Printed Letters: August 13, 2017

Context about coal and climate would provide perspective

I was surprised Sentinel reporter Gary Harmon didn’t include any context, about climate change or about coal markets, in his piece “Coal looks to make a comeback in state.” After all, the need to address climate change is part of the back story. As is the destination of the dwindling number of coal trains.

Domestically, coal is primarily challenged by the glut of natural gas, but also by the rapid approach of parity between cleaner energy and fossil fuels. Globally, coal markets are likewise constrained by an abundance of gas and robust growth of renewables, made more so by policy commitments to address the carbon pollution driving human-caused climate change.

Coal has served its purpose in powering America. But its reign will not be forever or even until we dig the last piece from the Earth. Other than by a shrinking number of boosters, there is little disagreement that coal is in long-term decline. The likelihood of a price on carbon pollution in the future could be the final nail, but even that will not be the cause.

Climate change demands prompt action and Colorado can lead the way. And — regardless if one believes the overwhelming science or not — sound economic policy should accept the inevitability of change and prepare. Wishing things otherwise will not make them so.

Yes, coal may enjoy a brief rebound under more favorable policies, but that will not reverse the trend. The Stone Age, the late Randy Udall used to be fond of saying, did not end because we ran out of stones. Some context about coal markets, trends, and climate reality, would provide a more balanced perspective for readers in understanding our challenges and finding solutions. Because we all want Colorado to be part of a thriving and healthy future.

PETE KOLBENSCHLAG
Paonia

Outdoor Recreation Coalition endorses Citizens for D51

Outdoor recreation is an important part of the Grand Valley’s culture, lifestyle and economic viability. The Outdoor Recreation Coalition (ORC) was formed to ensure that as our economic impact grows, we continue to serve the community that we rely upon. We owe a lot to the Grand Valley — not only its steadfast commitment of support to our industry, but to the folks that continue to support the local businesses and lands that make our coalition so strong. Further, we believe a healthy, thriving community starts with a strong commitment to its future leaders, business owners and citizens.

Which is why we are endorsing Citizens for School District 51, the campaign supporting the bond and mill levy to repair our schools, equip our kids and give them the tools needed to compete in the 21st Century.

The dynamic new economy has fostered a workforce that is looking for jobs in a place they want to live, play and raise a family. A good school system and modern infrastructure are key metrics potential employees measure when considering whether a community is a good fit. The ORC’s council is made up of small business owners who experience firsthand the challenges to recruit skilled labor to relocate here.

Our local graduates are at a disadvantage as soon as they enter the workforce:

Experience: Our kids go to school 18 days fewer than the national average — an entire year less by the time they graduate.

Tools for the job: At a time when digital literacy is critical to their future, our kids go to schools where there is less than one computer or tablet for every three kids.

Industry knowledge: Our kids are learning from textbooks over 20 years old.

Facilities: Many of our schools are run down and dilapidated.

We must prepare our kids for the workforce by investing in them. The bond and mill levy do just that by addressing all of these issues directly.

As for companies relocating here, more than 30 percent of the Grand Junction Economic Partnership’s current prospects come from within the outdoor recreation industry, many of which are manufacturers. The modern outdoor industry makes use of high-tech materials, innovative design, skilled labor, and modern marketing to succeed, all of which are built upon a foundation of good education. Further, they employ educated, skilled and high-earning employees who contribute positively to our local economy.

The district is not asking for much. The average homeowner will pay less than $10 a month. We already pay some of the lowest property taxes, not just in Colorado, but in the nation; this is an incredibly affordable measure, even for commercial property owners.

As business owners, we are continually investing in our employees with updated training materials, new technology and equipment. As a community, we must do the same for our children. In fact, it is not just lack of any new investment, our schools have seen more than $40 million in local budget cuts and even more massive cuts from the state over the past decade on top of that. We have an opportunity in November to change that. It’s up to us to give our kids a chance to compete in the real world and succeed. Vote Yes for the bond and mill levy. Vote Yes for our future.

OUTDOOR RECREATION
 COALITION OF THE GRAND VALLEY

Consider supporting children as a CASA volunteer advocate

As we near back-to-school time, many children get excited to see their friends from school and share their amazing summertime stories. But some children have a different perspective. While away from the structure and safe-haven of school, they lived their summer in uncertainty, often lacking food, and have even witnessed or experienced violence. Those children are happy to return to school because, for them, it is a place of safety, consistency and normalcy, with teachers and school friends.

I have been an educator in Mesa County for many years and have seen some of those children removed from their homes and placed in foster care for their own safety. I have also had the opportunity and privilege of working alongside several Court Appointed Special Advocates volunteer advocates as they have supported those children. CASA volunteers work with families, agencies, and our court system to ensure that children placed in foster care have their voices heard as decisions are being made about their lives.

I’ve seen firsthand how CASA volunteers work side by side with school staff to support children who have experienced trauma and help them overcome the emotional challenges, giving them a chance to feel safe enough to learn.

I have seen how the advocates spend their time talking with teachers, families, and most importantly, the child, making certain that their voices, and hearts, are heard in court. Children who have suffered abuse or neglect and are forced to deal with the resulting trauma can have better outcomes when all those involved work together for the child’s best interest.

As we embark on a new school year, I hope you’ll consider supporting children in our community as a CASA volunteer advocate. You can learn more at the next Volunteer Info Night, Thursday. Aug. 24 at 5:30 p.m. To register, go to AChildsVoice.org.

TRISHA GIALLANZA
CASA board member
Grand Junction

Pet owners need to keep their animals under control

What happened to a person’s right to protect their home and property? Maybe in Mr. Haynes’ neighborhood firearms are not allowed to be discharged, so drowning a varmint would be a logical choice.

If Lisa DeShazer loved her cats so much, she should have kept them on her own property and not destroying the neighbor’s yards. She should be ordered to pay for the damages to Mr. Haynes’ yard and lawn. The animal shelters are already full of irresponsible people’s pets.

So keep your pets under control and know what they are up to.

ERIC CARLSON
Whitewater


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