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Opinion

  • Hannah Hayes

    I work in a presumably green industry. A few months ago there was a giant 45,000-person national trade show all set up for recycling. It’s far too easy to still recall the image of the huge mountains of trash in and around the carefully labeled bins. Recently I started getting “natural” electronic signatures that claim the way to go green is to think twice about printing out an e-mail. Really? Could it be that easy?

  • The Russians are coming

    Editor:

    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.

  • Hannah Hayes

    When it comes to reducing greenhouse gas carbon emissions, a personal contribution can be daunting, especially when it involves lifestyle changes as deeply rooted as what we eat. Food is integral to who we are, but it turns out that those who make a relatively small dietary shift benefit our planet’s ecology.

  • I needed caffeine. I woke up feeling like my brain was in an unclean fish tank and a hundred miles away. A shower didn’t help rejuvenate my senses, and I stumbled around trying to find a shirt not wrinkled like a dead elephant’s carcass. There were none. This wasn’t all that unusual. Iron in hand, I cleared a space on my countertop and melted a hole in a $40 shirt. I looked at the bottom of the iron and then to the clock above the stove — I was running late for a meeting.

  • I remember Michael McConnell, my constitutional law professor at the University of Chicago, opening a textbook with a picture of the members of the Supreme Court on the inside cover. “What’s wrong with this?” he asked.

    At first blush, it makes sense that a book on the Constitution would have a picture of the highest judges in the land. But to McConnell, the photo represented a fundamental misunderstanding about the constitution: namely, only courts have the ability to read and interpret our greatest law.

  • Hannah Hayes

    As spin doctors continue to weigh in on Michelle Obama’s comment, it must be obvious that even she would wish to restructure her proud-to-be-an-American sentence for more clear communication. In context, it seems that Michelle Obama was referring to the level of participation this year’s candidates have been able to bring to the primary process. It didn’t quite match the turnout in 1972, but came close. Can Michelle Obama be right that “hope is finally making a comeback”?

  • Last Tuesday I dutifully reported to the Jefferson County Taj Mahal to serve as a juror. As it turned out, after a video and some introductory remarks, I was among the group of people who wouldn’t be needed that day. So I, juror No. 1259, left the building having fulfilled my duty for the time being.

    As Milton said, they also serve who only stand and wait.

  • Hannah Hayes

  • Black shoe polish, a lighter, nylons, spit or faucet water, a freezer, cotton balls, wax. I was running late, so I just grabbed two clean socks and wrapped them around a worn can of Kiwi and a half-empty lighter. I placed them all in my jacket pocket. I could feel the soft lump pressing against my side as I drove to my parents’ house.

    He would soon be graduating and going off to college. I was 14 years old when my parents brought him home from the hospital as a baby. He is now the same age I was when I first entered basic training.

  • The 2008 legislative session is in the books, so it’s time to take a look at a few key policy areas and grade our work.

    On education, the legislature gets a B+. 2008 was a banner year for education reformers, led by a coalition of Republicans and inner-city Democrats. This combination of reform-minded legislators proved to be the catalyst for several key bills putting the interests of kids ahead of special interests.

  • I don’t know what time it is — but it’s late. My bloodshot eyes stare angry holes into the darkness. I want to sleep, but I can’t. Every 15 minutes a loud diesel truck pulls up in front of my apartment complex, and then quickly drives away. This happens again and again. The rumble of the heavy diesel engine smacks away at my skull like a holy ruler on blaspheming knuckles. It’s relentless.

  • Hannah Hayes

    The English imperial system of measurement remains in use among three countries — Liberia, Myanmar and the United States. It would be to our benefit if we jumped over to the clearly superior and simpler-to-use metric system.

    Since the 1960s, the International System of Units, which is based on the metric system, has been the internationally recognized standard for commercial and scientific purposes.

  • In less than three weeks, the 2008 legislative session will officially draw to a close. On all but a few key issues, its not too early to look back on the legislatures work and analyze what has been done good and bad.

  • Hannah Hayes

    In Colorado there has been a fierce and sustained effort by the military to expand Fort Carson. Massive expansion through one of the military’s boldest land grabs would wipe out dinosaur prints, primitive cliff drawings, countless wildlife, local ranches and several small towns. The southeastern corner of our state must not be allowed to fall victim to the Army’s insatiable need to train in ever-wider landscapes.

  • In my last column, I wrote about a soon-to-be introduced bipartisan bill called the Colorado Achievement Plan for Kids (or CAP4K). Since that time, legislation has been formally introduced in the state Senate and was assigned a bill number, SB 212.

    SB 212 is supported by Gov. Bill Ritter and enjoys bipartisan sponsorship in the Senate (Sen. Josh Penry, R-Grand Junction, and Sen. Chris Romer, D-Denver) and the House (Rep. Christine Scanlan, D-Summit County, and myself).

  • Hannah Hayes

    There’s a longstanding trend to expand voting rights as demonstrated by these amendments — the 15th bans race-based voting qualifications, the 19th extends suffrage to women, and the 26th enfranchises 18-year-olds. Choosing our leaders is fundamental. An election decided by the Supreme Court is contrary to U.S. standards. The image of a team of hired protesters banging on Florida’s election room door to stop a hand count still bristles.

  • As I wrote several weeks ago, I’ve been working with Gov. Bill Ritter and a bipartisan group of legislators to craft a rigorous education reform bill to prepare Colorado’s educational system for the challenges of a new global economy. That bill, called the Colorado Achievement Plan for Kids (or CAP4K), was formally introduced last week.

  • Last week the Colorado Department of Transportation confronted a problem that is usually more closely associated with newspapers — the dreaded typo. Here in the world of print journalism, one of our biggest fears is that a rogue spelling will escape our attention and wind up in a monster-size headline on the front page.

  • Hannah Hayes

    It’s hard to wrap your mind around $720 million a day, and $500,000 per minute.

    After five years, the Iraq war is much more than a titanic financial burden. Civilian deaths are over 1 million, another challenging number, but these are lives, mostly of women and children. Iraq now has 5 million internally displaced people and refugees.

  • If you’ve been to Summit or Grand counties lately, you’ve seen the effects of the largest and most catastrophic pine beetle infestation in decades.

    As the Rocky Mountain News recently reported, “Every large, mature lodgepole pine forest in Colorado and southern Wyoming will be dead within three to five years,” based on projections from the U.S. Forest Service. The Rocky further reported that the outbreak, which began in 1996, has infested 1.5 million acres of trees, culminating in an unbelievable 500,000 additional acres in 2007 alone.