Last week, I had the privilege of attending the citizenship ceremony up on Colorado National Monument, as a close friend was becoming a U.S. citizen after living here on the Western Slope for more than 20 years. I found it to be a moving experience as the new citizens shared their stories with the audience.

They were from over a dozen different countries, and all were bringing their unique gifts as they joined the fabric of our country.

Their stories reminded me that we are a nation of immigrants. My own grandfather emigrated from the Netherlands during The Great Depression in search of a better life. He integrated into the mainstream culture by learning English, yet also retained his Dutch language and customs in his home with his family. He began life in Chicago selling ice in the summer and coal in the winter, eventually building a trash business for himself and his sons.

In the midst of the current hue and cry about immigration, I believe we would all do well to take a moment and look into our hearts, reflecting on our own backgrounds and also on the gifts immigrants bring to our culture. These are people, first and foremost, recognizing the opportunities that are offered to them here. I support the DREAM Act, offering young people brought to the U.S. as children a path to citizenship and full participation in our democracy, and I urge you to do so as well.

SHARI VANDERVELDE

Grand Junction

Football players should put money where their knees are

While I do not agree with the practice of taking a knee or remaining seated while our national anthem plays, it is the right of every person in the United States to do so. One can only hope that, while these people are protesting, they are also remembering and thanking those thousands of men and women who have fought and died, and those who are currently serving to give them that right.

Yes, our country has some big problems right now. Why not put some of the millions of dollars these athletes are making to help solve some of these problems? Help out inner city kids, donate to foundations that build homes, protect women and children, and put body cams on police. There are many more useful ways to protest than being disrespectful to our flag and our country at large. After all, you haven't decided to pack up and go elsewhere to live and work making millions playing a game. These people should be putting their money where their knee is.

PAT STEELE

Fruita

Will 3A and 3B solve issue of 165-day school year?

Until I see or hear a concise and logical reason why the children in District 51 only go to school for 165 days a year while the rest of the state goes for 180 days and see the detailed plan on how 3A and 3B are going to address this specific problem, I will not vote for 3A or 3B.

RICHARD BLOSSER

Grand Junction

Sport has become the religion of choice for the unthinking

Let me quote a friend: "What we have is a group of coddled little boys dressed up in men's bodies, being paid much more than anyone is worth to play games and believing that their thoughts and feelings are the only ones that count."

And the majority of the people have made gods of these imbeciles. Sport has become the religion of choice for the unthinking. I will suggest that the same mentality applies to the entertainment industry as well. I would defy any of these prima donnas to go out and get a real job in real life. My guess is that 99 percent of them would not survive a week, or less, working as a cop, firefighter, military, farmer or many, many other occupations.

If this thought steps on anybody's feet, so be it.

LARRY M. HEAD

Hotchkiss

Education also comes from working in the marketplace

Higher education does not always come from colleges or universities. It comes from working in the marketplace. Our country prospered not only by theory, but also by vocation and apprenticeships.

As a teenager, a kid should know how to drive, get the mail, vacuum the floors, cook a meal, hem a dress, fix hair, and talk to strangers. Even Einstein had to start with the basics; you have to get beyond theory.

Like the old saying, "Any job worth doing is worth doing right." The computer can't do everything.

JUNE HARBIG

Grand Junction

School buildings are not what make for good students

I grew up in a small town in Pennsylvania and when I started school in 1951 I went to the only elementary school they had, which had been built in 1741. I did not realize at that time I was deprived and that it was impossible for me to learn anything because the building I was in was 210 years old. It was not run down because it had been properly maintained. I listened to the teacher and did my work. After dinner my father always went over my homework with me and made sure it was done and that I understood what the work was teaching me. When we moved here, I met people who had gone to one-room schoolhouses here in this county and they were bright thoughtful people.

The point is that a building does not make good students; parents who work with their children at home on their schoolwork and make sure that they go to school make good students. Top-heavy school administrations which poorly maintain the buildings they already have and want more and more money to build more buildings where students are not learning what they need to know is not the solution. Fancy programs are not the answer either. Parents who work with their children at home to understand the work are the answer.

RICHARD GERHARDT

Fruitvale

The U.S. is a secular 
country, not a theocracy

Some people carry on with the belief that the U.S. is a Christian nation. The U.S. Constitution is clear that it is not and makes no mention of God. Still, we have things like "In God we trust" on our coins and many choose to say "under God" when reciting the pledge of allegiance. The coins and the added under "God" thing in the pledge do present a sort of conflict, yet it does not change the way our laws are executed.

The reality is that we are a secular country, not a theocracy. A U.S. judge, at any level, is required to make decisions based upon the laws of the land, not by consulting the Bible or any other religious doctrine. Their oath of office is very specific in this area.

A Mr. Kearsley submitted a letter claiming that poor Christians are being oppressed because the ability of a judge to make decisions based upon our laws has been questioned when some have openly indicated they would allow their religion to take precedence or written things that describe transgender children as "Satan's plan." He claims there is a connection between morality and Christianity. Do these supposedly oppressed Christians have a problem understanding the U.S. Constitution? There is no evidence to suggest that religion leads to morality any more than no religion does.

The Christians are free to practice their religion at home, in their church or in their neighborhood but when they want to practice it as a guide for government rule they are the oppressors. It has been proven throughout history time and again. There is no "secularization movement" as claimed by Mr. Kearsley. People who accurately understand the laws of the United States know that we always have been a secular country.

ROBERT FISK

Delta

Western Colorado Contractors Association supports 1A

The Western Colorado Contractors Association board heard the presentation regarding the proposed Mesa County Public Safety Measure 1A.

After seeing the breakdown of concerns that prompted the proposed sales tax measure, Western Colorado Contractors Association would like to support the Mesa County Public Safety Measure 1A for the following reasons:

• By implementing a sales tax measure that will meet the current needs of our public safety officials, Mesa County would be able to create a safer environment and a lower crime rate that is more attractive to businesses and families looking to move into the area. Growth in the community leads to additional infrastructure and development in the area, which creates more work opportunities for our area businesses.

• Increased presence and public safety response times would eventually result in decrease of crimes including areas of construction-related sites, equipment and businesses.

• An adequate budget source would be established to maintain efficient public safety departments that will not be taken from previously established resources or reallocated to other areas.

Western Colorado Contractors Association supports the 2017 Mesa County Public Safety Measure 1A, and will encourage community members to consider supporting this measure.

SHAWNA GRIEGER

Grand Junction

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