Email letters, June 29, 2012
Red Cross director offers advice for enjoying a safe, happy Fourth of July
The 4th of July is just around the corner, and many Coloradans will celebrate the day by camping, grilling or watching fireworks. To make this day truly enjoyable and filled with only good memories, we urge everyone to take personal responsibility for taking simple precautions that could prevent disaster.
With wildfires burning throughout the state, record heat and extremely dry conditions, it is imperative that all Colorado residents and visitors be vigilant and extra careful around anything flammable -– from cigarette butts to grills to machinery that emits sparks. The governor has enacted an executive order banning open burning and private use of fireworks, and we encourage everyone to join us in observing those rules. That includes refraining from having campfires or using certain types of grills.
Our volunteers have been working tirelessly for three weeks providing support to the thousands of people displaced by wildfires in our state, and we have seen first-hand the emotional strain, financial hardship and devastation caused by wildfires.
The most patriotic thing you can do this July 4 is be a good fellow citizen and play a part in ensuring that no fires are caused by humans over this holiday. The inconvenience of having a camp without a fire or a July 4th party without personal fireworks is nothing compared to the huge inconvenience hundreds and thousands of people experience when a human-caused fire displaces them.
Finally, we encourage you to follow these tips for safely enjoying holiday activities:
• Use sunscreen and limit sun exposure from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
• Wear light, loose-fitting clothing.
• Stay hydrated by drinking water or sports drinks, not alcohol or caffeine.
• Pay special attention to children and the elderly, who are more susceptible to heat-related illnesses.
• Always watch the barbecue/grill when in use.
• Never grill indoors –- not in a house, camper, tent or any enclosed area.
• Make sure children and pets stay away from the grill.
• Keep the grill out in the open and away from the house, deck, tree branches or anything that could catch fire.
• Use a gas or propane grill only; conditions are too dry for safe use of charcoal or wood grills.
We wish you all a happy, safe Independence Day!
Executive Director, American Red Cross Western Colorado Chapter
Fox News now the hottest place in the nation
The hottest place in America today appears to be the Fox News studio since the Supreme Court upheld “Obamacare.”
Enjoy hot recreational opportunities this summer – without any fires
The wild land fire situation is serious with several large fires burning across Colorado. Contributing factors for this include low snowfall winter and a dryer than normal spring; an early fire season; and fire severity indicators that surpass the conditions we experienced in 2002, the year of the Coal Seam and Haymen fires.
For example, moisture levels in forest fuels types are very low, and both relative humidity (moisture in the air) and soil moisture are extremely low. Fire severity indicators are at historic highs. The long-term forecast shows continued hot and dry weather. Because of the mountain pine beetle epidemic, many areas of the forest have heavy fuel loads.
Given these conditions, on June 22 I implemented Stage II fire restrictions on the White River National Forest. (By implementing these restrictions, our goal is to reduce the possibility of human-caused fires so that we can better use our firefighting resources where they are needed most. The last time this was done was in 2002.
Stage II restrictions prohibit all open fires, including charcoal grills, regardless of location. Smoking is prohibited except in enclosed areas such as vehicles, buildings or tents. Note, the use of fireworks or other pyrotechnic devices are always prohibited on Forest Service, Park Service or Bureau of Land Management lands.
Stage II restrictions also prohibit the use of exploding targets and model rockets. Chainsaws must be equipped with manufacturer approved spark arrestors, and operators must have a shovel, fire extinguisher and five gallons of water readily available.
I have been asked, “How long will Stage II restrictions be in place?” I intend to leave these restrictions in place until we see a significant change in weather and fuel conditions. Please monitor the weather reports and our website (http://www.fs.usda.gov/whiteriver) for current information. Current information on all of Colorado’s wildfires is available at http://www.inciweb.org.
I have talked with a number of folks who feel that being unable to have a campfire changes the whole recreation experience. Some have said they feel so strongly about having a campfire that they will not come to the WRNF during fire restrictions. I understand this and ask that recreationist consider other options if they choose not to visit the WRNF. There are numerous communities and events surrounding the WRNF who are open for business. I hope you consider these opportunities and have an enjoyable summer.
Please help me get the word out about summer recreation opportunities as well as our fire restrictions. If you have questions, contact us at 970-945-2521 for the most up-to-date information.
Forest Supervisor, White River National Forest
Water company all wet in its choice of cover photo for annual report
Recently the UTE water company distributed to all customers its annual 2011 water quality report (as required by the EPA). Unfortunately, the company chose to put a photo on the front page of a child drinking from a garden hose.
It makes little sense for them to tout the purity of their product and at the same time imply it is acceptable to drink from a garden hose that may contain bacteria or other contaminants.
Of all people, water company personnel should know better.
Stop HHS mandate that requires coverage for immoral services such as abortion
Stop the implementation of the HHS mandate that requires employee health plans to provide coverage for morally objectionable services such as contraception, sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs.
Dropping of land, water conservation funding from transportation bill was unfortunate
When the Land and Water Conservation Fund was created by Congress in 1964, the intention was for a portion of funds generated through off-shore oil and gas leases to be used to improve access to public lands. As someone who has hunted, fished, camped and hiked on numerous public properties in Colorado, many funded through the LWCF, I understand the value of the fund to outdoorsmen and women.
Unfortunately, in recent years, Congress had raided the fund for purposes other than originally intended. As rural lands across the country continue to disappear, public access to federal lands will become increasingly important. LWCF funds could play a vital role in “unlocking” millions of federal acres currently unavailable to sportsmen, and I want to thank Senators Udall and Bennet for their recent efforts to ensure the LWCF is used for its intended purpose – for public land.
By supporting a provision within the transportation bill, Colorado’s senators, along with 32 House Republicans, worked hard to continue the long history of bipartisan support for LWCF. Unfortunately, despite strong support from the sportsmen community, including groups such as the NRA, Trout Unlimited, TRCP and the Backcountry Hunters & Anglers, extremist opponents of funding for public lands convinced House leaders to drop dedicated LWCF funding from the transportation bill.
Despite this unfortunate news, I want to thank Colorado’s senators for supporting funding for LWCF and for their dedication to the public lands that we sportsmen depend upon.
DAVID A. LIEN
Co-chairman, Colorado Backcountry Hunters & Anglers
Ignoring environmental disasters, loudest voices demand drilling, more growth
More than a thousand heat records shattered nationwide. Sea levels on the East Coast are rising faster than predicted. Colorado burns to the ground. And the loudest voices cry, “Drill baby, drill! We must have more growth!”
President Obama flouts biblical teachings on homosexual marriage
We all know that President Obama is for homosexual marriage, that the Bible is against it and that it will unravel the family of father and mother.
Every president except Obama has understood this and been against it. The homosexual agenda is just one part of the culture war against biblical values and Christianity. Voters who vote the right way have a great opportunity to help hold families together and boost Bible values.
Proverbs 14:34: “Righteousness exalts a nation but sin is a reproach to any people.”
Sheriffs’ forum could have addressed much more significant community issues
We have heard from various candidates in the Republican primary about how is the stronger conservative and who is more concerned about the constitutional rights of the votes (which rights are unlikely to be affected by anything a county commissioner does except for some property issues such as changing boundaries of the buffer zones because plan and zoning ordinances are already in place).
While I am sure there are some voters out there who still wonder whether the candidates are “with us or against us” as was so succinctly posed to Sheriff Hilkey (and, I am thinking, much to his chagrin), when will we hear about positions on such issues as the sheriff’s budget and his handling of the Clifton area; jail overcrowding; the road department and whether it intends to ignore the Clifton area; panhandlers (which seems to be a major topic among the voter—and which I have found is best served by ignoring them); the creation of any more special taxing districts similar to the one that was recently dissolved in the Fruitvale/Clifton area because that process was botched so badly; and, finally, how to notify the public when a member of the commission plans to attend any meetings at which resolutions may be adopted that will be presented to the full commission for adoption?
Those are the issues that are going to affect this community. To date, the candidates have said so very little about them that I sometimes wonder if I have gone deaf or can’t read anymore.