Drive Safely on Winter Roads, and Be Thankful for Help If You’re Injured

Drive Safely on Winter Roads, and Be Thankful for Help If You’re Injured

The throes of winter are upon us. And even though we live in the beautiful state of Colorado, where regular appearances of the sun and some milder weather patterns spare us some of the worst prolonged weather patterns, we still have our share of days with less-than-ideal road conditions. That's when during my commute to and from Denver, or random errands, I stay vigilant for cars with Texas, California, and Florida license plates. Why? Odds are that the driver is less experienced in handling a vehicle on the snow or ice. Even so, despite your best skill at winter driving and awareness of those around you, sometimes an accident is unavoidable. A couple of years ago during a heavy snowfall on the Interstate, we got bumped into the concrete … [Read more...]

My 50 Favorite Christmas Songs: 2014 Edition

My 50 Favorite Christmas Songs: 2014 Edition

Two years ago I finally put together and posted the list of my 50 favorite Christmas (/Advent) songs. The list returned for 2013 -- with some changes and a couple additions. It's back again, with two more newcomers and some Top 10 adjustments. Last year's ranking is in parentheses, with additional explanation provided in only a few cases. For the first time, each and every entry is linked to a free online version that best captures the respective song's quality (or just was available and sounded interesting). Why this exercise -- beyond the all-too-human appeal of listmaking? The background explanation from the original 2012 post:...Coming up with the top 50 songs wasn't terribly difficult. I've identified roughly 375 different … [Read more...]

July 5: (Two) Week(s) in Review

July 5: (Two) Week(s) in Review

Last week the Virtus clan was on a mini-vacation in the Colorado mountains. With very little to miss, today's entry recaps the best of the past fortnight. Highlight? The Franklin Center shined its Citizen Spotlight on me and co-editor Joshua Sharf. Hope everyone had a Happy Independence Day! From the Ed Is Watching Blog Friedman Survey Finds Big Shift on Standardized Testing, Not to Mention…. Florida Doubles Number of States with Cutting-Edge Choice through ESAs Holyoke’s Pursuit of Innovation Status Raises Real Questions to Answer Finished One Good(read) Book This Fortnight Frozen in Time: An Epic Story of Survival and a Modern Quest for Lost Heroes of World War II by Mitchell Zuckoff My rating: 4 of 5 stars Zuckoff recaps … [Read more...]

June 21: Week in Review

June 21: Week in Review

As I type this, the season officially changes with the day's longest stretch of sunlight for 2014. It's officially summertime: What better way to kick it off then with a two-day garage sale? Lots of hassle. Net profit? $50. Glad I got that out of my system for quite awhile. From the Ed Is Watching blog Study Gives Another Jeffco Anti-Charter Myth a Serious Blow Title I Funds Closer to Following Colorado Kids after State Board Vote CER Completes Trifecta of Helpful Scholarship Tax Credit Studies Top Facebook Links of the Week Lamest Phony Political Apology Ever?: Governor Hickenlooper Reignites Mayor Bloomberg Controversy (Complete Colorado) School Board Takes Opportunity to Step Up: DPS Could Teach Jeffco a Lesson on … [Read more...]

June 14: Week in Review

June 14: Week in Review

It was the biggest week of the year for birthdays here. Nearly a full week ago, the youngest member of the clan blew out the "3" candle. And yesterday the lovely Mrs. Virtus celebrated a birthday that begins with the number "3" and ends with another. In between my league softball team not only won a game but actually did so in convincing fashion, while last night brought the rare Friday the 13th plus full moon combination. All that, and today is both Flag Day and the 239th anniversary of the U.S. Army. Soon, the season will officially change to fit what we already start to feel: Summertime is here! From the Ed Is Watching blog Denver Builds on Low-Income Charter Success Stories: Will Jeffco Follow Suit? High Fives All Around: … [Read more...]

June 7: Week in Review

June 7: Week in Review

In a couple of major ways, and some minor ones, this week certainly didn't go according to my plans. But I've already had the chance to see clearly how one of those unwanted developments probably worked out for a better purpose. Despite the challenges and setbacks, this week also included my first gubernatorial bill signing (as pictured above -- House Bill 1382, K-12 Online Education) and National Donut Day. So there's no need to complain too much, right? All that and my latest Complete Colorado column led to a Thursday morning appearance on the Mandy Connell Show (630 KHOW). From the Independence Institute Amy Oliver Show: Orsch Private School Tests Education Ideas (Podcast) New ACE Study Opens Mind on Comparing Public, Private … [Read more...]

May 31: Week in Review

May 31: Week in Review

A short work week was hollowed out by the fitting remembrance of those "who here gave the last full measure of devotion" in service to our nation. On the morning of Memorial Day, a small band of veterans, relatives, and respectful citizens gathered at our local cemetery for a modest and uplifting ceremony. No doubt many such activities took place across the nation. Here, our kids wouldn't let us miss the Memorial Day parade either. I also did something a little different. To go along with the Ken Burns project "Learn the Address," I made a two-minute recording of a memorized recitation of the Gettysburg Address. "Fourscore and seven years ago...." On a much different note, I was quoted in a Tuesday Denver Post story regarding the new … [Read more...]

May 24: Week in Review

May 24: Week in Review

In our house, it was the last week of school for 2013-14, including a special kindergarten graduation. But the excitement didn't end there, with back-to-back days of tornado warnings in Denver -- including some localized flash flooding outside the Independence Institute's Freedom Embassy on Thursday afternoon (see picture above). From the Independence Institute Amy Oliver Show: K-12 Legislative Highlights Reveal Missed Opportunities (Podcast) Arizona, Florida ESAs Show How Colorado Could Help Kids Like Nathan (Ed Is Watching) Colorado Course Choice Pilot Programs Have New Resource to Consult (Ed Is Watching) Denver Post on School Safety Reporting Shows What’s Old Is New Again (Ed Is Watching) Finished One Good(read) Book This … [Read more...]

May 17: Week in Review

May 17: Week in Review

This week the Greeley Tribune published my column on the progress Colorado is making -- and still needs to make -- in order to ensure fair funding for public charter schools. More from the Independence Institute Amy Oliver Show: Charter Schools Look for Fairer Funding (Podcast) Amy Oliver Show: An Outside Look at Douglas County Reform (Podcast) How Can Jeffco Union Leaders' Bad Faith Bargaining Be Good for Kids? (Ed Is Watching) International Report Shines Light on Colorado Education Performance Gap (Ed Is Watching) So Glad to Find Insights and Direction for HB 1382's K-12 Online Pilot Programs (Ed Is Watching) Finished One Good(read) Book This Week Life After Art: What You Forgot about Life and Faith since Leaving the Art … [Read more...]