Editor's note: This letter concerns a front page story in the Nov. 1, 2012, edition of The Citizen Telegram.
Having for many years been an ambassador with the Rifle Area Chamber of Commerce, and working with the hunters tent at First Street and Railroad Avenue, then at the Garfield County Fairgrounds, I agree with the Rifle small businesses on the north side of the Colorado River. Moving the hunters information center to Walmart was a bad choice for several reasons:
• There are parking lots at the fairgrounds amply large enough for the rigs to park and turn around.
• Hunters could not find the fairgrounds last year because the signage was very poor. If the signage to the fairgrounds had been as visible as this year's signage to Walmart, there would have been no problem.
• There was no money exchanged for using the Walmart garden center. Maybe not, but Walmart (a huge, greedy international corporation) is a Cornerstone Partner of the chamber, and buying that recognition takes more advertising money than most local small businesses have available.
Cornerstone Partners get first billing on flyers, banners, presentations and websites, crowding the small businesses of Rifle into small displays, or not mentioning them at all.
Direct quote by a chamber staff member at a public meeting: "This will be a one-stop shopping location for the hunters," when referring to their using the Walmart site this year. What a slap in the face of other businesses in Rifle!
Many small businesses in Rifle depend on the income generated during hunting season on the Western Slope to make or break their budgets for the year. They are members of the chamber and the Rifle community, too!
The construction continues on the corner of West 12th Street and Park Avenue on the bridge over Hickman Gulch in Rifle.
A few weeks ago, water broke through an earthen barrier the city crew constructed to keep water off the newly-poured concrete pad. The next work day, they brought in lights and worked after dark to clean up the mess.
If you'd like to see what's been going on for the past few weeks of construction, I've visited the site at each day's end to take photographs to share with distant relatives. The photos are online at www.flickr.com/photos/jlcrook.
My property has flooded three times in my 57 years, so I'm excited to think this project might prove to be the end of those floods. So thank you, city of Rifle, for this project, and a special thanks to the city crews who are working hard every day to complete this project.
This January, core government functions such as TRIO-Upward and Student Support Service programs, medical research, education, public safety and air traffic control will face deep cuts under an arcane budget tool known as "sequestration."
If lawmakers can't put politics aside to avoid it, these cuts will compromise our nation's security, global competitiveness, and economic growth as millions of American jobs are lost. Teachers will be taken out of our classrooms, airports will close, cutting-edge research on cures for cancer will be stifled, and Upward Bound services for high school youth and Student Support Services for college undergrads will be canceled.
Experts agree these essential jobs and services are not the drivers of our nation's debt, and they have already done more than their part to reduce the deficit - cut to levels not seen since the Eisenhower presidency.
I urge Rep. Scott Tipton, Sen. Michael Bennet and Sen. Mark Udall to work with their colleagues in Congress to find a balanced approach to balance the budget. Only through balance can we avoid these devastating cuts and put our nation on a sustainable fiscal path.
In our second year of providing community support grants throughout Northwestern Colorado, Natural Soda received more than 40 applications. Unfortunately, we were not able to fund all of the grant requests that we received. We are, however, pleased to award several Community Support Grants.
Grant recipients include the Rangely Food Bank, the LIFT-UP food bank serving Garfield County and the Project 1.27 Outreach Ministry to Orphans. These grants will help continue our company's commitment to supporting the neediest members of our community.
Grants were also awarded to Meeker High School teacher Bev DeVore-Wedding to support the high school's math and science programs, and to Parkview Elementary School teacher Vicki Douglas to implement a second-grade math enrichment program. The Meeker Education Foundation received a grant to support its goal of improving the school district's athletic facilities. And a grant was awarded to Northwest Colorado Youth for Christ to support its mission of youth services and after-school and school-lunch programs.
Because our community benefits so much from its natural beauty, habitat and wildlife, we awarded a grant to the Pass the Buck chapter of the Mule Deer Foundation to sponsor hunter education and safety classes and habitat improvement projects in Northwestern Colorado.
And we awarded a grant to the town of Rangely to help purchase federally compliant, two-way communications equipment for the Rangely and Meeker Police and Utility departments, Rangely Fire District and Rangely School District.
We look forward to continuing our support of the northwest Colorado community and working with these organizations to build a healthier, safer and stronger community. For more information about Natural Soda and our Community Support Program, go online to www.naturalsoda.com.
Brad Bunnett, president and COO
Bob Warneke, vice president of manufacturing