Letters to the Editor, January 9-11, 2013
January 9, 2013
On January 1, 2014, insurance exchanges will provide a tax credit to families who earn up to 4 times the poverty level to make the purchase of private health-care insurance more affordable. Also, the exchange will guide the working poor earning up to 133% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) to enroll in state Medicaid on the federal dime.
If Republican states refuse to implement Medicaid expansion to make a political point, it will not only hurt their least fortunate constituents, it will affect every taxpayer and every American who has health insurance.
Hospitals should be up in arms and pressuring their state politicians, because Medicaid expansion would cover those most likely to use emergency services that cost hospitals tens of billions in unpaid hospital bills. Safety-net hospitals are losing their federal subsidies for treating the destitute. Medical providers pass this indigent cost along to the rest of us.
Businesses employing more than 50 workers and not paying a livable wage will have to insure these otherwise eligible people. In smaller businesses, low-income workers simply fall between the cracks, as they do now. Google the FPL yourself and multiply by 1.33 to see if you could have qualified. Below is a partial chart:
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$20,122 (family of 2)
$25,389 (family of 3)
$30,656 (family of 4)
Round Valley skiers: use Willow Park’s example
Willow Park is not the usual place that I skate ski, but I skied there Thursday.
It was busy and everyone on the trail there was aware of themselves their friends, their pets and other people on the trail. Folks keep appropriate space between themselves, their pets and others.
No one was self absorbed on a cell phone or wrapped up in themselves; rather, everyone was poised, enjoying the outdoor trails happily sharing with everyone out there.
People greeted each other and didn’t ignore the existence of each other.
Thank you, Willow Park, for the wonderful demonstration of how to use our trails. Round Valley users have a lot to learn from Willow Park.
Current Kimball design is a missed opportunity
This is a response to the Kimball Art Center (KAC) Board’s open letter requesting feedback. After thoroughly analyzing the winning design proposal, I respectfully offer the following observations:
Questions of style and location aside, there are some things to like. BIG’s use of material, scale and light create an object of elemental raw power. The iconic timber addition takes center stage and demands attention. The gallery and support spaces are adequately accommodated.
On the negative side, the addition appears oafish and fortress-like when set in context, both to its historic antecedent, the Kimball, and to Historic Main Street. The old and new here are forced to dialogue, but each neither benefits from, nor materially informs the other. The tower addition turns inward, offering little in the way of an invitation to the public to engage with KAC’s message of "Art in the Community." An open lecture hall cuts through the main floor to the basement and weakens the entry; the sunny Park Avenue corner is closed in for a welding shop; and a new basement gallery is completely cut off on two sides by a moat-like volume. Galleries seem remote and disconnected from public view. The designers bring the windowless east wall to the ground, eliminating any connection to Lower Main Street. Roof sculpture gardens seem an afterthought.
From an urban design solution, the design presents further problems. The pedestrian at the sidewalk edge is offered no shelter, no place of rest, or even a clear view of the art, functions and patrons. The restaurant breaks with the proven street café model, takes the function far inside and reminds one more of an airport lounge. The building seems to beg for a stronger entry and more skillful navigation of level changes and layering of spaces at the pedestrian level. The result is a missed opportunity to strengthen the corner and to connect the building and contents to the energy of the street.
So in short, because KAC’s art and activities can’t get out into the public view, and because residents and visitors aren’t invited in, I feel it is unlikely they will embrace the new building or support its mission into the future. A thoughtful re-examination of this problem might begin by empanelling a qualified citizen board to help.
Steven A. Swanson