Email letters, March 19, 2014

Foster and his team have enhanced fine academic institutions

Thank you for the article on Colorado Mesa University under the leadership of President Tim Foster.  His team and he certainly have a tremendous number of accomplishments of which to be proud, and members of our community (particularly our young people) are the beneficiaries. 

It should also be noted that we owe a great debt of gratitude to all of those who made Mesa Junior College and Mesa State College fine academic institutions. Mesa historically has been a teaching college in which students did not feel like numbers but were able to get the individual help and instruction they needed. 

Mesa has enjoyed an outstanding reputation among Colorado’s institutions of higher learning, and seeing the enhancement of that fine tradition is very gratifying.

Grand Junction

Gulliford’s worries about hares not based on ‘settled science’

It is understandable that a seemingly smart man hiking in the beautiful mountains of Colorado hunting elk could get a little dizzy in his thinking. It’s not so easy to understand that the same man, months later, sitting at a computer keyboard, could still be dizzy in the head. Yet, it’s happened as evidenced by Andrew Gulliford’s commentary that snowshoe hares may provide clues about climate change.

Apparently, Gulliford saw some white snowshoe hares where there was little snow and became alarmed that, indeed, climate change might be responsible. Never mind that in Colorado we are at the extreme southern edge of snowshoe range. Never mind that we might be experiencing a population high that pushes some hares out of their normal range where snow occurs. Never mind that it has been happening for years. I shot the only snowshoes of my life in the winter of ‘76-‘77 when I lived in Gunnison, because there was little snow and they could be spotted from 300-400 yards and then stalked to shooting range.

I’d hazard a guess that if snowshoes have existed for 500,000 years (I’m not sure how long) that there have been thousands of years when they were white and there was little snow. I’d bet it even occurred in the ice ages they have lived through.  I’d also bet that somewhere it’s occurring every year.

Gulliford’s paranoia is fueled by what he prefers to believe in, as he cites the “difficult times” polar bears are having. This is regardless of the fact that, while some populations are declining, polar bears are increasing overall. In some areas it is thought that there are too many and the bears should be harvested.

His main problem stems from the fact that his “evidence” is anecdotal and/or from small populations. Anecdotal is not “scientific,” and what is happening to a small population can be completely at odds with the population overall.  So, his additional evidence of butterflies, frogs and flowers is not useful in understanding what is going on. But, since he believes it is useful in explaining climate change, his hysteria is compounded and he isn’t thinking rationally.

If I could make a recommendation to Gulliford, it would be that he should take a big breath and realize that the “settled science” isn’t. We are woefully ignorant of understanding climate change, and anecdotal evidence and small populations do not explain much of anything.

Grand Junction

Radical Christianity does not succumb to fog of prevailing cultural values

John Reid despairs over the GOP platform being “radical Christian” by “opposing abortion and research with unwanted fetuses.” There’s little danger in either party becoming too “radically Christian.”

Generally speaking, both parties feel pressure to pander to the public, renew the tired theme of the “American Dream” with each voting cycle and sniff the winds of culture to see what’s trending at any given moment.  Any significant commitment to radical Christianity would be the death knell for either party.

However, if some who identify as GOP believe that life is precious and that the issue of aborting the unborn has at least a greater moral and social concern — and consequence — than flushing the morning’s breakfast leftovers down the garbage disposal, then so be it.  Surely, not all who share this concern are members of a single political party.

As for Reid’s reference to “independent women who believe their bodies and minds are their own, and no one has the right to tell them what they can do with them,” it is just this attitude that wreaks havoc in the lives —  and relationships — of both women and men, and in society as a whole.

It’s exactly “radical Christianity” that declares that our lives are not our own, but that we were bought with a price (I Corinthians 6:19-20). It declares a freedom “from” bondage to self, not a freedom to live as we wish, regardless of how our choices affect us or others.  

Radical Christianity (the only kind worth its salt) has never been, nor has it ever intended to be, accommodating to the fog of prevailing cultural values, but rather, distinctive salt and light for healing and wholeness.


CMU is the only bright economic spot in valley

I bet you get a lot of calls from politicians here and a lot of threats from some business people who are unhappy with some of your articles exposing the horrible state of the economy.

I wrote Commissioner John Justman about the lagging economy here, and he responded with “You are sure a merry woman.” I asked him what plans they had to improve the economy. He didn’t respond to that question and just said that I was a merry woman. That indicates to me that these politicians are incapable of handling this economy and I have suggested that they hire help.

They have two stories as to why this economy is bad: 1) The government stopped drilling with their
rules and 2) Ombamacare.

I have pointed out that drilling has gone on in other places and just a month ago Colorado has approved the only drilling rules nationwide that several states are looking to duplicate. Obamacare, well, apparently everyone else factored it intio their economy because they’re moving on , except Grand Junction, but they have had two reasons why things haven’t turned around and boy they are sticking to them!  Most people around here still cite these as reasons as to why it’s bad here.

I suggest that what could help is using the leadership of Colorado Mesa University and maybe bringing in people who are educated, instead of being in their positions because of getting elected after they managed to convince people here they were leaders.

After all your article in Sunday’s paper, the university is the only bright spot in this valley. Of course, they would need to be smart enough to follow their direction,  which I don’t think the commissioners, chamber or council would be, because if they were they should have partnered with the university, tapping its knowledge.

It is very apparent our politicians have no idea what they’re doing and need help.


City Council follows callous lead of GOP

Today’s Sentinel editorial – “No help for homeless vets” – offers a sad commentary on our “conservative” community’s real attitude toward this nation’s military veterans – homeless or not.
On Feb. 27 Senate Republicans filibustered a veterans bill that would provide increased medical, dental and educational benefits to many of our 22 million veterans.
“Conservatives” claimed that we can’t afford the $21 billion price tag for the bill, even though most of those monies had already been appropriated (but not expended) for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan – where thousands of intended beneficiaries bravely served.
The real reason for the Republicans’ shameful filibuster was Democrats’ refusal to add increased economic sanctions against Iran to the bill. Thus, the same “conservatives” who routinely rattle their sabers – and thereby move us closer to another war and thus more veterans – refuse to fulfill their commitments to those who loyally fulfilled the missions necessitated by our blunder (perpetrated by the same “NeoCons”) into Iraq.
Apparently, the Grand Junction City Council is more concerned about allowing our town to become a “magnet” for panhandlers rather than demonstrating reciprocal loyalty to the brave men and women whose lives were at least interrupted – if not shattered – by their voluntary military service.
However, because we also host one of the finest Veterans Medical Centers in the nation, Grand Junction will always be a “magnet” for veterans – including those who are forced by financial circumstances or whose compromised mental health causes them to “choose” to live on the streets and/or under bridges.
Apparently, the “conservative” majority on our City Council is simply following Senate Republicans’ lead in arguing that “we can’t afford” another $110,000 to support and expand Sister Bland’s already successful project to provide affordable shelter to homeless veterans, despite our projected $19 million year-end cash reserve.
Shame on us!
Grand Junction

Substitute teacher rewards students for dedication, discipline

Recently, as a substitute teacher, I got to school early and found the students’ chairs stacked up on their desks from the previous day.  I wrestled with “to do, or not?  My heart convinced me to take them down as a reward for this 12th-grade Advanced Placement class.

An early-arriving senior told me the students always took their chairs down. After class started, I asked them, “Do you know how Mr. Mike gave you favor this morning?” A student answered, “You are not going to make us to our assignment.” They laughed.

I replied, “Sorry, I can’t do that, but because you’re dedicated and disciplined students, I felt led to gift you with taking all the chairs down.” Several moaned with sweet expressions.

I encouraged them to continue on their hard road to success, and that more and bigger favors will overpower them.




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