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Vidakovich column: A week that seemed like an eternity

During my senior year at Glenwood Springs High School, our much-anticipated basketball season began on the usual mid-November day in 1978. Our season held an abundance of promise, even though we were kicking off the new campaign minus a couple of starters and some reserve players who were still involved in Glenwood’s successful football run through the playoffs.

We were aware that if the football team advanced all the way to the state championship game, our first basketball contest would fall on the night before the title tilt. Moffat County was scheduled for our home opener, and we all knew we could take them even if we were a bit shorthanded.

The football players held up their end of the bargain and were to play the Valley Vikings in Glenwood on the first Saturday of December. So, it was going to be a basketball Friday and a football Saturday for Demon fans to satisfy their sports appetite.

Or so we thought.

I suspected something was amiss when I saw the look on Coach Chavez’s face as he called us all together to begin that Monday afternoon practice session. The words came slowly and almost in an apologetic tone as Coach informed us the administration of GSHS had decided to postpone the basketball game for a week in order to keep the spotlight on the football team. Coach knew that even missing a few key players, we could still mop the floor with Moffat, but he wanted to start the season with the entire team together, not fragmented.

None of us were real pleased with this decision, especially myself, Kevin Flohr and Rick Eccher, who had worked our tails off and counted the days to that first game.

We told Coach how we felt about the decision and pleaded with him for a reversal. We even went so far as to half-speed our effort the first part of practice until he stopped the action and set us all straight in a diplomatic way.

Following practice, I remember foolishly acting childish while bumping into some of the football players who we shared a locker room with, and brushing by them without so much as a word. I was miffed. They could have their glory, but why were we being denied our moment?

That Saturday, the Demons won the 2A state football championship by easily defeating Valley on a snowy winter day in Glenwood, and the following Friday night, with our full group together, we sent Moffat reeling 98-49.

Of course I rooted on the football team, as I always did. I was glad they won and that we started the season the next week with a full compliment of Demons.

I vividly remember how mad and disappointed I was at losing a week of my senior season way back when. I can’t even begin to imagine how the athletes must feel now, having lost entire seasons of their high school career.

I’m glad the kids will be back in the arena very soon now and get the chance to live out their high school dreams. One week was unbearable to me as a senior, and I admire the youngsters now who have continued to wait and work for their moment to shine.

It’s almost here, so keep believing. I’m excited for all of you!

Glenwood Springs native Mike Vidakovich is a freelance sports writer and youth sports coach. His column appears on occasion in the Post Independent and at postindependent.com

YouthZone column: Changes in youth behavior could signal psychological trauma

No one likes to be told their child may be exhibiting behaviors that result from psychological trauma. These are hard topics of discussion, but depression, stress and anxiety drastically affect a large number of our youth.

YouthZone saw an increased need for therapy and substance intervention in 2020 when youth and parents experienced stress and psychological trauma as a result of COVID-19, school closures, loss of connection with friends, social unrest and summer fires. Youth specialists, parenting experts and trauma therapists at YouthZone were able to help youth and families by talking them through the stress and trauma.

Trauma results from people experiencing an event that threatens their life or their physical or emotional well-being. Witnessing an event happen to another person can also trigger trauma. According to the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, more than 60 percent of U.S. youth younger than 17 have been exposed to crime, violence or abuse, either directly or indirectly.

A wide array of traumatic experiences affects our youth, and every person reacts to trauma differently. What might seem like a trivial event to one adolescent may have an enormous impact on another individual’s sense of self-worth, emotional stability and behaviors.

Adults in our community need to stay curious and empathetic to traumatically-impacted youth. All people, and particularly young people, communicate through their behaviors, especially when they cannot find the words to express themselves.

Trauma disguises itself in behaviors like aggression, poor school performance, substance use, self-harm, isolation, fluctuations in attitude, delinquent behavior, poor self-esteem, and suicidal thoughts or actions. These behaviors don’t automatically indicate stress from a traumatic event, but any change in behavior should be explored because there is likely something at the root of it to be addressed.

It is definitely hard to watch disturbing displays of behavior. Often, our first response is to try to stop the behavior with punishment or consequences. This reaction usually comes from a place of fear and frustration, because we want our kids to be OK. We want them to make good choices and to live healthy, productive lives.

I challenge the adults in this community to take a different approach when they see unacceptable behavior. Try not to focus on the behavior itself, but chase the “why.” Strive to find out why a young person is acting the way they are. What is their behavior trying to tell us? Once we find out the why, we can help facilitate emotional and physical safety and healthy connection for our youth. This is where we will begin to see a positive behavioral shift.

Discovering the root cause of challenging behaviors or helping a child cope with a traumatic event can begin with a call to YouthZone at 970-945-9300.

Courtney Dunn is a therapist and specializes in trauma and youth. She obtained her BS in Human Services from the University of Northern Colorado and a Masters of Social Work from Denver University.

Guest Opinion: Mystery and history of the gray wolf in Colorado

Grey Wolf (Canis lupus) Stalks Forward - captive animal
Getty Images/iStockphoto

The gray wolf once roamed freely throughout more than two-thirds of the United States. However, they were extirpated (locally extinct) from most areas of the U.S. when settlers from Europe came to the new world.

Throughout history, wolves have been villainized, but in recent years many states have debated the reintroduction of the gray wolf. As areas of the U.S. are reintroducing the species we are seeing the dramatic impact that this canine can have on an ecosystem.

The gray wolf is known as a keystone species, a species that has such a disproportionate effect on an ecosystem, such that if it were removed, the ecosystem would change drastically. Colorado passed a ballot measure to reintroduce wolves to the state last November, and areas throughout the western United States have movements for reintroduction.

What makes the wolf a keystone species, and what kind of impact does it have on their ecosystem? To answer that question we first have to begin with why the wolf was extirpated in the first place.

Human relationships with wolves have long been complicated, starting with when we first arrived from Europe. As settlers moved out west, ranches replaced a significant amount of elk and deer habitat. Wherever their main food source was mostly eliminated, wolves turned to livestock. This quickly made wolves the new enemy of the settlers. When the wolves gained a new predator and had a strain put on their food source, they became extirpated in most areas of the United States.

Some studies have given us an idea of what happens when the wolf reenters an environment it once roamed, like the reintroduction of wolves in Yellowstone Park in 1995. When the wolf came back to Yellowstone, the deer populations decreased, and an interesting chain reaction also started to happen. The behavior of the deer changed. They stopped grazing out in the open and were more careful about where they went and when they came out.

Once that happened, bare valleys became forests. When the vegetation returned, the bird population grew. Beavers, another keystone species, returned because riparian plants were now growing in abundance. The wolves also competed with coyotes, which meant that more rabbits and mice survived, which led to more hawks in the park.

Bears, ravens, and eagles began to feed on carrion, the decaying flesh of dead animals, that wolves would leave and all of their populations increased. When riparian vegetation improved, it stabilized the river banks and less erosion occurred. Not only did the reintroduction of the wolves change the ecosystem of Yellowstone, but it changed the geography of the land.

We are still learning about the effects of the wolf reintroduction in Yellowstone and other areas of the West decades later. Colorado and the Southern Rockies, however, have many differences so we can’t predict all of the ways that our ecosystems will change when wolves are reintroduced to the state.

We know that wolves are a keystone species, this much is apparent. It is up to citizens to learn from the plethora of wolf biology studies to help inform the process of reintroduction over the next few years.

Chase McNair was a 2020 Naturalist at Walking Mountains Science Center in Avon and loves spending her time outdoors and learning about the relationships between animals and people.

Guest Opinion: Nazis have never been on my side of a protest march

Protest is an important part of the process in our country. Where would we be today without the hippies, the suffragettes, good ole Samuel Adams … we must use our voice in government, and protest is built into the structure of our history.

However, what happened on January 6th was not a protest.

Whenever I’m at a protest I can’t help but notice the myriad people marching alongside me: women, men, children, older adults, pets — the hoary and the hairy. We’re all usually talking and chanting and there’s a general feeling of safety in numbers, otherwise we wouldn’t bring our mother in a wheelchair or our toddler in his dinosaur costume.

I’ve marched beside politicians and plumbers, veterans and anarchists, transvestites and debutantes. In fact, the only type of person I’ve never seen in the crowd is a Nazi. And that is my sure-fire way to know I am on the right side of history.

“I have found that in times of confusion, particularly when emotions are running high and creating tunnel vision, the presence of Nazis can be an extremely helpful indicator. If I am attending a local demonstration or event and I see Nazis — neo-Nazis, miscellaneous-Nazis, or the latest-whatever-uber-mythology-Nazis — I figure out which side they are on. And, if they are on my side of the demonstration? I am on the wrong side.

I can always, always, always, rely on the presence of Nazis as a guiding light through a fog of disinformation.” — Rich O’Connor

I think it’s safe to say many of the Trump supporters at the Capitol were fed serious disinformation. Not misinformation, which can be a mistake. No, they were downright lied to. And it’s easy to get caught up in the energy of the event; anyone could miss the signs — like, why would zip ties be necessary to express First Amendment rights?

Human instincts are powerful and necessary for survival. Overriding an instinct with contemplation is not easy. The instinct to flee or fight after reading our neighbor’s body language when the lion decides to charge has gotten us this far. And the source of the information we absorb daily contributes to our E.Q. as well as our I.Q.

Back in the day, we would head down to the town square to catch up on the latest news and interact with fellow villagers. Now, we tune in to Fox News or Facebook to watch the latest feeding frenzy, and today’s news is all filtered through corporate consumerism. Sell, Baby, Sell! Which means playing to our base instincts like fear, and loathing.

Trump’s supporters seemed more interested in taking selfies while trashing their own Capitol than effecting real change in the political pendulum process, but image is everything these days — even in a revolution.

Speaking of image, we need to talk about the rebel flag. Personally, I understand the attraction; it’s a catchy design with bold colors, but there’s a real problem with its historical significance and it’s one strike away from representing dismal failure; one civil war lost, one coup botched.

The only positive associations left are southern rock and the Dukes of Hazzard. To those of us who grew up in the 1970s, Bo and Luke Duke were heroes, speeding through their redneck woods, eluding dumb deputies while yakking on a CB radio … But in hindsight, we can set the hero bar a little higher, no?

Like Eugene Goodman, a black Capitol police officer who stood up to an angry white mob.

Officer Goodman shoved a man and then ran up the stairs in a brave attempt to draw attention away from the Senate chambers. Since Washington, D.C. is not a state, there was no governor to call in the National Guard, leaving the police outnumbered and alone in their efforts to defend the Capitol. This was an orchestrated attempt to seize control of the government and bring about our first dictator — Fuhrer Trump.

Hitler’s Nazi party studied America’s systemic racism while writing the Nuremberg Laws, and now I’m afraid some Americans have been duped into believing they are creating a defining moment in our country’s history, when in fact they are being used to perpetuate an old agenda. An agenda for Nazis.

Jean Perry is a freelance columnist from Carbondale.

Valley Life for All column: Book honors Eva, who won’t let cerebral palsy stop her from dancing

Author Nancy Bo Flood with her children’s book, “I Will Dance.”

Editor’s note: The Post Independent, in conjunction with Valley Life for All, continues a monthly series of profiles to increase the understanding and power of true inclusion.

“Let me try it.”

These words are the embodiment of who Eva is to Nancy Bo Flood, a local author who has written a book about Eva called “I Will Dance.” Eva, the main character in Flood’s children’s book, has cerebral palsy and is unable to move most of her muscles.

Flood was introduced to Eva through her daughter-in-law, Gretchen, the director of Young Dance, an all-inclusive dance company. Flood watched one of the classes and immediately noticed Eva among all the dancers.

“It was the joy on her face,” Flood recalls. “In that class, I saw all kinds of disabilities, invisible and visible. I thought, ’They really mean it when they say they’re an inclusive community of dancers.’ All were valued for who they were and what they could contribute.”

But it was Eva’s tenacity and joy that captured Flood, an award-winning author, and Eva’s journey of becoming a dancer turned into a children’s book about inclusion for those who are disabled and have dreams. “I Will Dance” was published this year.

“Eva had something of value to contribute, unique to Eva: a person first, then Eva, a person in a powered wheelchair,” says Flood from her mountain home.

“I Will Dance” is a vibrant book depicting Eva’s desire to dance. Eva sees able-bodied dancers but also those with challenges. She’s wary but persevered, eventually dancing in her wheelchair before an audience.

“’Let me try,’ that’s what I see in Eva,” says Flood. “She’d do it on her terms, and with each try, she’d risk a little bit more. The result was not only moving around the dance floor, but that she was not alone, it was not pretend, it was not imagine.”

Flood recalls her first time really taking note of a child with a disability.

“In my son’s elementary class, there was a boy in a wheelchair who had no movement and no language. Every morning, the teacher would let a student tell this boy a joke, and he would laugh. I thought, oh, he wants to be a part of this class just as much as any kid does. That’s what Eva wanted, too: to be a part of the community. Isn’t that what we all want? To do what we love and be a part of our community?”

Nancy Jo Flood’s book “I Will Dance” can be found at The Bookworm in Edwards, Glenwood Toys and Gifts in Glenwood Springs, Sawyer’s Closet in Carbondale and on Amazon.

Local nonprofit Valley Life for All is working to build inclusive communities where people of all abilities belong and contribute. Request a training or join the conversation at www.valleylifeforall.org or #voicability4all. Help us redefine the perception of challenge.

Whiting column: Political predictions are easier to determine than effective resolutions

The New Year tends to bring resolutions, but after an election year, valid predictions are more likely to happen.

• The deal has been made. A President who will be 81 on election day and 85 before the end of his second term is unlikely to be re-elected. Consequently, Biden will resign for health reasons before 2024, making Kamala Harris president, enabling her to run as an incumbent. With her being a woman of color, the Democrats feel confident of victory in 2024 and 2028.

• Taxes will increase. Initially, income taxes on the mega-rich. When the economy isn’t negatively affected, this foothold will facilitate lowering the income threshold.

• Medicare will be allowed to negotiate prescription prices. Resultant cost savings will be slid into Obama Care to aid solvency.

• Future stimulus bills will continue to hide unrelated projects to repay past and prepay future political favors. The latest $900 billion stimulus has $600 going to 127 million people totaling $76 billion. The $824 billion balance isn’t headed to the people. Pork barrel examples include $1B for museums in Connecticut, $400M to a closed Kennedy Center, over $1B going to countries for foreign aid, and millions to new governmental agencies. All $900B to 127 million would be $7,000 each.

• Contrary to stated mission, Democrats will pass bills benefiting the well-to-do. They will repeal the portion of the 2017 Tax Act capping deductibility of state and local taxes at $10,000. Only the top 20% have an obligation more than $10,000. Forgiving college debt will benefit the same because their children are more likely to not only attend college but choose to not work during high school and college.

• Democrats will continue to help large corporations instead of smaller entrepreneurships. Last session they restored 100% deductibility of corporate business meals, repealing the 50% limit.

• Colorado will not be selected as the primary location for the new “Space Force.” Senator Gardner was carrying the ball for Colorado, as he did for the adopted Great American Outdoors Act. Without Gardner, one of the other finalists (New Mexico, Nebraska, Texas, Florida, Alabama) will be selected since new Sen. Hickenlooper doesn’t bring any political clout, influence or effective reputation.

• World-wide coal power plants will continue to increase. We will rejoin the Paris Climate Accords requiring a $3B US payment to underdeveloped countries though they aren’t the source of most fossil fuel use. We won’t open new plants, but all other signatory countries will continue to do so. Due to our lack of demand, coal price has lowered making it more attractive to other countries.

• We will reenter the Iran Nuclear Agreement with the original enforcement procedures: Iran can select the UN inspectors, dictate where and when they inspect.

• We will experience some form of international terrorist attack testing the Biden response. Historically, this occurs with a new president: Kennedy’s Cuban Missile Crisis, Johnson’s Vietnam TET offensive, Carter’s Iranian Hostage Crisis, Reagan’s Muammar Gaddafi’s international aggression and hijacking of airplanes, Clinton’s Osama Bin Laden, Bush’s 9/11, Obama’s Benghazi, and numerous other examples.

• China’s economic aggression will accelerate. They’ve already purchased IBM’s PC Division, Motorola, Smithfield Foods, Cirrus Wind Energy, Chicago Stock Exchange, General Electric Appliances, Ingram Micro’s Apple and Cisco contracts, Nexteer Automotive and others totaling over $100B. These diversified acquisitions puts them into our base-need industries and enhances their intention to move world trade currency from dollars to yuan, facilitating their manipulating the value of the dollar.

• China will continue to increase their influence and control over Southeast Asia. China is resource starved. They have 25% of the world’s population but only 10% of arable land and 7% of potable water. Consequently, they need Southeast Asia’s timber, minerals and ability to grow food without formal irrigation; no formal aggression or confrontation required.

• A third political party will emerge and attempt to gain traction. Beginning with overwhelming dissatisfaction with our political system’s extreme partisan nature and culminating with the recent Capitol violence, no one is happy. This creates an opportunity for most of the Republican party to distance itself from Trump theatrics and Trump supporter violence. They can attract very moderate Democrats concerned with the far-left liberal influence on Biden. Vehement Trump supporters will be unable to control the Republican Party and create their own party to maintain identity. Republicans will push economic support of entrepreneurships attracting their employees. With over 70% of those identifying as independent, considering themselves fiscally and socially conscious, Republicans will give them a home with political influence.

• After the violent actions at the Capitol, members of both parties choose to model empathy, decorum, respect, manners, discussion and cooperation, while choosing to work toward the benefit of the country instead of themselves or their party. This is the least predictable item. We can only hope.

Regardless, it is our personal responsibility to start the process by modeling that behavior ourselves.

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

Vidakovich column: Pistol Pete’s last shot

When he walked into the gymnasium of the First Church of the Nazarene in Pasadena, California on Jan. 5, 1988, Pete Maravich confessed to the pickup basketball crowd that had gathered for some morning games that he hadn’t played in months and that his game contained more rust than an antique store.

Maravich was in town to tape a Christian radio show for the Focus on the Family Ministry and all the players who had dropped by that morning — including former UCLA great Ralph Drollinger — were just happy to be on the hardwood with the legendary college and NBA star. They could have cared less that “Pistol Pete” was well past his prime.

The last shot that Maravich dropped through the hoop that day turned out to be the last shot he would ever make. During a college career at Louisiana State University, Pete scored baskets at will, amassing a three-year scoring average of 44.2 points per game. Maravich is still the leading scorer in college basketball history and he went on to lead the NBA in scoring one season, and was named to the professional league’s all-star team multiple times.

Following a serious knee injury that cut short his brilliant career, Maravich had struggled mightily to find a purpose in his post-basketball life. After losing his father to prostate cancer, and a desperate personal search that took him through depression and a battle with alcoholism, Maravich arrived at Christianity.

Immersing himself in the solace of religion, he had become a popular speaker for church groups and religious gatherings throughout the country.

On his last morning of life, with a basketball in his hand, Pistol Pete dribbled to the left side of the key, and as he had done countless times from the days of growing up in the steel city of Aliquippa, Pennsylvania, to having the basketball arena named in his honor at LSU, Maravich lofted a soft shot off the glass for a score.

In one moment Pete was joking with the church group that he hadn’t even meant to bank the shot, and then seconds later Maravich fell to the floor and would never get up. At the age of 40, congenital heart failure had taken the life of one of basketball’s all-time greats.

When early January rolls around each year, I think of the night I walked into my parent’s home and before I could even get completely through the front door, my dad told me that Pistol Pete had passed away. I had just come home from coaching my junior varsity basketball team at Glenwood High School.

Growing up, I idolized Pistol Pete Maravich. I ate, slept and drank basketball, and I watched Maravich turn the game into theater. He was indeed a magician on the basketball court and I tried, without much success, to pattern my game around the example that he set.

Though I know it is just misguided stubbornness toward one boy’s hero in life, I will continue to insist that Maravich was the greatest to ever play the game of basketball. It is safe to say, though, that he was easily among the most entertaining players that ever laced up the sneakers. His behind the back passes and between the legs dribbles were emulated on playground courts everywhere that young hopefuls dreamed of someday having the same showtime repertoire as Maravich.

It’s only fitting that in the end, Pistol Pete took his last breath on a basketball court in a church. They were the two sanctuaries where he felt most at peace.

Mike Vidakovich grew up in Glenwood Springs where he coaches youth basketball and writes freelance for the Post Independent.

Kight column: Glenwood ’History Hero’ award recipients acknowledged

The Glenwood Springs Historical Society’s board of directors has selected individuals and businesses for our “History Hero” award for 2020. With the award, we recognize people who have been actively helping to preserve our region’s deep and fascinating history.

To be nominated for an award means a person or an organization has demonstrated a commitment to our local history by performing some action, or actions, that merit public recognition. This year we are giving three categories of awards: individual, nonprofit organization and for-profit business.

The first category for outstanding individual achievement goes to Carleton “Hub” Hubbard for his lifetime of caring about, and stewarding, our local history. He has rightfully earned the title of Glenwood’s Historian.

Hub’s accomplishments within the Glenwood community are legendary. He was recognized as “a walking encyclopedia of the history of Glenwood Springs,” by Tillie Fischer when she presented him with the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association’s Citizen of the Year award in 2010.

For most of the Glenwood Springs Historical Society’s existence, Hub has supported us. More specifically, he donated his Buick in the name of the Carleton Hubbard family to the society when he quit driving; the proceeds from its sale helped keep the doors of the Frontier Museum open this past year.

He and his wife Miriam “Mim” also contributed their unique collection of documents and photos that Hub had gathered over the years during his title insurance career.

The next award, in the nonprofit category, goes to Christopher Tribble of Versatile Productions and his nonprofit the True Media Foundation, for filming and producing the 2020 Ghostwalk.

Dragging the ton of equipment up and down the Linwood Cemetery to film our “ghost” actors over the years was a feat, as was all the work that went into producing the alternative COVID-appropriate live-streaming event at the historic Hotel Colorado last fall. (We will only mention in passing the crew’s additional stress of having to work under the watchful eyes of the resident ghosts!)

Through his True Media Foundation, Chris has helped many youths make history come alive by using video to capture stories of some of the area’s pioneers which included Northern Ute elder Clifford Duncan. The kids’ interviews resulted in the Making History video about how we all make history in our own way. It’s preserved in the Frontier Museum’s archival collection.

Last, but certainly not least, are Ed and Jennifer Johnson, owners of Vision Security. In 2017, when we placed Doc’s Collection in the lower level of Bullocks where the old Hotel Glenwood once stood, the Johnson’s installed a state-of-the-art security system at no cost to the historical society.

Since that time, Ed and Jennifer’s hard working crews have maintained the equipment that keeps the collection safe and secure at no charge. That was no easy task during the Grand Avenue Bridge construction. Technicians from Vision Security had to make many trips to adjust the sensitive equipment that keeps the derringer alarm from going off due to vibrations from construction.

What motivates and inspires these History Heroes? They want to make a difference in their community by helping to preserve the past, contributing their time, treasure, talent, services and more.

To make a difference yourself, it isn’t a requirement to have the same level of passion for history as these awardees. It’s more about the difference between talking about and caring about history, and then taking action to help preserve history.

It’s about whether you only consider becoming a member of the historical society, and actually becoming a member. We’ve made it easy on our new website, GlenwoodHistory.com, with a click on Membership. Or, if you want to donate without becoming a member, that option is available too.

It’s about taking time and making the effort to recognize the value of history, and the fact that it belongs to all of us.

Bill Kight is the executive director of the Glenwood Springs Historical Society and writes a monthly column about history. He can be reached at 970-945-4448.

Guest opinion: Boebert’s first week in office should be her last

The day before thousands of Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol building, Rep. Lauren Boebert tweeted, “I’m standing STRONG for election integrity & objecting to the Electoral College certification!”

One could choose to view her words as benignly as Garfield County Commissioner John Martin does. In a recent interview with Grand Junction Sentinel, Martin had no criticism of Boebert and other legislators who refused to accept the 2020 election results. “They spoke what they believed in,” Martin said.

We disagree. It is obviously the duty of elected officials to consider the consequences of their words and actions.

Boebert and the other 146 Republican Congresspeople who continued to parrot Trump’s big lie about the presidential election results were not simply exercising their right to free speech. They were spreading false information about our nation’s elections. Neither the Supreme Court, U.S. Attorney General or FBI have found any evidence of election fraud that would have changed the fact that Biden won.

These legislators were also demonstrating a blatant disregard for the U.S. Constitution. As GOP Rep. Ken Buck, Chair of the Colorado Republican Party, reminded his colleagues: the Constitution does not give Congress the power to decide whether or not to accept certified Electoral College votes submitted by the states.

Finally, the 147 Republicans who refused to accept the 2020 election results were fueling the fire under white supremacists who made no secret of their plans to disrupt the election certification process.

Inspired by Trump’s fiction that the election was rigged, pro-Trump zealots had been filling social media platforms for weeks with thousands of posts calling for violence in Washington, D.C. on Jan.6.

As Republican Russ George, Rifle resident and former speaker of the Colorado House of Representatives, told the Grand Junction Sentinel, the legislators who rejected the 2020 election results share blame for the attack on our nation’s Capitol.

Determined to promote her “I’ll do whatever the hell I want” image, Boebert took a step further than many of her Republican colleagues. She tweeted provocative messages invoking times of violent insurrection. “The Founding Fathers did not back down when people told them what they could and could not do,” she tweeted on Jan. 5. “Today is 1776,” she tweeted the next morning.

Hours later, “1776!” was the chant that a mob of Proud Boys shouted as they charged the Capitol. Boebert touts herself as a champion of “law and order,” yet it is rhetoric like hers that led directly to the violence and chaos we witnessed last week, including the killing of a police officer.

Did Boebert not understand that her “just try to stop me” attitude toward the “stolen election” and her references to armed insurrection were inciting mobs of white supremacists? Or did she understand the implications of her words and actions, and move forward with them anyway? Either way, Boebert is clearly unfit for her position.

The morning of the insurrection, Boebert took the floor of the U.S. Congress to give a loud, fiery speech about a “completely indefensible act” in Arizona, which she said amounted to voter fraud. What was this egregious act that angered her so? An Arizona judge allowed for 10 extra days of voter registration in October, due to COVID.

“All of these votes are unconstitutional,” Boebert shouted, referring to the votes cast by people who registered during the extended voter registration period. Every member of Congress who certified Arizona’s election results, she charged, “has sided with the extreme left.”

Watching Boebert get completely unhinged about the idea of making it easier for U.S. citizens to vote in elections was not the most disturbing part of her diatribe that day. Less than 30 minutes before rioters charged the Capitol building, Boebert told the nation, “I have constituents outside this building right now. I promised my constituents to be their voice!”

Boebert seems to believe that it is her job to be a voice for the kind of people that were rioting at the People’s House that day.

Boebert should be removed from office before she does any further damage to our democracy. We can’t afford two more years of her fanning the flames of Q-Anon, Proud Boys and other white nationalist groups.

A broad coalition of over 65 Colorado legislators, labor unions and other organizations have already banded together to demand Boebert’s resignation. Progress Now Colorado is circulating an online petition to hold Boebert and Colorado U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn accountable for their roles in helping to incite the insurrection.

The Garfield County Democrats will also be organizing efforts to push for Boebert’s expulsion from Congress and to build the infrastructure needed to elect a Democratic Representative in 2022. We invite you to join us.

Debbie Bruell is communications coordinator and John Krousouloudis is chairman of the Garfield County Democratic Party. Also signing on to this commentary are the respective chairs of the Pitkin, Mesa and Montrose county Democrats, Howard Wallach, Maria Keenan and Kevin Kuns.

Bankers’ Hours: Community banks integral to small business resurgence

No area of our economy has suffered more from the effects of the pandemic than small businesses of every variety. It’s been devastating on owners and employees, and the shock waves have circled back to cripple the entire national economic infrastructure.

Small business is the country’s largest employer, by far. When it’s sick, we’re all infected by a very nasty economic virus. Getting it healthy again is everybody’s business and, specifically, that of banking and government.

The PPP (Paycheck Protection Program) loan effort is a case in point. Sure, there were those who shouldn’t have gotten a loan, some who should’ve and didn’t, others who got too much, and then, as always, there were the usual suspects who seized the chance to perpetrate fraud. But, overall, it worked, thanks to the nation’s smaller banks that pitched in and got the money out in their communities. Remember, this was a “General Quarters, man all battle stations” effort that was ramped up in just a few days.

An example of what made the program a lifeline for a lot of little enterprises is a community bank in Colorado, just $294 million in asset size, which booked 300 PPP loans, with a total dollar amount of more than $14 million. As the program wound down in April of last year, the bank’s loan department worked past midnight to make sure all applicants were served. As the CEO said to me, “The little guys hit this one out of the park.”

This was an outstanding effort, but the fact is that institutions under $10 billion in size made more loans than the TBTF’s (Too Big to Fail). This is because small business lending is an integral part of the community bank business model. On the other hand, with the behemoth banks, it’s just a business line.

It’s an example of what should, and could, happen over the next 24 months. Yes, financing small business is banking’s business, but supervised financial institutions can’t do it alone. The PPP loans are guaranteed by the Small Business Administration, so there’s no asset risk for the lending bank; bad assets are the only thing that will break a bank. A robust, practical, small business loan guarantee program needs to be in place to rescue the country’s entrepreneurial enterprise infrastructure.

The Second National Bank of Downriver, Montana (both fictional), cares deeply about the survival of the Mom and Pop enterprises in its trade area, and, of course, about their deposits when they’re healthy. But caring, and caring enough to fund, say, an operating capital loan, doesn’t carry any weight with federal and state bank examiners. Their mission is to protect the FDIC deposit insurance fund. They don’t care what color a banker’s hat is, black or white, as long as the logo on it is not “Insolvent.”

Make too many Nice Guy loans that are tabbed “Special Mention” — or “Doubtful” by the suits from the Office of Examination — and you may not be a banker when next year this time rolls around.

Maybe the SBA doesn’t have to be involved, except as an example and guide. In the late 1960s, private mortgage insurance, replicating FHA (Federal Housing Administration) protocols, hit the streets. As long as the concept has used practical mortgage lending guidelines, it’s been successful and profitable. What about a private corporation — say, the SBAGF (Small Business America Guaranty Fund) —capitalized by the likes of Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, Bill Gates and friends and families.

Small business might be very good business for big business.

Pat Dalrymple is a western Colorado native and has spent more than 50 years in mortgage lending and banking in the Roaring Fork Valley. He’ll be happy to answer your questions or hear your comments. His e-mail is pdalrymple59@gmail.com.