Printed Letters: Sept. 17, 2017

City must fund serious matters over ‘fun’
The city of Grand Junction was able to get the streets improved (it takes time). It’s great! Now folks want the city to pony up tax money to build and then staff a community center. However, a huge percentage of the people supporting this project do not live in the city. Their taxes won’t pay for it.

Those wanting a winter swimming pool can go to the large Orchard Mesa Community Center or Fruita and pay a small admission or buy a pass, just as they would have to if Grand Junction had such a facility.

Grand Junction has two serious matters: too few cops and dangerously low fire and emergency protection for our population. The police department for a city our size should have several more uniform cops from where it is and three to seven more investigators — so enforcement and case investigations are lacking. For those who gripe about red light runners or increased street crime, now you know why.

The national fire organization that sets standards for the entire U.S. wants a five-minute response time — we get it around town but not the north area. It’s way longer there. Speed is especially critical if a structure fire or heart attack is called in up there. They need a north end fire station, especially with the closest two stations nearly always busy. A life-saving response may have to come from downtown or the Redlands, and that may take too long.

The city should work on funding for more cops and to get a fire station built and operational soon on city property in that area. That fire station need not be fully staffed. Get a single engine and expand equipment and personnel needs later, but at least they would have initial fire and lifesaving paramedics in a few minutes. For the city, it really is a financial choice of citizen life and death or “fun.”

Grand Junction

3A and 3B won’t solve problem of inadequate education
How interesting to read in the Sept. 13 Sentinel that the bond measure and mill levy override desired by District 51 would grow the economy and employment. Who knew we could simply tax ourselves into prosperity? Now, you have to ask yourselves why the county and city leaders did not exact large taxes on the populace during the previous seven-plus years when our economy was so depressed, if taxing the public results in such an economic boom.

The fact is taxing the public does not result in growing the economy. When money is taken in the form of taxes from people, often from those who can least afford it, the alternative use of this money is removed from the economy. The economy does not grow.

The most important factor affecting student learning is the teacher. Successful schools wisely invest in their teachers and in the effectiveness of their teachers. New buildings, layers of administration, and computers will not raise the academic performance of students.

At the end of the day student achievement is the only measure by which a school district is judged. Tax measures 3A and 3B will do nothing to solve the problem of an inadequately educated student population.

Grand Junction

A few ways to deal with the traumas happening around us
Hurricanes. Earthquakes. Devastating fires and floods. Political strife. Racial division. Immigrants and refugees. War. School and workplace violence. The next global, regional or local tragedy — the world overwhelms these days.

Humans we are wired for empathy, and with the amount of traumatic experiences we are exposed to every day on television and social media, it seems like we are unable to take a break from heartbreak and anticipating the next disaster. So, how does one effectively navigate through the traumas?

Firstly, be kind, including to yourself. Trauma and fear grow in isolation so reach out to others; it will benefit both them and you. Making a thoughtful “caring contact” outreach every day to let someone know you are thinking of them will buoy spirits and strengths, and it can be as simple as a short text or phone call.

Protect yourself and your loved ones, especially children and adolescents, from the non-stop traumatizing images we see around the clock on television and social media. Immersing oneself in the 24/7 coverage has been shown to induce “secondary trauma” — stress resulting from empathizing with a traumatized or suffering person. Turn the screen off, you will feel much more peaceful.

Make a difference in your own backyard. You may not be able to support disaster recovery and relief efforts across the globe, but you can volunteer locally and ease some of the suffering happening right here to in the community.

These are just a few ways to deal with what is happening around us and create a mental health toolbox we can use to our benefit, but sometimes dealing with trauma does takes working with a mental health professional. When that is the case, please know that there are many resources in the community and at Mind Springs Health. We are here to help.

President & CEO, Mind Springs Health/West Springs Hospital

Vote yes on 3A and 3B for 
SD51 to move forward
Growing up in the Grand Valley, I always thought I was getting a great education. My teachers were passionate about the subjects they taught and they pushed me and my peers to challenge ourselves in our educational pursuits. But as I’ve traveled the state and the country for extracurricular activities, I’ve come to learn I’ve been missing out on a lot.

I go to school 165 days a year. The average American student goes 180. By the time I graduate in the spring, I’ll have missed out on more than a year of education compared to the kids I’ll be competing with for jobs, internships, and college.

As a student, I see the change that needs to be made in facilities, resources, and learning environment. Our district isn’t asking for much, just the basic needs that they lost during the budget cuts of the recession. These needs should be the right of every American student. We haven’t invested in public education since I’ve been in kindergarten. Years from now, we will look back on this vote as a transformative time for Mesa County, regardless of whether this passes.

As local citizens, we have the chance to decide whether we want to alter the regressive trend Mesa County has been going toward. In measures 3A and 3B we have the power to make the right decision for School District 51 to move forward. This isn’t just a measure for money; this is a measure to change the lives of 22,000 kids.

I’ll have graduated by the time these measures go into effect but I know how important they are to my younger peers. I’ll be doing everything I can to make sure the kids in this community get the same chances afforded to every other American student. Vote YES on 3A and 3B this November.


Refuge should stay closed to fossil fuel development
We are one of the more than 100 Colorado companies that recently signed onto a letter to Sen. Cory Gardner requesting that the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge remain closed to fossil fuel development.

Protection for the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge has been supported by Democrats and Republicans alike for decades. President Trump’s call for drilling in the Arctic Refuge in his 2018 budget is a drastic departure from the bipartisan support for protection the refuge has enjoyed for decades.

Drilling in the Refuge will have a minimal impact on our national budget but will have devastating effects on the Gwich’in people living near the arctic, as well as our nations Porcupine Caribou Herd.

Sen. Gardner, please hear our business voice and do not allow fossil fuel development in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Pablo’s Pizza, Grand Junction

Account of courageous 
youth was heartbreaking
Ms. McIntyre’s compassionate accounting of the kindness of the educators in Orchard Mesa Middle School in honoring young Mark Barniville broke this old Marine’s combat hardened heart. My respect to them all. Young Mark’s courageous decision will live with me forever.



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Mr. Shults is quite correct in hid demand that cities and other municipalities fund what needs to be done first, and only after those have been paid for, look to other options such as “fun”. But, how many people does he know who can look at it in that way as far too many would rather have their recreation funded, even if people have no food to eat, no place to stay, no clothes on their back, no medical care, etc.  Having their “recreating” subsidized, they consider far more important for, so they believe, that is an entitlement.

Mr. Shults speaks only to Grand Junction but that is also prevalent, not only in other municipalities on the Western Slopes such as Delta, Montrose, etc.  But has become all too common throughout the entire country.

It is interesting to note that a young person, Veniece Miller already recognizes that she has been “short changed” in her education and that by the time she graduates, she will have missed out on almost an entire year of “school time” compared to other students against whom she will have to “compete”.  Hopefully she will not stop here or be discouraged by what she was deprived of, and for no other reason than the fact that these supposed adults who should have insured that she was provided all the opportunities possible by investing in her future did not want to do so.  They didn’t want to pay for it.

Most don’t even realize where these “extended summer breaks” came from.  Their basis was meant for an agricultural economy when young people were needed on the farms in order to plant and harvest crops.  It was therefore based on an agricultural economy.  Unfortunately, and only because many did not want to go to school all year long, did not want to teach all year long, etc., it became institutionalized.

Students in other countries attend school almost all year long, and the benefits show when they come up against those who were educated under our so-called American education system.  In fact, when they attend American colleges and universities, they consider them a breeze.

Can’t tax our way to prosperity and that’s a fact!  Agree that some district decisions are headshakers,but the fact is the board and administration are great stewards of the taxpayer dollars when in the face of 10’s of millions of dollars in cuts to education they have made the most of what was left to provide the best possible educational environment for students.  It is shameful to see the condition of campuses and school supplies, including computers and other technology needs for students, as a direct result of these cuts!  OMMS should have been leveled ten years ago and rebuilt!  At some point ya gotta trust that people will do the right thing for the masses and kids who deserve a chance!

Mr. Phillips, you said “Can’t tax our way to prosperity and that’s a fact! ” No, it isn’t a fact. How many roads, ports, airports and countless other things have been financed with taxes to pay off the debt. They ere not contributors to our prosperity?
Our economy wouldn’t work if it wasn’t for available funds for borrowing. Companies borrow without regard to the cost of doing so versus the return they get beyond the cost of doing so? Why is this country so proud of the infrastructure we have built up? It was all built out of business reinvestment of the proceeds of operations of private companies? From a government standpoint it may take years, not months, for the payoff but it has paid off far more than the debt that was created. I don’t know if your statement was a gratuitous throwaway appealing to conservatives or you were serious but what government expense, paid for with tax money, was not an investment in either the infrastructure, the people or our defense? All wasted and not an indication of prosperity heavily financed by debt?

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