This is a response to Mr. Kirchenwitz. I am not writing out of lack of sympathy for Mr. Johnson’s family. I am writing because Mr. Johnson and his family need time to heal from their loss, and we are not giving it to them by broadcasting their struggles on the front page of the newspaper and on the evening news. You and I would not receive such invasions, and the Johnsons should not have to deal with it, either.
I feel that the media abuses their right to free speech when they broadcast the struggles of famous people. This is not news, it is gossip, and we accept it because it is about a famous person.
I do not read the newspapers or watch the evening news to find out who got arrested or lost their home. I read and watch the news to find out what is going on in the world around me that may affect my family.
What makes Vance Johnson, Paris Hilton, or any other celebrity more special than me or anyone else in the world? Absolutely nothing. Celebrities and sports figures should be held to the same rules that we “common” folks are. If I fall behind on my mortgage, then I, too, deserve to be in foreclosure. No, the powers that be should not cut Mr. Johnson a little slack, because he is human, and has problems just like everyone else. The media needs to be the ones to cut him some slack.
If the community chooses to help him out, let it be out of the goodness of their hearts and not because of who he is. Famous people rise and fall every day.
Recently the Government Accountability Office released interesting information regarding purchasing trends by some of the 300,000 government employees using government-issued (and taxpayer paid-for) credit cards.
Everyone’s favorite no-bid government contractor Halliburton charged $180 per meal per soldier in Iraq, until someone finally caught on. This was hushed and brushed ” they paid back around $7 million, no charges filed.
The U.S. Treasury Department lists $24.5 billion “unreconciled transactions” in 2003. (That means they don’t know where it is.) The U.S. Defense Department left 270,000 commercial airline tickets unused between 1997 and 2003: $100 million. The U.S. government committed to spend a record-high $1.1 trillion with companies holding government contracts “plagued by waste, fraud, abuse or mismanagement,” according to a report last June by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. It blames the rise in bad spending on a sharp increase in noncompetitive contracting and an increase in the use of private companies to perform government functions. More than $200 billion in taxpayer money was spent on projects for which only one or a handful of companies submitted bids, the committee found. That figure has more than tripled since 2000, and we all know who happened in 2000.
And, last but not least: Iraq. So far, the war has cost the people in the Glenwood Springs area $13,058,854 as I write this, $4,681 for every U.S. household and $1,721 per person. $341 million per day. And $0.44 of every tax dollar goes to military spending. Let’s hear it for conservatively compassionate, fiscally responsible Republicans and a useless Democrat-controlled Congress.
For the past three months, each morning I’ve checked the Internet headlines for news about my friends in Eldoret, Kenya. For the past three months, my second click has been to the online service for Alpine Bank to monitor the “Eldoret Relief Fund.” As I struggled each morning with tragic stories of political violence and ethnic conflict in Kenya, I deeply appreciated the affirmations of hope I’ve received each morning, watching this account grow, check by big-hearted check. Thanks to the generosity of dozens of individuals, students and families in Glenwood the “Eldoret Relief Fund” raised $3, 875.
This donation has been sent to the Indiana University-Kenya Partnership where it will go a long way in assisting their recovery efforts. Our donation has been earmarked to benefit the new Center for Assault Recovery of Eldoret (CAR-E). This program provides economic and psychosocial support for victims of the sexual violence that has seen a dramatic increase in recent months.
It has been inspiring to realize that my own community remains ever willing and ready to look for ways to assist communities on the other side of the world. I was touched to see both old friends and new names digging deep into their pockets.
I would like to highlight the efforts of Tiffany and Dave Lindberg, who organized a Red Mountain Fun-Run, Roseanne Shepard and her confirmation class who organized a chili cookout, and Rosario Young and the globally conscious members of the St. Stephen’s Builder’s Club for their compassionate contributions. I would also like to thank the Glenwood Springs Post Independent for their sensitive coverage.
Last month, a power-sharing agreement was reached in Nairobi between government and opposition parties, and tensions have calmed across the country. My marathon training partners, Silas and Jacob, have returned to Eldoret. They were both very touched when I told them about this donation from the people of Glenwood Springs.
Kenya is facing a long road to recovery and reconciliation, but hope has returned. For all your compassion and contributions, thank you so much. As they say in Swahili ” Asante Sana!
On Monday, April 14, Nancy Smith wrote incisively in the Glenwood Springs Post Independent about problems in Garfield County government and getting the problems addressed. She set a no-nonsense tone, named the problem incumbents, and endorsed the right candidates to depose them. She reminded us whom to support: Stephen Bershenyi in Glenwood Springs and Steve Carter in Rifle.
“If you aren’t part of the solution, you’re part of the problem,” some say. Focusing here in Glenwood, we can be part of the solution to improve Garfield County government by setting aside some cash and some time to support Stephen Bershenyi for county commissioner.
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