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Post Independent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

It is critical that we take the opportunity presented by the Penn State scandal to focus on just how often children are sexually abused, and how infrequently adults are ready, willing and able to report this abuse.

Statistics show that one in four girls and one in six boys will be sexually assaulted before their 18th birthday.

Since Jan. 11, Childhelp River Bridge, a child advocacy center in Glenwood Springs, has seen approximately 90 children (ages 3 – 18) who have been referred for abuse. This does not begin to reflect the number of abused children in our community.



Less than 10 percent of these children will ever tell anyone what happened to them.

Despite their personal experiences and overwhelming concern, many Americans simply do not get involved or contact authorities. (Source: a study commissioned by Safe Horizon in 2008 on the bystander effect in child abuse cases, at http://www.hopeshining.org/files/Bystanders_and_Child_Abuse.pdf)



Colorado law requires “mandatory reporters” to immediately report upon receiving information regarding abuse or neglect of a child.

In addition, each and every citizen has a moral responsibility to report any situation that they suspect a child has been abused or neglected. It is up to the agency that receives such reports to investigate and determine the validity of the report.

The Darkness to Light End Child Sexual Abuse organization says, “Adults should be taking proactive steps to protect children from this significant risk. It is unrealistic to think that a young child can take responsibility for fending off sexual advances by an adult. Adults are responsible for the safety of children. Adults are the ones who need to prevent, recognize and react responsibly to child sexual abuse.”

We can demystify this. We can teach people the signs. There are organizations in the community that can help.

Report child abuse immediately, don’t wait: Garfield County: 945-9191; Pitkin County: 429-2040; in an emergency: 911; or Childhelp River Bridge: 945-5195.

Blythe Chapman

I am writing today on behalf of all the puppies and dogs that are being kept in dreadful conditions by a number of homeless people, who are just using them to gain public sympathy in begging for money and food.

These people are often seen sitting on the corner of highways 82 and 133 at Carbondale.

Yesterday, I saw a very young puppy, miserable and shivering, lying on cold cement and not even being kept safely on a leash, next to its begging owner. This distressing sight is becoming more and more frequent. It is inhumane and distressing to see.

So I am asking, pleading, that something be done about it. We pride ourselves in this country to protect animals from mistreatment, but some of these “homeless” dogs deserve and need our protection now. If an owner cannot keep their pups warm, safe, and well cared for, then maybe they shouldn’t have the privilege of owning a pet at all.

I hope somebody can help them before, for them, it’s too late.

Georgette Vhrin

Aspen

I read with great interest and wonder your headline article Friday, Nov. 11 reporting on the school board’s first meeting. Given the rumblings and babble over the past few months I am compelled to write:

A. The current board seems to be more focused on their own issues with the administration, than that of the goals of education. Granted there is some cause to be concerned about the current administration, but in the big picture, it is education and not personal vendettas that are paramount. Change your priorities!

B. The current board seems to be more focused on their own issues rather than the dire financial straits the district is facing. The recent passing of the mill levy is a step in the right direction. People of Glenwood Springs should be ashamed that their personal agenda regarding the district administration was more important than giving the district enough money to survive, let alone move forward! The district would really be in a financial mess if Basalt and Carbondale did not carry the vote. What would Glenwood do when schools started to close?

C. The current board and residents of the Roaring Fork School district must focus on the financial issues. With what the governor has projected and what is “under the table” our district is in dire trouble … maintaining what successful programs we have, let alone continuing and growing them. Another $86 million-plus cut in the state education budget will be disastrous.

D. And now there is a special board meeting on Monday the 21st … during the day (when the working class cannot attend) For the discussion of a personnel matter, under C.R.S. §24-6-402(4)(f) as relates to the superintendent’s contract and for a conference with the District’s attorney, for the purpose of receiving legal advice on specific legal questions, as authorized by C.R.S. §24-6-402(4)(b).

I certainly hope that this is not a continuation of a witch hunt … but a constructive discussion on concerns and issues that will enable the board and the administration to work together on big picture items and not this constant bickering over personnel issues. The board has every right to discuss these issues, but I beg of the board … to please, please keep in mind the more important work (right now) of finances and programs! Certainly the district cannot afford to buy anyone’s contract out. And the priorities of the Board must be dealing with the financial situation … and pro actively work to resolve this crisis (and not let the CO Assoc. of Schools to the work) … and continuing the educational progress that is being made.

And lastly, how could a new board member encourage a family to send their children to Aspen schools? What a slap in the face to the hard work the district has been dealing with for years. That Roaring Fork Re-1 is inferior to Aspen! Given this public comment, I call into question the motives of this board member. Why is she even on the board? Where is her heart? Where are her priorities? Her statement clearly shows she is not an advocate of the Roaring Fork Re-1 school system! Perhaps her own agenda? Once again, not putting the BIG issues as priority but rather her personal agenda!

I just hope and pray that this does not get ugly, as I certainly would hate to see crowded classrooms and closed school buildings in the District!

Leary O’Gorman

Carbondale


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