Email letters, April 1, 2013

Longtime resident of blown-up 7th Street home reminisces

I am Kathy (Heiny) Hogge, one of four children born to Lowell and Anna Mae Heiny who lived at 1752 N. 7th Street. I was raised in that house all my growing-up years, with sister Linda Anne and brothers Bob and Bill Heiny. Our parents met while teachers at Grand Junction Junior High. Daddy taught math and chemistry. Mother taught English and music.

They married in 1940, and soon after they were sent to Washington, D.C. so Daddy could teach meteorology to pilots during World War II. Actually our oldest brother, Bob, was born there. After Daddy’s service for the war effort, they returned where our grandfather Calvin Ludovic Heiny had found a house they could purchase at 1752 N. 7th. Daddy joined Mesa Junior College to teach chemistry and math and later became vice president. His first love was always teaching, but he knew he had to advance to support a family of four children.

My husband Jim Hogge and I had traveled to Arkansas to visit a daughter’s family there when our son Ryan in Grand Junction called two days after we arrived to tell us our family home was burning. We saw some of the news reports via computer that were devastating to us.

All four of the Heiny children and the grandchildren who grew up playing at that home are saddened about the loss of our wonderful family home. More saddened that some of the students living in it were injured, and we hope for their complete recovery. Mesa Junior College (CMU) is dear to our hearts, too.

Today my letter is prompted by the letter to the editor from a lady who lived in the 4-apartment building next to the house that belonged to first the Hafey and then the Kiefer families while I was growing up. As my husband and I have walked around the perimeter of the site where the two houses once stood, I have wondered how that complex didn’t suffer damage. I spent many childhood years playing with one of my best friends who lived in the first apartment on the upper level of that building.

We also thank the local emergency response personnel for their prompt actions and avoiding more damage to surrounding homes and families.

KATHY and JIM HOGGE
Grand Junction

Nation shouldn’t wait for crisis to develop oil shale resources

Unsurprisingly, outgoing Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, no friend of domestic energy development, has released a plan for oil shale that is designed to prevent commercial production of a vast American resource – a plan praised by this paper’s editorial board.

Your editorial misses the point that the plan drafted by Salazar’s department is a fatal circular argument: Companies require land and some assurance of the opportunity to see a return on their investment in order to be physically and economically able to conduct the research necessary; this plan drastically limits land and offers no assurance of commercial expansion once a method is perfected.

Your editorial omits the fact that the fraction of land left available for oil shale research is in tiny, dispersed pockets, entirely unsuitable for proper research and subsequent development, much less offering any chance of expanding from there into a commercial operation that could provide return on investment (along with jobs and American energy).

So the Department of Interior requires that companies prove their technology, but denies them the ability to do so.

Secondly, your editorial’s argument that there is no pressing need currently to pursue oil shale is also a disappointingly shortsighted position to take. Isn’t now, when we have a cushion provided by oil production on private land, exactly the time to be figuring out how to produce this resource, so it is there when we DO need it? Would the Sentinel and Salazar prefer that we wait until another national emergency or energy panic, and THEN rush into oil shale?

This is only a reasonable plan if, like Salazar, you are obstinately opposed to domestic energy development. I trust that this is not really the position of the Sentinel’s editorial board, and that the editorial was either an oversight or a temporary lapse of judgment.


BRENDA PENNINGTON
Grand Junction

Oil gas commission contends with a conflicting mission

HB 1269, which would remove conflicts of interest from the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission’s mission and makeup, is a common sense piece of legislation. Currently, the COGCC has a conflicting mission to both foster oil and gas development and to regulate it in order to protect public health, safety, welfare and the environment.

You can’t do both at once. That’s like trying to arm-wrestle with yourself, with your left hand knowing exactly what your right hand is doing. Nobody wins, and you get nowhere at all.

The legislation would make the purpose of COGCC to protect public health, safety and the environment, as should be the government’s role in regulating an industry that poses serious risks to clean air, clean water and public health. The bill would also prohibit an individual who is currently paid by the industry from serving on the commission that regulates that industry.

Former industry employees, or those who have retired from working in the industry but no longer receive compensation, would still be able to serve on the commission. Simply put, people paid by the industry should not be the ones to regulate the industry – they stand to gain money if regulation is lax.

Oil and gas development in Colorado is a $20 billion industry. To argue that government is needed to promote the industry ignores the fact that industry is doing just fine with its self-promotion. You can’t turn on the TV or radio without hearing an ad from energy companies.

Legislators should enact HB 1269 because it’s a common-sense measure that will help to move us toward proper regulation of one of the richest and most harmful industries in the history of man.

JOYCE C. GEORGE
Paonia

Salazar’s oil shale plan obstructive, short-sighted

Congratulations, Ken Salazar, for approving the most irresponsible, contradictory, and obstructive oil shale plan possible. It would be comical, if not for the economic harm it does.

The plan our illustrious Interior secretary approved last week slashes by around 90 percent the land available to conduct oil shale research and development, while requiring that research be proven before development can commence. Well done.

Another contradictory element of the plan is the royalty rate issue; the Department of the Interior seems to recognize that the oil shale industry is in a research and development stage of growth, but suggests that royalty rates be set the same as more established industries. So, if the royalty rate is to be the same as commercial oil and gas rates, shouldn’t the leasing regulations be at least similar?

Salazar’s aim from the beginning of his tenure at Interior was to do his best to implement the agenda of the most extreme elements of the environmentalist movement, which includes shutting down oil shale.

He cares nothing about “responsible commercial development of these resources”; he wants to be recognized as the guy who finally killed oil shale – one of America’s most promising and prolific energy resources – to make points with a powerful environmental lobby. Any bets on whether he has future political ambitions?

Salazar’s plan is not a “common-sense” one by any definition that most Coloradans would not recognize. It is an irresponsible and shortsighted sop to a special interest group.

God bless the few remaining energy companies that are doing what is right for the people of this country in sticking with oil shale development despite the enormous and irresponsible obstacles shoved in their way by Salazar and his friends in Washington.

GARRY WHITE
Grand Junction

Salazar should be applauded for approaching oil shale prudently

As a local business owner and employer, I am deeply concerned about what oil shale speculation could mean for my business and our local economy. That’s why I support Interior Secretary Ken Salazar for his responsible approach to oil shale.

The BLM recently issued its Record of Decision on the use of public lands in western Colorado for oil shale development. Before any commercial leases will be issued, the new rules require oil shale companies to prove they have viable technology and can extract and process oil shale safely and without overtaxing our scarce water resources.

It remains unknown how much water is actually needed for extracting oil shale. Full-scale oil shale development could require as much as 123 billion gallons of water each year, enough water for more than 750,000 households.

In our arid region, which is in its second year of a severe drought, oil shale development could pose a serious risk to water supplies and our local economy. Farming, ranching, travel and tourism all depend on access to water and healthy rivers. Together, they employ more than 10,000 people in Mesa County.

Secretary Salazar and the Interior Department should be applauded for ensuring that oil shale research is done responsibly, so that our local economy – and the jobs we have right here and now – continues to thrive.

SETH ANDERSON
Grand Junction

Salazar’s ‘research-first’ stance is smart, balanced
I want to commend the Sentinel for supporting the sensible “research-first” plan for oil shale that was recently enacted by Secretary Salazar and the Obama administration. This plan provides more than a half million acres of public lands for continued oil shale research while protecting our valuable water resources.

Under the Salazar plan, companies must prove that their technologies for developing oil shale are commercially viable and that land, air and scarce Colorado water resources are protected BEFORE turning over more lands to oil and gas companies for commercial leasing.

There’s been overwhelming support for such a smart, balanced approach. The supporters include more than 100 Colorado business leaders, farmers, ranchers, local elected leaders, water providers, sportsmen, and outdoor recreation businesses. The Salazar plan makes good sense in that it rejects the approach that would put western Colorado water and communities at risk by allowing full-scale oil shale leasing before doing the essential research first.

With the West experiencing record drought and wildfires and ever-increasing demands on water supplies, Colorado can’t afford to gamble our limited resources away on a rock with a track record of 100-plus years of failure.

Even energy giant Exxon-Mobil (of “Black Sunday” infamy) says that any commercial oil shale development is still at least a decade away. Salazar’s ‘Research-First’ approach is the smart way to address potential development of this yet unproven resource.

BOB MILLETTE
Glenwood Springs

Writer’s definition of marriage excludes many people

It’s puzzling how Mike Bambino came up with “Marriage ... was created by God.”

Which god?  Zeus and Hera and their Roman counterparts Jupiter and Juno (married pagan gods) all had believers and marriage practitioners long before any part of the Bible occurred. Factually, marriage was created about the same time humanity began forming civilization. And it was most likely created to keep track of children and heirs.

So, if pagans came before Jews and Christians (otherwise conversions would not have been necessary), and they were already practicing marriage when the Bible came along, how exactly did God rather than man create marriage?

It wasn’t quite clear if Bambino believes only Christians are lawfully married or if he included Judaism, but apparently anyone married outside of Christianity and possibly Judaism is not actually married since marriage doesn’t exist outside the Bible.

That means Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists, agnostics, atheists and anyone married at City Hall or Las Vegas are not married. Gosh, that’s even more restrictive than the Defense of Marriage Act.

There should be no problem with religion following the restrictions of their respective doctrines, but the current argument is more about secular legal issues as in spousal rights relating to constitutional issues rather than religious, even though I’m sure many same-sex couples would love to practice their religion as others do.

EILEEN O’TOOLE
Grand Junction

New technology provides chance to learn more viewpoints

Recently FOX News and talk radio came under fire from critics as one of the reasons for so much partisan bickering today.

I believe that assessment is “spot on” and here’s why.

For decades we were spoon-fed the same propaganda disguised as news, served up nightly on three networks. Oh, we got the local stuff all right, but we also got what the networks wanted us to hear. Just coincidentally, what the networks wanted us to hear was apparently whatever they were told by others.

We had no choice: “Take it or leave it!” and “editorial opinion” in many
cases.

With advances in technology came alternative news sources such as cable and satellite. Along with them, also came talk radio and the sounds of news monopoly chains breaking. Consequently, FOX and “talk radio” ratings skyrocketed while network ratings dropped.

Within a matter of minutes, opposing views are accessible globally by anyone with a radio, TV or computer, and the once unchallenged “spin doctors” couldn’t even read all the tweets, blogs and postings fast enough to react to them.

So, yes! We’re partisan, even divided because for the first time we’re able to hear more than one view on issues. We don’t always see eye to eye on everything but at least we have choices now.

AL CARLEY
Grand Junction

Spehar’s conditions for oil shale development unrealistic

Jim Spehar starts off his column on oil shale development by quoting The Daily Sentinel on the revised plans for oil shale development as “a reasonable plan.” I would ask reasonable for whom?

Spehar continues to use the Sentinel’s editorial which says that the recent development of conventional resources (read oil and natural gas), advances in energy conservation and, of course, contributions from alternative energy make the use of oil shale less necessary and that it makes oil shale economics more difficult as we head for energy independence. I am sorry but how do they know, why not let market forces determine whether oil shale is economically viable?

Spehar used the word “hogwash” in his column. He didn’t want to hear people whining about the loss of opportunities for a “shovel ready” industry. I may have missed it, but I don’t think I recall Spehar writing anything about the Obama “shovel ready” stimulus? Nor do I remember from Spehar about the Keystone Pipeline or Solyndra.

The Department of Energy was established in 1977 to take this country to energy independence. Are we any closer today than in 1977? Our governments, state and federal, are working against that stated goal, making believe that if we dump enough money into green energy we will somehow get away from the need for coal, oil and natural gas. The word “hogwash” comes to mind.

Spehar goes on in his column to demean Dr. Jeremy Boak, who teaches at the Colorado School of Mines, one of the finest engineering schools in the country, as a mere cheerleader for the industry. I am going to just guess here, but something tells me that if the same Dr. Boak agreed with Spehar, Spehar would be touting him as the esteemed professor from one of the finest engineering schools in the country.

Spehar continues saying the lack of cheerleading for oil shale development by Shell, Exxon-Mobil and Chevron as another reason to go slow with oil shale development. It couldn’t possibly be because of all the regulations put in front of them the state and federal governments?

Spehar ends his column by stating that everyone from Bill Owens to John Hickenlooper along with the industry itself wants the same thing. This is to have the industry to operate in an economically viable, environmentally sustainable and socially acceptable manner.

Sounds reasonable, but it begs the question as to who decides when all of these conditions will be met. My guess is that for Spehar and his liberal friends the answer is “never.”

MICHAEL HIGGINS
Grand Junction

HOA members should respect neighbors by paying promptly

If homeowner association members would just pay their dues/assessments, I suspect that this issue would not exist.

Lenders require that an applicant for a loan is current on his or her homeowner’s dues before they will grant the loan, so I have experienced. To the best of my knowledge, they never followed up with our association to determine if we stay current.

A lender should be required to follow up on a yearly basis. If the member is three months or more behind on his or her dues, the lender should require the member to pay them directly to the lender every month as part of his or her payment.

The dues should be placed in escrow and paid on a scheduled basis back to the HOA. In our HOA we need these dues to keep the insurance required by the lenders current.

Those who refuse to keep their dues current have created another form of welfare by living off of the members who do pay. We do place liens but this does not solve the problem of how do we get the member to commit to paying current dues.

HOAs can always work out a payment program for back dues, but we need some way to get these non-paying members back on track, and I think the only way is to either have the lenders or the insurance companies also monitoring their own investments.

Threats and violence are NOT an option, and they are not even effective. Everyone who has a vested interest in the property needs to get involved.

I realize that this only works for properties that are financed, but I suspect that a large number of those complaining are making monthly payments on their properties and this would resolve most of the complaints about the issues involved.

JERRY HAMPTON

Clifton

HOA legislation would have negative impacts

HOAs exist to maintain property values in subdivisions by following the bylaws and covenants, conditions and restrictions put into place to maintain the look and feel of the neighborhood, as developed. They also comply with Colorado Common Interest Ownership Act.

Different HOAs provide different services, such as potable water, irrigation water, common areas, parks, playgrounds, picnic areas, etc. Some HOAs mow lawns in common areas and individual properties of the homeowners.

Most HOAs are set up as volunteer organizations. As do all volunteer organizations, HOAs have difficulty recruiting and keeping good volunteers. All HOAs have expenses ranging from Secretary of State registration, HOA registration, federal and state tax reports, insurance, accounts receivable, accounts payable and management of various contracted services – such as landscaping, snow removal, irrigation system maintenance and operation.

Concerns about HB1276

1. In Colorado, if the HOA is registered as a corporation with the Secretary of State, CCIOA says there is a statutory lien on all properties to require homeowner payment of HOA dues and assessments. The need to file a notice of lien is not required for these corporations. Therefore, a new law granting a six-month grace period prior to filing a notice of lien is useless, as a notice of lien is not required, by Colorado statute.

2. Since the HOAs are required to follow their bylaws and CCRs, what happens if the proposed law is at odds with the contractual bylaws and CCRs?

3. In addition, most HOAs are not set up to financially “carry” nonpaying homeowners. If such a new law is put into place, I believe many HOAs will be driven to insolvency, but all will have to raise HOA dues on the good, paying homeowners to pay for those who are allowed to delay payment by six months. This is costly and very unfair. What happens if everyone in every HOA delays payment of dues and assessments by six months? Chaos.

4. HOA creditors do not generally grant payment plans so HOA bills must be paid in a timely fashion. Failure to do so subjects the HOA to collection action and liens on common areas.

Concerns about HB1277

1. Requiring HOA managers to be licensed will restrict volunteers from serving. This will force most HOA managements into commercial property
management companies. Is there enough commercial property management
capacity to handle the flood of HOAs that will try to have their HOA commercially handled? I think there is not.

2. Again all homeowners will see their dues rise to pay for this “professional management.”

3. Licensure is not inexpensive; schooling, testing, E&O insurance and continuing education have a real cost. All these costs will have to flow to all homeowners in the HOA. CCIOA says each HOA must have a president, a treasurer and a secretary, at a minimum. Will all be required to be licensed? Even small HOAs of just a few properties will see increased costs to pay for compliance with this proposed law. Does the state of Colorado even have adequate funds to set up yet another licensing bureau?

All in all, while I understand the point of view these laws are trying to push, the consequences of implementing these laws have large and significant negative effects on all HOAs and therefore all taxpayers in HOAs.

Certainly, I see this cost of regulation flowing to exactly those people the legislation is trying to protect. I believe these bills should not be passed. I believe the current legal system can handle all current HOA abuses.

RICHARD G. SCHMITT

Grand Junction

Urge state legislators to vote against HB 1269

This past week brought a unique experience as we attended the bimonthly hearing for the Colorado Oil & Gas Conservation Commission. Being in attendance, we were able to listen and see first-hand to the many issues that came before the commission.

In addition to being an educational meeting for us, we were impressed with the level of knowledge and different perspectives each commission member brought to the table.

At the end of the day, we felt that the Colorado Oil & Gas Conservation Commission is accomplishing its mission in part by having a diversified commission. Each member of COGCC brings his or her own unique knowledge and perspective to the table.

Upon returning to Craig, we learned about an effort to change the Colorado Oil & Gas Conservation Commission from a balanced and diverse commission to a less balanced and less knowledgeable commission. HB 1269 in the state legislature is a misguided bill.

In the future if HB 1269 is passed, it would not allow anyone with employment in the gas and oil industry to be a commission member. We live in a world in which technology is changing rapidly. This is true in the oil and gas industry also.

By having members of the commission currently employed in the oil and gas industry, you have people with knowledge of the latest technology being used in the oil and gas industry. We need to keep the COGCC members with broad and unique knowledge in different areas of expertise.

Please contact your state House representative and senator and urge them to vote against HB 1269. Be prepared to ask Gov. Hickenlooper to veto HB 1269.

LLOYD and HAROLD ROLLINS

Craig

Second Amendment rights preserve First Amendment rights

The Second Amendment to the Constitution does not say a word about owning guns for hunting. Nor does it say a word about owning guns to protect oneself, family or property. The Second Amendment to the Constitution is the only one with an absolute stated purpose and reads: As ratified by the States and authenticated by Thomas Jefferson, Secretary of State:

“A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

According to the Concise Encyclopedia (and similar descriptions from other sources), a militia is a “Military organization of citizens with limited military training who are available for emergency service, usually for local defense. In many countries the militia is of ancient origin.” The encyclopedia also notes,  “The Anglo-Saxons required every able-bodied free male to serve. In colonial America it was the only defense against hostile Indians when regular British forces were not available. In the AMERICAN REVOLUTION the militia, called the Minutemen, provided the bulk of the American forces. Militias played a similar role in the WAR OF 1812 and the AMERICAN CIVIL WAR. State-controlled volunteer militias in the U.S. became the National Guard.”

In order for citizens to provide that militia, citizens must have the right to bear arms. If there had been no militia, there would be no United States of America. If there had been no militia, we would be back under the Union Jack. If there had been no militia, there would have been no preservation of the union.

Now comes the critical part. Over the course of time, these volunteers were organized as the National Guard, but were under the direct control of the respective governors. They were not subject to call up for federal service and were never deployed in foreign countries. This as has become the practice since the federal draft was done away with now making our military services 100 percent volunteer.

Federal government now was faced with manpower issues, and since the federal government was supplying equipment and training, they became subject to federal call-up and deployment. In effect, there is no longer a volunteer local militia anywhere in the United States.

Why did our forefathers deem the ability to have local militias so important?  Without local militias, colonial citizens would have never been able to overthrow the tyrannical, imperialistic government of their king. The key words of the Second Amendment are “necessary to the security of a free state.”

Our forefathers totally understood that local militias were the only way to insure against a government that might infringe on all other constitutional rights. In a nutshell an armed citizenry is the ultimate protection of assuring that neither the federal government nor the state governments become tyrannical and imperialistic directors of our lives and deprive us of our freedoms.

Now, let us address the weapons themselves, because a national debate is going on. Gun control proponents’ argument contends that semi-automatic (assault type weapons) and large capacity magazines go beyond the scope of the Second Amendment and that our forefathers could have never foreseen the development and use of those weapons when stating, “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” It also does not impose limitations such as background checks.

Certainly those “hostile” Indians with their bows and chipped-stone arrows probably thought those muzzleloaders and cannons were a bit of overkill. Given the advanced state of armament of our armed forces, National Guards, Secret Service, Border Patrol, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, CIA, FBI and large numbers of state and local law enforcement, perhaps semi-automatic assault style weapons with small magazines are leaving that local citizen militia at a distinct disadvantage if they determine that they “are necessary to the security of a free state.”

It is my gun ownership that secures the right to free speech that I am exercising in writing this. In doing so it is my final stop-gap protection of all my freedoms in these United States of America.

THOMAS H. HUERKAMP
Orchard City



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