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Many Americans think that hospice and palliative care providers are solely tasked with caring for patients and family who are facing the end of life. The reality is that hospice and palliative care organizations serve as important community-based care providers who have connections and relationships deep within the communities that they serve. And those community connections can be valuable in many challenging times, including the current situation of Coronavirus (COVID-19) that is a serious issue for us all.

The value of our provider community was reinforced yesterday when Vice President Pence invited leaders from the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization – including hospice CEOs – to participate in a COVID-19 Task Force meeting at the White House yesterday. The Vice President clearly understands that hospice providers play a necessary role in educating the community as well as providing necessary care to vulnerable populations as the Coronavirus crisis unfolds.

Locally, community-based care providers, such as Treasure Valley Hospice, are committed to leveraging relationships and resources in order to respond to the Coronavirus just as they would with any other emergency. Community based providers are providing ongoing education to patients and family caregivers on the steps that they can take to reduce the risk of contracting the Coronavirus. If an individual is seriously ill, maintaining social distancing becomes very important. This may include limiting visitors in their homes and maintaining at least 3 feet distance between anyone that is sneezing or coughing.

The hospice community look forward to continuing to work collaboratively with the Administration and local healthcare providers in developing guidance that will address the unique needs and abilities of providers who deliver care to patients and family caregivers in the home.

Honey Goodman, COO of Treasure Valley Hospice

Plan and prepare

Although the risk of coronavirus (COVID19) is currently low in Idaho, now is the time to plan and prepare.

One potential concern is that COVID19 might stress the capacity of our healthcare providers if large outbreaks occur. Reducing the number of illnesses can help to reduce the number of healthcare visits and hospitalizations. Both vaccines and antiviral medications for COVID19 are in development, but none are available now to help reduce the impact of this virus. However, there are ways to reduce the burden on the healthcare system overall by practicing everyday health measures.

Always stay home when you are ill, and good old fashion washing your hands with soap and water is a time proven way to stay healthy, and let’s not forget the annual flu shot. Influenza and COVID19 are appearing to have similar symptoms. While we are worried about the threat of COVID19, we cannot forget the illnesses that threaten our lives on a consistent basis. The flu season is far from over with outbreaks still occurring in the US. By getting the flu vaccines, you can reduce influenza-related illness by more than 50-percent.

Please talk with your local healthcare expert; like your doctor, nurse or pharmacist about the importance of being up to date on the flu vaccine or any other recommended vaccine for your individual age group.

Karen Sharpnack, executive director of the Idaho Immunization Coalition


Now that OUR federal agencies have released the latest salmon/orca extinction plan, the sixth in a predictably disappointing carbon-copy series, its time now, more than ever, for Idahoans to join with Congressman Simpson, and Governors Brown and Inslee to facilitate the one action necessary to restore our fish- restoration of the lower Snake River migration habitat via dam removal. It would be helpful (and uplifting) if OUR Governor would get on board by directing his forces to work on the real impediments to salmon recovery- energy, shipping and irrigation replacement. Ratepayers and taxpayers have been jilted out of $17 Billion over the last 20 years to save the dams. Never mind losses suffered by the Tribes, commercial and sportfisherpeople, outfitters and guides, Orca, forest health, etc. This compared to the DEIS breach estimate of $955 million spread out over the next 50 years. That’s $16B we could have spent on useful things like clean energy, an efficient rail system, longer irrigation pipes, and fishing gear! And, although breach was again identified as the action most certain to restore the fish, something less was recommended to avoid disturbing the status quo. Notably, this “something less”, known as the “preferred alternative”; won’t restore the fish. Based on this and the historical lunacy of the document, I will heretofore refer to it as the Daft EIS, considering that synonyms for “daft” include: absurd, preposterous, ridiculous, ludicrous, farcical, and laughable: How can a plan that dooms the foundation of our cultures, economies, and ecosystems be anything but? Its more obvious than ever that OUR federal employees Feds have no intention of restoring OUR fish. Idahoans, if you’ve ever thought of taking action, now would be a good time! Support Mike Simpson and “inspire” Brad Little to bring the gift of salmon back to Idaho.

David Cannamela, Boise

And the poor

I read with interest the Owyhee Avalanche of February 26 reporting the Lincoln Day luncheon and fundraiser for, theoretically, those Republicans running for office.

All of the powers that be were in attendance from the top of the totem pole to the least. Notice that I did not say the bottom of the totem pole.

The only balley-hoo that I saw in print was from our good Senator Risch who recently attained national attention for falling asleep at Trump’s impeachment trial. I wouldn’t want him on any jury of mine. I guess he draws his normal salary while asleep? Can we get our money back?

I looked in vain for high-minded slogans like — we, the Republicans (nobody else there?) are going to do something for the poor, the homeless veterans, the single mothers, the low wage worker who couldn’t come to the GOP luncheon because he/she had to work three of Senator Risch’s seven million new minimum wage jobs.

I can hear the cry from the audience that didn’t go up from the audience — “we are doing enough for those folks!”

From back in the kitchen I can also hear a mutter from the low paid kitchen help — “But its not enough!

Welcome to the home of the brave and the land of the free — and the poor.

Ray Heidt, Homedale


Senate Passes Abdication of Responsibility Bill

While you were asleep, our Idaho Legislature willfully exposed itself to a lawsuit by crossing the Separation of Church and State line as expressed in our US and Idaho State Constitutions. Our tax dollars will be spent having the words “In God We Trust” displayed above the chairs of presiding officers. No longer will our esteemed lawmakers have to be accountable for their decisions. They are under the tacit delusion that the Creator of the Universe will guide them in their resolutions to an infallible and indisputable end.

Article 9 Section 5 states: SECTARIAN APPROPRIATIONS PROHIBITED. Neither the legislature nor any county, city, town, township, school district, or other public corporation, shall ever make any appropriation, or pay from any public fund or moneys whatever, anything in aid of any church or sectarian or religious society, or for any sectarian or religious purpose…

As Idaho creeps its way into a more diverse society, our legislature seems to be making a stand against all other gods but theirs. Had they chosen to enshrine themselves with the words In Allah We Trust, Christians and Mormons here would lose their minds.

Bulldozing ahead with their Might is Right, God is on Our Side motto, our legislature intends to cram their beliefs down the throats of all who hold different opinions about deities.

Our legislatures took an Oath of Office before they took their seats in our capitol building. “I do solemnly swear (or affirm, as the case may be) that I will support the Constitution of the United States, and the Constitution of the State of Idaho, and that I will faithfully discharge the duties of —————————__ according to the best of my ability.” Empty words. So much for honor and integrity.

Paul Flentge, Eagle

Common sense?

Cherry picking statistics?

Recent letters quoted scary statistics on suicides to ram home justifications for pleading for “common sense” gun control. Problem being: if the writer was really diligent, he/she would have gone to governmental sources (FBI) and found that the actual suicides rates by fire arms for 2018 was .000075% and murder to be .000047% of the USA population of 320,000,000 people. By contrast: out of 1.25 million car deaths per year that rate is .00012%!

Now get this: the number of deaths in small cars (almost two thirds) is due to being hit by big cars (trucks and SUVs)! So “common sense” would be to outlaw big cars and trucks? And before you defend the SUVs for large families, AAA survey shows that 89% of SUVs on the road will only have one person during most common commute times! Every day, in my Prius, I am constantly threatened or bullied by drivers in their UAVs (urban assault vehicles)!

Now as for really caring about all of this you only need to view Ken Burn’s “Prohibition” to fully comprehend the magnitude of suddenly outlawing the cultural love of an obsession—Guns, alcohol and other “big things”!

Finally here is a mental exercise for you to conduct while you are waiting at that long traffic light: Just how would you commence, going out of your house and starting with your 320 million neighbors, set out to size 400 million firearms from the 60 million people in this country? Could it be done? Well, in the 1930s, there was this devout catholic and great speaker in Berlin Germany

Robert A. Taylor, Boise


Jeers to the snowflake legislators who are offended by the reporting and programming of PBS. They can always turn the channel to their favorite Fox News echo chamber.

Gregory Lansberry, Boise


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