Printed letters, July 3, 2013

After reading the editorial in Sunday’s paper I have to say it sounded a lot like the talking points in those well-polished commercials that are inundating the airwaves.

We have border enforcement laws on the books now. They are not being enforced. We had an amnesty in 1986, with promises of strong border enforcement. The amnesty was granted, the enforcement was ignored. President George W. Bush promised a secure fence after another failed amnesty attempt in 2007. The fence was never completed. What makes you think those promises will be kept this time?

Let’s develop an efficient and functional guest-worker program to take care of those agricultural needs. Let’s find and fine employers who are illegally hiring illegal immigrants. Let’s secure, enforce and patrol the border like we mean it.

We don’t need more new laws that aren’t going to be enforced. We need the will to enforce the laws we have. We owe it to the millions of American citizens who are looking for work.


Grand Junction

‘Life-saving’ story 
was just a routine event

A recent wedding shower for one of my flight students included as guests a retired airline captain and five other pilots (including three instructors), five mechanics, an aviation writer and an airport manager who collectively have logged around 100,000 hours of flight time. The topic of the day was the “life-saving” hoax in the news.

The Telluride pilot in the high-performance Bonanza was never in danger, according to the facts offered in the news article, and the TSA rep should have just had the pilot call the tower.

Nothing merited concern or an emergency once the gear down was confirmed. All private pilots are tested on loss of communication rules as well as relevant systems.

I would guess that about 80 percent of the pilots or planes today have some form of GPS for basic navigation, usually a GPS or an iPad with a navigation program, one of which this pilot had. Also, Grand Junction is not difficult to locate, day or night, even without a map.

It is embarrassing to have such a nonevent in aviation published as if there had been some legitimate danger and rescue. There are so many incompetent actions in the entire sequence that space does not justify the list. The worst that could happen was to make a gear-up landing. They are noisy and expensive, but injuries are virtually unknown, and his gear was down, anyway.

To be credited with saving a life, one of the basic criteria is that the life would have been lost without outside intervention. This would have been a minor event to most pilots. Many planes have no electrical or navigation equipment at all, except a simple magnetic compass required by law in all aircraft.

With all due respect to the sincere efforts of the TSA rep, this pilot’s life was never in danger and therefore not subject to being saved. We certainly do not fault him for anything he did, and it was proper procedure to ask the tower for a gear check, something done frequently. While we are pleased that all turned out well, we just can’t believe it made any news.




Certain students don’t 
need higher-math courses

I attended a meeting recently hosted by the Colorado Department of Higher Education. The discussion turned to the different math thresholds for college STEM students (those majoring in a field of science, technology, engineering or math) versus non-STEM students. A non-STEM student might be someone majoring in journalism, the liberal arts, etc.

One of the audience members took issue with having the different math thresholds in response to my question asking about non-algebra-based math for non-STEM students. This person insisted that all college students should be required to learn at least Algebra 2 while they are in college. As a former high school and college math instructor, I beg to differ.

First of all, I approve of high school math standards that require students to take at least Algebra 2, so if they decide to become STEM students, they will have the math background to do so.

However, once a student goes to college and decides to become a non-STEM student, I don’t see a need for him or her to take algebra-based college mathematics to get a degree. As part of a well-rounded education, I feel it’s important for all non-STEM students to be required to take a college math course or two. But let it be something like a statistics course or a math course more related to real-life applications.

Many math people at the college level have a bias when it comes to teaching algebra-based mathematics as the only college-level math that can be taught.

This type of mathematics is extremely irrelevant to non-STEM majors and it is also a death knell for anyone who is extremely right-brained. I know many right-brained people who have lived productive lives and have become upstanding members of our communities without having to learn any algebra in college. We need to get over this bias as a math community.


Grand Junction


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