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Who really pays the costs for sports fields?
The Nov. 24 article about the master-plan finalist contained the following message: “Sports teams that use park-maintained soccer fields will be asked to bear 50 percent of the upkeep costs.” Does anyone see what’s wrong with this idea? Don’t we already pay ALL of the costs? If not, then who is?
John Rybon

Taxes going to the feds take away from money spent in Evergreen
Hannah Hayes just doesn’t get it when she advocates in her Nov. 17 column taxing the wealthiest 2 percent only “an extra few thousand more each.” The point she forgets is that every dollar that goes to Washington, D.C., is one less dollar spent here in Evergreen.
That’s one less dollar for lunch or dinner at the Whippletree Restaurant, he Stagecoach Grill, Da Kind Soups, Tuscany Tavern and other local restaurants we frequent. That’s one less dollar for the Foothills Animal Shelter or Charlie’s Place. One less dollar for Canyon Tack and Feed, Bergen Park Liquors, The Baglery, Evergreen Crafters or all the other local business that the Canyon Courier advocates for in the classifieds when it says, “Support our advertisers … Shop locally.” Oh … and one less dollar for subscriptions to the Canyon Courier. And it’s not just dollars to local businesses that are affected, it’s sales tax revenues to local schools, city and county services. Yes, every dollar she advocates sending to Washington is one less dollar she advocates not spending in Evergreen. So much for supporting our advertisers, Hannah.
Lastly, I, like many of the owners of the above-mentioned local businesses, work hard every day for what I earn. And I truly resent the “you don’t need it attitude” of people like Hannah Hayes who believe they should have a say in what happens to money that other people work hard for and earn. Until they “punch the clock” with me — not your money, not your say, not your right. So, Evergreen, where do you want my money to go?
Dennis Gitt

Classrooms need concealed-entry point
They got lucky in Marinette, Wis.
In the aftermath of the death of student Emily Keyes in a Colorado high school, I suggested to the sheriff that every classroom have a concealed-emergency entrance area — a “thin-wall” area wide enough for a forced entry by law enforcement.
Only teachers and those with access to the school framing design would know where the secret entrance was. Inside the classroom, it might be the wall behind the flag or the area behind the teacher’s desk.
Retrofitting every classroom in America with an emergency-concealed entrance point might be useful. Certainly new schools ought to consider hostage situations, which are happening too often. Of course Columbine should provide the answers since we always hear about copycats and anything related to the massacre of 1999.
It would take carpenters only a few hours per room to make a hole in a wall, depending of course on rerouting of wiring or utilities inside the existing framing. Simply install a header and remove a stud, then reapply sheetrock or other easily breeched break-away paneling.
Steve Schweitzberger

Columbine secrets must be told
Columbine is in the news again, this time in connection with the tragic events involving the Australian twins who apparently entered into a double suicide pact. We should not be surprised that the stories about Columbine keep coming so many years after the murders. I don’t believe there can be final closure because much of the truth about that horrific day and the events before and after it remains closely guarded secrets.
There’s a saying in the mental health community: “We are as sick as our secrets.” This is true not only for individuals but also families, organizations and even large institutions. But secrets have a way of continuing to surface until they are finally told. It’s almost as if the secrets themselves are struggling to find the healing light of truth.  
I know and worked with former and current Jeffco employees who today still protect secrets about Columbine. The people I am thinking of are good, honest and decent people who actually believed, as they were told, that keeping quiet is the right thing to do. But they, like many others, have been swept away by misguided policy that places the interests of the “institution” above the interests of the very people the institution exists to serve. The result is institutional secrecy, and it’s hard to stand up against it. It takes on a life of its own and becomes self-perpetuating.
Perhaps no better example of the devastating effects of institutional secrecy is seen more clearly than in the Roman Catholic Church. Years and countless millions have been spent protecting pedophile priests while enabling the continued abuse of innocent children — all in the name of protecting the financial interests and public image of the church and a few in power. And while no more are all public officials crooks and liars than are all priests pedophiles, the results of institutional secrecy are the same: continued sickness and harm to people.
Thankfully, church leaders are now beginning to acknowledge the truth and in doing so make way for healing and lasting improvements.
That has yet to happen at Jefferson County.
I urge my friends and former Jeffco colleagues who still today carry the heavy burden of Columbine to look deep inside and ask yourself one question: “What would you do if you were not afraid?” Pay close attention to how you feel, and then act accordingly. Finding the strength to tell the truth will forever change your life and the lives of many others for the better.
And for the rest of us who are fortunate enough to not carry secrets as heavy as Columbine’s, we can do our small part by demanding that institutions not be given priority over the people they serve. That will make it easier for the good people who hold positions of power to eventually act from a place of integrity rather than fear.
Jim Moore
former Jeffco county administrator

Candidates’ ideas carried the day
On occasion I read Rob Witwer’s column in the Canyon Courier. Without citing examples, I have a sense that, though he is unquestionably a partisan, he also wishes for a higher level of discourse in politics today.
His recent column “Dem infrastructure offsets GOP” belies this wish. While true that Colorado didn’t elect every Republican Rob wished for, it may not be the result of simple get-out-the vote efforts. In fact, the ticket-splitting necessary for the outcome he observed suggests it wasn’t a major factor.
Perhaps Rob could entertain the idea that Democrats who won in November just plain had better ideas than their opponents. I know it is a revolutionary concept … but discussing elections, won or lost, on the merits of the candidates’ ideas rather than the machines that back them up may move politics toward the goals Rob claims to support. Or perhaps it’s more fun to think of governing as just a game.
Mike Eissenberg