Email letters, July 25, 2013

FDA should help cancer patients avoid hair loss

The article in the July 23 Sentinel entitled “Cold caps tested to prevent hair loss during chemo” was excellent. Dr. Susan Melin of North Carolina Medical Center says that one of the first questions she gets when she recommends chemo to a patient is, “Will I lose my hair?” Since anyone who has endured chemo knows, hair loss is inevitable but does not need to be.

When my son was diagnosed with acute leukemia more than 30 years ago, I had read about using cold compresses to ward off hair loss caused by chemo. So, when he began treatments, I applied ice bags to his head and wrapped it in a towel. When he died, he had a full head of hair. No one else I know has kept all of his or her hair following chemo.

Using “cap cooling” to reduce blood flow to the scalp makes it harder for chemo to reach and harm hair follicles. Since this process has been used for some time in Canada and Europe, one might expect the FDA would have approved it for use in the U.S. by now.

There is now a British product called Penquin Cold Caps that U.S. patients are renting to ward off chemo-induced hair loss. The product is used in many hospitals with friends and family members, not medical staff, handling the treatment.

There is hope that cancer patients can avoid the added indignity of losing all their hair from chemo, though it has taken more than 30 years. The FDA needs to get moving.


Grand Junction

Chamber members must question how their annual dues are used
In a letter to her member businesses, Grand Junction Area Chamber President Diane Schwenke tries to do damage control on last Sunday’s Sentinel article. She wrote that “NO CHAMBER FUNDS” were used to support candidates in the city election.

Well, of course not. The law restricts what the chamber can spend on candidates’ campaigns, which is the whole reason Schwenke set up the secretive Western Colorado Business Alliance in the first place — to funnel more money into chamber-backed candidates’ campaigns.

Schwenke also tried to minimize how much the Grand Junction chamber spends on lobbying, but the whopping $72,000 it spent in 2011 far outstrips the $2,000 spent by the next closest comparable chamber that year.

She also tried to minimize the size of the substantial salary she makes by couching it in terms of “base salary” only. Everyone knows that employee compensation consists of far more than base salary. It includes salary plus benefits such as health insurance, dental insurance, vacation and sick pay, stock options, expense accounts and other perks.

No matter how Schwenke tries to slice and dice it, her compensation far outstrips that paid not only to heads of other chambers, but to heads of other nonprofit organizations in town, and it far outstrips what the average Grand Junction citizen makes.

Grand Junction chamber members must ask themselves what they are getting for the substantial annual dues they pay to Schwenke’s chamber. It seems at this point they are getting little more than a lot of embarrassment and bad public exposure.


Grand Junction

Two vacancies on city council warrant holding a public election

It appears blatantly suspicious that our City Council members Chazen, Susuras and Norris have arrogantly decided they will “temporarily reinterpret” the city’s charter so that their three votes will decide who will be appointed to the vacancies left by Butler and Brainard, rather than host
a public vote.

From what I read in the Sentinel, there seems to be some control freaks among our (or rather the chamber’s) council representatives. According to what Bill Grant reports, these partisan council members selected by the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce (“chambermades”) are “meant to serve the chamber members, rather than the

Hmmm, “temporarily reinterpret” the city’s charter so the remaining “chambermades” can select those whom they can control more easily than Brainard? Kind of scary, isn’t it?

This is an unusual situation to have two vacancies at once, and in my opinion it warrants a vote of the public.


Grand Junction

Find humane ways to counter low threat of mountain lions

Many people in town know me as a wildlife artist. I paint a lot of desert sheep, moose and, yes, mountain lions. I am not alone in thinking these are magnificent creatures that live throughout the state.

Apparently, humans are far more dangerous animals than the cougars, as we have now brought out the guns to eliminate a mom and her cubs that killed somebody’s sheep near the monument. Is it I, or does this seem to be an exaggerated reaction to close park trails and hunt them down for the crime of just doing what cougars do naturally?

Ty Smith was quoted as saying there is no indication that the cat poses an immediate threat to humans. According to my research, only one cougar attack has resulted in death in Colorado history. Cougars are obviously a very low threat to humans and want nothing to do with people.

Posting warning signs or relocating the cats seem to be much more reasonable and humane responses to resolve the concern that we have a few cats in town.

Grand Junction


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