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Miller: Scary stuff

by Alex Miller

According to a story in the Colorado Independent, those “Personhood Initiative” people want to be back on the ballot in 2010 with a question aiming to give human eggs full status and right as people. Not dissuaded by the fact that their bid to protect fertilized embryos failed by a 3-1 margin in 2008, Colorado Right to Life and Personhood USA are keen to push yet another, even more stringent version of their failed initiative next year.

If one truly believes life begins at conception, I completely understand opposition to abortion. But this initiative would block any other procedures that curtail life post-conception, including stem cell research and even in-vitro fertilization processes. Why, I always wonder, don’t these folks devote their abundant passion (and, apparently, time) to something with a better chance at actually lowering abortion rates: family planning education and a more robust system for pairing childless couples with those willing to give up their kids to adoption?

Maybe they just like the fight and all the attention. But they waste all our time with these misguided measures while other, more productive and easily embraceable tools lie close at hand.

With a steady drumbeat of regularity, sales tax revenue reports for the towns and county for the latter part of the summer season continue to point downward. It’s tough to say with any certainty what this ski season has in store, but most prognosticators are comfortable saying “flat” and then maybe even more flat. Compared to this time last year, however, when we still weren’t sure how low things would go, realism seems pervasive – from the council chambers to the conference rooms of Broomfield and other companies large and small.

It’s reassuring, actually, to see the frenetic pace of construction slowed as we retool and gird for whatever’s next. Jobs have been lost, it’s true, but there may be some commensurate relief on local housing supplies while starts on monster second homes have all but ceased.

One piece of good news: The 1A funds approved by voters last year will help the county restore some services – including, hopefully, Sunday library hours.

Cops in Boulder (and, I imagine, everywhere) expressed concern recently that Halloween night falls at the same time as the end of Daylight Saving Time. Theoretically, that means bars could stay open an extra hour early Sunday morning, and with party-goers already fired up for Halloween, cops smell a lot of extra trouble.

On the other hand, if there’s fresh snow at the two Basins, chances are the typical Summit County reveler will still go to bed early enough to be on the hill Sunday at a decent hour.

At last weekend’s annual grab-a-pumpkin event in Silverthorne, my wife and I observed a great many less pre-fab, plastic-y costumes among the kids. We wondered if Eartha Steward’s recent column about the perils of all those potentially toxic plastics in Halloween costumes and other junk made a difference. Fun as it is, this not what you’d call a green holiday – apart from Christmas and all that wrapping and packaging, it’s probably just about the worst. One need only stroll the aisles of Wal-Mart or Target to see the piles of plastic costumes and decorations, faux-frightening geegaws and whatever else we told the Chinese we really needed on the cheap for Oct. 31.

My family is as guilty as any, but we have started to turn the corner and looked toward the thrift shops for costume ideas this year. And once that cackling witch-in-a-globe wears out, that’s the end of that crap for us.

Anyway, that little paper ghost made in art class is a hundred times cooler and more meaningful.

Happy Halloween, Summit County!

Summit Daily editor Alex Miller can be reached at amiller@summitdaily.com or (970) 668-4618.


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