Email Letters: November 21, 2016

Urge representatives to enhance Medicare and ACA, not eliminate them

Well, the presidential election is all over, except the crying or laughing, depending which side of America you think you are on. Many of those laughing will be crying in a couple of years though. If you are on or soon will be on Medicare, Medicaid or have health insurance through the Affordable Care Act (ACA or Obamacare) be forewarned that Paul Ryan, the current speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, and other conservatives in Congress are on an all out assault on these beloved programs. Ryan will begin to phase out of Medicare by tying it to repealing the ACA. The ACA actually helped extend Medicare’s life expectancy for many years.

If you are a senior citizen or plan to become one soon, you may want to contact your representatives in Congress as soon as possible and tell them to enhance Medicare and the ACA, not eliminate them. On the Western Slope, to reach Cory Gardner (senator) or Scott Tipton (representative) in Washington D.C., call the U.S. Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121 and ask to be transferred to their offices or by email to Cory at https://www.gardner.senate.gov/ or to Scott at https://tipton.house.gov/ (follow the contact links). Your future health care depends on it.

RANDY LEACOCK
Grand Junction

Federal mineral owners fleeced in cancelled Thompson Divide leases

Friday’s front page article describing the victory of a Carbondale rancher and his beloved environmental community over resource development in western Colorado was interesting to say the least.

I often find that the best way to enjoy news articles is to scan the headline and entry paragraphs and then visit the last paragraph before reading the article in full.

In this case Mr. Sewell’s quote in the last paragraph is a doozey. “I’m not against oil and gas development. I don’t think it should happen everywhere. There’s special places in the world and Thompson Divide is one of them.”

First of all, resource development can’t just happen everywhere because resources are scarce. That is why at the turn of the last century the U.S. Congress reserved the mineral wealth of the Piceance Basin for U.S. citizens instead of granting that wealth to Myron Thompson and other homesteading ranchers that have coexisted with mineral development for decades. In return, the ranchers earned the opportunity to own and develop the federal surface land for their private benefit.

Nowadays, enviro ranchers like Sewell that seek to eradicate resource development from the entire White River National Forest and other swaths of western Colorado are making a geographically finite resource basin dramatically smaller at the expense of federal taxpayers.

Worse still in the case of the Thompson Divide, Jason Sewell is increasing the value of his surface ownership by banning federal mineral development in and around his ranch while forcing taxpayers to pay the massive litigation and condemnation costs that will be necessary to terminate valid mineral leases on his private divide.

Thus in the end Friday’s sentinel headline is certainly accurate. Thursday was a historic day for both Jason Sewell and the federal mineral owners like me that he has fleeced.

MIKE FOSTER

Grand Junction

Schwartz expresses appreciation for support throughout candidacy

I would like to express my deep appreciation for the opportunity to work with so many wonderful individuals and entities during my campaign for United States Congress. Over the past seven months, it was a privilege to travel throughout the 50,000 square miles of the 3rd Congressional District, talking to voters and listening to their specific concerns about the things that mattered most to them.

I kept my promise to campaign on the issues and to show up throughout the District, consistent with my motto as a state senator and public servant: “No one will ever work harder to represent you.”

Along the way, we did our best to inspire confidence and hope, and I was humbled to earn the endorsements of nine out of the ten newspapers in the district that chose to endorse in this race. The newspaper endorsements were consistent: people felt the need for stronger representation to deliver results and diversify economic opportunity in our region.

My thanks goes out to all those who supported me and also to those who were willing to listen. It was an honor to run to represent the residents of the 3rd CD in Congress, and I won’t forget the experiences and stories we shared. I pledge to continue my ongoing work to make Western and Southern Colorado the best possible place to live, work and raise a family.

Upon the conclusion of this historic, and often times divisive, election cycle, I maintain my faith in a promising future. I believe in the strength of the communities in this district and our ability to move beyond partisanship, because I appreciate how deeply we all feel about the issues facing our state and our nation.

GAIL SCHWARTZ
Crested Butte

Adoption story proved there is still good news

Thank you for reporting the story on adoption, “I’m part of a family now,” in Saturday’s paper. It proves that there is still “good” news out there. Maybe there is just as much good news, possibly more, than the bad news we hear constantly. I believe it is possible that if we heard stories like these more often it could actually be a catalyst to reduce some of the bad news.

At any rate, thanks for allowing us to vicariously enjoy the joy that happened in a courtroom that so many times is a not a place of joy. Judge Robison, Evan, Jade, Kasey and Abbi were blessed, as well as many of us who read about it.

TERRY KRAFT
Grand Junction

Cast of Hamilton shouldn’t have aired grievances during show

It seems that most celebrities think that because they earn a lot of money or people pay to see them it is because they are so smart and their opinion is more important than those who do not agree with them. Do I care what Miley Cyrus or Katy Perry thinks? No! Are Cher and Justin Bieber the brightest light bulbs in the room and are they politically astute? No! Does the cast of Hamilton have the right to protest and air their grievances? Of course, but not in the venue that a lot of people paid to enter to be entertained and where they are basically are being held hostage to their rhetoric. Rudeness does have some boundaries.

J.C. SMITH

Grand Junction

Those booing Gold Star Family exhibited awful behavior

Perhaps those passengers from Sacramento that booed the Gold Star Family leaving their flight early so they could continue on to meet their son’s remains should spend the day at Sgt. Perry’s funeral. Then they might realize the true cost of their poor behavior. Apologies to Sgt. Perry’s family on behalf of the rest of us.

HERBERT FEINZIG
American Veteran
Grand Junction

Group petitioning for recreational marijuana didn’t receive that many signatures

Ms. Mucino, with the GJ CAN group, found 3,000 people to sign their petition (2,254 was needed) in order to get recreational marijuana on the April 2017 ballot in Mesa County. Her comment was, “We had a really good response from the people.” The 2010 census in Mesa County was about 147,000 and our county has grown more since then. Out of over 147,000 people, GJ CAN was able to find 3,000 to sign their petition. Doesn’t take much to make some people happy these days. Don’t forget all the money Mesa County will receive as a result?

BEVERLY DUZENACK

Mesa

Vet Voice Foundation supports conservation of our wild lands

As the Rocky Mountain regional coordinator for the nonprofit Vet Voice Foundation and a U.S. Army veteran I am thrilled with the decision issued by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management this Thursday, which formally cancels 25 improperly issued oil and gas leases in the heart of the Thompson Divide area.

VVF has been proactive in advocating for responsible energy development in the area and we believe that in certain areas, oil and gas development can be carried out while protecting the fish and wildlife habitat upon which so many depend on for recreation and healing in the Thompson Divide. Being able to retreat to the outdoors to heal from our experiences in Iraq and wars around the world is literally key to our survival. This makes Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, BLM Director Neil Kornze and Gov. John Hickenlooper’s announcement at the State Capitol a hard fought win and a wonderful outcome for our nation’s most visited National Forest – the White River. With more than 13 million visitors each year, the White River National Forest brings in more people annually than the Grand Canyon, Yosemite and Yellowstone National Parks combined.

This decision takes into account the voices of the multiple different industries, economies, and communities on Colorado’s Western Slope, as well as the over 30,000 public comments that were submitted in support of protecting the Thompson Divide.

VVF has been involved in the coalition of “strange bedfellows” – including ranchers and mountain bikers, sportsmen and environmentalists, unified local governments and veterans all joined together to work to conserve undeveloped, public lands in the Thompson Divide area. According to independent economic analysis, hunting, fishing, ranching and recreation activities in the Thompson Divide support more than 300 jobs and $30 million in annual economic impacts for rural communities in the area.

For myself and all of us at VVF it comes back to why we wanted to serve our country and make that sacrifice in the first place. I enlisted in the US Army in Grand Junction, Colorado one month before September 11, 2001. I spent my teenage years falling in love with the immense outdoor opportunities the western slope of the Rockies have to offer. Our wild landscapes make up the foundation of my American identity. Conservation of these places is important so future generations have something to explore, and where they can be inspired. Thank you to the BLM, Department of Interior and all of the state and local leaders who made this decision happen.

GARETT REPPENHAGEN

Operation Iraqi Freedom Veteran
1st Infantry Division
Grand Junction

After Life Center closing, it’s time for Grand Junction to have a rec center

Last Thursday I took one of the last soaks in St. Mary’s Life Center’s hot tub. When I conducted an environmental property assessment of this building 25 years ago, little did I know that many years later I would rely on its healing powers to recover from major back surgery and knee replacement. Several concerns were uncovered at that time, mostly associated with the pool. This is when St. Mary’s purchased the site from Hill Top. The pool was actually constructed in the bottom of an old drainage ditch. (A friend of mine used to play there as a kid.)

I was quite upset at the closing, but not surprised. It is an old building and things don’t work like they used to; believe me, I understand. What I do not understand is why the gym equipment is now only available under direct supervision of a physical therapist. The rest of the time the equipment will be idle. It is my understanding that the Life Center had about 1,000 members. A membership fee was $20/month. That’s $20,000 in monthly fees; $240,000/year! Sounds like good cash flow to me. Perhaps St. Mary’s management is covering for losses elsewhere by closing the pool and laying off dedicated personnel, but forgetting that the gym could be a cash cow. Maybe they will reconsider and reopen the gym to those who need it.

Unfortunately, the new Community Hospital did not add an updated rehab facility, but apparently they have their own problems. Despite input from St. Mary’s, local private gyms do not yet appear to have the proper equipment or mindset to deal with those who are in need of serious rehab. Maybe it’s finally time for Grand Junction to have its own rec center. Fruita has one. Delta has one. Why not the largest community between Denver and Salt Lake? With input from the professional staff and former members of the Life Center, a new rec center could meet the needs of our aging population as well as those who want a traditional workout. Possibly on the long vacant land once occupied by the old racetrack at 28 Road and Grand Ave.

In closing, I would like to thank again the staff at the Life Center. You have made our community better as well as my life. You should be proud of your work. Hopefully, Grand Junction can move on from here.

FRANK NEMANICH
Grand Junction

It seems odd that many were ignorant about reasoning behind Electoral College until now

Seems odd that so few thought about or spoke of the Electoral College, or simply were ignorant about the reasoning behind it until now. I’m reading both opinions on it, but have also read lies and blather that possibly should be weeded out as potential letters for publication, that is, if the paper’s staff has the knowledge to differentiate fact, opinion and nonsense/propaganda. For the (judgmental) record of what some readers think I’m saying or how they have me pegged, I am a registered independent voter, fiscally conservative but socially liberal, yet a Christian. Constantly speaking to a wide variety of folks, I experience being shunned by Democrats yet not ridiculed by evangelicals or right-wingers that the mainstream would probably consider extreme. Go figure.

GORDON NIELSEN

Grand Junction

Trump offers a path back to economic and military supremacy

Dana Nesbitt, I quote: “I am ashamed to live in a country where the population can support and thereby endorse racism, sexism, misogyny, and Islamophobia. Trump’s version of America is not the America in which I want to live.” Two years ago Mr. Trump was never known to be any of those things. When he announced his run for the presidency everybody thought it was a joke because they had decided that only a politician could be president. Nobody has made any attempt to actually prove the allegations, but you were led to believe that if the media said it, then it must be true. Tell me again which “America” you want to live in.

Trump offers a path back to economic and military supremacy in a world where a known “overwhelming force” is the only guarantee of safety. The Democrats promise a world where absolute power has corrupted absolutely. I did not vote for Trump, but I did vote for the ideals he promised.

Corrupt politicians did not make The United States the most powerful and prosperous nation on Earth. We, the people did that through our freedoms and liberties, many of which are now only dimly remembered memories.

I chose the America I prefer.

DREW DICKEY
Cuming, Ga.

The stupid idea of taxing mileage will backfire

I guess Colorado doesn’t want to see any increased tourism by its residents. This stupid idiotic idea of taxing mileage will backfire. Families will stop taking day drives and spending money in small towns. They will stop travelling the state for vacations. Heck, they won’t even drive across town to the mall lest they rack up too many miles.

This is all a result of the scare of the global warming myth. The government encouraged people to buy electrics and hybrids and implemented more fuel efficiency standards, all of which resulted in less gas being purchased because we need to save the environment. Then they discovered people weren’t buying as much gas, which is what they wanted in the first place, but fewer gas taxes were being collected as a result. What’s next, taxing the air we breathe because by encouraging an active lifestyle we use up more oxygen and expel more CO2?

The government is acting as if it is entitled to a certain amount of tax revenue and to ensure it gets what it is owed, it will squeeze the citizens dry to get it. Gas taxes are already high enough as it is and now the government wants more. I say enough is enough.

JEREMIAH HABECKER

Clifton


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