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Treatment of handicapped brother was uncalled for
Editor:
My brother, Peter, is 50 years old and severely handicapped. Because walking is difficult and painful for Peter, ever since Buchanan Rec Center’s opening in 2003 he’s enjoyed the important monthly ritual of “swimming” laps in its pool for about 10 minutes per visit, which is the limit of his endurance. On July 6, he and his sister, Diane, respectfully waited more than 20 minutes for a lane to become available, and then began his — admittedly slow — workout.
A middle-aged woman who’d arrived poolside just moments after Peter entered the water immediately complained to the lifeguard on duty, who immediately decreed that Peter must vacate because the lane is reserved for people “doing laps.” Diane explained that laps were exactly what Peter was doing. The lifeguard again ordered Peter out of the pool, pronouncing firmly, repeatedly and perplexingly “That’s the rule.” Diane asked to speak with a manager, who agreed with the lifeguard that Peter must give up his 10 minutes in the water because “people are waiting.”
This exchange was witnessed by several people, most sadly by Peter himself, who clearly found the confrontation embarrassing and deeply upsetting. Although a more senior manager later apologized to Diane for the incident, she also recommended that my brother — who, by the way, is “people” — might better confine his swimming sessions to the pool’s least-popular hours. I was furious to learn of Peter’s disgraceful treatment, but was initially inclined to let it pass without comment. I don’t pretend to know what was in the head and heart of the peevish woman who couldn’t wait 10 minutes for Peter’s swimming lane, but I know very well the depth and quality of EPRD’s commitment to the mountain area’s special needs community.
In the end, it’s precisely because of EPRD’s superb history of service to our most vulnerable citizens that I have decided to air my outrage. In half a century of care taking our family has never before encountered such shabby conduct, and it’s profoundly disappointing that it should occur in our own hometown. I consider Peter’s unfortunate experience at the Buchanan pool to be a black stain on the district’s otherwise admirable record, and I hope with all my strength that EPRD will take whatever steps are necessary to ensure that no slower, weaker or less capable citizen is ever pushed aside in favor of an able-bodied and impatient one. To the best of my understanding that always has been, and should remain, “the rule.”
Steve Knapp
Evergreen

Reform the ACA
Editor:
I just learned that the United States Health and Human Services annual report states that the ACA is not failing. In fact, it is working as expected and risk pools are stabilizing. Premiums are increasing at lower rates than they were prior to the ACA. The GOP is determined to repeal the ACA at all costs. I believe it will be to their peril. There is no evidence the ACA is “imploding,” or that any substantial percentage of Americans are still wishing for its repeal. In fact, the opposite is true. The GOP has had many years to craft legislation that would improve the ACA, and the Democrats have never opposed this reasonable approach. So what has happened in the years since 2008? A whole lot of nothing. Instead they nominated a man to lead their ticket whose campaign rhetoric insisted on achieving better care at lower costs. Now that is a plan I could support. Instead we are faced with a bill that would devastate Medicaid, and punish seniors and people with pre-existing conditions. Not to mention the millions who will be unable to access insurance at all, and those with employee-sponsored plans who will be bumped off of them. And those essential health benefits under the ACA? They will become “optional.” All of this while the greedy health insurers, their executives and the wealthy will get tax benefits. Not that long ago I was a Republican, but I never thought they could sink this low. If this bill passes, it is a clear indictment of the GOP willing to put their party ahead of the well-being of all American citizens.
Janis Dufford
Evergreen