Monday, June 5, 2023

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Letters | Donovan will be missed

Navajo Times | Adron Gardner
Navajo Times correspondent Bill Donovan poses with towers of books from his personal collection numbering more than 13,000 at his home in Gallup on April 21, 2017.

I was saddened to read of the death of Bill Donovan — longtime reporter for the Navajo Times and commentator on Navajo history and life.

Bill was uniquely qualified to report on Navajo news — not because he was a Navajo, he was not, and not because he was bilingual, he was not – but because he fit into the Navajo world in a way that made Navajos and others in Navajo country comfortable in talking with him and because Bill was a great listener — like all great reporters.

Today’s world is full of “talking heads” who play at being journalists and other so-called journalists whose principal claim to fame is their wardrobe or couture.

This was certainly not true of Bill. Bill’s dedication to finding the news, not being the news, was critically important.

Who can forget Bill’s AMC Gremlin or his history of losing his job, only to regain it when his successors were politically correct, but incapable of getting a story right.

He will be missed.

Lawrence A. Ruzow
Flagstaff, Ariz.

Disturbing facts about Twin Arrows Casino

My husband and I both have wanted to write this letter for a long time, so I have decided not to waste another minute to point out disturbing facts about Twin Arrows Casino.

While we are not sure who is making the decisions about this casino’s operation, we are hopeful by publishing this it will get the attention of those that need to address it.

Since 2013, when Twin Arrows opened, we have been fairly regular patrons. Many of those times we have witnessed Navajo Nation employees (NNE) who were attending meetings, conferences, etc., behave extremely rudely to the employees of the casino.

For example, NNE that eat in the restaurants are insolent to the wait staff, demanding, complaining, and rarely if ever, give gratuities.

NNE are allocated daily per diem travel funds, yet many of them pocket the money and refuse to tip the casino staff.

I have personally witnessed very vulgar behavior towards the casino employees by NNE, and was shocked to see such disrespect, especially when representing the tribal offices.

There is an arrogant demeanor and an expectation to be treated as if they are better than all other patrons. This is not a one-time happening. I have seen it many times repeated by different NNE.

It is my understanding these employees on travel additionally receive comp accommodations so the rooms are paid for, which means those rooms cannot be sold to other patrons for that time period.

Has no one ever trained these NNE on how to behave in public, especially when representing the office of the Navajo Nation? Have these individuals ever received the proper education on how to act, or the meaning of respect?

I am quite sure the offending person(s) would never allow themselves to be treated the way I have seen them treat casino staff. It would be wise for the gaming commission, and all the offices of the Navajo Nation, to require the NNE to attend seminars and training on the proper behavior, not just when travelling, but also while doing their jobs from their tribal offices.

It is absolutely unacceptable to see the bad-mannered NNE treat others in the community and casinos so obscenely. The NNE are given the funds for travel, and the foul behavior and lack of respect plus not giving gratuities is truly ludicrous. Provide training!

Secondly, why is the Navajo Nation continuing to make masks mandatory?

It has been scientifically proven that masks do not prevent the spread of COVID or any other viruses. Why not simply put the temperature gauge at the entrances of businesses? If someone is detected as having an elevated temperature, then they do not enter.

In no way am I discounting the tragedies of COVID-19 on the reservation. Our own family suffered losses of very close relatives. My husband and I, and our children, all caught the COVID-19 virus, and thankfully all recovered. It is devastating to recall the heartbreak so many families endured as a result of Covid.

However, as a person with many medical family members, including doctors, family nurse practitioners, physician assistants, registered nurses, etc., I implore the Navajo Nation to educate yourselves about the mask.

It is not preventative of COVID-19, and has been scientifically proven that wearing the mask could indeed cause oneself to become ill from the bacteria and microorganisms that harbor deadly germs. Put up the temperature gauges and stop those that are ill from entering the Navajo Nation businesses.

As far as the mask mandate at Twin Arrows, it has caused mass losses of revenue. People do not want to wear a mask while sitting for lengthy periods of time at slot machines or tables.

Those customers are driving to Camp Verde, and often times travel on to Phoenix to spend their money at those casinos.

It is sad to walk in Twin Arrows, a beautiful building with exceptional accommodations and excellent food, and see how empty the business is. It used to be a bustling casino, very active and full of energy, but now it seems hollow.

Wearing a mask should be optional. Those that want to wear the mask should do so, but mandatory requirement should be replaced by temperature readings.

I genuinely hope those in charge of the Navajo Nation businesses and enterprises will take the above messages very seriously and make the necessary changes to prevent closures of its casinos and other industries. And please, train your employees.

Mare’ Chee
Tonalea, Ariz.

A list of issues that need attention

Hello and thanks to all who applied and currently holding interviews with constituents and the general public.

Several issues I would like our next applicants to address and repair:

Demolish all abandon tribal, state and U.S. government buildings/trailers throughout the Navajo Nation. Boarding school buildings in Kaibeto, Shiprock, Red Valley, and Tuba City and Navajo Police buildings for example.

Repair/upgrade highway from Teec Nos Pos to Shiprock. Badly needs repair.

Laws to make livestock owners responsible for damages and accidental fatalities should their livestock enter designated roadways. Increase funding for livestock ranger personnel to enforce and issue citations.

Upgrade Navajo Nation laws to address and add new illegal drugs not listed. Laws to share information with state, county, vehicle insurance and federal government in cases of violation.

Identify all unpaved roads in need of repair, upgrade or rerouting to improve road conditions (culvert, gravel, berms, etc.). Do not wait until summer or winter storms. An input from all citizens that live along dirt roads would help. Yes, have them repaired within four years. Your job and voters depend on these roads for school, work and general travel.

Make burning trash in residential areas illegal and punishment of a fine. No trash burning in barrels.

Roadside venders must be 100 feet off roadway.

Demolish all abandoned commercial buildings Navajo Nation wide. Stores, tire shops, old trailers, etc.

Good high-paying jobs on the reservation, please. How many Navajo Nation CARES checks were sent off the reservation? That’s how many Navajos that could come home and work and live, but cannot because of low paying jobs or simply no jobs.

Thank you all for applying. You now have a work list to complete. More work to add in your local areas and chapters. Thank you.

Eugene Begay
Tonalea, Ariz.


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