Printed Letters: August 29, 2017
Promote healthy foods in our local schools
With the new school year upon us, parents turn their attention to school clothes, school supplies, and school food. Yes, school food! More than 31 million children rely on school meals for their daily nutrition, which too often consists of highly processed food laden with saturated fat.
Not surprisingly, one-third of our children have become overweight or obese. Their early dietary flaws become lifelong addictions, raising their risk of diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.
To compound the problem, the Trump administration has loosened Obama’s 2010 school lunch rules calling for whole grains, fat-free milk, and reduced salt content. The rules had an 86 percent approval rating.
Fortunately, many U.S. school districts now offer vegetarian options. More than 120 schools, including the entire school districts of Baltimore, Boston, Buffalo, Detroit, Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Oakland, Philadelphia, and San Diego have implemented Meatless Monday.
As parents, we need to involve our own children and school cafeteria managers in promoting healthy, plant-based foods in our local schools. Entering “vegan options in schools” in a search engine provides lots of useful resources.
Long-term care a complicated issue with no easy solutions
If you or I get Alzheimer’s, who will take care of us? The Alzheimer’s Association reports that more than half of the people over 85 suffer from some form of dementia such as Alzheimer’s. The number with Alzheimer’s is projected to increase to 16 million by 2050 as baby boomers mature and reach the age of highest risk. At this time Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth-leading cause of death in the USA.
This is important as our community grapples with long-term care solutions for our aging population. Hopefully everyone is saving enough money to last, especially if the final years of life are lived in a nursing home. No? Maybe buying long-term healthcare insurance is the answer. However the premiums are very high and increasing — if you can even qualify. How about moving Mom or Dad in with the adult children? This could be a solution for those lucky enough to have adult children who are willing to put careers on hold to tend to the 24 hour-a-day needs of a parent suffering from dementia or advanced Alzheimer’s. For many, the eventual answer may be checking into a nursing home. Mesa County has 2,600 nursing home beds and about 300 are dedicated to memory care.
Two booklets available locally and online provide information about all types of senior resources for aging well. They are “Western Slope Seniors Blue Book,” SeniorsBlueBook.com and “Navigating Through Memory Loss & Dementia: A Guide for Patients & Families,” seniordaybreak.com.
Long-term care is a complicated issue with no easy solutions. We must pay attention as our members of Congress work on health-care issues.
Support Mesa County’s public safety initiative
I support the Mesa County public safety initiative simply because the nature of our community demands a properly funded Sheriff’s Office and District Attorney’s Office.
Mesa is the most populous county on the Western Slope, and — people being what they are — a higher population naturally brings with it a higher crime rate. On top of that, a large percentage of Mesa County’s population resides in unincorporated areas, which are not covered by municipal police departments. This puts an added strain on the Sheriff’s Office, which bears the responsibility of policing these densely populated areas.
It is unsurprising that Mesa County has the highest crime rate on the Western Slope. In fact since 2006, while violent crime dropped in surrounding counties, Mesa has experienced a rather extreme increase. Despite this, Mesa County has fewer officers per capita than any other West Slope county. It seems obvious that this needs to be corrected.
Public safety is any government’s first, and most important, order of business. The increase in the sales tax being proposed to provide for our public safety professionals is small — only a 0.37 percent increase — about $3 per month for the average family, but the value it brings is the safety of our community’s police officers and the citizens they serve. Not a bad deal.
Request impact study for Fram proposal
I am not against oil drilling per se. We all need it and use it. However, I am very concerned about Fram’s request to the BLM to frack 108 oil wells, some of which will be in or near the Grand Junction watershed that supplies some of our purest drinking water. The potential for an underground or above-ground accident exists and therefore I urge everyone to request a full Environmental Impact Study for the project.