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Letters to the editor- July 10, 2008

Letter to the Editor,

    I would like to take this opportunity to address some of the items addressed last week in the Signature (July 3) by Mayor Mickey Schmidt of La Veta in reference to La Veta’s agreement for dispatch services and the competence of said dispatch services.

    After I first read his comments, other than being outraged by the lack of knowledge he has, I was going to just toss the paper and never look at it again, but the more I thought about it the more I realized that if someone does not stand up to this type of behavior it will just continue and make the citizens of this county apprehensive regarding the service that they receive.  

    Before Mickey makes comments to the media he should check his facts, he should not breach patient confidentiality, as governed by HIPAA, learn more about what the job requires and show respect for the people who do the job of dispatch.

    To address the call discussed in the newspaper article let me first say I am the dispatcher that handled this call.  I take great offense to the remarks made not only at this time but in the past regarding my fellow dispatchers.  We are very competent and take our jobs very seriously.  Our jobs require following protocols that are preset to ensure the best quality for the citizens that we serve.  (some of those persons are our own families)  Mickey and his fellow LVEMTS/LVFire personnel have been invited many, many times to come to dispatch and see exactly what transpires when a 911 call comes in.  However, none of them have ever shown.  It is much easier to be critical if you don’t know the subject matter you are criticizing.  

    Many calls we receive are very high level calls and it takes competent people to handle these types of calls.  Our people are trained routinely to keep up their skills and maintain a high level of competency.

    We are very aware of our duties and responsibilities to the community we live in and serve. Safety and health is our number one priority.  That is why again I stress we have protocols which are adhered to on all calls whether emergent or not.  Each of our dispatchers are Emergency Medical Dispatch certified and CPR certified to enable us to assist you when you call and have a 911 emergency until medical arrives.

    La Veta has no agreement for service with the City of Walsenburg or with Huerfano County.

    It seems to me that if Mayor Schmidt and the LVEMTS and Fire units    are concerned about the training of dispatch and the equipment used, they should pony up their payments each year to assist with the costs necessary to run a dispatch service.

    I think that I speak for all of our dispatch staff when I say that we are tired of the abuse that appears to be based upon incomplete and inaccurate information and the bad PR that has been given by Mayor Schmidt.

    Respectfully Submitted

    Susan Blake

    Comm. Center Dispatcher

    City Councilperson Ward 4

    Walsenburg, CO

Please note that I have written this letter on my own and am solely responsible for its contents, and does not necessarily represent the opinions of the Walsenburg City Council. 


    Responsible pet owners love and care for their dogs.  Even though they are animals, dogs have been domesticated and bred to be pets.  By owning a dog, the owner has the responsibility to take care of this pet.  Dogs become property, but more importantly they become a pet and a part of your family.

    The Humane Society of the United States has spoken out against how dogs are treated.  One cruelty that people inflict on their dogs is that of tying them up in the backyard.  Using a rope or chain is intended to keep the pet from running away, attacking anyone in the yard and keeping the dog submissive.  This seems logical to most people, but the reality is that it is inhumane.

    A lack of understanding accounts for the status of many chained dogs.  Pet owners are often unprepared for their dog’s physical or behavioral needs and resort to chaining.  Chaining is a major problem because the practice is inhumane while creating a safety risk to the community.  Chained dogs are exposed to a number of dangers outdoors.  They may unintentionally hang themselves if they are tethered too close to a fence and attempt to jump it.  They cannot escape attacks from other animals or disturbed people.  They are forced to endure harsh weather conditions including extreme heat and cold, rain and snow.

    Dogs are highly social animals bred for thousands of years to form a strong attachment to their human families.  Chaining a dog makes this impossible.  The isolation of a chained dog can turn an otherwise friendly and happy dog into a neurotic, unhappy, anxious and aggressive animal.    Chained dogs may grow to view all intruders in their yards as potential threats, even if those intruders are other dogs, wild animals or even children.  Studies have shown that chained dogs are more likely to bite than dogs who do not live at the end of a chain.

    The question remains of what to do with a dog you already have chained in the backyard.  If you do not have a fenced yard, now is the time to get one.  You would get a fence if you had small children.  A dog that you own is now your responsibility.  You can also find the pet another home until you live in a setting where you can properly take care of your pet.

    An adage that has been heard for years us that a community takes care of its children the same way it takes care of its pets.  Families have a serious responsibility to care for all of their family members.

    Kathy Carpenter

Dear Huerfaninos:

    Do you or a friend need help registering to vote?   We will come to you.   Call the Huerfano Democratic Party to sign up, 738-1154.  Your vote is very important.

    The Huerfano Dems meet the last week of the month at the Rambler Restaurant to plan activities and further educate ourselves.   It seems that finally we can make a difference.   Lets get together for universal health care, stopping the wrong war, the price of gas, and a big etcetera.                       

    Barry Kalish