Encouragement for those with depression

This is a letter to my fellow champions battling bipolar disorder or depression.

You are valuable, beautiful, artistic and creative in so many ways. You love deeply and are deeply loved by many who forget to reveal this to you. You impress the world by your uniqueness.

You are to be commended for getting out of bed each morning to face the day, in spite of anticipated anxiety.

Remember to pick and choose your battles wisely. With every phase of your battle, you can fight successfully with the sword prescribed by your doctor.

It will keep you balanced, so that when the unpleasant surprises greet you (as they often do), you’ll be ready to face that battle head on – even if it is brought on by self-judgment or insecurities.

When you feel misunderstood, avoided, ignored or biased against due to being “different” don’t isolate yourself – there’s someone out there waiting to embrace all of you.

Remember that it is your courage and determination to live that makes you the champion you are.

“You can be changed by what happens to you, but you must refuse to be reduced by it,” said a wise poet.

You are never alone, not for one second.

Your fellow champions face similar challenges in the quest to keep one foot ahead of the other.

Keep in mind that your self-worth cannot be accurately measured by anyone but your creator, who can see what no one else can – your precious heart. Learn from your mistakes, don’t condemn yourself for them.

Teach others how to treat you, for you have every right to be loved and respected.

So, during your next low – as the saying goes, play your favorite song and “dance like nobody’s watching.”

Find that ballad you love and “sing like no one else can hear you,” and after a good cry, “love like you’ve never been hurt.”

Keep up the fight for life – you are worth it.

Candee Ramos

East Brunswick

Residents urged to vote on school budget April 18

‘Nine-hundred-pound gorilla” – what a joke. The Edison Board of Education should be called the $182 million-pound gorilla. Geez, even in olden times the kings could only get a pound of flesh, but here and now the 100,000 residents of Edison have to get sliced and diced to the tune of 1,820 pounds of flesh apiece.

I attended the special public meeting on March 9. If I was not in tune with the free spending of our tax dollars in Edison, I may have felt sorry for the members of the Board of Education. The board was presented with the preliminary 2006-07 school budget of $182 million. Yes, that’s right – $182 million.

I stress preliminary because on March 28 the numbers could have changed to make this budget a larger monster than it already is. The board members claim that they looked at every possible way to cut expenses but that they were working on a very tight budget. Isn’t that what they say every year?

One member even had the audacity to claim that since he was a member of the board, every construction project performed in Edison never had any cost overruns. Well, if you read the news regarding the New Jersey Schools Construction Corp., the acting chief executive officer stepped down because the state auditor raised questions about hundreds of millions of dollars in agency expenditures and allegations of mismanagement and waste.

One article also pointed out that construction costs ran from $218 to $621 per square foot. I point this out because our board proudly indicated that they accept the lowest bidder for projects and those bids come in around $225 per square foot.

Now I ask the million dollar question: Why would the township incur any cost overruns when we are paying a contractor $225 per square foot when private industry would only charge between $100 and $125 per square foot? How could the board proudly state that the budget is tight when a huge amount of waste is staring right at them?

The beleaguered taxpayers of Edison want to know – where is the mayor’s blue-ribbon schools task force? Are they going to do anything about these numbers? What is their opinion regarding this enormous budget or the teacher contract recently approved or the proposed new construction costs or the school redistricting or the overcrowded schools, etc., etc.? Their silence so far is surely deafening and most assuredly, enabling.

However, here is the real dilemma we face. On April 18, we will be asked to vote on this budget. The residents lose no matter what the outcome of the vote. If we vote it down, the Township Council will be asked to review it and make recommendations to cut or they leave it alone and, in effect, it’s approved without change. If the council recommends cuts and the board is unhappy, they can appeal to the state and likely get its approval. Everybody seems to have a say in this except us, the taxpayers.

For 1,820 pounds of flesh though, you’d think the residents of Edison would have gotten a more believable budget effort from this board and certainly, a less disingenuous public retort than “We cannot do anything with this budget.”

Kevin Duffy