Printed Letters: November 8, 2016

Support veterans by involvement in VSOs

Please show your appreciation for our local veterans this week by attending a Veterans Day parade in your community or volunteering to support the many services offered to veterans and their families through a local Veterans Service Organization.

VSOs have been a part of our society since 1899 when Congress chartered the Veterans of Foreign Wars. Twenty years later, in Paris, the American Legion was federally chartered, soon followed by Disabled American Veterans and other VSOs. Though different, our VSOs have similar missions — to care for those who have defended our nation, to foster Americanism and support national defense. Care for veterans families and our nation’s youth are important values and many of the organizations have auxiliaries who exist to serve the missions of the VSOs.

The American Legion, The American Legion Auxiliary, and The Sons of The American Legion are examples of how veterans and their family members continue to serve the community, state and nation. The American Legion has certified service officers trained to assist any veteran or family member with the filing of claims for benefits, insurances and compensation provided through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. The Legion and its Auxiliary has a history of youth programs which include: American Legion Baseball, High School Oratorical Contest, Boys State and Girls State, support of Boy Scouts, Junior Shooting Sports.

VSOs can be found in the halls of Congress and our state Legislature advocating for legislation to improve the quality of life for veterans, and support national defense and patriotism. Veterans can show support for VSOs by joining, and family members may qualify for membership in an auxiliary organization. Join, get involved and make a difference for veterans and our community. Information for VSOs can be found on line.


Op-ed regarding coal industry left out critical information

A recent op-ed piece by Luke Popovich, spokesman for the National Mining Association, left out at least two bits of information critical to understanding the current situation with coal. First, he used the acronym MATS but didn’t say what it stands for. It is Mercury and Air Toxics Standards.

This rule is extremely important in reducing emissions of hazardous chemicals from coal burning. The Supreme Court rejected the MATS rule last year because EPA had not done a cost-benefit calculation before beginning to write the regulation. It has now done so and reaffirmed the rule. The rule is designed to accelerate the updating of power plants to reduce harmful pollution. The new cost-benefit calculations show that this makes economic sense. Costs to the coal industry are less than the health (and other) benefits from cleaner air.

Second, and perhaps more egregious, is his attribution of all the woes of the coal industry to the EPA, ignoring the huge changes in the world coal market, in particular Chinese imports. These went from about zero in 2000 to well over 300 million metric tons in 2013 but then took a huge nose dive, to 200 million metric tons in 2015 and a likely further decline of 20 million metric tons in 2016. The U.S. coal industry benefitted from the growth in Chinese demand; now that international demand has fallen, the industry is feeling the effect of these market forces.

Finally, I’d like to read the Duke University study that “concluded that less than 10 percent of America’s coal fleet was threatened by natural gas before EPA’s regulations kicked in.” The conclusion flies in the face of all economic analyses I’m aware of.

Perhaps Mr. Popovich can provide a bit more detail or a reference so those who are interested in assessing his statements have enough information to do so.

Grand Junction

Closing of Life Center is both sad and uncharitable

It is with profound disappointment in the administration of St. Mary’s and the Sisters of Charity, Leavenworth, Kansas that I write regarding the closing of the Life Center.

None of the other gyms and fitness centers, while employing fine people, are designed for those with severe handicaps and limited mobility. The pool at the Life Center has a chair lift for access in and out of the pool. Will the other gyms be willing to install this equipment? What will happen to the poor clients from the Regional Center that require extra special pool sessions? The Life Center has open swim from 7 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. The swimming pools in at least two of the other three pools are designed for lap swimmers during that time period and are not suitable for older cardiopulmonary, arthritic, and orthopedic clients to perform their aerobics or exercise routines.

Finally, while some of us can adjust to a new exercise environment, no matter how unpleasant the transition, there are those that will simply be left behind to suffer the aging process without the humanitarian wellness benefits of the Life Center. This is both sad and frankly, uncharitable.

Grand Junction


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