Manitou race proves politics can be decent

*Note: This essay was published in the Colorado Springs Gazette print edition on November 3, 2017. It can also be found online here.

We’re now repeatedly reminded that Americans are intensely divided: a recent poll found “seven in 10 Americans say the nation’s political divisions are at least as big as during the Vietnam War” and a writer recently opined that too many believe “politics needs to be weaponized to be enjoyed.”

Not in Manitou Springs. You may not have heard, but there’s a tight race for mayor. Incumbent Mayor Nicole Nicoletta, elected in 2015 to a two-year term, seeks another on Tuesday against a challenge from long-time resident and retired lawyer Ken Jaray. Continue reading “Manitou race proves politics can be decent”

Colorado Springs can lead in the fight against obesity

*Note: This essay was published in the Colorado Springs Gazette print edition on October 20, 2017. It can also be found online here.

America’s got a bigness problem. Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released its annual study on obesity. The numbers were chilling: nearly 40 percent of adults are obese, and when that figure is added to the overweight numbers, the total climbs to 70.7 percent (meaning it is abnormal nowadays to be an American adult at a healthy weight). Continue reading “Colorado Springs can lead in the fight against obesity”

Grateful for those in public safety and service

*Note: This essay was published in the Colorado Springs Gazette print edition on October 16, 2017. It can also be found online here.

While wearing my military uniform, I often hear a distant, direct, “thank you for your service.” It’s always appreciated, but, during a painfully long week, containing the aftermath of the tragedy in Las Vegas, wildfires tearing across California, and a personal emergency closer to home (not to mention the immense recoveries in Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico) – it’s high time that someone in the military paid forward that common compliment. To all those involved in our nation’s public safety and service, please accept a full-throated, deeply heartfelt, “thank you for your service.” Continue reading “Grateful for those in public safety and service”

90 years of a life well lived and some wisdom

*Note: This essay was published in the Colorado Springs Gazette print edition on October 8, 2017. It can also be found online here.

My grandmother-in-law turns 90 this weekend, so I called and announced myself with a self-deprecating ice breaker: “It’s your good-for-nothing grandson-in-law.” Before I got the last syllable out, she pushed back with infectious positivity, telling me, “What do you mean good-for-nothing?” and then how excited she was for the great-grandkid pictures I’d recently posted.

The young don’t spend much time with the aged outside gift-giving events, which seems almost criminal in that it robs younger folk of the real presents on offer: wisdom and experience. Continue reading “90 years of a life well lived and some wisdom”

North Korea is a dangerous threat

*Note: This essay was published in the Colorado Springs Gazette print edition on October 4, 2017. It can also be found online here.

A recent Gazette story on the risk of North Korean nuclear weapons included the opinions of a retired Air Force general who minimized the threat, calling it “nowhere near as scary as it was during the Cuban Missile Crisis” and “a hiccup in comparison” to the Cold War.

Having recently returned from a year’s service just south of the demilitarized zone (DMZ) that separates the North from South Korea, I can report that this characterization requires a little balance.

North Korea is a dangerous threat to our allies, the global economy, our interests and homeland. This is no “hiccup.” Continue reading “North Korea is a dangerous threat”

Ten reasons to live without a smartphone

*Note: This essay was published in the Colorado Springs Gazette print edition on September 26, 2017. It can also be found online here.

The X is here. iPhone X (pronounced “ten”) arrived last week to the fanfare we now expect from Apple. It represents the next smartphone generation; pocket-sized do-everything machines that have become part of daily life.

Despite smartphone companies’ positive spin, we should recognize the real downsides that come with their overuse. Continue reading “Ten reasons to live without a smartphone”

Good marriage is a connection where two shine as one

*Note: This essay was published in the Colorado Springs Gazette print edition on September 22, 2017. It can also be found online here.

Chances are you’re going to a wedding soon. 40 percent of weddings now take place as the fall sets in and leaves change color, up from 30 percent in 2009, according to the largest industry survey of its kind. And September and October are tied for the months of the year with the most marriages.

These numbers make my wife a walking statistic: she’s currently on a two week excursion to two weddings, one overseas in Croatia and one domestic in Pennsylvania.

With all the time and expense that weddings entail, as the average one nowadays tops $35,000 (without the honeymoon), it’s worth thinking a bit about why we go to so much trouble. What does marriage really do for us? Why do we bother?

I’m certainly no expert on the subject. Just someone working hard at my own marriage, like many others. But I’ve had nearly a decade of experience at it by now, and have observed the ups and downs of many other marriages. And so I feel qualified to offer some thoughts on our curious custom of coming together. Continue reading “Good marriage is a connection where two shine as one”