County Has Vital Stake In Gcc Success

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The Gila County Supervisors this week deserted the voters who elected them. It was a disgusting spectacle.

Mostly, you can blame Shirley Dawson, who now seemingly opposes legislation that would make it possible for Gila Community College to finally achieve the independence so essential to the future of the college.

State Sen. Sylvia Allen has courageously and doggedly advocated on behalf of GCC and the students who need it so badly. Now, she’s seeking support for her proposal to lift the current arbitrary thresholds that make it impossible to launch a new community college in this state.

Allen’s legislation would remove that artificial barrier. So she’s asking now for support from various local elected officials.

County residents have a vital stake in the growth of GCC, which provides affordable education, economic gains and advanced training for nurses, paramedics, firefighters and others.

It’s bad enough districts like EAC that beat the arbitrary political deadline get dramatically more state funding. But then to add insult to injury, the system forces GCC to contract with EAC for a credential, paying more than $1 million in fees for the privilege. As a result, GCC is forced to shortchange its faculty and its students and has no real control over its curriculum or its future.

Sen. Allen’s bill would at least open the door to independence, with the support of local voters.

So why on earth would Dawson refuse to provide that support? Why speak out against independence?

And why would supervisors Tommie Martin and Ed Pastor passively accept her foolish comments without strong statements of support for GCC? This is a puzzle to us.

Dawson says she’s afraid that if GCC seeks autonomy and a fair shake, a vengeful and irrational Legislature will take away even the pittance the current system confers. A vote to support GCC was not even on the county supervisors agenda. It came during a comment period, which makes us really ask what is going on? GCC needs the strong support of the county supervisors and they have certainly supported GCC in the past. With the past support of the supervisors, GCC would not even be close to the school it is today.

Which is why Dawson’s comments just make no sense at all. In truth, GCC has everything to gain and nothing to lose by trying to change the current rigged system.

We hope Dawson will reconsider her shortsighted position, which seems designed to benefit EAC, her alma mater, instead of the people who elected her.

And if she will not, we hope Martin and Pastor will do the right thing instead of falling in meekly behind the outlandishly wrong thing.

Slip sliding away this winter

When a winter storm dropped a few flakes of snow and formed ice on the roadways this past weekend, at least a dozen motorists found themselves slipping and sliding off roads all over the Rim Country.

We all know this was just a precursor to what lies ahead this winter. The roads will get a whole lot worse before they get better by spring.

Every year we report on minor and fatal accidents, slide-offs and rollovers. While some of these are not preventable due to the weather, driving your car down a road marked with a “Road Closed” sign and getting stuck in snow is easily avoided.

To make your winter driving safe and enjoyable, the Arizona Department of Transportation offers these driving tips:

• Check weather and road conditions before you leave. Call 511 for the latest highway advisories.

• Keep your gas tank full. Plenty of fuel means keeping warm in your vehicle longer if you get stuck in snow. It is recommended that you run your engine for a few minutes at a time and only with a window slightly opened to ensure ventilation.

• Remember that 4-wheel drive does not mean 4-wheel stop. A 4-wheel drive vehicle will not stop any better in icy conditions.

• Slow down and be patient. You have better control over your vehicle on slick roads at slower speeds and a slow start improves traction.

• Carry food, water and extra clothing.

• If you get stuck, stay in your vehicle. It is safer inside you car, warmer and easier for rescue crews to find you.

• In whiteout conditions, don’t drive faster than you can see ahead.

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