Printed Letters: April 18, 2017

City should do more than just repair roads

Now that the voters have approved 2B there will be more money going into our streets. We have to take advantage of this rare influx of money to change the way the city does things. We can no longer manage reactively and for the short term.

Anyone who has driven in this city for the last decade knows how much more congestion there is on almost every street. Traffic continues to increase; yet we are still driving on the same old World War II-era roads.

We have to start looking to the future. Twenty to 40 years down the road our traffic will be four-fold. If we keep going the way we are it will be complete gridlock. With this financial influx, we have to make changes that count. Don’t just “rebuild” our roads; improve them. Add right turns lanes, acceleration lanes (so you don’t have to turn into moving traffic), and add center lanes.

We have to do what we can to keep the through traffic moving while the side traffic turns, starts and stops in their own lanes, and then merges in and out of the traffic flow.

I keep seeing missed opportunities: One is the new City Market. When you turn right onto F Road from northbound 12th you turn into the traffic lane instead of an acceleration lane. Another is the rebuild of First Street; there will not be traffic flow improvements there either. It will be a shame to spend all that money on our roads and end up with only new asphalt. Planners need to start thinking 30-50 years out and quit thinking 50 years back.

Grand Junction

Avalon offers vibrant arts and is a venue for many events

I must take issue with Mr. Roy Bailey’s statement of April 9 regarding the Avalon, “All they do is show old movies and a few old has-beens.” The Avalon was host to Judy Collins last February, is a popular venue for weddings and other events in the new wing, offers “Dinner and a Movie” where, yes, some classic films are shown in addition to more current ones, and is home to the Grand Junction Symphony. I should imagine that Judy Collins would take offense at being labeled a “has-been;” I most assuredly do.

I urge Mr. Bailey to come to our final season performance on either Saturday, April 22 or Sunday, April 23 and hear some very fine choral and symphonic music offered by fellow community members who are committed to bringing vibrant arts to Grand Junction.

Grand Junction

Congress should support 
environmental education funds

A few weeks ago six members of the Colorado Alliance for Environmental Education visited Sen. Cory Gardner’s State Director Chuck Poplstein in their Denver office to urge Sen. Gardner to defend and support environmental education funding from both the EPA and NOAA. Environmental education needs Congress’ support. It is the role of environmental educators to help people understand and be engaged in activities that create the high quality of life we enjoy in Colorado.

Friends and neighbors can support these efforts by advocating for environmental education at the federal level.

Since 1992, Colorado environmental education providers have been awarded 137 grants investing almost $3 million in our state from the National Environmental Education Act programs. Since 2006, six grants have been awarded in Colorado bringing more than $3.5 million to our state from the NOAA BWET and Environmental Literacy Grants. Specifically, in 2014 Cloud City Conservation Center in Leadville received $91,000 and in 2013 Yampatika Outdoor Awareness Association in Steamboat Springs received $80,273.

We need to restore funding to the Office of Environmental Education and to support NOAA’s environmental education program — and we want members of Congress from both sides of the aisle to support this important work. Please ask our members of Congress to support environmental education funding.


Trump’s actions show that U.S. is no longer a pushover

I, for one, am elated by the recent actions taken by President Trump. Specifically, the missiles into Syria and the recent use of the MOAB in Afghanistan. The U.S. has finally sent a message that we are no longer the pushover of the last eight years, when Iran could capture our sailors and aircraft could buzz our ships — dangerously close — and face no action on our part to stop such instances.

Think again, World. The U.S. is no longer a pushover!

Grand Junction


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Because April has been such a consequential month in post-WWII U.S. military history, Tuesday’s letter from Creighton Bricker (“Trump’s actions show that U.S. is no longer a pushover”) is particularly timely.

Of course, first, the U.S. has never been a “pushover”, but the uninformed (like Bricker and, apparently, Trump) too often confuse prudence and caution for weakness, and then mistakenly substitute
“shock and awe” for a coherent longer-term strategy.
Thus, on April 3, 1965, President Johnson initiated a four-week bombing campaign in a futile attempt to destroy North Viet Nam’s
“lines of communication”.  On April 23, 1965, he ordered the 173rd Airborne Brigade to Viet Nam – thereby beginning a series of deployments that would eventually exceed 536,000 pairs of “boots on the ground”.  At that juncture, only some 400 U.S. service members had been killed in Viet Nam – but another 58,000 would follow (along with 153,000 wounded). 

Similarly, on April 9, 2003, U.S. Marines penetrated to Firdos Square in Baghdad and assisted local Iraqi’s in pulling down the stature of Saddam Hussein that had stood there since April 2002.  On May 1, 2003, President Bush prematurely proclaimed “Mission Accomplished” from the deck of the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln.  At that juncture, only 140 U.S. service members had died in Operation Iraqi Freedom – but another 4347 have followed since (along with at least – officially—32,226 wounded).

A review of the budgetary history of the Veterans Administration suggests that neither LBJ nor Bush adequately anticipated the impact of thousands of wounded veterans on the VA’s medical system.  Indeed, some estimate that the total number actually wounded by that war is closer to 500,000—taking into account all those “who returned from their deployments with traumatic brain injuries, post-traumatic stress, depression, hearing loss, breathing disorders, diseases, and other long-term health problems”.

So, while Bricker and others relish the notion of U.S. bombs
“bursting in air” over Syria and Afghanistan, those who fail to learn from April’s history may be doomed to repeat it.

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