Opinion Columns, Columnists

Ask Eartha: A brief history of the farm-to-fork revolution (column)

September 4, 2015 — 

Dear Eartha,

The farm-to-fork eating movement seems to be popping up all over the country. Can you tell me more about the farm-to-fork movement, how it started and how one can take part here in Summit County? — Bryce, Blue River

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Young: Just desserts for GOP's 'Southern Strategy' (column)

September 3, 2015 — 

This is going to be felt for years.”

My politically-prescient son had just watched Donald Trump toss Univision’s Jorge Ramos from his press conference, and a Trump supporter tell Ramos, “Get out of my country.” Ramos is a U.S. citizen.

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Carrie Brown-Wolf: School's in session: What's important to know? (column)

September 3, 2015 — 

Technically, it’s still summer; but, students across the country, including in Summit County, are headed back to school. I hate to see the long days wane, but, as pencils are sharpened and books are opened, a heightened energy resonates with me. It’s a season full of possibility, positive and encouraging.

While teachers begin to set their curriculum, I’ve decided to set my own as a parent, an educator and a concerned community member who wants to see our children and our society thrive.

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Littwin: Is the Colorado GOP afraid of its own base? (column)

September 2, 2015 — 

Maybe it’s just a coincidence, but in the year in which small-d democracy — for both good and ill — has taken over the presidential season, the Colorado Republican establishment has chosen to opt out of the process.

If there’s a fever out there — and there undoubtedly is — the typically anti-vax Republicans have gone full-immunization protocol to combat it.

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Liddick: Republican immigration reforms lack weight, realism (column)

August 31, 2015 — 

Memo to Donald Trump: Don’t waste your time. “Birthright citizenship,” generally acknowledged as part of the 14th Amendment, is not going away. To eliminate it would require a constitutional amendment — a laborious process certain to create powerful and acrimonious debate that would derail much else we need to accomplish. So stop it.

Memo to Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio and others decrying Trump for raising the issue: Better wise up. Why do you think there is such a positive response to his outlandish proposal? Obviously, a large number of Americans are tired of the usual mealy-mouth, country-club Republican drivel about immigration, legal and illegal. They are tired of games and posturing for votes, followed by inaction. If “mainstream” candidates continue to be willfully absent on the topic, disgust will make Hillary Clinton the next president — the calculation having been made that she won’t vigorously ignore the American people’s will any more than the eventual Republican candidate.

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Littwin: Death penalty doesn't fly in Colorado (column)

August 29, 2015 — 

Two juries in horrific mass murder trials have spoken: The death penalty doesn’t fly in Colorado

The death-penalty conversation we have been promised in Colorado may be over before it has had a chance to begin.

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Writers on the Range: The nature of fire has dramatically changed (column)

August 29, 2015 — 

It’s time to move irrigation pipe. It’s one of those things you have to do when you have a certain amount of land and enough water to irrigate it. My knees hurt as I walk each piece of pipe over to the next dry spot. Here in central Oregon, it’s always a race with evaporation. The sun beats down hot as I hear that familiar sound overhead; it’s a DC-7 air tanker flying to another wildfire.

I didn’t always spend my summers moving irrigation pipe. I was a city kid growing up on the beaches of Southern California until I turned 18 and started fighting wildfires. At 19, my wife and I loaded up all our possessions in a Volkswagen bus and moved to north-central Washington.

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Writers on the Range: Just don't call Walter Palmer a hunter (column)

August 29, 2015 — 

Various news reports described Walter Palmer, the dentist who killed the legendary Zimbabwean lion called “Cecil,” as a “hunter.” But this man, who was only interested in capturing Cecil’s giant head for a wall mount, was no hunter, and it insults real hunters to call him one. Calling him a “sportsman” is more accurate.

Edward Abbey, a Western writer who was also a hunter, made a useful distinction between the two terms: “A hunter pursues wild game in order to provide ... for himself, kin and kith (and) this is ... honorable. A sportsman kills for the sake of pleasure, or what he calls ‘sport.’ Hunting for sport always appears in ... socially stratified, over-refined cultures. It is a reliable indicator of privilege, hierarchy and moral decay.”

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Littwin: Panic, politics and the global market sell-off

August 28, 2015 — 

For those who say the stock market sell-off was a wake-up call, I have to agree. I woke up, turned on the iPhone and saw this headline fairly shouting at me from The New York Times website: “Dow down 1,000 points!!! End Times Near!!!”

OK, that wasn’t the exact headline. The Times rarely uses exclamation points. But, you get the idea.

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Ask Eartha: Community supported agriculture at altitude? It can be done (column)

August 28, 2015 — 

Dear Eartha,

My friend from Denver recently joined a community supported agriculture (CSA) program and got some amazing local produce all summer long. Can you tell me more about CSAs and any local programs we have here in Summit County? — Kate, Frisco

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Bargell: Elevation at altitude (column)

August 26, 2015 — 

Just when I was positive I had discovered a phenomenon deserving serious scientific study, I learned, once again, I’m only just catching up.

That’s OK because knowing the research exists helps confirm I am not crazy — at least, not completely so. Last week, I witnessed a friend responding to a simple inquiry with an equally simple answer. When asked for a few minutes of her time, she responded without hesitation, “What can I do to help?” Not, “What do you need?” or “We’ll see, but my plate’s pretty full right now.” Nope, just simply “What can I do to help?” It stopped me in my tracks.

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Biff America: A ruined breakfast

August 23, 2015 — 

The little guy was probably having a pretty good day; right up to the point where he was nearly decapitated.

Like my mate and me, he was up early on a morning that was clear, cold and providing an amazing sunrise. While my bride and I had eaten before we embarked on our pre-dawn hike the victim looked to be relishing a little early day meal in the sun on an otherwise chilly morning at 12,000 feet.

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Littwin: Denver City Council's "pause" on Chick-fil-A ignores free speech (column)

August 22, 2015 — 

There is so much wrong with the Denver City Council’s decision to “pause” in its consideration of granting Chick-fil-A a slot at DIA that it’s hard to know where to begin.

So, let’s start with the obvious.

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Ask Eartha: What going paperless means for the environment

August 22, 2015 — 

Dear Eartha,

I recently saw your ad for your Sustainable Business Lunch n’ Learn workshop next week. I see the workshop discusses ways businesses can go paperless. I’ve heard that “going paperless” is not nearly as “green” as you think. What are your thoughts?

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There's an even bigger threat to rivers

August 21, 2015 — 

If there’s any good news to be gained from the toxic spill of mine wastes into the Animas River upstream of Durango, Colorado, it’s that public attention has suddenly shifted to the health of rivers in the West.

The 3-million-gallon accident riveted the media, even rating a story in England’s Guardian newspaper. Here at home, officials took action almost immediately: Biologists put out fish cages to see if the sludge was killing fish, and chemists began testing the murky water for acidity and heavy metal concentrations. Within a few days, the governor of Colorado, both Colorado U.S. senators, and the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency — whose contractors triggered the spill — showed up in Durango to express their regret, outrage, support, etc. They promised that it would never happen again.

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Mountain Law: How HOAs outght to function

August 19, 2015 — 

Most homeowners associations (HOAs) are nonprofit corporations governed by an elected board. This article discusses a topic that can sometimes be confusing for board members (and owners): What are the ways that the board can decide matters for the HOA, and what notices must first be given?

In-person meeting

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Littwin: Donald Trump's immigration bomb

August 19, 2015 — 

OK, I admit it, I’m a silver-lining kind of guy. And so, when I read Donald Trump’s round-up-the-illegals-and-ship-‘em-out manifesto — a point-by-point policy paper to follow up on his illegal-immigrants-as-rapists commentary — I knew we were finally getting somewhere.

What it means is that The Donald, the leader in the GOP primary-polling clubhouse, is forcing Republicans to take a stand on what amounts to either immigration reform or low-grade insanity, or both. (Which do you think applies to Trump’s first principle: “A nation without borders is not a nation. There must be a wall on our southern border.” I kept looking for a nation without borders is still a nation without a wall on the northern border.)

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Note of thanks from family of Flight for Life crash survivor (column)

August 19, 2015 — 

Most days begin normally. “Like any other day,” we say. Routines followed, commutes made, coffee consumed, schedules completed. Some days have some disruption and difficult moments. “Tough day,” we say.

Then there are days when an incomprehensible and unimaginable event shocks your world. Those types of days you never want to see, and you never want anyone to experience. Those types of days, we can’t say a common phrase because there are no words to capture the stunning magnitude of the event and its painful aftereffects.

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Liddick: EPA cleanup should follow the rules (column)

August 18, 2015 — 

On March 24, 1989, the Exxon Valdez missed a turn and ran aground in Prince William Sound, Alaska, spilling about 10 million gallons of crude oil. The following months of coverage featured daily doses of oil-slicked rocks, birds, seals, sea otters and the occasional cleanup worker. “High dudgeon” doesn’t approach the choleric response from the environmental community. People raved about the callousness of large corporations and the evils of fossil fuels. Politicians promised the wrath of everlasting bureaucratic oversight.

Exxon paid $2 billion in cleanup expenses, $1 billion in civil damage claims and $500 million in punitive damages — a relatively low figure arising from maritime law covering the incident. Environmental Protection Agency administrator William Reilly called the settlement “a clear signal to ship owners that they share responsibility for protecting waters and coastlines.”

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Coal companies must pay their fair share (column)

August 16, 2015 — 

Every few decades, stories erupt in the press over waste, corruption and abuse of the management of federal minerals. While never fully tallied, the revenue lost by the American people and Indian tribes is undoubtedly huge, running into billions upon billions of dollars.

The latest scandal involves the failure of coal companies to pay fair royalties for coal owned by the public. Headwaters Economics, a respected nonpartisan group based in Bozeman, Montana, estimates that from 2008 through 2012, coal companies underpaid royalties to the federal government to the tune of between $620 million to $865 million.

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Biff America: Lost boards and divine intervention

August 15, 2015 — 

“Saint Anthony, Saint Anthony, please come around ... something is lost and it can’t be found.”

I bet I’ve said that poem/prayer a thousand times over the years as I searched for everything from, jack knives, car keys, wallets and cell phones. To quote the movie “Anchorman,” “They’ve done studies. Sixty percent of the time, it works every time.”

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Panic in the presidential race (column)

August 15, 2015 — 

We interrupt our nonstop coverage of Republican panic in the face of Donald Trump leading in virtually every primary poll to bring you competing coverage of the oncoming Democratic panic in the face of Hillary Clinton leading in virtually every primary poll.

The sources of panic are slightly different, of course. But the truth is that you don’t have to wonder why in either case.

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Is tech ruining the wilderness?

August 14, 2015 — 

I run up a trail that climbs a steep ridge, through sage and piñon, ponderosas and aspen. About 2 miles in, the forested slope gives way to a small meadow, where thigh-high grass is sprinkled with lupine, penstemon and flax. I should stop and take an Instagram photo to share on Facebook and Twitter just to make my friends and computer-bound colleagues jealous.

But, I won’t because the Strava app on my phone is recording my location, my speed and, perhaps most importantly, my performance compared to that of others who use this social network for athletes. Stopping will sabotage my effort. If I only had a GoPro camera strapped to my chest, I could capture the image of the wildflowers and keep the data flowing to the app.

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Ask Eartha: Understanding the long-term effects of river pollution

August 13, 2015 — 

Dear Eartha,

I am so concerned about the effects of the Animas River pollution. Can you explain how this happened, and what the effects on the biology of the river will be? — Peggy, Breckenridge

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Writers on the Range: Lessons from a yellow river (column)

August 13, 2015 — 

The mustard-colored water flowing down the Animas River in southwestern Colorado is a painful reminder of the lengthy gestation time of environmental disasters.

The ugly surge was unleashed last week by an EPA contractor, which unwittingly breached a dike that allowed contaminated water from the Gold King Mine to flood into Cement Creek, a tributary of the Animas River. Images from the polluted river as it flowed downstream through the town of Durango were appalling, and the story became a media sensation.

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On the couch: Discuss your 'PC' problem (column)

August 13, 2015 — 

Donald Trump is a misogynist. If not, he’s determined to win the title.

This guy is gunning for the finals of American Chauvinist Ninja Warrior. The last obstacle will melt before him and his bare chest — and that obstacle will be a “she.”

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Littwin: Let Colorado's death penalty conversation begin (column)

August 12, 2015 — 

What should have been obvious to everyone from the start of the Aurora theater trial was that no good ending was possible.

Which is why the trial should never have taken place.

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What's the point? (I already have a car)

August 12, 2015 — 

For the last several weeks, folks headed to farmers markets or just out to grab a loaf of bread have been accosted by smiling faces of men and women sporting blue aprons, hawking raffle tickets for a new car. On a day when you are in a hurry, the pitch is guaranteed to come at absolutely the wrong time.

Please know that the individuals selling the tickets recognize buying a chance at a car does not necessarily fit into everyone’s budget. A smile and shake of the head is an appreciated and inexpensive alternative. If you buy the ticket and don’t win the car, you may — and probably should — wonder just where the money goes. Please take that extra minute to ask or check out the Rotary website for a glimpse into the multi-faceted, non-denominational work done locally, nationally and internationally to promote literacy, build community and eradicate disease, just to mention a few.

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Liddick: Reject a toothless deal with Iran's murderous mullahs (column)

August 10, 2015 — 

The hour is late, if not too late. But, a concerted effort must immediately be made to let Congress know how we feel about the president’s nuclear deal with the murderous mullahs of Iran. The message is simple: No deal — for two reasons.

The first is that the agreement made by a deal-at-any-cost Secretary Kerry and a desperate-for-a-legacy president is far worse than it first seemed, even by the administration’s own benchmarks. On April 6 of this year, the president said that any deal with Iran must allow International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors “to go anywhere.” They can’t. According to both Iran’s President Ali Khamenei and the mass murderer who runs their nuclear program, military facilities are off limits.

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Biff America: The sweet smell of a good attitude

August 8, 2015 — 

I was stranded in a nudist colony with a broken crank.

Perhaps I should clarify. First of all, it wasn’t a nudist colony — it was a “clothing optional” hot springs. Secondly, my broken crank wasn’t a body part but a bicycle part.

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