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Consider day care, preschool options

Gerry Sandberg

The fact that Eagle County and Health and Human Services has reached 69 children is commendable, but in reality it is a drop in the bucket of those in need. I fully understand financial restraints keep Kathleen from doing more, as I know she wants to.

As a former director for the Eagle County School District Board of Education and having a hand in the purchase of the Berry Creek 5th, as well as the start of the inter-governmental agreement, I have been thinking of ways to use that property besides for housing.

The county has endorsed Inclusionary Zoning as one means to address affordable housing. Why not consider a day-care-preschool facility in lieu of some of that affordable housing at the Berry Creek site?



Possible benefits could include:

1. Free a second parent from the home to enter the work force.



2. Bring in a second income moving the family closer to home ownership.

3. “Qualified” centers can give children a “jump start” in education.

4. Jobs in day care can be created.



5. The location at the Berry Creek 5th site would allow many parents easy access and less driving to a day-care site.

6. Qualified, affordable day care-preschool would help ensure better care of our children.

7. The facility could double as a local community center, etc.

There exists another option for day care in the valley at the vacant Eagle Road and Bridge site. This building is 4,000 square feet in size and allowing for modifications to it and the grounds it might be usable as a site. The county is looking to offer it cost free.

Obviously, there are sure to be circumstances that need to be addressed to make these sites into a day care-preschool site, but it is worth the effort to investigate. Affordable housing is an issue, but there are other ways to approach “affordability” and possibly Inclusionary Zoning as well.

Gerry Sandberg

Candidate for

Eagle County commissioner

Kid needs you, Dad

How much insight do children have when it comes to drinking and the effects of alcohol? I didn’t think very much, until a child around the age of 7 or 8 opened my eyes.

I was being a good parent by volunteering to take out a group of kids to play the course at Eagle Ranch Golf Course for the juniors program. OK, I was being irresponsible and blowing off work that I should have been paying attention to.

Anyway, there were four little boys out on course with me. I drive the cart and the kids to the appropriate hole and, they walk the hole and hit the ball approximately one thousand times. Each hole takes about 20 to 30 minutes. Painful, but still better than the work that I should have been attending.

Anyway, we are out on the ninth hole, in the middle of the perfect fairway, on beautiful morning that I will not soon forget. The boys are playing the hole, but need to wait for the kids ahead to get ahead more, because there is a small but still existing chance that a kid could actually hit the ball.

I have my own child on my left, on the outside of the cart, I sit in the cart, and a boy on the right side. This kid on my right has been irritating me all morning with his lack of respect for all around him, and his unthoughtful manner. And it’s bad. I was wishing that I was back at work. That’s bad!

Anyway, it’s quiet, and this kid asks: “Can you drink on the golf course”?

All right, we need to back up a bit. Around six years ago, I quit drinking, only because I was a lush. My two young kids were known well by the waitresses at the local brew pub. I was out almost every night doing bad things, which we don’t need to talk about.

I quit drinking for one month, so that I could say the I could do it. You see, I come from a long line of good alcoholics and didn’t want to quit the one thing that I was really good at. When I drank, I was charming (as far as I knew), smart (definitely not), and really freakin’ funny (now that is funny). The only thing that I know is that I was fun to watch (from afar).

So I quit. For one month, and then five weeks. It was weird. The things in my life that I couldn’t control when I drank I could all of a sudden control. Like being an idiot. So, long story short, my life got better quick. That was six years ago.

When I quit, I always said to myself that I would never act like one of those recovering alcoholics and tell people not to drink. I’m not doing that. I’m only telling one person.

Back to the ninth hole. This kid had just asked me if you can drink on the course. My child, (we can just call him little Mr. Perfect) says, “Yeah, but why would you want to?” And I, in my infinite wisdom, say, “Yeah, but why would you want to”? The little boy says “Don’t you like beer?” and I say, “No, I don’t drink.”

By now, little Mr. Perfect has wandered off to hit his 25th shot within 50 yards of the hole, I might add. Perfect. So this kid gets these big eyes, and says “You don’t drink at all?” “No.”

This is the picture that I can’t get out of my head. The kid looks at me with these huge brown eyes, and says, “I wish my dad didn’t drink.” He walks away, leaving me hunched over the steering wheel of the cart.

All of the kids sunk their putts before I had regained my composure enough to continue. Truth is that this kid is most likely not abused by his dad who happens to drink, but this kid misses his dad, and his dad is around. I’m not going to tell you how smart kids are. How much can a person learn in only eight years on the earth? All that I can tell you is that kids need your attention.

In working with kids (since I quit drinking), I’ve probably heard a half a dozen kids say the exact same thing that this 8-year-old said. All of those kids were older. Of course those kids matter, but eight years?

Hey dad, whoever you are, please quit drinking. You have a child with big brown eyes that needs you. Maybe just try it for one month. See what happens. Just because you don’t drink doesn’t necessarily mean that you will automatically end up being irresponsible and go golfing with your kid in the middle of the work week.

Robert Crawford

Eagle


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