Our View: What state line?
April 1, 2005
May Emma Ogg didn’t mince words when she ob–jected to a recent article in the Craig Daily Press about funding for the Noyes Health Care Center in Baggs, Wyo.
The Baggs senior citizen thought the tone of the article demeaned the resident of the Little Snake River Valley.
“We are not moochers,” she said in a phone call Friday, “and a lot of people are angry about what (reporter Rob Gebhart) wrote.”
That’s unfortunate because the article was written to explore the relationship between Craig and Baggs, Wyo., which we think is a good one.
It’s true that Moffat County commissioners are asking for some justification to continue their contributions to the nonprofit Noyes Health Care Center. The Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association also is asking Moffat County commissioners to get involved in finding out whether Carbon County, Wyo., will support the VNA financially.
The commissioners are Moffat County’s Board of Health and are responsible for providing public health funding, which goes to the VNA. The VNA treated 46 Little Snake residents in the past two years and charged them according to what they could afford.
It’s a fair question for the commissioners to ask why Colorado tax dollars should support Wyoming residents. But the same article provided the answer: because Craig and Baggs have a symbiotic relationship.
Several people were quick to point out that it’s not a one-way street. Wyoming residents travel to Craig to shop and they buy a lot of big-ticket items as well as staples. They contribute to the economy and generate sales tax revenue.
“The clinic, it’s really, really needed, and I know Moffat County might sometimes think they’re helping out the valley, but the valley helps out Moffat County, too,” Baggs resident Scott Herald said. He owns Outlaw Liquors in Baggs, and his wife works at Noyes Health Care Center.
Wyoming residents use our hospital and visit Craig doctors for medical issues that are beyond the capacity of the clinic. Dr. Thomas Told, the Craig physician who works at the Noyes Health Care Clinic for a half-day once a week, said it’s not uncommon for Colorado to provide medical care for border towns in Wyoming as well as Kansas and Nebraska.
“In my impression, the state of Colorado has been extremely important in providing medical care to the region rather than just the state,” Told said.
We should be proud of the relationship between Craig and Baggs. We have more in common than not. Moffat commissioners have only asked for justification for their contribution to the clinic. They haven’t threatened to cut off funding and we hope the ensuing dialogue will reassure Baggs residents that Craig residents consider them good neighbors.