So, when I heard about the National Association of Counties (NACo) prescription discount program, I was excited. The county has received hundreds of free radon test kits from NACo, and much DC-lobbying help for PILT (federal Payments In Lieu of Taxes, since 67 percent of the county is public lands) and other national programs that trickle down to us; but, honestly, most NACo benefits aren’t very visible to Joe and Jane Taxpayer … But there Caremark program sounded too good to be true. Discounts for all uninsured citizens on prescription drugs with a simple county card you can flash at most area pharmacies. That was over a year ago. But no one else got very excited at first. It sounded too good to be true, and those kind of programs often boomeranged on you, if you weren’t careful … So, we waited until other counties in Colorado bought into the program. At last winter’s NACo Legislative Conferenc in D.C. Commissioner Trési Haupt of Garfield and Robin Schiro both gave the program high marks. No paperwork for citizens. Little hassle for the county. Big rewards for uninsured citizens and citizens whose insurance didn’t cover some drugs … New Commissioner Joan May also got excited. And I even took a special workshop in the program at the Legislative conference to be sure there were no hidden problems … And so, with staff help, we’ve printed up the cards and are distributing them free to anyone in the county. One card works for whole families. Please check it out. Go to the county website (newly redesigned!) and click on news <www.sanmiguelcounty.org>. Or call 970/728.3844 for more info … This is a wonderful program, with discounts on prescription drugs of up to 20 percent. And Mark at Sunshine Pharmacy is proud to be a participating business … Thank you, NACo. It’s a very visible benefit of reaching out beyond our county boundaries.
CALIFORNIA … You probably didn’t notice, since I travel so much on county business, but I took two and a half weeks off in October to spend some personal time with my father out in the Bay Area. Instead of taking the family, it was just me and pops, spending time, talking about memories, discussing national politics (his voice invariably rises and he begins cursing a blue streak at any mention of Bush and his minions), just hanging out … Vince Bontempi is 87 years old, soon to be 88. He’s given up his car, depending instead on the good will of several wonderful neighbors to shop for him, and has a hard time doing much more than puttering around his yard, making meals, keeping his home clean … It’s a lonely life, although friends do come and visit. So, he welcomed the time together … And while I spent most of my time with him, I did get to do a few other things. Like a poetry reading on Mt. Tamalpais with Albert DeFlynn Silver and Matt Lax, of the band Nearly Beloved (more on them next week … I also got to catch up with several old Seminary buddies, including one (Antonio Alioto) who was a dear friend but with whom I’d lost touch over the years. Together with another Sem buddy, Kerry Yates, we climbed Coit Tower in San Francisco and relived old adventures from that high vantage point and then went to the Mission District for a delicious meal at a Burmese diner that looked like a dive but wasn’t … Another group of Sem friends set up a softball game. Now at 16 we were all highly competitive within our intramural system. But at 61 and 62, it was softball in slow motion. However, as a Trojan, I was extremely proud that the Trojan/Rambler team whipped the Indian/Bear team. Of course, I paid for it with a hurt knee that made shifting an excruciating effort as I drove over the Sierras on the way home. Yikes! I never realized how essential knees are to everything. And now I’m visiting a physical therapist and going on a program of specific exercises to strengthen a number of weakened muscles … Luckily, stopping at Spencer Hot Springs in Nevada helped a lot, and I got home without too much more pain after that … Lots more adventures that may find their way into future columns, but after three weeks away I’m swamped on every side … So, I apologize to citizens if they had a hard time getting a hold of me this off-season. But do remember my county cell phone, if you do need to reach me on county business, at any time – 970/708.0387
CORBIN HARNEY … It is with great sadness that I learned that this brave Shoshone leader passed this summer, not long after he was featured at Mountainfilm as part of the George and Beth Gage film about the Dann sisters, Our Land, Our Life … I had the good fortune to participate in a pipe circle with Harney before a demonstration at the Nevada Test Site, where I’d taken my oldest daughter to witness what it meant to demonstrate and commit civil disobedience for an important cause. He was an inspiring leader, a humble but tireless defender of his people’s treaty rights, and one of the unsung heroes of this land. His memory will inspire many of us for generations.
BUMPER CROP … Spotted by Jan Girardot right in downtown Glenwood Springs: “IMPEACH BUSH TORTURE CHENEY”.
MUSLIM CALL FOR PEACE … In case you missed it, there were 138 signatories to a new peace letter last month, drafted by the Royal Aal al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought in Jordan. This plea to Christians included Muslim leaders, politicians and academics representing every sect of Islam, such as the Grand Muftis of Bosnia and Hercegovina, Russia, Croatia and Kosovo, the Secretary-General of the Organization of the Islamic Conference and the founder of the Ulema Organization in Iraq … Addressed as an open letter to Western church leaders, the letter stated, “If Muslims and Christians are not at peace, the world cannot be at peace. With the terrible weaponry of the modern world, with Muslims and Christians intertwined everywhere as never before, no side can unilaterally win a conflict between more than half of the world's inhabitants” … Using quotations from the Bible and the Koran to bolster their message, the Muslim scholars warned that “our very eternal souls are ... at stake if we fail to sincerely make every effort to make peace and come together in harmony” …The letter, which some hailed as a hugely significant initiative at a time of growing tensions, urged religious leaders to acknowledge the essential similarities between their faiths.
© 2007 Art Goodtimes
THE TALKING GOURD
In the early 70s,
I left two cigarettes
at the grave of Dylan
Thomas. All of my
gestures are foolish.