Editorial: Public education

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The Sleeping Giant Group has a Thursday community meeting scheduled in Craig to discuss its proposed casino project near Yampa Valley Regional Airport in Hayden. The editorial board thinks the meeting is a great way for residents to learn the facts about the issue, and urges them to do so before coming to a conclusion based on partial or false information.

Editorial board members:

• Al Cashion

— Community representative

• Patt McCaffrey

— Community representative

• Bryce Jacobson

— Newspaper representative

• Jerry Martin

— Newspaper representative

When a controversial plan or idea is introduced to the public, it usually is met by a distinct mix of exuberant acceptance and suspicious hesitation.

And on the surface, that’s fine. Part of what makes America great is the possibility of several, often opposing ideologies cohabitating peacefully in one area.

However sometimes, when hyperbole and fear mongering make a controversy seem more like a frenzy and taking a side becomes as important as the issue in question, the truth of what’s being debated is cast under shadow, and what remains resembles an old grudge or feud between families more than a discussion about what’s best for the group involved.

(The presidential campaigns America is currently being subjected to could serve nicely as a case study about this issue.)

When the Sleeping Giant Group brought to the public in March it’s proposal for a casino project near Yampa Valley Regional Airport in Hayden, it would have been easy — and in some ways expected — for the residents of Northwest Colorado to fall into the pit trap of drawing a line in the sand and irrevocably taking sides without truly examining the issue.

After all, using moral fortitude to navigate the rough waters of an uncertain economy is a tricky proposition at best, and one prone to misinformation and differences of opinion along the way.

But so far, the editorial board is happy to report, it seems like the people of the Yampa Valley have stayed out of the mud when discussing this issue, focusing on the information at hand rather than glib slogans meant to raise fear and anger.

That’s not to say there aren’t opponents and supporters of the proposal. There certainly are both.

But with the exception of some, most residents who oppose the casino admit the financial benefits while those who support it seem to understand the moral and social concerns that come with this sort of project.

Community meetings SGG has hosted in Steamboat and Hayden have been a testament to this. Residents were allowed to voice their concerns in a calm setting, and received actual information about the project from SGG in return.

Thursday, it’s Craig’s turn. SGG has scheduled a community meeting for 5:30 p.m. at the Moffat County Fairgrounds Pavilion.

The editorial board urges citizens to attend the meeting, but also to familiarize themselves with the issue beforehand, if they haven’t already done so.

Visit www.sleepinggiantgroup.com to learn more about the proposed project, search the archives at www.craigdailypress.com to read previous stories about it and, most importantly, make a list of questions and concerns to address with SGG members at the meeting.

Don’t misunderstand, the editorial board isn’t suggesting residents never form an opinion about the proposed casino in Hayden — the board surely will have one of it’s own and the time will come to talk about that opinion.

However that time is not now. Now is the time to learn about the issue.

Education, the board contends, is the best way to truly understand something and it’s potential effect on the world around us.

People will still choose sides when it comes to the proposed casino in Hayden. But if they educate themselves first, it increases the community’s chances of making the right decision.

And in the end, that’s what matters most.

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