Wednesday's letters

A program that really is smart

Smart Start Centre County recently held a stakeholder meeting to provide an opportunity to update the public on the efforts of the network in Centre County.

Smart Start’s mission is to build a network of business and organizational leaders, educators, service providers and parents dedicated to the principle that a successful childhood leads to a healthy, happy and productive adulthood.

The network represents a remarkable value for the service provided. One full-time and one part-time staff member support five committees consisting of 130 volunteers that lent 3,000 hours of their time, energy and talent last year.Projects included a Kindergarten Bound Calendar that reached 5,000 pre-kindergarten children, the One Book project that reached 200 children, a mental health speaker series that reached 2,800 children and developing a countywide Transition to Kindergarten team that has so far reached 500 children.

Smart Start is one of many groups in the county committed to improving school readiness. Estimates of the cost benefit of dollars spent in early childhood education versus costs incurred later have conservatively been placed at $1 to $7.

Legislation is pending that would support Gov. Ed Rendell’s proposed Office of Child Development and Early Learning budget, which includes funding for 11,000 more 3- and 4-year-olds across the state to be able to attend pre-kindergarten starting next year.

Programs such as these represent a true investment in our future and provide a significant positive impact on our community

Jeff SteinerPleasant Gap

Objection to Madeira quote

I was surprised to see the recent quote in which Centre County District Attorney Michael Madeira said, “Many people are aware that one of the things I enjoy most as a prosecutor is taking these cases to court — putting on the white hat and presenting the case.”

To my knowledge, in the time Madeira has been district attorney, he has not seen the inside of a courtroom. There has not been one case that he has tried.

What he has excelled in is ensuring that the District Attorney’s Office is on the front page of the Centre Daily Times weekly, if not daily.

Shawn BainbridgeBoalsburg