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Letters to Editor

Support reform

Dear Editor:

We are fully in favor of comprehensive health care insurance reform. We support every American choosing their own health care plan, choosing their own physician, and choosing their own health care practices.

It is unacceptable that 43,000,000-plus Americans do not have health care insurance. It is unacceptable that any American can be denied health insurance because of a pre-existing condition. It is unacceptable that any American can be dropped by an insurer or premiums skyrocket because they become ill. It is unacceptable that catastrophic illness can drive families to break-up and/or drive them into bankruptcy. It is unacceptable that American innovativeness and competitiveness is hampered by the high cost of health care insurance.

We are fully in favor of coverage for all: no denial for pre-existing conditions, no rescissions, no exceptions. We support any plan that enables any American to join any existing health insurance plan of their choice, including Medicare and Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (the insurance exchange for federal employees, including our elected representatives). We know that Medicare and FEHB work and they work effectively. If these options do not cover all, then we must create new public insurance plans or exchanges that do (an exchange much like FEHB).

We urge our elected representatives (Sen. Bennet, Sen.Udall, Rep.Salazar) to support comprehensive health insurance reform that includes: no denial for pre-existing conditions, no rescissions, and opening any health care plan to any American.

Lesli Allison, Dee Abbott, Ned Abbott, Richard Boudreau, Varina Boudreau, Henry Buslepp, Norma Buslepp, Ron Chacey, Sam Conti, Dianne Davis, Kent Davis, Raymond Finney, Teddy Finney, Randy Fox, Barbara Jetley, Stephen Koneman, Jim Milstein, Janet Monks, Rick Monks, Bob Nash, Anna O’Reilly, Margaret Pickett, Terry Pickett, Donovan Porterfield, Jill Porterfield, Bernard Reinhardt

Reason over rude

Dear Editor:

Mr. Jim Sawicki suggests that Americans might go to Cuba. Perhaps they will for the latest biomedical treatments. Jim will no doubt be surprised to learn that Cuba has robust and well-regarded programs in microbiological research.

This brings me to the subject of autoimmune diseases in general and scleroderma in particular. I am pleased to report that some scleroderma patients returned to normal after immunoablation, (a rebooting of the immune system, sometimes used in the treatment of leukemia). A phase III trial is underway to confirm early results. These results on scleroderma were reported at a recent conference held in Cambridge, U.K., and a summary report may be found on Unfortunately, the report costs $15 for nonmembers, so I will be glad to send a copy of the report to anyone interested.

For those of you who are fortunate enough not to know about scleroderma, the disease is a hardening of the skin and internal organs that affects about 300,000 Americans, with about 10,000 deaths per year. To quote one of the doctors at the conference, “As medical students we were told that scleroderma is a death sentence and there’s no hope; now that’s changed.” Since my grandson is afflicted with scleroderma, it is my hope that scleroderma and a host of other autoimmune diseases will submit to modern science.

While I have hope for the cure of autoimmune diseases, I have virtually no hope for our current health care system. In its present form, it is terminal with but a very few years until the end. I hope for a miracle, that reason will prevail over rude, crude and stupid. Without this miracle, you will have to push grandma and grandpa out into the street. But not this grandpa; when I am ready to be hung, I’ll write one last letter to The SUN.

Bob Dungan


Written in stone

Dear Editor:

Your editorial in the September 10 edition refers to the original proposal for the Village at Wolf Creek to be for 2,000-plus units and in response to a letter you refer to the original proposal more precisely as 2,172 units. The fact is that the original proposal was for 208 units. This is the figure developed by Western Land Exchange, a consultant to the project, and was used by Greystone Development Consultants in the Environmental Assessment of January, 1986, that was prepared for the original land swap.

This Environmental Assessment was the basis for the Decision Notice and Finding of No Significant Impact that was issued originally on Feb. 20, 1986, and reissued on March 6, 1986. After that time the project grew to the 2,000-plus unit project to which you refer. This 10-fold increase in the project scope obviously would have major impacts that were not considered in the original analysis. The developer and the Rio Grande National Forest maintained a position throughout that no further environmental analysis was required for the Village itself, only for the road that would allow for access across National Forest land. Even though the new scope bore little resemblance to the scope that was used for the land swap that put this land in private hands, the reasoning for this position seemed to be that this was now private land so the only governing authority over the project was Mineral County.

I have had a great deal of experience in the NEPA process over the years since its implementation in 1970. In all of my experience in dealing with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the Bureau of Land Management as lead agencies a very detailed project scope was required and, once approved, no deviations were allowed without revisions to and reconsideration of the original Environmental Assessment.

The revised project at hand is for a 491-unit first phase development. Whatever process is used for the new land swap proposal, it needs to be a process that requires a detailed full build-out scope that is the basis of an Environmental Assessment. The project scope together with identified impacts and mitigation requirements need to be “written in stone” with no modifications allowed without revisions to the Environmental Assessment and additional consideration of the project impacts.

Lal Echterhoff

Editor’s note: We stand corrected. We were, in fact, referring to the last plan advanced by the developer.


Dear Editor:

It is time for me to write another letter and I am overwhelmed by the fun events Ron and I have enjoyed. We have loved the Farmer’s Market’— a fun social time with Lucy’s tamales, lovely fresh flowers and music — not to mention the wonderful food. The wine and food evening in Town Park was beautiful. Nancy and I set up court and enjoyed the food, wine, the decorations, and especially seeing so many of our friends. The balloon pilots showed us a good time Saturday morning, but the weather had much to do with the other events. Loved June and her family working so hard to provide food to go with the beer and the bands. Other vendors were there on Saturday, but this family showed up Sunday under their little tent and the food was delicious. The best part of the weekend perhaps was the fabulous artist studio’s tour. Thanks to all of the artists! We also loved the Corvettes coming in.

We spent last weekend camping on the hill at the Four Corners Folk Festival, and they made a huge effort to go “green” with their careful recycling projects. How people look forward to these pancake breakfasts on Saturday and Sunday mornings, prepared by the Kiwanis Club. This organization with a small membership does so much good for the kids in this community. Please support them whenever you can.


Cindy Gustafson

Party lines

Dear Editor:

I hosted the vigil for Public Option Health care the past two wednesday evenings. It is amazing to me how emotional and heated this topic is. Many people recognize a need for change. And many people are very angry about it.

Change to me is necessary because people are suffering and dying under the current health care system. If you or a loved one has never been denied for a pre-existing condition, then I am glad. If you have never been denied treatment, that is great. If you have never experienced death of a love one because of lack of treatment, then I am very grateful. If you think your health care system is fine, then under Obama’s plan you can keep it.

Unfortunately, this is not the case for everyone. The public option simply adds a government-run plan, extended from those already in use by the elderly and those in service. This will give people an option other than the current health care insurances. Not everyone has to use the government one, you may keep your private insurance. But, having the option will keep the private insurances liable to rising costs and accountable for the services they said they will cover. If the insurance companies have not acted unethically in the first place, then the government would not need to offer the American people an option. Profit should not matter more than human life.

People have been spreading fear-based lies about big government on this issue. Even in this town, letters to the editor have refused to call Obama by his correct name. This is childish. I am sorry if you have become the minority. I am sorry if your guy did not win the last election. But please, contemplate the living conditions of the citizens of America. Our quality of life has gone down. Offer some solutions, don’t just refuse because of party lines.

Christa Laos


Dear Editor:

Neither rain nor lightning can dampen the spirits of our Pagosa community and visitors. Mother Nature did her best to shut us down but we prevailed. The festivities at the Archuleta County Airport this past Saturday were right on track with exciting demonstrations by the Tri-State Care Flight helicopter and local EMS simulating an actual ground to air rescue, and a dramatic flyover by the Tri-State fixed wing aircraft.

Even though the field had to be cleared twice due to the severe thunderstorms, our concessionaires, our various displays and demos went on pretty much as scheduled. The hot air balloon crews could not inflate their balloons due to the severe weather, but rather than just leave, they did what is called a “candlestick display.” Thanks for hanging in there with us, you were great.

Last, but definitely not least — to all 200 to 300 of you hearty souls that weathered the storm, we appreciate your support and moxie. Thanks for making it a special event for the entire community at your Stevens Field Archuleta County Airport.

Bill McKown, airport manager

Deidra Fortier, Stevens Field Auxiliary

Keep fighting

Dear Editor:

The first two rules of negotiation are 1) take control — which means intimidate, threaten, cajole, scold and then threaten some more; and 2) ask for way more than you can possibly imagine you can get — which pretty much means ask for the moon (read 10,000 units on 287 acres).

The third rule is hang in there longer than your opponent. Then give a little here and there and never let the other side gain control. Use smoke and mirrors. Don’t tip your hand. Don’t let sun shine on what you’re about. Tenacity will win if you have the guts and the strength. And in the case of Red McCombs, the money.

James Robinson’s front page article on September 10 sums up the peoples’ fight and McCombs’ responses. My opinion: keep fighting and nihil illigitimati carborundum (my dad’s favorite Latin motto).

T.S. McConnell

Los Ranchos de Albuquerque, N.M.


Dear Editor:

I want to extend heartfelt congratulations to the organizers of the Four Corners Folk Festival. The artists were absolutely top-notch, the grounds were clean, the children’s entertainment engaging, the food, the booths, the transportation, the tent set-up all were very well done.

I am so proud to live in a community that supports and encourages the arts and to have the opportunity to enjoy such wonderful performances. Thanks to everyone who organized and volunteered for the festival and for representing our lovely town in such a positive way. Great job!

Sally L. Neel