Printed letters, September 27, 2013

My recent canoe trip along the lower Gunnison River, through the Dominguez-Escalante National Conservation Area, revealed an incredible learning landscape, rich with geologic wonders and wildlife, most notably birds.

River corridors such as this, which exist within protected landscapes, offer people of all ages and ability levels incredible access to unique, wild places. It is essential, for the continued enjoyment of human visitors and animal residents alike, that the resources and habitats found in these locations be protected, maintained and in some locations restored (tamarisk removal, etc).

The BLM must carefully review and manage river campsites, including access to them and potential registration for them, to ensure that the area is both protected and accessible.

I am very pleased the lower Gunnison River is located within a designated national conservation area. This allows the BLM to be thoughtful and thorough in planning for its future use and enjoyment by a diversity of interests.


Grand Junction

Pot on kids’ brains means 
trouble for their futures

New advances in developmental neuroscience from Harvard Medical School demonstrate that adolescent brains are uniquely vulnerable to the neurotoxic effects of pot. The earlier children start using the greater the permanent changes to brain structure and function.

Brains continue to grow into the mid-20s. This latter development is primarily in white matter, the part that forms connections between the various brain areas. The number and sophistication of these connections is criticall for thinking, memory and IQ.

Pot inhibits anandamide, an important regulator of brain activity, slowing many vital functions but, more importantly, preventing the formation of the linkages between neurons needed for higher-level processes.

Kids on pot acutely have muddled brains that impede learning and school work. Instead of learning how to cope with life’s problems, users miss out on personal and developmental growth. Younger age of first use increases the risk of dependence – 400 percent greater at 16 years of age than 21. It’s reported to be harder to kick than opiates.

Early pot use is associated with development of serious mental health disorders — up to six times increased risk of major depression, psychosis and schizophrenia. Teenage pot use leads to smaller brains, lower IQ, shorter adult height, increased testicular cancer, more car crashes, similar risk of lung disease and cancer as tobacco and adversely affects athletic performance.

Importantly, the pot our lawmakers toyed with as youths was only 20 percent as strong as the current version. It’s like beer versus vodka.

Changing laws have made it available and lack of enforcement leads to no punishment. Our children don’t have a chance against this stuff.

I’m not crying wolf. I’m trying to prevent this wolf from eating an entire generation’s brain one toke at a time.


Grand Junction


Small business owners know the risks of climate change

Vice President Joe Biden’s visit to Colorado this week to survey the damage caused by recent flooding highlights the increasing impact climate change, and the extreme weather it creates, has on small employers, consumers and our economy. The flooding caused an estimated $2 billion in damages to Colorado’s businesses and homes.

There’s no ignoring that Coloradans are being impacted by climate change and extreme weather. We need to think proactively about how to combat it.

Long before the rains hit our state, Small Business Majority asked small employers what they think about extreme weather. The majority said climate change and extreme weather are a serious problem that disrupts the economy and hurts small businesses. A third of small employers nationwide had been impacted by extreme weather.

The countless Colorado businesses affected by the wildfires earlier this summer and the recent heavy rains know all too well how extreme weather can act as a catalyst for catastrophe.

It’s critical we implement extreme weather preparedness plans to address climate change in the short term, and embrace smart, clean-energy policies that can help mitigate climate change and prompt innovation in the long term. Small businesses, and our nation, will be the better for it.


Colorado Outreach Manager

Small Business Majority



Republicans should focus 
on their elected duties

After wasting their time and ours by taking 40-plus votes to repeal the Affordable Care Act because it would be so harmful to the American populace, maybe the far righties ought to try a new approach. Allow Obamacace to be implemented as scheduled, and, if it is as harmful as they claim, Americans will call for its repeal, both Democrats and Republicans, at the ballot box.

In the meantime, maybe they should concentrate on doing what they were elected to do: legislate, pass budgets, pay the bills they have authorized, etc., instead of obstruction of the process.


Grand Junction


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