Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
I was in attendance at the Garfield County BOCC meeting this past Monday (Aug. 9). One item on the agenda was to set the holiday schedule for County employees in 2011. During the discussion, Tresi Houpt suggested and later moved to have Martin Luther King (MLK) Day be included in Garfield County’s list of holidays. (She stated that she has made this same request for the past 8 years and it has been voted down each time.) I could not believe the hostility with which her motion and discussion was greeted by the other Commissioners, especially Samson.
MLK Day is a federal holiday with all states having adopted it as a paid state holiday. Legislation to create this holiday was passed by Congress and signed into law in 1983, by then President Ronald Reagan, and went into effect in 1986. The date of the holiday was moved from MLK’s birthday (Jan. 15) to the third Monday in January due to its proximity to Christmas.
MLK Day celebrates an important individual in recent American history. It celebrates a Nobel Peace Prize winner whose life was lost in the pursuit of tolerance, equality and respect for all people-people of color, whites, women, men, children, Christians, Jews, Muslims, straight, gay, Republicans, Democrats, Conservatives, Liberals and anyone else who may be different from you or me. It seems that in poorer economic times, such as we have now, we often worry too much about our own survival and issues. When we worry about ourselves, frequently tolerance and respect for others disappears. This seems to be happening right now in our American society.
At the several meetings of the Garfield BOCC that I have attended, it appears that the male commissioners do not show much respect for or tolerance of others, whether these are elected officials or members of the public stating opinions or views. I strongly suggest that the commissioners look at their public actions and dig deep inside themselves to understand why they are so against including a holiday that celebrates civil rights, tolerance, equality and respect for others.
Last Sunday, I attended the Roaring Fork Cultural Council’s discussion with Walter Isaacson regarding changes in the media business. It was moderated very well by Michael Conniff. Mr. Isaacson is one of the most well informed individuals in the country today, as exemplified by his current position as President and CEO of the Aspen Institute. He spoke to a full house, and it was a thoroughly informative and enjoyable evening. From the high quality of the questions, it was clear that the audience also found the event worthwhile.
This is just one more example of how fortunate the “downvalley” community is to have the Roaring Fork Cultural Council bringing speakers of this quality to the Thunder River Theatre in Carbondale to have a dialogue with local residents at a ticket cost of only $10. I strongly recommend that those who have not taken advantage of this wonderful program do so at their earliest convenience. Future speakers include Steven Emerson discussing “Jihad in America” on Nov. 13, 2010, and Madeleine Albright, former Secretary of State, early in 2011. Go to the Cultural Council website at rfculturalcouncil.org for more information.
Our community is great because of the multitude of recreational, cultural, and educational opportunities that are available. I urge everyone to take advantage of the Roaring Fork Cultural Council’s programs bringing some of the Nation’s most eminent, thought leaders to our valley.
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The Glenwood Springs-Rifle sports rivalry goes way back for GSHS baseball coach and former Demons multi-sport student-athlete Eric Nieslanik.