Printed Letters: August 9, 2017
Community should support schools, safety
The county is facing requests for increased funding for public safety and public education. Sunday’s headline: “Vision of region as a technology hub stalled without big local buy-in.”
In June, a Dutch entrepreneur attending a CMU economic conference told a New Yorker magazine reporter that he’d been thinking about opening a production center in Grand Junction but he’s concerned that the local culture might be too inward-looking — “whether they want to open to the world.” He spoke about crime and insufficient public safety funding. Last week, a letter writer noted that new air service to Los Angeles means that cartels can now fly drugs directly into Grand Junction.
“If you keep doing things the way you’ve always done them, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.” It’s undeniable that some of the things “you’ve always got” in the valley are positive; but other things we’ve “got” are negative. High rates of substance use disorders, crime, suicide, and low rates of graduation from high school and post-high school training or education impact families every day.
You don’t always need new buildings for a good education, or superintendents with unjustifiable compensation. But low community support for schools and safety hurts many ways. If you want kids to know they are worth investing in, then actions speak louder than words. Quality education prepares young people for success in the changing economy. If you want to attract young families and relocating or starting businesses and the jobs and tax revenue they bring, you must invest in schools and public safety.
Quality education and public safety cost money. Not having quality education and public safety costs a lot more. Change will happen. You can react to it and fight it and get the same bad outcomes or plan for and invest in it to our community’s advantage.
Local family invaluable to valley’s tennis community
The Elliott family deserves our thanks. By pouring their lives into creating opportunities to play tennis, they have made Grand Junction a better place to live and recreate.
For decades, they have successfully run the Western Slope Open (formerly Taco Bell) tournament, which wouldn’t take place without their dedication to giving our citizens of all ages a chance to compete.
Elliott sisters Kathy, Sandra, Carol, and Tish run drills for adults twice weekly. Under the sisters’ positive and knowledgeable instruction, I have been able to improve my game while making new friends as a bonus.
Kathy also skillfully coordinates the USTA and city leagues — no small task — and some of our area high school tennis teams have been lucky enough to have talented Elliotts as coaches.
My 5-year-old son has seen my excitement over the sport, which inspired him to ask if he could take lessons. Who did a friend recommend? Mesa County Tennis — a program run by Ron Elliott, his brother Dave, and the capable young instructors they recruit.
Tennis is a great positive outlet in my life, and it wouldn’t be the same without the opportunities for play that the Elliotts provide. They are not only great instructors, but also fun, kind, and hard-working people. We are lucky to have them as a part of our community, for tennis and beyond.
Urge BLM to take a look at plan’s possible negative effects
Last month, the Bureau of Land Management released the updated Environmental Assessment of Fram Operating, LLC’s Whitewater Master Development Plan.
This revised assessment now accounts for the horizontal hydraulic fracturing that will be done, and addresses some concerns over its impact on our wildlife. However, many local environmental groups are still very concerned about the possible adverse effects on such threatened species as hookless cactus, Colorado River trout, and kit fox, to name only a few of the dozen or more species that could be impacted.
In addition, several Colorado Natural Heritage Potential Conservation Areas could be adversely affected, not to mention our own drinking water. There is a growing coalition of individuals and groups attempting to raise awareness about this problematic plan, and we as citizens can help by submitting public comments to the BLM.
Luckily, we have been able to extend the public comment period, making the new deadline Aug. 28. We must urge the BLM to take a hard look at the possible effects on our land, water, air and wildlife. If you are concerned about this dangerous proposal, please write to the BLM and tell them that you oppose this plan; ask them to require an Environmental Impact Statement in order to address these concerns. Together, we can make a difference and protect our amazing outdoors.
Sierra Club Conservation Chair