Letters to the Editor

Letter: Way to show ‘em, NFL

September 30, 2014 — 

NFL teams really know how to crack down on players who commit domestic violence. A Carolina Panther player has been suspended, can only watch the games, but still receives $700,000 a week in salary. That really showed him who’s in charge!

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Letter: May the Krabloonik dogs be happy now

September 30, 2014 — 

We were thrilled to read about the ownership change at Krabloonik. Sounds like the new buyers have figured out why the public has been outraged by the previous owners bad practices.

We can only imagine how much happier the dogs are, too. Yes, dogs, even working ones, can know happiness. We have enjoyed the sled races at Redstone and see how eager the dogs are to get out and run.

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Letter: When does discipline become abuse?

September 30, 2014 — 

After an enjoyable meal at a local restaurant Saturday night, I stopped in the restroom. From behind the closed stall door I heard two people storm in, then a whack, whack, whack and the cry of a little girl. Shocked by the sound of the force exerted, when I left the stall, I made eye contact with the mom, who was now angrily making the little girl wash her hands. She said, as if to justify the spanking, “Why did you have to spill that salsa all over?”

Compelled to say something and struggling for words, I blurted out, “Because she’s only – what? – 4 years old?” My words were directed to the mom, but I now made contact with the little girl, who looked scared and shell-shocked. I felt an instinctive need to protect her because clearly, her mom was overreacting.

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Letter: The Democrats just don’t listen

September 30, 2014 — 

The head honcho of the Democratic Party in Aspen published a letter in an Aspen paper and you have to wonder about it, Apparently a lot of people that have been called regarding who they might be voting for must be voting for Cory Gardner. This Democratic Party head honcho Blanca O’Leary is apparently trying to discredit Cory Gardner, who is running against Udall. Funny when a Democrat decides they are losing they start trying to place the blame for the way this country, this state is on everybody.

Well, the Democratic Party has been in charge of the Senate for sometime. Udall has been in that office since 1999, so far the last two or three years, he has become the poster child — no pun intended since he isn’t a youngster — for Obama and company.

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Letter: Create a pedestrian-friendly downtown

September 30, 2014 — 

Glenwood’s downtown merchants need to decide what comes into their businesses. Some state the terrible damage a bridge replacement will bring downtown. I believe they are missing the mark when they say, “stop the bridge it will kill downtown.” The traffic will not change that much, speed or volume. What will change is pedestrian patterns.

I recently suggested to a downtown merchant that they should approach CDOT and the city and see about a pedestrian bridge mid-block between Eighth and Ninth and another on the south side of the intersection of Grand and Ninth. I said that this would provide unrestricted access for pedestrians to move freely. The response I got was “That will just make cars fly by faster.”

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Letter: Knowledgeable voting is critical to our future

September 30, 2014 — 

Ferguson, Missouri, captured the headlines as a city and county out of control. What we know for sure is that the voter turnout was only 12 percent in their recent municipal election. Nationally, only 1 in 4 four voters turn out for mayoral elections in the largest cities. Knowledgeable voting is critical to our future.

Garfield County has the opportunity and obligation to vote for a number of important offices, including our local county commissioners office. It is important that you are registered to vote to play your part in this great democracy.

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Letters on the election, bridge and other divides

September 29, 2014 — 

Editor’s note: Today, you, the readers provide the commentary for this page, except for the editorial cartoon, which is included to provide visual relief.

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Letter: West feeds cycle of outrage

September 27, 2014 — 

Christian armies invaded and destroyed secular Iraq, killed over 500,000 people, bombed the area into the stone age, sowing rage and revenge, creating the perfect storm for a terror network — and Muslims need to apologize for all this? Possibly just a little resentment? Over 400 children killed in Gaza by U.S.-built weapons. Where is the outrage in the Western press?

The recent beheadings are intentionally creating the usual wanted knee-jerk reaction in the West. Military contractors are chompin’ at the bit at the thought of increased weapons sales. Pundits who work for defense contractors are pushing war on the talk shows.

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Letter: A check of political contributions

September 27, 2014 — 

I read with interest Mr. R.W. Boyle’s letter of Sept. 15 concerning the Koch brothers’ political donations.

Let me say first of all, congratulations on being able to remember things at the age of 73. Being that age myself, I know how difficult it can be at times.

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Letter: ‘Think and Act Conference’ is today

September 26, 2014 — 

An exciting learning opportunity is coming to the Roaring Fork Valley. You won’t want to miss this if you are a self-advocate, parent and/or family member of a child of all ages, teacher, adult service provider, early childhood person or just a community member who believes in inclusion and wants to support their community to be more diverse, vibrant and successful.

The “Think and Act Conference” is coming to Carbondale from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, sponsored by PEAK Parent Center and a host of local co-sponsors. The conference keynote speaker will be Norman Kunc, an internationally recognized consultant and family therapist from Vancouver, British Columbia, who will share his life experiences and wisdom gained as a person with a disability. Norman will challenge participants to think in a different way about including and serving people with disabilities.

I am a parent outreach connector for Peak Parent Center representing the Western Slope. PEAK Parent Center is very committed and passionate about the work of facilitating empowerment, re-energizing, creating opportunities for dialogue, and providing doable strategies to assure that people with disabilities achieve and maintain their rightful place as full members in their schools and communities.

The conference will be held at The Gathering Place at The Orchard Center in Carbondale. Registration is only $35. To register, go to: http://bit.ly/ThinkAct For more information contact, 800-284-0251, ext. 117.

Letter: The Thompson Divide is not ‘a political concept’

September 26, 2014 — 

In a Post Independent story, David Ludlam, executive director of the West Slope Colorado Oil and Gas Association (WSCOGA) made the claim that the Thompson Divide Area is “a political concept … and not an area based on the Thompson Creek watershed or any other biological or geological considerations.” For those of us who live and work in this community, we know this is not true.

Public lands in the Thompson Divide area provide invaluable grazing opportunities for local ranches, clean water for our crops and towns, and endless recreation opportunities – including hunting, fishing, snowmobiling and biking – that support hundreds of jobs in our local economy. The Thompson Divide area is also defined by 15 different watersheds, all of which are connected through one of the last great swaths of undeveloped roadless areas on the Western Slope. Our communities rely on this area for the direct and indirect benefits it provides. Those benefits are very real and help to support our recreation- and tourism-based economy in the region.

Simply put, Mr. Ludlam’s comments could not be further from the truth. Thompson Divide is not a political concept. It is an area of public lands that deserves to be protected for posterity’s sake.

Letter: Recognize consensus on Thompson Divide

September 25, 2014 — 

I was confused to see that the West Slope Oil and Gas Association is now questioning the existence of the Thompson Divide. To be completely honest, I thought the headline was satirical at first glance. Sadly, it was not satire. It was offensive and it was unhelpful.

Over the last few years, I have spent countless hours participating in the local effort to protect the Thompson Divide. In that time, I have seen a level of community consensus that is all too rare these days. I’ve seen folks from all walks of life – ranchers and mountain bikers, Republicans and Democrats, snowmobile riders and environmentalists – all working together to conserve a unique and special place.

Certainly the industry has also seen this rare level of community consensus, which is why I’m confused by their increasingly combative tone on Thompson Divide. As a community, we’ve worked to find win-win solutions that protect the Thompson Divide from future development. Heck, we’ve even offered to purchase the leases from them.

Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time that West Slope COGA has made unhelpful assertions. In the past, they’ve tried to label us as “rich Aspen elitist” when we’re really just everyday citizens hoping for say in our own community’s future. They’ve called us “job-killers” when in reality, the only long-term jobs in the Thompson Divide are those that we stand to lose if drilling occurs. Now they’re questioning the existence of the landscape we’re working to protect? None of this is helpful.

If industry really wants to be helpful, it will recognize that there are certain areas where development should not occur — areas that should be left alone. If they want to be helpful, they’ll come back to the drawing board and negotiate with the community to achieve a permanent solution that provides what the Post-Independent described as “a reasonable return — not a killing — on a speculative investment.”

Letter: Other signers of letter on highway vote

September 25, 2014 — 

In the Sept. 22 edition of your newspaper you published a short letter from Ernie and Carol Gianinetti and from Dean Moffat and from “nine others” calling for a regional vote on a Highway 82 bypass. The names of all of the other signers are as follows: Gregory Durrett, Melanie Cardiff, Jerry and Judy Gerbaz, Skip Bell, John Foulkrod, Bradford and Patsy Nicholson and Mark Chain. Quite a cross section of the community. Just thought everybody should know.

Letter: How is this not the county’s problem?

September 24, 2014 — 

The letters regarding my sinkhole have always been fact-based and mostly void of emotion. But when I came home recently and watched as half of my subdivision’s rainfall rushed down the street and tried to drain into the ditch at the end of my driveway, I became very angry.

Whose idea was it anyway, Garfield County, to allow a subdivision to drain into a ditch between two private properties and onto a third private property? “Illegal” was the word used by the engineer I consulted. And whose idea was it, Garfield County, to line this “drainage” with plastic and not expect it to tear and leak? And whose idea was it, Garfield County, to ignore your own warnings about dangerous soils in that very spot and to ignore a letter in 1998 stating that a culvert should be put in?

And why is it now, Mr. (County Attorney John) Hutfless, all of a sudden private property when there is a sinkhole/erosion problem that needs fixing, but it wasn’t private property when the county ordered the drainage redone in the first place?

In eight years I’ve been passed off to almost every department in the county. Three years ago, I pleaded with our commissioners for help. In two meetings, I was promised 17 times they would help me. I quote “we will do our research and due diligence,” “we’ll bring everyone into the discussion” and “we will drive deeper.” All empty promises.

Mr. Hutfless has declared this is not the county’s problem and the matter is legally closed. Really, Mr. Hutfless, how is this not the county’s problem? The county created this nightmare by allowing houses to be built on known bad soils and by allowing a natural drainage channel to be redone with no thought as to whom would be responsible for it and how it would be maintained.

It seems our commissioners are content to merely hide behind the skirts of the attorney and his ridiculous claim that this is not the county’s problem instead of doing what’s right. Needless to say, I am not voting for Mr. Jankovsky.

Letter: What a mess our country is experiencing

September 24, 2014 — 

It’s hard to understand how many misguided Americans voted for our current president and the lunatics he appointed to run our great country. In fact almost nothing Barack Obama has done has been beneficial to America or the world since he was voted in as president.

He is the first president to create more excuses than jobs. He has mired the country in unprecedented debt. He has divided us against each other economically. Internationally, our allies no longer trust America nor do our enemies fear us. He exacerbates racial tensions and encourages race-baiters like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson.

Every word that comes out of his mouth is questionable because of his serial lying behavior. It appears to be his normal way of life. The further a society drifts from the truth the more it will hate those who speak it.

Just for the record, let’s review some history. The Democrat Party was the party of racism dating all the way back to Andrew Jackson. It was the party of slavery, secession, Jim Crow and segregation and the main party of opposition to the civil rights legislation of the 1960s. Today under Obama, it’s the primary source of racial, ethnic and gender divisions.

The Republican Party started in 1854. It was the party of abolition, civil war/civil rights amendments to the Constitution, the party of traditional American values and the rule of law.

Immigration is a good example. Republicans are for enforcing our borders, encouraging people to come here legally. Democrats are for open borders and amnesty. Democrats try to paint Republicans as racist, sexist, antigay, xenophobic or whatever. Not! Name-calling is their thing.

If you’ve wised up since Obama’s election and are feeling voters remorse, you can change your mind this November. A fool never will.

Letter: ISIS’ bloody roots traced to 1919 treaty

September 23, 2014 — 

Today our existential fear of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is propelling the president toward expanding military action in the Middle East. But Barack Obama, notwithstanding his Iraq and Afghanistan withdrawals, bears no historical responsibility for this latest Middle East inhumanity.

The Turkish Ottoman Empire ruled the Middle East for 450 years. With World War I, everything changed. Fearing Russian expansionism, the Turks belatedly entered the war allied with Russia’s enemy Germany. England and France, in spite of horrendous losses on the Western Front, now saw military and economic opportunity in the Eastern Mediterranean.

By far the best known of the forays that ensued was the England’s attempt to open a second front against Germany. The military disaster that was the land attack against the vastly underrated Turkish army on the Gallipoli Peninsula and the sea attack against the Turkish forts along the Dardanelles Straits is now legendary.

Forgotten is England’s later invasion of the Middle East from Egypt and separately, from Basra. The principal reason for these attacks, far from the war in Europe and with troops badly needed in France, was post-war colonial expansion. By provisions of a secret agreement, the Sikes-Picot treaty between England and France (predicated on the eventual collapse of the Ottoman Empire), the post-war Middle East was to be carved up to serve these victorious countries’ political and economic interests. Western bureaucrats drew arbitrary map lines creating Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Palestine. Centuries-old animosities between Sunni, Shia, Kurdish and other Muslim sects; economic equality of opportunity among the countries’ Arab peoples; and subjugation of religious majorities by ruthless minority sects were all considerations ignored. In addition and, for some, worst of all, the Balfour Declaration pledged England’s support for a Jewish homeland in Palestine under English supervision.

The result of the Sikes-Picot Treaty’s cynical perfidy remains the greatest single reason for the violence that has plagued the Middle East ever since 1919. European arrogance almost 100 years ago is a root cause of the subhuman desire for bloody terrorism that is ISIS.

Letter: Beauprez would seize land, squeeze recreation

September 23, 2014 — 

To my hunting and angling brethren, many of whom vote Republican: Are you aware yet that Bob Beauprez, the Republican nominee for governor of Colorado, has vowed to seize all federal lands in Colorado? This promise includes Forest Service lands, National Parks and Monuments, BLM lands and National Wildlife Refuges.

It has been estimated that such a move would cost Colorado taxpayers at least $200 million, and the annual cost of fighting wildfires alone on these lands would run tens, if not hundreds, of millions of dollars more. The solution: sell them off.

Ignoring the financial boondoggle implied by his scheme, we hunters and anglers would be gradually stripped of places to recreate, as natural resource extraction companies would buy up more and more of the land. Is this what you want? Coming from Pennsylvania, where public lands are few and at a premium, I can assure you that our opportunities to enjoy our local out of doors, and the ability to feed our families with wholesome fish and meat that we bring home, is vastly superior to states who are not blessed as we are, with 36 percent of our state available to the public.

It really comes down to these questions: do you want to see nothing but “No Trespassing/Private Property” signs for the length of the Fryingpan and Roaring Fork rivers? Do you want to see the same at all the trailheads to Snowmass/Maroon Bells Wilderness (Game Unit 43)? Do you want to see the $3 billion that hunting, angling and wildlife watching brings to this state turn to a trickle? Think carefully about for whom you vote and what they vow to do in office.

Letter: Getting the facts straight on trucks and tarps

September 23, 2014 — 

An answer to Greg Jeung’s letter in the Sept. 14 Post Independent is necessary to get the facts straight on trucks, tarps and dyed fuel.

Mr. Jeung flaps about how trucks are running with no tarps. Does he need glasses? The DOT has surprise inspections quite often to enforce the tarp and fuel laws. Having been in the trucking business in the Aspen for 45 years, I watch for offenders. Most of the offenders are two- and three-axle dump trailers pulled by pickup trucks owned by landscapers and driven by non-commercial licensed operators. They tend to overload their vehicles and have no tarps on them.

The law states that any vehicle with a gross weight of 26,000 pounds or more needs an operator with a commercial license. Many of these landscapers have no license, not to mention a commercial one. Some are not even insured. It is their vehicles and the small sedans that pick up small stones off the road and fling them into Mr. Jeung’s and my vehicles. I have replaced three windshields in the last year, all in my personal cars. If all cars had mud flaps, this would not happen. All trucks are required to have mud flap that extend to within 8 inches of the road.

As far as Mr. Jeung’s statement about dyed fuel being run in trucks, this is also untrue. Truckers are not allowed to pump red fuel at the truck stops into their trucks and the fine is $1,000 if you are caught. The landscapers, on the other hand, use pickups that the DOT has a hard time checking. In Arizona, the 2008 survey found that 88 percent of the scofflaws were pick-up operators. So Mr. Jeung, run your nonsense facts back in the hangar.

Letter: Political discourse should be based on facts

September 23, 2014 — 

My family received a letter from Cory recently. Yes, that Cory, Rep. Cory Gardner. Actually, it was a solicitation for funds. Since his campaign and related “independent issues committees” are receiving millions from billionaires like the Koch brothers, I wonder how we got on his list.

Anyway, that’s not the reason I’m writing. I write because I believe that our political discourse should be reasonably based on facts, and the letter we received contained several obvious mistaken assertions. Let’s look at some of them, referencing actual data. His statements are in quotations.

“Obama’s and Udall’s extreme environmental agenda paralyzes oil and natural gas production.” Absolutely false. U.S. oil and natural gas production are at or near all-time high levels. According to the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, Colorado gas production has risen every year since 1988 and oil has risen every year since 1999. Gas production has declined once again here on the Western Slope, as it has in the past, simply because there is more money to be earned drilling for oil in other locations.

“... burdensome regulations are impeding economic growth.” One can always argue that regulations impede growth, but it is also true that our complex economy could not function without reasonable regulation. But what we really need to look at is U.S. growth. Some facts: The economy grew at a 4.2 percent rate last quarter, an average of over 210,000 new jobs have been created every month in 2014 (more than at any time since Clinton was president), and the number unemployed has dropped 1.7 million this year. Business Insider just recognized Colorado as having the best economy in the country.

Finally, “Obamacare is forcing 7 million out of employer-based health insurance.” Actual data shows a drop in the uninsured of 3-4 percent nationwide. Part of this is due to Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) enrollment and part to actual increase in employer-based insurance. In states that accepted Medicaid expansion, the decline in uninsured was greater. Colorado dropped from 16.54 percent to 9.02 percent uninsured. ACA rates for 2015 now show a slight drop nationally (Kaiser Family Foundation data).

Letter: Mideast air strikes benefit Obama ‘best friends’

September 23, 2014 — 

Dear President Obama, “best friends” with the billionaire Crowns, owners of Aspen Skiing, weapons maker GD and JP Morgan Chase:

More General Dynamics bombs on the hornet’s nest known as the Middle East means we’re all just gonna get stung. Endless war and no regulation of Wall Street banks only benefits your “best friends.”

Free Press Letter: Ill-prepared drivers cause wintertime accidents on Colorado’s Interstate 70

September 23, 2014 — 

I am responding to the recent article about Interstate 70 drivers. I have been a fleet mechanic for the past 30-plus years and notice things about vehicles most would not even see.

When I drive to Denver, I see vehicles with brake lights burned out, tires out of balance, vehicles needing alignments, and no signal lights (or they’re just not using them).

My last winter trip was a really wild ride. It was October and we were in my Ranger. During the last climb from Vail to the tunnel it was snowing when we came to a gaggle of vehicles all over the highway. Some were sideways, backwards, wheels were spinning, and most were slipping backwards. A large delivery van was spinning its wheels so fast it was sideways. The Suburban in front of me was going about 20 mph, so I shifted into low and followed him as we snaked our way through the mess without spinning or slipping.

The problem was partially due to weather conditions, but the drivers didn’t have a clue how to drive in those conditions! They may have watched too many TV commercials showing the SUV flying over snow-covered roads with no problems. Most of the vehicles I saw were Subarus, Volvos and some of the cheaper SUVs. Tires are also a problem, as I have warned many people I see at gas stations or rest areas that their tires look worn (usually down to wear bars or bald) or other noticeable problems.

I think Colorado should revert back to the vehicle inspection. This would not only generate jobs and revenue, but it could save lives. I’m not sure what to do about driver stupidity though — maybe fine them like you do truckers without chains.

Richard Reno

Grand Junction, Colo.

Letter: Jankovsky has proven his leadership

September 22, 2014 — 

I am writing this letter in support of Tom Jankovsky’s re-election as Garfield County commissioner. Since he took office in 2010, we have seen the impacts of his leadership, and he has represented the people of Garfield County well. He stood up to the oil and gas industry when it wanted to use Four Mile Road as a haul route. He supports the Thompson Divide Coalition’s efforts to protect the forest land southwest of Glenwood Springs. When he saw that Garfield County was named the “most expensive county in the country” for health care, he flew to Washington, D.C., to meet with lawmakers and to testify on our behalf. His efforts were successful, and he and the other commissioners were able to change the state’s designation of our county, which will save us money. He’s also a huge advocate for protecting our Second Amendment rights. In other words, he’s a leader.

His opponent is not.

Garfield County needs Tom’s leadership experience, his budgeting expertise and someone that isn’t afraid to stand up and speak for the people. With the county’s economy improving, this is no time to take a chance on a part-time planning and zoning member who vows to fight the industry that feeds our economy. We need a leader who understands business and the world beyond Carbondale. Tom Jankovsky is that leader.

Dylan Lewis

Silt

Letter: Lamm’s points on illegal immigration

September 22, 2014 — 

Former Gov. Richard Lamm’s opinion article in the Aug. 31 Denver Post, “Just Whose Labor Are We Protecting,” was bold in its reflection on America’s labor policy. His question: “What policies are best for the American worker?”

A few of his observations: The vast majority of immigrants come because of who they are related to, not for their skills; low-skilled immigrants reduce wages for low-skilled Americans; employers love immigrants because they provide subsidized labor; in 2000, the United States had 40 million employment-age workers not in the labor force, today 92 million are not working; we minimize the number of skilled and talented immigrants by preferring “family unification”; we have been bringing in immigrants faster than the economy can provide jobs, thereby hurting American workers. The more people who are competing for existing jobs, the lower the wages, and any country should owe its first duty to its own poor.

An additional concern he did not address is the massive tax-free, under-the-table, underground economy that has exploded due to the illegal immigration.

Lamm is simply asking for a respectful and rational debate on our labor policy. Hopefully those who disagree with the governor will refrain from anger, political correctness and especially name-calling.

Floyd Diemoz

Glenwood Springs

Letter: Misinformation about bridge project

September 21, 2014 — 

There is a lot of misinformation about the Grand Avenue Bridge project that needs to be dispelled. First, that the present bridge is dangerous because it might collapse, and because the lanes are too narrow. If the bridge was in danger of collapse, CDOT would have posted load limits — which it has not. There have been virtually no accidents attributable to the lane width, which actually helps keep traffic from exceeding the 25-mph speed limit.

Second, that since no money is currently available for the alternate route and there is no citizen agreement on where to locate it, we have to replace the present bridge. Replacing the bridge will not relieve the Grand Avenue/Highway 82 traffic congestion — only an alternate route can do that. Money for that is not presently available for a number of reasons, but over time additional funds will have to be allocated to meet Colorado’s transportation needs — one of which is another route through Glenwood Springs. Where that route will be located will not be decided by a public opinion poll, but will be determined by an Environmental Impact Statement completed by a team of professionals, which will select a preferred location based on a comparison of costs, environmental, social and economic impacts. That EIS is a prerequisite for any federal funding.

It has been claimed that by taking the heavy traffic off Sixth Street, the new bridge will benefit it by turning it into a pedestrian-friendly area. Wouldn’t diverting that same traffic from Grand Avenue (instead of perpetuating it) do the same thing for our downtown? A new bridge over Grand Avenue from Seventh to Eighth streets will not have the appeal of the Seventh Street project, it will have all the ambiance of a tunnel.

The Grand Avenue bridge project as currently being touted will not be a shot in the arm for Glenwood Springs, but will more like a shot in the head. Instead, we need to shelve this bridge replacement plan and commence work on an EIS to come up with a real solution to our growing traffic problems.

John Haines

chairman, Citizens to Save Grand Avenue

Letter: Regional vote needed on Highway 82 bypass

September 21, 2014 — 

We are addressing this letter to the newspapers in Glenwood Springs, Rifle, Carbondale, Aspen, Vail and Grand Junction because we think it is time to call upon all of the governments, both county and municipal, up and down the Crystal, Roaring Fork and Colorado River valleys to weigh in on the question of a State Highway 82 bypass around Glenwood Springs.

Valleywide transportation routes should be discussed and decided upon by regional consensus. The routing of a state highway through or around any municipality should never be determined uniquely by that municipality. We believe that over the past 60 years the continued routing of Highway 82 along Grand Avenue has not been successful.

We believe that the time has come to put the question of a bypass to a vote of all the people who live here. We ask that the citizens of Garfield, Eagle, Pitkin and Gunnison counties be given the opportunity to vote on the question. And we ask that further work on the design of the proposed new bridge be halted until such time as we have been able to vote whether or not there should be a State Highway 82 bypass.

Ernie and Carol Gianinetti

Carbondale

Dean Moffat

Glenwood Springs

and nine others

Letter: Finding hope amid terror of climate change

September 20, 2014 — 

As a resident of Carbondale and a teacher in the Roaring Fork School District, I am so thrilled that the Board of Education approved Roaring Fork High School’s new solar array, with wide support from community and staff. Most exciting is the leadership that students in the environmental club took to get this project done. Kudos, everyone!

The progress at RFHS mirrors a rapidly rising tide of global action to lower greenhouse gas emissions. This Sunday, Sept. 21, tens of thousands of Americans will gather in New York City for the People’s Climate March, with perhaps millions more joining their voices and hands in solidarity around the country. This is predicted to be the climate movement’s equivalent to the Civil Rights’ March on Washington — a historic moment not to be missed.

Here in the Roaring Fork Valley, Citizens Climate Lobby volunteers have already been celebrating. The Whistle Stop Rally at the Glenwood Springs Amtrak Station on Tuesday drew about 40 locals to meet the 150 or so marchers riding the People’s Climate Train from California all the way to NYC. Thursday night, dozens more gathered to watch “Disruption: Climate. Change,” which follows the rise of the movement to preserve a livable world, and to write letters to Rep. Tipton, Sen. Bennet and Sen. Udall.

Global warming is terrifying and overwhelming. Through CCL, I meet joyful, committed citizens from around the country who give me hope and a sense of collective power. At the end of “Disruption,” Van Jones noted that the dividing line of good and evil isn’t drawn between people, it’s drawn down the middle of each one of us. Every day, we have the chance to rise to our highest selves. What I appreciate most about this beautiful place is how many people stand up to make their voices count. Thank you to readers for your ongoing acts of loving service — this is what makes the world.

Letter: Let’s make politics real and civil

September 20, 2014 — 

I would like to invite all candidates running for any public office to have a night of heartfelt conversation with each other at the old Cardiff School House here in Glenwood Springs. I will be the discussion leader. You set the date with your opponent. I would like to know how you feel about the issues and why you feel that way. I have grown tired of all the talking points and prepared statements coming at me all the time. I choose to stay positive and need to see how you stay positive too. To see you on a human level. Politics does not have to be mean.

For five years we have had many events in the old school without a moment of rancor or name-calling. Magic lives in the walls. The Cardiff School House is the perfect place with soft, historical edges to have such an event. Civil discourse is a good thing. Please contact me and we will book a night for you to “talk” to each other and with us.

We will serve hot tea and cookies.

Let’s make politics real.

Letter: Carbondale pool classes are all-around good

September 19, 2014 — 

This summer I once again had the pleasure of attending Jump Start at the Carbondale Community Pool. These water exercise classes were a great way to start the day. Working out in the warm water helped to improve my range of motion, aerobic level and strength. We had a wonderful instructor, Sharon. Bill, the pool manager, lifeguards and other employees were so welcoming and capable, it made the experience very enjoyable.

Our class, Jump Start, met three days a week from 8 to 9 a.m. Another class geared to seniors, Silver Splash, was two days a week from 9 to 10 a.m. The pool is here for you, the public. If you are interested in finding out more about the pool and what is offered or would like to let those in charge know what you would like, give the office a call at 970-510-1290 so they can plan for the future.

I think you will find that not only are these activities good for your body and mind, they are also a lot of fun.

Letter: Not a life anyone should have to live

September 19, 2014 — 

Everyone has an opinion and it may differ in logic and theory but to those who have one, it is theirs. Lots of things in our lives, in society and persuasive elements such as television and prominent personalities contribute to forming our opinions. Yet many of us live in denial when it comes to abuse.

It can be seen and felt in many ways, but direct physical abuse can be obvious to all unless it is hidden and covered up. In the world we live in today many times that is the sad case. With few exceptions direct physical abuse in the home between spouses it is the male who dominates. It can lead to domineering attitudes and humbling the other party forcing them to live in a state of controlled fear.

This is not love and it is not a life anyone should have to live. When the time comes that reason and understanding can no longer resolve the issue and it turns to physical abuse then love is lost. Today, however, many couples live in this hell and its secrets eventually began to leak out.

There are no excuses and when it becomes known it devastates everyone involved. Not only the abuser but in many cases the abused as well. When it is a sports star or a celebrity it can destroy a lucrative career as well as their family life. Such as the case with Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice and his then-fiancée who is now his wife. Was it unconditional love, money or an attempt to help him recover from the incident, saving his career that she caved into marriage? Perhaps all of the above, but it doesn’t stop there.

The NFL has a part in this story and it’s failure to act decisively. Now they are forced to act but how do they think his fiancée got knocked out to begin with? Did it take another video to open their eyes? Yes, an elevator ride that has changed the young man and his wife’s lives forever.

Letter: Pedestrianize downtown to save its character

September 18, 2014 — 

Some see maintaining a small-town character and encouraging growth as mutually exclusive, irrational and/or impossible. I disagree.

What is true is that growth will happen by default. It then becomes a question of how or if it is managed.

Design growth around small-town character and realize that some things must be changed to make it so. The key idea to preserve Glenwood’s small-town character is to pedestrianize downtown shopping. Aspen realized this over 40 years ago and made it happen ... but it had the luxury of arbitrary repurposing of streets. Glenwood doesn’t.

Moab and Steamboat are examples of towns that still run all traffic down one street — but don’t have to. Stringtown, south of Leadville, is an example of a town that can’t move its traffic anywhere else ... besides, it would violate its moniker.

Small-town character is maintained by, for and of the people. It’s a state of mind and is maintained by social interaction facilitated by eliminating traffic on a street and appealing to people in pedestrian terms. Pedestrianize downtown. Everything else is subservient.

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