Letters to the editor from this week's Chronicle:

Dear Editor, 
Regrettably, until Shorty and Marge Arnzen brought the matter to my attention, I did not know that the Democratic Congress disallowed a cost of living adjustment for Social Security beneficiaries. I had, of course, received the same e-mail, but nothing warms my heart quite like deleting anonymous electronic messages. I am glad someone reproduced the e-mail that I might learn from my ignorance.
Alas, I believed that, consistent with Section 215(i)(1) of the Social Security Act, COLAs are determined by a legislatively enacted formula which pegs Cost of Living Adjustments to increases in various economic indices, most notably the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers. I further believed that because inflation during the Third Quarter of 2009 did not exceed “such index for the most recent prior calendar quarter which was a base quarter under subparagraph (A)(ii),” – which is to say that the CPI did not exceed its Q3 2008 value of 215.495 – no increase was authorized by 42 U.S.C. 415. In other words, my apparently incorrect understanding of the Social Security Act is that only the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration may authorize a COLA, and then only under narrowly prescribed circumstances, independent of Congressional manipulation.
I regret my error.
I offer my condolences to the Arnzens, who tell us that they are among the small group of Medicare recipients whose Part B premiums are not withdrawn from their Social Security payments. Thus, unlike most seniors, they are not exempt, by operation of law, from Part B premium increases. Perhaps H.R. 3613, which would eliminate said increases, and passed the House by a 406-18 margin on September 24, 2009, will protect them. Or, failing that, perhaps Mr. Obama’s recent proposal to give each Social Security beneficiary so situated a $250 check will solve the problem.
In any event, thank you, Marge and Shorty, and you, Cottonwood Chronicle, for ensuring the publication of excerpts from this timely and well-reasoned bulk e-mail that has, at long last, disabused me of my misunderstandings of the law, legislative enactments, and basic English comprehension. 
Chris S. Lamont

I am writing this article to inform the public about the anguish and agony my family and I have been put through.  I am not writing to criticize any particular person.  I find it very disgusting how a school and the policies it contains can humiliate a student the way I have been.  I would especially find it extremely degrading if another student should have the luck to have a misfortune like mine.  I hope some parents may take these facts to heart and maybe take part in the community so their children won’t have to suffer through a tragedy like mine.
Towards the end of the school year a couple of kids persuaded me to seriously think about taking the courageous and athletic sport of football.  Weighing the outcomes I decided to take the challenge.  I was well aware of the drug policy before making my decision.  Only a couple weeks into practice I felt a sense of belonging, until Sept. 11th upon failing a nicotine test.  I was astonished when our high school principal, told me I tested “strong” for nicotine.  The tray tests he showed me had no numbers on them.  I was told our school nurse tested my urine sample twice.  I knew I was in the wrong, but the system of the school is faulty.
The testing that is done works with two lines.  If only one line comes up the test is positive, meaning you have failed.  When two lines show up the test is negative or passing.  So there is no way of detecting the strength of nicotine.  Buying the same test they have, I found a clause that comes up with the test that states the tests are not 100% accurate, so further lab testing may be advised.  Upon my first positive I further researched nicotine.
Nicotine can stay in your system for several weeks.  It also varies from person to person.  Some factors such as metabolism and how long it’s being used to play key roles in the length of time it may stay around.  I decided to endure the tow weeks suffering the sidelines knowing nicotine was still probably in my system.  I had abstained from tobacco use the day I failed my first nicotine test.  When my two weeks came to an end I was tested again on the 21st of September.  I passed the test and was allowed to play again.  I felt a great sense of relief.  On the first offense a person is supposed to be on parole being tested every week for six weeks.  After playing two games I felt no need to worry.
On  Tuesday October 6th I felt extremely violated after finding out I failed my test once again.  I was in a state of confusion for I had done absolutely nothing wrong.  The test was taken at nine o’ clock in the morning, and I wasn’t notified until three fifteen that afternoon.  When I was shown my two tests they had numbers on them.  As soon as I found out I took it upon myself to take two of the same exact test.  I had Teel Bruner watch me urinate into a cup and the hospital lab test it.  The other test was taken at my house.  They both came back NEGATIVE.  The following day I had an expensive blood test done.  A week later it came back, and it was NEGATIVE also.  I also had my original urine from the second failing sent off to Chantley Virginia.  
I was trying my best to get a school board meeting before I had to sit out another game.  The drug policy states that every student should have the right to an appeal.  I was denied my right.  It wasn’t until the next school board meeting until I was allowed an appeal.  I had to sit out two games before  I was allowed to appeal.  I think two weeks is plenty of time to set up a meeting.  My original urine test came back and was negative.  My original urine tested in Chantley was not tested at as low of a level as the school’s test.  The school board voted I should not be allowed to play because of the detection levels.  I was told by a school board member I would have been a little more believable if I had not stated that I was a previous tobacco user.
In conclusion, I want to ask you, do you have the facts?  Would you stand up for what you believe and know is right even though you have to fight the current?  Would you take responsibility?  Even though I was not allowed to play, for a second time, I decided to finish what I had started.  I had spent too much money and way too much time just to play a simple sport.  Although, I was pushed a little too far one day when the coach told me I would be done, even though I didn’t get to play anyway, if I would have gone to work.  I don’t want to complain, and I want no sympathy.  I would just like something done before your child will lose some precious high school memories.
Nicholas Ackerman

Cottonwood, Idaho 83522


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Cottonwood, ID 83522-0157
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