Email letters, October 22,  2013

United Nations Day worth observing

A new poll out this week has found that nearly 9 in 10 voters believe it’s important for the U.S. to maintain an active role in the United Nations. I’m one of them.

As we approach United Nations Day this Thursday, the new poll shows that Americans overwhelmingly support the UN’s work, from overseeing the destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons, to building peace in countries emerging from conflict, to improving access to vaccines globally. The findings were released by the Better World Campaign, an organization that works to strengthen the United States’ relationship with the UN.

The UN serves our own national security and foreign policy interests in a big way. By taking an active role in the UN, U.S. leaders can ensure that American priorities are heard on the world’s stage, including advancing democracy, human rights and emergency humanitarian aid in times of need. These findings should resonate with all of us … especially our elected officials.

CHRISTINA STICKLER
Grand Junction

Douglas County’s track record worth considering by new board

The Douglas County School District is getting an enormous amount of coverage in light of our current school board election. They have made a lot of changes in the last few years, and not everyone likes change.

A major change was to stop automatic deductions for the teachers’ union. Imagine the furor that raised. Now the union had to go about the business of collecting its own membership dues. Consequently, front groups have formed, such as Strong Schools Coalition, in hopes of restoring the old order and its lost privileges.

The forward-thinking reforms the Dougco leaders have implemented, such as their choice scholarship program, performance pay for teachers and ending the union’s formal monopoly power are popular with voters. Yes, some teachers are leaving, as they do every year, but 84.7 percent of the teachers are in favor of the new programs, and the on-time graduation rate has increased from 83 percent to 87 percent in just two short years.

Douglas County School District is the highest performing large school district in Colorado. It has a few programs that members of our new school board should consider. They have the advantage of reviewing those programs to determine what will and will not work for District 51. 

JOAN KELSEY
Grand Junction 

Even after reducing water usage, oil shale industry driven out by feds

One of the main reasons given by the radical environmental extremists for their rabid and visceral opposition to oil shale development (that culminated in the federal government rewriting the rules to make it virtually impossible to pursue such development in Colorado) was the claim that it used excessive amounts of water to produce a barrel of oil. Well, guess what? That claim, like so many others that come from these types, has been debunked.

The industry has come a long way in just a few short years, from estimates that it could potentially take several barrels of water to produce a barrel of oil from oil shale, to now being able to do so using only a third of a barrel of water. The industry, led by companies such as Shell, spent a great deal of time and money trying to figure out how to minimize its water usage. The good news is that it succeeded. The bad news is that we won’t get to benefit from it.

Now that they have solved the water issues, they are being forced by federal government policies to close up shop and move somewhere else. As reported in the Sentinel Thursday, Shell not only came up with a plan to dramatically reduce water requirements, but also did so in such a way that would ensure that oil shale resources would still be available generations from now.

Instead of embracing this great example of innovation and entrepreneurial spirit, our federal government drove them away by imposing unreasonable and impractical regulations and punitive land-use policies, as prescribed by a cartel of environmentalist organizations that fail to see humans as part of the environment.

Think about that next time you hear news about falling tax revenues in Mesa County.

BECKY SOPER

Loma

Nasturita/Nucla citizens in danger of losing vital health care services

This is a letter to inform the public of Naturita/Nucla, as well as the surrounding areas of a situation happening within our community. Over the past year there have been numerous articles concerning the Basin Clinic, a rural health clinic, located in the west end of Montrose County.

The clinic has gone through many changes in the past few months, including losing the backing of Montrose Memorial Hospital July 31. The Basin Clinic board has stepped up to a challenge that none of its members foresaw this time last year. This board is a nonprofit entity whose purpose is to maintain the well being of the clinic and do all it can to keep the doors open, which they have been successful at for the last three months.

The Basin Clinic Board announced at a shareholders meeting Oct. 4 that its members are actively working on an agreement and signing a contract with Trans Care, a private ambulance service, to provide urgent care out of the clinic’s facility. This meeting was mediated by Richard Harding. Although Harding is a third party, he is not impartial to the outcome. He stated that his grant to build a long-term health facility above Naturita depended on urgent care being provided in the area by Nov 1.

All of us understand that urgent care is important for this community, as we are located two hours from the nearest emergency room. When Allan Hughes, a Trans Care representative at the meeting, was asked what services they would and could supply as a urgent care provider, he describe those of an EMS. They would not be able to do x-rays, suture or prescribe medications — all services the Basin Clinic was able to provide when it was affiliated with Montrose Memorial Hospital.

They would be able to triage, give emergent care and transport an accepting ER, meaning those who go to them for urgent care would still have to go to a hospital for treatment. They, as an ambulance service, would transport all patients deemed in need of Advance Life Support transport, and calling the local volunteer EMS for those needing Basic Life Support transport.

This situation could potentially bankrupt the N/N EMS, as it has been known to do in many rural communities when a private ambulance service has opened.

We also stand to possibly lose the Basin Clinic as a doctor’s office. It slipped out during the meeting that they were close to losing their medical director, which the board did not comment on. Without a medical director, the Basin Clinic cannot operate. It took four months to get the current medical director to step up to take the job for the position to be filled.

It was asked if Trans Care has ever worked in a clinic in the way it would if a contract was signed. The answer was no. They currently do not work out of a facility in which employees of the facility are not there also.

It was the impression that the Basin Clinic Board is moving forward with negotiating a contract with Trans Care. This brings up a question. Are the board members acting in the best interest of the clinic they are there to protect? This is not a stand-alone rural clinic that can financially
maintain after-hour urgent care. How does the board plan to keep the clinic open if they add this burden to their finances?

It was said that Trans Care would only have access to the estimated $80,000 that is collected though the 1 percent tax our communities voted to provide the area’s urgent care. This doesn’t seem enough to do so, and what is the definition of urgent care? In this case it would seem that urgent care would mean treating patients here, and when able, keeping them from having to go to the hospital.

Would Trans Care be able to do this? Could they open the clinic doors to a person with a urinary tract infection and give him or her a treatment or just triage that person to return to the clinic during working hours? Can they diagnose a broken bone, set it and cast it, and send a patient home without transporting the patient to a hospital? How much money would they charge for this urgent care, which is only a triage, not treatment?

For treatment we will still have to go to an emergency room outside of Naturita. So what is the definition of urgent care? Why does the Basin Clinic have to provide this care for the money to be used, or does it? This was asked, but not answered at the meeting. The only comment made was that “this is a board decision.” It was also asked if the proposed agreement could be made public so we could assess it, and see if our needs were truly going to be met. No comment was made.

If the Basin Clinic board signs a contract with Trans Care, only time can tell if its actions are what is best for this community or the Basin Clinic. One of the clinics under Allen Hughes management, located in Pagosa Springs, closed its doors in 2005, as reported in the Pagosa Springs Sun. Is this what’s best for the clinic? We as a community stand to lose a lot if the Basin Clinic closes its doors.

Are the board members seeing the forest or just a few trees? Are their actions endangering the future of the clinic that they are in place to help prosper? Will the clinic have to close down before they realize their one-sided, shortsighted actions could lead to this?

A few members on this board seem to have something else in mind to gain, other than the well being of the clinic. Should we pursue a recall of these board members? Maybe this is something to look into before it’s too late and we lose the Basin Clinic and possibly our EMS.

MICHAEL ZUNICH

Nucla

Global warming causes effects that in turn cause more warming

The problem with human-caused global warming is that it is cumulative over time. Greenhouse gases last 100 years, and the current population is 7 billion and still going up.

A bigger problem with global warming is unforeseen consequences creating and reinforcing even more global warming. These include methane releases from permafrost thawing (already happening), undersea methane releases and humans rebuilding and living unsustainably in flood-prone coastal areas.

The federal government should not be subsidizing rebuilding in flood prone coastal areas.  While a good economy is a good foundation for sustainability, sustainability is a greater foundation for the economy. In the future, most people will know that burning nonrenewable fossil fuels is a weakness.

THOMAS MOONEY
Aspen

Amendment 66 gives teachers’ unions too much control in state

After a careful reading of Amendment 66, I have come to the conclusion that anyone who votes “Yes” on this piece of trash is a darned fool. It does nothing for the schools, and gives the teachers unions the ability to control everything having to do with the state school system.

Wake up, Coloradans. Vote “No” on Amendment 66.

JOHN S. REID
Grand Junction

Judge’s chicken farm ruling sets risky economic precedent

I have lived in Delta County for nearly 20 years. The people of this county traditionally valued property rights highly. Many times I have heard individuals proudly say, “The good news is I can do what I want with my property; the bad news is so can my neighbor.”

Now we have planning imposed on us by a liberal out-of-county judge. West Slope Egg Layers had requested that Judge Patrick visit its facility. However, the plaintiffs were opposed to the visit and, because Patrick was more worried about polishing his chair than learning the facts, he ruled he wouldn’t visit the “chicken house.”

Had he visited the neighborhood, it would’ve been obvious from where the stench was coming. I hope Delta County citizens stand up and tell our elected commissioners to inform Patrick that this is our county and elected officials make the rules.

I also want to remind everyone that agriculture is the number-one contributor to this county’s economy. Patrick’s ruling sets the precedent that if you claim what your new neighbor is doing adversely affects your health, then your neighbor must cease and desist.

By state law, chickens are considered livestock just like cattle, sheep, horses and pigs. Hence, the door is open to shut down every livestock operation in the county.

If you raise field corn for livestock feed and there’s nothing to eat your corn, you may want to switch to sweet corn. However, because sweet corn takes considerably more spraying, you will run the risk of making someone sick, so you’re out of business. Every phase of agriculture has the very real threat of being put out of business because of this ruling.

So, by all means, let’s shut down agriculture in Delta County and see how many jobs and businesses survive.

DAVID KUNTZ
Hotchkiss

Union supporters on school board won’t represent other stakeholders

Although school board elections are nonpartisan, other complaints at some candidates are from a political party where others are “independent.”

Past and current school board elections have seen the union donate large amounts of money to candidates who support union philosophy, basically liberal or progressive ideas. That is not independent.

If mostly union supporters are elected to the school board, because of that funding and teachers help putting out signs, then the board will not represent the students, parents and taxpayers – they will represent only the teachers’ interests. Thus, when teachers negotiate for pay or benefits, they will be effectively negotiating with themselves, not their “boss” (the taxpayers).

It is time to elect board members who represent the students, parents and taxpayers – not just the teachers and their union. It is not that the board should ignore the interests of teachers. The teachers are tired of being burdened with excessive paperwork and their classes being mixed with gifted and special needs students who distract from teaching other students. They should also be rewarded for outstanding performance.

I voted for improvement, not status quo. I voted for Pat Kanda, Mike Lowenstein and John Sluder.

STEVE GSELL
Grand Junction

 



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