Keep Colorado a special place
Colorado's great outdoors, from our parks and playgrounds to iconic snow-capped mountains, are natural jewels worth protecting. As executive director of Colorado Youth Corps Association, I've seen how our state's investments of Colorado Lottery proceeds in these resources help protect vital landscapes and change lives, keeping Colorado healthy, beautiful, and productive.
The Colorado Lottery helps fund Great Outdoors Colorado, Colorado Parks & Wildlife, and the Colorado Conservation Trust Fund, which enable outdoor recreation and land conservation projects that benefit Coloradans in every corner of the state.
Since 2014, GOCO's partnership with conservation corps has created over 2,200 jobs for youths, young adults and veterans. Our members have cleared 1,700 acres of harmful invasive species, improved 128 miles of trail, and performed 164,000 hours of service while collectively earning $2.5 million in AmeriCorps Education Awards - all thanks to the Colorado Lottery.
In El Paso County last year, GOCO supported 11 weeks of service by Mile High Youth Corps. Members worked within Black Forest Regional Park and Pineries Open Space to continue recovery efforts from the 2013 Black Forest wildfire. This investment also deployed crews to Manitou Springs as part of the city's fire mitigation plan.
In the face of mounting pressures on our great outdoors, it is critical we maintain our investment in parks, open space, playgrounds, and the next generation of Coloradans. Investing Lottery proceeds in our outdoors is good for business, good for families, and ensures Colorado's high quality of life.
The Colorado General Assembly is considering legislation to reauthorize the Lottery division. Let's keep Colorado a special place by continuing the investment of Lottery dollars in our prized outdoor spaces. Learn more and join the list of supporters at KeepItCO.org.
Who or what should we believe?
"We the People," the average "John Q. and Jane U. Public," no longer know who or what to believe or trust. Lying, misrepresentation, distortion, manipulation, the spinning of fact and fiction, fake news, is now the American norm.
No one in leadership can be trusted. Certainly not the politicians, or lawyers, or judges, not the Department of Justice, the FBI, the CIA, the Department of Education and educators in general. You can't even trust the pope or many of the clergy. You can't trust the fact finder websites who have political connections, biases and their agenda. You can't believe what you see. Pictures can be "Photoshopped." You can't believe videos or speeches because they can be spliced and edited. You certainly can't believe the news networks who are constantly caught in fabrications and outright lies. Newspapers and news magazines do more editorializing than reporting and don't verify their sources. Objectivity is gone, and subjectivity rules.
We are divided, and bipartisan cooperation is a thing of the past. There are white supremacists, black supremacists, neo-Nazis, black power, white nationalists, Black Lives Matter, Antifa, and BAMN (By any Means Necessary). All are racist, sexist, homophobic, misogynistic, bigoted and misandristic, Women are at war with men, and millennials are at war with previous generations. All are positioning for power and control. As Lord John Dalberg-Acton said, "Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely." It appears our nation is now absolutely corrupted.
R. Wayne Baughman
A 'gap' in justifications
With all the attempted justifications of a toll lane for the I-25 Gap, CDOT has failed to answer a couple of basic questions. Why did CDOT:
- Fund the expansion of I-25 from Lincoln through south Castle Rock without toll lanes?
- Fund the I-225 widening without toll lanes?
- Fund the widening of C-470 (admittedly not an 'interstate') without toll lanes?
It appears CDOT is biased toward the Denver metro area and its surrounds. Furthermore, it's an example of self-proclaimed experts determining an optimal solution while ignoring the inputs of the people who will use the roadway. CDOT seeks, but apparently ignores, public input that suggests they have made up their minds. Other than a few politicians and CDOT, who is really in favor of toll lanes? CDOT should re-examine its justification of toll lanes and add the extra, free lane like they did for the Denver area communities.
Hardly the way to honor troops
To pay respect to those in our armed forces is unquestioningly admirable. But for Donald Trump to do so via a military parade is hardly the way to honor those in uniform. Mirroring regimes the likes of Vladimir Putin's, Kim Jong Un's and Xi Jinping's, Trump reveals and amplifies his envy for despotic leaders.
If the parade were to occur, it reportedly would squander upwards of $20 million in U.S. taxpayer money to, what, illustrate our nation's military strength? Let our military superiority be demonstrated on the battlefield, the skies and the oceans, not on Pennsylvania Avenue.
Wouldn't those millions be better spent hiring VA doctors and nurses? Or supporting Homes 4 Heroes and the Wounded Warrior Project? Or combating the nation's opioid crisis? Or contributing to disaster relief from last year's devastating hurricanes? If taxpayer money is to be spent, don't let it be to indulge Trump's narcissism. Instead, do what defense secretary and retired Marine Corps Gen. Jim Mattis requested: improving the readiness of our troops through more equipment, advanced training and increased recruiting. Let's say 'thank you' to our troops in a significantly more fiscally responsible manner than having tanks, troop carriers and jets rumbling through the streets of Washington, D.C.