Email letters, April 7, 2014

Many students come to college totally unprepared

I am writing in response to the letter from Karen Davis on Sunday, citing systemic failures at the university that contribute to attrition among at-risk students.

While I have no connection with CMU, I have spent 40 years working with middle school and high school students. Far too many students leave high school totally unprepared for the rigor expected at the university level. Simple things like turning in assignments on time, completing homework, regular attendance, self-discipline, time-management skills and attention to detail are qualities that must be mastered prior to attending college.

Teachers try to impart these skills to their students; however, in most instances it is possible to get out of high school without acquiring these skills. Here lies the problem: the students are not ready nor are they prepared for college in the first place. Placing the blame on a college or university is disingenuous at best.

Every student does not need to go to college to be successful; however, if students plan to go to college, then it is incumbent upon them and their parents to see they are prepared. Teachers are capable of helping them develop the necessary skills, but they must have the cooperation of both students and parents. All too often parents are upset with high school teachers who want to hold students accountable for mastery, and then when the student is not successful at the university level, it suddenly becomes the university’s fault. What happened to individual responsibility?

PHYLLIS HUNSINGER
Grand Junction

Consider certain questions before pushing for park status

To be or not to be – Rim Rock Canyons National Park. If it is to be, ask the sponsors to answer these questions:

If the proposed bill is passed, will it include funding for necessary changes such as building a bypass for Glade Park residents, widening park roads to allow for large buses and two-way traffic, and providing parking lots, more camping areas and restroom facilities?

Would one-way traffic in the park be considered? Which direction? Those wanting to hike or picnic close to the east or west entrance could have a 26-mile ride around the park.

Should only buses be allowed within the park? Will this impact local access for hikes, picnics and viewing?

What provisions are made for both group and individual cycling?

Who pays for the widening of Highway 340 between the Redlands Parkway and Fruita? Even without more traffic, Highway 340 already poses safety problems for drivers and cyclists, especially with the Colorado 3-yard-from-a-cyclist law.

Would renaming Colorado National Monument to Rim Rock Canyons National Park bring visitors? The question is, “What is a rim rock?”

Included in the bill is preservation of high quality air in the park. Where will the sensors be placed ? Will they be on top of the monument or at ground level to measure increased auto, truck and bus pollution?

Embedded in the bill is prohibition of buffer zones around the 20,000-acre monument. Could this result in rezoning the buffer between Grand Junction and Fruita and changing the zoning to commercial? Will this scenic and agricultural area be replaced with hot dog stands and curio shops?

Grand Valley residents, ask your legislators for answers and solutions before passing this bill. Cut out this letter, endorse it and mail it to Sen. Mark Udall, Rep. Scott Tipton and your county commissioners.

PAULA STRUCKMAN
Grand Junction

Founding Fathers knew that God is our moral foundation

Thank you, Rick Wagner, for pointing out such an obvious truth that is quickly being forgotten: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” The writers of the Declaration of Independence knew that God had lovingly given us the right to choose the course of our lives. They also knew that the moral foundation for all of our liberties was in God himself and the Bible.

Today we are being challenged at many points. Whether it is a question of rights and definitions in marriage, sexual identity, drugs, abortion, immigration or debt, our heavenly father has something to say about it, and his grace enables us to choose to apply that truth that keeps us spiritually free and morally healthy. To forget that causes us to stray from the path of understanding and invite destruction into our own lives and the society around us.

PASTOR JIM HALE

Palisade

Question for Bill Grant:  What is more important than a person’s life?

I find it hard to believe that preoccupation with personhood is not a real issue. My question for Bill Grant is this:  What progress would be if people finally agreed with God on this real issue?  God knows all things.  Why do certain things happen?  It is because of sin.  Call it a crime and it is horrid, but there is a human being there, tiny as it is.  God stated in the Bible, I knew you in the womb.  Not an it, so God was speaking of and to a person. 

We are talking about human beings, all things go through stages of development.  God said to go forth and multiply, not go forth and create lumps of tissue and someday you will become a person. Huh!

Abortion is used for birth control in the vast proportion of cases.  Over 40 million persons have been murdered over the years.  Really, how many of these were rape and incest?  A small number, I am sure.  So, what are the real reasons?  Money, I feel, and pride (I know more than God. God can’t tell me what to do.)

I ask Grant again, “What is more important than the life of a person?”  Roads, pot sales, taxes, schools, economy?  But are there more laws protecting pregnant animals from abuse than an unborn child from being terminated?

JIM ZUBACK    
Grand Junction

Pot proponents must now deal with unintended consequences

Recreational pot is legal in Colorado. Unintended consequences are starting to show. Proponents and activists have been pushing it for a while, saying “It will wipe out the black market.” It was their idea to tax it “for the schools, additional income for the state, and law enforcement.” The same activists pushed until medical pot was approved.
Well, now it is legal for certain people. Not grade school, middle school or high school students, and the federal laws against it have not gone away.  However, the president won’t allow the feds to enforce in Colorado, and Washington, even for medical pot.

There is a way around the “unintended consequences.”  The proponents and activists knew that in the beginning. Taxing: What did Colorado expect, when it set the taxes on pot so high – that we would bask in the influx of money?  That the cartels and the pushers would simply fade into obscurity?  That the legal pot wouldn’t find its way into the pockets and backpacks of kids whose parents buy it? That it wouldn’t become even more prevalent than it was before the law was passed? Just two chances of any of the above happening:  slim and none. 

Colorado legalized pot, so now those “unintended consequences’” must be “fixed.” The purveyors on the corner don’t have licenses or a building and don’t collect taxes, either. They don’t have rules, except those of the cartels.  Don’t take my word for it – take it from law enforcement, activists, proponents and lawyers who are defending sellers and buyers. Get ready for the next big push:

✓ “We haven’t run the black market pot pushers off.”
✓  “Pot costs must be below what the corner pushers can sell it for, to put them out of business.”
✓  “The only way to do that is to lower the taxes.”

If those who voted for this insane law will just pay attention to what’s happening after passage, they’ll begin to understand just how badly they screwed up. For you voters who couldn’t see beyond your nose – thanks for nothing!
 
DAVID F. ZULIAN

Grand Junction

Liberals feel it’s fine to spend money they do not have

Hillary Rodham Clinton said Thursday night that excessive partisanship flowing through the nation’s political system is causing the U.S. to march “backwards instead of forward” and pointed to fall elections as a sign of how the country might tackle problems.

This quote recently posted in New York is spot on! What the hell does she expect? Every shred of common sense seems to have oozed out of the Democratic Party into a liberal/socialist agenda to beat the Republican Party into dust. Bills are ramrodded through Congress without debate or even knowing the full extent of the effects of what they hand down in half-baked legislation only for the promise of “sticking it to the Republicans because they don’t like it.” It apparently doesn’t matter that some of the things they push through do nothing for the economy; in fact, most of them put a larger burden on our failing economy.

What other group in history can claim it single-handedly got the credit rating of a whole nation downgraded … TWICE. When the Republicans have compromised and the proposal shows signs of failure, they get the blame for it. It seems at no other time in our history has there been this vehement lack of bipartisanship. I think every congressman who opposes Obamacare has a perfect example of just exactly why they should: Read the bill before passing it, look at the whole picture and decide just how deep the effects of their stupidity are going to go in ruining the American economy.

Why do liberals in general feel it’s just fine for them to spend money they don’t have on “their” pet projects that do what “they” feel is necessary in their world? Then when Mommy tells them no, they pitch a fit. “But we need to insure the people who can’t afford it” is the mantra.

Well, let’s see how many people would over $648 million have helped? How many are we hurting daily by robbing from the Medicare fund or counting inmates on the headcount to make the numbers look better? How many citizens actually (1) didn’t lose their insurance and “chose” to sign up for Obamacare and (2) actually have received something from the plans, even though the government can’t get the insurance companies paid for some reason?

How much better, cheaper and smoother would the system have been if business competition were created across state lines for customers?  Sure seems like we have to level-load the economy, our way of life and our political system because our ( I hesitate to say leaders), elected officials decide we aren’t smart enough to run our own lives.

Hey, Hillary, seems like the forward motion of the liberal agenda has brought us back to the same place it always does if you study your history, to the edge of destruction like the lemming she wishes we all were.

RICHARD BRIGHT
Grand Junction

Wagner should use bully pulpit to respectfully spark discourse

Rick Wagner pretends to pose the question, “Where is society’s moral authority in the absence of religious belief?” For him, the answer is clear. There is no moral authority without religion. America’s religion is Christianity. Therefore, Christianity is the “guiding star for our republic’s ethical and moral behavior.” Without “our” religion, we can’t possibly discern right from wrong.

Between the question that isn’t a question and the answer that isn’t an answer, Wagner scornfully belittles atheists, free thinkers, scientists, zealots, twisters of Thomas Jefferson, First Amendment freaks, other cultures, “foreign gods,” the Zhou dynasty, communism and totalitarianism. (And you wonder why Grand Junction isn’t attracting artists, educated people, young families and innovative businesses?)

I have faith that a handful of broadly shared principles would serve the body politic just fine. Don’t lie, slander, gossip or deceive. Give everyone a chance to talk. Show a kindly regard for the welfare of others. The rules apply to everyone. Look first for common ground. Do not take another person’s property wrongfully. “Don’t Fence Me In” is a song — not a security measure. Avoid hypocrisy, which corrodes the public trust. Use your inside voice.

With Wagner’s appointment to the Grand Junction Regional Airport Authority Board, he can demonstrate his deeply held religious and political principles in action. He can show us how a virtuous man mucks out a stable. He could also use his bully pulpit at the Sentinel not to wage a war on wrong, which is tiresome and unfruitful, but to respectfully broaden the public discourse.

Privately, I’ll work out my own salvation amidst the crooked and the perverse, and I’ll leave Wagner to do the same.

ADELE J. CUMMINGS
Grand Junction

Wagner’s ‘religious dogma’  column shows he’s no scientist

Some lawyers who in their various capacities have a working knowledge of hard sciences. Rick Wagner is not one of them.
 
Wagner fears science and, like all things people fear out of ignorance, he hates science. That is what brought Wagner to dismiss global warming as “religious dogma” in his column April 3.
 
He also subjected what he termed “foreign gods” to the fury of his pen. Presumably they compare unfavorably with the more comfortable and familiar local gods we’ve domesticated right here in the USA.
 
In 2006 the California State Assembly passed a law, the Global Warming Solutions Act, in part because coal burned outside California for California power was emitting, each year, the same amount of carbon as 11 million cars, increasing global warming.
 
To implement the act, in 2008 the California Air Resources Board recommended that by 2020 renewable energy provide 33 percent of California’s power, a goal one assemblyman described as “our Manhattan Project.” The proposal was endorsed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.
 
The California State Assembly did not listen to religious bigots but to botanists, zoologists, climatologists and oceanographers — hard scientists doing hard science. As a result, California is dumping its coal-fired power contracts with out-of-state power companies, and will soon be coal-free. The State Assembly has become part of the solution, and fearful followers of Wagner’s dogma will remain part of the problem.
 
DAVID L. MCWILLIAMS

Grand Junction

Lessons on water conservation learned in ‘50s still apply to all

As a child growing up in Vernal, Utah, during the early 1950s, I learned the value of our most important natural resource, water. My father worked long and hard for the approval of the Echo Park Dam to help conserve the water within the upper Colorado River basin. Ultimately, Echo Park was replaced by the Glen Canyon Dam.

I followed with great interest the wonderful articles by Gary Harmon, which outlined many of the same problems that still face this area with the amount of our water that is available. Many legal documents outline how and where this precious resource is to be allocated. I was dismayed to read that some feel that conservation should take a back seat to increased storage capacity.

With the Front Range wanting more of the Colorado River water, and the decades-old accords allocating water to the other six Colorado River basin states, plus the treaties with Mexico, it is incumbent on everyone to conserve every drop of water we can.

The lessons of the ‘50s are still the lessons of today.

MARY KAY WRAY
Fruita

 


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Pastor Hale is free to believe anything he chooses and he can preach any place he chooses in public EXCEPT in functions that are in government facilities meant to serve all citizens regardless of personal beliefs. The good pastor is way off base claiming to be under attack. The attack he speaks of occurs only when he is trying to impose his beliefs on others. His Christian religion IS NOT an accepted universal belief system.

Richard Bright’s latest on-line offering – “Liberal’s feel it’s fine to spend money they do not have” – proves once again that local “bubbleheads” must resort to creating their own set of facts to appear coherent.

Fortunately, Bright agrees with Hillary Clinton that the fall elections will matter – but for the wrong reasons.

To paraphrase Bright, “every shred of common sense seems to have oozed out of the Teapublican Party into an austerity/oligarchic agenda to obstruct President Obama at every opportunity”.

Apparently, Bright dimly clings to the stale “FoxNoise” meme that the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) was “ramrodded through Congress” – when it was passed after months of Senate hearings in which Republican amendments were added to the bill and enacted via “reconciliation”, the same legislative procedure used to pass the Bush Tax Cuts (which deprived the federal government of the revenues needed to move our Country forward).

Of course, since 2011, nothing has been “ramrodded through Congress” – because the Teapublican-controlled House won’t even vote on most measures passed in the Senate.

Remarkably, Bright conveniently forgets that it was the “Tea Partiers” in the House – not Democrats – who “single-handedly got the credit rating of a whole nation downgraded” in 2011 by threatening to default on the National Debt (which Republicans had created), and it was those same “Tea Partiers” – not Democrats – who shut down the government in 2013, costing the economy some $28 billion.

Likewise, Bright forgets that the ACA embraced the “conservative” – not the “liberal”—approach to confronting our “broken health care system”.  If some Congressmen were (and Bright remains) willfully ignorant of the recommendations of the Heritage Institute (endorsed by our own Club 20 and Colorado’s Republican Governor Bill Owens’ Blue Ribbon Commission), and/or the fact that the concept was successfully implemented by Republican Governor Mitt Romney in Massachusetts, that fact speaks for itself.

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