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Opinion

  • Did you ever have a really great teacher? Someone who changed your life?

    I’ve been lucky to have more than one. In elementary school, I wasn’t the easiest kid — you could say I was pretty tough. These days I’d surely be diagnosed with ADD (actually, to say I had an attention deficit is a huge understatement). But Mrs. Arnold and Mrs. Ballangee stuck with me. It would have been easy to ignore this rowdy kid, but they put in extra hours, helping me learn what I couldn’t have learned on my own. I’m grateful they did.

  • Legal access to marijuana in Colorado seems to be a constantly moving target. As new medical marijuana laws go into effect in our state, a number of other things are coming together as well.

    The Department of Veterans Affairs is considering a more flexible definition of post-traumatic stress disorder at virtually the same time as the state health department is being asked to add PTSD to the list of medical conditions for which medical marijuana could be prescribed. If both these things come to pass, it would liberalize access to medical marijuana for PTSD sufferers.

  • Wake up, America: Even France gets it

    Leaders of the world’s 20 industrial economies recently met in Toronto to discuss global economic problems, including the worrisome developments in European sovereign debt. The meetings resulted in a group statement announcing a concerted effort to reduce government spending.

    “Advanced economies have committed to fiscal plans that will at least halve deficits by 2013 and stabilize or reduce government debt-to-GDP ratios by 2016,” G-20 leaders announced last week.

  • One of Congress’ fundamental responsibilities under the Constitution is budgeting. With large majorities in both houses of Congress, the only hurdle Democrat leaders have in developing and garnering support for the annual budget resolution is themselves.

    Yet, this past week House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer officially announced during a speech that Congress will make no attempt to develop and pass a budget this year.

  • There’s something singularly awful about watching the worst environmental disaster in our country’s history and knowing that, with all of America’s wealth and technological prowess, nothing has been done to prevent the ongoing catastrophe that threatens an entire way of life.

  • Indiana humorist Kin Hubbard had a problem with graduation speeches: He felt that the really important stuff should be spread out over all four years, rather than saved up for one address at the end.

  • When legislative budget staffers were looking into ways to balance the state’s budget during the 2009 session, they happened onto the fact that Pinnacol Assurance, the quasi-public agency that serves as the insurer of last resort for workers’ compensation, had reserves in excess of half a billion dollars more than appeared to be necessary. When legislative leaders suggested taking some of the money to address budget issues, the reaction from Pinnacol, business interests and Pinnacol customers was swift. They said the state should keep its hands off.

  • In early May, our office learned that four people in the metro area had jewelry and cash stolen from their homes after opening the door to people calling themselves “neighbors.” As the weather becomes nicer, watch for this and other door-to-door scams. 

    Be savvy if approached by traveling home improvement contractors, magazine salespersons, or any stranger who comes to the door. Of course, not everyone who comes to your door has bad intentions. We simply advise a healthy dose of caution and a firm “no” if necessary.

  • Our children can often bear the brunt during tough economic times. Moms or dads may be out of work. Money is tight. Stress due to financial pressures mounts. The chances of children in at-risk families being victimized tend to increase.

    In Colorado each year, more than 50,000 reports of child abuse and neglect are filed and more than 11,000 children enter foster care. In 2009, Jefferson County ranked fifth in the state for the number of abuse and neglect filings. Although that ranking is down a notch from the previous year, the ranking is both alarming and unacceptable.

  • In 1983, the Baltimore Colts selected John Elway with the first pick in that year’s NFL draft. Elway had no interest in playing for the Colts, and said he would play professional baseball if they took him. So the Colts traded Elway to the Broncos for two players and a first-round pick in the 1984 draft. The rest is history.

    Since then, Broncos drafts have been pretty ordinary. No big headlines, no huge stories. 

    Until this year.

  • Sometimes the story isn’t as big a deal as the story about the story. How much different would United States history look if, the day after the Watergate break-in, President Nixon had said, “Campaigns make people do crazy things,” instead of getting involved in the cover-up that led to his resignation?

    While there is little doubt there is nothing in Scott McInnis’ tax returns or John Hickenlooper’s charitable contributions that rise to the level of Watergate, the principle is the same. The longer questions persist, the bigger the story gets.

  • Two weeks ago, my kids returned home from school with new backpacks. The green bags — which more resembled re-usable grocery totes — touted the U.S. census, proclaiming “Be counted” in several languages, with a backdrop of multi-colored hands. 

  • Before Coloradans went to their precinct caucuses last month, it looked like U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet and former lieutenant governor Jane Norton were on their way to meeting in a combative and expensive race for Colorado’s U.S. Senate seat. What a difference a month makes!

  • As the Constitutional Convention wrapped up in September 1786, a woman approached Benjamin Franklin and asked him, “Well, doctor, what have we got — a republic or a monarchy?”

    “A republic,” Franklin replied, “if you can keep it.”

  • With precinct caucuses now in the books, the 2010 election season is officially under way. Caucuses are an important first step in the nominating process, through which each major party selects its nominees for the general election this fall. 

    With the exception of presidential nominations, there isn’t much public attention given to the way parties pick their candidates. It’s as though each November we’re presented with a ballot listing a Democrat, a Republican and perhaps one or more third-party candidates, with the winner assuming public office.

  • In the last few years in Jefferson County, we’ve seen emergencies ranging from wildfires to paralyzing blizzards to a school shooting. Events like these can plunge families into chaos, panic and confusion. 

    Having an emergency plan ahead of time can help you communicate with, reconnect with, and protect your family. Every situation is different, but if you prepare for a wide range of possibilities, you’ll be better equipped to deal with a crisis.

     

  • Leave it to voters to prove that they have something to say about elections!

  • This week marks the halfway point of the Colorado General Assembly’s 120-day 2010 session. The state’s fiscal woes have dominated the session to this point. The legislature has adopted a package of bills that raised revenues by eliminating a variety of tax exemptions as well as approving a 32-bill package that reduced spending by state agencies for the current fiscal year that ends June 30.

  • This week marks the halfway point of the Colorado General Assembly’s 120-day 2010 session. The state’s fiscal woes have dominated the session to this point. The legislature has adopted a package of bills that raised revenues by eliminating a variety of tax exemptions as well as approving a 32-bill package that reduced spending by state agencies for the current fiscal year that ends June 30.

  • Last week’s shootings at Deer Creek Middle School were an awful reminder of the events at Columbine and Platte Canyon. Yet in the midst of our concern for the two wounded students, there was also cause to celebrate the heroic actions of Dr. David Benke, a math teacher whose split-second decision to tackle the shooter undoubtedly saved lives. Popular culture provides ubiquitous references of heroism — “Guitar Hero,” sports heroes and mythical superheroes come to mind.