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"I think it's the height of patriotism to continue to exercise your right as a citizen and to hold your government to account. Isn't that what the very essence of democracy is about?"
– Valerie Plame  
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  Volume No. 16 Issue No. 7 July 2019  

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Michelle Barrette

  By Michelle Barrette

   As I am writing this column, it’s 19 degrees and snowing; and the forecast looks bleak for the next few days. The roads are still closed, and I am dreaming of a vacation in the islands or Hawaii or Mexico.
   As always in Colorado, by the time this newspaper is on the stands, it could be in the 60s here! We are still lucky compared to the Midwest and the East Coast where winter lingers for months without much reprieve.
   I am picking this column up about a week later, and it’s now Jan. 25. The shutdown is finally over. But it’s still cold!
   February 14 is Valentine’s Day, and I hope retailers do well again this year. However, many of the American workers who were “victims” of the longest government shutdown in our history will probably not be feeling any “love” for their employer until all of their pay is back in their pockets. But government contractors just lost out on their pay forever.
   Washington’s birthday and President’s Day is Feb. 18, and I think George and many of our forefathers would be horrified at the ungodly fact that Americans were collateral damage in this war of wits taking place in D.C. This shutdown should have never been an option. It is infuriating. It’s smug and arrogant, and that’s on the people running the country. I hope we can do something to stop this from ever happening again. A course of action like a shutdown is unjust. It not only disrupts peoples lives; eventually, it affects the overall economy.
   The catch is that the government is back up and running for just three weeks, so it is still a possibility that this shutdown could resurface.
   One thing this shutdown has brought to light: Too many federal employees live paycheck to paycheck. We’re talking about air traffic controllers, IRS employees, FBI, the Coast Guard — what is wrong when some of these federal workers are living on the edge? How can they say the economy is great, when it appears that many people are not making a decent enough wage to be able to save money?
   I debated whether I should even mention the shutdown, but I am in the news business; and, regardless of where we live — from Falcon to Greensboro, North Carolina — this is what people have been talking about.
   On a more positive note, I think, we are beginning a series on growth and development in Falcon and the surrounding areas. The first in our series explains land zones. If you have a growth topic you would like to see us cover, be sure and email Marylou (see pg. 3). We’ve also followed up on our health care issues with two stories: one on how horses heal humans; and a tough topic on child pornography. The latter defines the ways in which child pornography affects the brains of our youth, and it’s scary.
   On a lighter note, we have our fun columns like Life on the Prairie and Mark’s Meanderings.
   I hope you enjoy this issue, and take care — spring is not far off!
   See you in March.
   - Michelle
   In the “Sterling Ranch town hall meeting” article, we incorrectly stated that The Ranch, a development by Classic Homes, is part of Sterling Ranch. Actually, The Ranch is located next to Sterling Ranch but not part of it. The Ranch used to be Elkhorn Estates.
   In last month’s obesity article, “Obesity, diabetes in children still rising” under the subtitle Diabetes 1, Kelly Raleigh, outreach manager for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation asked that we could correct the following sentence: “Reasons for the increase in Type 1 diabetes include diet and the overuse of antibiotics, which is creating more auto immune attacks on people’s bodies.” The correct sentence should read,”There are multiple theories as to why autoimmune conditions are on the rise but no one knows for certain.”
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