Letters to the Editor

Letter: Helping with Grand Ave. traffic

May 31, 2016 — 

I am during a research project for my “Fundamental American Democracy” class at Glenwood Springs High School called Project Citizen. My project is focused around the new Grand Avenue bridge.

The problem we are trying to improve is traffic flow through Glenwood. Once the bridge closes, we are planning to make several changes to improve traffic flow. These changes consist of pedestrian overpasses, additional roundabouts and a traffic light plan called scoot.

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Letter: Carbon pricing needed

May 31, 2016 — 

I agree with the May 25 letter “Climate action needed,” but, according to the worldwide scientific community, we’re running out of time. We need to stop calling for action and start implementing proven solutions. Virtually all major economists, worldwide, over 2,500 of them, nine with Nobel Prizes, support carbon pricing to protect the economy and create jobs (Wikipedia). The problem is that nobody wants to pay higher energy bills.

Fortunately, we have a way to make fossil fuel corporations rather than the public pay for the transition to a clean energy economy. We can tax oil, coal and gas out of existence with a steadily increasing carbon tax that’s paid, not to the government, but directly to every taxpayer every month in equal monthly checks (citizensclimatelobby.org).

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Letter: Make homework free

May 30, 2016 — 

My Project Citizen group found a problem with how our school is making us pay for our homework. The school has changed from paper homework to use of a digital site that costs $15 per course, which can get pricey for students who do not have the money to spend on a site for homework.

The site that the school is using is called webassign, which provides teachers the questions and a platform to make homework assignments through a free textbook site called Openstacks. The thing is, webassign is using the free textbooks from Openstacks and using these textbooks to create a database for teachers to assign homework to students so that they can access their work on computers at home.

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Letter: Growing dome for Glenwood High

May 30, 2016 — 

As you may already know, many schools both within and outside of our school district have a free and reduced lunch program. Of the 13 schools in our district, Glenwood Springs High School is the only one that does not have this program. Glenwood Springs did not offer this program or any other alternative for families with a low income.

We do have off-campus lunch and a chef who runs a private business at our school and charges $8 per meal. In my Fundamentals of American Democracy (FAD) class, we are doing a project to try to change this. My group wanted Glenwood Springs High School to offer a free and reduced lunch program, like the rest of the schools in the valley. We surveyed more than 100 students at GSHS, and the results showed that 96.97 percent of students said that they would like a more affordable option for school lunch. Zabdi Fuentes, our human resource manager at GSHS, said, “We are thinking at least half the school should be able to qualify” for this program. Our school has now come up with a plan to implement free and reduced lunch, which will be enacted starting next year.

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Letter: War and politicians

May 29, 2016 — 

This Memorial Day, think what your candidates say about war.

After being in Vietnam last month, where we visited several Vietnam-War-era prisons and saw what war brings and human beings can do to each other, I suggest voters inform themselves on what their presidential and Congressional candidates’ positions are on war, torture and military buildup.

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Letter: Real sex ed needed

May 29, 2016 — 

I am with a group of students from Glenwood Springs High School working on an assignment called Project Citizen. We designed Project Citizen to cause real change in American lives by implementing new policies on local and nationwide issues.

My group’s goal is to raise awareness about the gaps present in statewide sexual education programs and to implement a policy reforming the current sexual education curriculum in the state of Colorado. Change begins at home, and we would like to inform our local community about our stance on the issue.

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Letter: Tale of two valleys

May 27, 2016 — 

The connections between the Roaring Fork and North Fork valleys run deep. People travel between the two valleys to see friends, climb mountains, eat locally produced food and build businesses. Travel over McClure Pass has likely gone on for millennia, and we all probably know friends who have lived and put down roots in both valleys. Many Roaring Fork residents get locally grown produce from the farms in the North Fork, while ranchers from the Roaring Fork sell their meat to those on the other side of McClure as well. We share more than just a connected landscape. We also share a community and economy.

Earlier this year our shared congressman, Scott Tipton, floated a draft bill, largely written by an oil and gas company, SG Interests, that would exchange roughly 30,000 acres of gas leases in the Thompson Divide west of Carbondale for new leases in the Hubbard and Mule park area north of Paonia. For nearly a decade, citizens in the Roaring Fork Valley have been working to protect the Thompson Divide from gas development. For nearly as long, citizens in the North Fork have been fighting gas leasing near their communities and dealing with the impacts of existing gas production in the upper reaches of their watershed.

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Letter: Didn't Obama take the guns?

May 27, 2016 — 

Donald Trump claims that Hillary Clinton wants to abolish the Second Amendment. Isn’t this a moot point? Didn’t President Obama already take everyone’s guns away?

Oh, wait, that was just another right-wing fantasy that failed to materialize.

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Letter: Moving swallows' nests

May 26, 2016 — 

Why would somebody make the decision to eradicate the cliff swallows nesting on the I-70 and U.P. overpasses on the morning of May 22?

After these amazing little birds have migrated thousands of miles, repaired and constructed their nests of mud, successfully hatched their babies and were hard at work feeding their young. Then someone with the state or county makes the decision to slaughter all the babies by removing all the nest. Whomever you are, you could have had a conscience or some semblance of intelligence and waited until the young had fledged. Shame on you.

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Letter: Beinstein: I can work with Ryan

May 26, 2016 — 

Of all the staffs I contacted in the House and Senate, the only team to get back to me was Paul Ryan’s. His chief of staff said “thanks for reaching out.”

If I am lucky enough to get to Congress, and in so doing defeat both Scott Tipton and Gail Schwartz, I think Paul Ryan and I could have a good working relationship. That doesn’t mean we don’t have major differences on Saudi Arabia, trade and the budget. But on the following issues we see similarly: Having compassion for the poor and helping at a local level, standing up to a very assertive China in the South China Sea, returning power back to the states and the people, and reducing corporate income taxes to stimulate the private economy. In short, Paul Ryan and I share enough common ground to work together in good faith.

And although Speaker Ryan hasn’t always voted the way I would like, he seems like a genuinely very decent man. He spends much time in poor neighborhoods. According to McKay Coppins’s book “The Wilderness,” Speaker Ryan was, in private, outraged by Mitt Romney’s crude 47 percent remark. And both Democrats and Republicans always speak about his legendary work ethic.

In this environment in Washington, in which things are so toxic, we’re going to need to be creative and open minded. We’re going to need to both increase tariffs and decrease corporate taxes to get American workers and American industry back on track. And it is my judgment that Speaker Ryan will, at the very least, carry with him a youthful spirit that absorbs and tries to act on the will of the voters.

Alex Beinstein

Carbondale, GOP candidate for Third District congressional seat

Readers Say Thanks

May 26, 2016 — 

Another successful Sports Physical Night at GMA

On May 10, Glenwood Medical Associates hosted another School Sports Physical evening. This tradition was started by Dr. Bruce Lippman, Sr. 30+ years ago and it’s a free service to kids who play sports for Glenwood’s middle school and high school. Providers from all over come together to give this important health check, and this year there were 365 local kids who came through this program.

Glenwood Medical Associates would like to give heartfelt thanks to: Dr. Robert Adams, Izaak Fitzgerald, PA-C, Dr. Joel Dickens, Dr. Matt Goodstein, Dr. Jamie Lowe, Dr. Chris George, Dr. David Lorah, Dr. Paul Salmen, Dr. James O’Donnell, Dr. Bruce Lippman, Jr., Dr. Kelli Konst-Skwiot, Dolores Snell, PA-C, Edlin Jara-Molinar, PA-C, Dr. Steve Zeiler, Dr. Peter Cohen, and of course, Dr. Bruce Lippman, Sr.

We couldn’t have managed any of this without the help and the humor from: Tiffany Brickell, Patty Yost, Marina Arias, Kristy Collins, Oyuki Alvarado, Yvette, Blanc, Gina Guiliani, Linda Echeverria, Paul Coppola, Roberto Puga, Andrea Bersson, Vivianna Martinez, Julio Aguirre, Rachel Rippy, Alex Rodriguez, Barbara Clarke, Henry Garvin, Maureen McGhee, Vanessa Ortiz, Gary Obreque and Maria Garcilazo. The clinic set up was organized by Cinthya Vega and Estefania Godinez, and we could not have been better prepared.

Big thanks to GSHS Athletic Director Craig Denny and to GSMS Assistant Principal Sandy DeCrow for getting the word out to our local students. It was another in a long series of amazing and important community events, and we’ll see you again next year!

Barbara Clarke

marketing and communications director, Glenwood Medical Associates

Letter: Unfair charge for plate

May 25, 2016 — 

Bought a truck and went to get my plates. Being an honorably discharged veteran, I wanted a veteran plate.

This is what the State of Colorado told me: Your veteran plate is going to cost you $50 more than a nonveteran plate; thanks for your service, sucker. Thank you, Gov. Hickenlooper — you must need the $50 more than I do.

Joseph J. Ceremuga

New Castle

Letter: Climate action needed

May 25, 2016 — 

Recent op-eds and articles in the PI discussed the problem of insufficient water in the Colorado River. The writers have correctly identified major problems: decreasing water resources, significant drought and growing population in the American Southwest. They have not connected this to similar problems in the Middle East, the Indian subcontinent, the Amazon Basin, Central Asia, or North Africa, indeed, in the entire world. Nor have they made the connection to climate change due to human activities.

Humans have problems addressing this long-term threat to our livable planet because of our local focus and tremendous information overload. The complexity of climate science and the non-linear advance of climate change in the lifetime of laypeople occupied with daily lives and burdened by faulty memories mean we need the rigor of long-term scientific study.

As documented in periodic IPCC reports, climate scientists around the world have identified the predominant cause of Earth’s increasingly unstable climate to be human activities, primarily the use of fossil fuels. Each report has shown the previous ones to be too conservative in assessing the rate of progression. When 99 percent of the experts in the incredibly complicated subject of world climate tell us the unacceptable range of outcomes of inaction is now or soon to be upon us, risk-management principles demand we act aggressively to prevent them.

Current estimates are that 80 percent of today’s known reserves of fossil fuels must remain in the ground to prevent disastrous changes in the coming decades. The vast majority scientists say the “agreements” of the recent Paris conference, even if they are met, will not accomplish this goal.

The disinformation and outright lies spread by fossil fuel interests offer us less unsettling alternatives (i.e., no personal sacrifice) to acting effectively to confront the clear and present danger of human-caused global climate change, (AGW). Internal papers from Exxon show their own scientists confirmed AGW in the 1980s. Even so, Exxon, while now acknowledging AGW, continues an active disinformation campaign in association with other fossil fuel interests.

Can humans reverse course? Experts in other fields are needed to properly advise decisionmakers. Most serious economists looking at climate change say a price on carbon is an essential element to reduce greenhouse gases. To this end, the local Citizen’s Climate Lobby of the Roaring Fork Valley recently presented the revenue-neutral “Carbon Tax and Dividend” plan to New Castle Town Council, asking members to pass a resolution endorsing it. (The economic impact analysis of that plan by a prestigious company, Regional Economic Models Inc., shows beneficial effects on GDP and job creation while decreasing greenhouse gas emissions.)

Unfortunately, the council voted “no” before examining the REMI study. Perhaps the newly reconfigured council will consider the issue in depth.

Some say we still have time to prevent catastrophe, others that we have passed tipping points. Whichever is true, each day of inaction is significant: David Archer, PhD., of the University of Chicago, a foremost expert in the carbon cycle of the Earth, (RealClimate.org, 2005) says that for simplified public discussion, we may consider that 75 percent of carbon dioxide released to the atmosphere stays for hundreds of years, the rest stays forever.

When traditional leaders, including politicians, pundits and the media fail us, grassroots efforts are needed. I recommend the Climate Change portions of the NOAA and NASA websites, as well as the Citizens Climate Lobby website, as reliable sources of information and/or opportunities for action.

David Schroeder

New Castle

Letter: Leave no trace

May 24, 2016 — 

Spring is blooming in the Roaring Fork Valley, prompting many people to plan adventures into the mountains that surround us. As you head into the mountains to get their good tidings this summer, practice leave no trace wilderness ethics and respect the regulations enacted to preserve these special places for future generations.

Popular destinations in the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness are suffering from the impact of a significant increase in visitation. Help reduce the problem and have a better experience by visiting alternate areas or going midweek. Important updates for 2016 include:

• Approved bear resistant containers are required to store all food, trash and scented items for overnight visitors.

• Campfires are now prohibited above 10,800 feet.

• Remember that no dogs are allowed in the Conundrum Valley south of the Silver Dollar ponds (second creek crossing).

Please plan your trip in advance by calling the Aspen-Sopris ranger station at 970-963-2266 or visiting http://tinyurl.com/2016WhiteRiver for current, official information on trail conditions and local regulations.

Andrew Larson

lead wilderness ranger, Aspen-Sopris Ranger District,

White River National Forest

Letter: We need better highways

May 24, 2016 — 

A squeaking wheel, this one voiced by those of us who believe obsolete and dangerous highways on the state highway system should be modernized, almost got greased by a law, if passed by our Legislature, which would have provided funds for several highway improvement projects on the East Slope and two here in our area.

The first was for improving the I-70 business loop through Grand Junction, and the second would have improved old segments of SH13 from Rifle to Wyoming.

Denver-area newspapers reported that the bill was killed by Democrats who apparently believe saving lives with a safer highway and providing jobs to workers is less important than their precious social programs, which include gay rights, giving toilet rights to transvestites, opposing voter ID, killing unborn babies, and if you voted for President Obama, gutting our military, welcoming immigrants from countries known to harbor terrorists, running up our national debt to unbelievable heights, and crushing our economy with stifling regulations, all the product of the biggest bunch of liars ever to run our great country.

Our “squeaking wheel” needs more energy behind it. That’s how the 17 miles south of Meeker got funding. So don’t give up. Keep squeaking at every opportunity.

Dick Prosence

Meeker

Letter: English in Action tutors needed

May 23, 2016 — 

There is a community of immigrants eager to assimilate into the Roaring Fork Valley who would leap at the opportunity to learn English to improve their standard of living.

Maria is one of those people. At eight months pregnant, Maria and I were matched last October in a volunteer tutor/student relationship. I don’t speak Spanish and she spoke intermediate level English after living in the U.S. for seven years.

At our weekly meetings we covered the basics, including grammar, writing complete sentences and translating words. Maria was an exceptional student and always exceeded the assigned homework. We easily fell into a rhythm of working together.

A few weeks into our meetings Maria delivered her baby by C-section. Four days later, she showed up, homework done, ready to learn. I was astounded.

She is determined to learn English so she can run her own business. She has more motivation than most people I know. In her first month in her new business she was the top salesperson for a company that hires independent entrepreneurs. She wants to live the American dream of success, happiness and being present to her family. Her infectious enthusiasm for her work and for creating the life she wants inspires me and those who meet her.

What started out as a simple tutoring relationship has turned into a wonderful friendship. Our meetings are fun, educational and inspirational. Watching Maria improve her English and grow her business has been so rewarding for me and far exceeded any expectation I had when I became a tutor for English in Action.

English in Action has had a profound effect on hundreds of students’ and tutors’ lives. There are 130 students throughout the valley waiting for a tutor right now. You can become a tutor after attending a training session in one evening. For details, visit the website at www.englishinaction.org. Becoming a volunteer tutor could have a meaningful impact on your life.

Lisa Chiles

Aspen

Letter: A naturalist's rant

May 23, 2016 — 

Exploring public lands extensively during the past 13 years that I have lived in the area, I have observed the condition and quality of our beautiful environment. Our national forests, BLM land, city parks, wildlife areas, county roads and river banks have all been areas of my study and interest. I collect rocks for my tumblers and acquire knowledge of the geology and biology of the region.

Trash appears in most areas for a large variety of reasons, and the BLM lands appear to have been the most abused. Boulders have been placed in many areas to prevent off-roaders from intentional or incidental damage. From hunter encampments to the midnight dumpers, many people leave their calling cards. Computers and TV sets are the latest rage and line the brush on approach to the landfill.

The banks of our watersheds should belong to all citizens due to their extreme importance, yet many landowners choose to fence to the water line with skull and crossbones and warnings of trespass. I hiked along the south bank of the Colorado River from the South Canyon bridge west to nearly the Canyon Creek RR bridge and saw some perplexing items I later resolved.

Dozens and dozens of sandals and other personal items appeared as flotsam and jetsam. Incidental loss of items by the recreational floaters. The boat paddle I found wedged in the rocks had a phone number that turned out to belong to a commercial rafter. Why would they include the phone number yet have no interest in its return?

I couldn’t walk 20 feet without spotting another golf ball wedged in a rocky crevice. Perhaps I must study the physics of the golf ball, as I always thought these things sank in water. Old tires and car batteries are a common treasure along the waterways. The time and cost of proper disposal outweighs the ease of a secluded discard. Incidental.

Alan Noland

New Castle

Letter: Building is never done

May 22, 2016 — 

The foresight in which former planners and builders have constructed our mountain towns and ensuing infrastructure never included the concept that “we are our neighbors’ keepers.” Selfishness can be a virtue, and who can worry about all the townships and their needs up and down the valley?

In our ambitions to succeed and to have and to build, as American and capitalistic to its core, is to forsake any consideration of those successes in the next valley or in the next town up or down the rail.

And now we must pay extraordinary amounts for temporary fix. A temporary pedestrian bridge. A temporary roundabout. A temporary bypass. And much to the delight of the builders. Build it all up just to tear it all down and build again. Nothing is ever built to last for long anyway. Due to the natural forces of decay and erosion and weathering of times passing, our efforts succeed only to the degree of integrity in the planning and foresight of the process.

And don’t forget Mother Nature in all this planning and building. A 100-year rain event might wash away the memory of what has been as we stand in the recent mist to sign and implement the change order to build anew.

I pray that men’s minds will be solidified in the notion that construction of our world will never be complete, but rather a continuous process to improve and better our world for generations to come with the foresight and planning that includes all the neighbors and townships affected.

During the upcoming final phase of the Grand Avenue bridge replacement, I will be operating a ferry service to boat all willing commuters, at a small fee, from the Sunlight bridge to the South Canyon bridge, which should prove considerably faster than driving through the narrow confines of the overdeveloped urban sprawl of the lower Roaring Fork Valley.

Alan Noland

New Castle

Letter: Protect Utah lands

May 22, 2016 — 

Southeastern Utah is a place of unmatched beauty and history. For many locals of the Roaring Fork Valley, this place is a destination for climbing at Indian Creek, rafting the San Juan River, and hiking on Cedar Mesa or in the Valley of the Gods. But the region’s wilderness qualities and rich archaeological history are at risk.

We are all too familiar with fighting oil and gas leases in the Thompson Divide. The Bears Ears area in Utah is facing the same issue and more. Prehistoric sites of ancient Native American activity are being looted and “collected” at an alarming rate. Dwellings that were filled with whole pots and thousands of pottery shards are now barren. Illegal grave robbing has desecrated countless cliff dwellings.

As people who use this land every summer, we have a responsibility to help solve these problems. Luckily we have the support of many locals in southeastern Utah. The Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition is an unprecedented effort from multiple Native American tribes to help save the historic and natural beauty of the Bears Ears region. Organizations like Friends of Cedar Mesa and the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance are working with the local tribes to urge President Obama to approve a 1.9 million acre Bears Ears National Monument. There are over 100,000 sensitive archaeological sites in the Bears Ears area that need protection that can only be provided by a monument.

Now we must stand together like we did for Thompson Divide to ask the president to protect this amazing place that offers so many opportunities to recreate and relive America’s prehistoric past.

Leo Tonozzi

Colorado Rocky Mountain School senior

Letter: Disclose fracking chemicals

May 21, 2016 — 

A group of five other Glenwood Springs High School students and myself are working on a new policy as part of the Project Citizen program, which is designed to promote competent and responsible participation with governments of all levels.

Our policy seeks to remove the “trade secret” rule that fracking companies can claim to evade responsibilities for listing all chemicals found in their fracking fluid. The Colorado fracking-fluid disclosure rule requires these companies to disclose all chemicals found in their fracking fluid; however, the trade secret loophole provides an escape route in which these companies don’t have to reveal all the information.

Some of these companies are fracking on public lands, and my fellow classmates and I believe the people of Colorado deserve to know what is being pumped into their land. If the fluid really isn’t unhealthy, as these fracking companies suggest, then they should have no problem fully disclosing the chemical content of their fracking fluid.

In writing this letter, my group and I are hopeful to spread community awareness of the issue and gain support for our proposed policy. For more information you can visit our Facebook page, “Sensible Fracking Reform.”

Brandon Benzel

Glenwood Springs

Letter: Growth crisis, not a housing crisis

May 21, 2016 — 

Tim Hogan was spot on with his recent letter to the PI.

The “housing crisis” is a crisis since everyone wants to (now) live in Glenwood or Carbondale or Basalt. Why? Because of the endless promotional “We are so great” stunts put on by the Mouseketeers (marketers) of our slice of paradise.

Glenwood, Carbon Springs, Eagle County and beyond have hundreds and hundreds of new units planned. Isn’t that just great? More traffic, more congestion and crime. How wonderful. Let’s pave paradise – and let’s hurry up, cut corners and go on the cheap.

Our “leaders” should spend more time maintaining the existing (but fading) quality of life. And that time doesn’t including adding more fuel to an already existing fire – or allow for builder short-cuts.

Dave Heyliger

Glenwood Springs

Letter: Delighted with CRES

May 20, 2016 — 

I realize that when it comes to elementary schools in Carbondale, there are many choices. To me, Crystal River Elementary School has proven to be exceptional. In her kindergarten year, my child has thrived scholastically, creatively, developmentally and socially. To say that I am delighted with her progress would be an understatement.

The teachers and staff go above and beyond for each child. They are kind and caring as well as excellent educators.

CRES reflects the best qualities of our town; it offers great teachers, diversity and many learning opportunities for overall growth of the individual student.

I can’t help but think that those parents who aren’t considering CRES for their kids may be missing out.

Hilary Back

Carbondale

Letter: Praise for Bernot

May 20, 2016 — 

Stacey Bernot is the epitome of public service and leadership. It is not what she did that makes her impressive; it is how she did it. She handled herself with great integrity, honoring her word, her colleagues, staff, the public, the law and ultimately her family.

She came prepared and educated to every meeting on every topic. If she didn’t know something she would put in the time to learn it. She pushed her colleagues to do a better job too. Most of all, she did it with the ultimate goal of bettering the community and doing it through a fair and just process. What more can you ask of an elected official?

Disagreement is inevitable and not everyone will like everything she did, but it is pretty darn tough to disagree with the sacrifices she has made to help make the community better. And when it comes down to it, she did just that, and will continue to do that in a different capacity.

I am so grateful to have served with Stacey and learn from her over the past two years on the Carbondale Board of Trustees. She has taught me the importance of how you do things over what you do. No matter what the issue is and no matter what decision you make someone will be upset. If you take the time to do it with utmost respect, comprehensive education and proper communication to the best of your abilities, then you are doing a good job of serving the public.

I am very thankful of all Stacey has done for our community and how she did it. And if you are not, then she will be the first to tell you to “step up and do something about it.”

A.J. Hobbs

Carbondale

Letter: Cortez should talk to CDOT

May 20, 2016 — 

Heck, Ed Cortez, Roaring Fork Transportation Authority union head of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1774, shot off his mouth like gangbusters at the recent RFTA board meeting I attended.

I wondered what he expected the RFTA board to do about a Colorado Department of Transportation and city of Glenwood Springs problem and his panic about road rage becoming a RFTA driver problem.

Mr. Cortez is a union leader. Shouldn’t he take his worries and solutions to CDOT and the Glenwood Springs City Council and its temporary city manager?!

I’d like to see the guy have a transit union representative attending every RFTA board meeting.

Also I’d like Cortez to talk with union leaders in the region and the post office union member on the Carbondale Board of Trustees.

Being a union man is 24/7/365. Get with the unionist leader program like addressing work schedules that badly influence your union members’ health and emotions.

Emzy Veazy III

Aspen

Letter: Tipton's Lease swap bad policy

May 19, 2016 — 

As the former mayor of Paonia, I was dismayed to read about Rep. Tipton’s lease exchange proposal. Let me explain:

During 2014 and 2015, the leaders of Delta County, Hotchkiss and Paonia met with the staff of Sen. Bennet’s office to see if we could come up with a win-win proposal on oil and gas leasing in the North Fork and Thompson Divide areas.

For two years the group met trying to hammer out a potential solution for many competing interests including: Paonia’s stated interest in a valley-bottom federal mineral withdrawal, SG’s potential lease cancellations in the Thompson Divide area and the Thompson Divide Coalition’s interest in removing leases in the Thompson Divide area.

After many meetings and lots of work, a delegation of citizens, including myself, traveled to Washington, D.C., to present the potential solution to the Colorado congressional delegation and other affected agency leaders. In short, our proposal died on the vine because Rep. Tipton did not support it. His prerogative.

What I find appalling is that Rep. Tipton now puts forward a proposal that completely excludes his constituent’s written request. On July 9, 2013, the Town of Paonia officially wrote to request the Colorado delegation to “…include in legislation the withdrawal from oil and gas leasing of publicly owned minerals, including those underlie both BLM and U.S. Forest Service lands in the North Fork Valley.”

This request was delivered to Rep. Tipton in July 2013 and hand delivered to him personally again in 2015. He knew about this letter and the hard-fought grassroots proposal that included swapping SG Interests’ Thompson Divide leases for an equivalent in the North Fork.

Tipton has chosen to propose an action that supports his largest campaign contributor, SG Interests, at the expense of the very citizens and communities he was elected to represent.

Neal Schwieterman

Paonia

Letter: Markets of warfare

May 19, 2016 — 

When one atones for one’s sins it doesn’t do any good if we don’t atone for the actual sin. The very hard truth no American wants to admit to God (or his fellow inhabitants outside the borders of the Western World) is that we aren’t the top entry on the list of terrorist-sponsoring states solely because it is our list.

Maybe Mary Boland ‘s column put on your heart that the entire history of this experiment in self-governance – we really only give lip service to democracy – has been one of markets of warfare, by introducing you to the concept. Namely lies are followed by justification.

I say “markets” because this is the underlying meaning of “American interests.” Our interests have always been one market or another. But who can blame us? Warfare has always been the business of gentle society, the aristocracy (old money) and our revolution was carried out by our aristocracy fomenting the masses (like Trump is doing to gain the presidency) to get the king’s hand out of our pocket essentially.

This is an even harder truth for us to face: that the business of warfare is systemic. A system of economy we inherited it from our feudal lords and despite our embracing of enlightenment values haven’t done much to reform things because it is still the business model of the 1 percent. Old money.

All that defense spending doesn’t just go down the toilet, like the media frames things for us to believe. It goes into the bottom line of most of our Fortune 500 companies. The infrastructure of the Modern West. So much so, that if peace broke out across the globe, the economy of the Western World would collapse into unprecedented depression. So our solution remains playing one side against the other because we have no other solution than acquiescing our humanity for the slim profits for the fewer and fewer, while the rest of us continue trusting in a warrior god rather than face the sins of our father that shall remain those of our grandchildren despite who sits in the whorehouse.

Eric Olander

Glenwood Springs

Letter: Oasis Creek inappropriate

May 18, 2016 — 

I would like to personally thank Councilmen Stephen Bershenyi and Leo McKinney for voting against the Oasis Creek apartments and respecting the recommendation of the Glenwood Springs Planning & Zoning Commission.

I believe the facts in this issue demonstrate that it is not an appropriate project for Glenwood Springs and it violates the very zoning codes that have been implemented to prohibit such a project. It seems like it is just another instance of a few individuals using money and influence to dictate their ambitions on to a town known for its sense of community.

It is my understanding that while owners of this land own significant properties in the area, they do not actually live here and are not members of this community as I am. I invite the citizens of Glenwood Springs to conduct their own investigation of Richmark Holdings and follow the money.

I hope the citizens of Glenwood Springs will also show their support of Councilors Bershenyi and McKinney when they seek re-election, as they have demonstrated their support of our community values.

Jim Phillips

Glenwood Springs

Letter: We are in danger

May 18, 2016 — 

What has preserved our sovereignty, as a nation, are our laws. Those laws have been compromised to the point where we are in danger as both a country and a society. Our failure to elect responsible leaders have taken us from the path of prosperity to the malignant path of a debtor nation.

The illegal arrival of a yet-to-be determined number of Latino immigrants has not been the product of positive change so much as it has placed an undue burden on the American taxpayer. I have been to Mexico, witnessed and experienced the corruption that has ruled Mexico since the revolution.

If I were a Mexican, I would have fled to the United States as well. The biggest strides the country has made in the last 30 years is the export of a large segment of their poverty, their criminals and the blessing of the North American Trade Agreement. Before the institution of NFTA, the second-largest financial contribution, second only to their oil industry, was $20 billion per year sent to Mexico via the Mexicans working in the United States illegally.

At no more critical time in our history, we the people of the United States are being forced to accept the influx of thousands upon thousands of Muslim migrants who are fleeing for about the same reasons as the Latinos fled. The difference being, they practice a religion that demands the conversion of all inhabitants of planet Earth to the religion of Islam or be wiped from the face of the Earth.

Anti-American fervor has reached a deafening pitch during our current election where a demand by the citizens of the United States, who are expressing their resentment over the failure of our elected representatives, to not only follow but enforce our Constitution, is being masked by a false accusation of racism.

We did not cause your countries of origin to become places to flee from.

In 1607, when the colony at Jamestown, Virginia, was established, we were like any other explorer, like the Native Americans.

Jimi Olson

Redstone

Letter: Optimism for Clean Power Plan

May 17, 2016 — 

Despite the Supreme Court’s decision to temporarily halt the Clean Power Plan, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Obama administration remain optimistic about the nation’s leading effort to reduce carbon emissions from existing power plants.

And thankfully, under Gov. Hickenlooper, Colorado will continue to move forward with the transition already underway to cleaner power sources.

Thanks to the Clean Power Plan’s foundation and thoughtful legal and scientific groundwork, the integrity of the plan remains intact. And there is overwhelming support for this effort, with two-thirds of the American population in favor of the goals set forth in the Clean Power Plan.

Limiting greenhouse gas emissions is a sensible solution for improving air quality and public health, and for creating 21st century jobs in the renewable energy sector.

Don’t be fooled; the temporary stay placed on the Clean Power Plan is simply an attempt to stall the inevitable. If a vibrant life is at all important to you, I encourage you to take immediate action by following Gov. Hickenlooper’s lead in supporting the Clean Power Plan.

Thank you, Gov. Hickenlooper and Colorado for your conscious acts of intention toward a cleaner, healthier future for all.

Lisa Delaney

Paonia

Letter: No tax money for CMC Foundation

May 17, 2016 — 

Recently, the administration of CMC has approached the board of trustees with bleak projections for the college’s financial stability. CMC must review the costs that the college pays in order to be accountable to you, our taxpayers. My focus is going to be on finding areas where costs can be reduced that shall not have an impact on your success as students and communities.

The CMC Foundation does incredible work helping students gain financial access to college through such programs as the Clough Fellowship and the Davenport Legacy. The people behind the foundation and the philanthropic volunteer foundation members who give freely of their time and money are terrific and never waver from their mission to provide educational financial aid and enrichment of education for Colorado Mountain College students.

However, in the fiscal year ending June 30, 2014, your taxpayer dollars exceeded the contributions made to the foundation. In fact, taxpayers funded the foundation with $892,658, and only $695,789 was used for student scholarships after administrative overhead. This means that CMC could have provided an additional $196,869 for scholarships that year if the college would have directly funded scholarships.

Seeing that CMC is facing financial restrictions, funding the foundation through taxpayer and tuition dollars is not in the best interest of CMC students and our communities. Therefore, I am going to vote not to fund the foundation this year for its annual payment of nearly $1 million.

I am hoping that you, as taxpayers of CMC’s mill levy that provides 68 percent of CMC’s budget, voice your opinion to CMC. Let them know that the nonprofit CMC Foundation needs to seek donations to fund that wonderful organization through philanthropic donors and not use taxpayer and tuition money.

Mary Ellen Denomy

CMC trustee, Battlement Mesa

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