LETTERS

Look for warning signs

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Look for warning signs

We are writing this letter because of our concerns about the number of adolescents in Routt County who are struggling with issues of suicide and drug and alcohol abuse. Our concern is that most of these teens and parents are either not aware of resources or are somehow not utilizing them. We are afraid for our youth and families.

We recognize that adolescence is a tough time for both teens and their parents. Sometimes as parents we believe that we need to let our kids "find their own way"; or we don't want to believe that "our" child might be struggling. We urge all parents to become more aware of signs of trouble and to be more proactive in utilizing resources to help our kids. With help, it is possible to keep a good relationship with our teens and still encourage responsible behavior.

What are the signs to look for that should trigger a second look at your teen's behavior? Ten signals include: 1. Loss of interest in things previously enjoyed. 2. Lack of responsibility in areas like school and family. 3. Changes of friendships. 4. Kids or their friends having increased legal troubles. 5. Increased irritability. 6. Significant losses including divorce, friendships (especially romantic friendships). 7. Change in eating or sleeping patterns. 8. Isolation in one's room, or never coming home. 9. Increase in cut-offs in communication with others. 10. Increase in acting out or use of drugs and alcohol.

So you notice two or more signs. What can you do? First, get to know your kid's friends and encourage them to spend time in your home. Second, get to know other parents and communicate with them about your concerns. Know where your teens are and what they're doing. Make teens accountable for their responsibilities (school, work and family chores). Make it a priority to have meals together and talk with your teen-agers. Take an active interest in your child's special interests. And finally, seek help if needed. There are many programs through Steamboat Mental Health such as parenting groups, the Risk Group for 13- to 15-year-olds in the summer, counseling here and through private practitioners, the in-school mental health program in middle and high school, joint programs between the Department of Human Services and Mental Health, CMC parenting classes and the Rocky Mountain Youth Corps. All of these programs are affordable and readily available.

If any parent would like more information about access to these resources or about any issues with your teen-agers, please contact Steamboat Mental Health or any of the resources mentioned above.

Bobbe Beall, LCSW

Carla Portigal, LCSW

Susie Clark, MSW

And the entire staff at

Steamboat Mental Health

Steamboat Springs

More time needed

We are all aware there are many types of government. But perhaps a quick review of a few forms would be relevant.

Democracy: a one-person, one-vote form of government.

Democratic Republic: one person, one vote for another person who will represent that individual and the district from which he/she is elected and is responsible to those who elected him/her. Our federal government is a democratic republic.

Democratic, non-republic: one person, one vote for another person who then is not required to represent those in the district that elected him or her. Our city charter is this form of government. Once the members of the council are elected, they technically, have no responsibility to represent those who elected them. This is one degree separation from electoral power. The electors can recall or vote out the incumbent at the next election.

Oligarchy: a form of government in which the power is vested in a few persons, a dominate class or a clique ("Websters Encyclopedia Unabridged Dictionary 1994"). That is two degrees removed from self-rule and is similar to what Thomas Jefferson declared a tyranny in 1776 when describing the rule of King George III.

Tyranny: arbitrary or unrestrained exercise of power; abuse of authority (ibid.).

In all the city/Routt County positions, one works at the pleasure of the elected official. In fact, the basic philosophy of the state of Colorado is that the employee works at the pleasure of the employer. However, according to Section 6 of the ordinance: "The Water Board shall elect a chairman (Note: not chairperson) from among its members, who shall serve at the pleasure of the Water Board " Question: At whose pleasure does the Water Board of the Water Authority serve? Not the City Council, because Section 5 says " (they) are not subject to removal by the City Council." Apparently they serve not at the pleasure of the electorate; they are not elected officials. That only leaves a few other options, special interests or self.

Presently, the city is assessing developers an impact fee to offset, in part, the high cost of water and wastewater improvements. Who do you think will be paying that fee next year if the Water Authority is approved?

Our non-republic City Council is attempting to railroad this oligarchy/tyranny down our throats in a presently illegal fashion (the City Council has to adopt a special election code to make it legal to include the Water Authority vote on the Aug. 13 ballot).

Why? Why can't it wait until the November election? Why can't the people of Steamboat Springs be given time to digest the ordinance before it becomes law that may end up being challenged in court anyway? How will that save them money?

Camille A. John

Steamboat Springs

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