Wednesday letters: Parkinson’s awareness, Mind Springs, Carbondale election

Parkinson’s awareness thanks

I would like to thank Art Riddle, mayor of New Castle, and the New Castle Town Council for proclaiming April as Parkinson’s Awareness Month.

Parkinson’s disease is a chronic, progressive, neurological disease and is the second most common neurodegenerative disease in the United States. Each year, 60,000 people in the U.S. are newly diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, and more than 1 million are currently living with it.

The proclamation included the need for increased research, education and community support services, such as those provided by the Parkinson’s Foundation and other organizations, to find more effective treatments and to provide access to quality care to those living with the disease today.

The local Parkinson Support Group is for those living with Parkinson’s disease and their caregivers, who are from Aspen to Parachute. The next meeting is from 1-3 p.m. Monday, March 28, at the First Baptist Church of New Castle.

Additional information on the monthly meeting dates and locations can be obtained by calling Evelyn McGill, volunteer of Valley View Hospital, at 970-963-4478. The group appreciates the leadership of Evelyn in facilitating this important service.

Ray Chelewski


Mind Springs issues forewarned

This is in response to the most recent Mind Springs article (Monday, March 21, Post Independent). There is a fabulous book titled “No One Cares About Crazy People” by Ron Power, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist for the New York Times about our nation’s mental health care system that chronicles his families’ personal journey.

When Sharon Raggio resigned, I wrote a letter to the editor of the Aspen Times that was not published. It was in response to Steve Childs comment in the article regarding the county being happy about the state of care given by Mind Springs. Also included were similar comments by Garfield County commissioners.

I am a long-time mental health advocate in the valley. There are quite a few of us who have real experience with Mind Springs and are typically valued members of the community, as we are public school teachers, nonprofit officers, hospital workers and other esteemed professionals. Many of us gave public and private outcry when the decision was made to go with Mind Springs as an exclusive provider for Pitkin County [].

Our words fell on deaf ears, as our employers made the unilateral decision to take the most expedient route to getting those who suffer in our community dealt with. I say “dealt with” as opposed to “cared for.”

“Improved response times” and other numerical data was given as proof of how well things were working. Many of us knew what was going on within Mind Springs from family members, friends and colleagues and were neither asked nor listened to when we expressed our concern.

It is both affirming and heartbreaking to see this all finally come to light. The question for AVH, Pitkin County, Aspen School District and Pitkin County Sheriff’s Department and others now is “what are you going to do about it?”

Wynee Coleman


Laird is ‘best choice’

Carbondale is lucky this year in having a great slate of candidates running for town trustee. After listening to the candidate forum last Wednesday, reading the articles and interviews in the local papers, and talking to some of the candidates, there is a need for respectful dialogue, cooperation, critical thinking and creative thinking by the trustees to address the challenges coming at us in the next years.

I worked with Colin Laird as a Healthy Mountain Communities board member for eight years, have worked with him as he put together the Third Street Center, as he helped the Sopris Sun emerge as our viable local newspaper, as he worked to promote affordable housing here in the RF valley. He has been the guiding force running the Third Street Center as the director for many years, using his skills to make this an example of how a community can use its resources for the betterment of all.

He has excellent abilities in the above mentioned needs for a trustee, and has a proven record of getting things done in a community-focused, collaborative manner.

Among all the candidates, I recommend Colin Laird as the best choice.

Russ Criswell


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