<![CDATA[Colorado Springs Gazette RSS - opinion]]> http://gazette.com/rss/opinion Sat, 30 Apr 2016 08:59:54 -0600 Zend_Feed http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/tech/rss <![CDATA[GUEST COLUMN: Colorado parents should "opt in" to higher standards]]> http://gazette.com/guest-column-colorado-parents-should-opt-in-to-higher-standards/article/1575128?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/guest-column-colorado-parents-should-opt-in-to-higher-standards/article/1575128?custom_click=rss

For too many families, school policy and instructional methods are essentially a black box: Moms and dads drop off their kids each morning, pick them up each afternoon and get a "good" and a shrug when they ask what went on in class that day. Teacher meetings and report cards come a few times a year, but they don't break down the fundamentals of what kids actually learn. Parents are left hungry for a fuller picture.

Here's the good news (though it may come as a surprise to hear it framed that way): This week, spring testing commenced in schools from Steamboat Springs to Trinidad. For the second year, students will sit for assessments developed through the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC).

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]]> Sat, 30 Apr 2016 04:35:08 -0600 <![CDATA[LETTERS: Summit house plan underway; SDS and Stormwater's achievements]]> http://gazette.com/letters-summit-house-plan-underway-sds-and-stormwaters-achievements/article/1575072?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/letters-summit-house-plan-underway-sds-and-stormwaters-achievements/article/1575072?custom_click=rss

Summit House plan underway

On this page in November 2014, we introduced ourselves as a group promoting public involvement in the redesign of the summit of Pikes Peak. On this page again, in November 2015, we outlined our collective vision of a best possible general design for the new summit complex. This included restoring the summit to as near its original condition as possible, keeping buildings as low-profile as possible, maximizing all view possibilities, providing necessary amenities, conserving energy and providing a strong presence of history and raw grandeur.

On Jan. 26, the design team presented its preferred option to the public. Of the initial four options, this one embraces our stated vision far better than the

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]]> Fri, 29 Apr 2016 04:35:12 -0600 <![CDATA[Recalibrate overtime rules]]> http://gazette.com/recalibrate-overtime-rules/article/1575071?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/recalibrate-overtime-rules/article/1575071?custom_click=rss

In June, the Department of Labor proposed increasing the salaries test used to determine if an employee is eligible for overtime from the current threshold of $23,660 to $50,440 annually. This means that employees - such as managers, supervisors and other professionals who are exempt under the Federal Labor Standards Act - would need their annual salaries elevated to $50,440 or be treated as hourly employees that are eligible for overtime. This proposal, which more than doubles the current standard, would set the salary threshold at a level that is nearly $10,000 and $15,000 higher than what is mandated by the state laws in California and New York - states where the cost-of-living is relatively high compared to the rest of the country.

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]]> Fri, 29 Apr 2016 04:35:09 -0600 <![CDATA[EDITORIAL: Vermont more cautious about legalizing pot]]> http://gazette.com/editorial-vermont-more-cautious-about-legalizing-pot/article/1575070?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/editorial-vermont-more-cautious-about-legalizing-pot/article/1575070?custom_click=rss

The New York Times describes Vermont as a "deeply progressive state - the cradle of Phish and New England's proud hippie haven." More simply, it's a place of young cool hipsters. But it is not a state that sees Colorado as the future because it legalized pot. Rather, Vermont caught attention of the Times for possibly staving off marijuana legalization, as it questions Colorado's wisdom.

"The shadow of the heroin epidemic is something that people think about when they think about the legalization, and they ask themselves, 'Are we sending the right message about legalization?'" said Shap Smith, the speaker of the Vermont House, as quoted by the Times. "I think in the public's mind, it's making passage of this bill more difficult.

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]]> Fri, 29 Apr 2016 04:35:03 -0600 <![CDATA[LETTERS: Look at soda tax's real impact; pay attention to the voters]]> http://gazette.com/letters-look-at-soda-taxs-real-impact-pay-attention-to-the-voters/article/1574989?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/letters-look-at-soda-taxs-real-impact-pay-attention-to-the-voters/article/1574989?custom_click=rss

Look at soda tax's real impact

According to a recent article, "Boulder health officials are hoping to put a ballot measure in front of voters in November that would place an excise tax on soda and other sugary drinks." The article doesn't say whether the measure is statewide or only for Boulder.

The article further states, distributors would "pay a tax of up to 2 cents per ounce on beverages with at least 5 grams of sugar" and "Consumers would not pay the proposed tax." Only Bernie Sanders' supporters would believe that consumers won't pay this proposed tax.

A 12-pack of 12-ounce cans of soda has 144 ounces. At 2 cents per ounce the tax would be $2.88 on a $3 12-pack (sale price for Coke and Pepsi products in ad for a



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Thu, 28 Apr 2016 07:09:31 -0600
<![CDATA[EDITORIAL: Charter schools need proposed legislation]]> http://gazette.com/editorial-charter-schools-need-proposed-legislation/article/1574910?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/editorial-charter-schools-need-proposed-legislation/article/1574910?custom_click=rss

Colorado's increasingly popular charter schools have come a long way in a relatively short time. Since their bipartisan authorization by a Republican legislature and Democratic governor in 1993, these autonomous and innovative public schools have grown explosively along the Front Range and elsewhere. More than 225 charter schools serve over 108,000 students statewide, including thousands in the Pikes Peak region. They have become a key component of our state's overall education portfolio.

Along the way, charters have established a record of academic excellence. While some of the programs struggle and sometimes fail, charters are perennially recognized among Colorado's top-performing public schools.



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Wed, 27 Apr 2016 15:58:15 -0600
<![CDATA[LETTERS: Deplorable conditions on Colorado Springs trail; put blame where it belongs]]> http://gazette.com/letters-deplorable-conditions-on-colorado-springs-trail-put-blame-where-it-belongs/article/1574911?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/letters-deplorable-conditions-on-colorado-springs-trail-put-blame-where-it-belongs/article/1574911?custom_click=rss

Deplorable conditions along trail

My husband and I went for a bike ride yesterday on the trail south of America the Beautiful Park.

The first person we encountered was a sad lady pushing a shopping cart full of her belongings. There are probably 50 tents in the 4-mile stretch with trash everywhere. What's more, the squatters let us know that we were invading their turf.

At one point, four men walking abreast gave way to us only at the last minute. Further down, two others were yelling at each other near their camps under the Tejon Street bridge, threatening each other with their canes. The canes were clearly just weapons.

The residents walk their dogs up and down the path without leashes and certainly without



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Wed, 27 Apr 2016 14:26:14 -0600
<![CDATA[LETTERS: Support for marijuana clubs; article omitted pertinent facts; why can't it happen here?]]> http://gazette.com/letters-support-for-marijuana-clubs-article-omitted-pertinent-facts-why-cant-it-happen-here/article/1574767?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/letters-support-for-marijuana-clubs-article-omitted-pertinent-facts-why-cant-it-happen-here/article/1574767?custom_click=rss

Why can't it happen here?

While traveling to nearby cities, it's hard not to compare the stark differences in their treatment of the waterways.

Denver, to the north, has an amazing bike path system and manages to keep it cleaned up despite the size of the city. Pueblo, CaƱon City, Salida all value and respect the waterways. Why is Colorado Springs so different? I biked Monument Creek with a friend (I wouldn't do it alone). It's filthy, and there are homeless camps - incredible trash all along the creek. Where is the vision? Why can't it happen here? Water in the West is a gift, not to be abused.



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Wed, 27 Apr 2016 08:04:17 -0600
<![CDATA[More must be done to help female vets]]> http://gazette.com/more-must-be-done-to-help-female-vets/article/1574912?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/more-must-be-done-to-help-female-vets/article/1574912?custom_click=rss

Daughter, mother, wife, these are just some of the titles women have, but to women veterans these titles not only look, but can feel different when they transition back into civilian lives. There are approximately 214,098 women serving in the military, and a total of 1,853,690 women veterans as of 2013.

Female veterans experience challenges as a result of their military service, including readjustment issues, post-traumatic stress disorder, military sexual trauma, trouble sleeping and physical injury. Females when coming home have a 9 percent chance of unemployment, they have more child care responsibilities, and they often have a hard time fitting into the social norms.

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]]> Wed, 27 Apr 2016 05:00:25 -0600 <![CDATA[EDITORIAL: Colorado Springs should readdress issues with marijuana grow houses]]> http://gazette.com/editorial-colorado-springs-should-readdress-issues-with-marijuana-grow-houses/article/1574768?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/editorial-colorado-springs-should-readdress-issues-with-marijuana-grow-houses/article/1574768?custom_click=rss

Because Colorado passed an amendment to legalize recreational marijuana without much planning, we continue struggling with regulating an industry and endeavor that has had major unintended effects.

Part of Amendment 64 was the broad and somewhat vague permissions given to municipalities to regulate marijuana production. In fact, the amendment emphasized the local government's role in regulating the drug. On Tuesday, the Colorado Springs City Council will hear the first reading of an ordinance that is designed to change some of the regulations concerning residential marijuana growth.

In July, excessive power use at a grow house blew a transformer and disrupted power in a formerly quiet northeast Colorado Springs neighborhood.



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Tue, 26 Apr 2016 12:05:06 -0600
<![CDATA[EDITORIAL: Wind, the new energy demon]]> http://gazette.com/editorial-wind-the-new-energy-demon/article/1574744?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/editorial-wind-the-new-energy-demon/article/1574744?custom_click=rss

Wind is the big new thing in public power. It is also the growing target of environmental activists who have spent decades attacking fossil fuels.

No source of power will go unchallenged. Activists told us oil and coal were killing the planet. They demanded a shift to natural gas. When fracking unearthed a wealth of the clean-burning fuel, oil and coal critics turned on it with petitions and protests in the streets.

U.S. Rep. Jared Polis, D-Boulder, told us a temporary gas rig near his vacation home marked the end of his Colorado dream. Anti-energy activists throughout Colorado plot ever-growing drill-free buffer zones. Fracking for gas, they tell us, causes global warming and earthquakes.



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Tue, 26 Apr 2016 12:03:16 -0600
<![CDATA[GUEST COLUMN: Time to talk about mental health]]> http://gazette.com/guest-column-time-to-talk-about-mental-health/article/1574740?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/guest-column-time-to-talk-about-mental-health/article/1574740?custom_click=rss

The National Institute on Mental Health estimates there were 43.6 million adults in the United States with a mental illness in the past year. This number represents about 18 percent of Americans aged 18 or older. Despite this, many people remain hesitant to talk openly about mental health and only about half of those who are affected receive treatment. Because of the stigma around mental health, as well as the misconceptions about what is treatable, many individuals will unfortunately go a lifetime without even knowing there are resources that could improve their lives.

For instance, if your spouse breaks an arm, you take them to the hospital where a licensed doctor will put their arm in a cast or sling.



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Tue, 26 Apr 2016 10:02:50 -0600
<![CDATA[LETTERS: Red light cameras; chastising horse owners; marijuana and kids]]> http://gazette.com/letters-red-light-cameras-chastising-horse-owners-marijuana-and-kids/article/1574848?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/letters-red-light-cameras-chastising-horse-owners-marijuana-and-kids/article/1574848?custom_click=rss Red light cameras a safety tool

When I read the recent Gazette article regarding our state legislators voting to ban red light cameras, it left me dumbfounded - in particular, the quote from Rep. Steve Lebsock, D-Thornton. Supposedly, he stated that, "The use of red light cameras violates people's civil liberties and personal privacy." What!? Is it a civil liberty to run a red traffic light and put other people's lives at risk? How is "personal privacy" violated by a camera in a very public venue? If we follow that line of "reasoning," then every security camera in every public place and every business establishment must be a violation of personal privacy and civil liberties.



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Tue, 26 Apr 2016 08:57:05 -0600
<![CDATA[FAGIN: Mandatory recycling should be trashed]]> http://gazette.com/fagin-mandatory-recycling-should-be-trashed/article/1574546?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/fagin-mandatory-recycling-should-be-trashed/article/1574546?custom_click=rss

Another Earth Day has come and gone. Once again we can proclaim our love for Mother Earth by showing our friends and neighbors how much we recycle. Of course, humanity has been recycling since time immemorial. It just that nobody made a big deal out of it.

People recycle all the time when left to themselves. But back when we did it because we wanted to (typically when it made economic sense), it never made sense to wear it on your sleeve to show how much you cared for the planet. What's different now, apparently, is that you can't really care about the environment unless you're willing to make a sacrifice. Ideally, a public one.



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Tue, 26 Apr 2016 08:23:20 -0600
<![CDATA[GUEST COLUMN: A tax day that's even worse for Colorado]]> http://gazette.com/guest-column-a-tax-day-thats-even-worse-for-colorado/article/1574849?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/guest-column-a-tax-day-thats-even-worse-for-colorado/article/1574849?custom_click=rss

When are Coloradans done paying their taxes? No, the answer isn't April 18 - taxes were just due on that day. You finished paying them April 24.

That's when Colorado taxpayers finally earn enough to pay what they'll owe for 2016. Put another way: You work 115 days before you actually start to see your hard-earned money. The non-partisan Tax Foundation calls this "Tax Freedom Day," although you probably won't feel like celebrating when you consider that you're likely spending more on taxes than on food, clothing, and housing combined.

You're also losing more to the tax collector with every passing year. Nationally, Tax Freedom Day is the same day it was last year, but it's still 11 days later than it was only four years ago.

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