Printed letters, Jan. 4, 2010

Gayle Smith wrote an uninformed opinion about the incident at my home on Gunnison Avenue. When Smith inferred that my husband made a bad decision to shoot, she obviously did not know that Mr. Olivieri tried to enter from at least 3 different access points over a span of at least 15 minutes, was ordered to leave countless times and was repeatedly warned that police had been called. Smith states that Olivieri banged on the door. Not true. When he showed up in the middle of the night, he never knocked or rang the lighted doorbell. Instead, he aggressively manipulated both doors and at least one window with alarming determination

Olivieri repeatedly disappeared from sight, only to reappear again at different access points. His actions were terrifying and demonstrated a determined attempt to gain entry and harm our family. When Olivieri moved out of my husband’s view from the back door and towards the windows of our young daughter’s bedroom, my husband decided to finally confront the intruder and hold him at gunpoint until police arrived. Rather than staying on the ground and obeying the commands of a man who had identified himself as a police officer, Olivieri got up. Did my husband shoot him then? No. He kicked Olivieri’s leg to keep him from rising. Unfortunately, my husband’s restrained use of force did not have the desired effect. Olivieri then rose from the ground and charged my husband, who shot him once.

Mr. Olivieri is the only one who made bad decisions. His actions will rob me of sleep for a long time. We prayed for Mr. Olivieri while he was in the hospital and we’re glad he survived, but our conscious would be clear had he not. He was given every opportunity to stop posing a threat to our family.

District Attorney Pete Hautzinger carefully reviewed this case and concluded that my husband’s actions were, “measured, careful and responsible.” Too bad the same can’t be said for Smith and others, who place judgment without knowing the facts


The dog dragging death shall haunt me for weeks.  I am so full of rage (and pain for the poor dog) at the person that did this monstrous act of a cruel death that I cannot find the words to express what kind of a horrendous person this could be. Hopefully, this person, when found, will have their picture in The Daily Sentinel. Let’s see what a monster looks like.

I have a question: If this person would drag an innocent, helpless dog to its death, would a child be in danger if left with him?



During the holiday season it was especially apparent to us at the Mesa County Department of Human Services just how many special people we have living right here in the Grand Valley. While there are many folks struggling during this economic recession, it didn’t stop several organizations and generous individuals from giving selflessly to ensure foster children in our community had not only the basic necessities, but a few gifts to open this holiday season as well.

On behalf of the DHS staff and our community, I want to take this opportunity to thank the organizations and individuals who are committed to foster children not just during the holiday season, but throughout the year.

These very kind and giving individuals include: Representatives from Halliburton, Oxy Petroleum, Qwest and Old West Oil Field Services, Sunset Slope Quilters, Mesa County Assessor’s Office, D&G Autocare (SPUNK program), MSC HOSA program, Mesa Count Public Library, Unity Church, Mesa Wireline, Moose Lodge and the many individuals who sponsored foster families in our community this holiday season.

Representatives from local organizations and community members put a tremendous amount of work into organizing the gift giving events. Their goal was to ensure that foster children in Mesa County, who could not be with their families for Christmas, had a happier holiday season and the opportunity to receive a few gifts.

I would like to personally thank each and every individual who participated in these events to help bring a little joy to our youth this holiday season. It is because of caring people like you that make me proud to live in Western Colorado.




I own a home directly across the street from where the Mesa Developmental Services home is going in and I would like you to know the point of view from a mother of two young children, as well as expecting another.

First of all, I would like you to know that in no way do I harbor discriminating feelings towards persons of special needs. My grievance is not with the people who will reside in the home. I was able to have a meeting with the city attorney and did find out some very disconcerting facts that make me fear for my future safety.

When I found out that a facility was going in my subdivision, I was told by the CEO of MDS the people who would reside would be coming from the regional center. The front page of their Web site states, “services and supports target people with complex medical and psychiatric needs and noted to have high community risk.” After reading this statement, I was in great fear for my children’s and my safety.

At the meeting that was given by MDS, we were told that the people who would be placed in this home would place no risk to the community. But after the facility is built, there is nothing from stopping MDS from changing who lives in this facility. All they would have to do to place people who could possibly be a violent risk to the community is re-file paper work with the city. We were told that, as neighbors, we do not need to be notified and the potential risk will always be hanging over my head.

These facilities can also be sold as a facility to other agencies (such as Caprock, who deal with homes for sexual offenders). As it has been built as a facility, it’s more likely to be sold as a facility.

I do not believe that most people know that they have no rights in regards to this type of facility or if a facility is being built in their neighborhoods. I would never have knowingly put my children in any risk by moving into our house three years ago, and now with the economy being the way that it is, I can’t sell my house. Also, I do not believe that MDS does care about the welfare for the neighbors of the homes. Ss the CEO of MDS told me on the phone, he “has come across people like me before and always won.” I’m not sure what he meant by this, but I didn’t take it to mean that it was friendly, especially to a concerned mother.

As you can understand, this has been an absolute awful experience for myself and my family. I feel bullied by a builder who has control over my questionable homeowners association and who in turn is building the facility (FYI: He started his building process two weeks before he got the OK from the city) and an organization that has made is clear I have no legal rights to know about the risk to my home and family from the potential type of people placed in the home.



Ruben Navarrette has written more realistically regarding our so-often-called “illegal immigrants” than many columnists. However, in his column “Despite Sotomayor, it really ought to be ‘illegal,’ ” Ruben is concerned about the wrong word.

Politicians, the media, columnists and so-called “immigration activists” all seem to have their politically correct moniker for individuals who are in this country illegally. Almost all of these include the word “immigrant.”

Ruben is right — they are here illegally and as such the term “illegal” is justified in any verbal description. But they are certainly not “immigrants.” It is a grave injustice to those many, many true immigrants in this country to even hint that those here “illegally” should in any way, shape or form be called “immigrant.”

Ask any true immigrant what he or she had to endure to become an actual U.S. immigrant and then you’ll quickly understand why the term “immigrant” should never be used to describe someone in this country illegally.

Both Supreme Court justices and media columnists are supposed to be expert wordsmiths. For either to use the term “illegal immigrant” or “undocumented immigrant” shows that they are not what they should be.

According to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement glossary, immigrant is “a term generally used to refer to any foreign-born newcomer to the United States.” ICE categorizes immigrants as those who have attained permanent residency or a green card. ICE categorizes everyone else as a non-immigrant, even though they’re in the United states.



During “The Troubles” in Ulster, Ireland (the nine Brtitish-run counties in the north of the county), my parents and I had airline tickets to the Irish Republic (the rest of Ireland). At the JFK airport in New York, my parents and I were separated at the security checkpoint. My father and I got to the boarding area and my mother did not appear. We boarded and waited and waited for my mother. Finally she stumbled down the aisle, crying.

She, an Irish priest and a female hippie wearing long skirts and a backpack, were all held back and stripped searched. Because of “The Troubles,” I could understand the priest and the hippie possibly being searched for weapons, but my 72-year-old mother? Nothing on their bodies was found, so the held-up plane was finally able to take off.

My mother, a very shy woman, was devastated and cried all the way to Ireland. If the airport security checkpoints could do this 37 years ago, they may start up again, since our security detectors are clearly not secure. What a terrible thought!



The Factual Nature of Evolution

In a recent letter to the editor, Mike Nevins railed against The Daily Sentinel for publishing an article about atheists on the Faith page. I commend the Sentinel for recognizing there are many different views about Christmas time.

Mr. Nevins goes on to rail against removing religious displays from government property, wants to abolish the teaching of evolution in schools and wants a federal school safety official fired. Mr. Nevins is entitled to his opinions. Religious displays belong on private property, not on public property. That church-state issue has been addressed by the courts.

Teaching evolution in schools is far more important. Few people question the atomic theory of matter, the theory of gravity, the heliocentric theory of the solar system, the germ theory of disease, the theory of relativity and many other scientific theories. All of these theories and the theory of evolution have been tested and verified many times. Scientists regard them as factual. Certainly, some theories have been modified. Diseases are also caused by viruses and genetics. Evolution is a core component of all life sciences, biology, botany, anthropology, microbiology and medical research. The evidence supporting evolution is overwhelming.

Science will play an essential role in determining the future of human civilization. Our school systems are failing to provide children with a good education. We need to strengthen, not weaken, the teaching of sciences so that future generations of American scientists will remain in the forefront of scientific research.

In the early 1800s, Luddites destroyed machinery they believed would end the need for their labor.  The scientific Luddites of today try to destroy proven scientific concepts because such challenge their views based on old myths that tried to explain matters people did not understand. Religion should concern itself with spiritual matters and not try to overturn scientific reality.



I have been a fan of the Veterans Affairs medical care system for a number of years, and would most likely not be here today without them. I get tired of hearing all the complaints and whimpering about the VA.

I am not in favor of a government-controlled health program because it will destroy our current system, just as the government shows incompetence in everything else they do. If the government could run a national system as well as they run the VA, perhaps national care could work.

The problems that arise with VA care are a result of having a tremendous workload and a poor government support system. The successes most likely are a result of the military ties with in the design of the VA, and competent caring staff. Our military is probably the only other government entity that works comparatively well. Like the military, there is a hurry up and wait problem, but just try going to a civilian ER and see if it works any better for you.

A few months ago, I went to the VA emergency room, and 30 minutes later I was in surgery, waking later in intensive care. My care for the week spent recovering until discharge was excellent. The doctors were kind, informative and caring. The nursing staff was spot on, and even the food was good. I have nothing but good to say about my care, and a grateful thank you to all those who helped speed my recovery — including the surgical team, nursing staff, administrators, housekeeping folks and kitchen people.

May all of you have a healthy and prosperous New Year. My best to all of you from a grateful veteran and patient.



As a Colorado resident and consumer advocate, I was disappointed that, in his recent column, “Grand Valley farmers could be hurt by federal food-safety bill,” Bill Grant failed to look beyond industry talking points in assessing the effects of the Senate food safety legislation.

Contrary to the arguments Mr. Grant raised in his column, the bipartisan bill currently before the Senate does not include a fee. Both the House and Senate bills do include explicit language directing FDA to take into account the special circumstances of small farmers.

In fact, Sen. Michael Bennet, who serves on the committee which voted unanimously to pass S. 510, played an active role in suggesting changes to the bill that would require FDA to consider organic and sustainable agriculture practices when the agency develops its regulations.

Our current, food-safety system is woefully outdated, based on laws enacted over 100 years ago. A lot has changed in the last century, but regulations have not kept pace with those changes. Stronger testing and tracking mechanisms will save lives. They will also help to prevent industrywide scares like last year’s Salmonella outbreak. Initially linked to tomatoes, that scare hurt all tomato producers, including the small growers who are least able to weather such market turmoil.

A thoughtful debate about food safety policy is only possible if it is based on facts. Ultimately, it is as simple as this: Americans should not have to worry that the food we feed our families could make them sick, or even kill them, whether that food comes from large producers or small farms.

We must support the efforts of Congress to pass strong food safety legislation as soon as possible.




I have one question for these so-called medical experts, Steve ErkenBrack and Bob Ladenburger: What honestly makes them “experts” in concerning health care reform? Not too many people can afford the coverage or health care of the organizations they work for. They need to pull their heads out of the clouds. Not all of us are as fortunate as them.

Politicians need to stop listening to people who have absolutely no idea what it’s like to go without insurance. These people do not walk in our shoes. Honestly, I am really curious to what this alleged health care model is that Grand Junction is so proud of. I sure as heck don’t see it. Or maybe it’s a model solely for the wealthy.

If Sen. Michael Bennet or any other politician has a brain, they would stop listening to people in health care positions that are only watching out for themselves. Talk to the people — and not your wealthy dignitary, nice retirement-like people either. Talk to the ones who are out working two or three jobs trying to make the ungodly rent and necessary bills and then maybe the fortunate who can afford insurance. I’m sure these people won’t give you a line of self-motivated agendas.



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