Printed Letters: Sept. 25, 2016

In-depth review of DHS could bring needed changes
I would like to extend my “thank you” to The Sentinel for the extensive articles you wrote on the “Failure to Protect” child abuse deaths and the failures of our local Department of Human Services to respond more quickly to the warning signs presented to them.

The state policy of “kinship” does tie the hands of DHS to some extent, but there are still avenues they can pursue, such as vetting kinship as thoroughly as they do foster and adoptive parents. This, of course, is going to require more time and effort on the part of DHS, but isn’t just one child’s life worth it?

I found the cavalier attitude of Tracey Garcher, as quoted in the article on Angel Place, truly appalling. I know it is easy to Monday morning quarterback, but I am sure his that attitude they are doing all they can to handle child placement and didn’t make any mistakes has filtered down to his staff. I hope that because of your extensive coverage there will be an in-depth review of DHS that will force much-needed changes.

Grand Junction

Front-page headline 
misleading on several levels
The Daily Sentinel’s Sept. 13 front-page headline “Town cries foul over gas” is misleading on several levels. Battlement Mesa is not a town in the classic sense. It is a Planned Unit Development in unincorporated Garfield County. Its governance is divided between the Battlement Mesa Service Association Board of Directors, whose members are elected by the community to handle covenant establishment and enforcement, architectural control and maintenance of the common areas in the community. Garfield County provides the balance of the municipal type services such as law enforcement, road maintenance, land use control, building permits, etc.

The Battlement Mesa Concerned Citizens is a privately organized group of residents formed to oppose gas drilling in the PUD or, at least, mitigate its impact. It’s their right for sure, with no objection. However, any implication by BCC or any news agency that it represents the community is false. The group has no official capacity or authority. The maximum demonstrable support is a petition circulated last year to deny drilling permits in the PUD, which collected approximately 400 signatures. That is 10 percent, or less, of the current community population. Not a majority, not a plurality or a mandate. More correctly the headline should have been ” Group of residents cries foul over gas.”

Battlement Mesa

Change in county leadership could help protect our children
Erin McIntyre and Gabrielle Porter’s series “Failure to Protect” is without a doubt one of the finest pieces of reporting ever to come from The Sentinel. The series was extremely well-researched, pulled no punches, and shed a long overdue and much-needed light on the horrific and seemingly escalating crime of child abuse and murder in Mesa County. These two women deserve the thanks of our entire community for making us more aware of these heart-breaking and complex issues and the failure of the government agencies, bureaucracy and departments whose mission it is to protect these innocent children from their despicable murderers.

While we wait for the kinship placement procedures and other statutes to be changed, a change in leadership at the county level could prove to be a big first step towards preventing future murders of children. Tracey Garchar was put on an “improvement plan” and probation last October. It was never really made clear what the improvement plan involved, but at the end of his probation period, County Commissioners McInnis and Justman voted to allow him to retain his job. Garchar continues to be employed at the pleasure of the county commissioners and under their direct supervision. Perhaps it is time for all three men to lose their jobs so that our children have a better chance of keeping their lives.

Again, many thanks and congratulations to McIntyre and Porter for your efforts in bringing this series to us.

Grand Junction

Gail Schwartz understands the importance of our public lands
Jason Blevin’s article on public lands and Donald Trump Jr.‘s fireside chat in Grand Junction certainly brought the issue of the future of public lands to the public. But much more lies in the Western Slope where Scott Tipton and Gail Schwartz are running for the 3rd Congressional District seat. As a hunter of some 60 years in Colorado, I am very concerned that Scott Tipton has co-sponsored four pieces of legislation to transfer or sell off Colorado’s 25 million acres of national forest, national parks and BLM lands. As the article mentioned, Colorado receives some $34 billion from outdoor recreation each year and nearly $20 billion on the Western Slope. Gail Schwartz was chairwoman of the Colorado Senate Natural Resources Committee and understands the importance of our public lands. She is the natural choice of the 3rd Congressional District.



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