Elisabeth Smith: Black History Month: The Spy Called Bond

Here is one person who deserves to be remembered during Black History Month.

Her name is Mary Elizabeth Bowser and she was a Union Army spy during the Civil War. In 1995 she was inducted into the Army Intelligence Hall of Fame by the US Army for her work in the Civil War.

She was born a slave in Richmond, Virginia in 1839. She was freed in 1843 when her owner died and the family freed their slaves.

Bowser showed great intelligence and was sent to the Philadelphia Quaker School for Negroes, graduating in 1860. She returned to Virginia to work for her former owner, Elizabeth Van Lew. Van Lew ran an undercover spy ring for the Union and asked Bowser to join, which she enthusiastically did.

She was hired to work as a servant in the Confederate Capitol. The white leaders spoke freely to the servants, provided they were illiterate, so that by listening and reading she could gather a lot of important information.

Bowser was discovered and had to make a horrific escape by setting fire to the offices in the Confederate Capitol.

Her name as a spy was Ellen Bond, a worthy name for a spy. She was a courageous woman and deserves credit for her contribution to our nation’s history.

Elisabeth Smith


Rob O’Dea: Composting Plant: Just Because Some Are Good …

As a resident of Boulder County with a south-facing garden, I’ve learned that some things are as satisfying as a summer salad plucked from my back yard.

As my grandfather taught me, working the soil and watching the first spinach and pea shoots peer through the frost to find the sun is life giving. When I share these experiences and traditions with my children, I get a harvest that is far more valuable and lasting than any product we could ever grow.

In addition to our small garden in the backyard, we have a self-drawn compost heap, which is framed by wooden pallets and reliably digested lawn waste, table waste and the autumn cleaning of our garden plants in retirement.

When spring comes we change our garden with the compost and as reliably as the change of season my kids mark the arrival of spring – and the fishing season – by filling their old coffee can with worms from the compost heap. Rich traditions, full circle, real, balanced, healthy and responsible.

Contrary to our traditions and the tangible benefits of small yard gardening, Boulder County seems unable to accept the fact that more is not always better just because some are good.

Instead of spending $ 10 million building a huge composting factory in the open, our commissioners must step back from the sidelines, respect Mother Earth and represent her constituents.

Spend our sustainability money on promoting local agriculture and don’t hire lawyers to fight residents who just want protective measures in place.

Help families get local fresh food to their tables before investing millions to experiment how the waste is processed. Promote local organic farming instead of poisoning farmers’ trenches. Water the trees that purify our air, don’t cut them down, and pave the land.

And most importantly, keep your promises of open space so that our grandchildren still have undeveloped agricultural land on which they can grow food.

Rob O’Dea


Jennifer Rodehaver: Agriculture: Regenerative agriculture protects the soil

Modern farming practices affect us all no matter what type of diet we follow.

Most of the acreage in this country is used for growing legumes and grains that are fed to livestock. Soil tillage and the use of chemical fertilizers destroy the soil, which can lead to a new bowl of dust. Wouldn’t it be better for all of us if the land were used to grow food for people?

Regenerative agriculture is a protection and rehabilitation strategy that focuses on strengthening the health and vitality of agricultural land. Cattle grazing on pastureland improve the soil naturally. Large feedlots like those in southern Colorado cause pollution and waste and do nothing to prevent erosion and the loss of valuable topsoil.

Let us adjust our consumer demand, reduce our desire for cheap fast food and invest in a sustainable future. Tell your lawmakers how you feel about food and agriculture.

Jennifer Rodehaver


Bill Semple: Aid Act: Healthcare is the salvation we need

What should Congress consider for the financial rescue package? What if Medicare pays all out-of-pocket health expenses for the insured and uninsured for the duration of the pandemic?

Sound outrageous? In fact, it would cost less than another proposal to just pay the COBRA premiums to those who along with them lost their jobs and health insurance while still facing deductibles and co-payments.

Even before the pandemic, 7 to 9 million fellow Americans were driven into poverty every year just to pay medical bills. The pandemic has further relied on employer-sponsored insurance.

We need a rescue package that will support Americans’ ability to move our lives forward. Too many of us are being drawn under necessary health care financially, or worse, being drawn under avoidance of necessary care.

Tell our Sens. Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper (bennet.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/contact and hickenlooper.senate.gov) to include the health and financial protection of the Health Care Emergency Guarantee Act in the rescue package .

Let’s work together to make the best of these challenging times.

Bill Semple

Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Colorado Foundation for Universal Health Care