Letters to the Editor

The Unkindest Cuts

Banned aid: I just finished reading Stuart Steers's "Cutting Edge," in the February 14 issue. Has everyone become so wrapped up in glittery profit that they've forgotten about the people who are sick? I am a single mother who works menial jobs so that my daughter can qualify for Medicaid. I myself do not have insurance, because that $80 per month (or whatever) needs to go toward clothes and the electricity bill. So even though my girl is covered, I am the mom who lies in bed at night thinking, "Gee, I hope I don't get sick or sustain any sort of bodily injury that two aspirin and a Band-Aid can't fix."

Once, I slipped on some ice and split my face in two places. I'll admit it: I went to the emergency room and used a fake name because I couldn't afford the bill. I always put off seeking care for illnesses and hope my blood cells will take the place of medical attention.

Okay, so people do need to get paid, but insurance companies aren't people. I'm tired of faceless corporations keeping a Big Brother-esque eye on everything we do "for our own good" (i.e., taking prenatal care or diabetes treatment out of a basic health plan). Fuck the bozos.

P.S. I love your work, Westword!

Alicia Munder

A helping hand: Thank you for Stuart Steers's well-written "Cutting Edge," which illustrates the consequences of the proposed bill to ban insurance mandates that would leave people with real medical problems finding themselves without access to important medical services.

The bill is being promoted by its sponsors as allowing insurance companies to cut or make optional the "frills" that the legislature has burdened insurance companies with in the past by mandating coverage of specific services.

And just what, pray tell, would some of these unnecessary "frills" be? Why, little things like arms and legs. Incredibly, although most people in Colorado think that if they had to face the challenge of losing a limb, insurance would cover prosthetics (artificial limbs), this was not true just two years ago.

That's when things were changed by an overwhelming bipartisan effort that passed a mandate to require insurance companies to cover prosthetic limbs at the same level as Medicare. By sharing the cost of this coverage across everyone in a company's insurance pool, individual costs were increased by only pennies apiece. The mandate ensures that amputees are able to return to active and productive lives with their families and jobs.

After all, isn't this one of the things that insurance is designed to do?

With the proposed bill removing this important mandate, we would again find that working amputees in Colorado cannot afford a leg to stand on.

Jeff Cain

The White Stuff

PC or not PC: It was refreshing to read David Holthouse's "Good Cop, White Cop," in the February 21 issue. Finally, an article from the other side. It is good to see that Westword is willing to venture into the non-PC once in a while. Give us more!

Eric Siegler

Stand by your man: I've always heard African-Americans say they are proud of their race. So why is it that when a cop who just happens to be white stands up and says, 'Hey, wait a minute, I'm proud of my race, and I don't think what's going on is fair," he gets in trouble? People make race an issue because they are immature and pissed off, and I don't blame this man for coming back at them the same way they came in. I would rather have a cop, no color involved, who knew what he was doing help or protect me than one who needed a few more months of training or only got the job because he had to fill the ratio.

I am happy to see people stand up and be proud. I hear people clapping when the credit due is given, so why can't this man and others stand up and be proud of what they do -- and get some thanks?

Also, regarding Patricia Calhoun's "Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch," in the same February 21 issue, I just have to say that I am all for farmers. First of all, we take their land (sound familiar?), then we take their money and resources, and we are only hurting ourselves. Like Wes McKinley says, we will have to import food and we will no longer be on top. I haven't heard about Farm Aid concerts in a while; whatever happened to that? I say we take a stand and start our own "bake sale" and donate the money to our local farmers, just so they can keep up.

Vanessa Kay

Knock on Woody

A real Paige-turner: Regarding Michael Roberts's "Woody Goes Limp," in the February 21 issue:

Thank heavens for Woody: He is our geek, our special one who needs close supervision whenever we go to the store.

What needs closer scrutiny is the Mormon connection to the Denver Post and the yanking of the article from the Post Web site. That's a helluva lot scarier than anything Woody could do.

Jim Bailey
via the Internet

From Motown to Mormons: Kudos on your column on Woody. I'm a journalist myself who covers sports business for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. I've never met Paige, but I'm familiar with his work.

You absolutely nailed it by pointing out that Paige has spent much of his career reworking an old journalistic trick: ripping cities. This kind of trite journalism normally surfaces during big events like the Super Bowl or the World Series, but Paige seems to have made it part of his daily repertoire. I first encountered Paige's work when he wrote about Avalanche/ Red Wings games in Detroit, my hometown. Now, I'd be the first to admit it's hard to defend Motown, given its gritty reputation. But I do expect something a little more enlightening from a big-city sports columnist who is paid to analyze, entertain and inform.

The fact is that what Paige does is a form of journalistic laziness. He doesn't feel like reporting, so he attacks because he has nothing interesting to say. Given the furor he created in Salt Lake City, it appears people are finally on to him. Thanks for pointing it out.

Don Walker
via the Internet

A Public Hanging

Money for nothing: Michael Roberts's "Going Public," in the February 21 issue, was fascinating reading! Colorado Public Radio's empire-building seems antithetical to the basic tenets of public radio. Yet I might forgive even that, if only CPR would do away with that other basic tenet of public radio: ceaseless, money-grubbing pledge drives.

Jayce Peters
via the Internet

Have you heard the news? This might be unfair, but when I think about CPR's commitment to public-service programming, I inevitably compare its news component to that of WNYC, one of NPR's flagship stations. WNYC also came from a not-for-profit institution. When Mayor Giuliani (before his canonization) told its board that the city would no longer fund it, WNYC used its pledge drives to raise capital to buy its license; meanwhile, it still aired news and commentary critical of city and state administrations.

When the Towers fell, WNYC was in the blast zone; through the debris, against police advice, its broadcasters continued to air whatever news they could, under horrific circumstances. My question: If such a disaster happened in Colorado, would CPR's stations stop airing Morning Edition and discuss it? Car Talk? Would they open the phone lines to listeners? Hell, do they even have phone lines for such a talk-show format to be feasible on air?

I wish Dan Dreyer and his team luck in building a credible news staff. I like his work and am glad they're no longer competing for space with NPR's shows. A news channel doesn't really exist in the Denver market, and it would be nice if CPR treated that need as more than an excuse for civic window dressing. Still, I listen to the news channel every day. Pathetic, isn't it?

Name withheld on request

Not in his back yard: Yes, at Colorado Public Radio's February 1997 meeting in Glenwood Springs, I sat among those groaning or laughing at Max Wycisk's claim that the more public-radio stations in a market, the better for each one trying to raise money. But I found myself agreeing with Max, while wondering why he didn't apply the same logic to his own back yard -- where he fought attempts by KUNC and KGNU to broadcast metro-wide.

When I was station manager of KCSU, Fort Collins (1986-89), I heard about KUNC's plan to raise its broadcast tower several hundred feet so it could clearly reach 90-plus percent of the metro area. If it followed through with the plan, KCFR (CPR) promised to lobby the state legislature to remove KUNC funding in the University of Northern Colorado budget, claiming KUNC would have an "unfair advantage" over KCFR because KCFR did not receive state funds. The "unfair advantage" argument was then used when the KCFR board president wrote to the presidents of UNC and Colorado State as they were considering a merger of KUNC and KCSU. Then, in the early '90s, when KGNU attempted to place a translator in the metro area, KCFR and KRMA-TV blocked the attempts on technical interference concerns that were valid 25 years ago (before FM radio and TV receivers became substantially more sophisticated).

A key issue is the inefficient use of taxpayer money! All stations mentioned receive annual federal grants from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, but largely due to "in-house" territorial nonsense, listeners across all of metro Denver can clearly receive three, instead of five, public radio stations. For that, only the public suffers.

Pete Simon

A slippery slope: I enjoyed Michael Roberts's article on Max's world and thought I might give some input regarding CPR's expansion and creation of its "statewide network." The very beginning was a grant to study the possible interconnectivity of existing Colorado Public Radio stations. I was managing station KVNF in Paonia at the time.

The proposal and purpose of the grant was to study and implement a network of stations feeding/sharing regional news and information. An unprecedented use of the Colorado state microwave system was permitted for this "hands across the mountains" attempt. Ultimately, no network was created, and the result was the creation of KPRN in Grand Junction, which started out getting feeds from KCFR in Denver, essentially establishing a broadcasting outlet for the beginnings of CPR.

The rest is history, with the KPRN people rebelling and other local community radio stations experiencing the great footprint of CPR's expansion. I was always curious as to when someone on the eastern slope would catch the scent of this and explain it to the public-radio audience at large. Thank you for your efforts to call attention to part of the problem; I encourage you to continue with your exploration.

Steve Rubick

They've Got Milk

Udder error: Thank you for the reminder of the value of the "real thing" in Marty Jones's "Udder Bliss," in the February 14 issue. The article about the family-operated Karl's Farm Dairy in Northglenn reflected the actual "cow-to-refrigerator" process very well and explained the quality of the end product. However, there were a couple of bits of misinformation that need to be clarified.

This is a family-owned and -operated business and has been in the same family since 1947: the Hinkhouse family. Bud and Fern Hinkhouse bought the farm and the small dairy in 1947, and with the help of a few dedicated employees, their four daughters and eventual sons-in-law, they have continued to operate the business. Jones interviewed a son-in-law and grandson; thus the erroneous family name.

Even though this error may appear insignificant to many, it is quite important to the remaining Hinkhouse owner. Fern Hinkhouse, now 83 years old and still working each day, is very happy to continue in her role as the head of the family and the chief consultant to this small dairy. She hopes that the business will continue to involve her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren for many years to come.

Again, thank you for sharing with your readers the story of a business more interested in maintaining quality than in getting larger. Some things are better left unchanged.

Deanna Hinkhouse Durland
Broken Bow, Nebraska

Billy Club

Turning the tables: Regarding Laura Bond's "About to Break," in the February 14 issue:

I just wanted to write and say great job! It's refreshing to read a well-thought-out and diligently researched article about Billy Martin's turntable game. I don't know if Laura's read any of the other pieces on the Web dealing with the sessions at ExitArt (like the writeups), but her piece is miles above the rest.

Michael Calore
via the Internet

Editor's note: For the record, Billy Martin's limited-edition release is Illy B Eats Volume 1: Groove, Bang and Jive Around.

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