E-mail letters, Feb. 8, 2010

Forest Service has beetle projects under way

In response to The Daily Sentinel’s “Forest Service must act to save spruce forests” editorial, dated Jan. 26, 2010, I wanted to provide information on what the Forest Service has been doing regarding the spruce beetle on the Grand Mesa National Forest.

The Forest Service has been managing spruce beetle populations for many years. Spruce beetles have always been active on Grand Mesa within the spruce forests. However, several different wind events on the mesa during recent years have resulted in areas of blowdown. Many will recall that in 2005 at least two major wind storms occurred resulting in a large amount of blowdown in the spruce below Grand Mesa’s Crag Crest hiking trail and across the mesa.

The spruce beetle is a native beetle that is specific to spruce. There is always some endemic level of beetle within every forest. Environmental conditions provide opportunities for the beetle populations to increase rapidly because spruce beetles seek out trees that are “weaker,” including older trees with large diameters, thick areas of trees and blowdown. As a result, the populations of spruce beetle have drastically increased. Approximately 80 percent of the spruce on the Grand Mesa is highly susceptible to spruce beetle mortality due to these factors.

For the past 10 or more years, the Forest Service has been removing infested trees within areas that are accessible, via existing roads or temporary road construction, and where the slopes are not too steep. Several projects are under way in the Scales Lake, Skyway, Skinned Horse and Ward

Lake areas.

I want to reassure the public that the Forest Service continues to be pro-active in the management of the national forest regarding the increasing spruce beetle populations.

CONNIE CLEMENTSON Grand Valley District Ranger U.S. Forest Service Grand Junction

‘Cart before the horse’ politics has existed for centuries

Are we old people, simply out of touch with today’s “cart before the horse” governments, operating at every level?

President Obama concludes: “We must spend our way out of this recession” and then proposes a federal budget of $3.8 trillion, which requires borrowing one-third of what is spent.

Colorado has glaring examples as well. After passing the medical pot law in November of 2000, now our legislative wizards are scrambling to pass legislation incorporating regulations that should have been considered prior to passage.

Our state’s food stamp and Medicare programs continue to suffer from inadequacies of a pricey computer disaster-CBMS-installed in 2004. Although the system has failed miserably, our Legislature still agreed to a 2007 legal settlement requiring an impossible processing all applications within 45 days.

Inevitably, inefficiencies of government strike close to home. Being of age and having occupied my primary residence for 10 consecutive years, I earned a Seniors Property Tax Exemption effective this year, documented by approval from the Garfield County Assessor.

Assuming the tax bill, just received, a mistake, I phoned the assessor’s office to learn to my dismay that somewhere in the required paperwork’s fine print, there’s a provision overriding the exemption. Approved exemptions apply only when the state has enough money to allow them. Unbelievable!

To the contrary, it’s totally believable when you consider the massive waste, inept misuse and outright fraudulent use of our tax dollars every day, at every level of government.

The origin of the phrase “cart before the horse” dates back to the Greek expression “histeron proteron” appearing in works by Cicero in the 106 BC-43 BC era.

Wouldn’t you think by now that government leaders would have discovered that this concept simply doesn’t work?

RICHARD DORAN

Parachute

Tea Party voters are ‘not cats to be herded’

How wise are the powers that be in the Republican machine? If they want to keep the Tea Party supporters, they should be sure all conservative candidates have a fair chance at being on the ballot. They should even consider backing some of the Tea Party choices. Tea Party people are not cats to be herded. We are able independent thinkers, able to make informed choices. Please treat us that way.

When they pick the candidates and force all conservatives to vote for their choices, they in fact take away any other choice we have. That may work well for them in this year’s election, but what about the next? Without Tea Party support the only winners will be the Statist, not the Republicans, and especially not the people of this country. Is that what they really want?

Third party anyone? A word to the wise should be sufficient.

CAROLYN PATTON

Grand Junction

Xcel is a publicly held company

Xcel Energy is a publicly held company, not a government entity. Maybe Sen. Josh Penry and Rep. Steve King need to understand the difference before they try to force the Cameo plant to remain open through legislation.

If they succeed in keeping this outdated plant open, what will their response be when Xcel comes before the PUC to request an increase on all of our bills to pay for this inefficient operation?

When an idea like this is sponsored by two shining stars of the party that is supposed to be against excessive government involvement, it makes it pretty easy to see that self-promotion trumps ideals.

JIM HOCKETT

Grand Junction



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