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By The Staff

The Russians are coming


I wonder if anyone “in charge” in Jeffco has realized that we’ve been invaded by Russians?

I’m not speaking of people, of course, but of trees — Russian olive trees, to be exact.

You can get a pretty good look at them driving down Coal Mine, in the valley basin between Pierce and Wadsworth. They’re the trees with leaves that look dusty-green, or gray-green, lighter than the leaves of other trees. They are frequently thorny, and sport little yellow flowers in the spring.

The Russian olive — as you may guess — is a non-native species. They grow very aggressively. Once you know what you’re looking for, you’ll spot little baby Russian olives growing alongside creek beds and highways all over the place. They choke out native plants and other trees, suck up precious water, and encourage the growth of weeds.

On a recent trip to a Utah river basin, I was plagued by these trees for days. They grow thick, and are difficult to hack your way through on tight trails. The Park Service was cutting them down and poisoning the stumps, but after seeing the what-must-be-millions of acres of the things, I have serious doubts that they will ever succeed.

I’d encourage Jeffco — both the government and private landowners — to become aware of this problem, before it gets any worse. A little hacking now might save millions in the future.

Sean Shealy


Change can start with

candidates like Bane


I’m writing to your paper because I am worried about the future of our government in Jefferson County. It seems like every week I come across a new story about mismanagement and corruption at the highest levels of Jeffco’s administration. If it isn’t bad enough that our county commissioners have managed to plunge the county into a $12 million deficit, now I’m learning about death threats to county residents, private investigators paid by the county to follow people and promoting cronyism by filling key county positions with unqualified friends and connections.

I think it is time for us as a county to voice our discontent by going to the polls this November and electing new leadership with accountability and integrity. Change can start with candidates like Jason Bane, who is running for a seat on the Jefferson County Board of Commissioners. Jason is a community leader, board member of the Jeffco PTA and a man with integrity that we can trust. I can think of no one better to lead Jeffco in a positive direction, starting by cleaning up the mess left behind from years of poor decisions made by our current county officials.

With Jason’s experience as a journalist, he knows what it means to be accountable and serve the public good. He also has a clear understanding how to investigate all aspects of the large decisions that will affect this community for decades to come.

Jason is the right choice for our county now and well into the future. I hope you will do your part and join me in endorsing Jason for this year’s November election.

Bryan Boettiger


Chowdhury should

resign from school board


Vince Chowdhury’s arrest in connection with the alleged slapping and choking of his daughter shows a man without the integrity to serve on the Jeffco school board (see “School board member arrested in alleged choking of daughter” — Columbine Courier). Chowdhury should resign from the school board.

Simply put, an elected official representing tens of thousands of children should have high moral character. Doesn’t he represent the Jeffco R-1 School District when he’s handing out diplomas to influential teenagers? Isn’t he charged with making moral decisions on behalf of our children?

If a schoolteacher were arrested in connection with assaulting a minor, harassment and violating a protection order, does anyone believe he/she would still be in the classroom? Does the school district hold a different standard for its board members?

Anyone who has endorsed Chowdhury’s campaign for the state House or serves with him on the school board should publicly disassociate themselves from Chowdhury. Further, they should tell him it’s in his and his family’s best interests for him to resign.

Denise Mund


Replace these

parasitic administrators


As a former high school teacher (including two years in Jeffco), current resident of Jeffco, father of a 4-year-old about to enter kindergarten, and former academic with an almost spiritual commitment to education, I would be the first to support and advocate ballot measures designed to increase spending on education in Jefferson County. However, given my experience with Jefferson County public schools, I cannot support any measure that maintains the current administrative status quo. Cindy Stevenson and her hand-picked cadre are characterized by a dysfunctional philosophy best summed up by what her “good, old friend” Shirley Algiene, principle of Alameda High School, said to the gathered students in Algiene’s first assembly as principal of Alameda two years ago: “I’m the most important person here.” Cindy, Shirley and Peg Kastberg (community superintendent of the area including Alameda), to name those with whom I’ve directly dealt, are ambitious careerists of the worst kind: interested in climbing the professional ladder by any means possible, but, like too many in their position, not only devoid of the spirit common to great educators, but actually hostile to it. They are typical of the real, but rarely identified problem with American education: It attracts and promotes mediocrity (indeed, is dedicated to reproducing mediocrity in the students it serves, since it cannot conceive of anything greater), and weeds out talent. Until the complicit Jeffco board of education “throws the bums out,” and replaces these parasitic administrators with people of heart, brains and talent, dedicated to kids rather than to themselves, I oppose pouring any more money into the shallow trough from which so many belligerently incompetent people feed.

Steve Harvey