Printed Letters: September 8, 2017

Chamber supports measures for SD51

November’s ballot brings two critical measures aimed at funding our K-12 education system: a bond for much-needed facility maintenance and improvements within School District 51, and a mill levy override adding more days to the school year and additional funds for curriculum improvements.

The Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce, representing 950 businesses employing more than 37,000 individuals, fully supports both measures and urges all voters within the School District boundaries to vote “yes” on the proposals.

We recognize that businesses will shoulder most of the property tax increase. But then we as businesses also have the most to gain: Our future workforce includes the students sitting in the crumbling Orchard Mesa Middle School, the boys and girls at Clifton Elementary enduring ceiling leaks and mildew, and all of the students being shortchanged with fewer district classroom instruction days than their peers elsewhere. Properly funding our schools is a key component to the success of these future employees and business owners. It’s also a key component to attracting other businesses and talented professionals to the Grand Valley.

School District 51 has shown itself to be a committed partner in improving education and in working with the Chamber on various workforce development initiatives. Let’s invest in our business community and in the young men and women who are our future employees and business leaders. Please vote YES on 3A and 3B this November.

JEFFREY S. HURD
Chairman, Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce

Recent overdose awareness event was a success

The 3rd Annual Overdose Awareness and Candlelight Vigil was a success. Over 50 community members and partners attended. Several local agencies had a presence to bring awareness to multiple treatment resources to the community including Mind Springs Health, St. Mary’s Hospital, the Grand Junction Police Department, Peer Assistance Services, Western Colorado Health Network, and Grand Junction Treatment Center (opioid-specific treatment). Thank you to the speakers who shared their passion for people and their personal experiences; Snob Productions who donated audio and visual equipment for the event; all the volunteers; and a special thank you to the families who courageously shared photos of their loved ones lost.

The main theme of the event was to stress the importance of being open about how families lost their loved ones to opioid overdose; this brings the problem out in the open and forces us to have a dialogue about addiction. This conversation reduces the stigma and encourages people to seek treatment. We implore local politicians to have more of a presence at this event next year. Community leadership can have a tremendous impact on the community response to shared problems that have far reaching effects in every area of society.

Recovery Community of Western Colorado is a grassroots movement composed of stakeholders interested solely in outreach, education, and recovery from addiction. For more information, please visit our page on Facebook.

CHRIS LAWRENCE, MA, CAC II
Grand Junction

A balanced energy portfolio in Mesa County is a good thing

The Sentinel’s article on Aug. 29 about oil and gas leases on BLM land that would eclipse solar areas highlights the importance of having balanced energy development in Mesa County. As it is right now, the vast majority of the energy development in Western Colorado is focused on oil and gas, which has subjected our economy to the boom and bust cycles that come with oil and gas prices. Let’s be frank. We lack balance, and as a community we will continue to have some oil and gas development, but we also need to balance it with renewable energy development so we aren’t so vulnerable to boom and busts.

The article details several areas with solar energy potential, identified by the BLM as “solar emphasis areas,” including two areas are just outside of Mack and Fruita. If developed with solar energy, the electricity could power our homes and businesses and bring in jobs. As a domino effect, embracing solar energy development would aid in attracting new businesses to make Grand Junction their home which would bring about a steady uptick in economic growth year to year. According to the Grand Junction Economic Partnership, we are already seeing interest from new businesses looking to locate here but many delay or choose not to due to a poor school district or a lack of a potential workforce. We can fix these issues by stewarding our resources wisely.

If we lease everything to oil and gas development, then we eliminate potential for all other renewable energy. You simply can’t have a bunch of oil and gas wells and infrastructure, and a solar energy facility, on the same piece of land. It is time we support renewable energy and help our energy economy to diversify.

PRISCILA RAMOS
Fruita


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