Jan. 21 2009 12:00 AM

Inauguration inspires

The election and inauguration of Barack Obama is seen by millions in this country and around the world as a reason to hope. As good citizens and as etiquette coaches, we include ourselves in this group. We hope for a better world, where people are more considerate toward the earth and toward each other.

Words like integrity, honesty, respect, responsibility and civility come to mind when we look to the future that is envisioned by Obama. He has reminded us that we have become too self-absorbed, too narcissistic. He has challenged us to be better and to do better. He has challenged us to act with integrity, honesty, respect, responsibility and civility toward all. Let us accept that challenge.

The problems that face the new administration are the most daunting in generations. As Obama has said, all of us must help to make the necessary changes if we are to overcome the problems.

Let us make a promise to ourselves and to our children today, that we will become better people; let us act with integrity; let us be honest in all our dealings; let us respect ourselves and others; let us be forthright in all our actions and take personal responsibility for improving the world around us; let us embrace civility in its broadest sense and remind ourselves daily of the blessings we have of living in this great country.

It is an honor to be an American citizen. Let us act with the grace that demonstrates that we deserve that honor.

— Julie Duke and Donna Ullrich Protocol Consulting Group Okemos

On LSD challenges

I read Kyle Melinns article (Jan. 14) about the challenges of the Lansing School District with great dismay. I am a former school board member (1982-1993) with three children who are graduates of Sexton High School. I sent the article to my children. My daughter replied, "This is pathetic. This is not the city in which I grew up.”

I was very saddened and concerned with the state of affairs in the district. I did note a discrepancy in the article, which stated that LSD had 7,000-plus students. Last week, the Lansing State Journal stated that the district has 14,569 students, which is about where I thought it was. Given that discrepancy, I am wondering at the validity of the rest of the article even though I know it is true. Yes, the LSD is in disarray, having lost to other districts many if not most of what we would call middle class students. The population has definitely shifted, bringing with it more and more challenges. I am really concerned that the district is unable to meet these challenges and unable to teach these students in a way that they might be able to succeed. There are models out there; unfortunately, Lansing doesnt seem to be able to take advantage of them and never has. Even the most diehard believers in urban education turn away when their children are unable to receive the best education possible. No one can succeed in a chaotic environment. I live in Lansing and know more and more Lansing families whose children are being educated in other districts. — Gail Kleine Lansing

(Editors note: Kleine is correct that there are 14,569 students in the Lansing School District. We regret the error.)

Its digital

On Feb. 17, all full-power television stations will transition to an all-digital format. This means that if you watch television on an analog set using an antenna to receive an over-the-air signal, your TV will stop working unless it is equipped with a converter box.

The government has a coupon program to help offset the cost of a converter box by $40. Currently, requests are being put on a waiting list. Coupons expire in 90 days, and as existing coupons expire, the funds are rolled back into the program and coupons are sent to those who on the waiting list. Delivery of the coupons has taken up to four to six weeks; for those who ordered coupons after Jan. 1, the probability of receiving coupons before the transition is very low, however the Michigan Association of Broadcasters suggests applying now anyway, since coupons can still be redeemed after the transition.

Each television in your home that is not digital or hooked up to a paid service like cable or satellite will need a converter box. The MAB is urging everyone who has not received their coupons to purchase at least one converter box without a coupon to ensure you have at least one television in your home capable of receiving digital signals. Then, when your coupons do come in, you can use them toward the purchase of additional boxes.

If you have questions, you can call the Michigan DTV helpline, sponsored by Don- Lors Electronics, at 1-888-MI-DTV-09.

—Karole White President Michigan Association of Broadcasters Lansing