Letters: Good work, VA staff!

Johnson City Press • Jan 4, 2019 at 6:00 AM

Want to have your voice heard? Send a Letter to the Forum. Authors must sign their letters and include addresses and phone numbers for verification. Letters may be no longer than 300 words and will be edited for grammar, style and length. Send your submission to Mailbag, P.O. Box 1717, Johnson City, TN 37605-1717 or [email protected].

Good work, VA staff!

This is an open letter praising the VA Hospital and Community Life Center at the James H. Quillen VA Hospital. Our loved one was in serious jeopardy of losing both his feet and a leg due to complications from diabetes.

The personnel responsible for his care could not have been more encouraging and conscientious. Dr. Luther Ward is the physician who didn’t spare any option available to spare the limbs. His wound care nurse Lexie was a huge part of his recovery. Staff in every capacity were exceptional. The room was clean, food was tasty, physical therapists were patient and encouraging as well as the medical staff that saved limbs that we truly felt would have to be removed.

Our family is extremely grateful for the care and compassion that our loved one received. We are so blessed to have the VA Medical Center in our city.

Johnson City

Protect all waters

A Dec. 19 article showed the acting EPA Administrator Wheeler, at a Tennessee Farm Bureau event in Lebanon, seeking “backing from farmers” for major rollbacks to the federal Clean Water law.

Involved is the so-called WOTUS rule, or Waters of the United States, passed under President Obama in 2014. The rule reinstated the historical interpretation of the Clean Water Act in giving protection both to seasonal, rain-dependent headwater streams and wetlands near them, and to “navigable” downstream waters. The rule preserved historic exemptions and exclusions for agriculture.

Again, as by many lobbyists during the rule-making years, the claim was raised by Mr. Wheeler that the Obama EPA’s restitution of protections was not in the interest of water but a land grab by the power hungry federal government.

The now-planned rollback began in May last year, following an executive order from the president. The administration’s aim was, as the Center for Rural Affairs reported, henceforth to protect “only waterways that are ‘relatively permanent.’”

Yet as water scientists have amply documented, the temporary waterways are critical to the natural hydrology and constancy of flow of the larger stream and river systems. For Tennessee it is known that 57 percent of stream miles with surface water intakes for public drinking water systems are made up of intermittent or headwater streams.

The farming community, especially, so dependent on irrigation, should not want to allow upstream water courses to be destroyed or degraded.

Contrary to the announced rollback in protecting the nation’s waters, the wisdom of an earlier president, Theodore Roosevelt, still holds. In his judgment, “Each river system, from its headwaters in the forest to its mouth on the coast, is a single unit and should be treated as such.”


Compassion for children at the border

As I sat listening to the radio, they started talking about how the two children who have died at the southern border just because their parents wanted them to grow up, period. The countries from which they originated were no longer a safe place to live. In their homes, they lived in fear of home invasion, gang rapes, torture, being forced into prostitution or worse. They have very good reasons for leaving their countries. They wanted what every parent wants for their children. They wanted their children to have a chance to grow up. That was not to be for two children. They died. They died of dehydration and neglect at the hands of the border personnel.

For some reason the people who elected President Trump think that that is OK because they were breaking the law finding a safe place to raise a family. Shame on us. No one in the Trump camp cries for these families. Shame on them. We are all human beings, created equal in God's sight. Remember, Love your neighbor as thyself. God means it. Who is my neighbor? Everybody. No exceptions.

Johnson City

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