Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Redux and Revelation

Several topics that I've written about recently have had new information that clarifies or embellishes the topic pop up in the media and elsewhere, so I thought I would begin by revisiting a few of them.

School Safety

The Daily Sentinel's package of articles in this past Sunday's edition went a long way toward addressing what I believe Denny Herzog meant when he wrote about taking a "critical look" at the issue and reporting on it. What was surprising to me was the continued reticence of District 51 administration on the subject in general. While the focus of these articles was admittedly on School Resource Officers, the District's contribution from its' chief public spokesman to all of the articles published amounted to one sentence.

I would think that Mr. Kirtland would have more to say, and maybe he did that didn't make the articles. Either that or perhaps for him this topic is like the Klingon proverb about revenge; a dish best served cold. Still, I think it would paint a better picture for the District if its' Public Information Officer was proactive and at the forefront of any media coverage of the schools, rather than the principal of Palisade High School, which from one of the articles is what it seemed like.

The new "PRIDE" program at GJHS that was mentioned gave me a chuckle, as I first heard about it from my son, who added that "pride is one of the seven deadly sins". We're raising a nation of cynics and comedians.

In any event, school safety and security will be a continuing topic for discussion and media attention, irrespective of attempts to control or ignore the message being delivered. I also appreciated Bob Silbernagel's editorial on open records, with his personal experience in dealing with schools as an example of some of the difficulties encountered by many in our community and elsewhere.

So long as public schools remain an arm of government and accountable to the people, part of their focus needs to be on transparency and candor, especially when it pertains to safety and emergency planning. Like I've said before, as a parent I expect nothing less when it comes to risks involving my child and the environment where he spends most of his waking hours 9 months out of the year, and that includes extracurricular activities like football games.

The schools must also acknowledge that it will be an increasingly difficult balancing act between educating children and working to assure both their safety and that of the community at large, but it is one that they cannot ignore. Time for them to plan on ponying up for safety-related staffing and training in the future.

Vigliotti gone?

In a related item, it appears that Jonathan Vigliotti's tenure at KJCT has come to an end, less than two weeks after his investigative report on school security, which according to some corners should have been followed by a mea culpa. Mr. Vigliotti's bio has been removed from the station's website, and a Colorado Springs-based media message board has posts to the effect that he was offered a job in Milwaukee (a big market jump) after the news director there saw his school piece. Having been to Milwaukee recently, I think that he will be a busy person. Best of luck to him.

Net Neutrality

An item in the online edition of the Orange and Black caught my attention. This week on PBS, Bill Moyers will tackle the issue of threats to the future of the Internet as part of his Moyers on America series. It will air here on Wednesday night at 8:00 PM on Rocky Mountain PBS. Here is a preview:

MOYERS ON AMERICA: ''The Net at Risk,'' Oct. 18, 2006, 9 pm ET on PBS

The series is also promoting a citizen's class program that involves community discussion groups talking about the series and the issues it raises, and the Mesa County Public Library District is participating with sessions the next three Monday evenings. More details here.

KKCO Closed Captioning

Thanks to KKCO for fixing its' closed captioning technology, but as always there is more work to do. A lot of the interview SOTs are not captioned at all, and some of the stories have such a delay between the story and the captions that all meaningful context has been removed. I hope that they will take their responsibilities in this regard seriously, perhaps as much as to work on getting real-time closed captioning implemented. This would admittedly be pricey, but they won't have to worry about synching with the video, all of the ad-libs will be captioned, and they will be performing a needed service for which many hearing-impaired residents of our community will be grateful.

KKCO is the number one newscast in this market area, so I'm guessing that many viewers who would benefit from real-time captioning are watching. If so, contact the station and tell them how you feel.

Canyon View Vineyard Church has started a seven-week series of sermons on the Book of Revelation. As someone who hasn't navigated the Bible as well as he should, my impression of Revelation was all that stuff about the end of the world, but the beginning of this book is basically advice to the seven primary Christian churches in various cities. These words of advice comprise the seven lessons the church is focusing on in this sermon series.

The apostle John received this revelation while imprisoned on the island of Patmos. With tongue in cheek and after a first blush through the book, I got the distinct impression that these first seven admonitions were received by John before he found the wild island mushrooms.

I've got a lot to learn about many things, and this series so far has been engaging and challenging. Paul Watson has done an excellent job teaching these first two lessons. One of the most significant things that Paul had to say about the first lesson, which revolved around the part of Revelation directed to the Ephesians, was this:

We lose focus when we start to think that we are in control.

I'm looking forward to the rest. You can listen and read about the first sermon here, or better yet come on out, especially if you haven't been there before.

May you find the grace this week to see beyond those things you think you can control, and begin (or continue) to understand who is really in charge.

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