Printed letters, February 17, 2013

The growing support to designate the Colorado National Monument a national park is not “just a request for a simple name change,” but more importantly it is “just a great opportunity” to showcase Grand Valley’s scenic vistas and beautiful panoramas while improving the health of our local economy.

We believe this single action might be the most effective and least costly way to improve the economic vitality of the area that has come our way in the last hundred years, without any significant negative impact to our environment and our western way of life.

When economies are booming, resources such as national parks aren’t usually the focal points for economic opportunity. Today the situation is different, with high unemployment, a shrinking job market and limited ways to grow our economy responsibly.

Colorado National Monument currently injects an estimated $21 million per year into the local economy. However, nearby national parks such as Arches near Moab ($108 million), Mesa Verde in southwestern Colorado ($70 million) and Rocky Mountain near Estes Park ($300 million) generate considerably more for their local economies because they are national parks.

Many tourists who visit these nearby national parks fly into Grand Junction and pass right by Colorado National Monument (taking their tourist dollars with them) because it is not designated a national park and they don’t know it’s here for their enjoyment.

If our national monument were to be designated a national park, the Grand Valley could capitalize on an opportunity that is already here. If we act now with personal responsibility and respect for protecting our environment, we can preserve our quality of life while helping to sustain our future.

John Otto wrote in 1907, “I came here last year and found these canyons, and they feel like the heart of the world to me. I’m going to stay and build trails and promote this place, because it should be a national park.”

Now is the time to fulfill his dream.


High Country Orchards & Vineyards


School choice a major step
toward an affluent society

The recent Associated Press article about computerized machines taking over middle-class jobs does not describe it in the classic way, “problem vs. opportunity.”

The AP gives three scenarios, two very bad and one not good.

The bad possibilities are that good paying jobs are lost, along with the ability to sustain a large middle class, and that there are no jobs at all for most citizens.

The least pessimistic possibility is that, given the right kind of retraining, folks can eke out a living.

This kind of thinking comes from those who promote big government. They see technology as causing problems that need to be fixed by the government.

We who think “small government” see opportunity.

After all, people are smart enough to not only get jobs as technology improves, but also to have better paying, more fun jobs.

The middle class and those striving to move up there are quite capable of learning the ropes.

They don’t need big government to give them the “right” training, although government could help by getting out of the way.

It could simply give vouchers. A voucher system would allow parents and students to find the school in which kids can have the best shot at getting ahead.

Schools run by labor unions and politicians place teacher longevity above diligence and intelligence.

Freedom to choose one’s own school would be a great step forward into a high tech, affluent society.


Grand Junction

County sheriffs lauded
for gun-control stance

Kudos to the county sheriffs of Colorado for the wonderful position paper on possible gun control legislation.

I cannot adequately express how proud I am of our sheriffs for vowing to uphold the Constitution and for noting that more gun control laws will not stop the horrific multiple-shooting tragedies.

Statistics prove and common sense verifies that more gun laws are not the answer.

Law-abiding citizens are the only people affected by laws; others will find ways to get guns. The problem is not that people can get guns, but that people want to kill. 

Like the sheriffs, I agree that “deinstitutionalization” is a factor in such shootings. I also believe that behavior modification drugs, which can have devastating emotional side effects, are overprescribed when adults do not want to deal with “boys being boys.”

I think that too often parents don’t parent, either because they don’t know how or they don’t want to give up their time.

Prolonged exposure to violent video games and television may be a factor when there are no parental controls and input. Kids given everything may not learn how to deal with adversity.

We’ve taken God and morality out of our schools and raised kids with no concept of heaven, hell or an omnipotent presence watching them.

And government payments have too often replaced fathers, without supplying the masculine role model children need.

There may be many causes, but more gun control is not a solution. I thank Colorado sheriffs for recognizing and publicizing that.




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