Our letters section and your opportunity to weigh in and be heard. Send us your thoughts and profundities. You can contact us here.

Gambling with children’s health

Dear Editors,

As flu season approaches, so does marketing hype for its supposed immunization among infants and children. Designed to appeal to parents’ greatest fears, the campaign behind the flu vaccine is fueled with scary statistics outlining the number of deaths attributed to influenza. Adding to the marketing hype, most physicians insist that it is essential for protecting children from the flu. The real and present danger of the inoculation is rarely discussed.  

When children are poked with the influenza vaccine they can be exposed to dangerous levels of the preservative known as thimerosal, which is approximately 50 percent mercury. Physicians insist that this danger is debatable. Let’s debate.

Mercury is a neuro/nephrotoxin. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) insists that the upper limit for mercury exposure is 0.1ug/kg/day and the World Health Organization (WHO) 0.47ug/kg/day. At this exposure, humans experience negative central nervous system (CNS) effects such as tremors, mood changes, shyness and slowed sensory and nerve function. Long-term damage is possible.

By the liberal WHO standards, this upper limit equates to 2.13ug (0.45ug by EPA standards) for a 10-pound baby. According to the Food and Drug Administration, a single vaccine can deliver a whopping 25.0ug of mercury! This amount is 11 times (55 times by EPA standards) the safe upper limit for our vulnerable 10-pound baby! Based on these figures, children of any weight and even adults are being poisoned when administered a single mercury-latent influenza vaccine.

The universal language of math communicates the real and present danger associated with the influenza vaccine. Administering it goes against the “First do no harm” vow in medicine.

Gambling with our children’s health is not necessary. Their well-being rests in proper hygiene and nutrition (Iron, zinc, folate, whey isolate and the vitamins

C, E, B6 and B12). This simplistic notion escapes most “intellects” and is rarely discussed among the pharmaceutically compliant media.

– Shane Ellison, Durango  

Thanks to the pumpkin fairies

Dear Editors,

As a follow up on our smashed pumpkins….

Durango Early Learning Center children and teachers would like to thank the “pumpkin fairy” who left 20 pumpkins in our patch sometime over the weekend. The children were so excited to see your magic on what had become an empty space. Later that day, Sean and Colleen O’Kane drove up with giant pumpkins that they donated to our school … more excitement for the children (and the teachers). Thank you to the “fairy” and to Sean and Colleen, your spirit of generosity is what makes Durango a magical place to live.

– Lesley Lach, Durango Early Learning Center


Vote for school board vision

Dear Editors,

My name is Jeff Schell, and I am running for the District F seat on the 9-R school board. I currently have three children in the district and for the past two years, have been the co-chair of the Parent Advisory Committee at Durango High School. Attending 9-R school board meetings and work sessions since December 2004 has allowed me to see firsthand how decisions are made at 9-R, and how the school board monitors itself. These observations are what led me to conclude that I should run for the school board. The school board has set high standards for itself. Its policies state that it will govern with outward vision and be an initiator of policy. Unfortunately, what I have observed is a board that devotes too much time to monitoring reports and simply reacting to staff initiatives. I saw little demonstration of the outward vision the board hopes to achieve. Little effort is made to hear opposing views on issues, even though board policy requires it. And meeting with outside groups, who bring concerns before the board, is avoided as much as possible.

So why do I think I can change this? Anyone who has worked with me for the past two years knows that I will devote the time necessary to be an effective school board member. I will work diligently to see that opposing views on issues are presented to the board. Most importantly, I will work to improve communication between the board and the community. It is not enough to ask people to contact you, you also need to be proactive and seek out information, and attend PTO meetings and other district committees. It is also important to redefine how the board interacts with the community. The quarterly formal panel discussions the board has held in the past have not been effective. More frequent opportunities for less structured discussion time must occur, ideally as part of each board meeting.

My past actions demonstrate my commitment to improving public education, and I would welcome the opportunity to serve this community on the 9-R school board.

– Jeff Schell, Durango


Boot camp for new dads

Dear Editors,

Boot Camp for New Dads, AKA Bootee Camp, was developed in 1988 by a volunteer, Greg Bishop, a father of four. His goal was to enable new fathers to “hit the ground crawling” when their first baby arrived. Boot Camp is a highly successful program in which veteran fathers orient “rookie” dads who are expecting their first baby. The program uses a man-to-man training approach providing an opportunity for new dads to obtain the insights of other men on the challenges of becoming a father. Information pooled from over 150 programs based in hospitals, clinics, schools and churches in 37 states across the U.S. is now going to be available La Plata, Montezuma and Archuleta counties.

The experience of over 90,000 Boot Camp graduates provides the course content, which dispels a variety of myths that persist about new fathers. Over the past 10-plus years in Boot Camp, we have discovered that men respond exceptionally well to the challenge of being a dad with guidance from other men.

Boot Camp prepares men to be dads in all respects, beginning with holding and comforting a real baby. Veteran dads demonstrate burping, changing, swaddling, the “trouble shooter’s guide” to crying babies, etc., and deal with a broad range of issues including bonding, work hours, forming a parenting team, safety, preventing child abuse, dealing with relatives, etc. The strongest emphasis is placed on the tremendous support new moms need from dads.

Engaging dads from the beginning in their baby’s lives provides a substantial investment. Research indicates that children whose fathers are a consistent, positive force in their lives do better socially, intellectually and on a broad range of other factors. These range from economic status in childhood to peer relationships in adolescence, to productivity as adults. They are also happier and benefit from more satisfying relationships between their parents.

There are two trainings scheduled in our region in October, one for fathers interested in being Boot Camp facilitators and another for new fathers. The facilitators workshop is scheduled for Oct. 28 from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m., and the workshop for new dads is scheduled for Oct. 29 from 9 a.m. to 12 noon (we are also recruiting fathers with infants 1to 4 months willing to attend the first training with new dads to share your experience and new baby!). This initial training is for all three counties.

To receive additional information or register for the Boot Camp for New Dads program, contact Tecumseh Burnett, Family Involvement Specialist at Tri-County Head Start & Quality Early Childhood Programs, (970) 247-5960 or e-mail tecumsehb@tchs4c.org. Check out the informative website for Boot Camp for New Dads at www.newdads.com.

– Tecumseh Burnett, Tri County Head Start4


Vote for parks and open space

Dear Editors

This upcoming election, we have an opportunity to provide needed monies for our parks and open-space protection. According to Great Outdoors Colorado (the folks who purchase and protect open space using proceeds from the lottery), if Referenda C and D do not pass, the state Parks Department could lose as much as $5 million in revenue – money that would be used to run the parks - and park users could face increased fees. It doesn’t make sense that we would get $17 back in a TABOR refund and turn around and pay a $5 or $10 fee at each park. For our parks and open space, vote Yes on Referenda C and D.

– Vicki Simarano, WILD PAC executive director

Vote ‘yes’ on C, D & 1A

Dear Editors,

The League of Women Voters of La Plata County supports Referenda C and D and Referred Measure 1A on the Regional Housing Authority. The LWV’s support positions on these ballot issues are based on thorough study and member consensus. We urge a “yes” vote on these three ballot issues.

Referendum C establishes a five-year hiatus in the state’s obligation to refund its revenue over the TABOR limit, readjusts the base to which growth limitations apply and specifies that these funds will be spent on health care, public education, transportation projects, and local fire and police pensions. Referendum D permits the state to borrow against the funding stream provided by Referendum C and takes effect only if C passes. The LWV believes passage of C and D are critical to restoring and maintaining programs and services that will keep Colorado viable and competitive in the larger world.

Referred measure 1A exempts the newly created La Plata County Regional Housing Authority (RHA) from the growth limitations of TABOR. The LWV believes that this de-Brucing measure is essential so that the RHA can become effective in increasing affordable housing as quickly as possible. The RHA is likely to have a budget of about $300,000 next year and under TABOR that budget can only increase by inflation plus population growth if this measure is not passed. At that rate it will be a long time before the RHA can make a significant contribution to our county’s housing diversity.

The local League, with financial help from the La Plata Electric Association Round Up Foundation, has produced nonpartisan information on the RHA and 9-R School District ballot issues. These materials, along with nonpartisan information produced by the state League on Referenda C and D, are available in public places around the county.

The League urges you to seek out and read the information available, attend public forums and make an informed decision about every issue on your ballot. We need your yes vote on Referenda C and D and Referred Measure 1A.

 – Marilyn Brown, president, League of Women Voters of La Plata County