Printed letters, November 3, 2013

My daily ritual when opening The Daily Sentinel is to recall words from a hit song by Anne Murray back in 1983, “I sure could use a little good news today.”

Well, my wish was granted Oct. 23, when I quickly skipped to Page 2 and discovered the uplifting article on the most recent accomplishment of the now highly acclaimed Nisley Elementary School.

Under the leadership of Principal Curry Newton and her dedicated staff, this school has achieved yet another scholastic honor to add to past achievements, which include Colorado School of Excellence awards in 2010 and 2012.

This year, Nisley is one of two schools out of 600 to earn a national Title I Distinguished Schools of the Year Award of $5,000 in addition to the prestige and recognition it gained.

The success of Nisley is predicated on the credo that Newton and her teachers adopted five years ago: “that all students can achieve great things, regardless of background, socioeconomic status or learning challenges.”

Those familiar with this school’s location will appreciate the enormity of this challenge. The school environment there is “all about the kids,” with students challenged to take “pride in their performance” and the staff refusing to take credit for the “awards.”

This is a concept that could have enormous positive consequences if it were applied in our society and to our approach to life.

Newton says it best when she says their “ultimate goal” is for the student to become “a lifelong learner.” Quite an ambitious goal for elementary school students, but it’s working.

Congratulations, Nisley students. And, thanks, Sentinel, for providing “a lot of good news” in this article.

RICHARD DORAN

Battlement Mesa

Hiking opportunities abound 
in travel management areas

Quiet users have the freedom to enjoy all of the 1.4 million acres in the BLM’s Grand Junction Resource Area and Dominguez Escalante National Conservation Area travel management areas. In most areas, it’s completely legal to walk off trail on BLM lands. As a quiet user myself, I shake my head when quiet users complain about needing more trails. Grab a GPS and go; the best hiking is off trail.

Approximately 4,200 miles of legal motorized routes are in these two travel management areas. If we estimate each motorized route is about 10 feet wide (most are smaller), this represents an area of only 5,000 acres or 4/10th of 1 percent of the 1.4 million public acres.

Can you imagine hiking on a legal, motorized right of way that has been providing access to our youth, handicapped and elderly for the past 50 to 100 years, and then complaining about the fact that you heard a motor running? It would be like riding a mountain bike along Highway 50 and complaining about traffic. We need to bring common sense back into the equation. If you don’t like hearing a motor while you’re hiking, don’t hike on a motorized route.

Nearly all of the motorized routes on our local BLM lands are legal rights of way based on Colorado law, and the federal law, RS 2477. The BLM only has proprietary authority on 99 percent of our public lands in Colorado.

Since jurisdiction over our public lands and our legal right of way has not been ceded to the federal government, the BLM can’t close legal rights of way on our public lands. Under Colorado law, the right to vacate a legal right of way has explicitly been given to county commissioners.

BRANDON SIEGFRIED

Grand Junction

 

Health care exchanges 
take a toll on privacy

Regarding the Monday article, “Medicaid app stalls insurance sign-ups,” I’m surprised there isn’t uproar in Colorado over the state requirement that everyone seeking health care tax credits be forced through the state’s welfare website called Colorado PEAK.

Just to see plans and costs, I must tell the government everything about my household: who lives here, my relationship to them, what properties I own, my banks, the institutions in which the money is held and the last two numbers on the accounts.

Perhaps that’s why it’s called a “health care exchange,” since the shopper is trading his or her material privacy for a possible tax subsidy.

A certified PEAK advisor told me, “God help you if you qualify for Medicare.” Imagine trying to disentangle yourself from the state once it decides you must take welfare against your wishes. The state should be discouraging the growth of welfare rolls.

This is political farce worthy of Anton Chekov; it is both potentially sinister and completely laughable.

The PEAK website notes that the wait time to be accepted or denied Medicaid can range up to 45 days. Until you pass this hurdle, it’s my understanding you can’t shop for health care.

This burden placed on state administrators and taxpayers is mostly unnecessary, because most applicants probably neither want nor qualify for Medicaid.

The application system here in Colorado is likely to discourage broader health care coverage. Freedom from unnecessary government intrusion is one of our highest-held national and local values.

People who need the tax credits to afford health insurance may opt out rather than have a deeper relationship with Big Brother.

STEVE FERRIOLE

Glade Park



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