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Memorial Regional Health: Aging and falling — falls among leading cause of injury for adults older than 65

About one in four older adults falls every year — with one fall doubling the chances of falling again.

Falling is one of the leading causes of injury affecting adults older than 65, resulting in more than 3 million emergency department visits per year in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"Many falls do not cause injuries. But one out of five falls does cause a serious injury, such as a broken bone or a head injury," the CDC reports. "These injuries can make it hard for a person to get around, do everyday activities, or live on their own."

Aging is inevitable, and part of the aging process includes the loss of some function in all vital organs, tissues, and cells. This breakdown greatly increases the chances of having a fall.

If you're concerned about falls — either for yourself or a family member — Memorial Regional Health is hosting a fall prevention class Saturday, Sept. 22.

Causes of falls

Gerontologists — people who study aging — report that aging is due to the interaction of many lifelong influences, according to the National Institutes of Health.

"These influences include heredity, environment, culture, diet, exercise and leisure, past illnesses, and many other factors," NIH says.

Poor eyesight or hearing can increase the chances of a fall, as can illness and physical conditions that affect strength and balance, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians. Poor lighting and slippery throw rugs around the house can also increase the chances of a trip or slip.

"The side effects of some medicines can upset your balance and make you fall. Medicines for depression, sleep problems, and high blood pressure often cause falls. Some medicines for diabetes and heart conditions can also make you unsteady on your feet," according to the academy. "You may be more likely to fall if you are taking four or more medicines. You are also likely to fall if you have changed your medicine within the past two weeks."

Preventing falls

If you're an older adult and you're concerned about falling, it's important to talk with your doctor about things you can do to prevent your risk. A physician can evaluate your risk for falling and review your medications to see if anything is making you dizzy or sleepy, according to the CDC.

Strength and balance exercises, such as Tai Chi, foot taps, head rotations, standing marches, and other muscle-strengthening exercises, can help reduce your risk.

Simple adjustments, such as wearing more sensible shoes and removing hazards around the home, are quick prevention efforts anyone can make. If you need help, ask a family member or friend to check your home for dangers to make your home safer.

Prather’s Pick: ‘Toaff’s Way,’ a novel about a squirrel

"Toaff's Way" was written by Newbery Medalist Cynthia Voigt. The book's black-and-white illustrations were created by Sydney Hanson. This 2018 novel for young readers is published by Alfred A. Knopf.

There's one thing about this novel — the author knows a thing or two about squirrels and other animals, too.

Toaff is a small gray squirrel and the central character of the novel. He lives with his family in a dead pine tree beside two young fir trees. The trees are on a sheep farm next to a road. A young couple and their baby live in a nearby house, known as a nest-house by the squirrels. Two dogs, Sadie and Angus, live at the farm, too, plus some cats.

There is a wooded area across the road, but Toaff's family never goes there. First of all, there is enough food right where they are. Second, the road is dangerous, because of all of the machines (cars) that run up and down it.

Toaff is a bright and curious squirrel. He has all kinds of questions about the world. As the novel opens, Toaff is sitting on a branch of a horse chestnut tree. He's feeling especially adventurous that morning, so without giving it a lot of thought, he takes a leap and lands on a branch of a nearby maple tree. That answers his question about being able to leap from one branch to another.

Boy, is Toaff proud of himself. He decides to go a little farther and leaps from one maple tree to another — four of them in a row. The fourth tree has a branch that stretches across the road. Toaff leaps and lands across the road!

He hears the quarreling voices of squirrels, and pretty soon, he gets a look at one of them. The squirrel is a rusty-red color with white circles around its eyes. Then, he sees the other squirrels. They notice Toaff, and they warn him to get out, or they will bite.

Toaff takes off running back across the road. Alas, a car is approaching and nearly runs over the squirrel. Boy, does Toaff feel weak, but he manages to get back up to his den, where he gets a good "talking to" from his mother, brother Braff, Old Criff, and others. His sister Soaff is more understanding, because she's adventurous, too. The family tells Toaff the squirrels are Churrchurrs, and they're vicious. The family hates these squirrels.

Snow is starting to fall, and Mother says there's going to be one big snowstorm. Sure enough, during the night, the old pine creaks and trembles, there's a loud noise, and the tree breaks. When Toaff wakes up the next morning, the tree is on the ground, and his family is nowhere in sight. He's alone, but he still has food and a place to sleep. There's more trouble, too, because as spring approaches, the human comes along with a machine (chainsaw), cuts the tree into pieces, and hauls them off.

Toaff faces lots of challenges but has good times, too, and he finds the answers to lots of questions.

This endearing novel is classified as "juvenile," probably middle school and above. It is shelved with new books at the Craig branch of Moffat County Libraries. It costs $16.99 in hardcover.

From Pipi’s Pasture: Dodging the little stinkers

Lately some young skunks here at Pipi's Pasture have been getting our attention. We're not sure just how many there are — at least two and maybe even three or four. They're rather small, so we think the skunks are from a litter of babies that were born here, maybe even under a storage shed in the yard. So far, these small skunks haven't raised a "stink," thank goodness.

It's not that we haven't had skunks around here before. I've written about how they have been brave enough to come out in the back and front yards and how they took cover under the patio, until Lyle filled in some holes with dirt. Their attraction to the house and corral area is probably due to the food and water I leave out for the cats.

During summer, the larger skunks were out at night, tangling with the cats and leaving their spray around the house, so the night air had a disagreeable odor, indeed. One night, before bedtime, our granddaughter Megan's dog Jewel was outside on her leash, which was hooked to a panel near the shop. We smelled skunk, and when we brought her inside, Jewel smelled a little like burned rubber — not enough to be really horrible but enough for us to realize we couldn't leave her alone outdoors after dark. She had apparently brushed against a place that had been sprayed by the skunk.

Then, suddenly, the larger skunk (or skunks) was replaced by the smaller ones. One night, Lyle went out to the shop, and when he came back to the house, a small skunk was standing on the porch, blocking the door. He was eating cat food from a container I leave there for Bud and Patches. Lyle had to wait until the skunk left before he could come inside. (Now, we put up the cat food before dark.)

Then, a couple of mornings later while we were doing chore at the corral, Megan called to me.

"Grandma, watch out for the skunk!"

The young skunk was happily eating food out of the cat pan. The cats sat around watching him. We worked around the skunk, and he finally ran into the corral and under a pile of lumber and tin left by the bulls when they tore down a shed.

Then, just a few nights ago, Megan and Jewel were outside after dark. When they got ready to come back inside, a skunk was sitting on the front porch, next to the door.

"No problem," thought Megan. "We'll just go around to the back door."

But when they got there, they found another skunk. They had to wait until the skunk left the front door.

And, so it goes. When we're choring, it isn't long until a little skunk comes along, tips the food pan to one side, and begins to eat. A skunk is often on the patio when I'm attaching the hose to the faucet, even backing up and moving forward as if he wants to charge me. (I've been making sure his tail is pointed away from me.) A skunk runs out from under my office cottage or a skunk runs out from under the shed, and skunks have been in the carport where we store the grain.

It's only a matter of time before someone gets sprayed!

Over a Cup of Coffee: One more rhubarb recipe

We've just finished picking apples off the two trees in our front yard, a bumper crop this year, as with the plum and apples trees at the Morapos ranch. Now, family members and friends are searching for recipes to use up the apples. Starting next week, this column will feature apple recipes, so if you have

a favorite recipe you would like to share with readers, please call me.

Meanwhile, this week's column features a recipe for using rhubarb. It sounds absolutely wonderful, but I haven't had time to try the recipe yet. It was sent to me by Mary Burnett, of Craig, who got it from her sister. Thanks, Mary!

Rhubarb-Ribbon Brunch Cake

• 3/4 cup sugar

• 3 tablespoons cornstarch

• 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

• 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

• 1/3 cup cold water

• 2 1/2 cups sliced fresh or frozen rhubarb

• 3 to 4 drops red food coloring

Batter:

• 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

• 3/4 cup sugar

• 3/4 cup cold butter

• 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

• 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

• 1/2 teaspoon salt

• 1 egg, beaten

• 1 carton (6 ounces) vanilla yogurt

• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Topping:

• 1 egg, beaten

• 8 ounces Mascarpone cheese

• 1/4 cup sugar

• 1/2 cup chopped pecans

• 1/4 cup flaked coconut

In a large saucepan, combine the first five ingredients until smooth. Add rhubarb. Bring to a boil. Cook and stir for two minutes or until thickened. Add food coloring. Set aside. In a bowl, combine the flour and sugar; cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Set aside one cup for topping. Add baking powder, baking soda, and salt to the remaining crumb mixture. Combine egg, yogurt, and vanilla; stir into batter until smooth. Spread into a greased, 9-inch spring-form pan. Then, combine the egg, Mascarpone cheese and sugar; spoon over the batter. Top with rhubarb mixture. Add pecans and coconut to reserved crumb mixture; sprinkle over the top. Bake at 350 degrees for 60 to 65 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes. Remove sides of the pan. Cool completely. Serves 12.

Recipe courtesy of Mary Burnett of Craig. Thanks again for the recipe, Mary!

If you have apple recipes you would like to share with readers, please call me at 970-824-8809, or write to me at PO Box 415, Craig, CO 81626.

Dave Ulrich: Positive academic achievement

We have good news to start the school year and yet another reason to choose Moffat County School District! Our district earned the rating of Performance (Accredited) from the Colorado Department of Education for the 2017-18 school year! This is the second year in a row our students and staff have earned this rating.

The district's rating is a combination of many elements, including the Colorado Measures of Academic Success, or CMAS, Assessments; Post-Secondary Workforce Readiness; PSAT; and SAT. In English Language Arts/Literacy and Math assessments, the district performed better than last year. While math saw a slight increase, the district English Language Arts/Literacy scores increased by 7 percent in the top two levels of performance.

Each element is measured in two ways. First is Status Scores. Status is the percentage of students who score in the five levels defined by Colorado Department of Education (Did Not Yet Meet Expectations, Partially Met Expectations, Approached Expectations, Met Expectations, or Exceeded Expectations). The second way each element is measured is Growth Scores. Growth Scores are the measure of students' expected growth compared to their Colorado peers. I refer to this as the "value added" of our teachers.

For Status Scores, districtwide, fourth-grade students exceeded the state’s average percentage of students achieving in the top two levels in English Language Arts/Literacy. This is the first districtwide, whole grade level to top the state average on status scores since we began taking CMAS Assessments!

The 2017-18 Growth Measures showed gains, as well. Combined, as a district, students exceeded the state average growth in English Language Arts/Literacy. This is the first year for a whole subject, districtwide, that MCSD exceeded the state average growth! Gifted and Talented students exceeded average state growth by 19 percent!

While it is clear we still have much work to do, I want to say congratulations and thank you to the staff, students, parents, and community members who contributed to this result. We will continue working to ensure our teachers have the resources and professional development necessary to keep student achievement moving in a positive direction and give everyone a reason to continue to say, "I Choose Moffat County Schools."

Smooth start of school

Given the changes that marked the start of this school year, I want to highlight that we have had another smooth start. Throughout the 2017-18 school year, we went through a process of closing East Elementary School and creating a new Early Childhood Center on the East campus. The MCSD staff worked throughout the summer to ensure our spaces were ready for our teachers and students.

Members of the MCSD maintenance staff, as well as central office administration, were present at Craig Middle School and Sandrock Elementary School to monitor the new drop-off procedures. After a couple of days, it appears parents and staff have settled into a routine that is an improvement over previous years.

The maintenance staff and administration also helped with the drop-off procedures at the Early Childhood Center. After a couple of days there, I can report that parents have settled into a routine that is quick and safe for our youngest students. The new, flexible drop-off time is proving to be a popular addition to the Early Childhood Center day.

Our, students, parents, staff, and community deserve positive achievement news and a smooth start of school. I am proud of everyone's efforts to ensure we are living the district's mission statement: to educate and inspire students to thrive in an environment of change.

Dave Ulrich is superintendent of the Moffat County School District.

Janet Sheridan: While others frolicked     

"Remember," Mom said, "I want the washing finished and the young ones happy when I get home." Then, she escaped out the door, leaving me with a mountain of dirty clothes and three unabashedly disorderly siblings.

I headed to the basement, leaving Barbara, Blaine, and JL at the breakfast table making up inane jokes, then laughing inordinately: "Knock, knock." "Who’s there?" "Janet." "Janet who?" "Janet’s stupid!"

I descended six stairs to the cement-floored laundry room with its sluggish floor drain and musty smell. Sighing with self-pity, I inserted a hose into the washtub of our antique wringer washer, turned on the water, adjusted it to warm, and dumped in a measure of grainy detergent.

Wrinkling my nose with distaste when I dealt with other people's underwear, I methodically sorted the laundry into piles of dark, white, and light until loud wails summoned me to the kitchen. The boys having disappeared, an anguished Barbara sat alone, sobbing and saying she knew she shouldn't leave the table until she finished her oatmeal, but a fly had landed in it, and she couldn't take another bite. I told her I wasn't about to fall for that old trick and thumped her to reinforce the message.

When I returned to my task, the washtub was about to overflow. Grabbing the hose, I inserted it in the rinse tub, then scooped a couple of bucketfuls of excess water from the washtub and, deciding a few suds wouldn't matter, added them to the rinse water. As I put a load of whites into the wash water and engaged the agitator, suspicious sounds again issued from the kitchen.

The little boys were wrestling, knocking into the chair where a sad-eyed Barbara still sat. To my amazement, she had managed to capture a fly and drown it in her oatmeal. I told her to get out of my sight before I made her eat it like a raisin. She escaped, and I sent the boys outside to ride their beat-up tricycle, ignoring their protests that it had no front tire. Maybe riding on the rim would build muscle somewhere other than between their ears.

The rinse tub full, I now had to deal with the dreaded wringer. Dad had warned us about washing-machine wringers that mangled the arms of wee children, and for the rest of their lives, they had to be fed like baby birds. We still had our arms, but Carolyn once forced two pair of jeans into the wringer and stalled it. Then, the weight of the wet denim broke the wringer free from its locked position, so it began rotating on its axis in circles, the levis flying out like arms on a horizontal windmill. We played a thrilling game of dodge the jeans until Lawrence, the first of us to gain any sense of maturity, came to investigate and ruined our fun.

I hated inserting small items like stockings and handkerchiefs into the wringer, because they sometimes failed to exit obediently on the other side of the rollers, so they continued to go around and around. Theory dictated stopping the wringer, popping a roller, and removing the stocking. Daring demanded snatching one end of it without wringing your fingers and hanging on until the offending item unwound.

Finally, the first load wrung into the rinse water, and a second load chugging in the soapy water, I checked on the terrible trio. I found them playing in the yard and told Barbara throwing rocks in the air and telling her little brothers to run under them was proof she'd been adopted. All three looked at me with puzzlement, then headed for the garden, where they'd pick and eat green gooseberries.

Soon, the sheets were wrung into the laundry basket, and the other loads were progressing in an orderly fashion. Carolyn had been told to hang the wet laundry when she returned from babysitting, so I'd soon be sitting on the porch, enjoying another Bobbsey Twins book in which chores didn't exist, older children went adventuring, and younger children obeyed without question.

Sheridan's book, "A Seasoned Life Lived in Small Towns," is available in Craig at Downtown Books and Steamboat Springs at Off the Beaten Path Bookstore. She also blogs at auntbeulah.com the first and 15th of every month.

Lance Scranton: It’s gotta be true!

A long time ago, when I was a wee lad and I had all of my future well out in front of me, something happened. I can't really say what it was, because as embarrassing episodes go, this one was a doozy! But suffice it to say I learned a lesson, was disappointed in myself, and hoped it wouldn't be held against me as I moved forward with my life. Unlike some, I remained imperfect and made a few more mistakes along the way as I grew to maturity and realized that, at some point, my youthful indiscretions would amount to a reputation I wouldn't want to have should I continue.

Time went on, and I began to grow, mature, and look back on my actions as a time when I learned some valuable lessons and began to formulate some type of mature code for living. Many of the things I did when I was in Junior high and high school were just plain stupid, and being surrounded by fellow stupid people — stupidity tended to abound in many areas of life. But somehow, I made it through and became an adult with career aspirations and a lifestyle that reflected a more mature approach to life.

But, in all of the things I did as a teenager in high school, wrapped up in the frenzied era of the '80s, and in all the excesses and time youth affords, I am certain I did something to hurt people in some way, shape, or form. I'm certain I was selfish. I'm absolutely positive I made bad decisions. I'm confident I mishandled situations, and I'm forever embarrassed about some things I wish I hadn't done.

So, if you are like me and you wish you had done things differently as you look back across the years, I offer you the same advice I give my students should they care to listen: Sometimes, life can get the best of us, and we can get caught up in things that we regret later and may regret for the rest of our lives. But, people have this amazing capacity to forgive, and time can sometimes appease some of the bitterness that hurt can cause.

Being young is difficult, and we can make bad decisions, but if you own up to your mistakes and do your best to move in a better direction, your life can get better, and your capacity to make better decisions will grow exponentially.

It's gotta be true that we've all made mistakes. It's also gotta be true that we need to learn to live in the light of hoping we can each become better people if what we have done serves to teach us instead of consuming us.

It's gotta be true that, as messy as life can get sometimes, we all deserve a chance at redemption. It's gotta be true that what is true about each of us is that the truth does set us free from the bondage of fear and regret.

But, it's gotta be true, or it only serves to tear us down and destroy those of us who have learned from our past and lived lives in light of the truth of our imperfections.

But, it's gotta be true.

Lance Scranton is a teacher and coach at Moffat County High School.

From Pipi’s Pasture: Storing food for winter

Last week's column, about the basement where we kept canned goods, has had me thinking about the kinds of foods that were stored there.

During the winter, we ate from the canned goods that lined the basement shelves and from the gunny sacks full of potatoes. It was a good thing we stored up so much food, because we didn't go to Craig very often in winter; in fact, sometimes we couldn't get out during the snowy months. Dad and Mom stocked up on sugar, flour, coffee, and other staples before winter set in.

I can still remember hearing Mom as she called to one of us when she got ready to fix dinner or supper.

"Go down to the basement and bring up some potatoes and a jar of green beans. Bring up a jar of peaches, too," she'd say.

And so by spring, lots of the jars of homecanned foods had been emptied, and a lot of potatoes had been used up, too. (However, there were almost always enough potatoes left so we could cut them into chunks, with eyes, for spring planting.)

When it was about time to plant the garden, Mom went down into the basement, straightened up the jars on the shelves, and took inventory of what was left. That way, she could figure how much she would have to can for the coming winter.

Her figuring went something like this: Two jars of green beans per week for 12 months came out to about 100 jars. Then, she subtracted what was left from the previous winter. She did this for all the canned foods — vegetables, fruits, pickles and relishes, jams and jellies, tomatoes, juices, and meats and meat mixtures.

The canning season began in early summer, after the garden produce started coming on. We picked green and yellow beans and peas — rows and rows of them. Then, we kids sat out on the enclosed front porch and snapped and shelled vegetables while the pressure cooker whistled away in the kitchen. There were several pickings of beans and peas during the summer, thus the hundreds of jars.

The canning continued on into the fall, making use of garden produce and the fruit that grew in our orchard and the orchard at our grandparents' ranch. Some of the produce needed for canning had to be purchased during a once-a-year trip to Grand Junction. We also picked wild chokecherries and currants from trees on the ranch.

So, by winter, the basement shelves were stocked with jars of peas, beans, corn, carrots, a carrot/pea mixture, mixed vegetables, stewed tomatoes, and tomato juice. There were jars of applesauce, apples for eating and making pies, pie cherries, peaches, pears, apricots, and fruit cocktail.

Mom canned a variety of pickles, including sweet and sour dills, bread-and-butter pickles, watermelon pickles, and probably more. She did a few specialty jars of pears tinted green, whole spiced crabapples, and others for holidays. Mom canned horseradish, too, from plants that grew along the ditch, an eye-watering job, indeed.

Jellies and jams were popular foods at the ranch. We had butters and jams made from plums, apples, peaches, strawberries and chokecherry, currant, rhubarb, and apple jelly. Mom canned the juices, too, so if a frost got the fruit in the following spring she could still make jelly.

There were meats, too. We even had our own smokehouse for hams and homemade wieners. We were set for winter!

Over a Cup of Coffee: A favorite soup recipe

With fall-like weather upon us, I decided to make soup this week. "Cabbage Soup" is one of my favorite soup recipes. It is also one of the first recipes to be featured in "Over a Cup of Coffee." I'm repeating the recipe, but I think it's worth it. The other recipe in this week's column comes from Mary Burnett, of Craig. She got it from her sister. If you still have rhubarb (or frozen rhubarb) this is a good recipe for freezing or storing in the refrigerator. Thanks, Mary!

Cabbage Soup

• 1 pound ground beef

• 2 slices (or more) bacon, cut up

• Small onion

• 1/2 cup sliced celery

• 1 cup cooked pinto beans

• 2 cups canned tomatoes

• Small can green chilies

• 3 cups finely-sliced cabbage

• 2 or 3 bouillon cubes

Brown ground beef. Drain and set aside. In a big soup pot, sauté bacon and onion until onion is limp. Bacon should be done but not crisp. Add the beef and other ingredients. Add enough water so the ingredients are covered, more if desired. Bring the mixture to a boil, turn down the heat, and cook for about 1 1/2 hours or until vegetables are done. Because of the bouillon cubes, you may not need salt. Season as desired. We enjoy eating buttered bread with the soup.

Orange Rhubarb Spread

• 4 cups diced fresh or frozen rhubarb

• 2 cups water

• 1 can (6 ounces) frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed

• 1 package (1 3/4 ounces) powdered fruit pectin

• 4 cups sugar

In a large saucepan, bring the rhubarb and water to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for seven to eight minutes, until the rhubarb is tender. Drain and reserve cooking liquid. Cool rhubarb and juice to room temperature. Place the rhubarb in a blender. Cover and process until pureed. Transfer to a four-cup measuring cup; add enough reserved liquid to measure 2 1/3 cups. Return to the saucepan. Add orange juice concentrate and pectin. Bring to a rolling boil, stirring constantly. Stir in the sugar. Return to a full rolling boil; boil and stir for one minute. Remove from heat and skim off foam. Pour into jars or freezer containers. Cool to room temperature, about one hour. Cover and let stand overnight or until set, but not longer than 24 hours. Refrigerate or freeze. Yield: 5 half-pints.

Thanks again, Mary. Another of Mary's recipes will be featured in next week's column.

If you have recipes that you would like to share with readers, please call me at 970-824-8809, or write to me at PO Box 415, Craig, CO 81626.

Under the Dome: Candidates for office warrant respect

We just got home after a weekend in Grand Junction at the Club 20 annual Steak Fry and Debates, famous this year because one of the candidates for governor declined to attend. Plenty of other aspirants to public office filled the space in an all-day marathon of speechifying and trying hard to disagree. Pretty amazing variety of styles and political positions. Some of the debates (not mine) got superheated when the candidates got the chance to question each other.

After being there, I have a renewed respect for everyone who runs for public office. It's a unique experience to stand in front of supporters and detractors — some very strongly so on both sides — dig deeply into your backyard, expose your personality, and stand up for your beliefs.

And, my respect extends to the county, school board, and local level. Thanks to every candidate standing up this year and to the many volunteers for boards and commissions.

My read of the early history of our country is that we started out with a stronger interest in local politics and less focus on the national level. With the ubiquitous presence of news about the blood politics of Washington, maybe we've lost sight of important issues and dedicated candidates in our own backyard. I quit yelling at the television when I got involved in county and state matters and ran for office. Get to know and support your local sheriff, mayor, clerk, commissioner, assessor, etc. (and your state representative).

I'm helping write the five bills that will come from our "Alternative to the Gallagher Amendment Interim Committee." I’ll report more next month about the details, but we have to fix the drastic negative impact this constitutional mandate will have on our fire districts, counties, schools, and every other special taxing district.

My other summer recreational activity, the Education Leadership Council, is entering a new phase, as four subcommittees report the results of work during the past several months. More than 100 volunteers have helped shape a vision and strategy for the future of education in Colorado, from early childhood to adult retraining.

With the help of several advocacy groups, we're working on a plan, including several next-session bills to contain health care costs. We'll see our ballots in the mail soon.

I don't get very political in this column. I try to focus on western Colorado's issues and what's going on in Denver that affects us. But, I'm seeing maybe 13 ballot measures, in addition to voting for candidates. I like the solution to redistricting in Y and Z, but I'm concerned that several measures put more constitutional mandates and restrictions on the state's budget process. I'm spending most of my summer working on and trying to unravel conflicting amendments from 1982 and 1992.

The legislature should be allowed to do its job, otherwise we should elect someone else.

Let me know what's important to you.

State Rep. Bob Rankin represents Colorado's House District 57 in the state legislature. He writes the monthly column “Under the Dome,” hoping to inform and engage the constituents in his district. He serves on the Joint Budget Committee and represents Garfield, Rio Blanco, and Moffat counties.