Letters to the Editor

Letter: Grateful for the clean-up

April 17, 2015 — 

Thank you, City of Glenwood Springs workers, for the annual spring cleanup. This is a wonderful service that the city provides to its residents, and those front-end loader operators, dump truck drivers and other personnel have been helpful, friendly and conscientious while doing a tough job. Many thanks to all of you.

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Letter: 'Contrived speculation and rumors'

April 17, 2015 — 

The Growing Food Forward Board of Directors would like to address your 4/16/2015 article. The GFF board did not suspend “a founder.” The Board of Directors suspended an executive employee. For the record, the organization has no founders. The volunteer directors are named on the registering documents creating the organization as a collaborative effort that serves the community — not an individual. Our board recognizes that lines have been blurred between organizational achievement and the director’s skills at self promotion.

If there was a founder of Growing Food Forward, it would be a 14-year-old named Chandra Starr. Chandra turned her personal experience of being homeless and hungry into a reason to raise nearly $20,000 last year to support a “nonprofit” focused on gardens to provide produce for better nutrition in food pantries. Without her kind heart and generous donation, GFF would not have been able to create a 501(c)(3) organization, attract donors and volunteers, hire an executive director or support gardens throughout our communities.

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Letter: Offensive cartoons on police

April 17, 2015 — 

I just wanted to let you know that I have taken total offense to the political cartoons you ran April 13 and 14 depicting the “bad cop.” Yes, it happened, and yes the public has a right to know, but it is actions like yours that keep fueling the hatred between people in this country.

Yes, it was tragic but it is not the norm as much as the media tries to make it seem. It is a slap in the face to the hundreds of good, upright police, state patrol and sheriff’s department men and women who daily put their life on the line for our safety.

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Letter: Save the honey bees

April 16, 2015 — 

Save the honey bees

It’s spring, and that means all of the littlest creatures come out and get busy, including the honey bee.

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Letter: Global warming and Glenwood traffic

April 16, 2015 — 

That global warming is occurring is a fact, it’s just a matter of how it occurs and what the consequences are. The great documentary “Chasing Ice” shows dramatically less ice in the north via time-lapse photography. How about the South Pole? If so, what are the causes: man-made or natural or some combination of both? So what are the consequences of global warming? Some say it is global cooling. What a paradox.

This might be a good analogy for getting traffic through Glenwood. Whether one agrees with Dick Prosence on any other issue, agree with him on traffic through Glenwood. He and Dan Blankenship have the timeline well-documented and have the collective memory, and are amenable on critical sticking points. Hopefully this will be acknowledged by the City Council.

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Letter: Veterans eligible for local care

April 15, 2015 — 

A new program approximately six months old allows veterans to receive local health services.

My doctor is now at Grand River Hospital. I am seeing a cardiologist at Valley View Hospital instead of Salt Lake City.

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Letter: Support your public lands while you shop

April 15, 2015 — 

Did you know that Wilderness Workshop runs free backcountry hikes all summer? Our summer hike series is one of many ways that we celebrate the beauty of our wild places and encourage their continued protection.

With your help, we can keep this programming free. This spring and summer, Wilderness Workshop is thrilled to be a recipient of our local Whole Foods’ “Your Change Creates Change” program. Now through July 5, for every reusable bag that you bring to Whole Foods Roaring Fork, you will receive a bag credit that you can donate to Wilderness Workshop. Your bag credit donation will support our public lands advocacy, education and outreach work, including our free summer hike series.

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Letter: New CRMS driveway questioned

April 15, 2015 — 

First, I want to thank my three neighbors who took time out of their busy schedules to approach the Garfield County commissioners last Monday about the County Road 106 right of way. The people of the Satank neighborhood and many other Garfield County citizens have many concerns about encroachments on the ROW by CRMS and the lack of signage showing where the County Road 106 right of way goes through CRMS.

About 30 years ago, the people in Satank and CRMS came to a legal agreement to close County Road 106 to through vehicle access through the CRMS campus. This was in exchange for an alternate route to Highway 133 (Dolores Way) and a pedestrian/bike access forever through the campus on the 60-foot-wide easement called the County Road 106 Right of Way.

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Letter: Maybe Starzers should be thanked

April 14, 2015 — 

I deliberately delayed sending this letter because I did not want it to be perceived as an endorsement of any candidate in our city’s recent election. It deals with the campaign contributions made by Mr. and Mrs. Starzer, but the issue is broader than their particular donations.

I do not know the Starzers. Nor do I know Mr. Davis, Mr. Arensman or Mr. Hershey. My opinions rely solely upon my interpretation and understanding of the facts and events reported by this newspaper.

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Letter: Upset by CRMS project

April 13, 2015 — 

Dear CRMS: After all the meetings last year, and the final decision by the BOCC to deny your County Road 106 vacation request, why are you building a fence across the public right of way? That land belongs to the Garfield County taxpayers, and it is illegal to block or alter it without public notice.

You tout that you are fostering “a learning environment in which students discover their potential to excel as individuals, contribute to their communities, and thoughtfully participate in the world we share.” In actuality you are showing them that due process should be utilized unless it doesn’t produce the desired results, in which case you just take what you want. The message is loud and clear: the law only applies to those who can’t afford a high-priced attorney.

Looks, sounds and smells like new money in the Old West to me.

Jeannie Perry

Satank

Letter: Great gas debate continues

April 13, 2015 — 

First, I want to thank the press for allowing this ongoing debate between Kent Jolley and myself regarding the issue of natural gas fracking. I am now responding to Mr. Jolley’s last letter, which appeared in the Post Independent April 10.

Actually, his letter was very decent, but I will disagree with a few of his points. Jolley continues to promote the traditional positions of the gas industry. One of those positions is that the industry claims that natural gas is the bridge to our energy future.

This is one of many public relations ploys by the gas industry to brainwash the American public. The gas industry spends millions of dollars in the mainstream media to paint itself as the energy savior of America. The only real bridge it has is the one given to it by the BLM to drill wherever and whenever it wants on public lands.

The energy sainthood of the gas industry just flew out the window. EPA just released the first phase of its national fracking study at the end of March. This report revealed that the gas industry uses almost 700 different chemicals in fracking. This report on 39,000 wells revealed that the industry did not come clean on 70 percent of the well reports. The undisclosed chemicals were trade secrets.

Fifty percent of the wells fracked used over 1.5 million gallons or more of water each. In this study, it estimates that 1 percent of the fracking recipe could mean 10,000 gallons of unknown chemicals. There is much more revealing information in this study than I can provide here. This crucial study was cut short at this time due to industry pressure. This study raises a very big red flag warning for the health and safety of many Americans living in the gas patches.

FYI for Mr. Jolley: I don’t use or need natural gas. I am basically fossil-fuel free. Climate change no longer gives us the luxury of wasting fresh water for fracking.

Randy Fricke

New Castle

Readers Say Thanks

April 13, 2015 — 

Compassionate care and support appreciated

The family of Bill Prehm would like to thank the doctors and nurses at Valley View Hospital, the staff at Heritage Park, and Farnum Holt Funeral Home for their compassionate care and support during our recent loss. Our sincere gratitude also goes out to Sean Jeung for the beautiful service.

The Prehm Family

April is National Volunteer Appreciation Month

Volunteers are essential to the work we do as nonprofit organizations; they continually help us deliver on our missions, and their service is invaluable to their communities. RSVP (Retired Senior Volunteer Program) is one of the largest volunteer networks in the nation for people 55 and over, and in Garfield County alone 200 High Country RSVP volunteers contribute countless hours of service each year.

Every day these amazing volunteers give of their time and experience to mentor youth; serve meals to seniors; deliver Meals on Wheels; help seniors, the disabled and low income persons prepare federal and state income taxes; help seniors with their Medicare questions; help seniors and the disabled with minor home repairs; stock shelves at local food banks and libraries; and assist at local museums and health care facilities.

We would like to give a huge shout out of thanks to these wonderful volunteers for all they do to give back to their communities. If you would like to join this national network encompassing the communities in the Roaring Fork Valley call 970-947-8462.

Patty Daniells

High Country RSVP

Letter: Amazing display of integrity

April 13, 2015 — 

Today, the day after the election, our mailbox held an amazing handwritten note from Steve Davis.

We had supported his campaign with a modest contribution. His note stated thanks for our support and contribution and “enclosed is a check amounting to your proportion of the surplus of campaign funds remaining.”

Absolutely unheard of, but it gives hope for the future of Glenwood Springs during the next four critical years. Thank you for running, Steve, and for your amazing and unusual integrity.

Tillie and Rolly Fischer

Glenwood Springs

Letter: Rifle FB committed no 'crime'

April 13, 2015 — 

I found your question for the past week regarding the punishment of the Rifle football team fitting the crime very disturbing. (Do you think the punishment of Rifle’s football program fit the crime?)

This reminds me of the old Vaudeville comedy routine where one person asks the other person, “When did you stop hitting your wife?” Both questions presume that something wrong has been done. From what I read in your newspaper, I understand that the Rifle football team did not commit a crime.

They also did not cheat. They don’t have to. Their excellent coaching staff and talented young men established an outstanding record over recent years the hard way; straight up. They did not even violate a CHSAA policy. According to the articles in your paper, CHSAA at the time did not have a written policy covering people on the sideline.

This whole situation was brought about by a person who was not affiliated with the school. He was just a zealous fan who was attempting to do something good for the team. Unfortunately he used poor judgment when confronted by an official of the opposing school. He lost his cool and smart-mouthed the man. He has been called to task for this, and it has cost him a lot.

To Rifle High School’s credit, when they found out about this situation, they immediately established a policy and a program to prevent it from happening again.

To me a better way to phrase your question would have been to ask “Was CHSAA’s sanction of the Rifle football team justified?” At least it doesn’t presume that they did something wrong.

Just so you know, I do not have any connection or affiliation with any part of Rifle High School. I am just an old guy who moved here 15 years ago and enjoys going to Bears Stadium to watch some great football. Go Bears.

John Troka

Rifle

Prosence: Keep the old bridge

April 9, 2015 — 

Dan Blankenship wrote an excellent guest opinion published April 5 that clarified some issues regarding using the railroad corridor for a relocated SH82. Apparently, the only issue should be railbanking of the entire old railroad right of way. This is not a problem for that portion in town since the design I prepared on my dining room table in Phoenix about 10 years ago (call it “alternative Z”) provided space for railroad tracks. Don correctly points out that much of the history of old discussions and decisions is no longer in the memory of many people.

By digging through my scrapbooks of news clippings, I found these other dates of significance lost to the memory of many now involved in discussions about SH82:

Nov. 16, 1979. Centennial Engineering presented its report of feasible alternatives for a new route through the city, which came to the conclusion that the best route was up the railroad corridor adjacent to the railroad. At that time the railroad was using the tracks to haul coal from Carbondale. This study was funded by the city.

May 23, 1980. The route study recommendation was approved by City Council, and the State Highway Commission was asked to include funds for the project in its annual budget. Unfortunately, funding was very limited, so that request was never honored.

Oct. 7, 1992. The railroad announced the abandonment of the Aspen branch.

Sept. 15, 1993. Since the railroad had announced that it was abandoning the Aspen branch, I wrote to council and urged members to gain ownership of the railroad right of way for future relocation of SH82 (not a bypass).

Since then, I have urged Council many times to fund a study of the segment from the confluence to 23rd Street so that a better cost of the relocation would be available for discussions. Currently all sorts of wild figures are being throw out. Of course, as Floyd Diemoz pointed out, the leadership of the city must make up its mind.

All of the cost and complications of elevators, tearing down a perfectly good pedestrian bridge and spending a lot of money building a new one very close to the location of the old one, buying expensive property, disrupting traffic flow in and out of town for months, damaging the fishery in the Roaring Fork and the Colorado rivers, and condemning Grand Avenue (Glenwood Springs’ boulevard) to city-destroying traffic volumes when the railroad corridor is simple and practically a straight shot.

I strongly recommend keeping the old bridge (with some maintenance and repair) and begin harassing the Transportation Commission to solve the real problem in the city, which is reducing the traffic on Grand Avenue.

Letter: Great gas debate continues

April 9, 2015 — 

Randy Fricke states, “The flames coming out of our water faucets do not lie.” Within a mile of where Mr. Fricke lives, a friend of mine built a home in 1977. He drilled a water well, and it had methane gas in it (naturally occurring). This was decades before there was oil and gas development in this area.

My friend enjoyed putting on a demonstration in his kitchen sink where he would actually light the water on fire. My friend, as folks did back in those days, dealt with the issue by figuring out how to separate the gas from the water. If this happened today, I can only imagine the allegations and conclusions Mr. Fricke would jump to, because, as he self-assuredly states, “flames coming out of our water faucets do not lie.” I would agree with Mr. Fricke that there is a lie, but it’s not coming from the faucet.

The industry, and the regulators of the industry, continually strive to lessen the negative impacts of developing oil and gas. Of course, our country also needs to lessen its carbon footprint and develop other sources of energy (I’m guessing Mr. Fricke is not a big supporter of nuclear power or hydro plants either).

Until solar, wind, or some other source of energy is perfected, natural gas is the obvious bridge fuel to our energy future. Natural gas is cheap, it is plentiful, and it is the cleanest-burning fossil fuel. Oh, it is also the primary product being developed in Garfield County by the industry Mr. Fricke wants to drive away. He says he can “sleep well because I do not poison water... ”

This hypocrisy, of enjoying the benefits and comforts that natural gas provides, while demonizing the people who provide it and regulate it with falsehoods like “flames coming out of water pipes” is tiresome. Evidently he would prefer to get his energy from Third World countries that have no environmental regulations. Perhaps Mr. Fricke would sleep even more soundly if he would forsake all hydrocarbons and the products produced from them.

Letter: Support Helpers Solutions Disaster Restoration

April 8, 2015 — 

It is an overwhelming feeling to discover, at 8 a.m., with coffee steaming in your hand as you prepare for a day of work at home, that your office area is flooded.

The first thought is, “where is the water coming from?” The second is, “What am I going to do?”

Making it worse for me that day on Jan. 17 was the discovery of a significant mold problem. Sheetrock disintegrated into my hands and liquefied insulation poured out of the hole to reveal the source of the flood. Apparently, a neighbor’s dishwasher had been leaking into the wall for quite awhile.

At that point, I called the first flood-mitigation company I could find. I thought I was calling the big company in the valley, whose vans I see everywhere, but I ended up talking to Helpers Solutions Disaster Restoration in Basalt. It turned out that Helpers is a splinter off the big company, and I feel confident saying I received superior service than what anyone else would have provided.

Helpers responded within two hours. The owner, Red, and his business partner, Anthony, provided unwavering service.

Three insurance companies told us they wouldn’t cover the mold and water damage. With my fiancée in grad school and all my medical bills from open-heart surgery, we were in one hell of a jam that wasn’t our fault. The Helpers guys stood buy us and saw us through over the next month. I’m pretty sure the big company would have been out the door as soon as they realized we weren’t sure how we were going to pay for $15,000 of work.

Red was concerned for our health and believed there was more to the situation than what we could see at the time. He tore into the wall on faith that what he found would change the situation with the insurance companies, and it did.

Ultimately, Helpers got paid, but only after a considerable investment in humanity. Human-to-human concern is increasingly rare in today’s big-biz atmosphere. That is why I am happy to recommend Helpers Solutions Disaster Restoration in Basalt. Visit their website or call them any day, any time, for water, fire, mold, asbestos and carpet cleaning, at 970-927-3600.

Letter: Protect energy tax credits

April 8, 2015 — 

Our unnecessarily complex tax code will get more complex if the Obama administration gets its way in its final 16 months.

One way the president and his allies wish to upend the our tax system is to get rid of standard tax credits used by companies that produce energy. Far from being a subsidy for “big oil,” the Section 199 deduction that many in Congress want to take away from energy producers is available to almost all domestic manufacturers.

Even though oil and gas businesses have kept our economy above water in recent years, the president and congressional liberals continue to see them as prey, rather than as an economic sector that has produced good-paying jobs for Coloradans and Americans.

Elected leaders in and from Colorado need to see past this demagoguery and favor tax reform that does not pick winners and losers in the economy and does not burden industries that produce plentiful jobs.

Letter: Clean it up

April 7, 2015 — 

Does anyone else notice that the drive to Aspen looks like we live in a dumpster?

Letter: Helping K-12 education

April 7, 2015 — 

On March 26, the Sopris Sun and Aspen Times each published a piece about education: in the former, a letter to the editor from parents about opting out of March standardized testing taking place in Colorado schools; in the latter, an opinion about the need to fix American K-12 education. Together, these letters present valid concerns about teaching, learning and how to measure and assure educational success. There is no simple solution, but teaching methods exist that can address some of the issues in a way that complements the traditional methods most prevalent in our system.

Traditional methods treat the teaching process as a transfer of information: teacher talks; students listen, take notes and reproduce the information in some form. This method works for some students; others need to be actively engaged in the learning process. Project-based learning (PBL) is a method that allows students to experience, reflect and apply new information. Our schools have always included some form of PBL. Remember shop class and home economics? In many cases, however, such courses have been abandoned, and in most cases, they’d become outdated culturally and technologically.

A new iteration of PBL programs is emerging, and it’s helping to recapture imaginations, to engage students in their education. These programs are applied across a broad spectrum of subjects and inject core academic material with creating something or investigating real-world issues. PBL programs expose students to the relevance of what they’re learning and cultivate skills needed by all students, regardless of their academic aspirations — how to problem solve, plan, use available information, communicate and collaborate.

Our world is hyperconnected and fast-paced. Post-high school training, college or career-oriented, has never been more important. Education needs to keep up. We can require academic rigor while still offering valuable learning experiences that induce students to become life-long learners as they find their way in the world.

There are groups around the country having success with new PBL courses. Locally, (CO)Studio (www.costudio.org) has developed and is providing a design build course that integrates with many core state standards. Perhaps we should consider making this approach part of the Roaring Fork Valley education experience to prepare our students for the next phase of their lives.

“I hear; I forget.

“I see, and I remember.

“I do, and I understand.” – Ancient Chinese proverb

Letter: Provisions on treaties and treason

April 7, 2015 — 

In light of recent and coming events I would refer the readers to the Constitution of the United States of America. Article II Section 2, regarding the president, states, “He shall have power, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, to make treaties. Provided two-thirds of the Senators present concur ...”

On another subject, readers might have a look at Article III Section 3.

Letter: Cancer Walk & Talk is fantastic

April 6, 2015 — 

Maybe you’ve seen us on Thursday mornings, walking near the hospital, in good weather and bad. Men and women, various ages and fitness levels, we have one thing in common — our lives were touched by cancer. Our cancers run the gamut; multiple myeloma, skin cancer, male as well as female breast cancer, prostate cancer, etc., and we are at different places in our treatment, but we all benefit from exercising together and then checking in with each other.

We walk from 10 to 11 a.m. and then talk from 11 to noon. Group founder Nancy Reinisch brings a healthy recipe each week, and clinical social worker Diane Carnoali leads us in a relaxation as we leave to face another week. Once a year, we collaborate on Cancer Kits for the newly diagnosed. We obtain skin lotion, tea, gentle toothbrushes, journals and pens, and other helpful items and put them together in colorful fabric bags. This year, the cancer center needs 200, and we¹ll make them on April 9.

Valley View Hospital provides our Walk & Talk group with a lovely meeting room (the chapel) and with a beverage from the hospital coffee shop when we finish our walk. We’re grateful to Valley View, and for September, our hard-working barista, and for our volunteer, Trish, who brings our coffees. We meet at 10 a.m. every Thursday in the Valley View Hospital chapel. Some folks choose to come just for the talking portion, and that’s fine.

I was bald as a bean when I started coming, and the group made me feel both welcome and confident that my hair would grow back and my strength would return. The Cancer Walk & Talk group is a fantastic source of support during a frightening time. If you or someone you know would benefit from this group, please spread the word.

Deb Williams, Triple Negative Breast Cancer survivor

Glenwood Springs

Letter: The perils of fluoride

April 6, 2015 — 

Sodium fluoride is a compound often used in the process of fluoridating water. The following is taken directly from the Material Data Safety Sheet (MSDS) for sodium fluoride (http://tinyurl.com/fluorideperils):

“Routes of Entry: Ingestion.

“Chronic Effects on Humans:

“…Mutagenic for mammalian somatic cells. Mutagenic for bacteria and/or yeast. May cause damage to the following organs: kidneys, lungs, the nervous system, heart, gastrointestinal tract, cardiovascular system, bones, teeth.

“Other Toxic Effects on Humans:

“Hazardous in case of skin contact (irritant), of eye contact (corrosive), of ingestion, of inhalation. Slightly hazardous in case of skin contact (corrosive).

“Special Remarks on Toxicity to Animals:

“Lowest Published Lethal Dose: LDL [Human] - Route: Oral; Dose: 71 mg/kg LDL [Woman] - Route: Oral; Dose: 90 mg/kg LDL [Woman]

“Special Remarks on Chronic Effects on Humans:

“May cause adverse reproductive effects (fertililty, fetoxicity), and birth defects based on animal data. May cause cancer based on animal data. May cause genetic (mutagenic) and tumorigenic effects.”

I’m not a doctor or a dentist, but I can read. There are other fluoride compounds used in water fluoridation, I challenge everybody to look up the MSDS information on these compounds if the topic of water fluoridation concerns you. Fluoride may have some beneficial dental effects if applied topically at safe levels, but putting it into a public water supply for mass, unmeasured consumption seems like a bad idea. I think there are many safer and more economical ways to keep our teeth in good health.

Nicholas J. Krick

New Castle

Glenwood Springs election and issues letters

April 5, 2015 — 

Outside money raises local election stakes

If you’re wondering why so few ordinary citizens choose to run for public office, you may as well start with the often-heavy workload for relatively little pay.

 You can also add to that the rapidly escalating cost of getting elected.

 When I ran for City Council in 2011 I spent $639, mostly for yard signs and copying flyers. I accepted no campaign contributions, which didn’t seem appropriate to me in a small-town election in which just 336 people in my ward even voted. My fellow Ward 1 candidate, who ultimately won by four votes, spent eight times as much as I did, while raising more than $5,000 — all but about $1,000 of it his own funds.

 This year, when I decided to run for the Ward 1 Council seat again, I knew it would cost more to succeed. So I decided to ask for contributions. I raised nearly $800 from friends and neighbors, and kicked in about $1,000 myself for printing, mailing and advertising.

 I was shocked this past weekend, however, to learn that a Denver oil and gas executive has donated $4,000 to my fellow Ward 1 candidate. That’s almost four times more dollars than there are voters in the ward. It’s also 20 times the size of the biggest contribution ($200) I’ve received. 

When out-of-town high rollers start throwing this kind of cash around, it’s discouraging to say the least. It’s also a clear indicator that big-money politics is further raising the cost of getting elected in Glenwood Springs.

 Is this really how we want our local elections decided?

 If you believe in electing officials who won’t be swayed by outside money and special interests, the most important thing you can do right now is to cast your vote in the current City Council election.

 It’s too late now to mail in your ballot. But you can still drop it off on Monday at the box inside the east entrance of the Garfield County Courthouse, or until 7 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall (101 W. 8th Street).

 

Russ Arensman

Candidate for Glenwood Springs City Council

Williams will listen to the people

We are asking the citizens of Glenwood Springs who haven’t voted yet to vote for Kathy Williams for City Council. She would be a strong asset to the council because of her diverse life experiences: as a parent, town clerk, accountant, small business owner, teacher for RE-1, treasurer for a nonprofit and a cancer survivor. She would also bring her strong personal values and perspectives as a council member, including her passion and care for people, especially those who are marginalized and face great difficulties in life every day. She was very surprised to learn, when she visited Catholic Charities, that no one from the City Council had ever been there. Glenwood, like many cities today, faces the challenging issue of homelessness.

Kathy would also bring her ability to work well with others. She is a good listener, which is critical when in a leadership position. Too many citizens have complained of not being heard by some of the present council members. Some have never had their phone calls returned.

Kathy is a person who is passionate about our democratic form of government: a government of, by, and for the people, but coming into agreement and unity are possible only if peoples’ voices are being heard. It is one thing to listen to someone but a different matter to really hear a person’s concerns. This can only be achieved through effective communication.

Meaningful conversations help facilitate greater understanding, which can move issues forward to much-needed solutions to the problems and challenges facing Glenwood Springs today — one being “The Bridge.” Kathy has always been in favor of a bypass as the only real solution to the growing traffic, noise and pollution on Grand Avenue. She thinks that the new bridge will only make the situation worse and feels that the City Council has made its decision without really acknowledging the voices of the citizens and working together to bring about their vision for Glenwood Springs.

A vote for Kathy Williams is a vote for your voice, your vision, and our community.

Susan and John Gorman

Glenwood Springs

Arensman will represent everyone

I have known Russ Arensman for well over 13 years as a volunteer Ski Patroller at Sunlight Mountain. I have seen him in action, when action is needed as he would rush out the door to aid and assist an injured skier/snowboarder or lost child regardless of the weather or time of day. Believe me, at those moments, there is no time to ponder on what is needed to do.

That being said, I also have had many long discussions with Russ about the past and future of Glenwood Springs. His understanding and memory of the problems Glenwood Springs has faced over the past 15-plus years is truly impressive. Russ is the only one of the two candidates running for Ward 1 who can hit the ground running.

Russ has already given his time and energy to make Glenwood Springs the great town that it is. He has taken the time to learn and understand the issues that Glenwood is facing and will not make quick or hasty decisions without a clear understanding of the long-term consequences of his decisions. Russ will also represent all the people of Glenwood Springs, not just the contractors, business owners — the wealthy 1 percent. More importantly, Russ is not influenced by the mega-wealthy Denver concerns (see Post Independent 4/04).

The voter turnout is low, which means it’s not too late to cast your ballot for Russ Arensman and all of Glenwood Springs. Vote for Russ and a great future for Glenwood Springs.

Patrick Corcoran

Glenwood Springs

Trauger’s special interest: Glenwood

Tuesday is the last day to vote in an important local election. The people in Glenwood must understand some very important information about a candidate I support, Kathryn Trauger.

I have served on the Planning and Zoning Commission with Kathryn for several years. Kathryn takes her role as chair of this commission seriously. As a quasi-judicial board, our public hearings operate in much the same way as a courtroom. We are a small town and conflict of interest is inevitable. Each of us has had to recuse ourselves and not take part in a public hearing on occasion. Kathryn is no exception and will step down for any potential conflict of interest.

I am aware that there is some concern that Kathryn may be “backed” by special interests. I can assure you that the only “special” interests she has is Glenwood Springs. When these claims of special interest were first made, she had received and reported several donations from Glenwood Springs businesspeople.

It would seem that her opponent Mr. Hershey would consider Glenwood Springs businesspeople as special interests. Now, he is raising more concern about “special interest” because of a donation made by a new neighbor of Kathryn’s. But here is what you must know: She has lived in Glenwood for a long time and through her work, family, writing and civic interests has developed a network of friends and colleagues who trust and respect her. She has an impeccable reputation.

In my experience Kathryn is a true leader. Her moral character would not allow her to accept any funds that had any expectation of favoritism. That is not who she is, and she expects those around her to operate in the same way. I value her as a colleague and friend. I know she will set the bar for those who serve on City Council very high.

Don’t be misled by this smokescreen put up by Mr. Hershey. Kathryn will work tirelessly for Glenwood Springs. I urge you to vote for Kathryn Trauger by April 7.

Marco Dehm

Glenwood Springs

Attesting to Trauger’s character

Roaring Fork Leadership (RFL) has been developing leaders in the Roaring Fork Valley for 28 years. RFL is known for developing effective and invested leaders, building community integration and professional connections through personal relationships. Graduates also recognize themselves as a member of a larger social fabric and therefore, consider social problems to be at least partly their own.

Often graduates go on to serve their organizations in enhanced leadership roles, assume positions on civic or non-profit boards, run for and are elected for government positions, or start their own businesses. This year, one member of the RFL Class of 2015, Kathryn Trauger, is stepping up by running for Glenwood Springs City Council.

RFL emphasizes integrity, authenticity and accountability, and I think you will find those strong qualities in Kathryn. During our session last Friday, her civic project teams provided each member with feedback. Kathryn was recognized for her ability to listen to all sides of issues, withholding judgment or decision until she had all the facts. She was also recognized for bringing balance and calm to difficult situations. Over the past year that I’ve known her, she has grown personally, developed and enhanced her leadership skills, and understands a way to approach people and situations that is engaging.

After reading the Post Independent articles, it seems her opponent may be making assumptions that are not based in fact but rather in fear. Mr. Hershey has mentioned special interests without the benefit of knowing the exact nature of the relationships Kathryn has to those who have contributed to her campaign. This is not only a unfair remark toward Kathryn but toward everyone who may have contributed.

I trust Kathryn’s integrity and know her well enough to know that she has worked harder for the benefit of Glenwood Springs than any other candidate. In talking with her about Glenwood’s future, she is excited and enthused about the potential and what can happen if people will collaborate, forge relationships and turn them into positive productive activity.

Andrea Palm-Porter

Executive director, Roaring Fork Center for Community Leadership

Davis goes extra mile

I have known Steve Davis for over 40 years. Steve is an honest, kind, fair and loyal man. I have had the privilege of working with Steve. I can assure you, he is able to make good reliable decisions. Steve doesn’t just get the job done, he goes more then the extra mile.

I know from personal experience the gift that Steve Davis would be to Glenwood Springs. I urge you to vote for Steve Davis and allow Glenwood Springs to prosper with his guidance.

Melinda Smith

St. Peters, Missouri

Push CDOT to help pedestrians

I note in the upcoming City Council election that both groups of candidates, the Chamber Resort Association and the outsiders all have agreed to let the Colorado Department of Transportation have its way with our hometown, and use our Grand Avenue as the principal route of Highway 82 to the Roaring Fork Valley and Aspen for the foreseeable future.

I expect that outcome pleases CDOT. But I hope as a reward for the use of our city streets CDOT would be happy to accommodate the city’s request, if they were to ask, to place flashing strobe lights at all the signaled crossings on Grand Avenue like the ones they have recently installed on Highway 133 in Carbondale at principle crossings and in the pedestrian walkways of their new roundabouts.

When a pedestrian triggers the walk sequence and receives permission to cross, the flashing lights would alert automobiles that pedestrians are in the crosswalks. The intersection at Ninth and Grand Avenue is our most unsafe downtown crossing for pedestrians because the CDOT signal control box hides pedestrians waiting to cross Grand as well as hides the walk button from pedestrians.

Now, on a more lighter note; spring has sprung, the flowers has riz, I wonder where the city’s clean-up crew is?

Gregory Durrett

Glenwood Springs

Letter: Hershey troubled by donations

April 4, 2015 — 

I was shocked and dismayed to see that my opponent, Kathryn Trauger and another candidate, Steve Davis, had received literally thousands of dollars for their City Council races (P.I. 4/3/15) from an individual donor. Mr. Davis received $4,000 and Ms. Trauger received $2,000 from Michael and Patty Starzer of Denver.

Mr. Starzer is the co-founder, and retired president and CEO of Denver oil and gas company Bonanza Creek Energy Inc. This is an unprecedented amount of money to be poured into a small municipal election, amounts frankly that one would only expect to see in a presidential election (so much in fact, that Mr. David says he “wondering what to do” with it all).

What is a greater concern to me however, and I don’t speak for Mr. Davis’ opponent Mr. Arensman, is the timing of this disclosure. The election is Tuesday. These massive contributions came to light only after the last reporting period prior to the election, Friday, April 3. The previous campaign finance reporting period ended March 17. It is crucial to note that pursuant to Colorado election law any “major” contribution of $1,000 or more must be reported within 24 hours if the money is received within 30 days immediately preceding the election. The reasons for this are obvious, and ensure the voters know if someone is trying to “buy” an election.

However, it is my understanding that this contribution was received on or about March 17 or 18. How convenient, then, that even though Ms. Trauger (and presumably Mr. Davis) reported these within 24 hours as required by law, the people of Glenwood would not learn about them until April 4, three days before the election. I understand that people can donate as much money as they like pursuant to current law. But the reason we have this specific reporting rules for a “major” contributor” is to ensure voters know where large single donations are coming from, who is making them, and what, if any, strings are attached to their potential elected officials.

Finally, I am disturbed that neither myself nor Mr. Arensman was contacted Friday for the story in the Post Independent about these extraordinarily large contributions, while Ms. Trauger and Mr. Davis were permitted to comment. At this late hour I am also concerned that there will be no time for the people of Glenwood Springs to learn about this issue, much less digest the consequences of these very large donations. And that violates the spirit if not the letter of Colorado’s Fair Campaign Practices Act.

This is why we have a 24-hour reporting period for a “major contributor” so close to the election. So the voter can decide if they want their election bought by one person. What is the relationship between all this money and a Denver resident who is building a home in Sunny Acres? What does this major donor expect for his thousands of dollars, many times the amount of any other individual donor to the other candidates? Have special interests bought and paid for this election? And finally, how will all this money affect these candidates future decisions if they are elected? These are all troubling questions that may now, sadly, go unanswered before the April 7 election.

Letter: Public lands are critical

April 3, 2015 — 

Having been born and raised the Roaring Fork Valley, I have seen many things change over the years, but one thing has remained the same: our community’s tie to the public lands that surround us. We rely on our public lands for water, recreation, food and solitude. These lands are an indisputable part of our heritage and an important economic driver for our communities.

In recent years, I have seen this connection demonstrated in the community-based effort to conserve and protect the Thompson Divide. From ranchers who rely on summer grazing allotments, to conservationists, small business owners and local elected officials – folks from all walks of life are standing up to protect our public lands in the Thompson Divide area. This is one of the many reasons I am proud to call the Roaring Fork Valley my home. And it’s something we should all be thankful for.

Unfortunately, if we lose the Thompson Divide area to development, we also risk losing our livelihoods, our heritage and our ability to sustain ourselves. With this in mind, I want to thank all of the individuals and groups who continue in the effort to protect the Thompson Divide from oil and gas development. You are protecting a part of each of us.

Letter: Arensman: An asset to community

April 3, 2015 — 

I support Russ Arensman as Glenwood Springs City Council representative for not only those residents in Ward 1, but for all residents within the city limits, those in the greater Glenwood community and all who pass through, shop, visit or work in Glenwood. Russ, as a known quantity with a proven record of knowledge, interest and dedication to his community, is the best choice for balancing today’s realities with pending issues and impacts, along with realistic planning for the future.

Russ has necessary, critical experience and has been very involved in his community in many different ways, including a four-year term on City Council. For many, many years before, during and after his council term he served on a variety of boards, commissions and committees. He has advocated for efficiency measures along with locally produced energy and alternative energy sourcing, integrally important with continued electric rate increases.

Russ has been very committed to many planning and circulation efforts centered on our historic downtown, including many aspects related to the Grand Avenue bridge replacement. Ward 1 residents and businesses will be specifically impacted by the Grand Avenue bridge replacement project. He is already up to speed with the nuances and legalities of our city government, including ex parte restrictions and quasi-judicial matters. He has familiarity and history with other public entities, governing bodies, and personnel. He knows the importance of working together cooperatively, with consistency, without disruption or undue influence by special interests or alliances.

Approaching 30 years of Glenwood Springs being home to Russ and his family, he has shown his love, support and dedication to our community through his involvement and willingness to be an elected public servant. He has served in a responsible, educated, effective, cooperative manner with openness and honesty. I believe Russ is well aware of the diversity and needs of his Ward 1 constituency, both residents and business owners. He realizes the challenges to and importance of their successes and by extension to our community. As a critical thinker, and a diligent and independent decision-maker, he values the work done by many to lead our community through the years of recession, limited budgets and making proper choices resulting in the successes and recovery we see today. Many of us would vote for Russ if we could, but as a Ward 1 voter, your choice is important for you, and all of us who visit, live, or work in Glenwood Springs.

Letter: Hershey makes informed choices

April 2, 2015 — 

My friend Tony Hershey is running for the at-large seat on the Glenwood Springs City Council. And I think it is important that the Glenwood Springs voters know what I know about Tony Hershey.

Tony is a very intelligent, considerate and compassionate young man. Before making decisions he does his homework, as it is important to him that the decisions he makes are well-informed. His concerns go beyond land-use and roads and bridges. His concerns center around the sense of community and around the people who live, work and visit the Glenwood Springs community as a whole. Tony understands that a sustainable community needs economic opportunities, the maintenance of a diverse population, and a fair and representative local government.

Tony Hershey will be a most welcomed addition to the Glenwood Springs City Council. And I strongly encourage the Glenwood Springs voters to vote for Tony Hershey.

Letter: Many more years for Hal

April 2, 2015 — 

Happy birthday to Hal Sundin, who turns 89 this week.

Hal is a regular contributor to the Post Independent, with insightful and passionate opinions. He is an avid hiker with the 100 club and a knowledgeable person on Colorado plant life. Many more years to come.

Letter: Actually read the words

April 2, 2015 — 

Someone was asleep at the wheel when they titled Stacey Linman’s letter to the editor, published in the March 27 edition of the Post Independent. Did they actually read the letter? Or just skim its contents? Rather than titling the letter “Fracking is Completely Safe,” I believe Linman’s point is that fracking may not be so “completely” safe.

Sloppy editorial work is not what we expect from professional journalists. Please, Mr. Editor, take the time to actually read the words from those who take the time to write to you and express their opinions. Doing so must might actually assure a more appropriate title to their letter and gain your newspaper some integrity.

Editor’s note: The headline was based on Linman’s line, “Here’s my own tongue-in-cheek response. Fracking is ‘totally’ safe.”

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