An appointed clerk is not the answer to our issues

So, you ask why do we elect a clerk at all?

Obviously you have forgotten the previous clerk who closed down the Fruita and Clifton offices, thus creating a daily logjam of citizens waiting for services. I waited over two hours at least four times trying to get my vehicles registered in Colorado. The previous clerk would do nothing to improve the service. When Tina Peters vowed to reopen the two offices, I saw my chance to get rid of the incompetent clerk.

How did that work out for me? It seems matters are worse in the clerk’s office, but at least I had my say.

But I really do not believe that an appointed clerk would improve matters. It would probably lead to cronyism or nepotism problems!

BILL JAMES

Grand Junction

Central High’s former logo wasn’t demeaning

The Sentinel’s story about Central High School choosing to replace its Central Warriors American Indian brave icon with the image of a shield revealed that the change, mandated by the State legislature, was handled well. Current students, alumni, as well as teachers and staff participated in an elaborate process that led to the choice of the shield image. This change was to serve the purpose of eradicating disrespect for American Indians that the brave image was supposed to express.

But how does the display of Central High’s image of a handsome and dignified brave as an icon for the school and its students demean or denigrate American Indians? Obviously, it doesn’t. The reverse is true. Penalizing or threatening to penalize use of such an image under the Prohibit American Indian Mascots Act (Colorado Senate Bill 21-116) is in its effect racist. The act makes no distinction between mascots or names that demean and those that hold American Indians up as models to be emulated. The statute is deeply flawed and no doubt unconstitutional as well, insofar as it goes too far in dictating how communities and local school boards manage their schools.

Nevertheless, using American Indian images and symbols as school mascots, etc. can be thoughtless and presumptuous given the troubled, and sometimes tragic, history of relations between Native Americans and settlers. Cultivating knowledge of American history as it relates to American Indians and especially of the tribes on whose stomping grounds schools stand should accompany the use of American Indian icons and names.

MICHAEL MECHAU

Palisade

After-school work can keep kids out of trouble

Reading about the Lighthouse Project for our community’s youth in Sunday’s Daily Sentinel brings back my junior and senior high school memories.

Experts would categorize my home environment as dysfunctional. Not wanting to be home, but didn’t like school, to solve that dilemma was to work after school beginning at the age of 13. What does work as a teen have in common with the Lighthouse Project?

Back in my day, the laws preventing youths under the age of 16 to work wasn’t on the books. So, teens in my situation or worse situations could find themselves jobs after school and on weekends working in neighborhood markets or car-hopping at drive-ins during what I would describe as the “Happy Days” era.

Working after school allowed me to shorten the time spent at home. Working after school was the driving force allowing me to graduate. The reasoning behind the laws prohibiting teens from working until 16 is so flawed it’s laughable. Working after school in no way hindered my participation in school and extracurricular activities, quite the opposite.

Working taught me how to be on time and to prioritize my time, how to follow rules, how to work with others with too many plusses to list. In other words, it taught me how to be responsible for my own actions and gave me a purpose. Another plus was learning how to manage money. With a paycheck, I bought my own school clothes that were “in style.” That may not sound important, but to a teen, dressing in the style of the day was a key issue in a person’s self-confidence.

Teens working also contributed financially to their family dynamics, sad, but a reality that a small take home pay from a teen contributed towards bettering their quality of living. Youths must have something purposeful to do. Hanging out is not a purpose. It only creates boredom and frustration that, in turn, leaves them to begin making poor choices, which eventually may lead to truancy and criminal behavior.

If the Lighthouse Project works as planned by our forward-thinking leaders, District Attorney Dan Rubinstein and CMU President John Marshall, it will begin to get those youths involved, it will give them a purpose before they drift so far away a help line can’t reach them and they’re lost into a revolving juvenile system. Youth demands a purpose to be.

JUDITH CHAPIN

Fruita