After reading Mr. May’s letter and then Dr. McKinney’s letter, I felt a need to voice my humble opinion regarding Beatrice.

Relative to Mr. May’s letter, I feel I must say that he no longer lives here. The majority of Beatrice citizens voted against the school bond. Therefore, all of you that don’t like the results, it is time to respect their decision and use your energy in a more positive manner.

Relative to Dr. McKinney’s letter and the previous mentioned Gage County health rankings and the website, www.countyhealthrankings.org. I visited the website and found the following information: “The rankings are compiled using county-level measures from a variety of national and state data sources. These measures are standardized and combined using scientifically-informed weights.”

I wanted to know who was responsible for the Gage County rankings, what methods were used to gather the data and how that data was calculated. If you feel you want to know more, you can visit the website. I am a bit apprehensive when data is thrown out and used as leverage for whatever purpose.

Are the citizens of Beatrice really in such a declined health situation that a health ranking for Gage County was found and because of that ranking, it is determined that we need a Blue Zones Project to improve it? Maybe so, maybe not.

Do we need self proclaimed leaders to choose our health plan for us? One should be careful how they use the term “leader.” You may be highly skilled in your vocation, good at what you do, and a leader in your work place, but that doesn’t automatically give you credibility as a community leader.

It is disturbing that many of Mr. May’s sentiments regarding Beatrice were also shared by Dr. McKinney. I can only think they both are really out of touch with the community health and education needs.

I look around and see that many of our citizens are involved in daily activities to maintain and improve their health. The YMCA is very successful in what they do and is popular with all age groups. People go to the local gyms or work out at home. They walk, ride bikes, they read, they socialize and share information. They know they need to keep active in order to stay healthy in mind and body.

Don’t insult us by saying we are not proactive about our health and education needs.

I like Beatrice. In fact, I think it is a great place to live. We have an abundance of clean air, water, beautiful sunrises and sunsets; and, even more important, intelligent, hard working people who have settled here and raised their families here.

There are many businesses that not only provide jobs, but opportunity for career growth. There is much more I could say, but I think you get the picture. Obviously it is not for everyone, but that is why we have choices.

The population of Beatrice has remained steady over the last 50 years. It isn’t a growing community in terms of population. Businesses have closed and new ones have opened. We have a relatively new hospital, a large medical community, sophisticated police department, a library in stages of renovation, the list goes on.

In closing, I have one more point to make. I believe we work hard to be good citizens and will not be shamed into thinking we are less than what we are. I am proud to be living here and proud to be a part of this community.

Jeanette Parker, Beatrice

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