Printed letters, June 18, 2013

As with much of what he writes, Rick Wagner is simply wrong on the facts in his latest column on the Avalon Theatre.

The Grand Ole Opry was not torn down. Indeed, it was saved by a concerted community effort and private enterprise and is now known as The Ryman Auditorium. It is a wonderful place to see a show, not as large as, but much more charming than, the stadium-like, mall-type facility that replaced it.

The story of the Ryman, in fact, tells a tale that is the opposite of what Wagner pretends. Sure, at the time it fell into disrepair all the same arguments were made: It’s old and would cost a lot to fix up to standard. No one wants to see shows downtown anymore. They prefer ample parking, etc., etc.

Although the Grand Ole Opry moved into a new building, the community in Nashville did not want to see this grand historic building razed. And they banded together and helped save it.

Today the Ryman is a major Nashville venue and a must-see location for some of the nation’s top touring acts. Sure it’s small, but it’s a classic. Maybe the Avalon is not worth saving, although I think it is. In any case, anyone interested in facts and history as it actually happened can plainly see that Wagner failed to make his case. Again.



Top performing arts venue 
will enhance the community

If Grand Junction has an attractive and fully functional performing arts venue, it is going to be much more attractive to tourists, visitors and new businesses alike. This is how overall tax revenues and commerce are increased in most forward-thinking cities.

This is not a downtown issue, but a citywide issue. Downtown is just one of the places that out-of-towners and new- business employees spend their money.

A top-notch venue will probably make money, but even if the Avalon only breaks even, it will be worth the investment by the Downtown Development Authority, the community and the city.


Grand Junction





Butler’s word was his bond, and his prayers were heard

While we were away, my husband Bob and I received the news that our friend Harry Butler had died. Harry and I have known each other for 55 years.

Bob recalls their friendship through his construction work and the many inspections performed by Harry for the Bureau of Reclamation, as well as his competitive spirit while playing town team basketball between De Beque and the Collbran Job Corps many years ago. Most recently, Bob has appreciated Harry’s prayers when they met at the V.A. Hospital. When Harry prayed for you, his prayers were heard.

Harry was a rarity during times in which we now live. He had a deep passion for his community, and he wanted his word to be his bond. People knew he was a man of integrity. We were secure in knowing an honest job would be done in whatever he pursued. How else could he get elected without spending money?

It will be a long time, if at all, before such a man passes this way again. Godspeed, old friend.


Grand Junction


Health insurance industry 
cares little about consumers

As usual, Gary Harmon’s story on taxes associated with health insurance is muddled and possibly incomplete. Possibly incomplete because it is not clear on whom the tax is levied.

It matters because under Affordable Care Act rules, if the tax is levied on the insurance company, it may be a cost of doing business and the companies are only allowed a certain percentage of their income for expenses and profit.

In other words, they may charge more for a policy to cover the cost of the tax, but it will be unclear if that cost will be completely borne by the purchaser because of the limitation on profits.

But the real point of this is that the information is coming from an industry association. It has a concern for its customers? Since when? Did Harmon actually interview someone in preparation for his article, and, if so, did he ask questions regarding these concerns? Or was he just regurgitating an industry handout?

I can access the same information distributed by the industry association in a few seconds by way of a Google search. What is harder to find is unbiased information, the kind that intrepid reporter Harmon apparentlty didn’t seek. Is he a reporter or a flak dutifully passing on the industry’s wishes?

In this case, the industry got a front-page article for its highly biased position. It is concerned about taxation on its customers? Give me a break!


Grand Junction


Wright is wrong person 
to tout fiscal responsibility

Does anyone else see the irony in Jared Wright lecturing on fiscal responsibility, irresponsible spending and public policy? Is this the same young man who refused to pay his debts by declaring bankruptcy after a frivolous spending spree that included cars, jewelry and a tanning membership card? Maybe he is an expert on “irresponsible spending.”

In his current position perhaps he is not expected to show up to work on time. Being on duty to provide backup for other legislators is not the life-threatening situation that he faced as a police officer.

What have District 54 voters brought upon themselves by electing Wright? Perhaps when he pays all his creditors he can establish some credibility. Until then he might want to lecture on subjects he knows something about.




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