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This Week's Editorial
Scoop’n the News PDF Print E-mail
Written by Brenda Johnson Brandt   

City, school, community merit my support

Having lived and worked in Holyoke for 35 years, I’ve gained a true appreciation for the sense of community that is so valuable and so evident in this place I’m proud to call home.

I see it when one of our own is struggling with cancer or other health issues. The whole community rallies around for fundraisers, moving and cleaning crews, transportation to doctors, and just plain moral support and encouragement.

It’s clear when tragedy strikes that this community backs the victims.

Support comes out in full force for events to better our hospital, our theater and other entities that define the community we’re proud to be part of.

Two such entities — the City of Holyoke and Holyoke School District — are asking for our support by way of ballot issues this year.

The city is asking for a yes vote to remove term limits for councilmembers and the mayor.

The school is asking for approval for a 2.5 mill levy to replace the 3.0 mill levy that was approved by voters for five years in 2010.

I don’t always endorse all community ballot issues. Let me make that clear. However, I’ve listened to the city and school arguments on these two, and I support the two local ballot issues this year.

First of all, I commend both for looking ahead. The term limit issue doesn’t affect the city elected officials until the April 2016 election. And the school mill levy question will affect collection year 2016.

In numerous elections for city council, hospital board, school board or county office, we see only one candidate on the ballot. Or in the case of city, hospital and school elections, the candidate election is simply canceled because there are only enough interested people to fill the vacant positions.

The potential board member pool is not always huge in a small, rural area. I agree with the city’s effort to say that it’s a shame to limit people to two consecutive four-year terms when they’re still interested in serving and have just wrapped their arms around the in-depth understanding of issues.

If such elected officials are not doing a good job, they can still be replaced. An opponent with more votes can oust them in a minute.

When it comes to the school district’s request for a 2.5 mill levy for five years (collection years 2016-2020), I like the fact that my taxes will actually show a decrease of 0.5 mill. Additionally, it’s not a forever thing but has a five-year life.

But more importantly, I feel it is needed. With cuts in state funding, it’s up to us to provide the dollars to maintain our school district and staff to best prepare our youth for the future. The dollars are targeted for facilities, technology, instructional materials, and attraction and retention of qualified staff — all essential for a good education system.

The 3.0 mill levy portion of the 2010 ballot issue will go away after collection year 2015, and I’m in favor of reducing that mill levy to 2.5 mill for another five years to support the challenging quest for excellence in education.

Yes on 2A. Eliminate term limits for city elected officials.

Yes on 3D. Replace 3.0 mill levy with a new 2.5 mill levy for a net reduction of 0.5 mill to my tax bill.

Yes for the community of Holyoke.

Holyoke Enterprise October 23, 2014

Extension Corner PDF Print E-mail
Written by Linda Langelo, Golden Plains Area Extension   

4-H clover garden

What is a 4-H clover garden? This garden represents a vision of 4-H philosophy come to life.

What everyone will see by first-hand experience is a garden designed in the shape of a four-leafed clover to represent the 4-H pledge. As all 4-H’ers know, you pledge your head to clearer thinking, your heart to greater loyalty, your hands to larger service and your health to better living for your club, your community, your country and your world.

Back in the late winter of 2012, I was creatively thinking of a functional and educational children’s garden. I thought what could be done in the Golden Plains Area that would be representative of agriculture, horticulture and 4-H? How could I make this happen?

A garden which would create the synthesis of these areas of focus in a tangible way to broaden Extension’s outreach in the area. So the idea of a 4-H clover garden shape came to mind, and I started sharing the concept for the garden project.

This garden project came to life thanks to Colorado Garden Show, Inc. funding and the Sedgwick County commissioners. The commissioners donated two types of gravel and soil. The commissioners and the county staff were great about coordinating the delivery of the materials with the allotted volunteer times.

For the full article, consider an e-Subscription. Call 970-854-2811 to learn more.

Holyoke Enterprise October 23, 2014

Another Perspective PDF Print E-mail
Written by Lori Pankonin, The Imperial Republican   

Harriette welcomed for vacuum duty

My husband and I have rather reversed roles compared to most couples when it comes to shopping. I’d say he’s addicted. I once challenged him to go a month without ordering anything, and he just plain refused my challenge.

Besides clothes, he gets gadgets galore. I do have to admit they come in handy sometimes. In fact, I’ve become pretty good friends with Harriette, our robot vacuum cleaner. Yes, she deserves a name as she’s a welcomed companion and freshens up the floors while I accomplish other things ... or while I don’t accomplish other things.

Who knows what sparked the decision for Russ to purchase an iRobot Roomba when he so seldom considers household chores. I’m not sure how long it was in one of the extra bedrooms when I saw it in the box and wondered where it came from.

Eventually, he got it out and charged it. Without seeing any directions, I attempted to use it simply by pushing the clean button. The flat round contraption moves along until it bumps into something, then it turns around and continues to make paths across the floor until it has eventually covered the whole room. What a concept.

For the full article, consider an e-Subscription. Call 970-854-2811 to learn more.

Holyoke Enterprise October 23, 2014

Thinking About Health PDF Print E-mail
Written by Trudy Lieberman, Rural Health News Service   

Generic drug field is full of pricing traps

A friend of mine, a diabetic, stumbled on to another booby trap in the pricing of generic drugs. In my last column, I described the new two-tiered arrangements insurers are pushing on patients. You can choose a non-preferred generic and pay more, maybe a lot more, or a preferred generic and get a price break. That’s the same pricing scheme insurers use for the expensive brand-name drugs.

Consumer groups, doctors and insurance carriers have encouraged patients to choose generics over the name brands as a way to help lower the nation’s health care tab. So for many years, my friend has been using a generic drug called gemfibrozil that diabetics often take to lower triglycerides and cholesterol.

It has worked for him. No nasty drug interactions. No nasty side effects. And the price has been low ­— $2.71 for 60 pills. In August, the price more than doubled to $6.14. He was still OK with that.

He was not OK when he got a bill in September from Express Scripts, the pharmacy benefit manager for his Medigap carrier whose plan is offered by his former employer, the City of New York. (PBMs, as they’re called, manage the drug benefits for employers and insurers and supposedly help hold the line on prices.)

For the full article, consider an e-Subscription. Call 970-854-2811 to learn more.

Holyoke Enterprise October 23, 2014