Email letters, March 27, 2014

New CDOT barriers dangerously high

Why on God’s green earth did the Colorado Department of Transportation build the barriers in the new interchange so high? A driver, unless he or she is sitting in a semi or a jacked-up truck, cannot see oncoming traffic.

What happens when a driver talking on his or her cell, texting or distracted in some other manner or simply trying to beat the light blows through a red light? This has already happened to my son, who barely missed being T-boned by a driver doing just that at one of the intersections in that interchange. There is no way on earth that a driver can see that oncoming vehicle in time to avoid a collision. Of course, we know that no one ever runs a red light or drives distracted in our happy valley.

CDOT, please, please trim those barriers before someone gets killed. Don’t wait for that first fatal crash to happen. The interchange will work nicely only if drivers can see oncoming traffic in time to take preventive action, if necessary.

It seems to me that a lawsuit would be a done deal if a death occurred due to “purposely restricted visibility.” And those barriers absolutely do restrict visibility for all but the highest-profile vehicles.


More Kamryn Renfros are needed in this world

An article originally from the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel ran March 25 in my hometown newspaper, The Sheridan Press, about a brave young girl who shaved her head in support of her friend suffering from cancer and losing her hair. The girl, Kamryn Renfro. who shaved her head to support her friend get through chemotherapy was told she violated the school’s dress code.

Wow, what a negative message this school is sending.

This article bothered me because it was total opposite of a wonderful event that took place on June 29, 2013 in Grand Junction. The St. Baldrick’s Foundation held a head-shaving event fundraiser to support children
suffering from cancer. I traveled over 500 miles to attend this event because my daughter took on the challenge.

I am proud of this young lady for her brave and kind gesture, and I’m sure St. Baldrick’s Foundation would be proud to have her on its team. We need more Kamryn Renfros in this world.

Sheridan, WY

Let’s learn from the past in upcoming elections,other decisions

Republicans enjoy a majority of voters in Mesa County. I am part of that majority.  After several years of observation I am not sure we should be so smug.  The Daily Sentinel’s grades of our local governments are a big part of my concern.  Here is my brief synopsis of the past decade:

1. Gregg Palmer, now running for Mesa County commissioner, was a significant part of the political process that gave us the Certificates of Participation for the Police Department after the voters had rejected two expensive prior ballot measures to fund the needed facility as mandated in TABOR. The City Council just dumped any rights we had under TABOR and borrowed the money without our approval.

2. Palmer also was part of the council that continued to maintain that sales tax was not revenue.  When TABOR was implemented sales tax was considered revenue. This, on years TABOR would reflect we would be due a refund, simply  is theft.  The city still maintains that stance. Still theft.

3.Palmer was an integral part of the Airport Board that is now up to its neck in investigations, firings, confiscations and whatever else drops out of the clouds regarding its mismanagement.

4.Steve Acquafresca running for seat being vacated by Sen. Steve King is no better.  He participated in COPs, managed a situation that considered sales tax as not being revenue and oversaw a  smoke-and-mirrors switching of designations that were all designed to deprive the taxpayer any refund for that year should a refund  be due.  This has somewhat been corrected largely by the two new county commissioners. And, it is my understanding that the county is still being investigated by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation for many of these actions.

5. Acquafresca also had oversight on the Airport Authority Board, and its problems are briefly described above.

6. I think, on the state level, one reason we were cut out of the funds earmarked for our area is we have not had a representative that has stature.

7. I know a dead person is a dead person.  But, seven years to finish reports?

There are others that helped put our governments in the pit.  The past county commission, city council and Airport Authority Board.  Simply because members of these boards are well liked doesn’t mean because we have a majority of voters as Republicans that we should automatically elect them to another position. They have let us down. Individually, for the most part, and collectively these boards and council have not served us with integrity.

We deserve better.

Here are several suggestions:

‑ We should not elect Palmer, Acquafresca or any past commissioner or most council members and the Airport Board that had anything to do with the COPs, sales tax ruse, CBI investigation,  and current FBI  investigation of the Airport Authority Board to a future position.

- We should not elect anyone who doesn’t finish reports in many years, or anyone who would never vote any way except along party lines.

- Change attorneys and finance directors  more often.

- The auditing situation leaves a lot to be desired.  As taxpayers  we should appoint and audit the auditors. The auditors should be one of the taxpayers’ best lines of defense, not the entity they are auditing who stand to benefit if their books are fuzzy.

- Maybe at the central committee level we should think what is in the best interest of our future, not just that the warm body is a Republican. Maybe integrity should be part of the equation.


Prior Mesa County Commissioner
Grand Junction

Caprock student shows amazing compassion

I am writing to your paper regarding a news piece I saw on ABC Good Morning America; Kamryn Renfro had shaved her head in support of her 11-year-old friend, Delaney Clements, who had lost her hair from chemotherapy, and the initial response by the school to suspend Kamryn.

The people at Caprock Academy should be ashamed of themselves for their initial decision to suspend Kamryn under these circumstances. I understand that rules are in place for a reason; however, people are not machines, and issues are not always black and white.

The school should have initially commended Kamryn for her generous bravery and not have suspended her. I believe Caprock Academy’s decision to reverse their decision of Kamryn’s suspension was due to media and public pressure, but hope that they truly did this for the right reasons.

Why does it take a 9-year-old’s compassion to teach us what is right? Caprock Academy, wake up and learn from your amazing youth!!


Why did Havlik wait to express his concerns?

Like many members of our community, I have followed with interest the recent article and editorials regarding the upcoming coroner election. Frankly, I’ve been left with more questions than answers.

The controversy regarding Dr. Kurtzman’s integrity and work ethic as posed by Dr. Havlik and his former chief deputy coroner is mystifying. If the coroner’s office under Havlik was aware of shortcomings with Kurtzman’s administrative requirements t10 years ago, why has this only now become an issue? Does it suggest Kurtzman failed in his job as coroner, or is it a reflection of Havlik’s desperation to continue as coroner that he would bring this information to the public’s attention now and drag his former colleague through the mud?

Might Havlik have had a responsibility to the community and its leadership to have reported the shortcomings long ago, and if he didn’t, might he now be complicit if there are truly long-term ramifications? If there are no existing consequences to the administrative oversights, is this just political mudslinging? If Havlik believed Kurtzman guilty of administrative negligence, why did Kurtzman continue to do autopsies for Mesa County, and why has he been sought after around the state for his expertise?

In truth, Kurtzman completed death certificates for every case in which he had responsibility since 1992 when he first came to Mesa County. Death certificates are the instrument used by the state to document statistics and that information is readily available on the Colorado State Health Department website. Havlik should be aware of this or he conveniently overlooked this information when he was interviewed by the Sentinel reporter for the article in Sunday’s paper.

Grand Junction

While adhering to GOP values, Havlik’s a doctor and not a pol

I have been the elected Mesa County coroner since 2007 and truly enjoy this public service. When I started, it was a priority of mine that our office perform our duties and operate appropriately. 

Sunday’s Sentinel examined the issue of incomplete work by the coroner’s office before I took over in 2007. The information was brought to the Sentinel by former employees. When asked about the subject, I answered those questions truthfully. 

It is important that our work in the coroner’s office is complete, thorough and timely for every death our office investigates. This is what we are charged to do and shows a lack of respect if we don’t fulfill our duties. 

Since I became coroner in 2007, our office has had 100 percent completion of our service to Mesa County citizens. Because of this, we can help the community in ways that have never been done before. We complete annual reports and suicide reports. We get involved with agencies such as the Health Department and Suicide Coalition. Our reports are available to view at  The public service aspect is very important, and it is what Mesa County deserves.

I am a doctor and not a politician. I think you would agree that a politician should not be a coroner. Despite this, the one area in which I’ve been criticized is that I switched to Republican.

When I learned I would be challenged for coroner, I studied political values for the first time and quickly realized that Republican values are my own. Personal responsibility and fiscal responsibility are big Republican values; these values are certainly evident by how I live my life and by the work we do in the coroner’s office. I hope to continue my service as your elected coroner.

Mesa County Coroner
Grand Junction

‘Park’ more aptly describes Grand Valley’s natural treasure

“God has cared for these trees, saved them from drought, disease, avalanches, and a thousand tempests and floods. But he cannot save them from fools.”  — John Muir

To change the monument to a park has nothing to do with money or cars or what side of the political street you stand on — or anything else quite as visceral. It has to do with connecting with what makes this country unique.

No other country takes its natural beauty to heart as much as the U.S. does. This is accomplished via the national park system. Converting and protecting our local treasure means connecting to this unique and truly all-American heritage — something only 59 other locations can claim. John Otto felt pride in the land being made into a monument; however, he wanted it to be a national park.

The difference between the two words in basic meaning point us in the correct direction. “Monument” is more a tribute to a person, erected in his or her memory; “park” is “an area of land, usually in a largely natural state, for the enjoyment of the public, having facilities for rest and recreation, often owned, set apart, and managed by a city, state, or nation.”

The first National Parks Service director, Stephen T. Mather, said, ““Who will gainsay that the parks contain the highest potentialities of national pride, national contentment, and national health? A visit inspires love of country; begets contentment; engenders pride of possession; contains the antidote for national restlessness. ... He is a better citizen with a keener appreciation of the privilege of living here who has toured the national parks.”

Let’s be better citizens.


Grand Junction

Thanks to the generosity of many, book sale a great success

The Friends of the Mesa County Public Library Book sale March 19-22 was a huge success because so many people in the Grand Valley stepped up to help. Alongside our members, volunteers from Partners, R-5 High School, Caprock Academy, Colorado Mesa State University, First Methodist Church, First Congregational Church and clients of Mesa County Corrections supplied much needed manpower and muscle. In addition, Record Management Services, Grand Mesa Graphics, Commercial Refuse and the Art Center all contributed to the success of our sale.

We also wish to thank the generous folks of the Grand Valley including Fruita, Orchard Mesa and Clifton who donated nearly 20,000 books to our sale. Friends know how difficult it can be to give up “old book friends” from personal libraries and collections.

The coverage of the sale by The Daily Sentinel and other news outlets was terrific and was enhanced by those who sent in the Sentinel’s Golden Tickets at Christmas time.

Because we worked together, Friends of the Library has more money to continue our special projects at Mesa County Public Libraries.

Thank you and keep reading.

Friends of the Mesa County Public Libraries
Grand Junction

Don’t wait to sign up for health care

The deadline for signing up for health care has been moved back. However,  you have to at least started your application online. Don’t procrastinate!

Colorado Springs

Remember ACA deadline

The Affordable Care Act deadline is coming fast! It never hurts to look up your opinions and see what is available. It could save your life one day. You shouldn’t mess with your health.

Woodland Park

Are Hobby Lobby, others prepared for costs of children?

I understand that Hobby Lobby and other companies like it may not want to allow their insurance to cover birth control for their employees. I hope, then, that they will provide maternity coverage, paid maternity leave, required space and time for the pumping of breast milk, on-site day care, and paid time off for those days when the children have those pesky childhood illnesses they all get.

Grand Junction

Make Caprock controversy dialogue, not screaming match

Why are people angry at Caprock for having rules? We need rules. A driver going 25 miles per hour over the speed limit will be ticketed. There may have been a reason for the excess speed, but that is settled in the courts. Caprock’s school board has addressed the concern and settled it.

Anger and accusation will not help promote a good learning environment or experience for either the staff or the students. It is sad to know people have “threatened violence against the school” (Shockley). How is this helping a learning atmosphere?

Please step back and breathe before doing or saying something regrettable. Rules are there for a reason. Let’s make this a dialogue — not a screaming match.


Grand Junction

Caprock should honor Renfro for her sacrifice

Why is your paper not full of letters of protest regarding the online story March 25 regarding Kamryn Renfro of Grand Junction, who shaved her head to help Delaney Clements get through chemotherapy.

I am incensed that any school would not allow this wonderful act of kindness without question. If anyone had a problem with it, then members of the school board could discuss making an exception to their rule without punishing a child for her loving act for even one day. Instead an assembly should be held in her honor for her sacrifice.

Students her age are allowed to wear make-up, high heels, shorts, tight shirts, halter tops, etc. in most school districts across the U.S. Kamryn shares her love for her friend and gets ostracized. Really? Get a grip!


Sandy Hook, KY


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Ms. Weaver. THANK YOU!! I always wonder what the people against birth control are going to do when kids are popping out everywhere. It is ridiculous that birth control is so hated, yet we complain about families on food stamps, and Medicaid and TANF. Makes no sense to me. I’m glad I am not the only one who sees the common sense part of this. Simple solution, if you don’t believe in birth control, don’t use it. But please don’t cut off young women who are not wanting to have children yet!

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