Donations keep county services going

Residents stepped forward to assist with two areas of need in Moffat County and the state will have to take on a third.

Two Craig Kiwanis Club officers and Jerry Thompson, owner of Craig Ford Mercury, approached county commissioners Tuesday to demonstrate a commitment to community needs.

The Kiwanis Club handed over a check for $2,500 to keep Shadow Mountain Clubhouse's doors open, and Thompson donated a car to the county's veterans' service program.

Commissioners unanimously decided against taking on the responsibility for the Medicaid transportation program, which helps people get to distant medical services. The Kiwanis Club announced its intention to donate funds earlier this year, and on Tuesday, Mike Anson, club president, and Mike Brinks, club treasurer, handed over the check.

"The community spoke and said they wanted to keep Shadow Mountain open and as part of the community. We agreed," Brinks said.

Later in the afternoon, John Garcia, the county veteran's service officer, announced that Jerry Thompson had donated a car for Moffat County veterans to use to get to medical appointments. Thompson donated the car through his business, Craig Ford Mercury.

"It's a good, reliable car," Thompson said. The car, which has about 80,000 miles, previously belonged to the Craig Police Department, he said.

Bill Harding, who was the county veteran's service officer before Garcia, said veterans often need assistance to get to Grand Junction for medical treatment especially because there is no practical public transportation.

"The solution is to get local health care. Either improve transportation or localize care," Harding said.

In other health related news, Moffat County commissioners decided against taking charge of the Medicaid Transportation program.

The program provided funds to people who qualified for Medicaid to travel for health services that aren't available locally. Gas, food and lodging costs were defrayed by the state. In July, those services effectively ended for Moffat County residents.

Marie Peer, director of social services, said she'd not heard any complaints or stories of people who have been hurt by the cut in services.

The state offered Moffat County $1,900 to run the program that had cost the state about $9,000 for the first six months of 2003, Peer said.

She added that $1,900 would be enough to fund 16 round-trip visits to Denver, not including food or lodging.

If the county had accepted the state's proposal, they would have been responsible for any costs above $1,900.

Moffat County Commissioners declined the state's offer. Peer said the program will continue, but the state will likely hire a private contractor

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