Letters to the Editor: September 25, 2008

Dear Editor,
I’m an old guy — 84. I grew up during the Great Depression, served in the Army during World War II, worked in government for 32 years and in private industry the rest of the time, including two sessions as a union coal miner.
My lifelong experiences have turned me into a staunch conservative, not a Republican, since too many of them have forgotten the meaning of the word. Goals I would subscribe to are 1) less government, especially at the federal level and 2) more reliance by people on themselves instead of waiting to be rescued by a governmental entity.
Our society is being strangled by excessive red tape and regulations. A large part of the cost of living today can be blamed on the environmental movement. Despite much good that came from the passage of the National Environmental Policy Act in 1969, good judgment has not been applied in its application and in ancillary laws and regulations created with the noble goal of protecting our environment. Examples are: 1) Leaving the word “navigable” out of the final version of 1972 amendments to the Clean Water Act, which resulted in a paper blizzard at the federal level with minimal benefits, 2) Opening up the Rare and Endangered Species Act to cover, as an example, the Elderberry Beetle in California, and here in Colorado millions spent on saving the Humpback Sucker, which I would wager that 99 percent of the citizens could care less about. Private property rights have been taken from citizens as a result of the application of the latter law. Elimination of overlapping regulations and laws would save taxpaying citizens billions of dollars a year.
Stuart Udall opposed building I-70 through Glenwood Canyon. His nephew, Mark Udall, has opposed offshore drilling for oil, construction of new petroleum refineries and nuclear power plants. Henchmen, the Salazar brothers, share like philosophies, typical of environmentalists, who are usually opposed to anything constructive. Hopefully, voters will see through their recent hypocritical shift in policies on off-shore drilling.
Short-term solutions to our energy problems include opening up our shores to drilling (not with the phony 50-mile limit being debated), drilling in barren arctic regions such as ANWAR and reducing the red tape required to get a nuclear power plant underway or the building of a new oil refinery.
Long-term solutions should develop clean-coal technology (our greatest resource), hydrogen, solar, wind and all of the other possible, practical methods for sustaining our high standard of living.
Our only hope of restoring sanity to our political system is to elect a Republican president and Republican majorities in the Senate and House. Then it will be our duty to hold their feet to the fire and insist they adhere to conservative principles.
Dick Prosence

Dear Editor,
Last week the Board of Trustees for the Town of Meeker passed a resolution in support of the Meeker RE-1 School District Ballot Issue requesting a permanent mill levy override and a bond in the amount of $24 million.
The board feels that the improvements to the middle and high schools and the construction of a new elementary school should be a priority for our community and will be beneficial in many ways.
The resolution addresses the need for a healthier and safer atmosphere for all the students and staff. It also notes that a common campus for our schools will provide more secure and safe learning conditions. Further, the infrastructure upgrades would create an enhanced educational environment and would be a welcome and attractive amenity to our community.
As local government, the board understands that our schools are a major employer, educator and community provider for our town, and to that end we support the school district’s plans to improve the learning and working environments for our citizens.
The town also recognizes that if the ballot issue passes, the current elementary school building will revert back to town property. While there are many potential future uses for this property, these conversations are in their infancy stage. The board looks forward to working with the public to find a positive and collaborative outcome that would enhance our downtown area and fill the needs of our community.
Please be an informed voter in November.
Mandi Etheridge, mayor,
Town of Meeker

Dear Editor,
The present Meeker Elementary School was built in 1939 when Josephine Holland was superintendent of Rio Blanco County Schools. During the course of its 68-year history, several additions have been made and during the last 20 years major repairs have been necessary. The current building needs major roof repairs as well as electrical and plumbing work. The basement, despite repeated efforts to resolve the problem, continues to leak, making it unusable. Additionally, growth has made the building too small for the current number of students as attested to by the portable classrooms that have been installed on the playground.
Barone Middle School was the last school building built in Meeker. It was built in 1977, 31 years ago. I think that it can be said that the Meeker community gets its money’s worth from its school buildings. There comes a time, however, when a new building is needed. To put more money into repairing the elementary school is, I feel, a waste. Even the venerable Yankee Stadium is finally being replaced by a new stadium.
No one likes it when taxes go up, but delaying the building of a new elementary school until another year will only make the costs increase. Another factor to consider is that the increased property valuation in the county means that nearly 80 percent of the cost of the building will be paid for by taxes from the oil and gas industry.
The need is great and the time is now. Ballot Initiatives 3A and 3B will provide the funding to build a new elementary. Our children and our grand children deserve the bright educational future which these funds and a new school will help provide.
Bill Ertmer
Retired principal and teacher at Meeker Elementary School

Dear Editor,
The Meeker Recreation Center is one of the best I have ever seen. The workroom for weight training and aerobics is large and pleasant.
Many overweight, out-of-shape, sedentary men and women could shape up and possibly save their lives by calling the center and having a professional fitness instructor help plan an appropriate program. It would be the wisest move they ever made to stay alive and healthy.
Frank Welder