Printed Letters: July 24, 2104

Competition between hospitals is a good thing
The recent public spat between St. Mary’s and Community Hospital seems to have taken a very public turn.  It is also disappointing to read the bias from The Daily Sentinel favoring St. Mary’s Hospital. As a former board chair of Community Hospital, I’d like to clarify a few things.

First, there is little doubt that there is some great medicine practiced and some great people who work at St. Mary’s Hospital. My son was born at St. Mary’s. However, it is not and should not be a foregone conclusion that they will always be the dominant medical provider in the Grand Valley. Community Hospital is significantly smaller, but it is a locally owned non-profit facility and its success is vital to the community.

Second, competition is not a bad thing.  In the areas where Community Hospital and St. Mary’s compete head to head, costs for patients are significantly lower than where St. Mary’s has a monopoly. Monopolies are never good for the consumer. And in today’s insurance market, more and more plans are high-deductible plans and cost is a factor. In fact, Community Hospital is significantly lower priced on nearly every service it offers.

Finally, Community Hospital is run and managed by community members like me and you. The decisions made are to benefit the health of the citizens of the Grand Valley. It is not part of a larger system that has other competing agendas. The decisions are all made right here in Grand Junction, not Denver or the Vatican. And local decisionmaking is a good thing.

SCOTT MERCIER
Grand Junction


Drilling in Garfield Creek area is sensitive to needs of wildlife
WPX Energy and the Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) have been working collaboratively within the Garfield Creek State Wildlife Area (GCSWA) for more than six years. Other operators, including DeJour, Calpine, and Orion also have a history of working with CPW to develop minerals in the same area.

This is important context for Daily Sentinel readers who read the headline over Dennis Webb’s article Wednesday that suggests drilling and energy development are at odds with wildlife management. While the story does a good job explaining how WPX Energy and CPW work together through a surface-use agreement, it implies this is a new development competing with elk herds.

In reality, the GCSWA is unique in its establishment as a wildlife area with the expectation that private minerals have value and would be developed. Drilling and wildlife are not mutually exclusive, and it should be noted that agencies, like CPW, are successfully working with oil and gas operators who respect the diverse use of public lands where private minerals are leased.

WPX Energy can efficiently compress a 6-12 month drilling project into three months to avoid elk and deer mating and migration. Through consultation with CPW, WPX has invested in conserving and improving the thriving elk and deer herds with proactive reclamation and habitat projects.

Continuing to take responsible actions in partnership with CPW to minimize impacts and improve habitat in the GCSWA is our commitment.  Ongoing and frequent communication with CPW and local municipalities, including annual meetings with neighboring landowners before projects begin, are important activities that also support this commitment.

JEFF KIRTLAND
Community Relations Representative
WPX Energy


Arotin is the only candidate qualified to be county sheriff
The most important vote to be cast in the next election is that for sheriff. This is the only office in Mesa County that directly and indirectly affects every person in Mesa County.

The sheriff’s responsibilities are huge, both obvious and discreet.

The sheriff must investigate and apprehend villains while safeguarding individual liberty.

The sheriff must maintain courthouse security and a well-functioning jail.

The sheriff must perform tasks such as keeping a sex offender register and transporting prisoners to and from various locations across the country.

The sheriff must maintain working relations with state, local, and federal law-enforcement agencies.

The sheriff must maintain effective relations with the county commissioners while operating under a budget but still attracting high quality personnel.

Mesa County has had a history of excellent sheriffs.

From his days as a U.S. Navy medic, caring for Marines, until his current position with the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office, Pat Arotin has been exemplary in all ways.

By education, training, experience, personal disposition and integrity, he is the only person qualified to assume the position as sheriff of Mesa County.

CATHERINE C. BURKEY
Grand Junction


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