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Thursday, March 20,2014

LETTERS

Send Danish with the departing ship 

Given the recent spate of departures from your esteemed writing staff (Fong, Dodge, now Accomazzo), is it not possible to retire Paul Danish, too? Some of your more elderly Libertarian readers may enjoy his journeys into madness, but his latest call for nuclear war against the Russians suggests he may be ready for a long rest.

For the record, the Crimea was part of Russia from 1873 till Nikita Khrushchev “gifted” it to Ukraine in 1954. Putin’s “designs” on the Crimea are no more criminal than the U.S. seizure of Hawaii or England’s colonial nightmare in Northern Ireland. More to the point, they are none of our business. None of our business. Did I mention they are none of our business, too? 

Alex Cox/Boulder

A fracking travesty 

The recent agreement with the oil and gas industry around control and monitoring of methane emissions from fracking wells is a complete travesty. Essentially, it is an unenforceable agreement. Laws and regulations may make the regulators and politicians feel good, but unless they are enforced they are only so much wasted paper. Given the number of wells to be monitored, along with the fact that the industry will basically be monitoring itself makes this agreement meaningless.

Enforcement is the key to any law, and regulation and enforcement comes at the whim of those who currently hold the reigns of power. Change who is in charge and you change the level of enforcement.

There is no way that the agreement can or will be enforced. There are not enough people to do the job, and enforcement costs money. Allocation of funds is also at the whim of those in power. Any funds allocated to monitoring the agreement will be insufficient, especially when those in charge of monitoring really don’t care. The agreement is ripe for corruption. Any group or individual who claims to be an “environmentalist” will deny any part in this travesty. Harm is being done to the public and will continue to be done until fracking is banned and until the subsidies currently being given to the oil and gas industry are moved over to the alternative energy industry.

Sorry folks, but this agreement won’t work. It is just a political massage to make everyone feel nice as we go coughing off to the cancer treatment centers. 

Jim Wilson/Longmont

Debates over retaining County Coroner Emma Hall 

As the Criminal Justice/Forensic Science instructor for the Boulder Valley School District (BVSD), I have had the pleasure of working with Boulder County Coroner Emma Hall since November of 2012.

As a Career and Technical Education Teacher I must maintain an advisory board of representatives active in the field of Criminal Justice or Forensic Science. Based on Ms. Hall’s experience and professional reputation, I invited her to be an advisory board member for BVSD. To my delight, Ms. Hall personally and promptly returned my call and committed to serve on the board.

Ms. Hall is a valued board member and because of her expertise in Forensic Science, she frequently offers ideas on subject matter and teaching methods for classes. She is an appreciated resource in designing hands-on mock crime scenes for student competitions. In a recent board meeting Ms. Hall suggested the most relevant college courses for students to take in my program to establish a good foundation in the field of Forensic Science.

Ms. Hall annually offers an opportunity for my students to visit the Boulder County Coroner’s Office. The students experience an informative, interactive presentation learning about the Coroner’s office, death investigation, cause and manner of death, and autopsies. This learning opportunity is unmatched in any other program. Ms. Hall’s wonderful demeanor and outstanding staff have attracted numerous BVSD high school students to my program each year.

I am a former employee of the Boulder County Coroner’s Office. I resigned after working for Emma Hall because of Hall’s lack of concern for families of the deceased, the unhealthy work atmosphere she creates, and her poor fiscal management abilities.

I believe Betty Reiss summed up Hall’s office philosophy best in her letter to the editor (Feb 24): Hall fails to treat families with compassion. Hall’s new office policy is to withhold death certificates until collaborating agencies complete their reports. Postponement is often unnecessary; the cause of death will not change based on another agency’s report. This policy results in a 2-3 month delay for a death certificate to be issued. Families cannot settle affairs without it. More importantly, grieving families cannot find closure in this waiting period.

Hall has a 100 percent turn-over rate of her inherited staff. We were experienced professionals with passion and commitment to serving Boulder County. A common theme we observed is that Hall covers her ignorance in this field with arrogance. She is detached, intimidating, and provides unclear direction and guidance. Clearly her management style has not improved as the turn-over rate has recently increased to 43 percent with her new hired staff.

Hall mismanages the office budget.

She orders 36 percent more autopsies and she pays a contract pathologist per autopsy. She purchased unnecessary uniforms and meaningless badges for her revolving employees. Her 2013 budget is over $141,000 more than her predecessor’s budget. Hall requests

Ms. Hall has gone out of her way to help my Forensic Science program grow and has been a valuable asset to both the community as the Boulder County Coroner and to the students of Boulder Valley School District. Please vote to retain Emma Hall as the Boulder County Coroner.

Carolyn Berry, MCJ/Boulder

more money from the Commissioners annually when she has not shown the ability to manage her current resources. Boulder County residents have the opportunity to elect a new coroner who will restore empathy and bring experience to the office.

Amber Grantham/Boulder

KKK politics 

Interesting story about the “dark decade of KLAN activity aimed at local Latinos,” in the February 27 issue of B.W. However, I would like to point out one glaringly absent fact about the Ku Klux Klan. Although the writers were fully aware that some of them were Christians, they seemed totally oblivious to the fact that every single member of the Klan was a Democrat.

Gerry Lott/Lafayette

Compostable bandwagon 

Lots of folks seem to have jumped on the bandwagon for compostables.

Putting a compost in your yard is a great thing to do as it diverts organic material (your food scraps but not including the paper or corn products) from landfills decreasing the amount of methane, which by the way, is 20 times worse than CO2, that goes into the atmosphere.

But as far as the compostable products such as to-go containers, corn cups, coffee cups, etc...There is a lot of controversy.

For one thing, it takes a lot of resources to make these items and energy for transporting and lots of energy to dispose of properly. So again, reduce and reuse is so much more important.

But secondly, most of these products are ending up in the landfill, creating lots of methane! I have noticed a lot of business offices here in Boulder have compostable cups available for their customers but they don’t have compost bins to collect the discarded items!

Recently, I was at a big environmental event where a vendor had great organic food and was using compostable containers but there were no compost bins. I didn’t want to be rude so I offered to collect all the items to make sure it would get to a compost.

I don’t mean to sound offensive here but basically these folks are thinking they are doing a great service to the planet by offering compostables but actually making things worse as most of it is ending up in our landfills creating methane.

There are a lot of articles out there on this topic, just Google.

Laurie Dameron/Boulder

Meat is bad 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is still expanding the list of retailers carrying meat unfit for human consumption to Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, New Mexico, Oregon, Washington and 970 locations in California alone. About 8.7 million pounds were shipped all through 2013 by Rancho Feeding Corporation of Petaluma, Calif.

The recall comes in the wake of USDA’s new “inspection” program that allows the meat industry to increase speed of processing lines and replace federal inspectors with plant employees. According to the USDA inspector general, this has resulted in partial failure to remove fecal matter, undigested food and other contaminants that may contain deadly E. coli and listeria bacteria.

Traditionally, the USDA has catered more to the interests and profitability of the meat industry than health and safety of American consumers. Consumer interests come into play only when large numbers of us get sick. Having USDA protect consumers is like asking the fox to guard the henhouse. The Obama administration should reallocate responsibility for all food safety to the Food and Drug Administration. In the meantime, each of us can assume responsibility for our own safety by switching to the rich variety of soybased meat products offered by our favorite supermarket.

Rudolph Helman/Boulder

This week’s Time magazine cites several reasons for vegetarians living longer.

The article was prompted by a report by the American Medical Association’s Internal Medicine that a vegetarian diet lowers blood pressure, a key factor in risk of heart failure and stroke.

The Mayo Clinic notes that vegetarians are at lower risk for developing diabetes, another factor in heart disease. Indeed, an Oxford University study of 45,000 adults in last year’s American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that vegetarians were 32 percent less likely to suffer from heart disease. Moreover, researchers at California’s Loma Linda University, examining records of 70,000 patients, concluded last year that a vegetarian diet protects against colorectal and other types of cancer.

It’s no wonder that a 2012 Harvard University study of 120,000 people concluded that meat consumption raises the risk of total, heart, and cancer mortality. A more recent six-year study of 70,000 patients at Loma Linda found that vegetarians have a 12 percent lower risk of death. The good news: each of us can find our own fountain of youth by adopting a meat and dairy-free diet. An Internet search on “vegan recipes” or “live vegan” provides ample resources.

Stanley Silver/Boulder

 

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