Letters to the Editor: June 23, 2022

Vote for Love

Dear Editor:

I am you asking you to vote for Ginny Love in the June 28 primary election to continue the positive change that has occurred with the Rio Blanco County Commissioners in the past few weeks. Although Ginny has only been a Commissioner for less than a month, she is accessible by working full-time, having regular weekly business hours in both Meeker and Rangely with an open door policy for all. The atmosphere during Commissioner meetings is welcoming and open. The Commissioners are working as a team, making decisions based on research and input they are receiving, while being fiscally responsible.

Ginny is carrying out her promise to be transparent by continuing to post her telephone number (970-314-5023) and email address (love4rbc@gmail.com) and will respond to messages, either by phone or email, within 24 hours. She has been instrumental in moving the Rangely Commissioners’ monthly meetings to the Town of Rangely Courtroom, which is handicap accessible, as well as establishing an office in the Rangely Chamber of Commerce building.

Ginny said she would be effective and has already been elected as a board member to the Associated Governments of Northwestern Colorado (AGNC), has begun contacting other entities concerning where they can work together, is working diligently to get up to speed with the budget process, and has met with most Rio Blanco County Departments. She is very dedicated to promoting Rio Blanco’s natural resources and assets and is in conversations concerning housing and daycare needs.

Ginny has a passion for being a true public servant, who will put in the hours necessary to “get the job done.” By next January, when the Commissioner elected in the primary and November elections for a new four year term , will be seated, Ginny will have been in that position for over six months. She is a third generation citizen of Rio Blanco County and has always been involved in both volunteer and paid governmental positions for many years. YOUR VOTE FOR GINNY IS VERY IMPORTANT in this primary election, to allow her to continue what she has already begun in a positive, energized and inclusive manner! Thank you.

Sharon Day

Hamblin endorses Garner

Dear Editor:

I have known Rich Garner since 2009 when he moved to Rangely from Granby, Colorado. At that time he was a Sgt. for the Rio Blanco County Sheriff’s Office and my direct supervisor. As a supervisor I found Rich to be compassionate, level headed and hard working. Rich always put “his guys” in front of himself, often sacrificing time with his family to make sure others and the community were taken care of first. Rich always showed integrity and honesty, even when the easy way out would be to tell a “white lie.” In my opinion, Rich’s best trait as a leader is his ability to take emotion out of situations and make good, steady decisions based on facts and experience. A trait that seems to be rare these days.

Rich has dedicated almost his entire adult life to public service, from seven years in the United States Army, International Police Advisor (serving in Afghanistan and Iraq), a Rangely Town Trustee to approximately 30 years in Law Enforcement. Rich almost always served in leadership roles during his time of public service. Rich’s worldly experiences have given Rich the “servant leadership” attitude. Rich truly understands what it is to serve others without asking what is in it for him.

Rich is more than a great leader and problem solver. Rich is a family man, putting morals and common sense above all else. Rich is a true conservative whose goal is to unite Rio Blanco County, share resources, serve all Rio Blanco County citizens and visitors.

Rich currently serves as the Patrol Lieutenant for the Rangely Police Department and has been instrumental in our success as an agency. Rich has been a valuable employee, mentor and friend to this department. I often get asked how I will replace Rich if he is elected Sheriff. My reply has consistently been “I do not think of what the Town of Rangely will lose, but what Rio Blanco County will gain if Rich Garner is elected the next Sheriff.”

I completely endorse and highly encourage you to vote for Rich Garner for Rio Blanco County Sheriff.

TiRynn Hamblin
Chief of Police
Rangely Police Department

Love working for RBC citizens

Dear Editor:

I have been busy the last few weeks as your District 1 County Commissioner and I’m loving it. I have had several meetings with Rio Blanco County (RBC) Department Heads, the public on many issues, met with different government entities and continue attending meetings on water, wild horses, transportation, grants and economic development. I was chosen to be on the board of the Associated Governments of Northwest Colorado (AGNC), participated on a wild horse tour, reviewed energy opportunities, participated on Zoom calls, and I am available in my office in both Meeker and Rangely. I am currently planning on being in Rangely Monday and Thursday, Meeker Tuesday and Wednesday, and Fridays will be open for either end of the county. This schedule may change based on out-of-county meetings, but I will be sure to let the public know.

In addition to this, I still get out and about to talk to voters all over the County after work hours and on weekends, getting to meet so many new people, seeing old friends, discussing ideas, thoughts, concerns, and sharing the excitement of living in RBC. The bottom line is: I am already working hard for all of you. I’m being transparent, efficient and accessible. I continue to be positive, dependable, and proactive.

There are many issues that are facing us and our way of life in RBC. The water shortage downstream from us is going to continue to be a huge issue. We must fight for our water and the right to use it and keep it! The wild horses continue to over graze and possibly change our cattle grazing and wild game resources forever in the Piceance Creek Basin. Ranchers are having to cut their allowable number of animals on their BLM grazing permits by as much as 60%. The range is in horrible condition. The wolves continue to drift south and will become an issue here in RBC, so we must continue to stand firm and say no. We need to continue fighting to protect our ranchers and their way of life and livelihood. The energy sector is being squashed in this current administration, and we need to continue to be a strong voice and bring back production here in RBC. We need to continue the fight for coal. We also need to look at alternative ways to utilize our abundant energy resources. Fuel prices are ridiculous and we need to vote across the board at the state and national level to bring back common sense. Our law enforcement personnel deserve our respect. I support law enforcement and am proud of our officers and dispatchers. Gun control laws are not the answer, but addressing mental health is. Our entire nation is in a mental health crisis—and it has reached our County. We need to support, educate and be aware of mental health issues with our Veterans, our youth and all citizens. Housing and child care continue to limit our growth and sustainability in the county. We must overcome this.

There are so many opportunities for RBC through collaboration with other entities of all kinds, and a tremendous amount of grant monies available, not only for our County government, but our citizens, as well. All of this is critical when it comes to working on the budget, to bring as much information to the table and understand the best way to go forward and see that RBC is going to thrive and be successful, and that our citizens are successful. As budget season will soon be upon us, I look forward to good conversations, keeping our eyes and ears open, and discussing ideas and knowing what needs changed to allow you, the taxpayers, to continue to have your money well spent.

My experience over the years of working with people to negotiate and come up with solid solutions is important. My diverse background includes tourism, private business, ranching, banking, law enforcement, the health industry, serving as President of school accountability boards, serving eight years on the RBC Planning Commission, and serving on the 9th District Judicial Commission, which has afforded me a wide base of knowledge to help serve RBC.

I chose to work full-time as your current County Commissioner and it is very gratifying. I am excited, encouraged and so proud to be a part of it all. Rio Blanco County has been my home and my family’s home for three generations, and I want to represent and protect our way of life here for all citizens. I hope you can help me continue working hard for you by voting Virginia Love on your ballot or at the polls June 28th. Thank you for your support and I look forward to being able to continue to work for you as your District 1 RBC Commissioner.

Virginia “Ginny” Love
Rio Blanco County

Coram stance on rural health wins physician support

Dear Editor:

In the 3rd Congressional District Republican primary there is only one candidate with a comprehensive, smart strategy for reversing the dangerous deterioration of rural health conditions in Western Colorado: State Senator Don Coram. 

Our district is massive: 27 counties covering one-half of our state’s land mass, most defined as either “frontier” (six or fewer residents per square mile) or “rural” (no community population over 50,000). The challenge to restoring and assuring timely and continuous medical care is daunting.

We face staffing shortages that are severe at almost every level of care, and may soon be approaching collapse in some of these communities. The math is straightforward: Without help, sustaining some health care facilities and the health care teams who work there will not be possible. But when a hospital or rural clinic closes or limits capacity, the care that is subsequently diverted and delayed or even denied will end up miles, even counties away in another Emergency Department, almost always in worse condition. Some will simply not make it there. 

Rural health is across the board worse than urban Colorado; higher rates of teen pregnancy, higher rates of drug dependence and alcoholism, higher rates of untreated or undertreated chronic diseases, higher rates of preventable illnesses and deaths. Many of our patients tend to be older, sicker, and without everyday resources to get better.

Rural Colorado cannot survive, much less prosper, without reasonable support for their health care communities. Senator Coram’s health care plan will direct federal resources to workforce support, starting with loan forgiveness and other incentives to recruit physicians, nurses, and other health care professionals to our underserved communities. His plan supports Medicare and Medicaid reforms that assure quality and continuity of care and economically viable, safe facilities, especially for our elderly and veteran populations.

As our Congressman, Don Coram will take his thoughtful, principled approach to problem solving from his tenure in the Colorado General Assembly to Washington, where they could benefit from a healthy dose of evidence-based, civil debate and professionalism.  

We respectfully urge you to be sure to vote on or before June 28. And if health care matters to you, vote for the only choice that has a rational, workable plan. Don Coram. 

Physicians For Coram
Adam Baker, MD, Facial Plastic Surgery, Grand Junction, CO
Gayle A. Frazzetta, MD, Family Medicine, Montrose
Enno Heuscher, MD, Family Medicine, Cedaredge, CO
Sarah Judkins, MD, General Surgery, Montrose, CO
Timothy R. Judkins, MD, Orthopedic Surgery, Montrose, CO
Albert Krueger, MD, Family Medicine, Meeker, CO
Katie Mckee-Cole, MD, Otolaryngology, Grand Junction, CO
Mindy Miller, MD, Family Medicine, Montrose, CO
Jeffrey Oster, DPM, Alamosa, CO
Ellen Price, DO, Rehabilitative Medicine, Fruita, CO
Collin Sharp, MD, General Surgery, Montrose, CO
Vineet Singh, MD, Orthopedic Surgery, Montrose
Robert Tonsing, MD, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Pueblo, CO
Mary Vader, DO, Pediatrics, Montrose, CO
William Weathers, MD, Radiology, Glenwood Springs, CO

Comments on water story

Dear Editor:

The June 9 cover story on United States Geological Survey reports being prepared about the White River refers to recent drought conditions and states that, “…over the last 40 years, annual flows have decreased by 66%”. Explicit identification of the gage records giving rise to this comparison was absent from the article. Regardless, readers alarmed by the statement ought take heart, because the river has not in fact dwindled to one third of its former size.

This may be a typo or a case of oversimplification causing misunderstanding.

Both annual mean discharge (average flow each year) and annual peak discharge (maximum flow each year) vary widely from year to year on the White River. Flow can be above or below basis by a substantial margin in any particular year. For example, Near Meeker (USGS Gage 09304500) annual mean discharge was 90% greater in 2019 than in 1981 and was 54% less in 2021 than in 1982. Neither comparison describes a permanent shift.

Even after smoothing out the annual ups and downs with a 10-year rolling average, considerable variability is evident in the resulting undulating series. Regression on the raw annual values reported for the period of record from 1910 to present indicates that flow diminishes by less than 0.83 cubic feet per second per year. Over just the last 40 years that is about 6%. Yet, the coefficient of determination comes out to less than 0.03, meaning that very little of the variation in annual flow could be predicted. Therefore, confident characterization of an annual discharge trend remains elusive.

The 10-year average through 2021, is 7% less than the same measure through 1943, a historic dip due to the noteworthy drought of the 1930s. While not indicative of a permanent shift on the order alleged, this does show that we have been living through dry times. Although the scale of annual flow reduction over the entire period of record for the referenced gage has not been as dramatic as the subject claim, we should use less water and plan for decreasing flow.

With kind regard,
Collin Robinson
Grand Junction

Endorsement for Mazzola

Dear Editor:

My wife, Melinda, and I had the good fortune of living in Meeker from 2017 to 2021, and we both have warm and fond memories of our time there—especially of the many lasting friendships we forged in your beautiful community. We often reminisce about the experiences and the wonderful people we met through the school, churches, VFW, recreation center, old men’s coffee club and sheriff’s department. I especially mention the sheriff’s department, because I had the privilege of being a volunteer chaplain and serving under the leadership of your sheriff, Anthony Mazzola.

Since moving out east of Colorado Springs, in the Calhan area, we have continued to receive The Rio Blanco Herald Times, and I have read the letters to the editor that have been highly critical of Sheriff Mazzola, trying to portray him as a self-centered “Me person” and questioning his integrity. The author of those letters seems to be driven by resentment and bitterness in his quest to see Anthony defeated in this upcoming election.

In my relationship with Sheriff Mazzola, I have known him to be a person of integrity, honest, hard-working and compassionate (being compassionate is often difficult for people in law enforcement because they are called upon to deal with the worst in human society on a regular basis). There was never a time, in my interactions with him, that I thought he was self-centered; in fact, on more than one occasion, he emphasized that he wanted a chaplain in his department to be there for his staff—to be available to help them with their needs and concerns! And this mind-set carried over in his day-to-day duties, because at the heart of who he is as your Sheriff is a desire to SERVE the people of Rio Blanco County to the best of his ability. When I would meet with Anthony and pray for him and his staff, I sometimes asked what he had on his plate for the week. I was often astounded by the responsibilities he carries out, as your sheriff, because I think the average person has no idea what his job entails. I’m writing this letter, of my own volition, because I believe Anthony Mazzola is absolutely the best choice to continue as Sheriff of Rio Blanco County. He has experience, expertise and, in my opinion, is a person of exceptional character!

Rev. Dr. John Walls
Formerly of Meeker

Alliance awards two scholarships

Dear Editor:

We wanted to announce the White River Alliance provided two $1,000 scholarships for 2022 graduating students Justen Trodo and Alana Neilson from the Rangely and Meeker High Schools. These students demonstrated leadership in the conservation of our resources and the White River to earn the award.

We are proud to contribute education and scholarships that promote interest in a healthy White River and the riparian areas by promoting greater awareness and education of our precious river and resources. A healthy River is a healthy valley! We know that we can, as a community, do something proactively to give the White River the best possible chance to be healthy while providing all the great benefits from the river we need and count on.

It’s been discovered that nutrient loads, development, agriculture practices, river enhancements, pesticides, invasive plant species, can be detrimental to rivers. We don’t need a study to know that. And, we don’t need a study to do something about it. We have the tools to improve a healthy outcome for our river and we can do it now!

The scholarships we have been able to provide and the projects we support are driven by the contributions of our members and contributors. We are all volunteers, giving our time and resources, but not at the taxpayers’ expense. If you are interested learning more please check us out at whiteriveralliance.net and our Facebook page. Thanks to all the people that have brought so much attention to our river!

Shawn Welder

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