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Opinion

  • Officially, the first pet my family owned was a giant ill-tempered iguana named Igor. I have little memory of this except the stories of Igor finally escaping our home and harassing the neighborhood’s dogs and cats like a miniature Godzilla. They found it dead one morning after a nasty frost, his rein of terror finally ended.

  • Hannah Hayes

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • “On my honor, I will try: To serve God and my country; To help people at all times; and to live by the Girl Scout Law.”

    Since Juliet Gordon Low started the Girl Scouts in Savannah, Ga., in 1912, girls across the globe have participated in Girl Scouts. They learn life skills, leadership and an appreciation of how important it is to be of service to others.

  • Term-limited House Speaker Andrew Romanoff is attempting to address conflicts in our state constitution during his last two weeks of active legislative service. If he is successful, it will cap discussions he began five years ago.

    Romanoff became the House minority leader in 2003 when Sen. Doug Linkhart resigned after being elected to the Denver City Council. Jennifer Veiga left her post as House Democratic leader and replaced Linkhart. As dominoes continued to fall, Romanoff assumed Veiga’s leadership position.

  • I find myself in desert country. Not too deep, but right smack dab in the middle of where I want to be. Miles and miles of asphalt passed under me to get here, washing cities to mountains, dirt to snow and back again. The thick, full Rockies went flat, disappeared for a time, then popped back up, red, sparse and skeletal. I’m in Moab, Utah. I stand in a land that once boasted an entire civilization that was rumored to have vanished almost overnight.

  • 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.

  • Spring is finally here!

    We may still have a snowstorm or two, but today it is spring. When you live in the mountains of Colorado with their variable weather conditions, you learn to take the good days when they come, and today it is spring. Going out to fill the birdfeeders, I found yellow-green daffodil shoots poking up 3 inches out of the newly bare ground and pushkinia in bloom along the side of our stone wall.

    Spring is here — no doubt about it — and I am grateful.

  • 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.

  • The Colorado General Assembly passed the halfway mark of this year’s 120-session last weekend. This year’s session has been marked by big reports, the arrival of TABOR author Douglas Bruce and a workmanlike tone. The biggest issues are likely still to come.

  • 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.

  • Hannah Hayes

    In typical “Both Sides Now” fashion, there are contrasting ways that citizens might feel about government authorizing wiretaps on Americans communicating with those outside the country. President Bush felt that he had been granted the power to spy on us when Congress gave him unchecked authority to fight terrorism. That was a mistake made in the first week after the attacks on the World Trade Towers and the Pentagon.