By Chris Lane
By Jeff Balke
By Aaron Reiss
By Angelica Leicht
By Dianna Wray
By Aaron Reiss
By Camilo Smith
By Craig Malisow
Popular poison: The "Lean and Mean" article [by Jesse Washington, April 26] about codeine use was very interesting. I've been hearing about "syrup" and hadn't really cared to look into why it was so popular. Thanks for a very informative story.
Werner's good: I want to thank George Flynn for his fair treatment of me in "An Open Mike" [April 19].
As was noted in the article, I do regret the embarrassment I caused former judge Werner Voigt. Had I known the case in which he was appointed was his first case, I would not have been as critical. This, I regret.
Michael T. McSpadden
209th District Court judge
Stand-up guy:Thank you for the in-depth article on Judge Mike McSpadden. He is a rare breed these days. His values are those of a generation that places importance on honor, truth, loyalty and standing up for what is right and just.
Although my life took some very difficult turns, he never let our friendship change. For over 20 years he has been loyal and steadfast and one of the kindest, most compassionate people I have ever known.
End the 180-day rule: Interesting article on the HISD/ Community Education Partners situation ["180 Days in the Hole," by Margaret Downing, April 19]. It's amazing such an arrangement -- against the outcries of students, parents and educators -- can remain in effect.
I attended an alternative-learning high school my junior and senior years, of my own volition, and recall many students transferring in and out. Most were not serious troublemakers and were given the opportunity to go back to regular high school if they did their work and stayed out of trouble.
Unlike CEP, we had "real" teachers, educators, most of whom were pretty knowledgeable and helpful if you showed any interest in learning at all. With their support, I was able to get an early GED and go to college. So obviously there's no reason an arrangement with flexibility can't be worked out to return kids, when ready, to their home schools.
With the old inept superintendent gone, it's time some of the broken cogs within the HISD system were fixed.
Make 'em pay: I can appreciate the sacrifice the young boy is forced to give in missing his German classes, and perhaps some review of the program he's in might provide for exceptions in the future, albeit such students may be rare and few.
But the point of the program is to deal with kids who feel compelled to remain in proximity to their drugs -- so much so that they have to bring them to school to get through the day. Is it okay for kids to bring only enough marijuana to school to meet their personal needs? Has the incidence of discovering drugs risen or fallen in this boy's home school? Saying good students, or even above-average students, shouldn't spend six months in an alternative, even boring, setting sends the wrong message.
Editor's note: The 180 days translates to an entire school year, not six months.
Chaos at CEP? As a contract vendor who teaches anger management to juvenile offenders in Harris County, I can tell you that over and over I hear the stories of what the kids say CEP really is: chaos, no supervision and "fight rooms." Staffers will put two kids who are fighting into a locked room together by themselves to beat the hell outta each other for a few minutes, then the staff lets them out and returns them to class. My tax dollars hard at work.
Name withheld by request
The penalty fits the offense: Are Drew's parents arguing that he should not have been expelled for bringing drugs to school? The three-day suspension sounds more like the interim needed for his due process hearing, with his expulsion being the result of his guilt. If this is true, good for HISD.
I believe that the hundreds of thousands of HISD students who do not break the law deserve their right to a safe and drug-free school. So even though I think CEP has problems, I think it's good that Drew and other expelled students have a place to continue their education.
Name withheld by request
A thrill from the grill: Yup! I am with you as far as Original New Orleans being the only place in town with the right size of bun for your poor boy ["Folk Art on Bread," by Robb Walsh, April 26]. I used to do all my running around early on Saturday so that lunchtime would find me here or at my second-favorite, Spanish Village on Almeda.
They make knockout hamburgers, and great fries. Once I even had a late breakfast there, and the over-easy eggs were perfect. I hope people can get past the looks of the place. It's clean, it's cheap, and it's good food!
Felicia M. Krumbeck
Focus on the new: Robb Walsh seems to be stating that since the opera isn't covered much in the Press (in fact, there's a great review of Don Carlo in the same edition), he shouldn't have to write about haute cuisine. Do we have to choose between Tony's and greasy spoons?