Email Letters: Oct. 2, 2017

Could recreational cannabis help with retiree health costs?
I just finished the excellent article describing the shortfall in funding retired city employee health insurance. Excellent work by Amy Hamilton and Erin McIntyre.

The article made me think about ways to increase funding. What if there was a product or service that could be taxed to help raise revenue? You know what would be really great is if it was something that people use anyway but isn’t really necessary, a luxury?

The tax would be almost voluntary. What if the buyers were already paying a tax elsewhere and that tax could be redirected to Grand Junction city coffers? Hmmmmm.

What if we could reap those benefits with a simple action like a City Council meeting and a vote?

We as a city are about to renege on a contract with retired and current city employees. Those employees dutifully paid every month to provide for their future. They did the responsible thing. Our city should too. Council members, allow recreational cannabis sales in Grand Junction. It is long past due. You’ve held the future back long enough.

Rick Matthew
Grand Junction


The only purpose of an assault weapon is to kill many people
The Las Vegas shooting is another example that we have way more to fear from domestic terrorists than any ISIS-inspired entity. And this act of domestic terrorism was once again carried out with a rapid-fire assault weapon, from the 32nd floor of a hotel room no less. Supposedly, this killer had multiple assault weapons in his hotel room.

Again I ask, why is it necessary for any human being to have an assault weapon and to be able to so easily acquire them? The only true purpose of this type of weapon is to kill many people. And once again, Congress will not pass any legislation to outlaw such weapons because many of its members are just puppets of the NRA.

Also, where are the good guys with a gun stopping the bad guy with a gun in this scenario? They certainly weren’t up there in the hotel room stopping this shooter. That’s another stupid argument you will hear from the gun nuts who will argue the continued need to be able to buy an assault rifle as their Second amendment right.

Our failure to pass common sense gun legislation stopping the legal purchase of these killing machines puts all of us at risk.

Jim Denton
Grand Junction


Health-care transformation requires legislative support for health-care information technology
Information technology drives improved quality, lower costs, and higher productivity across almost every industry. Health care is no exception.

Information technology, unlike most other political topics, garners widespread bipartisan support, yet legislative action lags the fast-growing opportunities for information technology to improve our health-care system.

National Health IT week will be celebrated Oct. 2-6. This week is a great time to reflect on how we can support policies and legislation that enable providers to adopt health information technology. Key areas requiring action include:

• Growing and improving the Colorado network infrastructure for digital access to healthcare information
• Expanding reimbursement for electronic telehealth that extend access to healthcare for less mobile and rural citizens
• Requiring Electronic Health Record conformance with standards that allow providers to seamlessly exchange patient records
• Funding cybersecurity support for providers to protect confidential patient information

Before the next election, the Colorado Heath Information Management SystemsSociety (CHIMSS) invites you to visit http://www.coloradochapter.himss.org whereyou can learn more about opportunities to improve our health care system through healthcare information technology.

Patrick Guffey, MD, CHIMSS President
Michael Jefferies, Chief Information Officer, Boulder Community Health, CHIMSS Board Member
CT Lin MD, Chief Medical Information Officer, UCHealth, CHIMSS Board Member
Sharon Kirby, MSN RN-BC, Chief Nursing Informatics Officer, Centura Health, CHIMSS Board Member
Jeffrey Pelot, CHIMSS Board Member


Support school measures and public safety tax
We are such a beautiful and caring community, Grand Junction. I have lived, worked, raised my children, and enjoyed the beauty of this valley for the past 39 years. I know the strong commitments our community has toward prosperity for its citizens. I know the acts of kindness we create on a daily basis toward each other and our valley.

I am asking you to join me in supporting measures 3A and 3B to ensure our children have safe and functional buildings in which to learn; that our teachers and students have access to materials and technology which will help prepare them for the challenges their future brings.

I am also asking you to support Bond 1A for public safety to ensure our public servants have what they need to keep us safe.Together, teachers and law enforcement are committed to our community. We need to support their efforts and service by providing needed resources.

Please vote yes for the future of our valley,

Debra Bailey
Grand Junction


CMU not yet deserving of a road bearing university name
I sit here and ponder the motivating factors that have led the Grand Junction City Council to even feel it necessary to rename our beloved North Avenue to a “University Boulevard.” I have seen several University Boulevards in my life and honestly can say that the majority of them, had a University on them. North Avenue does not. I will agree that there are two city blocks to which the now Colorado Mesa University can be seen, unlike for instance University Boulevard in Denver to where Denver University literally takes up to two miles of the boulevard.

If to the university it feels this is of the utmost importance to be recognized as a university, then why does all the books in their library still display Mesa State College? Could it be merely due to the labor and cost the now “university” may accrue to relabel these texts. So let’s get realistic then Leave the North Avenue alone and when you become a legitimate university both inside and out…

I suggest an expansion of degree programs. In my mind’s eye that should be more important then a boulevard. When you can finally be a real university with fully accredited bachelor, masters and doctorate programs, then we can discuss changing 12th street from North Avenue to Patterson to your University Boulevard. You know…the Patterson that some of your members fought to keep Patterson because of the cost it would accrue for them to change back to simply F Rroad.

Now don’t take this wrong, I can empathize with those that want to grow our now college town into something bigger and better even faster and faster. I see the expansion plan for the university and am supportive of it. The fact that it will one day be a fabulous establishment for education and offer our community even more opportunity to attract talented educators, students, companies and further our ability to increase commerce and our visibility to those outside this grand valley. Unfortunately, I believe that my tax dollars should go to more important city programs and community upkeep that will truly benefit our beloved community…(nothing against him) but not Tim Foster’s pet project.

Michael Gribble
Grand Junction


Congress must reject reckless tax giveaways
In response to your coverage of the budget and tax debate in DC: With 1 in 8 Americans are living at or below the poverty line, why are some members of Congress taking aim at the very federal programs that help working families put food on the table and obtain other basics to survive to pay for tax breaks for the wealthy?

SNAP (formerly food stamps) lifted 3.6 million out of poverty last year and the Earned Income and Child Tax Credits lifted 8.2 million people above the poverty line. Gutting these programs — and many others, including Medicare and Medicaid — to pay for tax cuts for millionaires and big corporations is unconscionable.

With important budget decisions happening now, I hope I can count on our members of Congress to stand with families and kids here in our state and reject these reckless tax giveaways.

Wayne Flick
Grand Junction


Freudian slip by Secretary Zinke?
AP reporter Matthew Daly wrote in Saturday’s Sentinel that Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said that he works hard to “make sure I am above the law.” Could this be a Freudian slip?

Myles Brown
Grand Junction


We haven’t applied lessons of Vietnam
Unexpected benefits from mistakes? That’s part of the secret of creativity. The biggest mistake is not to acknowledge a mistake. Ask several presidents and presidential candidates.

So, after World War II the world got a “reset.” The problem was, the world did not understand it. Sure the national socialists and the fascists were dead, but the underlying cause of their existence was also cut off: colonization and the Age of Empires. England was the most obvious “loser”... “where the sun never sets”. France not so much. The point is, the underlying causes of those wars was eliminated. Conventional thinking after WWII missed the point. Conventional thinking was just that Hitler, Mussolini, and Tojo were gone.

Empires were collapsing or being ceded independence, e.g. India, et. al. So, what about the French in Vietnam? Why wasn’t France on the way to giving up Indo China? WWII was just an interruption in the “usual” activities in Vietnam. At that point, Vietnam was not only oppressed by French occupation, but communism was on the move in Asia. All the Vietnamese wanted was their freedom, and communism gave the Vietnamese leverage to get rid of the French. The French gave up, but not after they lost 100,000. The Americans jumped on the situation like a dog on a bone and did no better than the French, but only lost half as many soldiers.

So all this suffering was for naught because Vietnam is today a viable country and is recognized in the family of nations. Had Harry Truman realized the true meaning of WWII, would he have fallen into the Vietnam quagmire? All that followed was a series of presidents and generals with the same mindset who wanted to fight WWII style. They were fighting one style of war, the Vietnamese were fighting another.

So, after watching Ken Burns’ “Vietnam,” one wonders, for all the bad leadership and misery, have we become more tolerant, more human, for having been to Southeast Asia? Yes, but what a cost. Is there not a better way for people to become human? We have needed more of the no-nonsense spirit of the current president, not seen since WWII.

Fred Stewart
Grand Junction


Wagner relies on dubious sources for information on schools
I was very disappointed to see the Daily Sentinel run Rick Wagner’s column, in which he prematurely declared Measures 3A and 3B “doomed.”

Mr. Wagner seems to rely on sarcasm, faulty logic and misleading references to Eastern European countries to make his point. If readers truly want to understand 3A and 3B, they should check it out for themselves at https:/citizensforsd51.com/plan, as advised by Hannah Holm in her succint and on-point letter to the editor, published Sept. 29.

Mr. Wagner says he has “received feedback” from individuals who seem to be making an illogical, “apples to oranges” comparison between the proposed school district projects and our public safety complex. In contrast, here is some first hand “feedback” straight to your readers from taxpayers who support 3A and 3B.

My husband and I own both residential and commercial properties here in Grand Junction and pay property taxes that support Grand Junction schools. We fully support 3A and 3B. Here’s why:

1) Good schools with reasonable facilities do attract professionals to communities. In over 20 years as a healthcare executive, I recruited over 100 healthcare professionals. In every case, these doctors, nurses and technicians (most often married to businesspeople, attorneys and other professionals) with school age children, looked at the quality of the school system and wanted to see the school facilities. During years when I worked in communities with poor schools, I lost many good recruits to communities with better schools, with the professionals who chose not to come clearly stating that schools were the tipping point for their decision.

2) Good schools attract individuals and families who have the income to buy local goods and services. While it is true that I am a “newcomer” by Grand Junction standards (I’ve been here for seven years), my husband, a Grand Junction resident and small business owner for 37 years, also supports 3A and 3B. He knows that good schools with attractive facilities are essential to a good economy. Why? Because they attract people who buy the kinds of goods and services businesses like his sell.

Instead of relying on vague second-hand “feedback” from individuals who fail to provide hard facts, please seek out first-hand information. Measures 3A and 3B provide much-needed funding for our schools and our community.

Martie Edwards
Grand Junction


Fourth-grader makes case for school funding
Vote for 3A and 3B because at Dual Immersion Academy we need a gym.

The reason we need a gym at DIA is because we get lots of cuts and bruises. We get more than most kids because we have P.E. on the blacktop. We trip and fall because of the rocks and the dents in the blacktop. When we do things like pushups our hands get big imprints in them and they hurt. When we fall we get road rash. Kids at most schools don’t get as many cuts and bruises as we do because they have a gym and we have a blacktop.

Another reason that DIA needs a gym is because of the weather and different seasons. For example, in the winter we have to do P.E. in the cafeteria at Riverside if it is too cold. When we can be outside it is very cold especially for kids that have P.E. in the morning. It is very hot in the summer months. It gets so hot that we get headaches. Other kids have air conditioning in the summer and heating in the winter for P.E. in their gyms.

The last reason that DIA needs a gym is because we could get different opportunities in P.E. Right now we can’t play some sports like volleyball. We can’t play basketball. We can’t participate in gymnastics or bowling. It would be very important if we could have the same learning about sports as other schools get that we don’t get.

I think it is very important for DIA to get a gym because we could be safer and healthier if we had one. Please vote for 3A and 3B.

Alma McGowan
4th grader at DIA
Grand Junction


New facilities, better resources can impact teaching
The 2017 Bond Issues 3A and 3B brings a focus to the question as to whether new school buildings will actually improve effectiveness of education. I have experience with the impact that a new facility can have on student engagement in the past year teaching in the new R-5 High School. After 20 years of teaching at R-5 housed in the 1925 vintage Lowell Elementary School at the corner of 7th and Grand, I can say that the instruction we now offer prepares our graduates for the demands of the 21st Century workplace, has increased enrollment, and has helped us increase the number of graduates.

The education system faces the challenging task of preparing graduates who are ready to compete in an increasingly dynamic world. Work demands flexible teaming, research, collaboration, and innovation. Effective teachers need to connect the disciplines to create meaningful and impactful lessons. In a facility that contains separate classrooms, teachers stay in their rooms and do not work together as effectively as when they are face to face. We do this now that we have a building that facilitates open communication which has increased our collaboration and an integrated lessons for our students.

Buildings that have lab spaces where students can investigate and create. Students who can use tools to build and test their ideas are performing the innovative tasks essential for our country to stay competitive in world markets. The classroom of the 1950s where rote learning dominated simply does not prepare the U.S. for the future. We must cultivate curious learners in spaces where they can hone these skills. As we face the future for our children, we must recognize how technology has deeply impacted our world.

The days of chalkboards and textbooks have been left behind by technological innovations. On the dark side, security is an issue. Parents must be assured that if a threat occurs, their school will be prepared to respond effectively. Buildings with multiple entries, blind spots, and vulnerable points are disasters waiting to happen. New buildings with electronic locks and other measures offer a higher degree of protection for vulnerable children. These security features are standard in public buildings today. We must bring our schools up to par.

I firmly believe that if Grand Junction wants to keep its preeminence as the economic center of the Western Slope, we must have a long term plan to build new schools not only now but in the future. Sean Goodbody’s essay of Sept. 27 spoke volumes about our future. If talented professionals with children are not attracted to the Grand Valley because of the condition of schools, then our economy is doomed to stagnation. We must remain competitive and future focused with a dynamic community with a strong education system. 3A and 3B are but the first steps to keeping our economy healthy and our future bright. Please vote yes.

Al Kreinberg
Grand Junction


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