Opinions with Civility
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Chucri: Arizona Restaurant Week impacts an important industry and our community

For the past 15 years, Arizona Restaurant Week has served as an important event for the Arizona Restaurant Association to fulfill its mission of supporting and advocating for the hospitality industry while also presenting the dining community with some incredible dining experiences for amazing prices.

Gates: As COVID-19 delta variant spreads in Maricopa County, get vaccinated ‘ASAP’

All COVID-19 vaccines have been proven to be highly effective at preventing serious illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19. Last week, the FDA gave a new level of approval to the Pfizer vaccine for people ages 16 and up. If you have been hesitant in the past about the vaccine, I hope this new level of assurance will be the encouragement needed for you to get the vaccine.

Sen. Boyer: Our Arizona senators are right about preserving the filibuster

In a republic like ours, the decisions our leaders make can have significant impacts on the lives of everyday citizens, which is why it’s critical that our laws undergo rigorous debate. …

Miller: More traffic cameras needed for public safety

Regarding the much-hated and often-vilified speed cameras and traffic cameras, the problem exists, as it does with many problems, because the government owns the roads. As a way of deciding whether …

Kern: Phoenix misinterpreted FAA data on flight paths

In a recent article in the Independent, reporter Mark Carlisle wrote about the city of Phoenix warning the FAA not to reopen the Implementation Agreement between the two parties to address the City …

Hochschartner: Arizona's senators should foster cultured-meat research

I imagine Senators Mark Kelly and Kyrsten Sinema, like most people, want to leave a legacy of some kind. They can do this by supporting federal funding for open-access cultured-meat research. For …
Nonpartisan Cartoons

Nonpartisan Cartoons

The Daily Independent at YourValley.net does not take political positions. We publish political cartoons because we know readers enjoy them, and we try to present a balanced variety of opinions. We …
Your Valley Voices

Barwick: Claims other side in politics has no morals

I have been asked why liberals seem to have an advantage over conservatives when it comes to politics. Liberals seem to do whatever they please even if it is illogical. For example, they are the …

Burhop: Don’t be lazy; just do some actual research

Without being accusatory, I ask the question: Are Americans inherently lazy? I’m not referring to work ethic. Americans are among the hardest working people in the world. I’m talking …

Rep. Kavanagh: Arizona's legislative session produced significant accomplishments

The 2021 session of the Arizona Legislature was one of the most productive sessions I have experienced in my 15 years serving you as both your state senator and state representative. The session …

Goncalves: Infrastructure bill proves Washington, D.C. 'broken,' needs 'repair'

Here we go again … Chuck Schumer has introduced a $1 trillion infrastructure bill containing 2,700 pages. In 2010, the Affordable Care Act was brought to the floor by Speaker of the House …

Windsor: Follow the money on Arizona election audit

Hopefully, the readers of the Daily Independent took the time to read and scrutinize two recent articles in the July 30 edition. The first being “Trump supporters raise $5.6 million for …

How years of fighting every wildfire helped fuel the Western megafires of today

After so many smoke-filled summers and record-setting burns, residents of Western North America are no strangers to wildfires. Still, many questions are circulating about why forest fires are …
Work crews remove rubberized asphalt as part of the 10 Broadway Curve reconstruction in this undated file photo.

Rubberized asphalt removal: Interstate 10 Broadway Curve reconstruction under way

It’s go time! If you’ve noticed things are starting to look a little different on Interstate 10 in the Southeast Valley, you’re not alone. Crews have started the first phase of work …

Sellers: AZ GOP denying reality with election ‘audit’

It has now been 10 months since the November 2020 election, yet the Arizona Senate Republican leadership continues to deny reality. The election held in Maricopa County was one of the best run …

Wolf: Posse needs more recognition

This is in response to Diana Graettinger about Posse (“Posse patrols enhanced with 3 areas”). I’m writing because I want to express appreciation. Your article made me realize …
Jon Riches

Riches: A state solution to the administrative state

A new paper out today from the Goldwater Institute argues that state legislatures can and should play a role in reducing the power of the administrative state through laws that ensure the judiciary remains fair, impartial and independent when deciding cases involving administrative agencies.

Carter: Article gave lots of coyote facts

I read your recent article (“Coyotes infiltrate neighborhood”). Ironically, just one week before reading it, I took a tour at the Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center in Scottsdale. …
Jennifer A. Jones

Jones: 4 ways volunteering can be good for you

Volunteering tends to benefit the volunteers themselves in at least four different ways.

Mishra: What is a breakthrough infection?

If you’ve been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, maybe you figured you no longer need to worry about contracting the coronavirus.

Cadwell: Getting your immune system ready for back to school, work

Back to school/work is here with a mixture of excitement and hesitation as we return to face-to-face interactions. It behooves us, therefore, to equip our bodies with the best strategies to stay …

Copeland: Calls for new candidate for 2024 election

Regarding the recent article, (“AP FACT CHECK: Proven falsehoods retold at event,” YourValley.net, July 26, 2021), I voted for Donald Trump in 2016 and 2020, but I’ve heard the …

Harding: SR 89 renamed in honor of Granite Mountain Hotshots

A 56-mile stretch of State Route 89 between Wickenburg and Chino Valley was recently renamed the “Granite Mountain Hotshots Memorial Highway” in honor of the brave firefighters who were lost battling the Yarnell Hill Fire on June 30, 2013.
Dr. Darren Wethers

Wethers: With health screenings, timing is everything

Now it is time to catch up on critical health screenings and preventive health visits that have been suspended or delayed due to the pandemic.

Brczki: Reader does not appreciate July 4 noise

I want to thank the 80-plus-year-old grandparents whose grandchildren came once again to our street to set off 4-plus hours of firecrackers. I can see that the grandparents have not taught these …

Messenger: Wi-Fi should flow just like water

More than 21 million Americans lack a reliable internet connection, according to the Federal Communications Commission.

Koll: Drivers getting worse in Valley

Since I have driven most of the Valley roads, driver infractions are becoming all too common. I first must say from observation that “red lights, stop signs, signaling and speed limit …
Kerry Jackson

Jackson/Winegarden: How to avoid a looming homelessness crisis

Homelessness is a growing problem in virtually every state. Nowhere is it more pressing than in California, which in the past three years spent more than $13 billion, roughly $30,000 annually for …
Rodney E. Rohde

Rohde: US is split between the vaccinated and unvaccinated

In recent weeks, one piece of data has gotten a lot of attention: 99.5% of all the people dying from COVID-19 in the U.S. are unvaccinated

Schneider: The biting truth about dental and mental health

Stress, anxiety and depression can all take a toll on your teeth and gums.
In this June 16, 2020 file photo, a portion of the Bush fire burns through the Tonto National Forest, as seen from Apache Junction. [The Associated Press]

Montrose: What’s in wildfire smoke?

Fire and health officials began issuing warnings about wildfire smoke several weeks earlier than normal this year.

Knudsen: Why legislators owe children sanitizing tech they’ve enjoyed for decades

Many of the recommendations from the CDC to stop the spread of diseases and viruses in schools come from an “everyday preventative measure” approach with chemical cleaners, frequent …

Breen: Says local anti-vaxxers misinformed

It is tragic that so many people have refused to get the COVID-19 vaccination because of misinformation. The politicians, their news’ sources and certain religious organizations betray the …

Rappold: CRT not happening in classroom

Until recently, I had never heard of critical race theory. Then, community members began speaking about it at school board meetings here and around the country. Emboldened by fringe political …
Beverly Pingerelli

Pingerelli: This is why critical race theory promotes racism

I would like to address Mr. Van Horn’s assertion that America was founded on white supremacy principles as well as his assumptions about “identity,” “power” and “privilege,” terms commonly used in critical race theory.

Miller: Opposes hiking rules, restrictions

The restrictions being considered for Phoenix area hiking due to the heat are wrong. Every single person has a different ability and different limitations. Whether to hike in any conditions, heat, …
Jack Sellers

Sellers: Senate’s election audit ‘bringing incompetence’

It’s clear the people hired by Arizona Senate leadership to supposedly bring integrity to our elections are instead just bringing incompetence.

Burhop: Calls Senate audit ‘silly’, ‘preposterous’

I tried to think of all the words that could be used to describe the Arizona Senate vote recount. Here are a few in no particular order: delusional, ridiculous, ignorant, mad, crazy, insane, …
David Obergfell

Obergfell: Mobile Crisis Response Awareness Week — Reflecting on our community’s stellar system of care

Every hour of every day in Maricopa County, tireless firefighters, law enforcement officers and mental health professionals answer the call for help from people of all ages who are experiencing a mental health crisis.

Brown: Defund the police or redirect resources?

Today, probably anyone with an interest in a law enforcement career has not only fired a gun, but has spent countless hours playing video games involving gun violence.

Miller: We won't run out of water unless...

Many articles are appearing in various media scaring those of us in the West into thinking we might run out of water. An Arizona State University researcher and one-time director of the Arizona …
Jennifer T. Grier

Grier: Delta variant makes it even more important to get a COVID-19 vaccine

As someone who studies immune responses to respiratory infections, I’ve watched news of the emerging coronavirus variants with concern.
Michael J. Poulin

Poulin: Mindfulness meditation can make some Americans more selfish and less generous

When Japanese chef Yoshihiro Murata travels, he brings water with him from Japan. He says this is the only way to make truly authentic dashi, the flavorful broth essential to Japanese cuisine.
Maurizio Valsania

Valsania: America’s founders believed civic education and historical knowledge would prevent tyranny — and foster democracy

The majority of Americans today are anxious; they believe their democracy is under threat.
State officials recommend, among other important steps, that Arizona drivers check to ensure windshield wipers are ready for monsoon season. [Courtesy of ADOT]

Merrill: How to get your vehicle in monsoon shape

With all the recent fires in Arizona, it can be easy to forget that Monsoon Season 2021 is officially here.

Matheson: Says flight schools are awesome

Regarding a recent letter to the editor (“Why can’t aviation schools be awesome neighbors?” YourValley.net, June 8, 2021: Aircraft training schools are awesome neighbors! …
JohnEric W. Smith

Smith: How heat and humidity affect your body during heat waves

Less than a month into North America’s official summer, heat waves are blistering much of the West. California and the Southwest are facing excessive heat watches for the second time, after a mid-June heat wave pushed temperatures above 100 F.

Jennings: Calls out tax plan as vote theft

They stole my vote. Ali Baba (Gov. Ducey) and the 47 thieves ( the Republican-controlled legislature) stole my vote. I, along with 1.6 million other Arizonans voted for Prop 208 for more funding …
Amanda Baughan

Baughan: Why social media design makes it hard to have constructive disagreements online

Good-faith disagreements are a normal part of society and building strong relationships. Yet it’s difficult to engage in good-faith disagreements on the internet, and people reach less common ground online compared with face-to-face disagreements.

Catalano: Concerns over country’s nomenclature

The United States is on the continent of America. There are 35 countries on the continent of America. The people of all 35 countries are Americans. Canada, the United States, and Mexico are in …
Kerry Whigham

Whigham: Why reparations are always about more than money

In the United States, reparations to Black Americans for slavery are gaining traction.
Robert Gabriel Varady

Varady: ‘Megadrought’ along border strains US-Mexico water relations

The United States and Mexico are tussling over their dwindling shared water supplies after years of unprecedented heat and insufficient rainfall.
Cornell William Clayton

Clayton: Supreme Court blunts voting rights in Arizona — and potentially nationwide — in controversial ruling

Arizona may keep two voting laws that Republicans say protect election integrity and Democrats believe will make it harder for some residents to cast ballots.

Elliott: Should Trump get more credit for reopening?

Rarely have I read a more disingenuous, politically driven, ungrateful and misleading article than the recent commentary by Kathy Hoffman (“Biden-led return to normalcy just what students …
Chris Impey

Impey: No aliens, but transparency, better data might bring science to the UFO world

On June 25, 2021, the Pentagon released a much-anticipated report on UFOs to Congress.
Christina Sandefur

Sandefur: Less politics, more transparency and choice equals better education

Rather than focusing on the best education for each individual child, kids are learning that race is the most important part of their identity, determining whether they can succeed or fail.

Swarner: Reader wants light signal near Fry’s

I live northwest of 172nd and Jomax Road. We’re all looking forward to the new Fry’s grocery complex coming to 163rd Avenue and Pat Tillman Boulevard. I just read where the city …

Women’s Watch: Getting shots in the arms

As the coronavirus hit the United States in 2020, government officials traveled to the Centers for Disease Control to find out how fast they could get a vaccine in the arms of Americans and stop the spread of this deadly virus.

Burhop: Calls out Sen. Johnson on race

Sen. Ron Johnson, Republican from Wisconsin, never fails to offend. His not-so-subtle views, once again, make no sense whatsoever. I’m referring to his statement justifying his vote against …
Laurie Merrill

Merrill: Has a fire closed this highway? ADOT can tell you

On June 4, two wildfires ignited about 60 miles east of Phoenix and forced the closure of highways in the Globe area. News was happening quickly and additional highways were closed to allow firefighters to battle a blaze that has been as big as 165,000 acres.
Nan Hayworth

Hayworth: Bipartisanship — It’s a taste well worth acquiring

Bipartisanship is the broccoli of politics — everyone knows it’s good for us, but few of us love it.
Andrew Lautz

Lautz: Bipartisanship’s not dead; it just takes courage

President Biden promised a new era of bipartisanship when he was elected, telling media in December that “the nation’s looking for us to be united, much more united.”

Reagan: June 27 is PTSD Awareness Day and this is one soldier’s experience

Sunday, June 27, is National Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Injury Awareness Day. It is a day dedicated to raising awareness around the signs, symptoms and stigma associated with PTSD.

Lindstrom: Reader speaks on LWV

I read your article (“League of Women Voters honors Fontes”) and would like to make one correction to your story. I believe the League of Women Voters is not a nonpartisan …

Durfey: Realtor offers warnings during an out-of-balance real estate market

It is a challenging residential real estate market in a number of ways right now.

Menconi: Resident thankful for news

I wanted to let you know that I subscribed to my local newspaper because Rachel Maddow, one of my favorite pundits, told her viewers to subscribe to their local newspapers in order to keep their very …
Dr. David Bray

Bray: We can’t wait for the next pandemic for a better PPE plan

Right now, Americans can purchase nearly limitless quantities of masks, hand sanitizer and other personal protective equipment. But this time last year, it was an entirely different story.

Wechsler: No need to rename no-name team

I agree with Daniel Snyder’s decision to defer renaming his Washington Football Team (“A rose by any other name,” Daily Independent, June 15, 2021). There’s not much going …
S. Jay Olshansky

Olshansky: Millions rejecting one of humanity’s best life-saving weapons — vaccines

A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed by employees at a Houston hospital who did not want to be vaccinated for COVID-19, claiming that COVID-19 vaccines are unsafe.

Breen: Decries AZ recount effort as ‘fraudit’

Mike Siegel hits the nail right on the head (“Definition of political hypocrisy: Kelli Ward,” Daily Independent, June 15, 2021). Kelli Ward seems like a Trump wannabe. It’s …
David Ryan Miller

Miller: Biden’s Supreme Court commission probably won’t sway public opinion

Many liberals feared the court was becoming too conservative and called on then-candidate Joe Biden to “pack the court” by adding new seats and filling them with liberal justices.
Gail Baer

Baer: Philanthropist — It’s not a big word; It’s you!

When we consider the word “philanthropist,” we often picture someone older with extreme financial wealth.

Hochschartner: Cultured meat can save trees

In order to prevent deforestation, Sens. Kyrsten Sinema and Mark Kelly should back government funding for cultured-meat research. For readers who aren’t familiar with the term, cultured meat is …
Mike Siegel

Siegel: Definition of political hypocrisy — Kelli Ward

Since the Jan. 23 vote for State Republican Party chairman and other party officials, there has been an ongoing battle for either a recount and audit of those votes or a revote by the members of the Republican State Committee.

Murphy: Affordable housing isn’t benefit

I just read the article about the mayor’s proposal of creating affordable housing in Surprise (Mayor: City needs more affordable housing”). I believe the first responsibility of any …
Timothy Sandefur

Sandefur: Pandemic proves one-size-fits-all mandates aren’t the answer

If there’s one lesson the pandemic has made abundantly clear, it’s that one-size-fits-all government mandates are never the right solution, particularly when those mandates impact private property and businesses.

Gauthier: Reader wants to know why clubs targeted

My wife and I have lived in Sun City West for three years. Like any other community in America, we have governing bodies the are tasked with the governance of the country in what should be a …
Aaron Leak

Leak: Five fundamentals to financial recovery

The COVID-19 public health crisis triggered a financial crisis for many individuals and families.
Steven G. Zylstra

Zylstra: Union bill threatens innovation, tech employment

The Arizona Technology Council is deeply concerned about legislation in the U.S. Senate that could stifle innovation, limit employment opportunities and threaten Arizona’s thriving technology sector, as well as the state’s economy.
Fred Yamashita

Yamashita: Arizona’s economy should work for working people

Workers are the backbone of our economy. From our schools, grocery stores, hospitals, to the construction workers that build our roads and the electrical workers who power it all, our region runs because of workers.
Franciscan Renewal Center Hunger Action volunteers at the Saint Vincent De Paul (SVDP) Urban Farm where all of the fruits and vegetables go straight to the SVDP central kitchen to be incorporated into daily meals.

Murphy: From farm to food bank to fork

As a lifelong gardener, I realize how important fresh fruit and vegetables are to staying healthy and so I devote my time to growing tomatoes, lettuce, broccoli and cauliflower. Gardening has …
Erin Bass

Bass: Is tax avoidance ethical? Asking on behalf of a few billionaire friends...

Some of the U.S.’s wealthiest individuals reportedly pay just a tiny fraction of the billions of dollars added annually to their fortunes in federal income tax — sometimes they pay nothing at all.

Miller: Urges return to traditional GOP values

Unfortunately, most Republicans today continue to be too dependent on former president Donald Trump, a person not worthy of emulating. For that reason, I have formed, and trademarked, a new …
Dr. Sanjay Ramakumar

Ramakumar: June is Men’s Health Month — Don’t delay your annual check-up

We all need to have regular health screenings to make sure we are healthy, but during the pandemic, many men and women put off their screenings, and now is the time to get back on track.
Nancy S. Jecker

Jecker: I’m fully vaccinated — should I keep wearing a mask for my unvaccinated child?

Fully vaccinated adults are celebrating their new freedom and removing their face masks. Yet for parents of children under age 12, the rejoicing might be short-lived.
Chris Udall

Udall: Investing in water infrastructure good for economy, environment

The physical and natural infrastructure that Arizonans depend upon for their water supply needs attention.

Forde: RCSC fee reasonable; coyotes stay

I am writing regarding two things. One is regarding the lady who wrote in and said that single people should not have to pay as much of a Recreation Centers of Sun City property assessment as …
Jason Andringa

Andringa: Biden is right to redefine infrastructure

President Biden is in ongoing talks to discuss his multi-trillion-dollar infrastructure plan. Ever since its release, critics have claimed that many aspects of the plan have nothing to do with infrastructure.

Lynch: It takes effort to be informed on issues

This letter is in response to the Brian Reilly letter (“Letter writer misinformed about masks”). In his letter, Mr. Reilly, called Robert Oudenhoven “sadly ignorant on the …
Macie Chase

Chase: A rare occurrence — surviving colorectal cancer as a woman

Being diagnosed with any type of cancer is life-changing and as a 29 year-old, healthy, female with no history of cancer in my family — being diagnosed with Stage 3 colorectal cancer was literally a case for the medical books.

Lux: Living wage needed to lure workers

In response to Sybil Francis, president and CEO of the Center for the Future of Arizona, I’d like to point out that the groups she’s promoting to get the $700,000 in public school funding …
Johanna Dunaway

Dunaway, Darr, Hitt: Local newspapers can help reduce polarization with opinion pages that focus on local issues

If you’re confused about opinion journalism and what it is, you’re not alone. Many Americans are.
[The Associated Press]

Breen: Insurrection, not tourism says reader

It’s pathetic to see the Senate Republicans block the Jan. 6 [commission looking into the] storming of the U.S. Capitol. If that event is viewed as a “normal tourist visit,” as …
Marc Lamber

Lamber: Private businesses not likely liable for unmasked, unvaccinated customers

Private business owners in Arizona have been left to fend for themselves when it comes to masking and proof of vaccine policies.

Lux: Audit can have no real effect

The answer to Charles Huss’s questions of why so many people want the recount yet again to end is not that we’re worried it’s not counted correctly (“If it’s fair, why …
Linda Stein

Stein: ‘Make a Splash’ campaign promotes water safety

Three-time Olympic Gold Medalist Rowdy Gaines wants kids to be safe while having fun in the water this summer. So he’s partnering with fellow gold medalist swimmers like Cullen Jones to make it happen.
Dr. Sanjay Mishra

Mishra: Can people vaccinated against COVID-19 still spread the coronavirus?

When the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention changed its guidelines about mask wearing on May 13, 2021, plenty of Americans were left a little confused.

Mosely: Reader has issues with inspections

Several people have commented on the Recreation Centers of Sun City West article regarding their plans to offer presale home inspections. All comments I have heard are valid, although none really …

Burke: Outreach to vulnerable populations during pandemic

People who struggle with low-income, limited English proficiency, homelessness or with mental illness have historically relied on meeting with us in person at our local offices to get the help they need.

Nicolai: We need to learn to live with coyotes

The coyotes were here first. Midwesterners do not have a problem with them being here. If we have a small animal we put a leash on it and stay in the yard with it. I miss hearing the …
Christina Sandefur

Sandefur: The DEA must accommodate the Right to Try

Passed by 41 states before a federal version was signed into law in 2018, Right to Try gives dying patients the right to use investigational medicines that have been approved for safety, but not yet approved for final sale, by the federal government.
Jamie Rowen

Rowen: Veterans took an especially bad hit during the pandemic

As the nation takes a day to memorialize its military dead, living military veterans are facing a deadly risk that has nothing to do with war or conflict: the coronavirus.
Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs [The Associated Press]

Windsor: The plot thickens in Arizona

I recently submitted an opinion to the Daily Independent, pointing a finger at a couple of the ladies (Dr. Kelli Ward, AZ GOP chairwoman, and Karen Fann, Arizona Senate president) who are viciously …
Bryce C. Newell

Newell: Body cameras help monitor police but can invade people’s privacy

With the advent of police body cameras, information is often captured in police video recordings — which some states’ open-records laws make available to the public.

Borenstein: A new Chompie’s era begins amid Paradise Valley mall closure

Dear Chompie’s Paradise Valley customers and friends, We are at the end of an era! Along with the closing of Paradise Valley Mall, our Phoenix location within the mall will be closing its …

Andrews: Blames Obama for police critics

Re: Your Daily Independent Article on “Phoenix police keep tabs on social media, but who keeps tabs on cops?” I could not believe that cops are now being faulted for using …

Marta: Woman’s frozen face, garbled speech during Zoom call were signs of a stroke

At the start of the pandemic in March 2020, Dorothy Farris organized “Cocktails and Conversation,” a weekly hour-long Zoom session with a group of old friends. Thursdays from 5-6 p.m. quickly became a cherished part of their routines.

Nintzel: Now’s the time to prepare for a Memorial Day road trip

The extended Memorial Day weekend is something many of you have been looking forward to as a way to get out of town, especially after what the past year has delivered.
Jack Sellers

Sellers: Senate audit should preserve evidence

It is clear the Arizona Senate and its contractors do not intend to retract false allegations defaming Maricopa County and its employees.

Women's Watch: House passes Paycheck Fairness Act

The U.S. House, with bipartisan support and a vote of 217-210 passed the Paycheck Fairness Act, a stunning victory in the fight for fair pay. Now it is in the hands of the Senate. Equal pay has long …
Scott Staton

Staton: Developing a strategy with taxes, retirement

Concerned about how taxes may affect your retirement? If so, you’re part of a growing cadre of Americans, some of whom are beginning to reassess their finances as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the uncertainties it brought about.

Bartha: Speeding will not be stopped

Another crime of opportunity is excessive speeding in Sun City. None of this will be deterred until we incorporate and have a full-blown police department able and capable to monitor and protect …
Claudia Manzano Herrera

Herrera: These visionaries are working to make a difference

Whether it is due to losing a friend or offering to help an elderly person, there’s something in our lives that inspires us to do good for others.

Reilly: Letter writer misinformed about masks

In reply to Mr. Oudenhoven’s letter to the editor (“Mask wearing is supported by science,” Sun City West Independent, May 12, 2021), I would simply state, Mr. Oudenhoven is sadly …
Brian Elisco

Elisco: Thanks to the Valley’s EMS providers

As the challenges of coronavirus tested our nation’s resilience over the past year, we have all gained a greater appreciation for the vital contributions of front-line health care workers and first responders.

Stoffers: Reader appreciates color, art

Thank you for the more generous use of color and illustrations throughout the Independent! It  makes it so much easier to spot needed services in the classifieds and the copious use of …
Christopher Robertson

Robertson: Paying people to get vaccinated might work — but is it ethical?

A financial shot in the arm could be just what is needed for Americans unsure about vaccination.
Maricopa County ballots cast in the 2020 general election are examined and recounted by contractors working for Florida-based company, Cyber Ninjas, Thursday, May 6, 2021 at Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix. [The Associated Press]

Angster: Says Senate election audit ‘valuable’

Arizona appears to be in the forefront seeking election transparency. Contrary to controversy, the audit has no intention to overturn the election. The Senate bravely moved forward to have an …

Davidge: Touch the Glass — it’s the future of health care

The future of health care now belongs to Amazon, AmWell and those health systems that understand that winners and losers will be decided by “touch-the-glass” devices — cellphones and tablets.

Storms: ‘Speechless’ over water resources

My husband and I were speechless yesterday when we saw the headline, “This is not a crisis,” referring to the Arizona water problem. How long have they lived in Arizona? My husband has …
Mary Currie

Currie: Picture this — if you’ve got the time, we’ve got the miles

Arizona has no shortage of breathtaking views — More than 27,000 ADOT-maintained miles leads millions of travelers to experience roadside destinations this summer.

Gilchrist: Help promote mental health in May

May is Mental Health Month. By urging my public officials to prioritize suicide prevention, mental health and crisis care, I am hoping to influence collective change to support #MentalHealth4All. …
Emily Greene

Greene: Five ways the pandemic could change education for the better

The shift to remote learning during the pandemic caused angst for parents, but it also led to unexpected benefits that they may find hard to let go of as their children return to school.
John L. Smallwood

Smallwood: Key factors to know about the greatest disruptor of wealth

Paying taxes isn’t a favorite pastime of most Americans. And in retirement, paying higher taxes can be an unwelcome surprise when the financial plan did not account for them.
Dr. Barry Goodfield

Goodfield: Our treatment offers hope, healing to those with PTSD

I founded the Goodfield Institute LLC in the USA and The Netherlands and am also founder and CEO of Operation New Outlook, a nonprofit organization that works for and with veterans, first responders and their families to enhance their quality of life by treating post-traumatic stress.
Rep. Nancy Barto

Rep. Barto: SB1270 gives patients more control of health care options

Improving patient care should always be the driving force behind any legislation introduced at the state capitol, which is why I introduced Senate Bill 1270, a bill to exempt certain medications from an insurance practice known as step therapy.

Wilson: Calls out Legislature for Big Lie

What a wonderful forward-thinking Legislature we have. They want answers to an election problem which doesn’t exist. I suspect they will soon sponsor a bill to find the real answer to the …
Sarah Wessel

Wessel: Finance innovations bolster Arizona’s marijuana industry

Federal banking laws have created more than just an isolated crisis for Arizona’s multi-billion dollar marijuana industry.

Kraft: Let’s care for our ‘Mother Earth'

On Mother’s Day when I was reading the article, “NASA chief eyes climate, hedges on moon landing,” it reminded me of our other mother, Mother Earth. The new NASA chief, Bill …
Jack Sellers

Sellers: County board defends free, fair elections

Maricopa County government is not involved in the Cyber Ninja audit, but we have provided the Arizona Senate eight terabytes of data, ballots and election equipment involved in the 2020 General …

Abrami: Grass should not be grown in this area

This is in response to the letter to the editor about grass (“Sun City golf courses need more grass”). Simple answer is that people shouldn’t be growing grass at all in this …
Diane E. Brown

Brown: Transforming transportation can save money, protect public health

For many Arizonans, the turmoil caused by the arrival of the coronavirus pandemic last year taught us that our daily automobile commutes aren’t necessary, but that having transportation options are imperative.

Oudenhoven: Mask wearing is supported by science

This is in response to the opinion from Bruce Lamb (“Some employees don’t live in Sun City”). Bruce, I too am tired of the pandemic. But science is science. You wanting to not …
Saul Anuzis

Anuzis: The larger promise of new vaccine tech

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently announced that fully vaccinated Americans can gather indoors with friends and family — without wearing masks or social distancing.

Pastors: Protect our voting rights

Esteemed DOJ leadership: We have authored this letter to request your immediate intervention in Arizona, on behalf of Black voters, who are currently being involuntarily and very likely …
Stroke survivor and Buckeye resident Stephanie Flynn poses with her family. [Courtesy of Abrazo Health]

Flynn: Young stroke survivor thanks Abrazo West care team

The morning started off like any other day, little did I know it would end up being the most dramatic day in my life.

Andrews: Calls for cooperation with police

I recall a couple of things my mother said to me that I believe still apply today: “Nothing good happens after midnight” and “Don’t go to places where bad things …

Ender: Public safety should be top priority in Arizona

For more than five years, I have received the best civics education and it took place outside of a traditional classroom.
John King

King: "How To Avoid A Climate Disaster"

We know Bill Gates as a founder of Microsoft and later founder of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. But there is a Gates we do not know so well.

Burhop: What the heck is a cyber ninja?

Cyber Ninjas. I never heard of these people. What is a cyber ninja? Sounds like a kid’s video game. About the same level of credibility. They are searching our supposedly secret ballots with …
Arizona motorists have been crossing the Salt River via this scenic bridge along State Route 288 in Gila County since 1920. [Courtesy of ADOT]

Cline: Here’s the other Salt River bridge

Do us a favor and pick a bridge — any bridge — across the Salt River. Which one came to mind? Maybe along Interstate 10 near Sky Harbor International Airport?

Opinion: We must continue to push for sensible STR solutions, not bans

Last month, Arizona lawmakers had an opportunity to support legislation that would have made it easier for local cities to address nuisance short-term rental properties that have been the cause of …
Aaron Rodgers [The Associated Press]

Pickering: Raiders fan has home for Aaron Rodgers

Give Aaron Rodgers a break, Green Bay. Just like Bart Starr and Brett Favre, Aaron Rodgers has been a Hall of Fame quarterback for the Packers for 16 years. And like Favre, it appears that Rodgers …
Sue Rainey

Rainey, Elisco: Abrazo honors nurses’ contributions during National Nurses Week

Abrazo Health is proud to honor its nurses during National Nurses Week, May 6-12, an annual celebration that recognizes the critical role nurses perform in our hospitals and for our community.

Brown: Hospital needs better signs on Bell Road

I have a comment about the new micro hospital, Abrazo Surprise Hospital (located at 16815 W. Bell Road). Being a local resident, I’m aware of its location being situated a little distance …
Jon Soderstrom

Soderstrom: Patents don’t impede patients’ access to drugs and vaccines

Intellectual property rights are under assault overseas — and here at home. These attacks could prevent the creation of dozens of lifesaving medicines. That should worry every American.

Proven: ‘Ghetto’ tag in Sun City West confusing

When my husband and I — six-year residents of Sun City West — were vetting locations in which to retire back in 2005, there was so much to consider. Options were as plentiful as there …
Diane Nens

Nens: A surprising connection between hearing health and COVID-19

While COVID-19 most frequently affects the lungs, other parts of the body may also be impacted, such as a loss of taste and smell. For a smaller number of people, instances of hearing loss are emerging, according to the International Journal of Audiology.
Sybil Francis

Francis: Gov. Ducey signs HB 2862, advances learner-centered education

The Center for the Future of Arizona thanks Gov. Ducey for signing House Bill 2862, legislation that supports Arizona schools in providing learner-centered education to better meet the needs of every student and family.

Halikowski: It’s risky business in work zones for both crews and drivers

It’s got to be one of the worst phone calls to receive as a state Department of Transportation director. To find out you have an injured employee or, even worse, a fatality in a work zone — something that is totally preventable if people are driving safely through a work zone.
James Gahar

Gahar: Daily workouts, losing weight and staying healthy

My story is pretty simple. I was a very active young man, running everywhere, and served as a volunteer in an elite Navy unit.
Stephen Richer

Richer: Reflecting on 100 days at the Recorder’s Office

A newly elected president is said to have a 100-day honeymoon period before entering a routinely chaotic and combative political arena. I’d hoped the same courtesy would extend to a newly elected Recorder. It did not.
Jennifer Toth

Toth: Keep MCDOT workers safe, recognize ‘Work Zone Awareness Week’

Maricopa County is one of the fastest growing counties, which means having to constantly navigate safely around work zones and orange cones; and Maricopa County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) teams are working on projects across the county, ensuring the roads are safe and accessible.
Officials announced the reopening of State Route 273 between Sunrise Park and Big Lake in the White Mountains, pictured, along with other routes in the area. [Courtesy of ADOT]

Rookhuyzen: Spring has sprung, which means you can again travel these roads

Snow melting. Flowers growing. The swallows returning to Capistrano. All signs of spring finally returning after months of winter. In the world of transportation, there is another unmistakable sign that warmer weather is here to stay: The annual reopening of state highways in northern Arizona.

Hochschartner: Supports more cultured meat research

I was happy to learn the chair of the House Appropriations Committee, Rep. Rosa DeLauro, supports equal funding for alternative protein research. “The United States can continue to be a …
Rep. David Schweikert

Rep. Schweikert: The best plan for our workforce

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, our economy saw record-breaking growth. In 2018 and 2019 ,we saw wages, our unemployment rate, and revenues hit record-breaking levels.

Bagnato: Variances impacted by decisions

In the Recreations Centers of Sun City West E-News edition of April 14, 2021, there is a link to commentary by RCSCW Chief Financial Officer Pete Finelli. While any information is appreciated, the …
John Stanford

Stanford: Throwing away drug patents won’t cure anything

Last month, the World Trade Organization considered a petition from South Africa and India that, if adopted, would allow countries to ignore intellectual property protections on all things COVID-19.

Kepler: Reader tries to correct perceptions

Having read twice now in recent weeks about the misconception of “open borders,” let’s correct a few perceptions. More than 90% of single adults are expelled and more than 70% of …
Dariusz Godlewski

Godlewski: Beware of these financial myths, misconceptions about retirement

Many people look forward to retirement and all the enjoyment it can bring after having worked so hard for decades. But from a distance, whether a few years or many years away from retirement, it’s not easy to clearly see what retirement will look like.
Mike Siegel

Siegel: Ward’s GOP party election needs an audit

On Jan. 23, 2021, the Republican State Committee voted for a new state chairman and other officers and bylaw changes and additions at their annual meeting.
Hospice of the Valley veteran patient Kenneth Hamrick, left, and volunteer Ron Garner salute each other. [Courtesy of Hospice of the Valley]

Cooney: Hospice of the Valley surprises Goodyear veteran with special tribute

It was an emotional day to remember for veteran Kenneth Hamrick — not only did the staff at The Groves in Goodyear invite family and friends to a patio party to celebrate his 89th birthday, his Hospice of the Valley care team had another surprise in the works.

Zwick/Griffith: Senators must protect borrowers

Despite Arizona voters defeating a well-funded effort in 2008 to allow small-dollar loans to exceed our state’s interest rate cap of 36% plus fees, a persistent group of online high-cost …
Briana Owen

Owen: How to skip the diet, get your body results it needs

Keto. Low Carb. Eating programs based on a point system. You name it, the “diet” most likely exists. And while these programs offer the promise of a healthier lifestyle, touting huge …

Hochschartner: Thoughts on cultured meat funding

Sens. Kyrsten Sinema and Mark Kelly should support federal funding for cultured-meat research. For those who don’t know, cultured meat is grown from cells, without slaughter. Widespread …
Becky Harlow

Harlow: Philanthropy continues during COVID-19 crisis

As the pandemic surged through the country in 2020, many organizations had to evaluate how to continue their mission safely.
Demetra Presley [VoyagePhoenix.com]

Women's Watch: Sometimes best ideas found in unexpected places

Demetra Presley was inspired to start her nonprofit organization, Go With The Flow, after seeing a “Now This” video on Facebook about a teacher making “period packs” for her …
Matt Beienburg

Beienburg: Education savings accounts turn 10 and states are celebrating

What’s the best way to celebrate a big school choice birthday? Give more educational opportunities to more students.

McCoy: Trash cans need to be out of sight

I am writing concerning the article in the newspaper dated March 17 (“Property rules up for discussion”). I am a resident of Surprise and would like to voice my opinion of a situation …
Jon Lyons

Lyons: April 22 is Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day

My daughter was 10 years old when she first attended Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day at my office.
David Coward

Coward: Arizona must follow the Constitution for redistricting

Some are advancing the argument that the 2010 process was flawed because it emphasized “competitiveness.” This is a false argument used to undermine the integrity of the work of the 2011 redistricting commission and perpetuates the idea that the 2011 district maps were unfairly drawn to benefit Democrats because competitiveness was considered.

Verdier: What does the COVID-19 vaccine mean for employers?

Distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine is well under way. We all hope this is a means to an end of social restrictions and making our way back to life as we once knew it. According to the CDC over …
John Safin

Safin: Help our communities return to a brighter future

Gov. Doug Ducey’s executive order on March 25 certainly had and will continue to have an impact on our community. Whether you agree or disagree with the transition of “required” virus mitigation to “recommended,” it’s here.
Tim Dickman

Dickman: Short-term rentals are a pig in the parlor — with lipstick

Supreme Court Justice George Sutherland (who also was a former U.S. Senator and congressman from Utah) famously noted in the landmark 1926 case of Euclid v. Ambler Realty Co. that: “A nuisance may be merely a right thing in the wrong place — like a pig in the parlor instead of the barnyard.”

Civic Alliance: The right to vote is the cornerstone of our democracy

We believe every American should have a voice in our democracy and that voting should be safe and accessible to all voters.

Rockowitz: Opinion of reporting on HonorHealth ER

Your newspaper was contacted by various concerned residents of Paradise Valley who felt unscrupulous developers and the city of Phoenix were inappropriately and permanently changing our residential …

Kraft: Mother Earth needs a tax break

Tax season is here and we must all pay taxes. This is an unavoidable truth. Unfortunately, another unavoidable truth is Mother Earth is overtaxed. Her current rate is way too high. We can’t …

Harding: Visiting the site of the Granite Mountain Hotshots? Honor them by doing it safely

Planning to visit Granite Mountain Hotshots Memorial State Park in Yarnell? Make sure you do it by not parking illegally along State Route 89, putting yourself and others at risk.

Sahlberg: Sun City banner needs to be replaced

I’m sending you another plea for a new Sun City flag at the corner of Grand and 107th avenues. You put hard work into trying to draw people to our community by putting any and all kinds of …
Aaron Leak

Leak: Are money issues ruining your relationship?

The COVID-19 pandemic has played havoc with families’ finances through lost jobs, squeezed budgets, increased debt and missed payments.

Axelson: Golf course recycle bins are unsightly

We are concerned about the unsightly trash at the recycling bins at Pebblecreek Golf Course, 18838 N. 128th Ave. It is an eyesore. People are discarding too much trash there and the bins need to …
Dr. Andi Simon

Simon: Women face myriad of injustices; can a better world emerge?

What does it say about our culture when moms and their children are facing unbearable pain and trauma during the pandemic? This crisis has simply amplified the way women in the U.S. are undervalued, or not valued at all.

Miller: What guns do I really need?

In the ongoing debate over gun control you often hear statements like “no one really needs an AK-47 or an AR-15” (these are usually mislabeled “assault weapons”) or “no …
Bob Ramsey

Ramsey: Here’s one key to continued vaccination progress

As more and more of America gets vaccinated, proof of vaccination could be the ticket to the new normalcy.
The Arizona Department of Transportation recommends making special preparations whenever traveling in Arizona during hot weather. [Courtesy of ADOT]

Nintzel: Prepare for highway trips as Arizona transitions to warmer weather

The annual transition is underway. As April arrives, many Arizonans start to deal with the reality that winter weather is long gone and pleasant spring temperatures will make way for the “hot stuff.”
Bill Gates

Gates: Vaccinations ongoing; we must continue prevention efforts

March was another milestone month with nearly 1.2 million Maricopa County residents receiving at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Tiffany Di Giacinto

Di Giacinto: Help save the planet while protecting your oral health this Earth Day

As Earth Day approaches on April 22, it’s worth looking at a few easy ways to add a little green to our dental routine. But where should one start?
U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) Friday, Feb. 26, 2021 in Orlando, Fla. [The Associated Press]

Pickering: Says Gaetz guilty, ‘lock him up’

Matt Gaetz, the reactionary Republican representative from the western portion of Florida’s panhandle region, is the subject of an ongoing federal criminal investigation by the U.S. Justice …

Boyles: Reflecting on impotent society

I was on hold for 45 minutes before a gruff customer service representative snapped, “Can I help you?” I was on hold for so long that I forgot what I was calling about. As I sprung to …
Dr. Helen Boucher

Boucher: Preventing next public health crisis can define Biden’s legacy

The Biden administration’s plan to defeat the coronavirus is underway — and notably includes intentions to “build better preparedness for future threats.”

Bohline: Resident objects to inverted U.S. banner

As one of those other “people” (quotes are his) referenced in George Aschendorf’s letter (“People can hang flags on property”) a couple weeks ago, I take issue with his …
Matt Beienburg

Beienburg: Lawmakers crack code to K-12 funding in Arizona

Arizona lawmakers just cracked the code for education funding in Arizona. But perhaps not in the way they intended.
Rep. Paul Gosar

Gosar: Don’t close the Apache Junction Social Security office

The Social Security Administration has made its intention known that it is considering shuttering the Apache Junction Social Security office and moving more than 20 miles away, to the town of Gilbert.
Jack Sellers

Sellers: 2020 election was run with integrity

I understand the Arizona Senate has moved forward with selecting and contracting with firms to complete their review of the November 2020 General Election results. I am not familiar with any of the firms listed in the Senate press release.

Feess: Ideas on immigration, gun control

I, like most Americans, am frustrated by Congress’s inabilities to do anything toward solving pressing current problems. I would like to suggest two remedies here on which members of both …
Arizona Department of Transportation crews work on the Meteor Crater and Two Guns bridge deck replacement and rehabilitation project on Interstate 40 east of Flagstaff. [Courtesy of ADOT]

Merrill: Zipper merge eases traffic — and your dilemmas

Does merging on the highway pose a dilemma for you?

Burhop: Should care about health, not nationality

As a Republican, I am puzzled at Rep. Debbie Lesko’s stance on who should get the COVID vaccine. I believe the concept of “herd immunity” was first mentioned by former President …

Goldwater’s plan to unleash innovation in American health care

While the COVID-19 pandemic has created unforeseen challenges for the American health care system, it has also created innovative opportunities for long-overdue health care reform.

Goncalves: VP elected, says racism is no more

Vice President Kamala Harris stated that America is racist and has always been racist. Her father was from Jamaica and her mother from India. She was elected in the United States of …

Carpenter: Get creative with the ADOT Safety Message Contest

Remember when your teachers would tell you to “put your thinking caps on” before an activity?

Griswold: Rescue plan does not help most in SC

The recently enacted American Rescue Plan does not provide help directly to Sun City, because we are unincorporated. Funds are allocated to Maricopa County and surrounding cities based on …
Bobby Boland

Boland: What can I do after my COVID-19 vaccination?

We have a vaccine! In fact, we have three — with more on the way.

Ryon: Time to ditch ‘silly’ face masks?

I am really irritated when I look at the “Independent” and see photos of students who have achieved, but they are all wearing masks. That is so silly. Can we not see the faces of these …
Jim Braun

Braun: Tax filing time a good time to look ahead

With tax time upon us, one message we keep hearing is that you should file as early as possible.
Edward Snowden

Miller: Says that Snowden a ‘martyr’

Edward Snowden is a martyr. I have recently learned that misdeeds of government officials are nearly impossible to expose. I learned this by reading Edward Snowden’s book “Permanent …
Connie Whitlock

Whitlock: Local park restroom gets facelift from artistic teens

This past weekend, several of Surprise’s teens came together to give the Surprise Bicentennial Park’s Restroom a fresh painting of an old mural from 9 years ago.
Teresa Leahy

Leahy: April is National Donate Life Month and marks COTA’s 35th anniversary

The Children’s Organ Transplant Association has been removing the financial barriers for families facing transplants for 35 years.
A portion of the Bush fire burns through the Tonto National Forest on Tuesday, June 16, 2020, as seen from Apache Junction. [The Associated Press]

Cline: This year let’s give firefighters a break

Fire season may be getting an early start this year.
Steve Chucri

Chucri: It’s time reevaluate county’s mask policy

The mask policy was not something I took lightly.
Nancy Barto

Barto: We can protect most vulnerable, make women’s safety a priority

Remember when the abortion industry grieved the deaths of women performing their own abortions in back alleys? It was a battle cry for legal abortion throughout the country that eventually led to the U.S. Supreme Court decision, Roe v. Wade.
Eamon and Pat Treanor spot familiar landmarks in his hometown of Monaghan, Ireland as Hospice of the Valley social worker Callie Dettinger shares the video from Flight to Remember, which takes hospice patients on virtual memory tours. [Courtesy of Hospice of the Valley]

Cooney: Local Irishman took virtual visit to boyhood home

Alzheimer’s disease has robbed 82-year-old Brendan “Eamon” Treanor of day-to-day memories. Yet he can vividly recall his childhood in tiny Monaghan, Ireland, where he went to school, played soccer and lived on a street called St. Patrick’s Terrace.
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