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Letters to the Editor

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Cost-effectiveI want to encourage Eagle County Voters to support Referendum 1A as one of the most cost effective ways to help working families in our community. Not only will 1A be a great investment to help at-risk kids in their formative years, but it will increase the quantity and quality of early childhood programs available to our young families. Although my children are now in school, I remember how overwhelming becoming a new parent can be. The joy and awe is coupled with a daunting sense of responsibility. Trying to place your child in an early childhood program can take more time and effort than getting him into college, and costs about as much. If you are lucky enough to get a spot, you hope it’s good, but you aren’t equipped to judge the quality of your child’s program. I was lucky enough to be a new parent in Pitkin County, where a sales tax earmarked for child care increased both the quantity and quality of programs throughout the Roaring Fork Valley. These tax funds increased the capacity of early childhood programs, allowed low ratios of children to teachers, and provided teachers with a living wage and continuing education. These tax funds also provided resources for parents to learn about childhood development and becoming an informed consumer of early childhood services.NWCCOG’s 2005 Benchmark Report found that Eagle County had licensed childcare slots for only 20 percent of the county’s children under 5. Summit County had slots for 60 percent of its children under 5, and Pitkin County had slots for 77 percent of its children under 5. We may lose young families to our neighboring counties if we don’t provide the quantity and quality of early childhood services they need in Eagle County. The funds from Referendum 1A will help increase the quantity and quality of early childhood programs in Eagle County. Referendum 1A is one of the best things we can do to keep young families in our community. I urge Eagle County voters to approve Referendum 1A as a cost effective way to maintain vibrancy and diversity in our county. Kristi FerraroAvon Town CouncilBottom lineHaving children does not make you an expert on child care. However, having children that are hearing impaired teaches you the importance of early childhood development. My wife and I have two children with this handicap. Even though their hearing loss is slight, providing for their education is a constant battle. At school, the services that are guaranteed to all special needs children by the State have to be fought for. Not because the teachers, or the school system do not care, but because there is not enough funding to keep teachers in the system. As a result, teacher turnover is high and getting basic services is a struggle. At work, we see families with similar challenges. There are a high percentage of people who cannot find or afford basic day-care services, let alone quality child care that provides children with the love and interaction they need. The bottom line is that many children are not being cared for as well as they should be and this is happening at a critical stage in their lives. This is a tragedy that affects our community and will hurt our country if we choose to do nothing about it. There are no easy answers for this challenge. One thing is clear, however. Young children are our future and we need to invest in them. That is why I am voting YES on Referendum 1A. Paul GordonGypsumGlaring gapThis is a letter of support for Referendum 1A. Over the years, I have served on many task forces that identify community needs and attempt to fill gaps in services, including the Early Childhood Initiative. One of the glaring gaps in the community is child-care affordability and capacity. Another is limited access to health care. It is not just a poor uneducated population who needs quality child care. At least 60 percent of mothers in this county must work to make ends meet. Public servants, such as firefighters, police officers, teachers, nurses and other “help” professions attract young, committed individuals who want to start families or who have small children. Without child care, they cannot work. There is already evidence of a recent work force shortage. Studies also show that parents who can be comfortable knowing that their children are in quality care are also more productive at work, absenteeism decreases and job satisfaction is higher. If we don’t invest in developing a system to support our work force, we lose out economically. Expanded capacity benefits all families, their employers and the community. I urge you to join me in voting yes on 1A. Tsu Wolin-Brown Eagle-Vail Nonpartisan sinsSo now congressman Foley’s actions are a cause celebre. Some Republicans are demanding a full accounting in order to validate their party’s dedication to values. Meanwhile the Democrats are busy exclaiming that it’s a Republican thing. Both sides know full well that it has nothing to do with political affiliation Immoral behavior could, and does, involve members of both parties who may also be atheists, agnostics or religious fanatics. It really is just an ugly event that should not have political overtones. Likewise there really is no valid issue regarding which political party will be more aggressive in pursuing terrorism and trying to keep our nation secure. Those goals are accepted by all Americans and the leaders of both parties do understand that we must not fail. The specific focus and the methods may vary to some degree, but you can be certain that the representatives of both parties will do their very best to avoid a catastrophe. This, too, is an issue that should not have political overtones.So instead, let’s concentrate on the valid issues! Let’s renew our commitment to the essential separation of church and state. Let’s agree on the illegality of long-term imprisonment without any charges being filed, and the immorality of our president when he approves of the torture of prisoners who, in fact, may be innocent of any crime. Let’s show concern regarding the national debt and the impending problems of Social Security and Medicare. We should also face up to the threat of global warming, the overwhelming need to educate our current minorities and our diminished reputation as a highly principled nation. These are valid political issues and should be considered at election time. David Le VineVail, Colorado


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