Giving thanks is the theme of the week as Thanksgiving approaches, and families, friends and relatives begin thinking about who they’ll visit and what they’ll be eating.
It’s a debt we can never repay. We have history to look back on but recent times offer up scarce examples of a loss of freedom in our country. Sure, it’s election season, and I could rant and rave about any particular group whose political bent either confuses or defames my traditional sensibilities. But, regardless of my particular identification as an elephant or a donkey — it’s because of our veterans that I get to choose.
I’ve been following demographics around the world and especially in our country as a pastime for many years. It wasn’t until the lack of students in our schools began negatively impacting our operating budget that I really began to pay attention.
Halloween is a few days away and all kinds of kids will dress up in all kinds of costumes to celebrate the scary time of year. Dressing in costumes at school has fallen out of favor in many school districts for fear of something scary happening. I remember kicking off the Thanksgiving season by dressing up as an Indian or a cowboy or maybe even a clown so I could glean a little extra candy out of my teachers. My parents frowned on the whole scary thing so I would marvel jealously at the cool kids who had blood dripping from their mouth or a hatchet taped to their skull or the one kid who went all out to dress in a cape, slick back their hair and wear some pointy teeth.
Time and time again, it’s the story that really matters. The most effective communicators tell stories every chance they get to drive home their point.
Time and time again, it’s the story that really matters. The most effective communicators tell stories every chance they get to drive home their point.
On the heels of a great homecoming week, we’re in the mood for celebrating. Thanksgiving isn’t too far away, Christmas is on our radar (at least at Walmart) and in a few weeks it will be Halloween.
If you teach or parent you’ve have heard the expression countless times and experienced the frustration level of a student or child who say they don’t understand. Couple frustration with a “drive-thru lane” mentality and you have a recipe for learning resistance that can get the better of even the most seasoned educator. It isn’t really that kids just don’t get it — it’s often that they aren’t willing to spend the time working through the steps and struggles of understanding concepts and calculations that add all those new wrinkles to their brains.
It’s been a good two or three weeks with various government and judicial rulings making life in an energy town a little less worrisome. The mining lawsuits seem to have slowed down but more will be on the way, I’m certain. The sage grouse will not be listed as an endangered species but other regulations may make energy exploration and development fairly laborious and difficult.
It’s difficult to look around the world and not think that it is changing radically. There are very real issues of human suffering and border security not just in the United States but also in Europe where countries are being literally overwhelmed by political and economic refugees. Most are escaping ISIS and the tsunami of radicalization that is taking place in the Middle East, Syria and Northern Africa.
School has gotten off to a furious start this year and technology is in no small part responsible for the rapid expectations students have with respect to their work and the feedback that informs their learning. Gone are the days of students waiting for a couple of weeks for a major assignment to be thoughtfully graded by their teacher. These days students ask me the next day, or sometimes the same day if their work has been considered for a grade.
Summer has come and gone, at least according to our local school calendar. Students will begin classes on Monday and most parents have already been busy attending meetings and filling out the ever-increasing volume of paperwork.
Many politicians are accused of operating within an echo chamber. It’s a comfortable place where their thoughts, opinions and ideas are never questioned and always supported — usually by paid staff who benefit greatly by agreeing to never disagree. After a time, they are accused of being, “out of touch” with the average person on the street. Then eventually, depending on the political bent of the organization, the politician has no hope of gaining any traction in the hearts of the main street voters.
It’s time for Craig to take some bold steps if we want to revitalize the prospects of our local businesses and attract people to our self-described “historic” downtown. Living here for almost 18 years, I have always been somewhat flummoxed by our system of one-way streets that gets people through Craig as efficiently and quickly as possible. Most towns that want to draw you to their local businesses, services and attractions make certain that guests who might be passing through will, at minimum, be exposed to what downtown businesses and our cultural centers have to offer.
Coal and the energy industry are taking some big hits this summer. Most of the body blows are courtesy of the federal arm of our government and their supporters. But the great thing about this fight is that we are only in the early rounds and the opposition’s corner may change in the coming months. If you remember Muhammad Ali’s famous “rope-a-dope” fight, you know that the battle is won in the late rounds if you can just hang on.
What makes you proud to be living in Northwest Colorado? Looking around at the rest of the country, it’s easy to contrast our small-town life with the societal shenanigans some of the bigger cities are experiencing.
Yes, the climate debate is important. The latest satellite imagery shows no warming over the last 11 years and the Arctic Ice shelf is expanding. However, worldwide, it appears that global temperature has risen a collective 0.8 degrees Celsius since 1880 (that’s 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit for you imperialist degree deniers). By some estimations, the rise of ISIS is directly attributable to our treatment of the planet. High-ranking government officials tell us that pillaging the planet has lead to disenfranchised climate victims lopping off heads, blowing up innocent people and causing general worldwide mayhem.
Our freedoms allow us to debate tough topics in society. Various issues provide more than enough potential emotional ammunition to mow down any type of rational debate. Agree or disagree, the discussion is blunted when personal accusations are made that put the brakes on what our country has always valued — the free exchange of ideas.
No, I don’t support Donald Trump for President. I don’t stand by all of his comments about immigration. I don’t think building a physical wall is necessarily the best solution to secure our southern border.
What a week! Obviously the Supreme Court knows how to give us all some talking points over the July 4th weekend. Skipping the obvious disagreements that people have regarding the (mostly) 5-4 decisions, we have become a nation whose identity has become sharply divided along lines of personal choice and beliefs. If our country reflects the Supreme Court (and it seems to), hot weather locally will be the least of our high-temperature discomfort. We did get a mild reprieve in the EPA decision, which instructs the agency to consider the cost of their decisions on the public they serve.
When budgets are tight and declining student enrollment is a reality, it can be unsettling. When I was hired to replace an English teacher 18 years ago, the high school boasted over 850 students. When we went on field trips or sporting contests, coaches were given money to defray the cost of student meals.
You’ve heard about Bruce Jenner transitioning to Caitlyn status because you can’t get away from all the media coverage.
In staying current on actual events that affect our lives and shape our future, I find a mixed bag of hope for our beleaguered local economy and school district budget.
If you follow politics, you likely identify yourself as conservative, liberal, or maybe even libertarian. If you vote, you are likely to look for either Republican, Democrat, or a third party choice.
As the academic year wraps up, it has been a tumultuous time for teachers in our district who have taken on the burden of carrying the heavy load of financial insecurity, academic scrutiny and leadership adjustments. As teachers enter a second year of pay freezes and continued budget cuts, it can be difficult to see a light at the end of the tunnel. Finances can be arranged a number of ways, but one thing is certain: teachers were expected to do much more with less and less this past year than at any other time during my 17-year tenure.
Asked by members of the community to deliver a short address to those attending Baccalaureate this year, I thought back to one of my favorite books written many years ago that taught me some life lessons that have carried me through both good times and bad.
Graduation season is upon us and people want to know what to tell those who are preparing to go off to college, find a job or experience a little rest and relaxation. After the flurry of fist bumps, endless hugs, countless celebrations and a few speeches; graduates will be left, just as we were, to figure out how their years of education can pay dividends.
So much has been written about mothers, bordering on the obvious to remind you of their critical importance in our culture. But traditions built up around celebrations are the glue that hold societies together and each one of us has a mom that made a life-affirming decision to carry our burden until we were strong enough to “think” we could do it on our own.
After reading selections from the New Testament and Quran in our Western Literature class, the assignment was to develop a social contract that reflected the diversity of thought found in the two selections. Keep in mind that each of these religious works have exerted a tremendous influence on our Western culture historically and still do today.
Would you consider voting for someone based on the fact that they reflect the values you believe are important to get our country moving again? How often have you been asked to vote for someone in a national election because of their skin color, gender or religious beliefs? Isn’t voting for someone simply because they might represent a particular aspect of projected historical importance intellectual bondage?
We used to call it humor and it was common for people to tell stories and jokes that would ease tension and bring a light to a dark and dreary day. Now people are so concerned about who might see their story or hear their joke, that most have simply stopped sharing. Too bad... the world used to be a fun place before we all started taking ourselves so seriously.
Christians all over the world just celebrated a miraculous event commonly referred to as Easter.
Spring has sprung around town and our local public schools have this week set aside as break time. Officially referred to as Spring Break, a week off that prepares us for the frenetic finish to the school year. Some people use the break to travel and enjoy the sunshine while others use the week to get a few things done around the house.
The election season is in full swing and the candidates are starting to make their run for the biggest prize American politics has to offer — commercial spots on television, radio and social media that bash the other candidate instead of describing how our country will be better for electing them to office.
I’m not a scientist, but I read about science quite often and stay well informed. The news I’ve been reading lately makes me very concerned by the absolute certainty that some in the field are describing as “settled science” implying that anyone who disagrees is obviously uneducated, ill-informed, conspiratorial, ignorant or just plain stupid (and likely an oil-loving, coal-supporting, anti-environmental, greedy capitalist).
Signs are popping up all over the community as our local citizens vie to represent us on city council. All of them have ideas for making our city a better place. Ideas are good, but I hope each candidate will remember some of the bedrock ideas that make serving the public such a privilege.
I recently accompanied my son to Denver for a College Preview Day where I learned seven things over the course of a day-long tour and seminar that have adjusted my perspective on how we view our most precious and productive resource:
Thursday evening at Moffat County High School, you are invited to speak and hear thoughts concerning the future prospects for our school district. As a parent, I am deeply concerned about our school district. As a teacher, I have personally experienced depleted resources over the past 16 years and as a taxpayer, I want assurances that monies raised to supplement our school district will be used wisely.
He dropped back and put the ball in the air and the intangibles took over. The firestorm of criticism that ensued made every critic and armchair coach an expert on what “should” have happened. Few remember the undrafted rookie who made the play of the year down on the one yard line, an improbable interception with time expiring, stopping the opponent’s touchdown that would ensure victory with just seconds left during the most watched Super Bowl in history.
Times are tough, but times are tough all over, I thought, while speaking with one of our county commissioners this past week. I asked if there was any positive or inspiring news about our county in general. He stated that the commissioners are definitely going on the offensive this year and plan to do all they can to promote our county and the possibilities that exist in our expansive area.
“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” The most famous portion of Martin Luther King Jr.’s speech given at the Lincoln Memorial just 19 days before I was born.
I love watching the Broncos and proudly support one of our favorite Colorado football teams. The prognostication before last weekend’s game was as well-intentioned as the excuses made after the loss to the Colts. The Indianapolis quarterback lived up to his name in a very lucky performance validated by the uninspired play of the Broncos. Clearly and objectively, the Bronco’s performance was slipping weeks before Sunday’s playoff loss, especially on offense.
Your career choice might be a real downer. A recent study reported in The Atlantic magazine indicates that depression can be directly linked to the type of job you choose and experts calculate the cost to the economy in lost production at $83 billion dollars a year! This is serious stuff and we all should be aware of the jobs that might cost us more than the benefits they promise.
I have celebrated the New Year 17 times in our fair city, am raising a family here, care deeply about our community and have high hopes for our small city not just to survive, but to thrive. I know you do too, and you want things to be better in 2015 and beyond and that all we need is the right plan!
It’s Christmas, but it’s going to be difficult to celebrate. It’s a time when we all take some time to think back over the past year and make some decisions about how we want 2015 to look. But, when tragedy sucks the wind out of our sails, asking the really tough questions seems wholly appropriate.
During the holiday season, you’ll have the opportunity to do something for someone in need or make something right, and for most of us, it will come down to being available. It’s an “opportunity cost” and it reveals much more about our true nature than we care to admit. Most of our holiday schedules will be so packed that the cost of opportunity will outweigh the benefits.
A look at 2035? In 20 years? Is this survey for real? Twenty years down the road and many people in our community will be well into retirement and old-age, myself included. Planning and setting forth a vision is important but this seems like just another exercise in making our town think that “experts” and “consultants” (for the right price) are concerned about our future. Information and facts are a great resource, but I happen to believe that we have a rich collection of home-grown experts who know exactly what our town needs.
Sometimes columnists just have to brag about the people that make their community such a great place. We can easily name people who make life almost unbearable but too often our focus strays away from those who make a difference. Paying compliments can be uncomfortable, because we feel like we have to include as many people as possible but the spotlight will focus on a particular group this week.
If you’re like me, you have nothing to be thankful for this year. “Nothing” was the only word that came to mind this week. Nothing has been happening to me all year and I didn’t even realize it because I was so focused on “something.”
This past week two news stories have torn at my heart and challenged my conscience. Two young women, each stricken with rare forms of brain cancer, made two very different decisions.