Email letters, August 16, 2013

Organizations, volunteers praised for river cleanup

Great thanks to Bob Richardson and the Western Association To Enjoy Rivers for organizing the ninth annual “Colorado River Clean Up” float trip.

The cleanup was a big success with 70 volunteers removing more than 22 cubic yards of trash, 24 tires, two TVs, two grocery carts and one hot tub (yes, a full size hot tub) from the river. That’s a lot of trash.

Thanks also go out to the 5-2-1 Drainage Authority, Grand Valley Drainage District, Mesa County, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, Bureau of Land Management, Grand Junction, Fruita, Palisade, REI and Cabela’s. All contributed by way of waived fees, prizes or financial support. And thanks to AMEC for the BBQ dinner it prepared for the volunteers.

The cumulative effect on the riparian habitat is tremendous, and we should be proud that our community leaders support the volunteers who work to clean up the river.

And, please, don’t throw hot tubs into the river. They are hard to get out.

Thanks again, Bob. Great job.

PETE ATKINSON
Grand Junction


Marillac Clinic likely to benefit from implementation of ObamaCare

Critics of Club 20 should know that its educational foundation performed an invaluable public service yesterday by hosting a “Regional Health Care Forum” - attended by such “notables” as Tillie Bishop, Kathy Hall and John Justman.


While Congressman Tipton has repeatedly voted to defund and/or repeal it, and while Republican congressional leaders dissuaded the N.F.L. from partnering in public service announcements to educate Americans on their new health insurance options, many local community leaders recognize that the Affordable Care Act is already - and will remain—“the law of the land,” and that both individuals and businesses need to be better-informed about it.


Hospice Director Dr. David West traced the evolution of the Grand Valley’s progressive and cooperative health care delivery mechanisms - highlighting both its unique and nationally recognized strengths and remaining weaknesses (including costs).


Against that background, Linda Gann, Western Slope Outreach Coordinator for “Connect for Health Colorado,” outlined the plans that will be available beginning in October on its insurance exchange website. While the “devil is in the details,” and final premium rates are not yet published, “Connect-Colorado” seems well ahead of the nation.


The combination of competitive insurance exchanges and individual/employer mandates - the market-based approach proposed by the conservative Heritage Foundation in 1992, successfully implemented as “RomneyCare” in Massachusetts in 2006, and embraced by Governor Owens’ “Blue Ribbon Commission on Healthcare Reform” in 2008 (in which Club 20 actively participated and endorsed) - is also the crux of “ObamaCare,”


Despite continuing political “noise,” the beneficial local impacts of the Affordable Care Act will likely be substantial - enabling both the Marillac Clinic and Family Health West to expand their services and perhaps their facilities. Hopefully, the increased availability of both basic primary care and mental health services to the previously uninsured and/or impoverished will also work to lower Mesa County’s unfortunately high suicide rate.


BILL HUGENBERG
Grand Junction



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