Dragging up a few issues as summer gets underway

Draggin’ North

That’s what we did back in my high school days, when the unofficial boundaries of teenage cruising were the Top Hat at Second Street and North Avenue and the A&W about 28 ¾ Road.  In between were a scattering of other eateries, Grand Junction’s original motel strip populated by mom ‘n’ pop lodging establishments, and the asphalt acres comprising the parking lot of our original shopping center, Teller Arms.

The Top Hat and A&W are consigned to history. But North Avenue is still pretty recognizable to someone who remembers gas at 20 cents a gallon, impromptu drag races and collecting enough traffic tickets, mostly on that thoroughfare, to cause one municipal judge to opine that yours truly had amassed the worst driving record he’d seen in all his years on the bench.

You read on the front page of The Daily Sentinel Sunday of the most recent efforts to spark a revival along the corridor.  It’s not the first such discussion or the last, if municipal history is any guide. If all the various plans, meeting minutes and studies were laid end to end, I suspect they’d span the distance between the east and west ends of my old teenage cruising route.

Perhaps it’s time to quit talking and studying and start doing something to complement the boldness of the first new private residential project along North Avenue in my memory and the fresh face presented by Colorado Mesa University’s mixed use business/dormitory complex. 

How to do that is no secret. The tools are well known and good examples prevail, as noted in the Sunday Sentinel, in downtown Grand Junction and out on Horizon Drive. Maybe it’s time for business and property owners to stop waiting for the cavalry, in the form of the city and the financially-strapped Colorado Department of Transportation (North Avenue is actually a state highway, not a city street) to come riding over the horizon to the rescue.

Dragging a gimpy leg to JUCO

It might not have been the smartest move, struggling up the stairs in the stands behind the third-base dugout 36 hours after arthroscopic surgery on my aging left knee in order to take in Wednesday night’s JUCO game.

That’s why you might have seen us in a couple of those supposedly expensive reserved seats, watching Saturday night’s championship game from underneath the new tower on the opposite side of the ball field.  Pretty comfortable, thought the kid who grew up playing on the field former NJCAA chief George Killian once termed a cow pasture and sitting in much different stands watching the old Grand Junction Eagles semi-pro team and some of the earliest JUCO contests.

The field was probably never as bad as Killian remembers it and the facilities not quite as good as in my memory. But we’d likely agree that cup holders, armrests and form-fitting seat backs would not have been in our thinking way back then.  Well worth $34.20 a pair, gimpy leg or not.

Dragging up past wrongs, real or imagined, in local political campaigns

Someday, I hope, we’ll again have local candidates who campaign on their vision for our future rather than refighting old battles or attempting to build themselves up by tearing their opponent down.

Not yet, apparently, in the battle for the Republican nomination for Mesa County commissioner between Ken Henry and John Justman. You also read in Sunday’s Sentinel about recent back-and- forth between the former Fruita mayor and his opponent, a long-time Fruita-area farmer.

You’d think there’d be bigger fish to fry in a campaign that will help determine how Mesa County moves forward than to argue over city activities that took the efforts of an entire community to approve and accomplish. Or over tentative lines on a trail map that obviously mean nothing without acceptance of landowners like Justman.

Given the tenor of the District 1 primary campaign, Democrat Dave Edwards stepping in it with his comments over symbols on John Otto’s rock and harsh reaction in traditional GOP circles to Woody Walcher’s temerity in challenging the choice of the Republican Party in the District 3 commissioner’s race, perhaps it’s just too much to hope for any real improvement in Mesa County governance come next January.


Sometimes the bones Jim Spehar chooses to pick at don’t demand as many words and you get a series of comments like those in today’s column. Your thoughts are welcome at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


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