• There was a sardonic political cartoon recently in which the battered 2015 old man, wrapped in bandages and leaning on a crutch, greeted the new babe of 2016 and said, “If you think it was rough for me, yours will be worse.”

    My life philosophy is to focus on the positive and fight through even in the worst of times, but in this case, optimism seems unwarranted. Call it my inner pessimism or my refusal to live in a fantasy world viewed through rose-colored glasses.

  • Recently, I wrote about how statements made by leaders can lead to violence, even when not intended. Then I specifically correlated false claims about baby body parts made by Republican presidential aspirant Carly Fiorina and others with the Planned Parenthood shooting.

  • Dec 23: Americans scurrying around, anxious they missed someone on their list. And probably have, though he/she is someone not on their list. But who ought to be. Himself. Herself.

    The anxious, overwrought segment of the American populace that is paranoid about personal safety and angry about their wants not being met is growing. They identify terrorist threats and attacks as their greatest concern. They conflate their wants with their needs. They deny responsibility for their failings, instead point fingers elsewhere. “It’s not my fault that I …”

  • With our national overheated debate on mass murders and terrorism raging, it would be wise to take a detached, more cerebral analysis of the problem. First, it is important to understand that while acts of terrorism usually if not always result in mass murders, not all mass murders are acts of terror. And the issue of guns, especially ones capable of withering fire, is tangential, not cause and effect.

  • The goal of terrorists is to strike fear not only into those they are immediately targeting but also into a group of people, population or nation to make them cow in fear to get them to cease a practice the terrorists find objectionable.

  • During the week of Oct. 5, the nonprofit preservation group HistoriCorps converged upon Arapahoe Springs shelter off of the old dirt Squaw Pass Road. Two crew field workers from HistoriCorps, Jonas Landes and Megan Potter, along with a small contingent of local volunteers, spent full days through that weather-filled autumn week to repair and replace roof decking and shingles; replace the deteriorated rafter log; remove graffiti; clean fire-blackened stones; and paint all exposed wood surfaces.

  • The results from the Jefferson Public Schools Board of Education recall were beyond lopsided; they were off the charts. Nearly two-thirds voted to oust the triumvirate, who had been beneficiaries of lavish support from outside money and who sneaked under the radar into power. This time, though, an aware and educated community unceremoniously booted them from their perches.

  • The impending Henderson Mine closure is not surprising in the sense that it’s part of every extraction industry’s boom-bust cycle. Minerals and other deposits — oil, gold or molybdenum — are finite. Every oil well goes dry; every mine plays out.

    On the one hand, the closing will provide opportunity for redevelopment that will reap incredible benefits to the Clear Creek community. Entrepreneurial and visionary types are licking their chops.

  • More than likely if you are reading this column, you are an American citizen. And as such, given ours is a participatory democracy, it requires your active engagement. Being fed up, angry, uninformed or disinterested gives no American a pass when it comes to being an engaged and educated citizen.

  • It has been interesting for me to observe the unfolding of the drama being played out in the library district, not only as a concerned citizen and taxpayer but also as the former leader of my teachers association. It was during that period I witnessed firsthand the havoc created in people’s lives as a result of administrators’ cavalier attitudes toward them.

  • Vote to make Idaho Springs city clerk, treasurer positions appointed


    Regarding the question on the ballot for Idaho Springs voters asking to make the city clerk and city treasurer positions appointed, I would like to speak as a former Idaho Springs city clerk and an “insider” to this issue and encourage a yes vote for both.

  • Succinctly put, the library district is on the hot seat. As controversy swirls in the wake of Sue Lathrop’s termination of longtime John Tomay Library director John Ewers, the district’s governance board, one of a number that oversee two libraries, seems determined to stand behind Lathrop.

  • Understandably, our attention is becoming focused if not riveted on the 2016 presidential campaign. Interest is soaring, wonderfully so given the stakes, but before we get too immersed in that drama, we have unfinished citizen business in 2015.

    More than likely you have received your election ballot in the mail. If not, please contact Clerk and Recorder Pam Phipps at the county courthouse.

    Countywide, there are two questions that demand our attention, and in Georgetown and Idaho Springs, several others.

  • “Trust us.”

    That’s exactly what Idaho Springs’ city government is asking with a ballot measure that would free the city from the requirement to print new ordinances in full in the Clear Creek Courant.

    Our response: No way.

    It’s not that we specifically lack trust in any of the city’s government officials. But because a democracy is founded on the idea of checks and balances on those who wield power at every level, giving any government a pass on the obligation to be fully transparent is a terrible idea.

  • Pope Francis has shaken the world and taken the United States by storm. His shifting of moral emphasis from personal, micro behavior — same-sex marriage, abortion, e.g. — to macro societal behavior is causing upheavals not only within the Universal Church but also the social-political world.

    While homosexual acts and abortion remain mortal sins in the pope’s Catholic universe, of greater magnitude is the havoc wrought by humans on each other and the natural environment, God’s creation from the Christian perspective.

  • “Pass the time?” said the Queen. “Books are not about passing the time. They’re about other lives. Other worlds. Far from wanting time to pass, Sir Kevin, one just wishes one had more of it. If one wanted to pass the time, one could go to New Zealand.”

    — “The Uncommon Reader” by Alan Bennett

    Something incredible happened at the Clear Creek County Library District board meeting on Sept. 8.

  • There’s nothing like a mountain stream of yellow to draw one’s attention. The Gold King Mine disaster in Silverton certainly did that. As the incongruent mustard color disappeared from the river, so has the disaster’s intensity from the consciousness of the average person.

    Maybe. I’d like to think that the visual imagery has left a permanent etch on the minds and consciousness of people. Time will tell.

  • The debate over health care comes down to an essential premise: Is it a right or a privilege? Then the practical: How should it be provided and paid for?

    A century-long effort to implement some sort of national health care system saw fruition with the passage of the Affordable Care Act, which has survived constitutional scrutiny and been successful in achieving its goal of insuring tens of millions of previously uninsured. Since 2013, Colorado’s uninsured rate has decreased from 14.3 percent to 6.7 percent. That’s the good news.

  • In last week’s column, I noted Mark Twain’s dismissive attitude toward school boards. Needless to say, Twain was eviscerating.

    Unlike my literary hero, I have been on both sides of the school board table, having negotiated a master contract in Summit County in my capacity as teacher association president and having served on the Clear Creek board. During those experiences, I dealt with some who brought to mind Twain’s epithet. But I primarily collaborated with stellar, thoughtful citizens who focused on creating sound educational policy.

  • Mark Twain didn’t like school boards. Their banning of “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” which, according to Ernest Hemingway and countless others, is the quintessential and greatest American novel, was one reason.

    His disdain, though, wasn’t due simply to being miffed. Twain and other creative minds, from Thomas Edison to Albert Einstein, Winston Churchill to Dolly Parton, disdained their educational experiences, seeing public schooling as stultifying, repressive.