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Columns

  • Implications of state budget cuts very real

    Before the legislative session even started, we all knew that developing and passing Colorado’s budget for fiscal 2011-12 would be a terrible ordeal. After years of cutting the budget, there would have to be additional cuts of around $1 billion. In addition, term limits had created a Joint Budget Committee with little previous experience (only three years on the committee among its six members), and split control of the legislature meant the committee would be equally divided between Republicans and Democrats.

  • Challenging math for Jeffco schools

    By Paula Noonan
    Thirty Jefferson County public schools recently received the John Irwin School of Excellence Award or the Governor’s Distinguished Improvement Award for academic achievement and academic growth in 2010. The Colorado Board of Education and governor give the awards to the 8 percent of schools that score highest in each category.
    Other numbers for Jeffco are not so great. The state legislature has finally put together the school finance bill that provides funding for all school districts in Colorado. Funding is on the down side of an arc.

  • Making waves with freedom and faith

    Two great and fearsome “tidal waves” have claimed the spotlight on the international stage lately, and for good reason. In addition to the earthquake and tsumani that shook Japan, there are the ongoing seismic quakes of social revolution that continue to sweep over the Middle East and Africa. From Tunisia, where President Zine al-Abdine Ben Ali was ousted after 23 years in power, the ripples have turned to waves in Yemen, in Jordan and Syria, in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Sudan, and, of course, Egypt.  

  • Some thoughts on wildfire season

    In more than 30 years, it’s hard to remember wildfire season starting so early. The combination of dry fuels and high winds has led to a dangerous situation. This year, especially, it’s worth being extra vigilant.
    Without human intervention, healthy forests burn. It’s a natural process. The seeds of some types of trees even need fire to germinate. But since people have moved into the foothills, a longstanding policy of fire suppression has interrupted this natural burning process, leading to greater accumulation of fuels and therefore greater fire hazard.

  • The Candid Curmudgeon

    This column merely offers a gentle reminder to the EPRD board, new executive director Scott Robson, and especially GreenPlay LLC, the consulting firm that is preparing a new master plan for the district.

  • Benefit exchange a healthy idea

    Editor’s note: This column was written before Rep. Stephens suggested an amendment to SB200 that Colorado’s health exchange law not take effect unless Colorado requests a waiver from the federal health care act. The suggested amendment is opposed by both Gov. Hickenlooper and Sen. Boyd and makes passage of the bill unlikely.

    It’s good that virtue is its own reward, as that may be all Betty Boyd and Amy Stephens get from sponsoring legislation to establish health benefit exchanges in Colorado.

  • Kids’ sports should put fun first

    One of the best things about having four boys is the opportunity to get involved in youth sports, both as a parent and coach. Team sports was a big part of my life growing up, so it’s wonderful to see my own kids becoming part of something bigger than themselves. I can only hope that the lessons they learn stick with them as they stuck with me.

  • Tricky business for sports fans

    I remember being about 10 years old and coming home from the dentist with a sore tooth. Because I was hurting, my mom let me stay up to watch a Nuggets game on our tiny black-and-white TV.
    The early 1980s were good times for the Nuggets — I still remember guys like Alex English, Dan Issel and David Thompson giving the Lakers a run for their money, always coming up a little short but somehow never disappointing the little kid in Evergreen.

  • Torturers must face punishment

    George W. Bush creeps back into the news occasionally. Recently it was because he chose to cancel a speaking engagement in Switzerland rather than face a Swiss legal obligation to investigate if a torturer is on their soil. Bush has incomprehensibly managed to avoid an inquiry at home as the current administration continues to ignore U.S. law by not prosecuting him. The consequences of giving immunity to torturers are real, with cascading repercussions. When torture is ignored, it continues.

  • Session has a long way to go

    Saturday will mark the halfway point of the Colorado General Assembly’s 120-day session. As expected, budget issues have dominated the first half of the session. Beyond that, the tenor of the session has been decidedly contradictory.