Printed Letters: April 17, 2014

Show manufacturing workers the money to keep them here
It was with some amusement that I read Gary Harmon’s article on the Western Colorado Manufacturing Summit. It seems those in attendance have some concerns about the lack of  availability of skilled workers in the area.

The article described how business people seem to have a lot of reasons for the shortage of employable people with technical abilities.

Of course, the real reason skilled workers don’t stay in the region wasn’t reported, and that is simply that people with valuable career skills in the manufacturing field are severely underpaid in Grand Junction and the valley. Why would a machinist with 20 years experience settle for the maximum wage of $15 an hour working for Western Colorado business when that person with a valuable training and work history can earn $20 to $30 an hour on the Front Range and even more in California or other parts of the nation.

For decades conservative business associations promoted the Grand Valley as an area where a business could move to and enjoy paying blue-collar workers exceptionally low wages, and those groups have worked together to keep the wages for the average worker below the national average.

As the old saying goes, “now the chickens have come home to roost” for manufacturing companies that think executives should be paid 100 times more than the people doing the real work on a shop floor.  I just have to  laugh and say,“Good luck finding skilled workers, manufacturing folks.  We’re on to your greedy little game.”

Grand Junction

CASA volunteer urges others 
to help kids have a voice
We have all experienced it. We read in the paper cases of abuse and neglect of children within our community —  the most recent case being that of Heather Jensen. It shakes us to the core and breaks our hearts, and we wonder how this can happen.  We might ask, “Why isn’t someone doing something?”

The system cannot change the epidemic of child abuse in our community; only we can. One person at a time, volunteering to help these children who desperately need an adult in their lives who will not abandon them and who will stand up in court for them and be their voice.

When I realized that I needed to be part of the solution, I searched our community’s resources and found Court Appointed Special Advocates. I made the call, and after my interview with their staff I knew in my heart I wanted to become a CASA volunteer — a child’s voice in court. The training classes were full of information, and a network of other volunteers made me feel as if I were part of an amazing program.

Now, as a CASA volunteer, I am working my first case and I know this is what I was meant to do. I did not have a CASA as an abused child, but now I’m helping change the lives of children who are suffering in silence as I once did.  Alone, I can’t help them all, but together we can. We can help one child at a time and make a difference.

CASA is holding an orientation for new volunteers May 1. I hope you’ll consider joining me. One child at a time, we can make a difference. We can be a child’s voice in court.

Grand Junction

GJSO gave schoolchildren 
fine performance of ‘Carmen’

What a wonderful experience to attend the Friday performance of the short version of “Carmen” by the Grand Junction Symphony Orchestra for elementary students in District 51. Conductor Kirk Gustafson, Buffy Baggott, Mark Thomsen, Kelly Anderson, Kathleen Ruhleder, Dara Fubler, Chris Arroyo and all the rest of the cast did a personal performance for these young attendees.

The thrill for us was the introductory arrangement by the orchestra of “Jaunty Cricket.” It was composed by our granddaughter, Royanna Crawford, who received the Crystal Baton award. 

How fortunate we are as Grand Junction residents to be able to appreciate our local talents.

Grand Junction

Nevada rancher raising cattle on public lands is stealing
No! Tell me it isn’t so. Surely Cliven Bundy in Nevada does not have the right to raise his cattle on our public lands year after year for free. And then people in support of his theft show up with guns to threaten our public servants, the BLM employees, who are removing the animals.

This is so wrong. Shame on Bundy for stealing natural resources from U.S. citizens.

Grand Junction

Xcel sends mixed messages about efficacy of solar energy
It’s good to see Xcel is continuing to offer its customers the chance to buy clean, renewable solar energy. There is clearly a demand for this, and Xcel should be doing everything it can to ease the transition to renewables.

Unfortunately, its leaders are contradicting themselves by opposing net-metering benefits for those who generate their own solar energy at home. Why not cut the cost of building huge solar arrays, and instead encourage individuals to install their own solar panels?

Xcel clearly is sending mixed messages. All solar is good solar, so let’s do everything to make sure that is accessible for every person in Colorado.



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