en Time for a lesson in conciliation <img src="" alt="" title="" align="left" hspace="6" /><p> <span style="line-height: 20.4px;">The results in Tuesday&rsquo;s school board recall were not surprising, but the vote margins were stunning: Ken Witt, John Newkirk and Julie Williams were recalled with about 64 percent of the votes in a county where registrations are evenly split among Democrats, Republicans and independents.</span></p> More than a game, nothing less than life <img src="" alt="" title="" align="left" hspace="6" /><p> Few things are more important to our four newspapers than coverage of high school sports, and few journalists could have brought that coverage to our readers more completely or competently than Michael Hicks. But after five years, Michael is leaving his post as sports editor at Evergreen Newspapers for his next challenge at the Boulder Daily Camera, and that paper is beyond lucky to have him.</p> A painful lesson: Jeffco’s third rail <img src="" alt="" title="" align="left" hspace="6" /><p> I&rsquo;ve been planning for weeks to offer my thoughts on the controversy surrounding the Jeffco school district. And I&rsquo;ve also been procrastinating for weeks. Of late, our politically polarized school system has become the third rail of local politics &mdash; touch it, and you die.</p> <p> A phone call last week from a loyal reader stirred me from my inertia (some would say cowardice). The gentleman raised several good questions about our recent coverage and, as a result, helped me organize my own thoughts. He should call daily.</p> Vote yes on tax increase for Jeffco library <p> The last time the Jeffco Public Library saw a tax increase, the Internet was still a gleam in Al Gore&rsquo;s eye. Nor had DVDs been invented. E-books? Forget it. &ldquo;Portable&rdquo; computers that didn&rsquo;t result in a hernia? Surely you jest.</p> <p> In fact, the last time our library saw a boost in taxpayer support was some 29 years ago, and since then in Jefferson County, demand for services that the library offers has exploded:</p> <p> &bull;&nbsp;The county&rsquo;s population has grown by 130,000 people.</p> Sanders, Trump are flashes in the pan <img src="" alt="" title="" align="left" hspace="6" /><p> Imagine the impact of a Bernie Sanders-versus-Donald Trump presidential election in 2016. Property values in Canada would likely skyrocket with the biggest exodus of Americans to Canada since the end of the draft.</p> <p> Fourteen months before the next presidential election, the biggest surprise has been the emergence of Sanders and Trump when conventional wisdom suggests that neither has any chance, or business, of becoming president of the United States. Their seeming viability results from completely different circumstances in our two major political parties.</p> End the uncertainty at Jeffco Schools <img src="" alt="" title="" align="left" hspace="6" /><p> The worst thing about the almost two years of turmoil that we&rsquo;ve experienced in Jefferson County schools is that it&rsquo;s been a continuing distraction from the school district&rsquo;s most important responsibility &mdash; to educate the kids who live in this county. Anything that distracts teachers from focusing their energy on giving kids the best possible education is a major flaw that should be resolved as soon as possible.</p> Summer a time to revel in reading <img src="" alt="" title="" align="left" hspace="6" /><p> For our youths in the foothills, summer brings a freedom from school schedules for three brief months &mdash; you can read what you WANT to read. I was always excited about the first book of the summer &mdash; my choice. I love books. I love the feel of their weight, the smell and the look.&nbsp;To me, they represent a new beginning, hidden knowledge and the best of humanity.&nbsp;This may seem a bit romantic but &hellip; so be it &mdash; it&rsquo;s summer!</p> Unlikely candidates gaining traction <p> The political news is surprising as two unlikely candidates are soaring in the polls. Not many would expect a self-identified socialist to challenge Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination for president, but U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders is gaining some traction. He trails her in a recent Iowa poll 52 percent to 33 percent. In New Hampshire, it&rsquo;s 56 percent to 24 percent. No, he is not the front-runner, but his strong numbers are very surprising, and Clinton must be looking over her shoulder.</p>