When we moved here 12 years ago, I thought that there were only two things wrong with Salida: no international airport nearby and no college. The first one will probably never happen, but the latter is a real possibility!
I have two reasons for supporting 5A, which would expand the boundaries of the Colorado Mountain College (CMC) district to include Salida:
First, Chaffee County is in dire need of nurses! Just check out the job vacancies in this newspaper! [Editor’s note: Ark Valley Voice does have a classified section and would be happy to take job postings.] The U.S. currently has more people over age 65 than at any time during its history, and our county has more than the average number of older adults. As people get older, they often have chronic illnesses that need ongoing treatment and management, which creates a greater demand for healthcare services.
As the former director of a nursing school, I can tell you that providing nursing education is very complex and challenging. CMC has a proven track record of providing quality nursing education in more than one location in our state. Having a nursing program in Salida would greatly relieve this shortage and assure that local seniors will have quality care in the future.
Secondly, as a senior who likes to keep learning, I want to have greater access to a variety of classes, lectures and trips, and I don’t want to drive long distances to do this. Nor do I necessarily want to learn via the internet. CMC provides non-credit community education and has a senior grant tuition rate at a 50 percent reduction in tuition for those over the age of 62. Our community would have access to a myriad of classes such as culinary arts, bicycle maintenance, memoir writing and beginning Italian, to name a few. There are also opportunities to study abroad (2020 trips are planned for Italy, the Mediterranean, Japan and South America).
Please join me in voting for 5A and making our community even more vibrant! The benefits for us all will far exceed the cost.