Monday letters: COVID-19, Boebert, wolves, health
The least we can do
The COVID-19 Memorial hosted by President Biden and Vice President Harris on the evening of Jan. 19 was simple and elegant and much needed.
I know it gave me comfort to be able to virtually acknowledge with others the unspeakable loss we’ve suffered as a nation from the coronavirus over the past year.
We’ve suffered here, too. The current official Garfield County death count is 35 souls. That translates into hundreds of local family and friends directly affected by loss due to the virus, not to mention the many, many more who have fought the illness, are fighting it now or are fighting its after effects.
Let’s honor these, our fellow citizens, by doing everything we can to decrease illness and death and to end the pandemic — masking, distancing and getting in line for a vaccination. It is literally the least we can do.
Represent all of us
Where is Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District (CD-3)? It is easy to see on the map, but where is it socially, economically and politically?
Is it more like urban centers, those places that in many parts of the country voted for Democrats? Or is it more like rural towns and counties that in many areas voted for Republicans? With a 51% to 46% election split, there were a lot of both.
Our Congresswoman, Lauren Boebert, has a diverse district to represent. What do residents want here? They want their hospitals and medical clinics to stay open, staffed and working for health care, pandemic or not. They want funding for schools and more access to broadband internet, especially if “school” is at the kitchen table or in the bedroom.
These are not Republican or Democratic issues. Just like repairing potholes or snow plowing during a winter storm, the issues above and many more, need to be understood and addressed by our elected representative.
Next time, and each time, you are in the district, Rep. Boebert, please hold as many town hall meetings as far and wide across the district as time will allow. Listen more than speaking (and have your staff taking notes). Mix and mingle with all the constituents who attend. Absorb the fact that our district has real and pressing needs that can and need to be dealt with in Congress. For the most part these are not R or D needs, they are “our” needs, in the small cities, the smaller towns and far-flung ranch and farm locations across the district.
The Congressional term got off to a rocky start, but that is not uncommon for new friends or newlyweds. Let’s join forces to get on a needs and problem-solving track. Please acknowledge that “we,” all of us in CD-3, are your constituents. All of us, and our many needs, are important and should be of highest priority to you.
Give us a chance, while we give you a chance, to learn about and work hard on issues of day-to-day and week-to-week importance to Colorado.
Doug Van Etten
The Post Independent commentary on wolves (Monday, Jan. 18) advocated science, but was scientifically incorrect and touted the usual wolf mythology.
It was elk that overpopulated Yellowstone after predators were extirpated and hunting was prohibited, not deer, as Chase McNair suggests. Overgrazing occurred in riparian areas that together made up only 4% of Yellowstone’s vegetation historically. Although the elk population decreased when wolves were reintroduced, many other scientifically documented factors were in play as well. Hard winters and fire contributed to the decline in elk numbers. Climate change increased the length of the growing season, allowing willows more frost free days to grow.
Colorado is nothing like Yellowstone. Real science-based decisions would require studies to indicate if and where elk are overgrazing and why in Colorado. In much of western Colorado, elk numbers are declining to an unsustainable level, and it is unknown how wolves will affect their long-term viability.
Elk were once widespread throughout Colorado, but market hunters killed them in large numbers to feed mining camps and growing towns, not ranchers overutilizing forage. Deer were displaced by urbanization, a trend that is skyrocketing today.
Where is the science indicating too few raptors and not enough rabbits and mice in Colorado? Today, ranches provide habitat for raptors, rabbits and mice and critical winter habitat for elk and deer. Ranches provide important migration corridors to public lands, valued open space and scenic views. Ranchers in western Colorado face many challenges from climate change, drought, water issues, recreation and an increasing population. Wolves will add an additional stress. If ranchers succumb to these challenges, all Coloradans and wildlife will feel the negative consequences.
Coloradans voted to restore the balance. Maybe it’s time for some real science and modeling to find out what that entails.
When do we change the narrative?
Is there a way to decrease the vulnerable population? How do we become stronger individually in fighting off any virus? What if we looked inward at our personal choices first?
In choosing our individual health as the greatest priority, would that also lead to better health of the human species as a whole?
It upsets me when the message becomes, “You should care more for the health of others” while meanwhile it doesn’t seem like this is a priority of the individual.
We put poisonous food into our bodies. We don’t move. We drink/smoke. And then we want to point the finger elsewhere. How about some personal responsibility for your choices? How about you start with you?
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