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Storytelling is based on the word, being an honorable person of integrity is based on your word.
– Jesse Williams  
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  Volume No. 17 Issue No. 8 August 2020  

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Michelle Barrette

  
  By Michelle Barrette
  Publisher

   First, I would like to mention a change with the newspaper. Instead of having a separate page for Black Forest, we are going to incorporate articles related to Black Forest with all of the articles in the newspaper. Advertisers are crucial in order to maintain a Black Forest News page, and we are not securing that support. We welcome ideas and reports on whatís happening in the Forest. We will keep covering the area, and certainly keep up with water issues and building plans.
   
   Second, we had planned a follow-up story for this month regarding the concrete ready-mix batch plant that the county planning commission had originally approved. It was sent to the El Paso County Board of County Commissioners; and in June, they unanimously denied a variance necessary for the cement plant. We had planned (and still do) to run a story on the process of getting as far as they did, with so much pushback from nearby residents. Anyway, our writer became very ill (not COVID) and could not continue or even discuss the article with us. So, we are on track to bring this article to you in our September issue. Things sometimes come up, and we have no control.
   
   I think almost everyone today knows about giving up control. We can thank COVID-19 for that. And now, at least as I write this, Gov. Jaris Polis issued a mandate July 16 to wear a mask for 30 days. And some people think that mandate is a violation of their rights as a citizen.
   
   I remember when seat belts were controversial. The federal government required that cars include seat belts in the late 60s. It wasnít until the 70s and 80s that states started to make wearing seat belts a law. And I remember how incensed people were with those laws. However, these numbers speak for themselves.
   
   In 2017, 10,076 people in the U.S. died because they were not wearing seat belts. That same year, seat belts saved 14,955 lives. Also in 2017, 37 percent of young people 14 years and younger died because they were not restrained in a car.
   
   In Colorado, seat belts saved 229 lives in 2017. Record seat belt use in the state in 2018 was 86 percent.
   
   Should the government regulate things like smoking, carseats, helmets? It seems like most of these regulations are related to the health and well-being of citizens.
   I never smoked, but Iíve had friends who were very unhappy about smoking laws.
   I doubt that most of us ever thought we would be regulating the wearing of masks. We have seen on television news reports of people wearing masks in heavily polluted areas in other countries. But this is the United States. We have rights.
   
   We also have responsibilities to our family, friends and neighbors.
   
   As of July 23, Colorado reported 42,314 cases, including 3,864 in El Paso County; 1,786 deaths among the cases, including 122 in El Paso County.
   
   Sometimes sacrifice outweighs rights when itís needed for the greater good. All I want is this virus to go away, and if wearing a mask for 30 days achieves that, so be it. Some people have legitimate reasons for not wearing a mask (see Leslie Sheleyís article on masks on Pg. 1). Some people just donít want to wear them. Iím not making a judgment ó I just want to get back to normal.
   
   Last but not least, I want to welcome Stephanie Mason to our team. Stephanie, who lives in Peyton, brings experience and enthusiasm to The New Falcon Herald. We are excited to have her on board.
   
   - See you in September,
   Michelle
  
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