Give parking study a chance

So the town spends $80,000 on a parking study. To my mind $80,000 is a lot of money. The study concluded that right now downtown parking is adequate. While paid parking may be necessary in the future, they don’t feel it is needed now. They put forth a three-part plan — short term, medium term and long term — and suggest some tweaking and adjustments for immediate improvements.

Also, the study did not support Mayor Muldoon’s push for the necessity of paid parking. So the mayor and Town Council proceed to pooh-pooh the study done by experts and decide the proposed changes will not work.

Give them a chance. Negative attitudes lead to negative results. Why hire professionals and then disregard their conclusions? Why waste $80,000? Minor changes in the present system can achieve changes in parking behavior and solve some of the problems.

Quit pushing your own agenda. Stop paying large amounts of money for consultants and studies that you dismiss when they don’t coincide with your outlook.

Brooke Bullinger

Jackson

Housing at fairgrounds

Here we go again! NIMBYs (Not In My Back Yard) shot down the Kelly Avenue apartments. Too much time spent on 12 to 16 units! Why not put all the expensive planning into a completely new community of high-density apartments, condos and green space. Start now on the rodeo and fairgrounds plan. Make a real change in workforce housing, relocate the rodeo and fairgrounds to South 89.

Dale Kaplan

Wilson

Don’t close Snow King Avenue

This was sent to the Town Council – Ed.

I would like to offer a suggestion to help keep traffic moving given the extensive development in town.

Snow King Avenue is only one of two options for east-west traffic through town. During fair week the town closes that road. That worked 14 years ago when we first moved to Jackson. However, closing the road in 2019 not only jams up traffic but provides no real benefit to fairgoers. Furthermore, there are other events people are trying to get to besides the fair, such as the People’s Market. Also, traffic flow should be a top priority when considering the Snow King plans to amend the master plan (hearing scheduled for today, July 31).

Please make every effort to keep traffic moving on Snow King Avenue.

John Hisey

Jackson

Most patients don’t pay

Kylie Mohr’s recent story “Alive, but at what cost?” attempts to shed light on the price of air medical services in Wyoming. In the piece Mohr highlights a Wyoming Department of Health study that analyzed the rate of air medical trips from hospital to hospital compared with emergency scene response, but misses other key findings of the report.

The study found that approximately 90% of Wyoming air medical patients pay nothing for these services. For the remaining 10% of patients the median amount paid to air medical companies is $700. This number is consistent with previous research that concluded that the average cost borne by patients transported via air medical services was $600.

Air medical providers don’t want to see patients saddled with balance bills and agree they should be taken out of the middle. The data shows that at the root of these issues are private insurance denials coupled with low government reimbursement rates. Government reimbursement rates haven’t been updated in 20 years, meaning the majority of patient transports aren’t being reimbursed at the true cost of care.

In order to continue meeting the needs of patients in emergency situations, cost shifting onto private insurers occurs. Insurers have the means to cover these services, but many engage in practices that put patients in the middle. Some insurers refuse to go in network with air medical providers altogether or will deny patient coverage on the basis of medical necessity. This happens even though 100% of emergency transports are ordered by an EMT or physician based on the needs of the patient.

If both state and federal policymakers want to take patients out of the middle of balance-billing issues, it is imperative that they collect data from air medical providers and insurers that provides up-to-date insight on the industry. Wyoming’s Department of Health report provides lawmakers with insights to help address the root causes of surprise bills when they do occur. It also demonstrates that anecdotal stories about large surprise air medical bills are the exception, rather than the rule.

Carter Johnson

Spokesman for Save Our Air Medical Resources (SOAR) campaign

Washington, D.C.

Bring on the e-bikes

Stuck in traffic? “Just get an e-bike!” said everyone during the last couple of months.

Never stuck in traffic? Wind in my hair? Arrive at work without the sweat resulting from a regular pedal bike? Squeeze a little low-stress, physical activity into my busy day? Sign me up.

In fact, imagine what it would look like if all in-valley, able-bodied residents, without a boat or multiple kids to tow, had access to e-bike-powered commuting? Perhaps more happiness for those on bikes and in cars.

Perhaps more folks spending time exercising outside that otherwise might not. Perhaps less traffic and the associated ills. Fewer accidents (with animals and other humans), less rage associated with standstill traffic and heat exhaustion, less time commuting over spending time with family and friends, perhaps more available parking spaces and less exhaust. Last week, in a letter to the editor, Rod Newcomb addressed the “creeping Teton smog” associated with the oil-and-gas-related pollution of the Upper Green River Basin, and stressed the importance of not making it worse. Why would we burn gas when we don’t need to?

Of course, not everyone could do this. Those traveling from communities farther away, like Alpine and Teton Valley, Idaho, those with day care pickups, those who cannot physically ride bikes, those visiting with loads of luggage and those transporting fleets of humans, boats and other gear arguably need to drive.

But I’m not one of them. So again: “Just get an e-bike.” Easy to say.

How much do they cost? Seattle-based Rad Power Bikes offers the lower-cost “Huffy” of e-bikes and they still come in at $1,500-plus. Most decent e-bikes are in the $3,500-plus range if you want one that will last. That’s expensive. No wonder the roads are still clogged.

States like Vermont have begun rebate programs for electric vehicle purchasers. Perhaps Teton County can offer similar rebates to local e-bike purchasers. Rebates would likely boost the sales of e-bikes — supporting local bike shops — and encourage more in-valley, physically able folks to take advantage of their good fortune.

Oil-tied Cheyenne would likely never support this cause, but will Teton County? Perhaps our county can continue establishing a precedent in the American West for reducing unnecessary and wasteful human impact. The electrification of transportation is still a common-sense, energy-efficient approach taking hold in forward-thinking communities across the U.S.

Peter Ginsbury

Wilson

No-brainer

I have lived in Jackson 38 years and have spent a lot of time researching the natural history of grizzly bears. For many years I have been fortunate enough to observe and photograph them in Grand Teton National Park. People like Tom Mangelsen and Doug Peacock have inspired me to speak out for those who have no voice.

I read that one live grizzly bear brings in over $12 million in tourism dollars to the state of Wyoming. Nonconsumptive users like myself spend three times more money than hunters, outfitters, ranchers or trappers. Yet we have no voice at the table when it comes to making decisions about wildlife in Wyoming.

I joined many of my friends at the meeting Wyoming Game and Fish held here last year to “listen to our concerns about the proposed grizzly bear trophy hunt.” They appeared to take notes and pay attention to our comments. However, in spite of the overwhelming opposition from all over the state, they proceeded with the hunt. It was obvious that they had already made up their minds before the meetings. What a waste of our time!

In the July 24 edition you reported that the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission voted unanimously to deny a request by seven conservation organizations to mandate that hunters carry bear spray.

It apparently took less than 10 seconds for these so-called wildlife experts to deny the request. The reason they gave?

“The problem in my mind is not that humans are using areas occupied by bears. ... The problem is that we have too many bears in what is frequently unsuitable habitat.”

Here is what I found on the internet: The research confirms that it’s highly effective. A 20-year study, published in the Journal of Wildlife Management, of bear-spray incidents in Alaska found that these sprays stopped a bear’s “undesirable behavior” more than 90% of the time. The few times someone using spray sustained an injury, that injury was minor. Even when wind interfered with the spray’s accuracy, it still reached the bear and helped scare it off, the study shows.

In my humble opinion it seems obvious that wildlife officials are furious that the judge stopped the trophy hunting of grizzly bears last September. I guess they would like to see bears shot and killed in the event a hunter encounters one in in the wilderness.

Not rocket science!

Ann C. Smith

Jackson

Please give blood

The Jackson Community Blood Drive is held every nine weeks at Shepherd of the Mountains Lutheran Church. On Wednesday, Aug. 14, the drive will be held from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. On Thursday, Aug. 15, the drive is from 7:30 a.m. to noon.

If you’ve never given blood before, please consider these reasons to become a blood donor.

Fill the need: Vitalant is the sole provider of blood for St. John’s Medical Center. Could you imagine having to postpone a surgery or procedure because there wasn’t any blood on the hospital’s shelves? There is a constant need for blood. One out of every 3 people will need blood during their lives, but only 1 in 20 people regularly give blood.

Save lives: Blood donations are separated into components so that each donor helps several patients. Your one blood donation can save up to three lives. Blood is needed to help organ transplant and cancer patients, those who are anemic, patients undergoing open-heart surgery, premature infants and people who have undergone a trauma or accident.

Good for you: Every time you donate you get a free miniature physical. If a technician notices some levels are high or low, you’ll know right then and there if you should be checked out by your doctor, allowing you to find out about a health issue sooner, which could make all the difference in your well-being. Your results will show up in your online account, and as you continue to donate blood you’ll have a history of your cholesterol, blood pressure and hemoglobin levels as well as other wellness measurements.

Easy and free: How often have you wanted to help when you hear of someone affected by a tragedy but you don’t have the money to donate? By becoming a blood donor you don’t have to give money, just of yourself. Donations are expedited when you make an appointment, which can be done at Vitalant.org or by calling 800-456-7057. The whole process will take only about an hour of your time, and you’ll have the great gratification that comes from helping others.

Get rewarded: You not only get free cookies or chips at the Jackson Community Blood Drive, you’ll receive points for every donation. You can redeem these points online for things such as movie tickets or gift cards to Amazon, Target, Wayfair, iTunes or Barnes and Noble.

There’s lots of incentives. Please consider becoming a Blood Hero!

Jolene Moulder

Jackson Community Blood Drive Coordinator

Letters to the editor should be limited to 400 words, be signed and include a town of residence and a telephone number for verification. Letters are due by 5 p.m. Monday. No thank yous or political endorsement letters. Guest Shot columns are limited to 800 words. Email editor@jhnewsandguide.com.

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