Dirty Pool Is Still Dirty Pool

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A masse’ shot in billiards is when the player strikes the top of the cue ball with enough force to produce a tremendous amount of spin. State Rep. Bill Konopnicki’s back-door deception on the vital topic of Gila Community College’s future exceeds the spin even the most unscrupulous of pool sharks could produce.

We have seen plenty of political spin and dirty pool, but this goes well beyond the pale.

Konopnicki’s tenure in the state house is ending due to term limitations. But he seems to like the limelight so much that he’s decided to run for another job — the District 5 state senate seat held by incumbent Sylvia Allen, which would make him Rim Country’s state senator.

This past week, Konopnicki’s campaign sent a flier to the constituents of District 5. Didn’t get one at your home? Well, Konopnicki didn’t mail them to Gila County. It seems he only sent them to District 5 residents who live in the area served by Northland Pioneer College and Eastern Arizona College, where he was once employed.

In that flier, he attacked the effort to win independence for GCC and free it from the indifferent and expensive management by EAC.

Apparently, Konopnicki didn’t want Gila County residents to see the flier because he wants us to vote for him.

He seems to believe that he can say different things to different audiences based on political calculation and that voters are too confused and indifferent to even notice.

Currently, a state legislative task force set up by his Republican primary opponent Sen. Allen is seeking a way to make Gila Community College independent and perhaps to do something to provide fair and equal funding.

At the task force meeting, Konopnicki said GCC should proceed slowly and carefully. At appearances in Payson, he has expressed support for GCC’s independence.

However, in the flier he sent to people likely to favor EAC, he strongly opposed GCC’s independence and falsely stated that any solution that satisfies GCC advocates would steal money from schools in Graham County. In fact, GCC advocates on the task force have said they would happily explore a solution that did not have a financial impact on existing rural colleges.

Moreover, Konopnicki actually fabricated a quote from a tax watchdog group that seemed to support his position.

Now, it is the policy of the Roundup not to endorse or support a particular candidate on these pages. We urge you to make up you own mind and vote for the candidate you feel will represent the entire district.

Still, we felt compelled to call your attention to Konopnicki’s political tactics on one of the most important issues in Rim Country.

Obesity threatens children

If your kid can’t pass the AIMS test — that’s a big deal. He won’t graduate high school, he’ll get stuck in a dead-end job. He’ll earn less money.

But that’s nothing compared to what happens if your kid can’t pass the obesity test, because flunking that test can be fatal. Yet, 44 percent of Payson elementary school students are already overweight and 14 percent are actually obese. Tragically, overweight children are much more likely to become obese adults. Granted, we’re actually doing a little better than the national average — since 17 percent of elementary school students are obese. Still, the figure remains shocking and dangerous.

For kids, add in the effect of sitting too long in front of video games and television sets. Instead of hiking, biking and exploring the creek — our kids are texting and videoing. Make no mistake, high-fat foods and low-exercise lifestyles will kill your kids. It might take time, but parents who would never let their kids drive without seat belts or smoke in third grade do nothing as the pounds pile on.

Consider some of the consequences of the American obesity epidemic: Between 112,000 and 300,000 Americans die each year due to diseases related to obesity, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control; obese adults double their risk of premature death; obesity doubles the risk of both high blood pressure and heart attack; weight gain is linked to several types of cancers, including colon, gall bladder, prostate, kidney and breast cancer; and obesity significantly increases the risk of sleep apnea, asthma, bronchitis and respiratory insufficiency — not to mention arthritis.

Fortunately, the risks of obesity decline as soon as you start losing weight. Even a loss of 10 to 20 pounds in an adult will significantly reduce health risks.

So you have time — and so do your kids. But you have to start now — and keep it up. Start by limiting TV and limit video game time. Then make sure that you take a hike with the kids: Teach them the pleasures of an active lifestyle. Like as not — it will save your life. But then, if that was enough — you’d already be exercising.

So do it for them — before it’s too late.

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