Letters to the Editor

Letter: Children deserve support

October 12, 2015 — 

I am a strong supporter of the town of Glenwood Springs and the children who live here. Yes, I am a teacher, but I am also a very active member in this community and have been for over 15 years.

Our children deserve facilities that reflect the beautiful place we all call home. Glenwood Springs Elementary was built in 1921 and has not changed much since then. We have a wonderful school because we have amazing teachers, parents and children that are a part of that school, but our facilities are lacking.

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Letter: Praise for Carla Ferrand

October 12, 2015 — 

I would like the community to know how lucky and blessed we are to have Carla Ferrand as our Garfield County extension agent. Mrs. Ferrand is the extension associate/county liaison, CSU extension agent for 4-H.

Carla stepped in as a volunteer during a time when the 4-H program had no agent or leadership. She helped the youth organize and accomplish a huge event about one year ago; 4-H Achievement Night. She then started helping 4-H part time to fill in the gaps and give leadership, all while still holding her full-time job.

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Letter: Glenwood grandma has potty mouth

October 12, 2015 — 

I had the pleasure of watching a youth soccer tournament recently. While standing and cheering on the sideline, I was appalled to hear one of the grandmas from Glenwood call an 11-year-old girl, on the opposite team, a really nasty name.

Talk about unsportsmanlike conduct. Clean up your mouth or stay home — nobody wants to hear your rude remarks.

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Reader responses to immigration editorials

October 11, 2015 — 

One point you made in your recent editorial was that the PI would no longer use terms that many find disrespectful. I agree with you. If terms like “illegals” or “anchor babies” are disrespectful, then neither you nor any of us participating in the debate over immigration policy should use them. The debate is important, and its importance should not be denigrated by disrespect.

I do think your editorial was disrespectful of people who hold opinions that differ from yours. It included “xenophobic blaming,” “ludicrous calls to deport 11 million people,” “nativist billowing” and “veiled racist blather.” It referred to “vile rhetoric that is not just ignorant,” “mean spirited” and “un-American.” I took exception to those terms, and wondered why those with one point of view deserved respect but those with differing views seemed to warrant some pretty terrible name-calling.

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Letter: Buskers over panhandlers

October 9, 2015 — 

Transitioning panhandling into the more friendly mix use of busking I believe is something that should organize itself around the buskers and (yes) panhandlers themselves. With the ACLU action recently in Colorado Springs, passive panhandling is something you cannot sweep off streets. And, yes, we do have some broken-down older street people for whom flying a sign is about the only job they can hold down. We shouldn’t condemn them to doing nothing to meet their meager means of keeping them productively out of system. Understand it’s a form of employment. I know firsthand the motivations of seeking to sell oneself as an object to pity.

Some of those who do it see it as quick, easy cash. Needs are on the level of cash in hand, and this isn’t always drugs or alcohol. Some simply feel begging from individuals is more dignified than begging from institutions. The majority of people on the street are Republicans having conservative values often at odds with institutional forms of help. Reclaiming such spaces for a more tourist-friendly atmosphere needs to acknowledge this. Figure out how to utilize limited space for sign-fliers in most need.

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Letter: Jennifer Rupert for RFSD board

October 9, 2015 — 

Soon you’ll be receiving a mail-in ballot for the Roaring Fork School Board, District A, which encompasses parts of Garfield, Eagle and Pitkin counties. I’m encouraging you to mark the box next to Jennifer Rupert’s name on your ballot and return it before the Nov. 3 deadline.

My two sons attend Crystal River Elementary School in Carbondale. I’ve had the pleasure of spending time with Jen and her family for many years at sporting events, birthday and holiday celebrations. We bonded instantly when we learned we both love fresh eggs and small cabin living.

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Letter: Arrogance from RFSD

October 9, 2015 — 

Before you make your decision on the RE-1 school bond issue, sit down and take a deep breath. I want you to think about how much you and your family have given up since the recession of 2008. Vacations you could not afford, remodels on your house that there just wasn’t enough extra money to do and colleges your children wanted to go to but you had to have them go elsewhere because of expense.

Because RE-1 thinks we are totally out of that recession and have extra money sitting around, enough extra money to ask for $122 million. That to me is the ultimate in arrogance, to say we need $122 million in order to educate your children.

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Letter: Support Garfield Clean Energy

October 9, 2015 — 

Several months ago, I was lucky enough to stumble upon an advertisement in the Post Independent about a complimentary energy audit offered through the Garfield Clean Energy Program. I immediately contacted the fine folks at CLEER, who manage this program, and it has been one of the most fulfilling opportunities I have experienced in my 22 years living in the Roaring Fork Valley. I spoke with Maisa Metcalf, who through her incredible knowledge and professionalism, got started on my energy-savings-pot-of-gold. I cannot express my gratitude enough to Maisa, Matt Shmigelsky, their co-workers at CLEER, Rich Backe from Building Performance Contractors and Bob and Mary Layman from Woodpecker Workshop. Beyond just doing their jobs as energy auditors and building contractors, these folks are incredibly passionate about helping homeowners not only save money with energy improvements, but also about the bigger picture of reducing our carbon footprint.

As I sit here and write this letter, Rich Backe, a general contractor who specializes in energy-efficient building, happened to just stop by because he wanted to see the finished projects in my basement. He remembered he had an extra slab of foam insulation board and came up with a use for it immediately. I never asked him to do this — he simply just cares.

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Readers Say Thanks

October 8, 2015 — 

Another great Rocky Mountain Fly Fishing Classic

In September the Roaring Fork Valley hosted the 12th annual Rocky Mountain Fly Fishing Classic to benefit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. This great event owes its success to many local businesses as well as individuals. A special thank-you goes out to Rodney Strong Winery, Phil Hansing SC Distributors, Chet Bogdan, Frying Pan Anglers, Taylor Creek Fly Shops, and the great folks at the Riverside Grill. Also many thanks to the incredible fishing guides who donated their time and effort to this event — Gifford Maytham, Taylor Logsdon, Tim Robinson, Jason Peltac, Matt Ippoliti, Christian Hill, Willy Klein, David Burgher, Rich Hastings, Matthew Thomas, Chase DeMeulenaere, Harry Portland and Woody Boughton. Thanks guys, you help make a difference!

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Letter: Mitchell Creek Trail

October 8, 2015 — 

Mitchell Creek Trail is listed on the White River National Forest map as trail #1845. It is a steep, 5-mile hiking trail from the bottom trailhead at the end of Mitchell Creek Road (CR 132) to the top trailhead on the Transfer Trail jeep road on the Flat Tops northwest of Glenwood Springs.

I’ve heard endless accounts about the overcrowding, and other problems, at a particular trail in the Glenwood Canyon. Think about hiking a different trail. The Mitchell Creek area has something you will not find in the I-70 corridor: peace and solitude. There are also beautiful views looking back down the canyon toward the Colorado River and beyond, and some impressive cliffs and rock formations about 1½ miles up the trail. The Coal Seam Fire burned through the bottom part of Mitchell Creek Canyon in 2002. This is a good area to see natural revegetation of the land after a major fire.

Right now the trail is walkable for the first couple of miles from the lower trailhead. After that, it does need work to restore it to being the “through” trail that is shown on the map. What is also desperately needed right now is recognition that Mitchell Creek Trail exists. Interested hikers, please spread the word, on-line and verbally.

There are actually a few specifically marked parking spaces at the West Glenwood Fish Hatchery for Mitchell Creek Trail hikers. And, you can bring your favorite hiking companion — dogs are OK on Mitchell Creek Trail. Enjoy it.

Letter: Support 3B

October 8, 2015 — 

I am writing in support of 3B, and I ask you to join me in voting yes.

I served as a teacher and counselor at Glenwood Springs Elementary School for 36 years. I now volunteer when I can to support our students. I hear schools being criticized these days, but schools within the Roaring Fork School District shouldn’t be among those criticized. Many of our students over the years have received Rhodes, Daniels and Boettcher scholarships. Many of our graduates have stayed in the valley or returned to the valley, and are now leaders in our community. We need to give our current students similar opportunities to succeed.

The following are reasons I feel we should vote yes on bond 3B:

1. The current facilities aren’t safe. We have been lucky there haven’t been more accidents with cars, buses and kids all within the same delivery and pickup area. In addition, this bond will provide improved safety from potential attacks on the schools.

2. Crowded schools don’t help the students learn. A visit to Sopris Elementary will illustrate the need for a new building. Many buildings within our district are at or above capacity. A new school between Glenwood and Carbondale will help alleviate overcrowding.

3. We have a state grant worth over $9 million to help build a new facility for Glenwood Springs Elementary. This is nearly one-third of the cost of a new school for GSES. We will not get that money if the Bond isn’t passed in November.

4. New construction, upgrades and repairs are not going to get cheaper. We can pay now or pay more later.

Please support our students, teachers, and schools so that we can continue to turn out a fine crop of students as we have done in the past. They are our future.

Thank you for your consideration.

Letter: Middle school needs

October 7, 2015 — 

As a teacher, a parent, and a community member of Glenwood Springs, I ask all voters within the Roaring Fork School District to vote yes on 3B this fall. I attended Glenwood Springs Elementary School as a child, my children attend school in this community, and I am honored to teach at GSES. While the school where I teach has certainly received a lot of attention for the huge rebuild we will receive when the bond passes, today I’d like to share with you the importance of the middle school renovations in all three communities.

My daughters just completed three years at Glenwood Springs Middle School. Like Carbondale and Basalt middle schools, GSMS is one of the oldest unchanged buildings in the district. It is dim and cramped with narrow, dark hallways. In addition, some classes are held in modular buildings that are in need of repairs. Educational research shows that adolescents, particularly at the middle school age, benefit from learning spaces that are built for community, designed with a “heart” at their center. The bond will allow for all three of our middle schools to have modest redesigns that optimize the environment for the adolescent brain. In addition, all three will receive energy efficiency upgrades.

Now, my daughters attend Glenwood Springs High School. In the bond, the high school will receive a remodeled performance art space. Basalt High School, along with support from the Basalt community, plans to build a small performance space as it currently has no auditorium. Carbondale Community School will receive a learning lab.

We are fortunate to live in a country where public education is available for all children. I believe we, as a community, have a responsibility to provide not only high quality instruction, but also facilities that are safe and optimal for learning. These are just some of the projects our communities will receive that will greatly enhance education for our students, if the bond is passed. Please join me in voting yes on 3B this fall.

Letter: Society needs common ground

October 7, 2015 — 

In a recent editorial, the Post Independent pronounced that from this day forward, letter writers and columnists cannot call human beings “illegals” or “anchor babies.” I call this a good start.

Historically, the Post Independent has been a soapbox from which any kook or nut can scream invective. A friend once told me that he never reads the letters because they make him feel ill. I know the feeling.

The Constitution guarantees free speech. So you can hate your neighbor. That’s your right. But no newspaper has an obligation to print your vitriol.

I’m not suggesting censorship of any idea or point of view. What I am saying is that this newspaper can insist that columnists and letter writers be civil. Not nice. Civil.

Our deeply fractured society needs to find common ground. Nothing is more antithetical to this than the shoot-from-the-hip hate too often spewed forth on the letters page of the Post Independent.

On his plane ride back to Rome, Pope Francis confided to NPR correspondent Kokie Roberts that power is fleeting, and that when you have it, you need to use it for good.

Post Independent editor Randy Essex has the power. He just needs to wield it.

Letter: Warnick for CMC board

October 6, 2015 — 

I am writing to endorse Jon Warnick in the Nov. 3 election for the Colorado Mountain College board of trustees. I have worked on and off for Colorado Mountain College for over 40 years. I am retired as of this year but recently helped raise over $7 million to build the Rifle Campus. At that time, I had the pleasure of working with Mr. Warnick in his capacity as foundation board president. He has the ability to look at the big picture, and as a board of trustees member he will help set the course for Colorado Mountain College as a dynamic institution shaped by the communities it serves preparing our kids for successful futures.

He has served on the CMC Foundation board as chairman and treasurer. He has been a sponsor of CMC’s Scholar’s Program since 2007. He has also been a continuing education student at CMC, having completed 34 classes over the last 15 years. His background as an executive for IBM (retired) means that he has the real business experience that is needed for success in today’s world.

Sue Daley


Letter: Disagrees with immigrant editorial

October 6, 2015 — 

I actually read through your entire Sept. 28 diatribe regarding immigrants of unlawful origin, and I must say I disagree with some of your conclusions. First, I find it interesting that a newspaper, available in this country thanks to freedom of speech guaranteed by the Bill of Rights, is placing a ban on terms that some may find offensive. Are we also to be restricted from using terms such as vegan, tofu, brussels sprouts or gizzards, all of which I find offensive?

Why is it so ludicrous to conceive of deporting 11 million people who have overstayed their visas or entered the country without the proper credentials? Is there a number you would be comfortable with deporting, say, 7 million, give or take? Three million? Twelve Irishmen and a couple of Poles? By that line of reasoning, are we to conclude that we can’t possibly catch every drunk driver, so we shouldn’t try to apprehend any? Or maybe, since it’s impossible to catch every tax evader, we should not try to prosecute any. Throw that up against the IRS’ wall and see if it sticks. Funny to me how we arrive at a number, 11 million. How do we know how many are here, considering they are “undocumented?”

Children of persons of unlawful entry who were born in the United States are not guaranteed citizenship by the Constitution. Amendment XIV, Section 1, Clause 1 of the Constitution states, “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the State wherein they reside.” Obviously, if they are citizens of another country, and arrived here in disregard to our national sovereignty, they are not subject to U.S. jurisdiction. Look to the original intent of the framers and you will see they thought it ludicrous to consider every baby born here would be a U.S. citizen. The Mexican constitution declares that babies born to at least one Mexican national are citizens of Mexico, regardless of where they were born. So whose citizens are they?

Daniel McQueen

New Castle

Editor’s note: The 14th Amendment to the Constitution, adopted in 1868, states that “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.” The letter writer omitted “of the United States and.” While some scholars believe Congress could end birthright citizenship without a constitutional amendment, no such law exists, and the U.S. Supreme Court has never ruled on the issue. Since passage of the amendment after the Civil War, all people born on U.S. soil, except the children of diplomats or foreign U.N. staff, are citizens.

Letter: A dream — minus gas wells

October 5, 2015 — 

When we purchased a home in Battlement Mesa, it was marketed as the Colorado dream for retirees, a community that offered rolling hills, majestic views and serenity. We were shown a topographical map depicting BM Co.’s vision for future development. That map and vision did not depict gas wells.

We purchased a home with covenants that claimed to protect us from noise, lights, noxious odors and obnoxious neighbors. Now we are told those covenants apply to us, but not to the open space or neighboring gas wells proposed 700 feet away. Isn’t that analogous to telling me I can’t have a hazardous waste dump in my front yard but my neighbor can?

Gas wells have no place in a “planned” residential community. Approval of this special use permit will subject each resident to an increased risk of fire, toxic odors or some other devastating industrial accident such as those reported nearly weekly in our local newspapers.

Why is Ursa’s profit-and-loss statement more important than our health, our safety, our community, our investment?

The Planning Commission and our county commissioners need to do what is right — to stand up for the rights of the residents of Battlement Mesa and ensure that the promises made to us are kept, that the covenants protecting our villages are kept and the promise of the Colorado dream is kept by denying this permit to drill in the Planned Unit Development. Our lives matter. Our safety matters. Our health matters. Our community matters.

Lillian Wyant


Letter: Nuisance equals proposal rejection

October 5, 2015 — 

The Garfield County Planning Commission is to vote Oct. 28 on whether to allow a two- to possibly five-year industrial nuisance to begin operations within the boundaries of Battlement Mesa neighborhoods. The nuisance is Ursa Resources’ proposal to construct and operate two pads now (with 53 wells drilled under our homes) leading to a future total of five pads.

This totals 190-plus wells drilled under our homes and a connecting pipeline within the Planned Unit Development of Battlement Mesa and our residential neighborhoods. That’s three pads within residential neighborhoods and two pads at Battlement Mesa golf course. The pipeline would be located within mere yards of many homes and, if it were not for a property line fence, in their back yards. Battlement Mesa is a Garfield County unincorporated residential community, not a city or town. We have only the county Planning Commission and the Garfield County commissioners to protect the peace and sanctity of our residential neighborhoods.

Garfield County officials have already stated for the record, in their own official documents (Exhibit L – Oil and Gas Liaison Report) that these drilling activities “can cause significant nuisance impacts to nearby residents.” Drilling in our residential neighborhoods is a clear and obvious nuisance. It will cause significant and troubling impacts of noise and vibration pollution, light pollution and air pollution causing years of possible health issues for the hundreds of elderly and retired residents who reside, most importantly, within 1 1/2 to 3 1/3rd football fields’ distance from the drill pad sites. Beyond that distance, there would also be notable and observable incidents of the above-noted nuisances affecting thousands of our residents. These health issues would be hostilely prevalent and relevant during the two to five years of drilling and would likely linger in our impinged bodies for years thereafter, if not forever.

Current policy states nuisance equals proposal rejection.

Living in fear of the county community development director’s recommendation to approve the proposal, I admonish and beg the planning commissioners to vote no.

Van Merritt

Battlement Mesa

Letter: Invest in top-notch education

October 4, 2015 — 

At back-to-school night recently in the midvalley, the AV setup was a microphone placed between two speakers on an Apple laptop resting on a chair, and the principal projected the slides onto a small screen similar to what I saw in my neighbor’s trash recently.

Hey, I’m a big fan of frugality, and I admire how much our schools do with so little. But is this, uh, the great country of America? Is this really the best we have for our next generation on the one unequivocally vital public good?

Unfortunately, I saw just the tip of the iceberg. Beyond the aged state of the Roaring Fork School District infrastructure (and this includes outdated heating and cooling systems and ancient buildings), we’re also struggling operationally. My daughter’s class is selling magazines now to raise funds for the school. They should be studying. Squeezed for space, kids have to walk outside to modular classrooms. Building entrances aren’t modern and that means they’re not safe — either from traffic or intruders.

Our schools ought to be the No. 1 priority for the country and for Colorado. But because so many of us don’t like taxes, we choose to curse not just our kids but ourselves, because economic success follows educated populations. Some people will hopefully hold their noses and vote yes on 3B, the bond to fund infrastructure improvements, just because quality schools increase our property value.

But that’s a selfish motive, and unnecessary. Public education is the least selfish thing we do. We should be voting yes on 3B when mail-in ballots arrive in October because we’re a great country that invests in ourselves and our future by ensuring top-notch public education, the one enabling element of the American dream.

Auden Schendler


Letter: Grouse and ethics

October 4, 2015 — 

Environmental Ethics is the name of a class I’m currently taking in the Colorado Mountain College sustainability bachelor’s degree. I doubt very few of us have ever thought of putting the words environment and ethics in the same sentence, kind of like “ecological psychology.” A quick look at the daily newspapers gives us plenty of reasons to see why ethics is a very important part of taking care of an ever-more-damaged environment.

One of the tools we use to protect our environment is to monitor species of plants and animals in their habitats to see how their numbers are holding up. Prime areas for gas and oil extraction are also habitat for the greater sage-grouse. Destroying this habitat destroys these birds, and many other plants and animals.

Protection of the grouse thereby sets up a conflict with oil and gas interest profits, tax revenues for local governments, jobs that depend on the payrolls of the extraction companies and spill out into the greater economy, and the politicians whose careers depend on the flow of cash (directly and indirectly). On the other side, the growth, which is often temporary, puts pressure on social support systems like schools and public health. Oil and gas extraction is also detrimental to water resources, local infrastructure and quality of life of many local people.

On a larger scale, continued use of the fossil fuels taken out of the ground is one of the primary causes of global warming. Also, recent research at MIT claims that some 200,000 Americans die early because of air pollution that is caused by fossil fuel use. Some 58,000 of those people’s deaths are attributed mainly to vehicle-caused pollution, the largest single category. People are dying an average of 12 years earlier than they otherwise would.

Protecting the sage-grouse requires not drilling in some areas. Politicians in these development areas are filing lawsuits against the agencies that have created the rules to protect the sage-grouse. The local politicians are saying that they can do a better job of protecting the sage-grouse than the federal government. On the other hand, the federal rules were put in place because we found, from the history of industrialization in our country, that local governments were unwilling or unable to protect our natural resources.

Ethical choices are at the heart of these problems. Environmental ethics is a crucial field. In fact, our lives depend on it.

Patrick Hunter


Letter: Battlement Mesa outrage

October 4, 2015 — 

I moved to Battlement Mesa for the beautiful views, the fresh air, and the quiet serenity of the surrounding mountains. As a new homeowner, there were things I didn’t know — like the fact that the planners who approved building the Villages in Battlement are now recommending drilling sites right in our residential community.

Small communities offer opportunities to participate in local government, right? I recently attended the site tour (or sales presentation) Ursa hosted for Garfield planning commissioners. Surprisingly, only Ursa’s representatives or the commissioners were allowed to speak. We visited a proposed site for a drilling pad for 28 wells. It is just down the hill from my home. I’ll be able to watch, hear and smell the entire operation from my office window, perhaps for years to come. So much for the beautiful views, fresh air, and mountain serenity.

The next night was the five-hour meeting of the planning commissioners. After 90 minutes summarizing Ursa’s application for in-town drilling, and 90 minutes for Ursa speeches (mostly sales pitches), Garfield County citizens were finally allowed to speak. Each got three minutes to quickly voice concerns. While the commissioners did broach questions and comments to Ursa, they were mute to our concerns. They did, however, note when each speaker’s time was up. Ursa was allowed to react to our comments, but we could not respond to theirs. Well, so much for participatory government.

Fred Jarman, community development director, delineated the differences between rights of homeowners (aka “surface owners”) and mineral lessees. Who do you think has the greater input into community development: mineral lessees, or “surface owners?” Yup, mineral lessees. Mr. Jarman advocated far more for Ursa than for the community he is developing.

Here’s a news flash: Battlement Mesa is considered an “experiment” for establishing the feasibility of drilling, fracking, pipeline installation and pumping gas from within communities. This is outrageous. Please join me in exposing the dangers of this audacious affront to our community. Get Ursa’s drilling outside our residential area.

Kathlyn Kingdon

Battlement Mesa

Letter: Battlement concerns dismissed

October 3, 2015 — 

The current struggle in Battlement Mesa involves a new dimension that is being felt in other Colorado communities.

An oil and gas operator wishes to drill within close proximity to residential homes. Immediately, issues involving health, safety and well-being arise. The well-being is primarily involved with “nuisances.” Nuisances involve noise, odors, fumes, vibration, lights, dust and flaring. But there are the other effects such as damaged infrastructure, property values and crime.

Health and safety involves toxic vapors of chemicals, hydrocarbons/volatile organic compounds (VOCs)/hydrogen sulfide, particulates, fires, explosions, blowouts, pipeline failures, transport spills, traffic hazards and evacuation to catastrophic accident spread. In most of these issues, one of the most important practical solutions is mitigation of the threats to health, safety and well-being by increased distance from the drill sites to homes.

Other communities have negotiated this distance with operators because the technology has advanced to accommodate further offset drilling, but here in Battlement, it has been dismissed. So far, the only reason seems to be the added cost, as other explanations appear to be very questionable. There are already sites built that could be used to drill to the remaining gas resources, but the operator is looking at five new sites, through the middle of Battlement, that allow shorter drilling reach (less cost) with lesser equipment (smaller rigs).

The operator has not given a comprehensive plan for the entire project nor submitted adequate mitigations and safety needs to address concerns of residents of Battlement.

These were some of the shortcomings to the application for special use permitting that Battlement citizens addressed in the first Garfield County Planning Commission meeting.

Bob Arrington

Battlement Mesa

Letter: Teacher economics

October 3, 2015 — 

In response to Chris McGovern’s letter to the editor Sept. 27, I feel there are a number of inaccuracies and points that need to be addressed and corrected. Ms. McGovern stated that there is no need for affordable houses for teachers based on the district’s salary. She started out by lumping all teachers into a two-income household. A large number of teachers have only one income, which brings the salary down to $43,991 for a teacher with a master’s degree. Second, that is not plus benefits, it is minus benefits. After benefits, PARA and taxes are taken out, what is left is $32,400 for 10 months of work, which is a monthly income of $2,700. Taking out $1,500 per month for a rental unit comprises over 50 percent of a teacher’s income.

Second, Ms. McGovern stated that teachers only work 175 days per year, leaving 190 days to build a commune or start a second business. After counting the district calendar for days teachers are required to be working, the number is 194 contracted days (including required trainings). Then counting weekends approximately 106 days per year (which I might add teachers use 70 percent of them for planning and prepping for their job) that only leaves 65 days including holidays to meet their continuing educational/training requirements and build Ms. McGovern’s commune.

Now let’s address some aspects of being a teacher. To keep licensure to work, they must continue their education at their own expense, as well as stock their classrooms with supplies and resources purchased with their own money. On top of that, a large number of teachers hold student loans. Ms. McGovern was correct that they can apply for $5,000 in loan forgiveness, but she failed to mention that is after five years of work in a school classified as high needs. For a profession that requires high levels of continued education, the pay is very low. Couple that with a high cost of rent, gas and food, and it proves very hard to keep and retain good teachers in the Roaring Fork Valley.

Katina Leatherby

New Castle

Letter: Great kids, great teachers, old building

October 2, 2015 — 

If you want to change the future and make a difference in our lives, the first place to start is by voting for the bond. I’m a student at Glenwood Springs Elementary School. I know what it feels like to live in a 100-year old school. I believe that students need high-quality learning experiences, and that requires a good learning space.

There are some good things about going to Glenwood Springs Elementary School. First of all, we are an Expeditionary Learning school. That means going on all sorts of cool field trips, from the Denver Zoo to hiking Storm King to the Glenwood Fish Hatchery. Second of all, another part of EL is crew. Crew is when each class gets together on the carpet and greets each other and talks about their day. There are some great things happening at Glenwood Springs Elementary School. We need your support to build on what we have.

We have all these great kids and teachers, but not a great building. It is really hard to move from one building to another. We have three buildings and 500 kids who have to be on time for classes. Sometimes kids get stuck outside buildings and that’s not safe.

Don’t all these 500 kids deserve more than what they have?

The crews of GSES deserve a new school. Think of all the fantastic things we could do with a new school, such as having enough space to grow a garden and space to do crew games and no one will be stuck outside going between buildings. This is the time to vote.

Not just you. Tell your neighbor, tell your friends and remember that this is for kids. I’m a fourth-grader at GSES, and I know that we need a new school.

Letter: Meeting Monday on homelessness

October 2, 2015 — 

As the summer winds down and the weather cools, the number of obvious street people in Glenwood would appear to be dwindling. There are not quite the number there were a month ago along the pedestrian bridge or in the downtown area. The “problem” seems to be going away.

Questions remain. Is there a problem? If so, what is the problem? Are a few causing problems for everyone? Who are they and what is their story? What draws them to Glenwood?

These questions, and others will be discussed at a community meeting at 6 p.m. Monday at the Glenwood Springs Community Center. The Glenwood Springs City Council, in collaboration with Partners4Glenwood, a group of local community leaders, have invited a group of panelists to exchange information, provide some facts and figures and begin to determine if there are elements of this situation that can or should be addressed.

Panelists include: Mary Baydarian, director, Garfield County Human Services; Kim Loving, executive director, Lift-Up; Karen Peppers, director, Feed My Sheep; Dr. Al Saliman, Valley View Hospital; Jackie Skramstad, regional director, Mind Springs Health; Marianne Virgili, President/CEO Chamber Resort Association; Pam Willis, assistant chief operations officer, Glenwood Hot Springs; Terry Wilson, chief of police, Glenwood Springs.

These panelists were chosen out of a large number of eminently qualified people to speak to this issue as a representative sample of a variety of perspectives. It is my hope that anyone who is involved or touched by this situation will attend and contribute to this conversation.

If you have any questions or concerns or would like more information, please contact me at 379-4849 or email me at kathryn.trauger@cogs.us.

Questions for GarCo Planning Commission

October 1, 2015 — 

As a homeowner in Battlement Mesa, I attended the recent meeting of Garfield Community Planning Commission to hear the application for Ursa oil and gas to drill 52 gas wells within the planned unit development of Battlement Mesa in phase one. The commissioners stated in the meeting that they were charged with the task of balancing the needs of homeowners with the needs of mineral rights owners. Further, their mission statement says that they exist to “… promote the quality of life for the citizens of Garfield County.”

For three hours on tour with the gas company in Battlement Mesa, and four more hours in the public meeting, all of the homeowners affected were not allowed to ask any questions. Ursa and the development director were allowed to talk for hours, and the development commission asked them questions, but the homeowners whose lives and property values will surely be compromised had to be polite and silent.

In the name of fairness, I think it is imperative that the development commission answer some vital questions for Garfield County.

Why are you allowing the potential drilling of 94 gas wells within the residential PUD of Battlement Mesa with no time limit whatsoever?

Why are you considering only phase one without demanding a comprehensive plan?

If you knew that Exxon had mineral rights dating from 1979, why did you approve plans for three 100 percent residential developments (Willow Creek, Stone Ridge and Valley View) within a few hundred feet of a designated multiple-well drilling site?

If you stand for fairness in our county, why are you refusing to hold hearings in our town, but instead insist that our citizens collectively travel over 4,000 miles to attend your hearing in Glenwood when we have all the facilities to have this hearing in Battlement Mesa?

We really need answers to these vital questions when the future of our community is at stake.

Letter: Trouble with drilling plans

September 30, 2015 — 

I believe the article by Ryan Hoffman (9/24/15) on the Planning Commission Hearing on drilling in the residential community of Battlement Mesa missed important points.

Questions were raised that should be answered. First, why did the Garfield County Planning and Zoning Commission approve the villages of Willow Ridge, Stone Ridge and Valley View if they knew it would become an industrial site with gas wells drilled very close to them?

Second, why not ask for a comprehensive drilling and pipeline plan? Currently Ursa’s plan is for five well pads hosting 194 wells in a residential community. However, only two well pads and a pipeline application are being reviewed. The current application concerns only approximately one third of them. The location of the other three well pads and pipelines were not shared at the hearing. The occupations, as they are called, could and are planned to go on for years. Battlement Mesa is not an industrial area; it is a residential one.

Finally, this is not a question of the virtue of oil and gas or any particular operator. It is a question of why the Planning Commission approved those residential villages if they were aware of future impacts. Most Battlement Mesa residents were not aware of them, and had been told that there would be no drilling in their community.

The technology does exist to extract the minerals from outside the Public Unit Development. Ursa’s drilling is unable to do this. Should this be Battlement Mesa’s problem or Ursa’s?

It seems irresponsible to allow for industrial activity with unknown impacts to go on for an unknown number of years.

Bernita Grove

Battlement Mesa

Letter: Appreciation for fire response

September 30, 2015 — 

Everyone at Distinguished Boards + Beams would like to extend their gratitude to each of the emergency responders from Carbondale and Rural Fire Protection District, Basalt fire and Carbondale Police Department for keeping our neighborhood, our staff and our facility safe on Tuesday when we experienced a well-contained yet unfortunate emergency event at our facility in downtown Carbondale.

Thanks to the immediate and flawless functioning of our fire safety mechanisms (the genius work of Tom Bleskan), along with the quick and skilled efforts of the many first responders, the situation was brought under control with surprising efficiency and no damage to the facility.

We would like to extend special thank-yous to those volunteer responders who took time out of their busy days to ensure the safety of our community, and to Rob Goodwin for his diligent investigation support.

Distinguished Boards + Beams


Letter: An idea for Aspenites

September 30, 2015 — 

Thank you for publishing the series on lack of affordable housing in the area. Wonder if anyone will take up the challenge. I looked for an apartment in Glenwood and had to give up.

The places for seniors, in particular, are dark holes with no patios nor balconies. Just seems that the rich and famous were able to “buy” an entire scenic area at the expense of others.

I have a suggestion: Maybe the ultrawealthy in Aspen should contribute toward multiple affordable complexes for those people who wait their tables, scrub their toilets, tend their lawns and teach their children.

Since her landlord is selling my daughter’s rental, she and kids will being going on a hunt to find the impossible. No, she does not want to move nor commute 40 miles one way to her job. Hope you keep on with this reality check. (Affordable does not mean $1,000 and up for a one-bedroom or even two-bedroom apartment.)

Carol Abbott

Battlement Mesa

Readers Say Thanks

September 29, 2015 — 

Community helps senior

High Country RSVP would like to thank all those involved in an extensive yard clean-up in Rifle for a senior who is battling cancer. We would like to thank all of those who made it possible; the city of Rifle, in particular, Sara Flores, Rifle Community Service Officer Code Enforcement; City Manager Matt Sturgeon; Assistant City Manager Bobby Odell; and their crew of city workers and inmates from the Rifle Correctional Facility. We could not have accomplished removing thousands of pounds of sheet metal, trash, and recycling in just eight hours without the cooperation from the city of Rifle, the loan of a dump truck and front loader, and RSVP volunteers Stephen Deliyianis, Carl Vogt and Teri Daugherty. It is truly heartwarming to work with individuals and entities that care so much about seniors and are willing to work collaboratively to ease the burdens of others. Cheers to the city of Rifle and our community volunteers. Thank you!

Patty Daniells, program director

High Country RSVP

3rd annual Walk for Hope a success

On Sunday, Sept. 13, One Moment hosted our third annual Walk For Hope where we gathered together with families who have been affected by pregnancy and early infant loss. We honored and celebrated our babies that have gone too soon with readings and seed paper notes, a beautiful musical tribute, a butterfly release, and a half mile walk to honor the steps they will never take here with us.

I would like to thank our sponsors and donors for helping make our event a success. Thank you to Alpine Bank, Valley View Hospital Family Birthplace, Glenwood Insurance, and Coldwell Banker Mason Morse for their generous donations in sponsoring our walk. Mark Bricklin of the Vail Daily went above and beyond to print our Walk For Hope ad many times for just a small fee. Gil Villarreal of Ex Nihilo Studios gave generously of his time and talent for web work and design services. Thank you to singer/songwriter Sue Krehbiel, who learned a special song just for our event and gave a beautiful performance that touched many hearts. Thank you to Jennifer Johnson Photography for donating her time to photograph our event. Chris Tribble from True Media Foundation and his assistant Sam Hankinson gave of their time and talent to video our event and provide us with a beautifully edited video compilation.

Thank you to Ham Dubois from Innermountain Distributing for donating bottled water and Aaron Badolato from Sweet ColoraDough for donating doughnuts for our thirsty and hungry participants. We greatly appreciate Copy Copy in Glenwood Springs for donating the printing for our walk programs, and for City Market in Rifle, which donated beautiful chrysanthemums that gave our newly released butterflies a happy place to rest. A big thanks again to Two Rivers Community Foundation for overseeing all of our funding for this year’s event.

We could not have done this without all of you. I am grateful to live in a community that cares so much to support our cause. Because of you all, we are reaching lives and touching hurting hearts of families here in our little valley.

Marcia Villarreal

Walk For Hope

Letter: Why to support bond issue

September 29, 2015 — 

As a young girl, I remember asking my mother why she would vote yes to a tax hike that wouldn’t do anything for her personally. Her reply has stuck with me for 30 years.

“Jennifer, there are two things you should always say yes to. You always vote yes to things that support seniors because they once took care of us, and you always vote yes on things that support children because they will someday take care of us.”

It sounds so simple. And yet, it makes sense. The RFSD bond issue is more than just buildings and remodels, bricks and mortar. It is about building a strong foundation for our kids to stand on so that they grow to be intelligent, respectful, compassionate, hard working, loving, fun members of our community. And, one day, those who were once little children in new schools will switch roles and tuck you in at night. And you will thank them.

Vote YES on 3B. It’s good for all of us.

Jen Rupert; RFSD School Board candidate


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