Letters to the Editor

Letter: Why privatize the landfill?

July 29, 2014 — 

I was amazed by the statement by Commissioner John Martin in the July 22 article on privatizing the West Garfield County Landfill. Mr. Martin states that, “It’s time to take a business approach with the landfill, so that it can stand as a true enterprise with its own revenue.”

Really? Where has he been? The West Garfield Landfill is a self-sustaining enterprise. The revenue generated at the landfill is enough to pay for employee wages, supplies, equipment and equipment repair. The landfill offers a number of services to commercial businesses and to the residents of Garfield County. New septage impoundments are being built to further enhance what is in place.

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Letter: Short-term solar thinking in New Castle

July 29, 2014 — 

New Castle was presented the opportunity to install, at no cost, a community solar garden in a weed-infested parcel bounded by Castle Valley Ranch. Prompt action was needed for this project to happen. The council voted 5-1 to present the project to the community on July 29. Benefits would have included the ability of the town and those residents in Garco/Excel who subscribed, to stabilize their energy costs for 25 years or more. This includes those who have no access to rooftop solar energy. Downsides include impacts on adjacent property owners.

A group of owners, most not proximal to the site, torpedoed community input by their well-organized but fact-deficient campaign, including the threat of legal action. Their major concern was the effect on property values of a solar array. Despite the existence of multiple recent studies showing the positive effect of rooftop solar on property values, this group created an aura of nonacceptance, forcing the Clean Energy Collective to withdraw the application. Thus, a small subset of residents may well have cost the town and a large majority of residents valuable long-term assets.

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Letter: Protect places like the Thompson Divide

July 28, 2014 — 

The peak of the summer season in the Colorado Rockies is here, and local businesses will undoubtedly reap the benefits of the increased local and visitor-generated activity in the months to come. This is, in no small part, due to the many outdoor opportunities found in the White River National Forest that surrounds us.

The White River is the most visited national forest in the country, and the Roaring Fork Valley brings in more summer tourists, spending more dollars, than any other area in Colorado. Our national forest is quite possibly the most important economic engine we have in this small area of the state. Unfortunately, we currently stand to lose an important part of this economic engine in the Thompson Divide area.

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Letter: Thanks for returning billfold at Mountain Fair

July 28, 2014 — 

I am writing to thank the person or persons who found my daughter’s billfold at Mountain Fair and returned it, with all the cash inside, on July 25.

We live in Easton, Pennsylvania, and my daughter travels to Carbondale each summer to spend several weeks with her grandmother. If we are lucky, my husband and I are able to join her for part of that visit. We always look forward to our visits to the Roaring Fork Valley, which is such a pleasant change of pace from our daily lives out East. Mountain Fair is a particularly bright spot in our visits.

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Letter: Carbondale a player in improved art environment

July 26, 2014 — 

I’ve enjoyed the lively discussion on the major 20-foot-high piece by James Surls at our new roundabout, approved by the town trustees to be installed this fall. This process has had folks talking about art. The Surls sculpture is made of stainless steel and bronze and has organic references that I think match Carbondale’s heritage. It is valued at about $400,000, half of which is a gift from Surls. The other $200,000 will be entirely contributed from private sources with a lead gift from Jim Calaway.

Art is becoming increasingly important for our town and we are becoming a player in a rapid regional change of more and better art. Consider the Surls piece, the lively annual change of sculpture of our “Art About Town” series, the recent opening of the beautiful Powers Art Center (adjacent to Planted Earth and having a highly complete collection of Jasper Johns prints), our fine new library and the recent Colorado award to CCAH that recognizes Carbondale as a Creative District.

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Citizen Telegram Letters to the Editor - July 24, 2014

July 26, 2014 — 

Editor’s note: Letters to the editor are limited to 300 words and must be signed. Preference is given to letters exclusive to The Citizen Telegram. Letters may be edited for proper punctuation, sentence and word usage, content and space. Publication of political letters does not imply endorsement by The Citizen Telegram. Author contact information is required for verification purposes only, not for publication. E-mail letters@citizentelegram.com, or go online to citizentelegram.com, click on “contribute.” Longer guest columns also welcome. Email letters@citizentelegram.com for details.

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Letter: Thanks from the Willey family for the 5K

July 25, 2014 — 

We would like to say a heartfelt thanks to everyone involved in the Willey Coyote 5K Run at Glenwood Springs Middle School this past Sunday. It was humbling to feel the love and support that all of you brought to Bob and our family. And what a gorgeous day! The route down Donegan to the fish hatchery is one of Bob’s all-time favorites and it gave him such joy to see all of you out there running and walking for him. It was also fun to see the great costumes, hear the wonderful music and cheer on the enthusiastic participants.

Thank you to every single one of the sponsors and volunteers — especially race directors, Abbey Walters and Mike Schneider, Heritage Park Care Center, Alpine Bank, and Sandy DeCrow and GSMS. There were clearly countless hours and thought contributed by all involved in organizing and executing the race. The list of the businesses and individuals who donated prizes, food, coffee, time and support is also overwhelming.

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Letter: Hold everyone to same standard on water

July 25, 2014 — 

Every month I get a bill from Glenwood Springs for my water and sewage use. It is such a good deal. I get clean water and the city takes care of the dirty water. It is really like borrowing the water since the city gets back just about all the water they send me.

However, that is not what our Garfield County commissioners decided to do. They issued a permit to Ursa that allows them to deep inject water that Ursa has used in its fracking process, thus removing millions of gallons of Western Slope water from the hydrological system.

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Letter: A review of Palin’s resume: She’s no idiot

July 24, 2014 — 

The July 15 cartoon in the Post Independent showing Sara Palin as an impeachment buffoon reminds me of the recent rebranding of her as an “idiot” by progressives and their media disciples following speeches she gave at a conference in January. An idiot is a mentally deficient person below a moron or imbecile with an IQ under 25.

Those who over the past six years continue to call her nasty names should admit her down-to-earth resume and life experiences at the time she was placed on the Republican Presidential ticket in 2008 far exceed Barack Obama’s paper-thin resume.

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Letter: Don’t give federal land to state

July 23, 2014 — 

As a big game hunter who (like over 90 percent of Colorado sportsmen) hunts public lands, the recent push by some elected officials and big-industry groups to transfer our federal public lands to state ownership, or to sell them off outright to private interests, is more than a little troubling.

Here in Colorado, legislation sponsored by Rep. Jerry Sonnenberg and Sen. Scott Renfroe is aimed at “transferring” our federal lands to the state. All such proposals are bad for sportsmen, bad for wildlife and bad for anyone who recreates on public lands. Transferring public lands to states would mean less hunting and fishing opportunities for the average American, because:

State lands are managed to return the highest possible yield to their school trusts. That means wildlife and recreational considerations are left off the table in many states.

In Wyoming, you are not allowed to camp on state lands. At all.

In Arizona, you can only camp on state land for 14 days per year.

In Montana, you can only camp on state land for two days before having to move.

In Colorado, only 20 percent of state lands are open to public use (access paid entirely by sportsmen through hunting license and gun sales), while the other 80 percent are leased to the highest bidder. While federal public lands are managed for multiple uses, state lands are managed for the highest yielding use/income.

You have no right to access state lands like you do federal public lands, which are owned by all Americans. Article 9 of the Colorado Constitution mandates that state lands be managed to generate revenue. Yet, the constitution mentions nothing about public access. Thus, unless the constitution is revised, recreational access on state land will remain a pay-to-play game.

In addition, 74 percent of Coloradans are opposed to the selling public lands (2014 State of the Rockies Poll). And it’s frankly a slap in the face to the 92 percent of Coloradan hunters who use our public lands.

David A. Lien

Chairman, Colorado Backcountry Hunters & Anglers

Free Press Letter: Monument vs. Park issue brings up questions

July 23, 2014 — 

There is irony in the status quo regarding Colorado National Monument. Would “The Monument” ever have come about without the efforts of John Otto? Would that have been opposed as well?

Monument status is a first step in the concept of protecting and sharing its natural beauty. If this status was inadequate, then it might require a change in status. Is there?

In any event, as a national park, it would show up without the “trimmings:” Accommodating fewer people without a full cadre of facilities other parks have. Would it have more potential for development? Who would oppose that?

Fred Stewart

Grand Junction, Colo.

Free Press Letter: Support for Israel

July 22, 2014 — 

For the past several years, day in and day out, the people of Israel have had to endure rocket attacks coming from the terrorist organization that runs Gaza called Hamas. This terrorist organization indiscriminately targets Israeli civilians and uses innocent Palestinians as human shields. The world should demand that Hamas immediately renounce the use of violence and recognize Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish and democratic state.

No one should expect Israel to stand idly by while its citizens are the targets of continued rocket attacks. Every country’s and every government’s primary responsibility is to protect its citizens. The government of Israel and the people of Israel should not be held to any other standard. If we, in the United States, had missiles being fired onto our innocent civilians from across the border, we would move across the border to stop those terrorists from killing our people and do what we could to prevent those attacks from happening again. That is what Israel is doing.

On this issue, we express our unconditional support for the State of Israel and our solidarity with its beleaguered citizens.

Miriam Greenwald, David Eisner, David Edwards, Lay Leaders, Congregation Ohr Shalom

Ellen Wells, Joseph E. Breman, Barbara Eisner, Norman and Judy Noble, Betty Blevins, Henry and Rachel Wheeler, Judith Greenwald, Marion Greenwald Tirado, Aaron and Beth Long, Maurice and Barbara Grosby, Kathy Smith, Shirley Schultz, May Chariton, Amy Rogers, George and Gayle Gerson, Lesley Golub

Grand Junction, Colo.

Letter: The secretive return of a hero

July 21, 2014 — 

The shadows of the past have begun to resurface, unaccompanied by dread and regret, but rather joy and excitement.

Throughout town (A La Carte, Alpine Tires and probably more that I haven’t seen yet) my childhood idol has been seen posing in front of the sun, or has simply been cutting through too many closing windows. Either way, I did not see Peter Pan’s shadow connected to any significance until the other day, when I saw at the Glenwood Springs Community Center a poster advertising his infamous return to the stage by the grace of Stage Door. Creative and entertaining, the secret build up to this production has been discovered and commended.

Set aside five tickets for my family and me Saturday at 2. I’ll bring the soap and needle, if someone will lure the shadow.

Solomon Caw

Glenwood Springs

Letter: Library should reinstate book sale, magazine exchange

July 21, 2014 — 

To date, two letters to the editor have questioned the need for a consultant to determine the direction the library needs to go, and one letter supporting hiring JVA Consulting.

I would like to add my thoughts, and they are free. We have a beautiful new building with lots of amenities, yet it is lacking two things that made the old library work.

One is the book sales. I realize there will still be a book sale in New Castle, but a significant portion of our population will not drive to another town. As a Friend of the Library, I worked at each book sale and I saw the amount of money we brought in for the library to use. I also saw how the book sales became a social gathering place. Don’t we still want the money and the camaraderie the sales fostered?

We have the Community Room in the new library, as well as a huge space in the lobby. Surely we could resume the book sales. Isn’t one of the purposes of the library to encourage people to read?

My other suggestion is to reinstate the magazine exchange. I subscribe to several magazines. I used to put them in the box in the lobby of the old library, and I almost always found another magazine to read. Why can’t that large space between the library and the Community Room house old magazines? It already has newspapers and other publications.

Joan Isenberg

Glenwood Springs

Letter: What misguided border policies have created

July 20, 2014 — 

The open border advocates can now see firsthand what their misguided “humanitarian” policies have created.

They say we can’t deport the 11 million illegals hiding in this country. By presidential fiat Obama gave the “dreamers” de facto amnesty. And for goodness’ sake, we can’t break up any illegal families, the bleeding hearts cry.

And now those “great-thinker” progressive Democrats can’t figure out why the rest of the world believes our country is soft on illegal immigration.

Obama has refused to enforce our immigration laws and is completely responsible for the horde of illegals now breaching our borders. How long will we be able to play Mother Teresa to the Third World before the USA becomes a Third World country? The Democrats can never buy enough votes and the Republicans can never have enough cheap labor.

Beware citizens, the 1 percent can never have enough poor to nurture their greed.

Bruno Kirchenwitz

Rifle

Letter: Willey Coyote 5K an enormous success

July 20, 2014 — 

When we first heard about Bob Willey’s medical complications, we knew the best way to support him was to plan a community fundraiser 5K event. Among the many hats Bob has worn, he has been a running icon for decades and has frequented countless local races. He has always been one to provide love and support in our community. The success of this race is really a mirror of the love that he has shown to all throughout the years. He uplifts everyone around him, and it was impossible to not feel truly touched as you looked out into the sea of runners all there for Brother Willey.

The Willey Coyote 5K was an enormous success. 270 people ran in the race, many in costume, and countless others made donations totaling around $10,000 to help the family with medical expenses. Many people donated their time to make this event possible, and a few people truly went above and beyond to bring this race to fruition. Dr. Paul Salmen, Jenny and Alex Cutright, Jenna Cook, Mary Peplin, Amber Wissing, Rich Houghton, Mike and Connie Kishimoto, Mike Schneiter, Jeanne and David Sheriff, Mike Vidakovich, Sandy DeCrow, and the GSMS staff all stepped up to make this event a true victory.

Many businesses and individuals in the community donated to this race including Heritage Park Care Center in Carbondale, Alpine Bank, Dr. Heim and Dr. Johnson’s Office, Gran Farnum Printing, Treadz, Spider Rose Tattoo, Narcissus Hair Salon, Rivers Restaurant, Book Train, Gear Exchange, Deja Brew Coffee & Tea, Stella & Dot, Italian Underground, Lilly’s Finer Consigner, Mountain Sports Outlet, Riviera Supper Club, Midland Fitness, Mona Lisa, Sunlight Bike Shop, Auto Glass Specialists, Starbucks Glenwood Meadows, Uncle’s Pizza, Petco, 7th Street Salon, Juicy Lucy’s, Independence Run and Hike, Glenwood Hot Springs Pool, Gino’s Liquors, Christi Hassen, Digital Dimensions, Loyal Brothers, A-1 Traffic Control, Jeannie and Steve Pintuck, and Joe Infascelli.

We apologize for running out of T-shirts, but what a great problem to have! I am thankful to be a part of a community that truly rises to the occasion to support someone in need. We are all lucky to have Bob in our lives, and I have no doubt that we will continue to rally with him and his family throughout his recovery. We love you, Brother Willey! Please know that you have an entire community behind you.

With a full heart,

Abbey Walters

Letter: Support enabled 300 to be at Storm King event

July 19, 2014 — 

On behalf of the South Canyon 20th Anniversary Commemoration Committee, we would like to thank the following organizations that were critical to making the event a success: The Colorado National Guard, Colorado Fallen Firefighter Foundation, Upper Arkansas Valley Wildfire Foundation, Dalby Wendland & Co., the National Smokejumpers Association, as well as all the individuals who donated to the Alpine Bank account set up for the event.

As a result of this support, nearly 300 family members of the 14 firefighters killed on Storm King Mountain in 1994 along with survivors were able to reconnect with each other, reach the site of the fatalities and join the hundreds of community members who attended the public commemorative event at Two Rivers Park. We also want to thank Kenny Frost, Ralph Holtby, Ron Milhorn and Doug Self for their participation in the commemorative event. Many family members and survivors expressed to us their appreciation to the community for keeping the pledge it made 20 years ago to never forget the Storm King 14.

Chris Farinetti

Upper Colorado River Interagency Fire

Jim Sears

Garfield County Sheriff’s Office

Gary Tillotson

Glenwood Springs Fire

Letter: The root cause of Mideast conflict

July 19, 2014 — 

Israel is doing a great job of turning the rest of the world against them: for occupying foreign territory, human rights violations, military interventions that violate international law (Just like us!). The Palestinians have been evicted from their homes, watched them be demolished along with their wells, no access to water, no civil rights to assemble or vote.

It’s encouraging to see so many Jewish-Americans speaking out against this policy, not unlike South Africa’s apartheid: arrest and imprisonment without charge or trial, searches without warrants, and ... torture. If you want the facts, from a true “insider,” listen to Mika Peled (“The General’s Son”) on YouTube.

However, maybe we should get down to the root cause of this problem: Religion. Stupid religions, written thousands of years ago by bronze-age cretins who believed that God said it was OK to eat locusts but not shellfish ... and that women should neither be seen nor heard, but definitely stoned to death if they fooled around ... and that God preferred one tribe of primitive halfwits over another. “Hey, guess what, everybody? We’re the Chosen People. Yeah, God told me so last night.”

Let’s reconsider the wisdom of our founding fathers, intelligent and well-read men who understood that the Bible stories were lifted from other religions that were around a thousand years before Christianity. In the words of Thomas Jefferson, “I have examined all the known superstitions of the world, and I do not find, in our superstition of Christianity, one redeeming feature. They are all alike, founded on fables and mythology.”

Benjamin Franklin: “The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason.” John Adams: “The doctrine of the divinity of Jesus is made a convenient cover for absurdity.” Thomas Paine: “Of all the tyrannies that affect mankind, tyranny in religion is the worst.”

The founders were actual grownups. They knew that religions were scams, and they wanted nothing to do with them. Maybe it’s time for us to grow up and do the same.

Steve Saylor

Carbondale

Letter: Why not monitor for seismic activity?

July 18, 2014 — 

Here’s what I don’t get. Ursa has an opportunity to prove that injection wells don’t cause seismic activity and slightly ease the minds of residents at the same time. All the company has to do is monitor its site, openly and transparently. And it doesn’t. Makes a curious mind ask why — if there is nothing to hide.

I don’t know if there is a link or not between injection wells and earthquakes, but if I was trying to prove there wasn’t one, gain the public trust or set the standard for getting gas and oil with environmental integrity, I’d be begging someone to come monitor my site (for everything). I have no comment for why the commissioners wouldn’t want monitoring for us. A missed opportunity for all.

Carol Turtle

Glenwood Springs

Letter: Do libraries really need a consultant?

July 18, 2014 — 

I agree with Emily Miller of Glenwood Springs who wrote in reference to the Garfield County library system hiring JVA Consulting. I have no doubt that JVA is an excellent consulting firm, but do our libraries really need to hire an organization to tell them what to do? Couldn’t that money be better spent on books?

The main purpose of any library is to house collections of books, periodicals and sometimes films and recorded music for people to read, borrow or refer to.

As I live in Carbondale, I am only familiar with the Carbondale library. There are, simply stated, not enough books. There aren’t enough new books, fiction and non-fiction, and our stacks are not full. I read a lot and I depend on my local library to have (or obtain) books that I want to read. Many of my reading friends have voiced the same concerns.

Carbondale, as I will never tire of saying, is a wonderful, vibrant community and is unique in the Roaring Fork Valley. We are a creative, engaged, active, thoughtful community. I believe that our library’s collections should reflect all of our unique qualities as should each branch library cater to the requirements of its own community. Carbondale’s needs and interests are different than those of Rifle or Silt. All well-reviewed literary fiction and topical non-fiction must be a paramount part of Carbondale’s collection.

I want to thank Molly and staff for the jobs they are doing. I love walking into our library and seeing many young people there and I love the programs that are offered for both young and old. The library should and can be a community hub and still fulfill its purpose.

Ro Mead

Carbondale

Letter: Storm King mother: You didn’t forget

July 17, 2014 — 

A big thank-you to all the folks of Glenwood Springs and the surrounding communities for the wonderful events provided for the 20th anniversary of the terrible fire on Storm King Mountain. Your original words of “we will not forget” have again rung true in the hospitality you provided for friends and families of the deceased. I am sure there was much time, money, effort and organization given by many folks.

The events were very organized and we especially enjoyed the barbecue Saturday night where we could mingle with those we have not seen for several years as well as make new friends. Thanks to those who provided helicopter rides to folks that were unable to hike up Storm King Mountain to the crosses. It is a good hike and makes one realize the steep terrain of the area. It was also nice having the Craig and Prineville Hotshots helping with the events.

A special thank-you to our family representative, Greg Little, who has been there for us the past 20 years. He has been wonderful and is now part of our family.

God bless all of you.

Jan Diamantine

mother of Tami Bickett, Lebanon, Oregon

Letter: Cartoon oversimplified immigration mess

July 17, 2014 — 

Shame on the Post Independent for publishing a simplistic and misleading cartoon on its opinion page on July 14, pandering to emotions without explaining the whole story. The cartoon shows toddlers running from an explosion to a high chair surrounded by food and toys, while a frantic elephant screams “Send them back.”

First of all, the “kids” coming across the border are far from all being toddlers. The illegal immigrants are of all ages, from nursing babies to their parents, from unaccompanied minors to teenagers. Reports are coming in that illegal immigrants already in this country are hiring criminal organizations, usually involved in the drug trade, to smuggle their kids into the country. So much for caring parents, some of those kids are abused, or killed, or sold into who knows what? And what are we supposed to do with all these “kids?” Let them stay?

Are we then supposed to open our borders to the disadvantaged kids of Europe, South Africa and the Middle East? How do we decide who gets to stay, and who gets turned away? Where does it stop? Compassion as an individual decision is a worthy and desirable action. Compassion as a state policy leads to disastrous consequences, just like the current invasion we are witnessing at our southern border.

If you think these kids need a better life, please feel free to adopt as many as you can afford. If you don’t put your money where your mouth is, then you are no better than those of us who insist that they be sent back home. The only difference is you want to make them somebody else’s problem and pawn them off on society just so you can selfishly ease your conscience. The best we can do is to offer them medical treatment, clothes, food and a ticket back to where they came from. We as a nation can afford open borders or a welfare state, but not both. Pick one.

Joe Blanc

Silt

Letter: Don’t forget Whitewater

July 16, 2014 — 

I am extremely concerned about the 2016 presidential election if Hillary Rodham Clinton decides to campaign and raise money for her presidential bid. I do not trust her at all. I want to encourage registered voters to please reconsider their vote for Hillary Clinton. I want to remind voters that, in my opinion, Hillary has never admitted the truth about Castle Grande estates in Little Rock, Arkansas, which is where the Whitewater investigation began. Castle Grande was only a trailer park on this property, Hillary and White House attorneys used lies to deceive Congress that this was a separate segment of land within this development project.

In early 1982, Jim and Susan McDougal operated Madison Guaranty Savings and Loan. They partnered their savings and loan with Whitewater Development Corp. owned by William Jefferson and Hillary Rodham Clinton. These fraudulent loans became the subject of the Whitewater investigation. I believe Hillary knows what happened to the billing records that correspond to the defense work she completed on behalf of another development project associated with Castle Grande, known as Industrial Development Corp. Hillary has not admitted to this date that these actions are criminal. This lie that was officially exposed when Davis Fitzhugh, an official of Madison Guaranty, cashed his commission check upon the sale of building C Castle Grande.

Hillary served on the Wal-Mart board of directors only because she was against labor unions representing Wal-Mart workers. From 1986 to 1992, she only opposed labor union representation because she, in my opinion, used this for political gain. Hillary has received growing support for her presidential campaign from the same labor unions that she claimed to be against. One dozen labor unions at least support her presidential campaign, and that number is sure to increase — yet another Hillary Clinton hypocrisy.

All 44 U.S. presidents have spoken the oath of office of the president to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States of America; I don’t trust Hillary to do this. Vote conservative Republican, please!

Lee Hailey

Rangely

An apology from the DMV for poor service

July 14, 2014 — 

The Colorado Division of Motor Vehicles apologizes for the service and inconvenience that Sara Garton experienced at our Glenwood Springs office. This is not the type of service that any Colorado resident should receive at any state office. We sincerely apologize to Ms. Garton and to all customers of the Glenwood Springs office.

Reducing wait times statewide is one of our major priorities. The governor’s objective, which has been supported by the Colorado General Assembly, is to reduce the average wait time in all drivers’ license offices to 15 minutes. We know that it will take some time to meet that goal, but please understand that we are working on it.

Last year was a very challenging year for the Division of Motor Vehicles. Due to long-term funding problems, we were required to hold open vacancies at offices statewide. On July 1, the DMV was given the funding necessary to hire all open vacancies. Unfortunately, last year Glenwood Springs was significantly impacted by this situation, and that office is one of our top priorities for hiring new employees. We are currently interviewing prospective new employees.

System outages have also been an issue in all our offices. As part of the governor’s objective to reduce office wait times, we are currently in the initial steps of replacing our outdated information technology system. The new system will not only allow our employees to better serve our customers, but will also have increased reliability, eliminating the outages that were experienced by Ms. Garton and other customers at the Glenwood Springs Office.

On behalf of the Colorado Division of Motor Vehicles, I once again sincerely apologize for Ms. Garton’s experience. We will do better. The funding we have received will help us improve the driver’s license experience for all of our customers. The Glenwood Springs office is a priority.

Mike Dixon, senior director

Colorado Division of Motor Vehicles

WPX, Williams are separate entities in complex industry

July 14, 2014 — 

Understanding the complexity of the oil and gas industry is, in fact, one of the most difficult aspects to overcome. In 2012, WPX Energy was created as a new, independent company that separated off of Williams to focus on drilling and production. Today, WPX Energy produces the most natural gas in Colorado, enough to meet the energy needs of 3 million homes per day. Williams is a completely separate company, focused on midstream and processing of natural gas and natural gas liquids. WPX is simply a customer of Williams.

WPX Energy takes very seriously the environmental practices utilized daily in our drilling and production operations. Since 2012, WPX has been recognized by the State of Colorado for environmental and reclamation practices, drilling innovation and technology that reduces impacts on the environment, water quality protection and safety. WPX Energy is committed to continuing to work closely with local governments, the State of Colorado and federal regulators to develop innovations that protect and improve the impacts of development.

Bill Conder’s recent opinion does not distinguish between the two companies, yet he points out several issues that are specific only to Williams, not WPX Energy. It’s understandable why the confusion exists. The complexity of the industry and understanding the difference between the phases of production, and which companies are responsible, is challenging. This is why accepting reporter Scott Condon’s request at the Aspen Times to tour our facilities is important to ensure news reports provide specific information about the industry to build understanding that promotes an informed conversation around responsible oil and gas development in Colorado.

Jeff Kirtland

Community relations representative, WPX Energy

Free Press Letter: Won’t eat at Shooters, but not because of guns

July 14, 2014 — 

While I applaud Shooters Restaurant [in Rifle, Colo.] for their bold move, I will NOT dine there.

I have no problem with waitresses wearing loaded pistols on their hips, or inviting their patrons to do the same. It’s legal in Colorado to open carry your weapon. Heck, my first boyfriend always had a .22 pistol on his hip! I don’t own guns, but that’s my choice, just as it’s others’ choice to own guns. Good move not serving alcohol. Very responsible. The concealed carry classes are a wonderful marketing idea, too. I’m always for gun education.

What I do not agree with is their “throwing Jesus all over the restaurant.” Patrons have always been free to pray before a meal in every restaurant I have frequented, so I do not understand the need to inject Jesus into a public dining experience.

I have said this time and again, and I will say it once more; religion has no business in business, just as politics has no business in business. It’s just bad business to combine these things as you will inevitably offend potential customers, like myself.

As an aside, I wonder how much their insurance is costing them. What with all those guns and all. Hmmm ...

When Shooters decides to remove the religious element from their establishment I will give them my business. Good luck to them in their new venture.

Laura Wachler

Grand Junction, Colo.

Free Press Letter: National Park status for Colorado National Monument good for the majority

July 14, 2014 — 

It’s sad to see how narrow minded people are when it comes to what is good for the majority and what they want for themselves. I attended several public forums on the change of Colorado National Monument to a park. I tried to see their side, but when they talked about a benefit to them instead of a benefit to the people of the Grand Valley, I just couldn’t see their point.

I have been a real estate broker for nearly 40 years in the valley and there isn’t anything harder than to see a family in tears because I just told them their house won’t sell for enough to pay off the existing mortgage. I have seen the economy go bust three times because the energy industry left the area. We had a chance to have an industry that would sustain the economy. A national park is just like any industry that would move into the area; it would bring jobs and prosperity to the people of the area. It is also the perfect industry — people come, leave their money in the valley, and then go away.

For those woefully uninformed, the Colorado National Monument is run by and staffed with exactly the same people who would run it as a national park! The next time you see a ranger, ask them if they have ever worked at a national park and they will say yes because parks and monuments are run by the same people with the same rules!

Yellowstone National Park and Grand Tetons National Park aren’t the personal property of Jackson, Wyo.; Rocky Mountain isn’t the personal property of Estes Park, Colo; and the Colorado National Monument isn’t the personal property of the Grand Valley. We are unique in all the world and it is selfish to not share it.

If you think the natural gas and oil people will be in the valley forever, remember the monument when they pull out and the value of your house drops by 50 percent, or more. No matter what side you are on, there is an easy way to show it; vote in the next election.

Mike Shults

Redlands, Colo.

Free Press Letter: Relieved Colorado National Monument will not receive park status

July 14, 2014 — 

I’m delighted and relieved that our beloved Colorado National Monument will remain a monument, hopefully forever. Many people of the Grand Valley, including the newly formed Friends of the Colorado National Monument, have led the movement against changing the designation to a park. Tipton and Udall wisely listened to their constituents and realized there is no overwhelming backing for the change.

The Daily Sentinel and Ms. Chappell are way off base in thinking the re-designation would benefit our area economically. In other areas where monuments were renamed parks, not much changed, though statistics can be skewed to show some benefit. Also, any economic benefit from the service-type jobs created by such a change would pale when compared to the economic damage already done here by the loss of so many energy related jobs.

Changing to a park would have resulted in much more federal regulation of our lifestyles, especially from the EPA which has too much regulatory power as it is. It has happened at many other parks and the locals in those areas are not happy. The argument that the CNM would be better protected as a park is nonsense. It is already well protected.

So, the assertion that the monument not becoming a park is deeply disturbing for our area is simply not true. Perhaps for the few who wanted the change. But for the many who did not want the change, Tipton’s and Udall’s decision is a blessing.

Susan Benjamin

Grand Junction, Colo.

Free Press Letter: Sidearms in restaurant not a deterrent for this reader

July 14, 2014 — 

Next time I’m in Rifle, Colo., I will probably stop in at Shooters [a restaurant recently in the news for encouraging waitstaff and patrons to open carry firearms] just to check it out. I don’t imagine it will bother me if folks are carrying sidearms or not. I know I won’t worry about a robbery or mass murder while I’m there! On the other hand, I don’t know if I’ll enjoy strong political statements one way or another in eateries. Bottom line is probably that if the food, service and atmosphere is good, I’ll enjoy my visit and probably return.

Mark Smith

Grand Junction, Colo.

Letter: Does Obama think we’re McStupids?

July 12, 2014 — 

Let’s be honest, it costs a lot of money to be a liberal. Everything you purchase now costs more. Government health care, food and gas prices have gone through the roof. It’s a ripple effect. Do you think raising the minimum wage will solve anything? Paying someone $15/hour to put a pickle on a bun or flip a burger is nuts. Does Obama think we’re McStupids? Our military doesn’t even get paid minimum wage.

Voters were hoodwinked in the last election by an untrustworthy president who wrote the book on lying: Benghazi; the IRS scandal; NSA spying; Fast and Furious; industry bailouts; job creation promises (shovel-ready jobs); transparency (Remember “You didn’t build that?”); the hollow Syrian red line in the sand threat; the $17 trillion debt; his pledge to “protect and defend our Constitution,” not change it; the VA debacle; and now he alone will solve our terrible immigration problem. All I can say is “Please, Mr. President, spare me the details of your next promise, or, better yet, lie, before I throw up.”

Only 5 1/2 years earlier gas was $1.80/gal, jobs were plentiful and higher education was affordable. Life was pretty good. We were all happy.

Enter Obama. Now the American middle class is vanishing right before our eyes. We’ve gone from living comfortably to struggling to barely survive. Our wealth has plunged drastically. Isn’t the federal government supposed to work for us and not the other way around?

Obama promised heaven but delivered hell in the form of poverty, dependency and hopelessness … no jobs. What are you going to do about it in November? Do you want your life run by the federal government or do you want to be the master of you own destiny? Then don’t vote for people like Hillary Clinton, Elizabeth Warren, Mark Udall and all their kind. There are consequences to voting. Now go do the right thing.

Stan Rachesky

Glenwood Springs

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