Email letters, March 23, 2012

St. Mary’s support staff is top notch

I just had the third occasion to have a medical procedure done at St. Mary’s Hospital. Recently Grand Junction has received national attention because of our medical care. One aspect of that medical care is what may be called the support groups, specifically the receptionists, medical assistants, janitors and cleaner staff, and of course the nursing staff. These are the ladies and gentlemen who really keep hospitals going; without them everything else would come to a halt. 

My newest occasion to be at St. Mary’s was like the previous ones: not pleasant, but certainly made easier and more acceptable because of those people. The nursing staff is one of those professions we take so much for granted. They are there to poke us with various sharp things, stick things in our mouths, put on and take off dressings, squash our arms for blood pressure readings, give us the whoopie cup when the anesthesia has caused stomach distress, insert and extract catheters, answer the ignorant questions we ask and just generally care for us.

Some of those patients hurt physically and psychologically and are apt to have a snappy temper because of that. Some of those people tend to take the nurses and support staff very much for granted and treat them as personal servants if not slaves. It is my experience that the nurses and support staff at St. Mary’s do the things we need while in their care with professionalism, care, compassion, humor and with dignity for the patient and themselves no matter how badly some of us patients may treat them.

My stay at St. Mary’s this time, as in the past was not, certainly, pleasant, but it was made so much easier, so much more comfortable, by those nurses and the support staff. My care was superb. When I hurt I was comforted. When I tended to be a bit down a smile and a joke perhaps and I felt better. And they do it despite long hours,among sometimes dreadful maladies, sometimes hurting and angry and scared patients, and with a not-very-much comparable income, and certainly not with the admiration and respect they deserve from us.

Thank you all. You are a wonderful group of people whether you are RN, receptionist, janitor or other support staff. I delight in you all.

Grand Junction

Brass thieves are at it again

The brass thieves are at it again in Grand Junction. This is the second year I’ve had to replace the system for our sprinkler system that prevents backflow. The thieves chop off the plumbing and take the brass components.

There are only two metal recycle companies in town, that’s where they have to take them for money. This is an ongoing problem in Grand Junction. I would think the Grand Junction Police Department would be able to track down which metal company is receiving this brass. The fixtures look the same, easy to spot.

Grand Junction

Pass bills allowing enterprise zone credits

In support of job creation, the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce has been actively involved in trying to maintain the flexibility currently in place for companies to utilize enterprise zone credits.  There are actually up to 10 different types of credits that can be used by expanding businesses to locate and continue to grow in the state. They are one of our few economic development tools. 

The way the credits are structured insures that no incentive is actually given until investments are made and jobs are created. Two bills were introduced this year in the Colorado House to cap the credit available specifically for business investments. Citing the perception that companies engaged in energy development will invest in Colorado anyway lawmakers argued that tax funds were being diverted from needed infrastructure.

Chamber representatives argued in the House Finance Committee that all businesses have a choice as to where they invest and that this tool is important to not only the businesses that receive the credits, but to many other businesses and employers. In the case of oil and gas, these are the trucking firms, environmental compliance companies, construction companies and well completion service firms, among others.

Due to a concerted effort by economic developers, chambers of commerce and lawmakers, the two bills that capped tax credits were killed and a compromise was struck that resulted in a study bill being proposed, HB 1241. The Chamber welcomes a scrutiny into the effectiveness of enterprise zone credits for investment, job creation and charitable donations. We think such a study will show the many benefits of the program and why it is needed. In the past nine years, 22 companies in Mesa County were able to directly use these credits and with over 9 percent unemployment we want them to have this tool in the future as well. 

urge lawmakers to pass HB 1241 so the study can commence this summer.

President and CEO
Chamber of Commerce
Grand Junction

Teachers only get paid for the hours they are in school

I’ve enjoyed Tim Partsch’s letters concerning our school district. These have ranged from concern about the last bond issue to now distrust at the district’s possible move to a four-day school week. In his letter, he stated the district “can no longer pay for three week’s Christmas vacation, one week spring break, … or five days pay for a four-day school week.” Here are two facts that might escape the public’s knowledge.

First, teachers, as many professions do, sign a contract to be paid for a certain number of days worked. I work those days and earn my money for those days. I do not get paid vacation time earned or not earned. I do not know a teacher that joined this profession for vacation time, and if they did, they wouldn’t last long after realizing the actual work and time involved in relation to their actual pay.

Secondly, stating that no one should get five days pay for a four-day school week is a no brainer. What I can’t believe is that The Daily Sentinel printed this distorted idea that leads our community to jump on a propaganda bandwagon thinking teachers will get the same pay for shorter hours. It was explained at the district’s community meetings and I thought I read it in this paper, the contact hours not only would stay the same, but may even increase due to extending the hours the four days students — and yes, teachers — are at school.

Tim is right; the number one expense for any business is its people. Due to that, businesses go out of their way to higher the best. I would stand behind any teacher I personally know in our district and not only say they are the best, but that they earn every cent they are paid.

Grand Junction

Earth has gone through many warming and cooling cycles

I am amazed at the arrogance showed by Earle Mullen in his letter to the editor on March 22 when he states “the basic observational data are unequivocal in confirming that global warming is here to stay.” He totally ignores that scientific fact of the many cooling and warming cycles that the Earth has gone through even long before humans could have had any effect on the cycles.

I expect that Mr. Mullen was writing letters in the 1970s about the dangers of global cooling and the coming ice age. Even worse is desire to teach students only one side of this scientific debate. There are many noted scientists that do not fall into the manmade global warming trap.

I can only say thank God for people Rose Pugliese who are willing to fight against people who want to use the global warming issue to further their own social/political agenda.

Grand Junction

Sage-grouse decision has implications for many

Over the last several years, sportsmen, ranchers and oil and natural gas companies have worked with federal and state wildlife agencies and local working groups to develop effective mitigation measures to protect populations of greater sage-grouse and improve their habitat.

Together, we have used advanced reclamation and mitigation measures, conservation easements, best management practices and rangeland management strategies to improve prime habitat for the greater sage-grouse and livestock. We also employ long-term monitoring programs and perform studies that inform future decisions, all to ensure that impacts to greater sage-grouse habitat are avoided, minimized or mitigated. 

Ironically, the productive land users who are often blamed for causing habitat loss and fragmentation are usually the ones doing most of the work to protect local populations, enhance habitats and ensure species survivability.

The Fish and Wildlife Service has been directed by a federal judge to make a final decision on whether to fully list the greater sage grouse under the Endangered Species Act by 2015. The implications are weighing heavily on sportsmen, hunters, private landowners, ranchers, energy developers and other land users across the West. Given the vast range of the species, a threatened or endangered listing would have enormous economic and social consequences in western communities.

For users of America’s public lands, the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) future management policies for greater sage grouse are just as significant. BLM recently initiated an effort to implement new sage-grouse protection policies across the West. In BLM’s rush to develop a comprehensive set of regulations before the Fish and Wildlife Service’s listing decision, we fear that BLM may end up piling on restrictions that actually undermine private conservation of habitat and unnecessarily restrict economic activities and job creation across the entire West.

Fortunately, BLM will allow state-developed conservation policies that have been approved by the Fish and Wildlife Service to supersede its policies. Wyoming’s plan has already been approved and adopted and other western states have initiated collaborative efforts to develop their own policies. In order to truly be effective, greater sage-grouse conservation must be guided by initiatives developed at the state level that are informed by local working groups and affected stakeholders.

Through careful planning that relies on local engagement and sound science, we have demonstrated that grazing, energy development and recreation can coexist with greater sage-grouse across its range. That is why sportsmen, ranchers, oil and natural gas companies and others are already working with states to collaboratively develop management strategies that not only ensure the long-term viability of the greater sage-grouse, but also recognize the continued importance of the economic engines of the West. For example, Safari Club International is working with the Wyoming Land Trust in its efforts to implement on-the-ground conservation projects.

Meaningful sage-grouse management can’t just mean saying “No” to economic activities. It is vital that current private and state sage-grouse conservation efforts are maintained and expanded. Without sensible state-level management strategies that are informed by local stakeholders, we will be encumbered by federal, one-size-fits all approaches that could have lasting harmful impacts on the economic lifeblood of our region and outdoor heritage.

Executive Director
Public Lands Council
Washington, D.C.

Director of Government Affairs and Science Based Conservation
Safari Club International
Washington, D.C. 20002

Manager of Government Affairs
Western Energy Alliance


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