Printed letters, May 19, 2013

After reading Bill Grant’s column about the travel plan proposed by BLM, I had to respond. My question to Grant is: What restrictions have the county commissioners put on the “alternative” voice you are supporting?

It seems to me they have invited all parties to present their positions and argue their proposals. As usual, Grant has missed the entire focus of this BLM plan. It is not about who would get the most access to our public lands, but if anyone would ultimately be allowed access.

The only plan on the table that does not impact access for one special group or another is the existing plan. The restrictions the existing plan has effected are understood and accepted by all parties. BLM has been successful in pitting one group against the other to arrive at a new plan that will ultimately give it more control over all users. Regardless of which side of the recreation ball you are on, you are going to lose something, or maybe everything.

I know Grant is normally left-of-center with his columns. That is fine with me. I enjoy his commentary. However, I have also personally experienced the wrath of BLM on public lands throughout the western United States. I am not aware of any plan BLM has put in place that has increased or enhanced access to public lands.

How many of you remember the Sagebrush Revolution of the ‘70s? BLM works for us. Leave it alone.

JAMES O’MALLEY

Grand Junction

Action required on students 
who need remediation

Are we blind to school deficiencies?

Just over a week ago it was reported that all of the schools of higher learning in our state were reporting that more than 50 percent of new students were deficient in math, English or the sciences. These new students were required to take remedial studies in order to be able to handle first-year coursework.

Was anyone paying attention to this? There was not a word from our school district about this and no articles anywhere on how the schools in the state plan to change curriculum to address this problem.

It seems to me that there is a problem in what we teach our children that requires the above-average student to be tutored in essential subjects to be prepared for his or her first-year college courses.

Are we spending too much time on subjects deemed essential, but not required to be successful in college? Should we be looking at our core subjects to ensure that our children will be ready to continue?

I think it is time our school boards look at what it takes for these kids to move on and give them the requirements be successful. A thorough review of our schools’ curriculum is needed — and fast.

BOB MCCULLEY

Grand Junction

 

Michelle Wheatley is
a top-flight public servant

Michelle Wheatley has just wrapped up eight years of distinguished public service at Colorado National Monument and begins her new position as superintendent of Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument on Monday. Lucky are those fossils!

Michelle could run Yellowstone National Park or any national park, so talented is she. She distinguished herself when she capably managed Colorado National Monument for nine months as acting superintendent to high acclaim from staff and the community. She recently completed a four-month stint as acting superintendent at Grand Kohrs National Historic Site in Montana, where the staff and the community hoped she would stay.

This is a recurring theme wherever Michelle works: People don’t want her to leave. That is especially true at Colorado National Monument and throughout the Grand Valley.

During my tenure as superintendent at the monument, Michelle was my right arm, serving as deputy superintendent and visitor services chief. Together we initiated a variety of park infrastructure improvement projects, expanded community outreach and provided new services for visitors.

Under Michelle’s leadership, the monument’s first Division of Interpretation, Education and Visitor Services was established, and it serves over 450,000 visitors and 10,000 students annually.

Anywhere you venture in Colorado National Monument, Michelle’s contributions are evident: a vibrant educational program and junior ranger explorer’s day camp, the beautifully refurbished visitor center lobby and stunning new exhibits, new waysides along historic Rim Rock Drive and new web-based outreach and interpretive programs using the latest technologies.

Michelle served as the monument’s liaison to a multitude of partner organizations and agencies. She re-established respectful relationships with the Ute Tribes who, thanks entirely to her, now feel welcome at the monument.

Michelle represented the monument at year-long community discussions evaluating the benefits of the monument being legislated as a national park. Michelle dispelled recurring misinformation about potential limitations national park status would bring. She reminded the community there would be no change in air quality requirements, no change in access for Glade Park, no change to existing water rights. The national park designation would best recognize the nationally significant resources and compelling history of Colorado National Monument.

Michelle works tirelessly to carry out the National Park Service mission — protect park resources and serve park visitors. She embodies the highest standards of public service. Michelle is no bureaucrat but a dedicated public servant of the highest order.

Congratulations, Michelle and God- speed on your journey to Florissant.

JOAN ANZELMO

Former Superintendent

Colorado National Monument

Jackson, Wyo.



COMMENTS

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BLM-GJ needs an updated RMP, not one crafted 25-30 years ago.  Otherwise the agency will be increasingly challenged by all sides on its decisions.  The outdated, stale land use plan from the 80s is a liability to the agency unless it is made current.

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