Email letters, October 15,  2013

Connect for Health website complicated, rates too high

The Connect for Health website is complicated and should be simplified for easy use. As a teacher for the Delta literacy program through our library, I was among those assigned the task of being familiar with this site to help our students.

As a teacher, I sat there and read tab after tab. Eventually I found a page that listed health care plans starting at $726 a month. I know that my dyslexic daughter and my ESL students will stop at this point and give up telling themselves it’s too expensive.

Please redo this site. Do away with 95 percent of it. Create a simple application starting with income, lots of white space among five questions per page, arrows to proceed and finally a choice of two or three policies we can afford based on where I live. [Make it simple, please.


Do a search on Botham to ascertain facts

I saw the little piece about Ken Botham in a recent edition of the paper.

I’d like people to search When you find the website by Thayer Botham, check it out and see if you think Ken Botham is really guilty.

In fact, Thayer was killed in a motorcycle accident a few years ago. I wonder if that was investigated really well.


Current profit/labor struggle akin to plantation mentality

Is it time to take another look at the Civil War? Do many of our troubles today spring from that “not quite finished” conflict?

According to some, the Civil War was about the cost of labor. The South wanted zero-cost labor, as in slavery. The North wanted labor to receive a fair share of the profits. For the North, people trumped profits. For the South, profits came first.

The profit/labor struggle continues today and seems to be tilting back toward the Southern view at the moment. The tea party’s fight to eliminate Obamacare, the minimum wage, Social Security and Medicare is not just about reducing the deficit. That’s a convenient cover story. It’s really about bringing back the Southern view of labor. It’s about making labor weaker so that they will work for any wage, take any job and be more easily exploited.

The wealth gap between the rich and the poor is huge today. The “plantation” is getting more and more, and the “cotton pickers” are getting less and less. That is what is happening in the USA, and it’s not just happening to poor black people; it’s happening to poor white people, as well.

The argument that the USA needs to do this so that we can compete internationally is a load of bovine excrement. That argument might be a little more believable if CEO salaries were six times what labor makes instead of 500 times.

The tea party today appears to be a bunch of neo confederates wanting to complete the unfinished business of the Civil War, namely destroy the union government, and take labor back to slave-like conditions, white and black alike.

Why would anyone who works for a living vote for a tea party candidate? It’s just like cutting your own throat.


Elite class in the nation is above the law

Are you angered, that we have an elite class in this country that is above the law?

These elites break laws that would land you and me in prison or twisting in the wind from a gallows in Fort Leavenworth. Not only are they not arrested and tried for these crimes, but also they are never so much as questioned by (what passes for) our mainstream media. Instead, the “media” obfuscate the truth about the elite and leads the great unwashed in another direction with a predictability rivaling a sunrise.

While they are supposed to report crimes, the “media” instead conceal crime. This is defined in law as “obstruction of justice.” This is a felony and usually carries the same weight and punishment as the original crime.

Allow me to provide some definitions right out of my Webster’s dictionary/thesaurus.

  TREASON: betrayal of country. (thesaurus) sedition, giving aid and comfort to the enemy
  EXTORTION; To get money from someone by force or threats
  CRIME: an act in violation of law
  CRIMINAL: a person guilty of a crime
  TRAITOR; Someone guilty of treason

Webster’s and I have provided these definitions to add credibility you can hold in your hands. As you speak, read, write and understand English, you won’t need a lawyer to translate it. Because you have been able to read this far without help, proves you are indeed, literate.

Now, here’s where it gets interesting. The Muslim Brotherhood is indeed a terrorist organization. As we are waging a “war on terror,” this makes the Muslim Brotherhood without question, an enemy. So since they are in fact an enemy, anyone giving aid and comfort to them is guilty of TREASON. Can anyone reading this, name a person who has given oh say, tanks and fighter planes to these vermin?

Just in case you’ve been living in a cave, I’ll tell you who did. It was our president. Not enough? He also spent 20 million of our tax dollars bringing HAMAS refugees here. They have been labeled refugees because this sounds better than terrorists! If headlines read; President Brings Terrorists to U.S., it might upset voters.

The extortion happens when we’re required to buy one half the health care at triple the price. if we refuse to buy it, we are punished with a fine. Confused? Read the definition.

Still there? We have concluded that treason and extortion have been perpetrated on the people of the United States. We know who did it. The press has uttered not a word about it but even more frightening is the fact that not a soul in our elite Congress or general staff has either. They have all taken an oath to uphold and protect our constitution from enemies both foreign and domestic. Why protect the constitution? Because it protects us. …  from tyrants.

By now, everyone knows how that “hopey, changey” stuff worked out for us. Voting didn’t work. The checks and balances didn’t work. I hear you. What would the founders do? Well, in case you didn’t hear, they already did it and the criminals in our government are afraid we will, too. It’s why they purchased 1.6 billion rounds of hollow point ammunition. It wasn’t for target practice.

Grand Junction
Business community appalled at graduates’ lack of preparation

The school board election won’t be divided along Democratic/Republican party lines. School reform is a bipartisan issue. Probably the most innovative, reform-minded secretary of Education the U.S. has ever had is current secretary, Anne Duncan, and Colorado Bill 191, which ended teacher tenure, was pushed through the Colorado Democratic Legislature against the wishes of the very pro-Democratic teachers’ union.

The dividing line in our valley is between those who feel we basically have a good school district that needs only some minor changes, and those who say we have a mediocre school district needing improvement and are willing to make necessary hard structural changes.

All candidates want what is best for “the kids,” all are good, honorable, intelligent people, but some like the status quo and others want substantial change to move us beyond the current statistics of a 25 percent drop-out rate, 50 percent competency level and 40 percent of graduates needing remedial help to attend CMU.

The recognition that U.S. public schools are not preparing students well enough is widespread among members of the business community. They are often appalled at the lack of academic preparedness and character development of young people they interview. Parents evaluate their schools largely on teachers they’ve dealt with and like, but the growing interest in charter and alternative approaches speaks to the public’s growing desire for change. As TV documentaries and newspapers increasingly cover educational issues, more of the electorate is questioning why our schools aren’t better. Lots of excuses can be found.

From my perspective, the root of our educational deficiency is a school board that has been managing instead of leading and has simply not demanded excellence and improvement from the administration, principals, parents and staff. Hopefully, this fall voters will evaluate candidates on whether the ideas they bring will significantly improve District 51.

Grand Junction

Sam’s Club commended for its support of American troops

We would like to commend Sam’s Club for making the effort to support our troops through “Operation Shoebox.”  (Yes, we know they’re selling products.)  Briefly, a survey was done with our troops serving overseas as to what they miss most in the way of treats from home. (That little connection can mean so much when you don’t know if you will see it again.)

The specific items range from cereal, noodles, sanitizer, and socks to candy, gum and toiletries. These are purchased and deposited into bins at Sam’s Club managed by The items are then packaged and shipped to our troops.

It is so meaningful to families like ours whose nephew served three tours in Iraq and Afghanistan; now his brother will soon be graduating as a Marine Corps fighter pilot. This effort of support by Sam’s Club and by all of us is especially important in light of our “do-nothing” legislative and executive branches of government. Your generosity and caring support of our troops would be greatly appreciated!

Also, we would challenge Sam’s Club to make matching donations to the troops as were made by its customers.


Mikolai, Parrish, Williams are best school board choices

As a registered voting Repbulican, I am appalled at the antics of the few far-right-wing fanatics who purport to be the spokesmen for the Republican Party during this School Board election.

I would like to think that most Republicans in Mesa County are like me and don’t vote because we are dictated to by a few people with a significant political agenda and a goal to carry that agenda on the backs of children, but are thoughtful in our research on issues and candidates.

I have either personally interviewed each candidate for the upcoming school board election or have sat and listened to the candidates in public forums.

As such, I have come to the logical conclusion that the only three highly qualified candidates for District 51 School Board are Greg Mikolai, Tom Parrish and John Williams. Their comments and answers to questions asked in interviews or at forums have not changed depending on the audience.

Mikolai’s qualifications as an educator at Colorado Mesa University far outweigh those of John Sluder, and Mikolai’s experience as board president in leading the district through $30 million in cuts that could have much more deeply affected our classrooms and students but didn’t because of his leadership, make him far more qualified to serve as a member of our board.

Mikolai is committed to educating all students, including those with special needs. He has the practical knowledge a member of the board needs to lead us through what may be more slim years financially. Far and away, Mikolai is the most qualified candidate from District E. He has no political agenda.

He is in it for what is best for students, not for a political party wanting to march its way into taking over our state Legislature, as stated in a recent email sent by the extremists.

The addition of Mikolai, Parrish, and Williams to our school board is the only way to take our district to the next level of learning and growth for students. Please join me in voting for the three best candidates for the school board. Our children deserve nothing less.



Palisade Wine Festival overcharged VIP ticket holders

We are writing in reference to the recent wine festival held in Palisade. We live in Canon City and heard very little information other than what we saw on the website. There, we purchased VIP tickets with the understanding that the individual ticket price of $195 covered admission, bus or VIP parking, concierge services, gift bag with a crystal goblet and other gifts, VIP tent with gourmet food, etc.

We were disappointed with the bus ride in that we were told to wait for the next bus while folks without tickets were allowed to board first. Once we arrived we were guided to a
line of people waiting to enter while we should have been guided to a VIP line. Once inside the VIP tent, while very nicely arranged with linens on tables and gourmet appetizers, we discovered we could not purchase the wines we were sampling without searching out individual vendors.

We also discovered that those who paid general admission received all the same benefits as VIP ticket holders, minus the VIP tent with appetizers. We felt the VIP ticket price was a severe overcharge for what we received in comparison to those with general admission. Here is our question:

Please explain to us what those proceeds paid for. Please tell us it went to some organization of benefit such as the college there or some other benefit of good standing. This information may have been advertised in local media, but we saw nothing indicating benefit when we attended this event.

Canon City
Pay retirees and veterans before those on welfare

Why are Social Security and veterans checks being threatened but not welfare checks? Let the welfare checks run out first.

Our political can kickers should only be paying themselves minimum wage.  What do you think?


White House bears responsibility for shutdown

Signs, signs, everywhere the signs, government signs that state “closed,” with proper logos and designations on them.

Hmmm, knowing first-hand how long it takes to have such things done in government circles would lead me to believe the government closure signs and the orders to make them originated months ago.

Now who was it who caused the shutdown? Mr. No? Senator No? The paper trail of shipment of those signs leads directly back to the White House. Case closed.

Grand Junction

Sentinel should call for Tipton to step down

Although not reported in the Sentinel, tea partiers demonstrated near the White House Sunday – some carrying Confederate flags and demanding that President Obama renounce the Koran.

Meanwhile, as Dennis Webb reported (“Furloughed workers helped by loans against future pay”), Alpine Bank is admirably assisting federal employees victimized by the mindless government shutdown, because Congress passed a law guaranteeing that furloughed federal employees would be retroactively paid for not working.

Far more significant, however, is the Sentinel’s AP article,  “What happens if U.S. breaks borrowing limit.” It timely reports that among the impacts of default will likely be the nonpayment of Social Security and veterans’ benefits. Because the tea party is substantially populated by both older Americans and veterans, they are “protesting” for a self-inflicted wound that will likely prove especially septic in the Grand Valley.

The Denver Post reported two years ago — “Grand Junction suffered biggest decline of personal income in U.S. in 2010” (Aug. 10, 2011) – that a significant portion of our local economy depends on “transfer payments” (e.g., Social Security, veterans and federally subsidized unemployment benefits).

Statewide, transfer payments contributed between 28 percent of income gains in Boulder and 70 percent in Pueblo. “Pueblo, Greeley and Grand Junction were the three metro areas in the state most dependent on government support to boost incomes.”

Thus, local businesses and realtors should be bracing for another 1980s “bust” if the dysfunctional Congress fails to avert default by raising the debt limit, and the 3rd congressional district electorate (and the Sentinel’s editors) should be asking themselves why they supported an irresponsible tea party congressman   Scott Tipton   who continues to espouse policies that will likely devastate the local economy and impoverish many of the gullible lemmings who trustingly voted for him.

The Sentinel should call for Tipton to resign.

Grand Junction


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Dear Bill Hugenberg, the Kool-Aid has an after taste it would seem. You obviously know nothing of economics, history, or personal responsibility. When your great grandkids are paying for the mistakes of $17 trillion in spending and $9 Trillion in unfunded debt that we must borrow from the Chinese, and they are warning us not to raise the debt, how can you be expected to judge Scott Tipton? How about Obama, Reid, and Pelosi resign, you must be so proud??????####Richard Bright

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