Graduates are tomorrow's problem solvers

I watched the "Graduate Together: America" program. I had such an wonderful feeling of pride in the young people coming forward. Listening to their thoughts and maturity gave me so much hope for the days to come.

When President Obama told them it was up to them to “fix” whatever is wrong, I thought with their maturity, thoughtfulness and amazing intelligence, they are up to the huge challenge.

I have not one doubt that the seniors graduating in this valley are ready too. My next thought was my own graduation to “adulthood.” All my ideals and dreams of what I hoped to accomplish in my life. My high school principal ( one of those very important teachers) put a simple drawing on the board that stuck with me. His point was to aim really high with your goals. Then if you fall a little short and miss that star, you’re still in good shape. I know so many people in my world that have done that.

As comedian Seinfeld joked…” things are bad, then things get worse." True. He joked a little further and said “nobody likes anything.” Probably true. But the magic is that the graduating seniors of the past kept working on it, through the world wars, Korea, Vietnam, pandemic of 1918, 9/11, killing of school children and the horrible human cost of the coronavirus. We’re are going to be all right because of that spirit to keep trying and learning and knowing to do what is right, and doing it. So I commend and thank past graduates and congratulations to each and every senior of 2020. Pretty bright hope, I do like that! By the way, I wear my mask when I'm out and about. If you see me with a mask with shamrocks on it, I'll tap my mask and give you a thumbs up. My thanks for you having my back, I've got yours.

PENNY CREASY

Grand Junction


Great progress has been made at Las Colonias

The May 15 Article in the Daily Sentinel provides a good description of the difficulties that several new businesses are having in obtaining financing at the Las Colonias Business Park. One of the reasons for this may be the covenants and deed restrictions placed on the former uranium mill site land when it was transferred from the Department of Energy (DOE) through the State of Colorado to the City of Grand Junction. I was County Planning Director at the time (the tailings site was located in the unincorporated part of Mesa County) and we worked closely with the DOE on the clean up and transfer to a disposal site by a combination of rail and truck. The low-level radioactive uranium mill tailings were excavated from the site and transferred to a disposal cell south of Grand Junction near the Delta County line known as the Cheney Reservoir disposal site.

The County Commissioners and staff were made aware of the fact that the ground water at Las Colonias would not be suitable for public use even as the surface was cleaned up. For this reason, the DOE placed covenants and restrictions on the site to regulate future uses with the understanding that the primary future use of the site would be parks and open spaces. Any future uses of the property would have to comply with certain restrictions such as no concrete slabs, no enclosed spaces that would capture radiation and/or proper venting (mitigation) of radon radiation.

This does not mean that buildings cannot be built on some of the Las Colonias Business Park site, but only if these precautions are taken. The entire Las Colonias site is not underlain by radiated water and it continues to be monitored for ground water by DOE, and on those sites that are clean, normal building construction can take place. Perhaps, one of the reasons that the long-term financing is being held up is that the DOE, the State Health Department and/or the banks and insurance and title companies have not been given proper assurances that these remedial measures are being taken. Luckily, great progress has been made with the land and river parks and amphitheater venue!

BENNETT BOESCHENSTEIN

Grand Junction


There's a reason Colorado has tough oil and gas regulation

Rose Pugliese deliberately avoids telling you and I why oil and gas producers adhere to stringent environmental rules and their leadership in health and safety. The answer is outside pressure whether from government or insurers.

I worked in the energy field for 30+ years and every significant change in operating came from forced compliance. Rose Pugliese wants you to believe that it was due to voluntary efforts by the energy industry. I know that other industries also are dragged kicking and screaming into improvements regarding environmental and worker health and safety. The Trump administration with the assistance of its supporters such as Rose Pugliese wants to relax if not overturn every advancement made in the past. Don’t let them.

I believe I have an unique prospective on the situation as I worked all over the world. I have seen places where government oversight is completely lacking and the consequences. Don’t let us become a Third World country.

DANIEL H. HARRIS

Fruita


Graduates will remember this unique time

Mom, Dad, Grads...Enjoy the various ways to graduate. You are the class of 2020 and a COVID jewel! That will always be special.

CHRIS BRUBAKER

Grand Junction


Support Joe Biden for president

We live in a time of significant uncertainty; a global pandemic has devastated our community health, damaged our economy, and worsened existing national challenges like income inequality and economic stability. Worse, we have a president who has weakened our ability to respond through his mismanagement and mistruths. America urgently needs strong, steady, and honest leadership in this time of crisis.

Joe Biden has already displayed the kind of leadership we need in this moment. As the vice president of the United States, Joe led communicable disease response efforts to prevent Ebola outbreaks, he created the Moonshot to find a cure to cancer that led to better research coordination and collaboration, and he implemented the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act that saved our economy during the Great Recession. Not to mention, Joe Biden’s experience leading on the world stage as the former chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and working with world leaders as our vice president.

As a people, we’ve faced challenges before and we’ve lived up to those challenges by working together with a fierce determination and clear eyes. Joe Biden is the person we need to help lead us through this challenge. He has the experience and the empathy to bring our nation together and build a better future for all people.

I’m proud to support Joe Biden and hope you’ll join me to elect a president who will lead us through this moment and into a better future.

ERIK CLARKE

Denver


Re-election will rely on revisionist history concerning virus

The May 13 letter from Dave Kearsley (“Crisis is a preview of how intrusive government feels”) offers a timely preview of how Trump’s re-election campaign will “feel” for the next five-plus months, as it desperately propagates dis/misinformation, revisionist history, outright lies, and deluded “happy talk” instead of “truth.”

Thus, first, precisely because epidemiologists have been warning for years that the next pandemic would likely involve a zoonotic virus originating in China, in 2014 President Obama’s NIH funded collaborative research with the Wuhan Institute of Virology into the potential transfer of bat coronaviruses into humans. Trump’s NIH renewed that grant in 2019, before precipitously terminating it on April 23, 2020 (USA Today, “Fact check: Obama administration did not send $3.7 million to Wuhan lab”, May 4, https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/factcheck/2020/05/04/fact-check-obama-administration-did-not-send-3-7-m-wuhan-lab/3061490001/).

Second, Trump should not have been surprised that China’s secretive authoritarian regime acted like one (and/or like him). Moreover, U.S. intelligence agencies reportedly alerted Trump about the Hunan outbreak in late November 2019 (Forbes, “U.S. Intelligence Officials Warned About Coronavirus In Wuhan In Late November”, Apr. 8, Forbes.com/sites/mattperez/2020/04/08/report-us-intelligence-officials-warned-about-coronavirus-in-wuhan-in-late-november/#1c224c24a1eb) and repeatedly tried to brief him about it in December (ABC News, “Intelligence report warned of coronavirus crisis as early as November: Sources”, Apr. 8, https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/intelligence-report-warned-coronavirus-crisis-early-november-sources/story?id=70031273).

Third, while China failed to formally alert the WHO until Dec. 31, 2019, or post the genome sequence until Jan. 11, 2020 (Univ.Minn, CIDRAP, “China releases genetic data on new coronavirus, now deadly”, Jan. 11, https://www.cidrap.umn.edu/news-perspective/2020/01/china-releases-genetic-data-new-coronavirus-now-deadly), or ban all flights from Hunan until Jan. 28, 2020, Trump failed to ban flights from China until Feb. 2 and was still tweeting that the coronavirus was “under control” in the U.S. as of Feb. 24 – but only after the DJIA dropped 1000 points (Aljazeera, “A timeline of the Trump administration's coronavirus actions”, Apr. 23, https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/04/timeline-trump-administration-coronavirus-actions-200414131306831.html).

Thus, while China had the least warning about the impending pandemic, but managed to control its spread in China, the U.S. had the most warning but was woefully unprepared to effectively respond. Applying Kearsely's logic, because Trump dithered two more “months” than did China, he is arguably twice more “responsible” than China for thousands of American deaths.

Finally, had we more fully emulated Sweden, a cursory comparison of death rates suggests that the U.S. would by now have endured 31,000 to 97,000 more deaths. And, while Sweden “trusted their citizens to voluntarily take precautions to slow the spread of the virus,” Trump and his deluded supporters obviously cannot be trusted to do likewise.

BILL HUGENBERG

Grand Junction

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