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Youthentity column: Simple exercises to teach kids about money

Families are spending more time than ever together at home. While this certainly presents its challenges, the opportunities to teach kids life-applicable skills are abundant. Financial literacy is one of those skills that has never been more important or more relevant, and increased time spent with our kids each day presents an opportunity to teach them about money handling and basic concepts that will serve them into adulthood. We’ve rounded up a few exercises that are easy to integrate into daily life, and which reinforce other concepts such as math skills, critical thinking and decision making.

• Counting Cash: This is a simple skill that is increasingly overlooked as society has shifted to credit cards. With less exposure to cash than previous generations, cash-counting skills need to be taught. For younger elementary aged children, third grade and below, use $10 as five $1 bills and one $5 bill. Prompt them to count the cash back to you in different amounts. You can start with $5 then increase the amount they should count back. For older students, use $100 as four $20 bills, one $10 bill, one $5 bill, and five $1 bills. Have them count back different amounts to you using different combinations of the bills provided.

• Small Grocery Budget: Give your child a small budget for a portion of your regular grocery shopping. For example, if you typically spend $10 per week on snacks, give your child a list of snacks they can choose from and charge them with meeting that budget. For younger children, write down prices rounded to whole dollars and have them put together a list based on those prices. Encourage them to utilize coupons, sale items and generic products to enhance the lesson. Aside from simple budgeting, they’ll learn to make responsible choices and to reduce expenses.

• Price Shopping: Ask your child to shop for the best price on a certain item you need to purchase online and give them a few websites to use to search for the item. For older children, be sure to have them include shipping and sales tax in the price comparison. You can add another layer to the lesson if you don’t restrict the item to a specific brand. In that case, encourage your child to read reviews before purchasing and do research to determine which brand is best.

• Allowance: This activity will vary based on your family’s principles and values. An allowance is a great way for students to learn about income and financial decisions. Giving an allowance in exchange for completing assigned chores is a great way to enforce a work ethic and teach children about the exchange of time and money. If your family prefers not to enforce earning an allowance, consider creating a savings challenge in which your child sets a savings goal for an item they’d like to purchase and a date they’d like to purchase it by. Help them calculate how much they will need to save from each allowance payment to meet their savings goal. If you have more than one child, siblings can race against each other to see who meets their savings goal first.

Whether you notice or not, your child is paying attention to your financial situation and will likely model themselves after you. Research has proven that children pick up on money talk as early as preschool; it is truly never too early to start teaching kids about money. Get creative and customize these activities to your child’s age and learning style — over time, these money lessons will form habits that last a lifetime.

Kirsten McDaniel is executive director of Youthentity.

Sundin column: Is capitalism sowing the seeds of its own destruction

In his treatise, “The Wealth of Nations” (1776), Scottish economist Adam Smith laid the foundations of classical free-market economic theory. He postulated that rational self-interest and competition can lead to economic prosperity for all, and that pursuing our own self-interest unintentionally benefits society as a whole. But he was wary of businessmen and warned of collusion among them forming conspiracies and monopolies to increase prices as high as they could. He further warned that a business-dominated political system would further the interests of business and industry over consumers by influencing legislation. He pointed out that their interests differ from, and are often opposite those of the public, and when government gives business special privileges consumers suffer, whereas the absence of this abuse of power is beneficial to the entire society.

The post-World War II era (from 1946 until 1978) was a perfect example of a society that was equally beneficial to both business and consumers. Businesses boomed from the pent-up demand for manufactured goods, which had been curtailed for several years to supply the demand for military production. This created an employment boom and a demand for labor that gave the unions the leverage to secure a fair share of the profits of industry. The market for automobiles boomed as people replaced the clunkers they had kept running through the war years. Sixteen million returning veterans, with financial assistance from the GI-Bill, could afford to buy homes, which created a boom in housing construction. The GI-Bill also funded college and technical education for millions of veterans, fueling a boom in industry and manufacturing. Labor law and government policy kept a balance of power that allowed both workers and owners to share in the wealth, and it lasted for three decades.

But nothing lasts forever, and starting in 1978 what concerned Adam Smith and he warned us about has occurred, and has become increasingly pervasive over the past 30 years. The disparity of incomes and complicity between business and government have reached levels not seen since the “Robber-Baron” era of the late 19th Century. Today the top one percent pockets nearly a quarter of the nation’s income and has accumulated more of the nation’s personal wealth than the lower 90 percent. Since 1970 corporate executive’s pay has increased from an average of 40 times what their rank-and-file employees made to more than 500 times their pay. This is largely due to the high profitability of high-tech industries and replacement of American manufacturing jobs with automation and sending jobs to countries with lower wage scales, defeating the unions and allowing corporations to run rough-shod over the working class.

Some examples are: (1) Eli Lilly jacked up the cost of insulin from $35 to $275, then in the face of the outrage gave consumers a 50 percent “price break” to $135.50, (2) Fried chicken producers, distributors and retailers like Tyson kept 93 percent of the retail price, leaving the farmer who raises the chickens a paltry 25 cents per pound, (3) Fast-food chains have conspired to adopt a “no-hire” agreement to prevent employees from seeking a higher wage from another fast-food company.

As Adam Smith feared, the more wealth accumulates in the hands of the wealthy, the more influence they gain to get legislation favoring them, now supported by 1,200 lobbyists distributing over $3 billion to members of their (and our) Congress. The multi-billion dollar tax breaks Congress has given corporations and the wealthy, to the detriment of the rest of us, tells us how well this has paid off. They have gotten Congress to pass legislation prohibiting mass-action lawsuits against corporations for defective or dangerous products, and forced complaints to be settled by “arbitration” boards, which generally rule in favor of the corporations. Corporate interests have even been able to get the U. S. Supreme Court to unbelievably rule in their favor by declaring that corporations are “people” and money is “free speech.”

These inequalities have turned the U.S. into a class society, locking people into the social level in which they are born, killing the “American Dream” and undermining democracy.

Theodore Roosevelt, the non-conformist Republican who became President in 1901 on the assassination of President McKinley, and broke up the Trusts which had controlled Congress for two decades said it best: ”It is government’s power and moral duty to control excesses. Only government can restrain corporations.” We need another Teddy Roosevelt — not what we’re stuck with now.

“As I See It” appears on occasion in the Post Independent and at postindependent.com. Hal Sundin lives in Glenwood Springs and is a retired environmental and structural engineer. Contact him at asicit1@hotmail.com.

Around the Corner: Local swimming hole

Earlier this week I was able to take a few laps at the new Rifle Metro Pool. After months of covering the project, it was quite refreshing to enjoy the facility and not have to worry about working.

The nice cool water, the splashing of children, the diving board and the water slide brought a lifetime of memories flooding back, as I remembered the city pool and swimming holes I used to frequent in my youth.

Growing up, we lived so far out in the country it was a rarity to get to go to the city pool as a child. When we did go, boy, did we have fun.

One thing I remember about the pool in my hometown is it was always packed. The screams of joy and exuberance filled the air as children scurried around the pool splashing one another.

For many the pool is like it is depicted in many Hollywood movies — it’s where you met your friends, where you had your first crush. For me it was where I learned to be fearless.

I still remember my first few swimming lessons, the fear of diving off the diving board and the mad rush to swim toward safety. Once I learned how to swim there was nothing stopping me from trying or recreating what my brothers or the bigger kids were doing.

I was a little bit of a daredevil at times.

Because we lived so far from town, sometimes we didn’t have someone to give us a ride to the pool. Usually me, my brothers and our friends who lived close by would improvise and find the closest irrigation canal or reservoir and jump in. Wherever there was water we would try to swim in it.

On occasion we would get to the city pool or one of the hot springs pools near my hometown. 

I was lucky and made it through my youth and my early adult years fairly unscathed, a few battle wounds and scars over the years.

My luck ran out not too long after I turned 30. My nieces and nephew wanted me to do something fun off the slide during a family reunion. I chose to slide headfirst and go as fast as possible, little did I know it was way too shallow below the slide. 

After hitting the bottom of the pool I slowly surfaced, and I guess it was a site to see. All I remember are a few screams and a lot of stunned faces, before I was told to get out of the pool in a hurry. That is when the blood began running down my face and began pooling in the water in front of me.

After a quick trip to the hospital, and the most stitches and X-rays I’ve ever had, my days as a swimming pool daredevil were over. Now I’ll just enjoy watching the younger generation do flips off the diving board as I soak up the sun.

kmills@postindependent.com

It’s About Time column: Nursing in Glenwood Springs

A disclaimer needs to be made before more words get slung onto paper. There is a special place in my heart for nurses. My mother was a nurse’s assistant for a few years, my ex-wife Linn is a retired nurse and my daughter Shandra is a pediatric nurse.

What would hospitals be without nurses?

Glenwood’s first hospital was housed in the original two-story Old Barlow (or Yampa) Hotel where today’s downtown fire station is located. The building was remodeled and opened as St. Joseph Sanitarium in August 1900 by two ladies known as the Sisters of Charity.

On July 1, 1900, the ladies were out of business through foreclosure, their “institution for the preservation or recovery of health, especially for convalescence” gone.

In 1903 a Dr. Berry leased apartments upstairs in the Deacon Building at 818 Colorado Ave. for a hospital and nurse’s training. Miss Buersh was the registered nurse in charge.

Dr. Berry in 1908 constructed a large two-story hospital at 512 10th St. It also contained a nurse’s school with Edith Johnson the nurse in charge of training. The hospital operated until 1937 when J. E. Sayre purchased the building, turning it into an apartment complex.

Our archives mention Miss Edith Johnson and two other nurses going to work at the Women’s Hospital in New York in 1917 to help with the World War I effort. Otherwise we have little mention of the nurse’s contributions to Glenwood’s history during this time period.

A house on 803 Bennett Ave. was purchased by Dr. Granville Hopkins in September 1927, and a west addition was added to create a 22-bed hospital. It lasted until 1938 when it was converted to apartments.

Dr. R. B. Porter opened a hospital Jan. 11, 1932, leasing the third floor of the First National Bank Building at 802 Grand Ave. now occupied by Colorado Mountain College and the Glenwood Springs Chamber. By the time the hospital closed in 1955 there had been 13,183 admissions and 2,070 babies born there.

The Hotel Colorado was commissioned as a U. S. Naval Convalescent Hospital from 1943 until decommissioning by the Navy in 1947. It was used for the recuperation of thousands of World War II sailors.

An undated xeroxed document on “Dr. Porter’s Hospital” letterhead mentions a Glenwood Springs Clinic closing in 1953, but that is all we have on the clinic.

After the Garfield County Poor Farm was destroyed by fire in 1933 the county opened a hospital at 2014 Blake Ave. in March 1935. The hospital was retired from service in 1957 after Valley View Hospital was constructed in the same area and opened for patients Aug. 30, 1955.

Recently, a young volunteer for the Frontier Museum started working with us to begin her capstone project for high school. Her idea is to portray an authentic character, a female nurse. How many young people want to help bring history alive?

As her research dug deeper into our files, she discovered there was little material to be found on a young nurse’s life experiences to build an authentic portrayal of a historic character.

With all these Glenwood Springs hospitals existing over the last 120 years why don’t we have recorded stories, diaries, journals or books about our area nurses?

To create a script of a nurse from the past and build a composite character to bring to life what a nurse’s experience was like back in the day, we need help.

Since our archives are missing even anecdotal stories, we are asking our community to let us know if you have such items in your family treasure trove. You can do so by simply sending the museum an email to history@rof.net.

After all, what’s a museum without nursing history?

It’s About Time is a monthly column by Glenwood Historical Society executive director Bill Kight.

Whiting column: Time to prepare for necessary changes

We cannot eliminate the errors of the past by trying to hide their existence. Not only does that lend itself to future generations making the same mistake after memory has faded, but the continued decrying of what happened is wasted time and energy. If we desire to make things better, it’s more productive to focus on determining how to actually make the necessary changes today.

At the same time, it’s imperative to try and think ahead to determine and prepare for the ramifications and unintended consequences that may accompany those necessary changes. Given the occurrences of the last few months they are considerable.

The educational process is significantly affected. The reduced classroom hours and one on one teacher contact that accompany increased online education, will make it difficult for achievement to maintain let alone increase.

Online education can’t replicate the success of effective teachers in facilitating learning in multiple subject areas or providing motivation. Parental involvement at least doubles in importance. Both situations mean the achievement gap, whatever the source, will increase. Any effort to mitigate the effect will require additional will power on the part of students, additional evening and weekend time for both parents and teachers, as well as increased hours of operation for classrooms. The pandemic environment requires everyone to do more as has been meritoriously modeled by our health care professionals.

Online education requires computer and Wi-Fi access. This necessitates additional budgetary commitment demanding both schools and parents to revisit in manner in which they spend their money. Such reallocation isn’t easy. For schools it might mean elimination of a non-teaching position; for parents choosing monthly home Wi-Fi access over the weekly six pack or other non-essential purchase.

An increased emphasis on English literacy accompanies effective online education. Most understand it’s our personal responsibility to be literate. Sadly, some do not feel the same. Recently, a mother was unhappy because her 1st and 2nd grade children couldn’t understand the online education offered in English. The mother had lived here 10 years and was at least functionally literate. Her children were born here, but the mother hadn’t felt the need to have her children speak English. Being a resident of our society carries with it the responsibility of literacy.

The increased limitations and accountability being demanded of law enforcement is obviously a necessary change, but carries its own ramifications for which we must be prepared. Given the coming restrictions on justified contact, use of weapons and force, along with methods and degree of pursuit, we would be naïve to not expect increased criminal activity. This will include all types of crimes, but especially those crimes considered “minor” because they don’t involve life and death.

Perhaps most concerning is the realization that urban gangs and international terrorists can only be smiling in anticipation of decreased police presence.

Police will increasingly find themselves baited by those seeking to generate a response that can be photographed and publicized.

There is an increased liklihood some citizens will become frustrated precipitating increased occurrence of vigilante activities. People may feel they have to take things into their own hands when their family or fellow citizens are involved, because police may not be available to respond or be hesitant to do so. However, one can argue that our being willing to step in and help one another is not a bad thing.

If these changes in law enforcement are going to be effective in the long term, they must be sustainable. This involves solving the basic problem: How to detect and eliminate the person with racist or violent tendencies in the recruitment and training process while still generating enough officers and agents while raising not lowering standards. I’m not smart enough to know how to do this, but development of this ability is essential.

If our Police and our public figures are going to be held more accountable, we have a personal responsibility to hold ourselves more accountable as well; especially with how we raise our children. All of us, of all races, are perpetuating racism by what we are saying and role modeling to our kids. They aren’t born racist. We can’t systemically eliminate racism until we realize the system didn’t cause it, people did; whether through their own actions or in the system they developed.

We must hold ourselves accountable to take advantage of the opportunities we are provided. We can’t expect society to provide a career if we choose to not utilize the education provided, develop a marketable skill, demonstrate work ethic and an ability to get along with people. In other words, do the work and meet the needs of an employer. If we choose not to possess these characteristics, we can’t expect others to bail out our bad decisions in this regard. Most employers will tell you that more people want to get paid than want to work.

The United States isn’t easy. The freedoms we enjoy are not only of benefit but require a lot from us. If we genuinely believe in freedom of speech, we must also be willing to tolerate words. We can criticize what someone says, but we cannot criticize their saying it. We can disagree even despise their words, but we have the responsibility to not only accept their right to say it but celebrate their right to safely do so.

It is our personal responsibility to anticipate and prepare for the ramifications that accompany needed change and to hold ourselves accountable in their regard which will automatically assure the desired systemic response.

Bryan Whiting feels most of our issues are best solved by personal responsibility and an understanding of non-partisan economics rather than government intervention. Comments and column suggestions to: bwpersonalresponsibility@gmail.com.

Writers on the Range: Wildfire is meaner these days

As I look out my window, the smoke from the Bush fire is belching upward behind the fabled profile of the Superstition Mountains. The fire has closed Highway 87 that joins the Phoenix metro area to Payson, one of its exurbs. Some small communities are evacuating.

Otherwise the fire is foraging widely across Tonto National Forest and the Mazatzal Mountains, through wilderness and scattered inholdings alike. At the moment it’s 90,000 acres and 5% contained. If it can’t be stopped at Highway 188 and Lake Roosevelt, it will burn until the monsoon rains arrive. But this is not what I find interesting.

What is interesting is that a year ago I watched, through the same window, the 126,000-acre Woodbury fire boil out of the Superstitions. In 2004 I watched the 119,000-acre Willow fire shut down Highway 87. Meanwhile, the smoke from the Bighorn fire is lighting up the Santa Catalina Mountains north of Tucson. This is beginning to look like a pattern.

Which it is. What people had taken as a normal for fire in the West is in truth a historical anomaly.

What we are seeing is an old normal, like seasonal flu, that has mutated into a meaner variant. Most of the West is built to burn. But for a few decades after the Second World War, climate was mild, landscapes were still recovering from the havoc of ax, pick and plow during settlement, fire agencies aggressively suppressed any starts, and an industrial economy stripped away open fire from homes and cities. Fire had become increasingly missing from agriculture, and astonishingly, even from wildlands.

Fifty years after the Big Blowup of 1910 burned 3 million acres to announce an American way of fire, the United States, led by the Forest Service, had effectively contained landscape fire. The largest category of wild fire (Class G) applied to fires that exceeded 5,000 acres. Fire control accounted for 13% of the Forest Service’s budget. The militarization of suppression through war-surplus equipment managed to sustain a cold war on fire.

But by then the folly of this strategy, both economic and ecologic, was becoming more apparent. Between 1968 and 1978 new policies were promulgated to restore good fire and shrink the prospects for bad fire. Results have been mixed.

Florida burns 2.5 million acres a year while the entire western United States burns only about 3 million. In the West, it has proved a lot easier to take fire out than to put it back. Still, most of the fire community appreciated that we were facing a fire crisis and that, when the weather veered into less benevolent forms, big fires would return.

By the time the fires of Yellowstone (1988) and Oakland (1991) burned, the contours of the new old normal were apparent. A long drought foreshadowed outright climate change. Fuels stockpiled. Landscapes degraded. Exurbs recolonized formerly rural lands with urbanites. Megafires blasted unchecked.

Fifty years after the federal agencies thought fire a menace of the past, like polio or smallpox, monsters romped over the mountains like a returned plague. A few killed crews. Some burned into and through towns. Fire suppression consumed over 50% of the Forest Service’s budget.

A fire crisis was evolving into a fire epoch as the sum of humanity’s combustion practices, including fossil fuels, were creating the fire equivalent of an ice age.

What we can say about fire in the West has been said over and again, notching every contributing cause, every rerun of tragedy, until it seems a white-noise hum like cicadas in the summer.

But COVID-19, now complicating the maturing fire season, suggests an analogy because fire is also a contagion phenomenon. We protect communities by hardening against embers — wearing masks to protect against aerial droplets — and by social distancing — aka defensible space. We rely on herd immunity — the good fires help check the spread of bad ones. We flatten the curve. We prepare to live with coronavirus until a vaccine can be created.

Here, the analogy cracks. There is no vaccine for fire. It’s not only omnipresent; it’s necessary. We have some say over what kinds of fire happen and what damages they might inflict. But we will have to live with fire and air filled with its smoke. Forever.

Stephen Pyne is a contributor to Writersontherange.org, a nonprofit dedicated to lively discussion about the West. His most recent books on fire include “Between Two Fires: A Fire History of Contemporary America” and “To the Last Smoke,” a series of nine regional fire surveys. He lives in Queen Creek, Arizona.

Toussaint column: Covid-19 Hotspots and Lessons from the Lake Christine Fire

When I moved to the Roaring Fork Valley about 10 years ago, I was astonished to learn that some Aspenites brag about never venturing down the valley past the Aspen roundabout. I soon learned that some Glenwoodies had no use for Aspen.

Covid-19 couldn’t care less. Like the Lake Christine fire, it pays no attention to lines humans have drawn on a map. It goes wherever the wind blows.

I wish – how I wish! – we could collaborate and communicate now like we did then.

I had planned to write this column about what our Valley was doing in relation to the recent uptick in Covid-19 cases: one cluster connected to Basalt High School and City Market in El Jebel, plus an additional 40 new cases in Garfield County. I wanted to answer two questions: 1) What social distancing requirements are in place in Glenwood Springs, Carbondale, El Jebel, Basalt and Aspen? 2) How are those mandates being enforced?

Because we live amidst a crazy quilt of governmental entities, that winds up being ten questions, not two. When I realized that the column’s research was going to take more than a day, I quickly scrapped that idea.

If a local – one with a journalism backgroud – can’t easily figure what’s required where and when, I truly fear what’s going to happen when tourists start arriving from Texas, Arizona and hotspots to recreate, eat in our restaurants and cross invisible town and county lines.

My friend Robin Waters put it well: “There’s a special challenge in creating a single message that facilitates knowledge and compliance. We have three counties, five towns (six if you include Marble/Redstone), plus the state and numerous sources of information, and all are constantly being updated. But the reality is that the Valley is interconnected and interactive, with thousands of people flowing up and down and through from the I-70 corridor….”

I live mid-valley, in Carbondale. I buy home repair supplies in Glenwood and plants in El Jebel. If I get sick, I will go to one of two hospitals, located at either end of this 50-mile long mountain trough.

I’m now suffering severe double vision; I need eye surgery. The one place I would choose to get that surgery, outside of Denver, is Aspen Valley Hospital. Assuming I can even manage to schedule this “elective” procedure in this time of Covid-19, I’m going to have to go though three counties to show up for it.

That’s worrisome, especially with tourists thrown into the mix. Unless I must stop for gas, I’m going to drive the speed limit with the windows rolled up. (At the beginning of this, because of the Covid-19 cluster around Vail, I avoided Costco and Eagle County like the plague.)

Because official information about local conditions is so fragmented and oblique, I get most of mine via multiple local Covid-related Facebook groups. My friend “Roaring Fork Valley: Aspen to Glenwood Springs news, views and events” – started by my friend Robin (and dedicated to the idea that the Roaring Fork Valley is an interconnected community) is a good one. Recent local Covid outbreaks have prompted a flurry of discussion about whether mask ordinances are being enforced and what local businesses are doing (or not doing) in response.

To date, I haven’t heard of anyone getting fined for not wearing a mask – about equivalent to a parking ticket – and I have only seen one person asked to wear a mask. An unmasked woman had followed me into White House Pizza, and restaurant staff asked her to please wear a mask. The town’s mask requirement was clearly signposted, but the woman had walked past the signs, oblivious.

The woman nodded and left. No big deal.

I’m truly grateful for the hard work and patience shown by both local public officials and essential workers. They’re working long hours, often at personal risk, and in an political environment where no good deed goes unpunished.

But, where communication is concerned, we could do better. Remember the Lake Christine fire?

During that time, I was editor of Roaring Fork Lifestyle magazine and wrote an article that included this sentence: “Doug Cupp, the Fire Chief for the Greater Eagle Fire Protection District, led a response that ultimately involved 38 agencies and nonprofits, including local towns and counties, police, firefighters, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, the US Forest Service and the BLM, the Roaring Fork School District, the Eagle County Airport, as well as food pantries, mental health organizations and animal shelters.”

Wow – 38 agencies and organizations! And somehow, we had daily briefings with coordinated information from a single source.

Sure wish we could do at with this Covid-19 fire.

Nicolette Toussaint lives in Carbondale. Her column appears monthly in the Post Independent and at postindependent.com.

Boebert: I will always put individual freedom first

Last fall, I told presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke, “Hell no, you won’t take away our guns!”, which quickly became a national rallying call to protect our Second Amendment rights.

When Gov. Jared Polis and Denver’s liberal legislature passed the National Popular Vote Compact, I volunteered months of my time and effort to make sure we could stop the Democrats from stealing our votes for President and giving them to California.

This November, for the first time since 1932, Colorado voters will now have the opportunity to repeal a law because of a citizen-led effort that generated 229,000 signatures across the state. I am proud of the effort and proud to have become the second-largest signature gatherer in the state.

Most recently, I have been in the fight for our collective livelihoods as one of many small business owners in our country that are dealing with the devastating economic fallout from the global pandemic. In each of these examples, my motivation was and will continue to be clear: we must always stand on the right side of freedom and keep our Constitutional rights secure.

Too often, in too many ways, we are too quick to concede these core conservative principles based on fear or incomplete facts. Too often, our leaders fail to stand up for our freedom.

That’s why I am running for Congress.

As your Representative, I will always put individual freedom first, and I will never forget the government is supposed to both defend our individual rights and our collective safety.

What does this mean in practical terms?

In Congress, I won’t vote in favor of any budgets unless they balance in a reasonable amount of time; our national debt is unsustainable. I will never support amnesty; that allows law-breakers too much incentive to continue breaking the law. I support comprehensive immigration reform as long as it first includes securing the border.

I will hold those in government accountable that refuse to abide by the laws of our country. I’ll fight to eliminate the Federal Department of Education because education should be done at the most local level possible. I won’t bail out irresponsible state and local governments. And I will never appease the liberal socialist agenda on the false hope that it will somehow support a conservative policy down the road.

I share the examples above because my Republican primary opponent, Congressman Scott Tipton, has failed on all of the above. During Mr. Tipton’s 10 years in Congress he has shown a consistent instinct to run from core conservative positions.

Scott Tipton voted for a 2,200 page, $1.4 trillion spending bill filled with waste and debt last fall when our economy was running on all cylinders. Scott Tipton joined AOC’s Squad to co-sponsor a $250 billion federal bailout of cities like Boulder, Colorado, without constraint on their liberal-spending ways.

Instead of demanding a secure border first, Scott Tipton undermined President Trump’s efforts by voting alongside Nancy Pelosi and every other Democrat to hand amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants and spend a billion of our taxpayer dollars to pay for their housing. Mr. Tipton refused to join fellow Republicans to impeach the head of the IRS when Lois Lerner targeted conservatives during the Obama administration.

For years, Mr. Tipton allowed No Child Left Behind to continue to be funded, even when it had expired. You read that correctly. For years, Scott Tipton kept allowing the government to spend millions on a program that ceased to exist. Those unmandated funds were then funneled by the Obama administration through the Federal Department of Education to force states to adopt Common Core.

Instead of tackling Obama’s War on Coal head-on, Representative Tipton teamed up with then-Congressman Jared Polis to push federally-subsidized wind and solar projects on federal lands. A sober look at the Tipton record shows a back-burner representative that has failed to live up to his conservative chops that he touted on his Tea Party-inspired campaign trail. If his record lived up to his campaign rhetoric, I wouldn’t feel so compelled to run.

As your Representative, I will proudly make the case for our shared conservative values: to stand up to the lunatics on the left, to help craft and send better bills to President Trump and to honor my oath to defend the Constitution of the United States of America.

I’d appreciate the opportunity to show you what that type of leadership can achieve for all of the hard-working, God-fearing wonderful people that call our district and nation home.

Lauren Boebert of Rifle is a candidate for the GOP nomination for Colorado’s Third Congressional District. The deadline to vote is June 30.

Tipton: I’ll continue to work for rural voices in Washington

Colorado’s vast Third Congressional District is blessed with the most beautiful and productive land our state has to offer.  

Our diverse industries produce goods and services that reach around the world and our welcoming communities make this the best place to live in the country. Expansive public lands, forests, energy resources, agriculture and recreation provide unparalleled opportunities, and also present unique public policy challenges that require thoughtful leadership. I prefer to focus on getting the job done for the people who put their trust in me to represent this special place.

As a result, I was recognized as the 8th most effective GOP lawmaker overall in the last Congress because of our work to advance legislation opening the door for opportunities in our communities while protecting our Colorado way of life.

I am running to continue my work in Washington on behalf of the people of the Third District to ensure rural voices are not forgotten or left behind in important policy discussions and federal dollars sent to our state make it to our communities and not just Denver. With your support, I will continue to lead as the lone rural voice on the powerful House Financial Services Committee and as Vice Chairman of the Congressional Western Caucus to shine light on our issues and advance policies to provide economic opportunity, defend our Constitutional freedoms, uphold property rights, protect public lands and responsibly develop all of our energy resources.  Furthermore, I will continue working to address the COVID-19 pandemic and the impacts on our communities as we all work together to get through this unprecedented time.

As COVID-19 reached Colorado I reached out to our rural medical facilities, including health clinics, hospitals, and small providers to listen to their concerns and regional public health officials and the Governor’s office to ensure rural Colorado was included in all planning and that our needs were being met. We immediately began to address any potential shortages of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), hospital beds, and ventilators. While we were hoping for a best-case scenario where much of this would not be needed, we prepared for the worst. Our response was focused on keeping our most vulnerable safe while using federal relief to ensure temporary and immediate support was provided to small businesses, families and health care providers all facing lost revenues and wages as the state ordered businesses temporarily closed. The policies I supported are already having a significant impact on recovery and getting our communities back to normal as soon as possible.

In an effort to get support and resources to our communities I supported the CARES Act, which provided over $2.2 billion to Colorado for relief efforts. A portion of those resources were supposed to be distributed to smaller communities across the state to help cover COVID-19 response efforts. I fought Governor Polis as his administration attempted to keep all of that money for the state budget. Ultimately the Governor was caught in a web of contradictions that have yet to be cleared up, however, on a positive note, a portion of those funds are now going to go to our communities as intended—though not enough as far as I’m concerned. The fight continues. 

As we continued to address the economic fallout of COVID-19 I worked to widen access to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), ensuring small businesses have the resources they need to weather the shutdown, keep employees on payroll and get the 3rd Congressional District back to work.

During these challenging times, we need to look at every possible solution to grow our economy. My continuing efforts are focused on creating Opportunity Zones, responsible all-of-the-above domestic energy production, access to capital and increased manufacturing. To help jumpstart manufacturing growth, I have worked to hold China accountable for its unfair economic practices and abhorrent human rights abuses. One major lesson from the COVID-19 pandemic is that our country must reduce our reliance on China for medical supplies and essential goods. As we work to increase American manufacturing, the Third District is an ideal location to bring these new jobs and opportunities.

My record is one that reflects the priorities of our diverse communities and addresses the issues we are facing as a district, state and country. With your support, we can continue to forge a path toward expanding American innovation and prosperity right here in the Third District. It has been an honor to serve as a voice for rural Colorado, and I hope to continue this work with your support.

Scott Tipton of Cortez is the incumbent candidate for the GOP nomination for Colorado’s Third Congressional District. The deadline to vote is June 30.

Publisher’s column: Changes in the wake of COVID-19

There is a lot to unpack in this column, with important info at the bottom, so let me start off with four takeaways. 

  • Like many businesses, the Post Independent has been challenged by COVID-19’s impact. Thus, we’ve been forced to make difficult decisions.
  • Effective July 13, the PI will be going down to three days per week — Monday, Wednesday and Friday, with the goal of returning a weekend edition later in the year.
  • However, we remain a seven day a week news organization online.  
  • July 17 is my last day as publisher. The new publisher, Bryce Jacobson starts July 6. 

For the reasoning and details, read on:

For many local businesses and residents, the COVID-19 era has felt like a rolling crisis. 

Employees have been laid off or furloughed. Many businesses have reduced services and some are facing shutting down. 

The newspaper industry is no different. Like other businesses, media across the nation have tried cost-saving measures: Reducing circulation, limiting the number of days printed, going online only, merging with other news organizations, eliminating syndicated services, and reducing staff. And sometimes those cost cutting measures don’t work, with at least  30 papers closing already. 

Facing sharp declining revenues in COVID-19’s wake, the Post Independent initially cut two days, reduced the average number of daily papers by 20%, and reduced hours and salaries for our staff. Thanks to quick action by Swift and Colorado Mountain News Media leadership — our parent companies — we quickly received Payroll Protection Program funding, and the vast majority of Swift employees were made whole again for eight weeks. 

More than that, PPP gave us two months to help us road map our future. And when we looked at our expected revenues and expenses, it felt like a crisis. 

But according to a Westernized translation of symbol for crisis, it also means opportunity — a saying I hold close to my heart.  

Looking at revenues and expenses, we took the approach as if we were starting a new business, asking ourselves how we would set it up not just financially but as a media organization in today’s world. 

It was an opportunity to reinvent ourselves but that means changes. Some pretty big changes. 

One question we asked was do we stay five days a week? To do so would have meant a smaller staff and fewer papers out on the street. In short, a worse paper with less distribution. 

So, effective July 13, we will print three days per week — Monday, Wednesday and Friday, with a goal of adding a fourth day — a weekend paper — later in the year if events and sports, as well as the economy, pick back up. 

From a reader perspective, we chose three days to keep the habit in place of picking up the paper and continuing to put out a high end product, and from our clients’ perspective, an additional day of shelf life for marketing. 

This does not mean we will only produce news three days a week. We remain a seven-day-a-week publication via our strong presence online, in social media and in newsletters. But it also doesn’t mean it will be the same. How could it be? 

While the Post Independent did not have to layoff staff, that doesn’t mean we are not smaller. In May, reporter Thomas Phippen took promotion at a media company back East, and at the beginning of June, reporter Matthew Bennett took his talents to pursue a degree in teaching. Just prior to COVID breaking out, ad project manager Heather Marine left to focus on her new business. Before I continue, I want to take this moment to say how much we appreciate the work they’ve done for us.  

With those departures and other changes, some roles are being repurposed so we can continue on our mission, and we are using this opportunity to examine how our print readers and digital readers consume the news differently. This topic will take another entire column, which is coming. Just know, we are still providing news seven days a week, but in a different approach.

The final change includes me. 

I’m stepping down as publisher July 17, but will continue to partner with CMNM and Swift via consulting and other tasks. 

Bryce Jacobson will take over as publisher of the Post Independent and Citizen Telegram — in addition to other duties — effective July 6. 

He was most recently the publisher in Greeley and head of Swift Shared Services. I worked for Bryce as the editor in Craig and when he was on the board of the Colorado Press Association. He is well respected in the field, receiving many honors, including Newspaper Person of the Year. 

He is a mentor and a friend, and I’m thrilled he’s taking on this role. Garfield County should be, too. 

Jerry Raehal is publisher of the Post Independent. He can be reached at jraehal@postindependent.com.