The Accomplishments of BASIS Students and Staff Deserve Recognition

For more years than I can remember, I have been a proud and loyal reader/consumer of the Tucson Weekly. As a longtime resident and graduate of the UA (1988), I consider the Weekly to be a clever and honest report on issues in the community.

After 20-plus years of reading the Weekly, for the first time, I find the need to write and share my opinions about your recent article on charter schools in general, and BASIS Schools in particular (Danehy, June 3). I agreed with the majority of the information about charter schools in our country, and shared frustration at the neglect of education and the inefficiencies of our government.

However, at the tale end of the article, I removed my "mother of a nerd" glasses to wipe a tear from my eye. This tear was not as a result of your "AP factory" snobbery as you looked down your nose at BASIS, but instead from the dedication, hard work and effort that my son, his peers, their teachers and the administrators of BASIS School have generated over the last 10-plus years. Although your backhanded compliment about the "success" of the school was much appreciated, perhaps your acknowledgement would have been more effective with a nod of approval and a hearty pat on the back.

BASIS has managed to accomplish the incredible with minimal funding and a lot of serious effort. Against all odds, they have provided a school for future scholars and leaders by providing the same curriculum as our public schools in U.S./world history and literature, foreign languages, music, physics, chemistry and other subjects.

If you doubt or sneer at the objectives and benefits of this school, I recommend you take some time to talk with an actual teacher or student. Not only has my son developed an above-average understanding of reading, writing and arithmetic over the last three years, but more importantly, he's learned a life lesson or two. His teachers also took the time to support my son's rock 'n' roll band at numerous community concerts while also sharing in his educational and life experiences. This kind of value could never be measured by an Advanced Placement or AIMS test—but should certainly be recognized by our own community and its leaders. (That's you.)

Mr. Danehy, your obligation as a prominent writer for the Weekly should be to share this reality with our community and give credit where credit is due. Be proud of what has been accomplished, and congratulate the people of Tucson and the community for a job well-done.

Thank you for all of your years of hard work and thoughtful writing.

Tavi Hibner

When It Comes to UFOs, the Truth Is Out There

While I share the overall sentiment of Leo W. Banks' article ("Are We Alone?" June 10) that intelligent extraterrestrial species may exist, I don't believe the statement that "no one has produced any evidence to prove the existence of UFOs or the life forms piloting them."

UFOs have been copiously (and spectacularly) filmed and photographed. I can think of many UFO sightings and encounter cases in which detailed testimony has been given as to a UFO's existence, with its intelligent humanoid occupants described. One occurred in Ruwa, Zimbabwe, in 1994. While on recess, 62 children saw a UFO land near the school grounds, and saw an occupant with a "scrawny neck, long black hair and huge eyes" get out. The principal believed the children were telling the truth, and the children's stories all corroborate each other, including what they thought the purpose of the visit was. There are many more cases with evidence just as strong or stronger.

Mike Swanson

Really, We Swear, the Truth Is Out There!

Hi. Just a few comments from a UFO nerd:

• UFO sightings have been reported for thousands of years, not just since the 19th century. See Passport to Magonia by respected scientist Jacques Vallee.

• Sightings are not as geographically limited as stated. Some of the most famous are from South America and Mexico. And one of the most impressive is the story of an Iranian Imperial Air Force pilot flying an F-4 Phantom and being involved in a dogfight with a UFO.

• The comments about many sightings in Britain being Chinese lanterns are somewhat ironic, because one of the most convincing "pro-UFO" books is Open Skies, Closed Minds by Nick Pope, who once ran the X-Files program in Britain.

• Dr. J. Allen Hynek was head of a U.S. Air Force program whose secret purpose was to debunk UFOs. He later became one of the world's most renowned supporters.

You may not be totally convinced after looking into these, but you'd probably consider that UFOs are possible.

Greg Booth

The Coronado Plan Lacks Insight and Foresight

The Coronado National Forest Plan is a sophomoric rendering akin to a first-draft college term paper. It lacks insight as well as foresight, and its impotence is akin to fighting World War II with blunderbusses ("It's All in There," Currents, June 10). Elephant-in-the-room size problems such as cattle-grazing and off-road-vehicle abuse receive negligible mention.

It's time for U.S. Forest Service strategists to lend contemplative ears and receptive arms to outside parties to preclude likely contentious court cases later.

Tim Lengerich

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