The recurring messages coming out of the mouths of many of our elected leaders are embarrassing. I'm never going to defend what happened during the election, but the inauguration of our 45th President is just days away and many of our role models of civility are severely lacking. The election of Barack Obama in 2008 proved that the color of your skin would never again be a hinderance for gaining the highest elected office in the land. I wasn't a big fan of his politics but he inspired hope when he positioned himself as a transformational leader.
Usually the type of winds we experienced early this week blow, by definition, at the end of the winter season. Such is not the case in 2017, and you have to admit that waking up to a 40-degree temperature on Monday morning was not altogether disappointing. After the freezer we were in for the last week, it was refreshing to be able to go outside without the three or four layers of winter clothing.
Last January, I wrote about how 2016 would be a year to, “Quit thinking you can control everything, lower your expectations of people, and prepare yourself for the realities of life.” I thought that being a bit more rational about the state of humanity might do us all better last year. Well, you have to admit that 2016 was quite a year and one that we will remember for a long time.
If you had a dime for every column you are going to read about the year ahead; you might have enough for an overpriced cup of coffee from Starbucks (but, it’s so good!). I’m hazarding a guess, but I think if you are reading this column you are half expecting me to whip out my not-so-subtle support of conservatism in general and the policies that make Moffat County sustainable in the year to come and you would be right!
As 2016 comes to a frenzied close, people all over the country concern themselves with how the United States will ever survive the next four years under the dictatorship of a mega-billionaire, xenophobic president. Notwithstanding the last eight years of unprecedented ideological, regulatory ransacking of the constitution by the most “tolerant” president in American history.
It’s becoming increasingly clear that as the Christmas (holiday, solstice) season approaches; we are apparently supposed to walk on egg shells for fear of offending anyone. I’ve always thought that people tend to overuse the word offend when what they really mean is that they’re annoyed. The logical next step from offending someone is when you do something (you may not even realize) and trigger someone.
If the future of Moffat County is as bright as some of our local Christmas lights — we will have to break out the sunglasses! It never gets tiring to drive around and discover the bright lights of those who really get into the Christmas spirit. Alice Pleasant Park looks so cool at night, and if you drive around the different neighborhoods, it is heartwarming to see the lengths which people go to adorn their homes and yards with lights and decorations.
Teachable moments abound when election ballots are counted and the popular vote doesn’t match the Electoral College. I referred to the much-discussed controversy last week, but when classes of high school seniors became intrigued — you gotta go with it!
Last Tuesday’s election was capped off by Veterans Day ceremonies on Friday. It seemed like an appropriate way to end the week in light of all the events of the week. One thing is for certain; our republic is alive and well with more than 120 million people having a say in who will be our next president. One of the things we talked about in classes was the Electoral College and why we need such a thing.
A local movement is afoot, spearheaded by Audrey Danner, to promote broadband access for Craig. Many residents, including myself, aren’t quite sure how this type of service would make any difference to residents or businesses. However, after spending a little time asking questions and doing a little research; I’m certain we need to get behind this movement.
We celebrated Halloween this week, and I was reminded of a few things that used to scare me while I was growing up that have since become good lessons.
As near as I can determine, this is my 100th column for The Craig Daily Press. I wanted to say thanks to Renee Campbell and Noelle Leavitt Riley for allowing me to continue writing after Bryce Jacobsen initially invited me to write all those years ago. Craig has become a special place for me over the past 18 years and my family has been blessed to be a part of a community that cares deeply about its people and isn’t afraid to exercise their opinions and let others know what they think.
Locally, our city and county appear to be getting their minds wrapped around a coordinated effort to help build economic opportunities in Craig and Moffat County. Fortunately, voters have made it possible for various entities to come together and have the means necessary to determine a best way forward. Potential opportunities are being discussed and we should soon see concrete action that will directly benefit our local community and county.
How do you defend the indefensible? Someone asked me that after the now infamous “hot mic” remarks made by Donald Trump. My answer is pretty simple: I don’t, I won’t and never will. But then I asked how they define indefensible, and down the rabbit hole we went! What makes something truly indefensible is a conversation America needs to have with itself. I don’t live in Donald Trump’s world, nor do I have access to his intent but I do know that what he said was demeaning to women and objectified the fairer sex.
Seems like everything we do these days is high stress, high stakes — from elections to testing, we’re a wired-up and worn-out populace. I’m fairly certain that all the people who say they are going to move to Canada if Trump is elected will do the same as they did when President Bush returned for a second term. I’m also positive that for years to come, Moffat County School District will be educating as many children as come through the doors with the same idealistic intent as I have observed over the past 18 years.
Most people who watched our choices for president debate Monday night were likely asking many of the same questions, and I’m not sure we got many answers. Clinton stuck to her well-crafted, prepared, talking points and Trump spoke off the cuff, with emotion. Certainly, the media will try to pick a winner but my analysis goes a bit deeper than who won or lost.
It’s a well-known and acceptable default to place blame on those in public service. Many times the charge is accurate, which is unfortunate because public service should be an honored. Well-meaning letters, editorials and columns have been written over the past few years that have detailed the woes of our city’s lack of economic diversity. We all know the importance of the mines and power plant as economic drivers in our community and they have certainly been taken for granted by many in our community.
One of the most difficult skills to teach young people is rhetoric, which is effectively using language and style to persuade an audience. Controversial topics can be hazardous to the orderly functioning of a high school classroom especially when we discuss hot-button issues like: presidential candidates, free college, building walls, healthcare, immigration and even how people choose to identify.
Yes, I’ll admit it... I’m on the Trump Train and coming clean about the fact that I’m voting for the most unlikely of candidates is a little like betting on the Italian Stallion when he went up against Apollo Creed in “Rocky II.” Yeah, I know, that was a long time ago but this presidential race is gearing up to be a pugilistic panorama of epic proportions as we head into the final two months.
Tests are a relative measure of student academic success and are certainly at the forefront of any discussion regarding the effectiveness of our public schools. In a country that increasingly puts an emphasis on college preparedness, the pressure is on to perform on tests that measure academic ability with a greater stress on graduating with a diploma that will serve as more than just a ticket to get into the workforce.
All kinds of different groups have been formed to try and lay out a plan for moving forward with all of the initiatives that will help make Craig a more attractive destination but also a legitimate community that offers families more than just a job.
It’s just about time for the busy season that lasts about nine months and accounts for three-fourths of the year. It involves a huge investment by our community and always manages to bring with it a few bumps, dips and detours. Each of these seasons — my 18th here in Craig — produce their own particular memories and offer local residents a bevy of ammunition for both praise and critique.
What a great weekend for Moffat County and the city of Craig! The Moffat County Balloon Festival was a great success even if Saturday morning’s questionable weather had the balloonists grounded for safety reasons. The event was well-attended, and I experienced a host of local citizens enjoying the different venues and taking in the sights and sounds of classic cars, big trucks, fun rides for kids, various competitions and of course the hot air balloons.
What the people are saying and what the media and certain politicians are hearing has reached an epic divide. It’s become a “read the news you wanna hear and avoid the rest” kind of election. Depending on your news source, evidence is mounting — as if most of us didn’t already know — that news reporters are biased. What a surprise, proven by the degree that channels go out of their way to celebrate their objectivity.
Perhaps it’s no coincidence that I’ve been intrigued by a series of Civil War novels as part of my summer reading. With political party conventions taking place this month, we’re being told there is a deep divide in our country. The gap between those who will definitely vote for one party or the other is increasingly more diverse and at times largely uncivil in tone. It’s difficult to get through the bog of prognostications and predictions that are part and parcel of the coverage, but just as in the books I’m reading — it comes down to the people.
The news just seems to be getting worse as summer winds down and our nation’s disagreements ramp up.
In the spirit of our 240th birthday celebrating the revolutionary idea that people should be allowed the freedom to choose their destiny based on the merits of their actions; I offer Craig, Moffat County and readers everywhere a solemn reminder.
Our insatiable appetite for news has reached epic proportions matched only by the ease with which we can find news to devour. Apps, social media and internet supply an unending menu of choices for staying informed. But it seems that our appreciation of differing views and opinions is on an opposite trajectory. With the increase in news options it appears that people are settling for the same old thing when it comes to news.
Moffat County Schools are in the midst of some very big changes, which will hopefully portend well for the future of our community. Any new person on the job gives people hope and others dread because the newness generally means change. Change — as some experts say — is scary and uncomfortable. If one embraces change it can make organizations stronger and more vital as fresh perspectives offer the potential for progress, but most of us know that change is just plain inevitable.
While we have our share of exciting events and opportunities for people to come out and get involved in this summer; nationally, the fun is in trying to figure out how we’re going to manage until November. The Democrats, Republicans and Libertarians have settled on their candidates for president and now the “parties” begin.
Our local paper has been writing about, and the community has been looking for the “one answer” to the economic issues that seem to be pestering our town. Most of the answers revolve around diversification of some sort due to the constant attacks on our natural resource industries. “Pot” is the latest entry into the list of potential industries that promise to help save Craig and Moffat County from struggling to meet various budgetary concerns.
In the lexicon of appropriate words and phrases used to describe, it has come to my attention that we are throwing around (literally) words that don’t really mean anything and it’s having an impact on our culture. It is appropriate then to advance a partial list that will assist in the return to a more defined, less abstract tone in our collective discussion of just about everything.
It’s that time again when our best and brightest get ready to enter the world after 12 or 13 years of public education. So often test scores are what we base much of our success on when describing the effectiveness of our schools. Of course, scores are important and worthy of discussion and concern because various snapshots of student learning do help us determine how best to serve their intellectual needs.
It’s not easy to write about things that most of us don’t want to talk about, don’t know how to explain or just don’t understand. This week began with tragic events that have shaken me to the core and sent my thoughts reeling in multiple directions. I’m hurt, bewildered, deeply saddened and I reach deeply into my faith to try and answer the toughest of questions when people are taken from our community under such excruciating circumstances.
It seems like spring is taking its time getting here as the rain keeps falling, but clear skies are on the horizon. Trying to figure out what’s going to happen with our local economy is a bit like waiting for summer to arrive and hoping that the skies will clear and the lush greenery sticks around for awhile. I speak with many people who have lived in Craig for a long time and each one insists that things will come around again.
Economic development is a huge issue in and around Moffat County these days and there are definitely some ideas that could be considered for making Craig a possible hub for some exciting adventures year-round. A good friend of mine always liked to describe Craig as the donut hole and went on to explain that surrounding our peaceful Hamlet are any number of recreational and tourist opportunities.
I was once your greatest asset and you used me to your benefit. But now you demonize me. Is it because of where I am from? Are your white bladed towers and flat-paneled monstrosities that destroy the natural landscape more attractive and beneficial than I? Together, we were looked upon all over the world with envy; but now you vilify me and have unfairly characterized me as dangerous. Today, I help many countries build economic wealth and freedom but you have determined that I am dirty and disgusting.
We really miss *you! You were such a fierce competitor and we had such high hopes for you as a football player, track runner and student. We knew you had some issues, all of us do, but you worked hard to overcome them. We tried our best to support you but still keep you accountable and challenge you to become something we all saw in you.
It’s interesting to a look at what has transpired in our country, and county, over the past eight or nine months. The conversational tone is vastly different than when we were meeting in June to support the coal industry and fight for the jobs that Moffat County depends on for its economic well-being. We even have a presidential contender who is promising to shut down coal mines and reduce the coal footprint on our entire planet.
Our High School Seniors have been progressing through a unit on the Greek philosophers; namely Seneca, Socrates and Epicurus. Most would be able to tell you that Seneca believed that anger was destructive, Socrates would use a method for determining the validity of an idea and Epicurus thought that what people enjoyed, as opposed to what they had, determined their happiness.
When high school teams are successful, it’s easy to think that the road to winning games and making playoffs is paved with lots of talent and some breaks along the way. Well, it does take plenty of talent and a few breaks along the way, but the road is generally paved by a whole bunch of hard work, chemistry and some guidance so the rough spots are avoided.
Reading the report out of the latest stakeholder forum on our school district budget one might reasonably have a few questions. Of all the conversation that took place by people who genuinely say they are concerned about public education was a passing quote to consider class size increases as one solution to our monetary problems?
Seems like we’re all concerned about how money is being spent these days especially when money is tighter than usual and the economic forecast is hazy. Schools are especially affected by shortfalls in funding and are always balancing various initiatives with the main focus of public education. Viewpoints will differ, depending on where you are standing but as a teacher, I stand in front of kids everyday.
Battle fatigue is a well-documented issue that has become an obsolete term in recent years. Modern descriptions rely more on identifiers such as neurosis or stress to more accurately assess the reaction to something that has the effect of slowed response time, increased indecision, or other symptoms. Fortunately, most of us will never have to experience the effects of a battle because of our military and the soldiers who volunteer to protect our country.
I will readily admit that I soak up as much of the Super Bowl post game interviews as I can because no other sport exemplifies the complete dependence on the “team” principle than football. I hear the word “team” trotted out so often by people who have no idea what playing on a team, with a team, for a team really means. It was easy to see who was a team player after the surprising and gratifying Bronco victory over the heavily-favored Carolina Panthers.
The “urge to purge” will be tested as the election season begins in earnest this month. Many of the electorate are fed up with the status quo and ready for a breath of fresh air, or at least some common sense. Locally, our elected officials are doing just about everything they can to prop up our economy and our spirits.
Last Wednesday evening, a special meeting of the newly-elected school board was convened to present the findings of a review of the superintendent’s performance. It was apparent, based on scores, that the board has issues with leadership and this week will make determinations, which will affect the future of our district after first hearing public comment Thursday evening.
Martin Luther King Jr. Day is observed all over the United States in tribute to an idea that likely needs to be revisited often. Reverend King’s treatise corresponded with the Founding Fathers ideals of character and virtue being more important than skin color.
We’re an untidy bunch, but along with the messiness comes a whole bunch of human complexity. Data proves this election cycle has been thrown out the window and the “experts” are scrambling to determine why Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump are so popular with primary voters. To the great majority of us, the answer is simple: for too long, too many politicians have taken advantage of the American voter.
It didn’t take long for the New Year “mad bomb” to go off! The news is full of people and groups who are mad and we all know that anger has no respect for New Year’s resolutions. A group in Oregon is proposing that the federal government needs to change its thinking on matters with regard to how ranchers manage the land they use. Groups concerned with police shootings and how colleges teach are also mad and have taken to the streets (and social media) to make their case.