Our View: Are we ‘just Craig’?

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Editorial Board

Bryce Jacobson

Newspaper representative

Joshua Roberts

Newspaper representative

Collin Smith

Newspaper representative

Karen Knez

Community representative

Ken Wergin

Community representative

Kenny Wohl

Community representative

— During a recent discussion with the Editorial Board, Dr. Joseph Petrone, Moffat County School District superintendent, relayed an interesting conversation he had with a local patron.

When Petrone described lofty goals for school district programs and students, the patron responded with something akin to, “We’re just Craig.”

Thankfully, Petrone’s response was in conflict with the person to whom he was speaking.

In essence, the first-year superintendent said, “No, we’re not. We’re bigger than that.”

Petrone’s recollection of the story, and particularly his response to the patron, was refreshing.

It’s an attitude of low expectations, or contentment, summed up by the person Petrone was speaking with, that Editorial Board members believe holds Craig and Moffat County back from becoming something better.

It’s an attitude of get what you can and what’s easy rather than what’s bold, what you want and what’s possible.

For example, it’s troubling in our community that a recent high school graduate can leave school and join the work force with a high-paying job at one of the local mines.

What incentive does a student have to perform well in school and pursue other opportunities outside our area when the prospect of a good job and the salary to pay for a new vehicle and home are so easily available? And better still, why hasn’t someone — a parent, teacher or friend — imparted on that student a vision of something better?

Don’t misunderstand the board: We’re not knocking the mines or the value they have to our community. They are a tremendous benefactor to residents.

What we’re saying is this: a student who doesn’t pursue opportunities other than the mines most likely will look back one day on his or her life and wonder if there was something else out there had they considered a future beyond Moffat County’s borders.

And should our local energy industry go belly up, what happens to that student who doesn’t have an education or skill set to fall back on?

Answer: they struggle to find a job as good as what they had, given that opportunities in the only area they’ve ever known are slim or even nonexistent.

The same sentiments exist in our community’s economic development front.

Rather than implement aggressive business incentives and recruitment strategies, our governing bodies stick with a tired party line about incentives being unfair to current businesses,and how governments should not get involved with private industry, essentially handcuffing our economic development agencies in town.

That’s an OK belief system to hold, if you want to stay the same year after year.

Unfortunately, communities can’t stay the same; they either grow, diversify and expand, or stagnate and die off a little bit at a time until the bust comes.

Business incentives have been proven to be tremendous economic catalysts, revitalizing dormant communities in many cases, and diversifying economies, which is something Craig and Moffat County desperately needs.

However, this additional example of small thinking prevents our community from getting a chance to see whether incentives would work here.

Until our community gets rid of that antiquated belief system, we’re just Craig, and on many different levels, we never will live up to the unbelievable potential that exists here.

And on that end, Editorial Board members agree with what Dr. Petrone said. No, we’re not. We’re bigger than that.

Comments

reader1 4 years, 11 months ago

Please do not underestimate the education of employees of the mines. Some of these employees are highly educated, with degrees coming from such schools as the Colorado School of Mines. To generalize "mine workers" is a shame! To address the other question Are we 'just Craig'?, yes in the bigger picture, we are just Craig. If you would like for the people of Craig to have other opportunities than the mine, then Craig needs to do something to bring in other businesses. As you say unfortunately communities can not stay the same, well I have lived in Craig for over 20 years and seen very little growth or improvement, so unfortunately because of that we are just Craig. The only reason I have stayed is because of the mines, and when or if all the mines close please know that a large amount of Craig residence will be forced to move, which may in fact have an impact on your job and you may have to move as well. Craig depends heavily on the mining industry, so I would like to say Thank you to all who get up extremely early, and come home extremely late, work deep down in the earth, or with huge equipment. Thank you for all of your hard work, thanks for all you do to contribute to the Craig community by ways of buying a house here, shopping here, and raising your families here. Do not feel like you have nothing to fall back on, as you do.

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msnative816 4 years, 11 months ago

FINALLY! It is good to know that someone out there gets it. Not being from Craig originally, but having been a resident here for the last 10 years, the community attitude is not that we are "Just Craig" but also we are "Craig Above the Rest of the Country" . Too many times folks feel that the rules that apply to everyone don't apply to them simply because "We are Craig". Unfortunately, in the real world, that is not the reality. As far as young people who find that it is easier for them to go to work at one of the mines rather than continue their education in order to secure a career, I would agree that this is a problem, but it is one that parents should be involved with to make sure that their son or daughter is making the right choice for their life. In some cases, working at the mines may be the right choice for them.

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2aLegal 4 years, 11 months ago

I agree somewhat with msnative816 and also with reader1 but my question is, if some of these young men and women do not go to work at the mine, be a mechanic or work for a retailer, who will? Secondary education is not for everyone and should not be frowned upon by others who do chose to go on to college. Craig, Colorado has been my home for the past 20 years, I grew up in a larger city in the midwest, I went to a trade school for an associates degree, this does not make me any smarter than another person who chose to enter into the work force right after high school. It was a personal choice. What I have found that is sad is when my child went to college and took a placement exam, had to take a remedial non-credited class because his/her schooling at the high school level was not good enough for him/her to enter into a college credited class and the professor administering the test asked "Where did you go to high school?", when my child responded Moffat County the professor said "Oh that makes perfect sense." What does that mean? We as a community, family, and society need to step up and demand a better future for our children. As reader1 says, this community relies heavily on the mining industry, I agree. There is nothing wrong with a young man or woman going to the mines for a job, taking a mechanics position at a local or body shop, or even taking a job at local retailer/grocery store. This is an opportunity for them to make a very stable life for themselves, find themselves and decisde what they would like to do for the future. If they have choosen that path for their life who are we to say no. As I stated, I went right into a trade school after high school only to go again in my 30's for a different career. If I had waited to go on to college I may have changed my mind and did the 4 year program and on to graduate school. Anyone who leaves high school and enters into the workforce immediately should be given some kudos, they have made a choice not to waste some time and money at a college and instead search if this is the career they wish to follow. We are not to judge what another person chooses for thier life, we can only do what we think is right for ourselves.

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John Kinkaid 4 years, 11 months ago

Dear Dr. Petrone:

If memory serves, the last year for which data is available show that 17% of Moffat County 10th graders are proficient in math. If you can turn that around in a timely manner, you have my vote. This should have been corrected years ago. How about goals and a timeline? And consequences, if the goals are not achieved.

Editorial Board:

I don't even know where to start with you or our governing bodies.

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als362 4 years, 11 months ago

I think the first step is to get the manufacturing back in America. This could be done by passing a law that states simply, "if you want to sell it here, you need to manufacture it here". Once manufacturing begins to come back to America, we will soon be once again the most powerful nation in the world. Jobs, wages, and benefits for employees will soon follow. This would also have the effect of providing health care insurance for all or most Americans, because they would get it from thier employer. A much better deal than the trillion+ dollar deal that the government is currently working to shove down everyones throats, just to fill the pockets of the companies pushing it like AARP that will make billions selling supplement plans. This to me is the cheapest and best way to get jobs and incomes back to this country. Then the student will have thier reward for making good grades in school. Does anyone else have an opinion on this?

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westslopeguy 4 years, 11 months ago

I can't believe you left your post with that question... My OPINION, (remember - your words, not mine) since it's my "opinion" it's right: What the heck, (trying to stay polite here, you DO make it difficult, nah-ah don't go there... it's my OPINION, remember?)...

How did we go from the lack of education and referenced endeavors in the Moffat County Schools to the need for affordable health care in America? Or is this just another excuse for you to get on your high horse and rant?

If that's the case, (another rant), don't even waste the electrons)

Paul

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als362 4 years, 11 months ago

It seems to me that westslopeguy is unable to read far enough into something to get to the gist of the post.
It is too bad there are people like that who just want to put other people down, and are unable to consider the ideas and opinions of others. But when you have westslopeguy, you have a person like that. Had he read completely through, he would see the connection.

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DV8 4 years, 11 months ago

I don't think the mines are to blame. They actually help the situation. Not everyone enjoys school. The mines offer an incredible oppertunity for a career after high school for those who have no interest in further education. If someone is not interested in higher education, what is the point of going to college, hating it, creating a large amount of debt in student loans, to get a job in your field that pays half of what the mines do? The school system needs to raise their standards, so that non-college bound kids have an adequate knowledge base, so that they are educated and if they decide to go to college later in life, they won't be completely lost.

This isn't a "Just Craig" thing, in other parts of the country, these individuals go to work in mines, factories, farms, etc.

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