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Letters to the editor for July 16, 2009

Take action now to reform health care

Dear Editor:

    This may be the United State’s last best chance for meaningful health care reform.  We have an opportunity, right now, to create a medical system where providers and hospitals can deliver quality health care to all without fear for their own financial survival.  We cannot wait.  We must modernize our information technology.  We must reduce bureaucratic overhead costs, waste and fraud.  We need tort reform.  We MUST have a public insurance option.

    We have to put an end to the immoral behavior of the insurance companies, the HMOs and the medical supply, equipment and pharmaceutical companies. We cannot let the unbridled avarice of unprincipled, self serving CEOs cripple us competitively in the world economy.  Making billions in profit from illness and injury is bad enough; holding an entire nation hostage is indefensible.

    Only by an unprecedented outpouring of public support will we get this much needed reformation of the American medical system.  Our own Reps. John Salazar, Sen. Mark Udall and Sen. Michael Bennet are critical votes.  I know them as intelligent and honorable men.  We must tell them how critical affordable health care is to all Coloradans.  We need a comprehensive health care overhaul and we need it now.  Our Senators and Representatives must understand that it is in the name of fiscal responsibility and national security that we have to change the way we handle the "business" of medicine.

    Please call our Federal representatives right now and ask them to support President Obama′s complete health care reform plan. Please call Senator Mark Udall at 202-224-5941; Senator Michael Bennet at 202-224-5852 and Rep. John Salazar at 202-225-4761 or 719-543-8200 (Pueblo).

    Let’s end medical bankruptcies forever.  Let’s end the fear of losing your insurance if you lose your job.  Let’s end the enormous burden we all bear to cover the uninsured.  Let’s take back our health care system from those that have stolen it.

    David Gnaizda,


    Spanish Peaks Regional     Health Center Board of         Trustees

Masonic Cemetary a mess

To Whom It May Concern:

    I never in my life have seen such a disgusting cemetery as the Masonic Cemetery in Walsenburg Colorado.  I was appalled and ashamed that my family could be buried in a place like this.  You may have forgotten the dead, but the people that are here have loved ones that care.  I am sure that Walsenburg has a summer job program for kids that get paid for doing the job.  I remember when it was a beautiful kept cemetery, when Fred Pino was caretaker of the cemetery.

    It can look like that again if you try fixing the sprinklers and cut the dead trees, limbs are falling and the grass is dead in so many places that it needs too much watering.  I go and visit every two months and the first place I stop is the cemetery and nothing has ever changed; you have to bring your own rake, hoe and gallons of water to water the little bit of grass this is supposed to be on the graves.  

    The trash cans are always full and I have to leave trash bags on the side or bring them home and I live a few hundred miles away.  I took my loved ones some flowers for the 4th of July and some of the flowers were gone.  I would like to hear a response to my letter from whoever is supposed to be in charge of the cemetery.

    Phyllis Marquez

Objecting to local property tax assessment

Dear Editor:

    The heavy hand of oppressive government has come down on Huerfano County residents again, this time in the form of a thumb in the eye from the Huerfano County Tax assessor. Thanks to the County′s relentless search for revenue, the assessor has seen fit to raise the  assessed value of my property by 25 percent over the previous assessment.  This despite the fact

that the housing market is severely depressed and property sales are way down.  This also despite the fact that my home needs a new roof, new flooring, and a complete new paint job.

    Of course, the assessor visits my home during a wonderful summer when my wife has landscaped it beautifully with lots of flowers and when water has been plentiful and the grass is green.  We like our home to look nice, and we′ve made a few cosmetic changes to the outside to make it have some "curb appeal," but we certainly haven′t added anywhere near $42,000 worth of improvements to our home since the previous assessment.

    On top of all of that, we had the house professionally appraised by the bank last February, and that appraisal came in at $24,000 less than the County is trying to claim now.  In addition, the current market value of comparable homes in our area certainly isn′t anywhere near what the County claims it is.

    I wonder if the property values of the tax assessor′s home and those of her minions and other county officials were increased by 25 percent over their previous assessments.  I′ll wager they weren′t.

    It′s bad enough when the Federal Government pillages and plunders the citizenry, but having it happen at the local level is really over the top.

    Darrell Arnold

Tummy talk

    The big “M” retrieved the Huerfano Journal out of the mail box last week before I could get to it and took it into the kitchen to read it.  She sat down looked at the front page and said, “Well, it looks as if you have an innie, a way, way innie.” 

    She handed me the paper and right there on the front page the photograph I hadn’t wanted her to see.  It was a picture of the crowd being welcomed into the new library at its grand opening.  And right in front of the crown was a picture of me showing an uncommonly large amount of flesh as the photographer caught me jumping into the air in my exuberance in welcoming the start of a new era for the Spanish Peaks Library.

    “I think you need to go on a diet my man, with a paunch like that most of the town probably looked at the picture and went ‘EEWH!’”

    All right I admit  that I have somewhat of a problem controlling the size of my midriff and that it is probably due to spending too much time at the Starlite Inn, but as I explained to the big “M” photographs are known to make people larger then they are.  That’s why models have stick-thin bodies and are subject to anorexia.

    I asked her if she wanted me to starve myself so that I would become a mere shadow of the man I am now.

    Another reason, I told her, that it appeared I had exceed the recommended ideal weight for someone my size, was that I had worn a t-shirt that was a size small for me and that had added to the illusion of bulk.

    I explained to her that Paco and the guys at the bar thought the picture was just great and made no mention of anything unusual about my physique, which is why I hadn’t said anything to her about my picture. 

    “Your buddies at Paco’s probably have bigger guts then yours so to them you look like you’ve got six pack abs.  And you do, thanks to Adolph Coors, not Charles Atlas or Pilates.  I don’t care, no matter what you say that picture of you still rates a ten on the EEWGH! Scale.  You look like the before picture in a Nutri system ad.”

    What could I say?  Besides how many men have won an argument about something that their wives have their minds made up about?

    Well, I’ve learned my lesson, next time I won’t be jumping up into the air at an event, I’ll  be my normal, sedate self.  So there!

    Jerry Skrzynear

More information on high altitude baking

    I just got around to reading the Journal and have a little disagreement with Carol′s article on high altitude baking.  I appreciate that she cited the information regarding Colorado State University publications on high altitude cooking/baking.  As a Family and Consumer Science Extension agent I regularly teach classes and answer questions regarding high altitude cooking.  You never add extra flour because flour is drier at altitude.  The key is to compensate by adding more moisture.  Usually using an extra large egg or a jumbo egg is sufficient additional moisture.  Yeast breads need to rise twice at altitude because they rise so fast, so you need to let it rise once then punch it down and let it rise again. Yeast breads rely on the longer proofing to develop good flavor.   You can′t increase the baking temp by 20 degrees and reduce the time baked or you run the risk of having an undone center. You need to raise the temperature by 25 degrees for about 15 minutes to set the cell wall structure then reduce to the baking temperature to the recipe recommendations and watch carefully for the entire baking time.  You never add extra flour to quick breads. You reduce the leavening agent or add a little extra moisture in the form of an egg and you don′t increase the baking temp.  For cakes, you have to decrease the leavening agent and possibly the fat and sugar.  The problem with high altitude baking is that there is less air pressure  so that leavening agents rise more quickly thus cakes that fall.  This decreased pressure can be compensated for by reducing the amount of leavening agent, and reducing sugar and fat.  Cookies absolutely don′t need extra flour. Most of the time the recipe will work no matter what the altitude.  If the cookie spreads too much it is because the primary fat is butter or margarine.   If this happens then you need to do about 1/2 and 1/2 margarine and shortening.  You also could reduce leavening agent or sugar if needed but you only do one thing at a time.  If it works then you know what worked. If you do two or more adjustments and it still doesn′t work then you don′t know what the problem is.  If the cookie is hard then you reduce the amount of flour not increase it. Again adding the larger egg, NOT an extra egg may do the trick.  For more information on high altitude cooking/canning/baking, please go to the Colorado State University web site.  There are many great resources to help..

     Karin Niedfeldt


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