Rants and appreciation

Take a second to breathe in these days. The blue, the gold, the perfect temperatures are money.
Hold that breath for a day in January when it might be -30 with little snow, super windy and dark. That is the time to recall this week. These days are sanity in the bank. I would venture there has not been a better day anywhere on the planet than what we’ve experienced this week.
Take a moment (or more) to appreciate it. But life doesn’t stop in these gorgeous off-season days and there are few things that make me need to breathe.

* During a council work session this week, an idea was discussed about including a tiered pricing system to rent public property in Crested Butte. The idea, which has been discussed before, is to charge more for those that aren’t locals. The issue turns on what defines a local. In Councilman John Wirsing’s quick opinion, anyone not residing within the town boundary of Crested Butte wouldn’t qualify for the cheapest rent. It appeared Councilmen Escalante and Schmidt wanted to expand it to those who live in the valley. That seems reasonable.
The bulk of Crested Butte funding comes through sales tax as opposed to property tax. While I live a quick bike ride away from Elk Avenue but not in town, I contributed to the Crested Butte sales tax this week. Buying a beer counts, right? Hundreds of us living in Riverbend or Crested Butte South or Meridian Lake do the same. When we’re out of the valley and people ask us where we live, I’d venture to guess that 95 percent of us say Crested Butte. This is a positive for the broader community. To try to separate those who moved south of Red Lady Avenue is foolish and detrimental to a community of broader kinship and unity.
To be so parochial hurts the big picture for Crested Butte. The “us vs. them” attitude makes the hairs on my neck stand up. To look askance at a 10- or 20- or 30-year resident who has put in time living, working and volunteering here while rewarding the nubie ski bum who arrived on Whiterock yesterday and has a dream to spend a few winters here is shortsighted. Step it up, brother.
It can only help the community as a whole if you begin looking at the whole community.

* The Gunnison County Substance Abuse Prevention Project is teaming up with the ski resort to give local kids a chance to obtain discounted season passes if they stay “drug-free.” This is a good partnership and a nice outreach from CBMR to give a boost to some local families that want to purchase ski passes for the season. The program is set up to be a dynamic multi-faceted program that involves the participating kids in events, discussion groups and roundtables. It is a good chance for local kids to thoughtfully discuss a very serious issue that impacts their current and future lives. That in itself would seem a great step forward for many kids and families.
But there is a big but. The 14-year-olds will be subject to drug testing to get their discounted pass. The children must pee in a cup and their urine will be tested to make sure they are drug-free. If not, the pass is taken away and counseling offered. That seems to set up the program in a foundation of mistrust and punitive thinking as opposed to positivity. I love the opportunity for group discussion and honest debate that is a cornerstone of the proposed program. I think throwing in the demand to make kids pee in a cup produces a significant crack in the trust that could be nurtured. It also, in my opinion, teaches a poor lesson about Big Brother and citizens acquiescing to The Man to get something. Getting our next generation used to the idea that it is okay for those in charge to make them do something that is, frankly, demeaning and invasive is not a great life lesson.
Let me make it clear… it is a choice for individual families. No one has to do it. My kids won’t be doing it. And even being faced with the initial choice to participate in the program or not could start a useful discussion between a kid and his parents and that is a really good first step and a positive ramification of what otherwise looks like a pretty decent collaborative program.

* Starting a transparent discussion to rebrand or at least rename Western State College with a university tag is an interesting idea. To vet the idea thoroughly now is good start in a long process.
* Vinotok was its wild self and brought a lot of people in to see a wild side of Crested Butte. No wonder it is Crested Butte’s favorite festival.
* CBMR’s college appreciation day was a good idea. College kids had a chance to use the base area facilities for free last Sunday and 150 others in the community used the stuff for ten bucks. The best part is that the ten bucks went to local charities. Nice touch.
* Have you taken the time yet to look outside and appreciate the colors? Don’t let it pass by without holding on to it. Enjoy the rest of this fantastic autumn at 9,000 feet. Breathe it in.

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