Colorado Mountain College is privileged to have a trustee with substance, fiscal know-how and vision. Stan Orr is someone who has protected CMC’s financial reserves, addressed the needs of the community with four-year degree programs, expanded curriculum, and improved infrastructure, all while keeping CMC the best value in Colorado for higher education. The 802 Grand purchase epitomizes the outstanding leadership CMC has had in recent years. CMC will consolidate from two cramped buildings into one revenue-producing, functional structure that will pay for itself in just a few years. It will create a new home for the city library, ease a horrifying shortage of parking, and put a face on the college with up to 250,000 visitors per year (read potential students) when the chamber relocates in the building. That type of strategic partnering between business, government, a nonprofit and education doesn’t happen without sound leadership.A sound infrastructure is critical to student success at CMC. Improvements are paid primarily with funding from the CMC Foundation, not by a massive infusion of taxpayer dollars. They are part of CMC’s master plan for repairing or replacing aging structures with energy efficient structures. They were built with one-time funds and not as an ongoing cost to taxpayers. That’s why I am supporting Stan Orr for CMC trustee. Mr. Orr is a thoughtful, giving leader in our community. He is a small business owner who truly understands economic realities. A charity he and his wife founded has raised over $24,000 for Glenwood’s school music programs. He understands the fiduciary responsibilities of the volunteer board because managing such boards is what he does for a living. No one asked him to run. He has no hidden agenda. He is simply a citizen who cares about our community.As president of the board, Stan Orr has presided over difficult economic waters in the face of explosive enrollment, with an eye on what is best for our students, our community, and local businesses. We are in a better place because of him. Please join me in casting your vote for his continued visionary leadership. Jim PhillipsNew Castle
Perhaps the most urgent lesson from the continuing painful recession is that our kids will need quality educations to compete in an increasingly difficult, global marketplace. The world is indeed flat, as described by Tom Friedman, and our future generations will vie for work along with the developing nations of the world – all of whom have placed a premium on development of strong math and science educational programs.It is also true the property values are highly dependent upon the existence of good schools to attract new families to the valley. The school system is often fully researched before the first house in seen by new residents.Our school district has lost over $5 million in annual revenue in the past three years and can ill afford to loose any more. Please vote yes on 3E in November to continue the critical income stream that the district will need to manage classroom size and professionalism in our teacher corps.Bill KaneBasalt
Service Employees International Union (SEIU) sent me an invitation to “Occupy Glenwood Springs” along with other residents who might actually want to be invited. As organizer for the valley’s loyal tea party group, my – and their – mind, heart and actions are occupied with defending liberty, not tyranny.Some months ago I heard SEIU’s Stephen Lehrner’s preliminary coaching of the current “occupation,” that of calling for a final revolution in our country by collapsing America as we’ve known her, by refusing – en masse – to honor all loan obligations, and by shutting down the banking industry through physical occupation of those institutions.Hey, Mr. Lehrner, it’s working. We now see “occupiers” super-sizing their entitlement demands by not only refusing to honor their current loan obligations, but by pitting all their hatred toward the ultimate goal of neutering the golden goose of capitalism, and bringing America to her knees in the process. That would be their “piece of the pie.”We’re also seeing a pandering press and their political counterparts giving injustice to good judgment though their support and encouragement of this culture of revolution.It’s simply necessary to state the facts of this situation as a simple statement of clarity. I pray it brings a bit of light to this dark night we’re facing.Betty ScrantonGlenwood Springs
At the recent candidate election forum televised on Cable 10, candidates were asked, “What is something that Garfield Re-2 is doing well?” One candidate answered that she thought we have a great staff, a comment with which I wholeheartedly agree. Another mentioned that his child had a positive experience, and I was glad to hear that. Then two candidates cited that we at Re-2 have great technology. While all of these answers sound nice, what was glaringly and obviously missing was an answer that included the concept of student performance. Instead of their answering, for example, that Re-2 students are good at writing, math or science, they agreed that we have good computers? That, to me, shows exactly what’s wrong with our education system. The powers that be fail to focus on the only priority, in my opinion, that our students be taught to perform well. Until we have board candidates and board members who focus on what the students can do, I cannot support throwing more of our money for the board to spend on idiotic behavioral modification programs and more technology. Until I see exactly where the money will be spent, something that even the Blue Book voters’ guide mentioned was missing, I just cannot support these tax hikes that, no matter what the committee members say, will definitely negatively affect those of us who don’t have a lot of money. Many staff members wages continue to be frozen, so the people who have the most direct influence on our kids fail to be paid a decent living wage, in my opinion. When I worked as a paraprofessional at an Re-2 school, I brought home $938 a month for a full day’s work. I’d like to see an initiative that earmarks money to go directly to teachers and support staff. They are the ones who can teach our kids to perform well, and that, it seems to me, is the only goal.Pat BollesRifle
I want to thank the Colorado River Water Conservation District for standing up for what was right and matching the legal funds to appeal a decision that had canceled water rights for energy development. This is an important move for the district because of the potential precedent the decision could have set. The court’s decision was not based on any type of facts related to the diligence of the water right. As such, the court was in the wrong and the water right for coal and oil shale development should be restored. Again, thanks goes to the River District. This is certainly taxpayer money well spent.Mariah RaneyGrand Junction
Let me get this straight: our senators are actually telling the BLM to not make a decision on allowing SG Interests to create a prudent plan for oil and gas development so that there can be “robust and meaningful discussions?” Really? Why are Sens. Bennet and Udall trying to insert themselves in the BLM’s operational procedures? This is delaying a routine decision by the BLM, putting SG at risk for not being able to develop the resources, and setting a dangerous, uncertain, politicized precedent whereby any elected official could stop development of our oil and gas resources just because they don’t like it. Sens. Bennet and Udall, this project is in our best interest. And when I say our best interest, I mean the public, the people they are supposed to be representing. I ask the senators to step out of their political posturing mode for just one minute and do what’s in the best interest of the public: allow the leases to move forward. Paula ScanlonGrand Junction
Jack E. Blankenship is onto something. His letter of Oct. 20 concerning opting out of the Holy Cross WE CARE program has some merit.I would like to expand it to other tax policies. I wish to opt out of using any of my tax dollars to support the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Ditto my contributions to subsidies for big oil, big agriculture, tobacco, corn, sugar, oil shale and natural gas.Reading Mr. Blankenship’s letter goes hand in hand with my letter about “Opposite World” and the apparent shift in conservative thinking from “compassionate” conservatives” to “I got mine so get lost” conservatives. He laments, “I asked to opt out of the program since it provides funds to increase renewable energy in our power supply, provides for incentives for renewable energy in our service territory and rebates for purchases of energy efficient appliances/devices. It is also for promoting education on renewables, efficiency, conservation and carbon emissions.”Shame on Holy Cross Energy for promoting energy solutions. He goes on to state his real reason for not wanting to participate in the WE CARE program: “My objection to WE CARE is the mandatory promotion of an expensive, unreliable power program that is contrary to the interests of our natural gas industry’s contribution to Garfield County welfare.” Really? Shilling for the gas industry as if solar power is a threat to a mega-billion dollar industry? Spare me. He then wonders if innocent children are being “brainwashed with green idealism.” Let us pray! What would happen to the world if future generations treated the Earth like anything other than a giant toilet. Oh, I forgot about the “dominion over all the Earth” mindset. I wonder if this was tongue in cheek. I hope so. But I know better. For some it’s “We Care.” For others, it’s “we care about ourselves only.” Craig S. ChisesiRifle
The Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA) and Janssen Biotech, Inc. are sponsoring a national disease awareness campaign to increase awareness of Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Crohn’s Disease and ulcerative colitis. This campaign is called IBD Icons, because the national spokesperson is Casey Abrams who was a finalist in the 2010 American Idol and has UC himself. Nine individuals with IBD were selected as finalists. Danielle “Dani” Gonzales of Parachute, my daughter, is one of the finalists. These nine individuals were selected from hundreds of applicants. They were selected because of their courage living with the disease and their contribution to others.IBDs are embarrassing, painful and debilitating diseases with no cure. The most wonderful aspect of this campaign is that Janssen Biotech has pledged to donate $1 for every online vote, up to $20,000 to CCFA, which in turn sponsors research into treatments and a cure. Dani has missed the opportunity to benefit from a cure. But Dani dreams of having a child of her own one day, which her doctors say is possible if her disease is held in check. She worries that since there is no cure for IBD, she risks passing it on to her child. Those with IBD never want to see their own children suffer as they have. Go to http://www.IBDIcons.com and read Dani’s story and vote. Go ahead and vote many times – there is no limit. Please vote for a cure.Mary MooreParachute
I am writing this letter to encourage readers to do two things. The first, is get to know some of the teachers in the community’s schools, and the second is to vote yes on ballot issue 3E. Even if voters decide to not vote yes on 3E, I still encourage them to get to know their local teachers. Once you start to find out who we are, you will realize that we are not greedy, over-paid and lazy, as some recent letters portray us. Joe Mollica did a great job in his Oct. 20 letter of laying out what a typical teacher’s day is in our district. We work hard and pour an excessive amount of effort into our calling. We spend no less than 50 to 60 hours a week working to make sure our students, your children and neighbors, are learning. I am hoping that by getting to know us, voters will begin to trust us and understand our plea for the passing of 3E. This is not a vote to raise our pay, as some believe. This is a vote to retain the great programs and the hard working teachers and service staff in the Roaring Fork School District. Voters who are still considering whether or not to vote yes for 3E, please come see our schools. I promise that once they spend some time talking to students and teachers and see the demonstrations of learning, they will be assured their yes vote for 3E will not be in vain.Hadley HentschelRoaring Fork High SchoolCarbondale
A big thanks to the talented artists who painted the beautiful murals under the Grand Avenue Bridge on the south side. It looks so much nicer, cleaner and is easy on the eyes.Thanks to the city for approving the project. If only something could be done where the bums hang out on the north side, but it probably would not stay nice for long. The taggers would ruin it for sure. Meanwhile, I will continue to enjoy the beauty on the south side.Ronda DennieGlenwood Springs
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Policy that dictates what for-profit activities should be officially sanctioned within Glenwood Springs parks is being reviewed by city staff and will likely come before the city council for final approval later this summer.