Helpful nudge from friend

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Photo by Christopher Tomlinson

CHRISTOPHER TOMLINSON/The Daily Sentinel—Buster, a therapy dog that is part of the Mesa County Libraries’ Dog Ears program, kisses James Muncaster, 5, as he and his older brother, John, 9, read at the Fruita library branch.

Peyton Behl didn’t mind that his reading partner on a recent weekday afternoon at the Fruita library licked his face and shed long, black hairs on the pages of his book. In fact, that was the highlight of the 6-year-old Fruita boy’s trip to the library.
Behl and his 8-year-old brother, Jonathan, are regulars at Mesa County Libraries’ Dog Ears program, which brings two or three therapy dogs to a different library branch every Wednesday of the month to listen attentively or lounge on their sides while children twirl a finger through their fur or pat their heads as they read to the canines. The idea is to get kids of all reading abilities interested in reading by giving them a non-judgmental partner who also makes a good hand rest.

Lost labor, wages take toll, but uplift seen

Despite recent positive trends in hiring, nearly $73 million in annual wages drained out of Mesa County between 2008 and 2013, a new report compiled by the Mesa County Workforce Center shows. Workers earned a total of $698.2 million in 2008. By 2013, total wages dropped to $625.6 million. That’s a loss of more than $72.5 million — money that would otherwise circulate in the local economy, said Suzie Miller, Workforce Center business manager.

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