the Cold
War or post-World War II arrangement. The threats that we face today
are rogue nations, terrorists and terrible weapons falling into the
wrong hands. As we have witnessed, our enemies lurk in the shadows
and could carry out a terrible strike on our own soil at any time.
If we do not act now to address the threats to our nation, our
children will ask why we did not act to prevent future terrorist
acts after experiencing the horrors of terrorism so dramatically."
When the 2003-2004
school year starts, students from Central School will be attending
classes in the new elementary school building, which is rapidly
taking shape behind the old one.
Students in the
current junior high building will then move into Central School
while the junior high is demolished and a new one is built on the
site. Finally, the old Central School will be taken down.
Before all this can
happen, work must be completed on the new school and the floors must
be sealed, a process that might take several weeks.
Board president Bruce
Carmitchel said he was confident the new Central will be done about
the time the school year ends. Rich Spahn of the S.M. Wilson
company, which is project manager for Central School, reported that
work is going along well. Classrooms have 75 percent of the drywall
up, and masonry work is under way. Work is also moving along on the
mechanical room where the heating and air conditioning equipment
Superintendent Robert Kidd said now that the design of the school is
becoming evident and bricks are going up, many people have
complimented the district on the appearance of the building.
Residents who live
along Seventh Street, which the new school faces, have requested
that contractors working at the site clean up the mud on the street
periodically, Carmitchel said. Spahn said because there is no room
to maneuver on the site, equipment is in and out of the street
Bill Ahal of the
Wilson firm said bids for demolition of both schools will be coming
in April 10. Board members are eager to know the exact cost of the
demolition so they can get firm figures for the total cost of the
project, which has gone about $3 million over budget. The board is
considering issuing $2.9 million in alternative bonds, which are
paid out of district income and will not be an extra cost to
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Bids are also being
prepared for furniture for the new Central School, Spahn said.
Architect Dave Leonatti said he is completing the drawings for the
new junior high school.
As part of the
planning for the move, Carmitchel appointed board members Lenny
Janet and Jim Wilmert to a committee to identify and salvage items
of historic interest from both schools, such as the plaque in the
junior high honoring war veterans.
Kidd said he would
like to save the stone plaque above the main door of the junior high
school if it is not too costly.
He also said he would
look into costs of moving the garage at the junior high school to
the Adams School site. The garage is used for storage.
After a brief
executive session the board rehired six second-year teachers, 10
third-year teachers, four fourth-year teachers and six teachers on a
tenure year contract for the 2003-2004 school year. All teachers in
the district were rehired, Carmitchel said.
The next meeting of
the District 27 board will be on April 8 to canvas the results of
the April 1 election. Two incumbents are on the ballot to fill the
three four-year terms that are vacant. They are Joe Brewer of 340
Eighth St. and Lenny Janet of 1322 Pulaski St.
Board member Shelly Allen did not file to
run for another term, leaving a vacancy on the ballot. However,
Kathy Papesch of 1727 Tremont St. has filed to run as a write-in