Email letters, August 26,  2013

Draw more people into county by emphasizing positive news

The “Tackling Tourism” report in Sunday’s business section emphasizes that Mesa County lags behind the state in tourism dollars and tries to answer the question why.

Think about it. If you were looking for a place to visit, let alone bring a family to live or establish a business, would you select a place where the media, including this paper, spotlight a failed and bankrupt cop who is now a representative of the people, an elected councilman that beats up his woman, con artists, child abusers and sexual predators. Want to find a panhandler?  Refer to the local paper for a map highlighting the choice locations. This type of coverage may promote viewership and sell papers but it does nothing to sell this community.

Perhaps the answer to trailing tourism dollars lies in the lack of coverage of events that indicate what a grand place the Grand Valley is. Refer to Monday’s edition that pictures Gary Ambrosier leading the all-volunteer Centennial Band. Along with the Grand Junction Symphony Orchestra and the King N Trio, the band entertained more than 2,500 people at the Evening Under the Stars event in Lincoln Park.

What a nice break from the usual coverage of corrupt and salacious events presented as news. This is really a nice place to visit, live and do business in. Why not get the word out?

Grand Junction

Galloway, Gartner honored as outstanding local architects

Two local architects were honored at the American Institute of Architects Colorado West chapter’s annual awards gala in Snowmass at the Viceroy Snowmass Friday. John Galloway, AIA, and Daniel Gartner, AIA, were recognized for their service to the local community.

As is tradition, the gala recognized outstanding designs by architects practicing in western Colorado. This new honor was added this year to recognize what many architects see as inherent to why they were drawn to the profession in the first place: a passion for building great communities for people to work, live and play.

Architects must commit to years of education, training and testing before they become licensed to protect the health, safety and welfare of the people utilizing the spaces they design. Once licensed, they are required to maintain that training to remain versed in the latest technologies, issues and laws. This training, a required component of their chosen career, also uniquely positions them to serve the public on boards and commissions, as well as through other and civic capacities.

AIA, the professional association for licensed architects, emerging designers and others within the design and construction industry, with an international membership of more than 80,000 members, considers civic duty an important part of the architecture profession.

According to the AIA, the citizen architect uses his or her insights, talents, training and experience to contribute meaningfully, beyond self, to the improvement of the community and human condition. The Citizen Architect stays informed on local, state and federal issues, and makes time for service to the community. The Citizen Architect advocates for higher living standards, the creation of a sustainable environment, quality of life, and the greater good. The Citizen Architect seeks to advocate for the broader purposes of architecture through civic activism, writing and publishing by gaining appointment to boards and commissions, and through elective office at all levels of government.

Please assist the members of AIA Colorado West and me in recognizing these leaders in our community and the recipients of the Citizen Architect Award: John Galloway, AIA, Palisade Historical Society board member and Palisade Happens Event committee member; and Daniel Gartner, president of AIA Housing Resources of Western Colorado.

AIA Colorado West 2013 President

Media ignore French military agent’s comments

Quote:  “Shortly before his untimely death, 12 years ago, British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook told the House of Commons that “Al Qaeda” is not really a terrorist group but a database of international mujahidin and arms smugglers used by the CIA and Saudis to funnel guerrillas, arms, and money into Soviet-occupied Afghanistan.”

The excerpt above is from an April-June 2004 article by Pierre-Henry Bunel, a former agent for French military intelligence.
Somehow none of this reached the media, no CIA leaks, no coordination with British. It’s also interesting that Osama bin Laden’s name was not mentioned.

Grand Junction

GOP’s resistance to Obamacare will result in suffering for many

The GOP wants to refuse to raise the debt ceiling until Obamacare is defunded. In plain English that means that they will not pay their bills until 30 million people are denied insurance, young adults cannot be on parents’ plans, insurance companies will not have to take those with pre-existing conditions (almost everyone over 40), insurance companies can drop those who get too sick, Medicare’s life is shortened by 10 years, free preventive checkups are gone, no more drug help in the donut hole for seniors, an end to state market places and no expansion of Medicaid for home care. The Republican House voted 40 times to defund ACA. So, the gun to America’s head is either destroy help to millions or they will destroy what’s left of the American economy. It’s like dealing with terrorists.

The GOP has already refused to end sequester, which takes about .5 percent off the American economy. They have refused to work with Democrats to improve infrastructure or do anything that might lead to jobs. They are against an immigration bill that would add billions to the economy.

The GOP is against Social Security as it exists, opposes living wages, wants to end pensions, brands low-wage people as freeloaders if they use food stamps, and really does not support heroes such as nurses, soldiers, teachers, police and fire personnel.

The GOP view of life is one where the wealthy do what they want while the rest work for as close to nothing as possible. They want to keep people from voting and make college for the privileged. Evidently to help someone other than the wealthy is “big government.”

The GOP has no solutions. Its members will not work to solve problems. They exist by exploiting fears, misinformation, prejudice and Obama hatred. Enough!

Grand Junction

Sens. Udall, Bennett praised for helping rafting business

On behalf of the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce, I would like to publicly thank and acknowledge the work done by Sen. Udall and Sen. Bennett to help one of the Grand Valley’s job creators.

As noted in the edition of the paper on Friday, Aug. 23, small-business owner Tom Kliensntiz was faced with some very real threats to the future viability of Adventure Bound and the ability of that company to continue to operate rafting trips through Dinosaur National Monument.

Park officials were placing some additional requirements on anyone wishing to continue to have a concessionaire license in the monument without even the opportunity for public comment as to the appropriateness or necessity of these requirements.

The Grand Junction chamber, along with others, wrote our congressional delegation asking for help. Time was of the essence as the permitting process was about to close.

Both senators and their staffs responded quickly, and we truly believe that their intervention in requesting that these requirements be reviewed was instrumental in the subsequent cancellation of the process. The issue is still not totally resolved, but at least for now one small business that contributes to our economy will have some assurances that his business will be allowed to operate in the Monument.

We truly appreciate that Sen. Udall and Sen. Bennett stood up for a job creator in our community. Well done.


Grand Junction

Former coaches stressed importance of having moral values over winning

All the professional athletes violating the law is an indication that there is something critical missing in their early development. Back in the ‘50s and ‘60s we had some outstanding coaches (Gene, Carl and Mickey) that had the right focus. They did like to win, but what was most important was character development through sport.

In fact, they sacrificed a sure state championship by kicking off five of the varsity starting lineup just before the playoffs for violating one of the rules regarding personal conduct within the community.

The lessons these five learned were of much greater value than winning state and getting away with it just because winning was everything.

Grand Junction

Tipton long on rhetoric, short on real reform

A veteran awaiting his prescription at our VA Medical Center opined that “they” should “shut down the government” to repeal “ObamaCare” – not realizing that doing so would close that facility, and/or not caring that the Affordable Care Act will provide millions with affordable access to health care—which he already enjoys, but takes for granted.

Now, as Gary Harmon reported Saturday (“Shutdown is unlikely, Tipton says”), the 3d C.D.’s “Tea Party” Representative—Congressman Scott Tipton – candidly admits (perhaps to the chagrin of his rabid supporters) that the irresponsible rhetoric of his cynical Repugnican “leadership” amounted to empty threats and partisan posturing.

Tipton also disingenuously asserts that “we do have two competing ideas:  one legislative body is intent on spending more and taxing more and regulating more,” the other . . .?

Actually, as the American public well-knows, the real “competition” is between leaders who offer constructive “ideas” to address tough problems and disingenuous “do nothing” lemmings like Tipton whose empty faux “ideas” are deliberately intended to make those problems worse.

Thus, Tipton would spend $30+ billion on “border security,” but would not reform our broken immigration system to help local growers and reduce the deficit by $173 billion over the next decade and $700 billion in the following decade.

Tipton voted to reward his cronies on the House Agriculture Committee with millions in farm subsidies, but opposes adequately funding Food Stamps and/or Head Start.

An admitted “climate change denier,” Tipton supports continuing subsidies to “big oil,” but opposes taxes and/or regulations on polluters that could fund infrastructure projects to “create jobs” and reduce unemployment.

And, like that sadly ill-informed veteran, Tipton would repeal “ObamaCare” and thereby revert to the “pre-existing condition” of ever-increasing insurance premiums and profit-driven health insurance company “death panels.”

November 2014 can’t come soon enough.

Grand Junction

KKK no cause for celebration

I am writing in regard to the “Celebration 120 years” section in today’s paper. Really?!

Of all the possible historical articles, the “Ku Klux Klan” rally is something to celebrate? I was so disgusted I had to throw out my breakfast.

Grand Junction

Picture of composting did not portray effective methods

So many things were wrong in that picture on the front page of the Sentinel August 24 that I just can’t tell you.

I commend the folks for their composting efforts; I compost for my own garden. But where do I start, first of all a wannabe pickup with a bunch of scrap boards tied off with what looks like string hanging down all over the truck, it may be light rope, but still WRONG. What if the guy with the wannabe pickup isn’t available?

A pile of mix and match bags of who knows what and a guy standing on top of the pile chucking stuff to another guy, who in turn puts the bags out on a scrap pallet that looks good for nothing but dunnage. “Soon to contain 5 cubic foot bins that will produce a finished pile of compost every three weeks.”

That’s what the sales brochure may say, but deal with reality. Are they “for” composting? Do they rotate? Who will rotate them, who will separate all the plastic and non-compostable items such as meat and fat and other items in those bags? Especially once the skunks and other vermin get done tearing into them from being improperly stored until the 5 bins show up.

And then how are the neighbors going to react when the skunks and other vermin get used to coming by and looking for snacks left by a poor cleanup or trash not in the right containers or hauled away? And I’m sure those bags have everything from meat scraps and citrus leavings to plastic, metal and other foreign items needing to be sorted.

And OMG! “Hopefully create a cultural paradigm shift that will bring sustainability to our culture in general.” Yeah, it looks like a pack of hippie liberals from the ‘70s got together and dreamed this up without thinking the process through. Now, in that it is a “school activity,” don’t state standards and industrial standards have to be followed? Who is going to take care of this when school is out? Are they going to get in those containers with pitchforks and turn them when they add water or blood meal?

I have been composting for 40 years and using commercial composting tubs that rotate, open piles covered by black tarps to prevent leaching and composting additives made to break down matter more quickly, and I have never seen that volume of perfectly prepared and maintained green material compost in three weeks. Five or six, if you’re lucky during the hottest part of the summer, and are they going to continue this endeavor through the winter? Or store the composting material until winter is over?

Worm-free compost? Really, worms are your friends; they speed the breakdown and enrich the output making it far better for use in gardens. How’s that for a “cultural paradigm?”

Grand Junction

Comic that showed children playing soldiers was not funny

It just isn’t funny when Lynn Johnston has children in her so-called “comic strip” saying, “Boy, grown-up soldiers sure are lucky. They get to play this for real.” 

This after showing children pretending to have flamethrowers, grenades, machine guns and killing each other. Where is the humor in that? 

Even though she titles it “For Better or for Worse,” it still doesn’t belong in the comic section. Does it belong anywhere? 


Grand Junction

It’s time to reject Obamacare and come up with better plan

Did we really need a 21,000-page bill to correct our health care system? I think not.

To begin with, it should never have been called the “Affordable” Care Act that it is not - “Obamacare” is probably more fitting. Unfortunately the whole matter is now totally political and both the merits and the negatives are being ignored or supported, depending on what party to which you belong.

Sadly, both sides agree with some of the major items, i.e. keeping children on their parents’ health care until age 26 if they want or need to and making coverage available regardless of pre- existing conditions.

However, both these could have been accomplished with the support of both parties instead of the individual mandate or the ultimate aim to get to a single-payer system. Unfortunately, for political reasons they ignored such important items as the ability to purchase across state lines instead of 50 “exchanges” and “navigators” and the hot potato of tort reform.

In either case, these could have been accomplished on their own and not by changing the entire health system, which, by the way, is the best in the world. They also could have approached the uninsured problem some other way in lieu of forcing the other 90 percent or corporations to pay for it in its entirety. And, best of all, they would not need the out-of-control and dysfunctional IRS to enforce the system.

Time to get rid of this awful plan and start over by just looking at the areas where the politicians agree and the American people favor.

Grand Junction

Greg Ruland’s front-page article on Main Street worth saving

City Manager Joe Lacy’s Operation Foresight really did inspire towns all over the U.S. I should know; I live in one of them.

The city of Santa Cruz has acknowledged its debt to Grand Junction more than once (see “Pacific Garden Mall is remembered 40 years after its founding and 20 years since its demise,” Santa Cruz Sentinel, Oct. 3, 2009, and “Santa Cruz unveils downtown sculptures,” Santa Cruz Sentinel, Nov. 14, 2008).

Anyway, I’m glad I saw Greg Ruland’s front-page story in The Daily Sentinel Sunday morning (“Grand Junction’s Main Attraction”). I’m saving it, just like I saved the 40-page special supplement you guys published to commemorate Operation Foresight’s 25th anniversary on July 22, 1987.

Grand Junction
Santa Cruz, Calif.

Responsibility for school’s success rests on the shoulders of parents

Now Eric Holder is pushing to block Louisiana’s school voucher program. The complaint is that allowing vouchers violates desegregation laws. Nothing different will be taught in the classrooms so, what they are really saying is that while the program is available for all regardless of race, more white families are utilizing the program leaving a denser black population in the public schools. But the desegregation argument only holds water if the program only allows one group while denying another. So what are they really worrying about? I can think of a couple of things:

• A concern that the public schools will decline in performance. This is not a racist statement and it has nothing to do with the ability of the students, it has everything to do with the parents of those students (more later).

• Most public schools and colleges profess a liberal philosophy. Children need to go to public schools so they can learn the “right” way to think. (Ten years ago I would have laughed this off as conspiracy theory; today…I’m not so sure.)

In my opinion, the responsibility for a school’s success rests entirely on the shoulders of the parents. Instead of “Did you do your homework,” it should be “Let’s check your homework.” Parents need to be involved in every aspect of their child’s education including the learning process, discipline in the classroom, teacher performance, etc. The government is not responsible for your child’s education…you are. This brings us back to the Justice Department action. Will the government really take action, in the name of “equal education,” to prevent a family from trying to provide their children with the best available education opportunity? 

Not a day goes by that I don’t look at the news and wonder: “What the hell are we doing?”

Grand Junction

Expanding trail system means both liabilities, opportunities

My only experience with trails along canals or irrigation ditches is from Glenwood Springs. Obviously, they were not scaled up to the size in the Grand Valley. When the agricultural economy changed or was superseded by urban development, they were abandoned and the right of way became coveted by adjacent homeowners.

The point is, no one wants to share water or waterways. It’s the story of the Desert West. Understand the liabilities of having people frequent the canal banks. There is the possibility of vandalism, accidents and crime, not to mention the intrusion of people over or near otherwise personal space. Lawyers can demonstrate these facts all day.

The bigger issue is the vision and design of potential trails and how truly unique the Grand Valley canal systems are. Think the bicycle tourism of Fruita is great? Think how much more appeal a 600-mile trail system would be with the accompanying water. It could change the caliber of the economy and the quality of life in the valley.

In this age of contentiousness driven by self-interest, money and lawyers, we are surrendering to just those interests without a care about you, John Q. Public. Once a waterway is abandoned, it loses a dimension of its charm and then is a real unshared liability … a great place for repossession and atrophy.

The waterway companies need some assurance to cover liabilities such as lawsuits and property damage. The bottom line: Agriculture gets its allotted water. A trail system could facilitate maintenance and/or even build better infrastructure for this. The water companies don’t need a bulldog attorney to defend their interest; they need an awakening to make the economy bloom.

Grand Junction


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