Email letters, Jan. 9, 2013

Adequate signage might have protected two skiers who died

With great sadness, I read Tuesday morning that friends Glen and Linda Eyre were the two skiers killed Saturday at County Line. Both were strong skiers and hikers, quiet and well-liked by fellow adventurers. Before moving to Grand Junction a few years ago, the Eyres lived in Pagosa Springs, where he worked with bighorn sheep counts, etc.

Both were in a helicopter during frigid February weather about 10 years ago. The helicopter popped a fuel line and crashed into rugged, snowy terrain near Grizzly Lake. Awaiting rescue on a narrow shelf, the Eyres and their pilot survived a bitterly cold night. Glen told me he and Linda were both warmly dressed. Linda was wearing cross-country ski clothing. The pilot was not so well prepared, however.

(Their crash site in the headwaters canyon of the upper Navajo River was the site of an epic battle between outfitter Ed Wiseman and a female grizzly Sept. 23, 1979.) 

As many have said already, this was an accident waiting to happen. I do not recall seeing any caution signs, pedestrian warning signs or reduced speed limit signs near County Line, which might have helped.

No doubt someone filed these requests, since the cost is minimal. We won’t be told who refused to fund a sign, but perhaps the individuals are suffering enough already. 

Grand Junction

Terminating Social Security, Medicare won’t fix economy

Whenever we hear the words “spending cuts,” we should realize that for most Republicans in Congress that is code for cutting Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. If everyday Americans think those words mean gaining efficiencies, those words become misleading.

The casualty of misleading rhetoric is actually finding good solutions. Spending spared us from the downslide that European countries experienced with austerity. Money out of the economy produces recession.

Social Security has little to do with deficits except that it has more than a $2 trillion surplus in Treasury bonds that has to be added to the debt. Social Security can be sustained by raising the $110,000 cutoff point. Medicare was extended by eight years by the ACA. It can be extended further with efficiencies and bargaining for drugs.

We hear, “The president is running up the credit card.” Remember that, according to Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution, only Congress has the ability to tax and spend. The purpose of raising the debt limit is for Congress to pay its bills.

Ending Social Security and Medicare does not fix our economy. In fact, Social Security payments help to provide needed spending during the recession. By their rhetoric and willingness to not pay our bills, Republicans in Congress are the greatest threat to our economy.

Deficits are solved by adding jobs, cutting waste and fraud, and making it possible to improve oneself. We need to be adding jobs by building infrastructure and hiring back teachers, police and firemen.

Blindly hacking at spending, beyond cuts already agreed upon, is dangerous. Threatening to shut down the government, risk our credit rating or default on our debts to get blind cuts is just crazy.


Grand Junction

More lives will be lost if County Line improvements not made

It is very sad when an auto accident takes the lives of pedestrians, but downright tragic when that accident was preventable, long-predicted and entirely unnecessary. The loss of two lives on Highway 65 on Grand Mesa last Saturday is one of those tragic accidents that never needed to happen.

And it will happen again. More lives will be lost until the U.S. Forest Service, Mesa and Delta counties, and CDOT behave responsibly by reducing highway speeds at the trailhead and building a long-requested parking lot to serve the public at County Line on Grand Mesa.

For more than nine years private persons and the Grand Mesa Nordic Council have implored the USFS and other agencies to rebuild the County Line parking lot away from the highway. Many GMNC members have worked long hours with the agencies to get this parking lot project rolling. Nine years is a long time.

In those nine years the nonprofit, volunteer Nordic Council has developed and improved many miles of ski trails on the mesa; purchased grooming equipment; employed groomers and ski instructors; offered super-low-cost lessons and ski rentals to local children; organized and hosted a citizen ski race series each winter; and provided an outstanding recreation area for locals at no cost.

Anybody can show up and ski or snowshoe at the trails on Grand Mesa for free, and hundreds do so each winter weekend. It is a choice ski area, and it is all thanks to volunteer local labor. (The Nordic Council is NOT publicly funded, but relies on memberships, grants and bake sales.)

Late last summer I drove over the mesa and was aghast to see that the long-discussed parking lot expansion STILL was undone. Like many other skiers, I made a call to the Forest Service and talked to a recreation specialist. There was a lot of hemming and hawing. Finally I asked him, “Have you been up to that parking lot on a winter Sunday? Have you seen the overcrowding?” No response. “Someone is going to get killed!”

We are grieved and outraged at this unnecessary loss of two precious lives.


Hurricane Sandy aid just honors required policies

To quote “mommyof3” in the Daily Kos, “The (Sandy Aid) bill passed today (Jan. 4) was not ‘aid’ in the sense that Republicans seem to think about aid. The money approved in this legislation ($9.7 billion) is not a handout for nebulous ‘others’ who should be grateful that elected officials deigned to share anything.”

No, what Congress did was release some funds in order to pay out legitimate insurance claims on policies that people BOUGHT and PAID FOR – in many instances because the policies were required in order to purchase their homes.

That sounds more like taking care of obligations, which is very different than aid.”

There is such a thing as federal flood insurance required by the government for those who build/buy homes in flood-risk areas. The bill passed Friday allowed the Federal Emergency Management Agency to start paying claims on those insurance policies for the victims of Hurricane Sandy. Anyone who thinks these folks need to “sort it out for themselves” doesn’t have a very clear understanding of how the National Flood Insurance Program works.

Mitchell Gershten recently wrote in a letter to the editor, ” Clear-headed, honest appraisals of the facts regarding any of the difficult issues we face might help us tame our incessantly reactive minds….” I couldn’t agree with him more.

Finding the truth regarding any issue might help allay the anger, animosity and even hatred in our present-day society. Of course, one would have to care to know the truth.

Some media entities love to stir the muck. I daresay even make up stories to keep it stirred. I would love for my grandchildren to inherit a country where truth and honesty are the standards and whose citizens have empathy and compassion for each other. Is it possible for us to work together toward that end?


Inaccurate appraisal spikes costs of home ownership

I was looking at my bill for insurance on my house and wasn’t happy with its price. I thought it was too high. I started to check out why, and found out it wasn’t my insurance. It was what the appraiser had said was in my house.

He had appraised my house as having a jetted tub, a gas fireplace and full basement. I have none of these things. So, I took the time to call and ask him why he put these things as being in my house.

He said it was no big deal and he would change them. He said, “It will only save you $12 a month anyway.” LOL. He forgot that it saves $12 from taxes and $249 a year in insurance. It also made my mortgage go down.

So, I checked the rest of the houses in the same section, and they also have been taxed for things they don’t have. It is sad we are being overcharged by our own assessor’s office. And he’s getting paid to do a job and hasn’t done it right. 

We are going to News Channel 5 also.


Grand Junction

Dangerous air quality levels deserve more public attention

I think it’s about time Grand Junction and Mesa County put their heads together and begin addressing the air-quality situation. Instead of the chicken or the egg, which came first, we need the snow. We don’t need the air pollution.

It is counterproductive to economic development; it’s not responsible government to attract more people here without addressing this important crisis. Yes, it’s me again writing to you about our air quality.

Maybe The Daily Sentinel could begin posting in a more influential manner than a little blurb on the bottom of page two. Maybe explore and expose the dangers of being outside driving around and shopping. Maybe a story about the old days when you can cough out the chunks in the air because the size of particles were so large. To get these

<2.5 microns out, you have to cough out pieces of lung or let the particles deposit in your arteries. It's that serious. It affects your blood pressure, too.

As I write this, we entered the unhealthy category. Sensitive people or not, it's bad. Maybe this is what the two empty top floors of the hospital are for. They know we’ll be dying to get in there.

A local weather celebrity continued to report for us to “do a dumb thing a smart person wouldn't do" – "okay to burn" when it wasn't.

You have to look outside to understand weather. Continuing to burn didn’t lead to this problem. It comes from deeper ideological issues. That's where the importance of reporting news comes to mind.

But then again, that's why we're kept "tipped over" with guns, debts, taxes and birth certificates. Where do you think those people responsible for this are? They're called “snowbirds” -- the two percenters.

Grand Junction

Churches can aid homeless with meals, other services

This letter is in regard to the homeless. I see them in stores, on street corners and in McDonald’s. They ride the bus with their children just to keep warm. Yes, you know this already, so what is my point? 

If more churches would feed the homeless and give them a warm place to stay for a few hours, it would be beneficial. Volunteers who would cook the meal and serve it, etc. could run the church outreach.

The church could also have a Bible study and show a movie or provide some other form of positive time being spent that day. 

Anyone of us could be homeless for a variety of reasons beyond our control.

Grand Junction  

Public should know names of those denied firearms

It is interesting that in the state of New York a newspaper has published the names and addresses of people given permission by the state to purchase firearms. Apparently they have the right to do so under the Freedom of Information Act. 

I was wondering if it might be more important and meaningful if they publish the names and address of people who were denied permission to purchase firearms. And the reasons why. 

Grand Junction  

Grand Valley citizens can pull together to fight inversion

Come on, people of the Grand Valley! I thought this area was known as the “banana belt.” Are we going to let this little inversion get us down? We are better than that. Are we going to let Mother Nature do this to us?

It is time to take control of this “nature” thing. Here is my four-point plan:

1. Everyone in the valley who owns one of those orchard-saving windmills needs to go out there and point them down valley and crank them up. Blow that cold air out of here.

2. All the farmers with open fields need to get out there and plow the snow off all that dark-brown dirt.

3. All of the other city/county governments need to either clear the snow off all those parks and other open spaces or cover them with black, heat-absorbing material – BHAM.

4. The rest of us, all political parties and individuals included, will have to buy the remaining BHAM and also cover our snow. (Slanted roofs are exempted because we don’t need the injuries.) 

Note: If you choose to clear the snow into piles, it will still need to be covered with BHAM.

I’m not sure about the science, but my guess is if we cover all the white stuff to increase the thermal retention of heat and if we blow the cold air down to Green River, we will gain the degrees in temperatures necessary to defeat this stupid conversion.

Go, Grand Valley! 

Grand Junction   


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BARBARA J. FELL of Grand Junction called for the local churches to do more to help the homeless. I suppose that everyone could do more, but I must point out that the churches are already doing a lot. In the overflow program run by HomewardBound of the Grand Valley, around 20 homeless men are housed and fed by a rotating roster of churches (two weeks each). Saint Mary’s provides far more services to the homeless that you imagine. If you would like to help more, please call any of these agencies to volunteer.
Virgil Fenn

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