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Monday letters: Population density, using common sense, reasons for Trump to resign, and disenfranchising voters

How dense can we get?

Regarding the proposed 413-unit apartment complex R2 Developers of Cincinnati, Ohio have planned for the 12.5 acres at 214 Center Drive, at present the field behind the old Glenwood Springs mall. The open space is home to horses, geese and turkey vultures, and is soothing to the soul upon returning home from the hustle and bustle of the city and traffic congestion.
In my opinion, this will not be affordable, low-income housing. It will be 1-3 bedroom, $1,000-$3,000 rental-only apartments. This is way too dense and not a good fit for the neighborhood. It will be a huge load on the infrastructure. Parking, traffic, noise and night-sky light pollution, combined with extra police, fire, hospital, grocery, water, sewer, gas, electric, schools, and lack of adequate public transportation. It just doesn’t fit or belong, as is evidenced by the need to annex and change zoning.
At the proposed 1.5 cars per unit, this adds 620 vehicles to our morning and evening commute congestion. R2 Developers of Cincinnati, Ohio say that the labor force to build this project will not be local.

From my perspective, this project brings nothing of value to our existing community and not to those looking for low-income, affordable place to own. I don’t see this project improving anyone’s quality of life, except maybe the R2 Developers of Cincinnati, Ohio.

We have been blessed and taken this quasi-park for granted all this time. It may be too late, and expensive, and I don’t know how you form a coalition to purchase or possibly lease. Perhaps a GoFundMe account.
I would like to see some architect’s rendering of the project in local papers.

Jack Kagay
Glenwood Springs

Nothing more important and precious than good health

As I write this today with a heavy heart, I want to scream. People wake up, wear the mask, stay out of the restaurants and bars, and think of the millions of people suffering with this virus! This is so very disheartening to think that Americans are so selfish and ignorant. I don’t want to think of my fellow Americans this way, but the numbers of cases and deaths in our country is telling the story! We are now the leader in cases and deaths throughout the world! We are no longer the shining light on the hill for the world to look up to, are we?

We are more privileged than most, living up here in these beautiful mountains of Colorado, are we not? My family is scattered from California, Arizona, Texas, Hawaii, and Colorado. Three of those five states are in deep trouble with this virus overwhelming them. I keep telling them that I wish I could transport them all to Colorado. However, I’m beginning to wonder how much longer I can say this, as the tourists from these most vulnerable states pour into our beautiful mountains for the summer.

I’m praying every day for folks to start using the brains they were born with and to stop listening to the lies of the president of the U.S. who continues to stay in denial and rail against the advice of Dr. Fauci and the other doctors and scientists who are speaking the truth of the seriousness of this virus.
There is nothing more important and precious than good health! Without our health, we have nothing! I will refer to one of my favorite Japanese prayers: There can be no: Sickness like Hate, Gift like Health, Faith like Trust, and Joy like Peace! Good health is a gift, which we are losing every day to this virus. Please friends, start using your common sense; wash your hands often, wear your mask and stay out of the restaurants and bars!

Linda Carr
Eagle

Many reasons for Trump to resign

Ralph Nader’s latest newsletter lays out the reasons for demanding Trump’s resignation. Here are some: commuting sentences of convicted felons, refusing to provide information to the House of Representatives and blocking testimony, firing inspectors, firing heads of legal organizations, delaying actions to fight the virus, pressing states to open up that are now overwhelmed with virus, failing to organize a federal response to the virus, sending troops to push out legal protests, giving contracts to his friends, blocking desperately needed relief funds for people and states, inciting violence, assisting in voter suppression, breaking many of our international connections such as WHO.

It is more than likely that in the next 6 months to January 20 many more insults to our country will take place. The economic and health crisis will deepen. Trump’s actions only worsen the problems. Trump must resign. A movement to cause that to happen is coming together. Can you add your voice?

Patrick Hunter
Carbondale

Disenfranchising citizens’ right’s to vote a tool of Republicans

Voter suppression, restricting voter registration, shutting down polling places and disenfranchising citizens’ right’s to vote, especially in areas with high percentages of citizens of color, are the tools of the right and Republicans.

So don’t go crying about purported unsubstantiated voter fraud by Democrats. When we have low voter turnout, it is at the hands of the right, scratching, crying and sobbing foul. Do the research. This is just one more sad sign of the dubious QAnon movement efforts bent on overthrowing the Republic of these United States of America.

Mark Rinehart
Silt

Riots drove U.S. apart when we could have come together

Most Americans were sickened by the senseless killing George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer. For a day or two, we were unified, asking, “How could this happen?” and “What can be done so it doesn’t happen again?”

But protests soon turned into riots and looting, inflicting untold damage to property and stores usually owned by and providing a living for urban residents. New York Times writer Nikole Hannah-Jones instructed that “destroying property … is not violence” and said she would be “honored” to think that her “1619 Project” — which lies about U.S. history — inspired the riots.

Then came the assaults on public property. In Denver, shots were fired into windows at the State Capitol which was vandalized with graffiti. Miscreants sprayed obscenities on the marble marker at the Ralph Carr Judicial Building, ignorant that Gov. Carr had refused to send Japanese Coloradans to internment camps during World War II. They vandalized memorials to Colorado’s Civil War soldiers and to Armenian victims of genocide. Gov. Jared Polis and Mayor Michael Hancock did nothing to protect these public landmarks.

Demonstrating rage was all the rage. Thinking was an afterthought, if that.

Protestors chanted “DE-FUND THE POLICE!,” a proposition so absurd that overwhelming majorities of whites, blacks, Hispanics, Democrats, liberals, young people, low-income and more — told pollsters they opposed the idea. Apologists tried to explain that “defund the police” didn’t really mean “defund the police,” but protestors’ objective was unmistakable.

Next came the mobocracy’s temper tantrum to topple statues. This mindlessness included Portland mobs tearing down a statue of George Washington, draped in a burning American flag. San Francisco rioters indiscriminately tore down statues of Ulysses S. Grant, who led the Union to victory in the Civil War (that’s the one about slavery), and Francis Scott Key, who penned the lyrics of the Star-Spangled Banner. Elsewhere, they attacked monuments to abolitionists, the 19th Century activists who opposed slavery.

These spasmodic outbursts selfishly focused attention on the easily-triggered, perpetually-offended progressive protestors and away from meaningful measures to address the pointless deaths of Floyd, Ahmad Arbery or Breonna Taylor.

What did the malefactors achieve by demolishing statues? Have their actions suddenly cleansed us of prejudice or animosity? There’s no virtue in destroying someone else’s property. Even if lawfully removing certain statues could engender racial reconciliation, civil society was deprived of that process because lawless jackasses took matters into their own hands.

Further, the legitimacy of civil government is in question because there’s no doubt that Democrat mayors or governors would not sit on their hands if rightwing extremists looted, burned and destroyed their communities. George Orwell’s words of 75 years ago describe America today: “All (people) are equal; but some (people) are more equal than others.” Rioters and vandals are above the law; taxpaying property owners aren’t worth protecting.

More than ever, we need the clarity and courage of Martin Luther King, Jr., who used our Founders’ own vision of freedom to confront America’s conscience. King witnessed far worse and more frequent mistreatment of black Americans than have today’s protestors. Yet he steadfastly adhered to nonviolence and condemned “bitterness and hatred” by others who sought equality for black Americans.

At a time when Americans might have come together, riot instigators poured gas on the fire that ignites distrust among us. Equally disgusting are politicians who, rather than asking, “What is the right thing to do for the American people?” are instead calculating, “Does this help or harm my party in November?”

In 1838, Abraham Lincoln, witnessing an outbreak of lawlessness and mob rule, warned, “If destruction be our lot, it must spring up from amongst us. It cannot come from abroad. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide.”

Our enemies abroad are watching with interest as we move toward fulfilling Lincoln’s prophecy.

Mark Hillman served as Senate Majority Leader and State Treasurer. To read more or comment, go to www.MarkHillman.com.

Friday letters: oil and gas, science, Negro National Anthem, voter fraud, hearing aids, first-time gun owners

Commissioners funneling public funds to oil and gas interests is shameful

What would you do if you had $1.5 million to improve your community? Would you support our struggling tourism industry? How about bolstering the health department’s efforts to tame Covid-19? Maybe you’d help fund a job readiness program to help workers get back on their feet.

Unfortunately, our county commissioners have chosen to do none of those things.

Instead, they have decided Monday to waste another half million dollars in public funds, on top of the million they have already squandered, to unilaterally finance a special interest group that opposes common-sense reforms to make the oil and gas industry safer for those of us who live close to their drilling. These measures that the Garfield County commissioners oppose include increased inspections for leaks with operations located within 1,000 feet of homes, and twice a year inspections of all wells for leaks that are harmful to our health and the environment. 

As a Garfield County resident, I do not believe fighting basic health and safety measures is a good use of public dollars. When I raised this issue in the Garfield County commissioner meeting on July 6, I was rebuffed by Commissioner Jankovsky, who dismissed my concerns as those of “… a minority in Battlement Mesa … about 25%.” This isn’t the first time that Jankovsky has made it clear that he thinks his only duty is to serve the needs of his constituents who voted for him — as far as he’s concerned, the other 1,175 people who call Battlement Mesa home simply don’t matter.

Despite what our commissioners may think, an elected official’s job is to protect everyone in their community. Spending $1,500,000 to single-handedly fund an effort to allow oil and gas companies to release poison into the air near our homes isn’t protecting anyone, unless you count energy industry executives in Denver and Houston.

Now, I pose to you the same question I asked Jankovsky: If you were in the 25% with a gas well in your backyard, wouldn’t you think you needed protection, too?

Betsy Leonard

Battlement Mesa

Follow science, not speculators

Feels like basic military training. Do things because you’re told. That’s the subtext of all this COVID-19 lock-down. These “necessary mandates” like closing down schools and the economy are precautionary for a virus that hasn’t been studied. 

The results so far are anemic relative to the Spanish Flu or the Black Death. In regard to the regional population: One in three died during the Black Death. One in 10 died during the Spanish Flu. One in 16,000 died so far during COVID-19. The ordinary seasonal flu kills one in 19,000. 

So far, COVID-19 is just a bit more fatal than the ordinary seasonal flu. This doesn’t even compare to the Spanish Flu or the Black Death.

Be cautious, but notice who benefits from, or perpetuates speculative narratives. So far, data spikes are relative to the spotty testing. Is this a hoax, a crime and a cover-up all in one? 

Only more data will tell. That’s why comprehensive testing is important. The more who test positive, relative to those who’ve died, makes a disease less virulent. 

Keep calm. Carry on. Wait for the science and common sense, not the speculators, to tell us when to be ourselves. Speculators never will.

Fred Stewart

Grand Junction

Negro National Anthem

I betcha the first time the Negro National Anthem was played in Aspen or the Roaring Fork Valley was just a short few years ago when I made a birthday song request for “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing” (“Lift Every Voice and Sing”) by the brothers James Weldon Johnson and J. Rosamond Johnson to be played and sung for my birthday.

A small miracle when it was played and sung on two Sundays in a row, instead of just one Sunday. 

I only told a handful, including Father Jonathan Brice and his wife, that song in the hymn book was the Negro National Anthem. 

In the Episcopal Church hymnal it is listed as “Lift Every Voice,” Hymn 500. 

Also you’ll find the Negro National Anthem in the United Methodist Church hymnal. 

So welcome to real Americanism and Americana when you get to see, hear and have the marvelous chance to sing “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing” during “each NFL game during Week 1….” (“NFL To Play Black Anthem Before National Anthem”, Morning Briefing, Sports, Denver Post, July 3, 2020).

Also do bear in mind that “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing” did compete to be our U.S. national anthem.

Best wishes,

Emzy Veazy III

Burbank, California, and Aspen

Democrats benefit from voter fraud

Andrea Chacos must have been listening to Biden in another one of his less lucid moments when he slathered “we prefer truth over facts.” Andrea and Joe think there’s a difference between the two. OK …

She also opines that saying there’s no proof there isn’t voter fraud, “sounds stupid and that’s a fact.” No, Andrea, that’s your stupid opinion.

There can be no “evidence” of fraud since there’s been no investigation. Today, there are over 12 million active SSNs whose supposed users are all over 112 years old. That’s a fact.

The truth is that they could be used by noncitizens to vote fraudulently. My opinion is Democrats don’t want to know because they benefit from voter fraud.

Bruno Kirchenwitz 

Rifle

Mind your hearing aid

On a recent trip, my mother lost a hearing aid somewhere, probably while removing her mask after we made a pit stop. 

When I phoned our hearing aid office to schedule an appointment for a replacement, the professional there said this has become a common event since the advent of COVID-19. 

As a public service, I would like to remind those who have such devices, and those who travel with them, to take special care to ensure everything is still with you whenever a mask is put on or removed. 

It’s an expensive mistake that can be avoided if we pay extra attention. Most seniors can’t really afford to make replacements on a regular basis.

Barbara Hauptli

Glenwood Springs

Appreciate that gun, first-timers

Well, it’s happened. With the current panic of some zombie intruder stealing our bottled water and toilet paper, or a “protester/rioter” wanting to beat the crap out of us because we believe all lives matter, or maybe the demands that police departments be defunded, “who ya gonna call,” the race to purchase a firearm has been setting new records for the last three or four months. This has gummed the works of state and federal background check systems, with approvals taking up to 10 days.

Most of this current panic to get a gun is by first time gun buyers, who last election were casting votes for the very candidates and politicians who promised to take away that “right.”

I’m curious to know how many of these first-timers learned that they couldn’t just go online, order and have their firearm shipped to their door, no questions asked. After all, this is what we’ve been told by the gun grabbers, political leaders, celebrities and lame stream media for decades. I would bet that 99% found that it was a much more difficult process than they ever imagined, with some being denied.

Well now that you have this chunk of metal and wood or plastic, I hope that you asked someone knowledgeable to accompany you to the shooting range, which, by the way, you were probably trying extremely hard to have closed down a couple of years ago. Someone to teach how to own and operate your new purchase safely.

Finally, “armed” with your purchase, responsibility and knowledge of what it took to acquire it, perhaps you’ll learn more about what your candidates have in mind for you and your new property before casting your vote in November. And while you are at it, you might want to join the NRA, the organization trying to protect your right to keep it. If interested, call me, I can help.

Richard Teague

Carbondale

Mulhall column: Garfield Avenue reverie

There comes an age when you can look back at your time on this planet with a fair amount of perspective. If you’re lucky, maybe you see a time when you hit your stride, or at least came close.

Apparently I’ve reached that age, for it occurred to me the other day that there were a few years in the early ’90s that fit the bill, due at least in part to fly fishing.

It was during that time I guided for Roy Palm.

Guiding didn’t exactly jibe with my mostly quiet demeanor, which is to say I wasn’t nearly as good at guiding as I was at angling, and it’s fair to say in retrospect that my reputation as a decent fly fisherman was more a reflection of how much time I spent fishing than anything else.

I knew a lot of guides, most no more than acquaintances, until one night while tying flies in the front room of my Garfield Avenue rental I heard a knock at my back door. It was about 10:30 p.m. I flipped on the porch light and there he stood, still in wet waders, strung fly rod in hand.

A young guy with a slight southern accent I couldn’t place, he introduced himself and explained he was a Fryingpan guide and that he’d heard from a neighbor I liked fly fishing. Somewhere in the moments that followed we struck up a friendship that would last for years.

From him I learned more about fly tying and angling than I’d managed to accumulate in all my years of mostly self instruction, and while I don’t fish much anymore, my gratitude has never wavered.

I suppose if I’d befriended more guides, it would have upped my game even more, but most of the guides I knew operated at an energy level I could not match.

It wasn’t even clear to me that most guides did anything but guide. Even eating and sleeping were suspect from everything I could tell. This made wetting a fly just for the fun of it something truly far off, and I just couldn’t square that.

Some guides were legendary. Every outfitter had a history of at least one guide who by swagger if not by skill put clients into fish, regardless of client ability or experience.

Other guides developed unusual self-marketing strategies.

One such guide from a rival outfitter developed a reputation for eating the same aquatic insects trout ate. He’d find a blue wing olive, for example, floating along and pluck it off the water. As lore had it, he’d then study the hapless mayfly, perhaps eying the finer details of color and size. Then boom. Down the gullet it went.

He told clients this helped him think like a trout, and just as word of his dietary adventurism began to elicit trip requests, it all came to a screeching halt when giardia sidelined him with a scorching case of trots.

I never could match guides for energy or creative self-marketing, but it all worked out. Roy Palm seemed to understand how I was wired and usually paired me with experienced anglers who preferred a minimalist approach.

In fairness, my guiding days were numbered almost from the day they began. It’s almost axiomatic that guiding is a young man’s avocation, and while my 30s are nearly just that far behind me, there is a beacon in this valley that still brings memories of that time back to life.

On those rare occasions I’m traveling downvalley between Basalt and Carbondale at twilight, I’ll take old 82, particularly west of El Jebel, and turn on Catherine’s Store Road.

As I drive, window down, I’ll share my attention to the road with occasional glimpses of the antenna on Sunlight Peak.

A lot has changed since 1990, but the sight of the Sunlight Peak antenna on a summer evening remains the same.

Mitch Mulhall is a husband, father and longtime Roaring Fork Valley resident. His column appears monthly in the Post Independent and at postindependent.com.

Guest column: We either lie about them or omit them

Finally, “Black Lives Matter” gains traction. Showing videos and telling stories that bring attention to the large numbers of deaths by police and the cases and deaths by Covid-19 among African-Americans has led to this long-delayed confrontation with our prejudiced society. What we see with our own eyes can no longer be ignored, which makes this seem a historic moment that could bring about real change.

The press has gone some way toward reporting the heavy impact of the disease on the working poor. Solid reporting has brought out the disproportionate number of black and brown people working as house cleaners, health care aides, and in food processing plants, public transportation, and other occupations that put them at greater risk of contagion. Poor neighborhoods, poor water and crowded living conditions have also been exposed as furthering the spread of the virus.

What may not have registered is that the worldwide epidemic has also hit American Indians particularly hard. With a population of just 173,667, the Navajo Nation had 7,549 confirmed cases and 363 deaths attributed to the virus as of July 1. That is more than 4,447 cases per 100,000 people — a higher per-capita rate than anywhere in the United States.

For comparison, New York is at 2,150 cases per 100,000 people. Put another way, at the Navajo Nation rate, my state of Oregon would have over 184,000 COVID cases and 8,970 deaths instead of 208 deaths. (Source: Worldometer). Yet the press has devoted little space to the virus having its way in Indian country.

The history of disease among tribes is in a word — terrible. Epidemic diseases killed more indigenous people in the Americas at the start of European colonialism than all the Indian wars. Measles, smallpox and tuberculosis devastated the misnamed Indians, from fishermen-borne diseases brought to tribes along the Atlantic coast in the 16th century to the near-extirpation of the Cayuse in the 1840s. These diseases, unfamiliar to the native Americans, continued to damage tribes through the twentieth century.

Charles Mann argues strongly in 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus, that disease attacks on Indians had a genetic component, meaning that indigenous Americans were far more susceptible to viral diseases than white populations. And, according to Indian friends, there are strong tribal memories of the devastating 1918 flu. That generational memory has some living in fear today as Covid-19 marches across America.

Historian Alvin Josephy said that when we are not lying about American Indians in our history, we are omitting them. A recent instance of omission: Politico reports that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has turned down tribal epidemiologists’ requests for data about the virus that it’s making freely available to states.

For Euro-Americans, it’s been a harsh road traveled over and around American Indians. Most of it has had to do with land: They had it and white people wanted it. Disease killed off Squanto’s people, and when the Puritans arrived they were saved by caches of food remaining in what seemed like an empty landscape. Combat with superior numbers and firepower grabbed more land from native Americans. When war didn’t work, treaties — and a continued rewriting or abandoning them — snatched more land.

After disease and war and treaty making, there was government policy: the Indian Removal Act of 1830 sent tribes to “unsettled” lands across the Mississippi. The Dawes Allotment Act of 1887 tried to divide remaining Indian lands into parcels for individual Indians to farm, selling the “surplus” un-allotted lands to settlers. The Termination Act of 1953 tried finally to do away with all treaty and contractual relations and obligations with the federal government — freeing up more land to be purchased by Weyerhaeuser Timber and white farmers and ranchers.

There are complex histories of the relationships between today’s Latino and Indian, and among African Americans and American Indians. But what can always be said of native Americans, who remain invisible to many, is that they have defied deliberate attempts to eradicate them. Against all odds, against massive disease outbreaks and repeated injustices, they persevere.

Black lives matter, Indian lives matter, and Covid-19 is teaching us more about the history of both. Any true telling of today’s pandemic and past ones, of our country’s history and vision of our future, must include the original native Americans.

Rich Wandschneider is a contributor to Writers on the Range (writersontherange.org), a nonprofit dedicated to spurring lively discussion of the West. At the Josephy Center for Arts and Culture in Joseph, Oregon, he is developing the Josephy Library.

Letters: Truth telling, novel invader, the Greatest Generation, Trump’s ‘leadership’, the whole truth, business responsibility

There is a crisis in truth telling

Bob Woodson founder and head of the Woodson Council notes: Social policies of the 1960s did what racial policies couldn’t accomplish. They made the poor a commodity and separated work from income which made the father redundant. This broke up the nuclear family and demeaned religion. Up until the 1960s, 85% of the families were intact. Today it’s 25%.
In rewriting American history, The New York Times 1619 Project is using the struggle and suffering of American blacks to bludgeon and define America as a criminal organization. Rather than having doors locked from the outside as in Jim Crow, the 1619 Project has locked the doors from the inside.

Between 1920 and 1940 the educational gap between blacks and whites became nominal. In the 1920s black Atlanta schools tested higher than white schools. If we lose our history, we lose our future. 1619 Project is cheating black children by telling them their only lot in life is to be a victim.
Bob Woodson has countered the 1619 Project with activists known as 1776 Project. By going into the communities and mentoring, activists reduce violent encounters. They are restoring communities with the help of grassroots leaders not race hustlers.

Deep in the DNA of this country is a desire to support virtue. People are motivated to improve their lives. That’s 1776 Project’s goal. They don’t need to be shown injuries to be avoided. It’s reflected by spontaneously responding to those in need despite their color. Contrast this with those who posture on television that have a short-hand way of assuming the only thing that’s of interest to black people is race.

There is a crisis in truth telling. Address the enemy within. Check out Woodson’s book, The Triumphs of Joseph.

Fred Stewart,
Grand Junction

U.S. has capitulated to a novel invader

For me, this is World War III and the U.S. has capitulated to a novel invader, which has not accepted our terms of surrender.

John Hoffmann
Carbondale

We’re failing the greatness test

Why was the Greatest Generation so great? It wasn’t really World War II. That tested their mettle, but their grit was created 15 years earlier with the onset of the Great Depression. That’s when our parents and grandparents learned how to do without and make sacrifices for the common good. These are the qualities that gave them the resolve to prevail.

I hope the current generation doesn’t have to face a major economic catastrophe or a world war because we’ve had it too good for too long. Yes, there was 2008 recession and Vietnam, but those were minor bumps in the road by comparison.

During the relatively meek trauma of today’s pandemic, many of us have whined about and resisted minor inconveniences like wearing masks and social distancing. Yeah, my mask is a pain in the ass, too. It fogs up my glasses. And I’d really love to get together with a large group of my friends and dish out a few bear hugs. But if I can save one life by following the precautions, that’d be more than worth it.

Fred Malo Jr.
Carbondale

What kind of leader is Trump?

In the last 4 months (as of July 6), 132,979 people have died in the United States of coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2). When is our leader, who has been known to publicly hug the flag, going to declare we lower flags to half-staff to honor the deceased, their families, and healthcare workers who have needlessly suffered? How many deaths does it take, not by magazine clip but by deadly virus will it take for this “patriot” to feel driven to evoke the call for national deference?

He won’t do it because he continues to dismiss that it is even happening (or else he says it is China’s fault). I ask all of you, what kind of leader is this? What kind of Commander-in-Chief would ever do that? He’s the kind of leader who is demanding schools reopen for the fall, yet no vaccines exist and the death toll continues to rise. He’s the kind of Commander-in-Chief that picks fights with NASCAR to take the heat off his scandal of turning a blind eye to Putin to pay the Taliban to murder American soldiers in Afghanistan.

As Americans, it is our right and our duty to vote to end this disgraceful and shameful moment in our history in November. We are better than this. Please register. Please vote.

Lee Barger
Glenwood Springs

What I’m not hearing is the whole truth

I just read Illene Pevec’s letter about teaching truth in our schools. It has a familiar ring.

I hear apologists criticizing our country by listing the inequities in our history from Aspen to Boulder, just like I did as a college kid in the early ’70s from Berkley. What I don’t hear from them is the whole truth.

Never a mention of the millions who came here to seek and find freedom.

Never a mention of how our country has fought world wars to preserve the freedom of others around the world.

Never a mention of our military aiding countries after natural disasters.

Never a mention of the millions of our people who teach, protect and aid their neighbors and friends. The people who work all week then on the weekends mow the lawns of seniors in their neighborhoods.

I’m proud to be one of the descendents of the Greatest Generation. I have friends in all walks of lives, from fireman to farmers, who don’t discriminate or own slaves.

I have neighbors who are teachers and nurses who set standards of behavior we can all admire.

If you want the truth, try the whole truth.

I’m proud of our country, as my family and friends are.

Name a place that’s perfect. Can’t think of one? The closest place I’ve found is right outside my door.

No apologies necessary.

Yes, we all need to work to make things better for everyone. I remember the old bumper sticker, “Think globally — act locally.”

Enough of my soapbox. Be grateful, kind and careful.

Al Scholz
Rifle, Aspen

Businesses are responsible for the welfare of their customers

OK, enough is enough. In America we crossed the 3 million coronavirus infection threshold. I have been shopping at the City Market grocery stores in Aspen, Basalt and Glenwood Springs now for 4 months, and each and every one of these stores have a sign outside the entrance doors stating that customers must wear a mask. One time I forgot my mask, and I was politely escorted to the door and told to go get my mask, or I could purchase one from them. At first I was a little irritated, but after thinking about it for like 5 minutes, I realized they are right and I was wrong for not considering the safety of my fellow customers. 3-4 out of 10 people walking around us now are probably carrying the virus without knowing it. They are asymptomatic virus carriers and transmitters. I do not like those odds, so I wear a mask. Walmart in Glenwood Springs enforces it too. God bless them.

I visited Grand Junction yesterday and went to their City Market on 12th Street. Their employees were all wearing masks, but only about one-third of the customers were wearing masks. So, I asked the manager there why they did not enforce the mask policy. He was candid and told me they were afraid of potential violence against their employees by customers who did not want to wear masks. I told him about how all these other City Markets enforce the rule, and he seemed genuinely stunned. He said their directive from the corporate office in Denver is no City Market is supposed to take it upon themselves to enforce the mask rule. So, I called the corporate office in Denver myself. I was told the same thing. Then they referred me to the Colorado district office and was told the very same thing by them. I asked them if they care about the welfare of their customers enough to protect them from this virus, and was told that is not their responsibility. Did you catch that? Not their problem. It was their problem 3 months ago, but now, it is not. Now, when the virus is roaring back, they don’t care anymore.
We have Lauren Boebert getting a public forum to tell anyone who will listen that the coronavirus is a hoax perpetuated by the “deep state.” So, just another clown with a bully pulpit.

When are these businesses going to wake up and understand a basic truth; that they are indeed responsible for the welfare of their customers, just as if they discovered their meat department is infected with e-coli, they fix it. We are only people who want to live between now and when a vaccine is available. That’s all, just live until then.

Steven Gluckman
Glenwood Springs

Wednesday letters: Climate crisis, and BOCC spending millions to help oil & gas

U.S. should be leading in solutions to climate crisis

With the dangers of the epidemic facing us every day, it is easy to forget that what we have done to the Earth’s climate is even more dangerous. We see the results of warming here in the Eagle River Valley and the Roaring Fork Valley, but it is nothing compared with the melting of Siberia and the South Pole area. This is a world-wide crisis and the U.S. should be leading in solutions instead of pretending it will go away.

“This year is the last time we have, if we are not to see a carbon rebound,” said Fatih Birol, executive director of the International Energy Agency and one of the world’s foremost energy experts. He says, and just about all atmospheric scientists agree, that the world has only six months in which to change the course of the climate crisis and prevent a post-lockdown rebound in greenhouse gas emissions that would overwhelm efforts to stave off climate catastrophe.

Please, encourage all our legislators — town, county, state and national to do everything in their power to get us off fossil fuels and into an alternative fuel economy as quickly as possible. Our great grandchildren will thank you.

Katherine Delanoy
Eagle

Why is the GarCo BOCC is spending millions to help the O&G industry?

Garfield County’s “Oil and Gas Mitigation Fund” should be renamed the “Oil and Gas Defense Fund” as the monies are being used to protect the industry from citizens who do not want drilling and fracking next to their homes like in Battlement Mesa. In total, the county commissioners are spending over $1.5 million defending the O&G industry in their fight against stronger state regulatory controls.

The commissioners have also spent an additional $1.5 million of our severance tax dollars fighting the sage grouse protections that were preventing public lands to be leased for oil and gas development in Western Colorado.

I believe this is a complete waste of county dollars that could be going to mitigate the economic impacts from coronavirus, supporting our human service agencies during the food and housing crisis, and helping local municipalities supplement their sagging tax collections.

The millions of dollars going to O&G lawyers and lobbyists are against our interests — surely Garfield County residents support stronger air quality rules and protections for wildlife and our natural environment. And don’t we want to preserve our quality of life by not having to live with multiple 25-well pads in our backyard?

It was also disturbing to hear that Garfield County taxpayers are picking up the tab for all the legal and consultant expenses for the 23 county and municipal partners in Garfield County’s Western & Rural Local Governments Coalition. Why aren’t the other counties and local governments asked to share costs? How many would remain in the coalition if they were not subsidized $65,000 each by Garfield County commissioners?

Should I become your next county commissioner, I will not be irresponsible with our county’s funds by continuing to spend millions of dollars on lawyers and consultants to promote oil and gas interests above those of my constituents.

Leslie Robinson,
Rifle

Chacos column: Opinion, truth and fact — The powerful difference

As the saying goes, opinions are like that unspoken, timid body part. Everyone has one. And as an opinion writer for a couple of local newspapers, I stick mine where the sun doesn’t shine every month.

OPINION

And although opinions are the lowest form of human knowledge, I love sharing my intellectual laziness on a variety of topics. I often use biased words and share personal viewpoints with no real accountability. And when I need to defend myself, I say something elementary like, “Well that’s just what I believe.” Another equally egocentric example is, “You’re entitled to your opinion and I’m entitled to mine.” Conversation finished. No critical understanding required.

We often distribute opinions with abandon. They’re an easy way for people to feel a sense of power and importance. But over time I’ve learned from my readers that if I don’t want to sound like a complete nutjob with fringe ideas, I should sprinkle in some truth for perceived credibility.

TRUTH

Opinions are far easier to defend when truths are sandwiched into the argument. Most of my strongly worded, passionate opinions are doled out deliberately. I spin them as truth; and to be clear, some of them are not embedded in facts. My truth is simply a perception of the reality I create. And at the heart, most truths are subjective until proven factually. They are wolves in sheep’s clothing and, when used to sway public opinion, can be dangerously potent.

Over time, I’ve been taught many self-evident truths, statements that have never demanded proof, nor debate. I accepted them because I wanted to obey and listen to authority. Not many like to go against the grain when young; it’s a skill learned having to defend a thesis among scholars. But because these universal truths are simply long-held beliefs that have weaved themselves into the fabric of our culture, they have become harder to eradicate from the prefrontal cortex of our personalities.

For example, we base historical truths on an established past, not actual facts from the past. That’s hard to reconcile as we continue to honor Confederate soldiers, we still abuse the Native American population with offensive names, and we still celebrate Columbus with a national holiday.

Taking it one step further, the white supremacist ideology is anti-immigrant, anti-globalist, anti-feminist, and fuels propaganda against Jews, Muslims, people of color, and the LGBTQIA+ community. These are false truths, spoken forcefully and confidently by media personalities and gregarious leaders. These influencers are part of a vicious wolf pack preying on the vulnerable and marginalized. This unfounded, fictitious narrative has detrimental implications when espoused as truth. They are nothing but craftily worded opinions breeding misinformation, spreading hate, and fueling divisiveness.

FACT

Indisputable facts should be the easiest to process, like the $100 questions on a game of Jeopardy. Unfortunately, they’re the hardest to prove, like the cost of the expensive-looking dining set on The Price is Right. We require more science to prove a fact than to dispute its truth. No one likes to be proven wrong.

For example, there is no evidence that oxygen intake is decreased by wearing a mask, yet we still condemn fact-based science. A friend recently posted a picture of her wearing two masks, an N-95 and a regular mask. She took the mask off only once, to eat lunch. Her O2 level read 98% after she logged a 12-hour day in an operating room. Facts are hard to prove, especially when someone’s embedded truths and opinions get in the way.

Again, to take it one step further, there is no evidence of rampant voter fraud in America. Stop using the pithy argument that, “There is no evidence that there isn’t rampant voter fraud.” That simply sounds stupid. That’s a fact.

Unfortunately, today’s reality is inundated with damaging truths that are simply not true. Choosing to stay silent, offering no show of condemnation may result in enabling ethnocentric bigots who will be on the wrong side of history. That may be my opinion, my smoothly worded truth, or maybe that’s a fact.

In the end, what’s the difference if I don’t opine to the public now?

Andrea Chacos lives in Carbondale, Colorado balancing work and happily raising three children with her husband. She strives to dodge curveballs life likes to throw with a bit of passion, humor and some flair.

Tuesday letters: Truth in U.S. history, living with coronavirus, and all lives matter

We need to teach the truth of U.S. history in our schools

In first grade I was told that Columbus discovered America, that the Indians taught the Pilgrims how to plant corn so they could survive and the first Thanksgiving was celebrated with peace and thanks with the Indians. In fifth grade I learned the Vikings had arrived in North America around 1000 AD. The Columbus story was wrong. I felt betrayed by my teachers and social studies books that I was not told this earlier. I can’t remember when I learned that the Indigenous peoples of the Americas probably walked over the Bering Strait 20,000 years ago. As we celebrate American independence we need to rethink how we teach history.

It is very possible that the racism in the U.S. comes in part from children in all schools not learning the full truth of the first peoples of the Americas and the horrible suffering of Africans enslaved to make the white colonialists richer and more comfortable.

Ninety percent of the first peoples to live on this continent died from diseases brought by Europeans. Sophisticated societies had developed agriculture, architecture and astronomy to rival any known in Europe but they did not have guns or steel. If they didn’t perish from disease, they died by the sword and firearms.

When gold and silver were discovered in the West, white men broke treaties and stole native lands to mine minerals wherever it suited their greed. The U.S. government ordered the bison herds slaughtered to destroy the food source of native Plains Indians and force them into starvation and subjugation.

Teaching the truth of our history could awaken Americans to understand the horrible loss of life that has led to comfort and wealth for some in this country and to poverty and oppression for others. Americans must learn humility from an early age so that we develop empathy rather than the arrogance that determines much of modern U.S. politics.

Remember: All men are created equal. And we still need to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment and make sure all people have access to excellent education and social justice!

Illene Pevec,
Carbondale

We can live and function with this virus if we all do our part

Social interaction in the time of coronavirus is like Russian roulette. We know that some of us are infected but unaware that they are transmitting the virus. It could be me, or it could be you.

Epidemiologists tell us that wearing a mask dramatically restricts the spread of the disease. This gives us, the good citizens of Garfield County, a better opportunity to reopen our schools and our economy, and reduces the likelihood that many of us, especially seniors and those with pre-existing health conditions, will wind up on a ventilator, or 6 feet under.

This might seem like a no-brainer, but a significant minority of our citizenry objects mightily to the requirement, or even the expectation, that they wear a mask. Their belligerence threatens the life, liberty and pursuit of happiness of their fellow Americans. Why would anyone refuse to perform this simple act of goodwill? Surely you’re not so self-centered as to think only of your own personal comfort. You might survive the coronavirus with few or no symptoms, but what about dad, or your dear sweet granny? Your insistence on exercising your “rights” could put someone you love in an early grave. While we wait for an effective vaccine, please don’t stand in the way of re-opening our economy, our schools, our public institutions, by refusing to wear a mask. Show respect for the essential workers who put their lives on the line for us every day. We can live with this virus and still function as a society, but only if we all do our part.

Ed Colby
New Castle

All my patients’ lives matter

As I observe the chaos and angst in our country along with everyone else, I have a simple question to ask and have people ponder. But first preface my background and experience. I recently retired from over 40 years of practice as a neurosurgeon. I grew up on a family ranch in New Castle and attended public school first–eighth grade there. I then attended public high school in Ohio and was fortunate to receive an appointment to the Air Force Academy. After graduation I attended Med School in North Carolina and completed my training for Neurosurgery in San Antonio and Denver. I then served in the Air Force before practicing in Denver for 25 years. The past 13 years I’ve practiced in Rifle serving our community.

During my career I’ve operated on thousands of patients of every race, sex, creed, religious or political persuasion. I have never considered any of the above as pertinent to my goal of providing every person the best possible care for their illness. I also have never altered my approach to provide quality care to anyone based on the color of their skin! I swore an oath to serve those patients to give each of them the best care that I could to help them achieve the best quality of life possible! I can also state that once one cuts through the skin and opens the skull, there is absolutely no difference in the blood vessels, brain tissue, tumor tissue, etc. between any of the above patients that I’ve treated. So my question is: Why am I called a racist for stating that “black lives matter, but so do the lives of Hispanics, Asians, women, children, Christians, Jews, Muslims, Caucasians, and American Indians?” All of my life I’ve treated them all the same, and to me all of their lives do matter! I’ve dedicated my whole career and life to that principle and now that is not acceptable in our society.

Lee Krauth MD
New Castle

Monday letters: Tipton, fireworks, Boebert, online teaching, PI editions, Democrats, QAnon, anarchy, BLM director, conspiracy

Tipton worked tirelessly for Western Slope residents

Well, now you’ve done it. Western Slope residents have lost a congressional representative that worked tirelessly for them. 

Scott Tipton and I were elected in 2010, so let me explain why the recent primary election could prove to be a dramatic loss for the district and our country. 

From the start, Scott’s business background of 30 years and his strong foundation of conservative principles — honor, integrity, and strength — worked well and made him electable. Scott worked relentlessly throughout the district often not getting home for weeks at a time. 

According to a nonpartisan research group he was ranked the eighth most effective congressman. His modest, gentlemanly approach reminded me of Reagan and Bush, both widely seen as non-confrontational but were highly effective. 

Compare that to AOC, who, despite the headlines she gets for being loud and obnoxious, none of her initiatives are being adopted into law … none. Isn’t that why you send someone to Congress? To get something done — not just to be divisive but getting something done. 

Scott’s focus always was on getting things accomplished for his constituents. His peers recognized that. His seniority put him in a position to do that. Scott didn’t work alone. His wife, Jean, was a force in helping him keep his focus on improving the quality of life for the people of the Western Slope.

So that’s what you lost — a modest, effective and electable leader who stood on his principles and got things done. 

Now you’ve done it, I wish you well this fall.

David B McKinley

Wheeling, West Virginia

Fireworks sales should be banned

July 3, 2020, marks the two-year anniversary of the Lake Christine Fire. As we all know, this was a human-caused catastrophe. But for the heroic effort of our first responders, this disaster would have been unimaginable. 

Current wildfire risk is remarkably similar to conditions on July 3, 2018. Although use is banned in Garfield County, the sale of fireworks is not. It simply defies reason that these incendiary devices will be purchased in this community but not discharged here. 

Under Colorado law, county commissioners have the authority to ban the sale of fireworks. Red flag warnings have been issued regularly. Drought conditions persist. Banning the sale of fireworks should have taken place long ago. 

Shame on our elected officials for not protecting this community.

Ed Holub

unincorporated Garfield County

A shocker in CD3

If you’d told me 3rd District Congressman Scott Tipton was gonna be outflanked on the right in the Republican primary, I’d have assumed his opponent was Adolf Hitler. It wasn’t even Eva Braun, but a rootin’ tootin’, pistol packin’, QAnon deep state conspiracy theorist, and shelter in place resistor from Rifle named Lauren Boebert.

Boebert is the proprietor of Shooter’s Grill, where evangelical Christians come to drink soft drinks and ogle hot young waitresses with shootin’ irons strapped to their hips. For some reason, that turns on the patrons more than if they were topless.

I’ve seen no indication Boebert’s knowledge of the Constitution goes beyond the Second Amendment. She overlooked the stipulation “a well-regulated state militia.”

Republicans accuse Democrats of moving too far to the left. Barry Goldwater said, “Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice,” but it’s still extreme no matter what direction it’s headed. Boebert’s Democratic opponent, Diane Mitsch Bush, should focus on moderate Republicans, if there are any, who don’t care to be represented by a total legislative novice.

Fred Malo Jr.

Carbondale

Help with online teaching

As a professor of education — and one who teaches online — I’m concerned about the coming school year. As my wife tells people, I “teach teachers how to teach online online.” Translated, I train teachers how to teach their classes online, using an online format. This may be the best path forward, considering the looming massive and historic challenges to my profession.

I’ve dealt with a number of issues in my 32 years in the field, like difficult students and rigid principals, but the new struggles are relatively unexplored — how do we cope with budget cuts, student technology access, the transmission of COVID-19 and, most critically, keep students engaged in learning?

I can’t condense my “How to Teach Online” courses into one letter, but I’d like to present five critical components, and one piece of wisdom, to my colleagues preparing for August. I want to help.

The wisdom: I urge my online teachers-in-training to, if they start the school year in person, immediately set up an online learning management system and accounts for your students. Put one assignment on the system for them to accomplish each week. Get them used to that mode, as you build your relationships in person. If and when you have to shift to online learning completely, you will have relationships and the online system working.

The critical components of online learning: These five consist of presence (communicate with students every day), flexibility (students are struggling with new ways of living at home), engagement (there are tools out there to “hook” students into your lessons), feedback (make sure the kids clearly know what they are doing that is right, frequently) and relationships (make room on your online system to share interests and allow social interaction).

Educators, please contact me if you want more details on teaching in the online environment. I’ve been doing it for 12 years. My email address is Teacher@EdwardMooney.net.

Dr. Edward Mooney

professor of education

New Castle

Sorry to see reduced PI printing

I was disappointed to hear that our local newspaper must reduce their print schedule to three days a week. The economic impact of the coronavirus has forced many businesses to make similar decisions.

A free press is a cornerstone of our democracy in keeping our citizens informed. A newspaper article may not tell a story in a way that will satisfy all of us. Reporting involves a human being listening to each participant and then trying to provide an accurate yet succinct portrayal of all facets of the story.

There are always nuances to stories that we, as individuals, need to discern. Hopefully the reporting is strong enough to keep us aware of what is happening in our community. News media keeps our community and business leaders accountable for their decisions.

The Post Independent has a higher readership than the national average for print media, and I think this reflects the high level of community involvement of our citizens. The paper will continue to report online seven days a week, but I look forward to the day when we will see a daily edition back on the street.

Paula Stepp

Glenwood Springs

Democrats have reverted to their roots

We are now at a cross-road. Ask the question of this century and posterity: Are you going to hate Donald Trump to the exclusion of your country? It’s irrational to think that everything Trump does is wrong and everything the opposition does is “right.” This will kill America.

Now Democrats have reverted to their roots. They naively believe that people, left in their innocent state, will self-regulate. Who needs money? Just print more. Who needs police? We have “secret” police. Who needs God? The state is the ultimate authority.

Democrats have no shame because they have no accountability, except to the “barefoot and pregnant” voters. Republicans take heed. Democrats are leading everyone into “the candy store,” a front for chaos. Hillary and Biden approve. Do you?

Fred Stewart

Grand Junction

QAnon in our town

I am sad and angry to report that the virtual cult QAnon, having festered on the fringe edges of our country for several years, swimming in its swamp of conspiracy theories and fear-mongering bigotry, is alive and well in our town. 

Recently, a small black business card with just the letter “Q” and a twitter account printed on one side, “The Great Awakening” on the other side, was left in a family member’s windshield at a local big box store. 

In addition, Colorado’s 3rd District Republican Congressional candidate, Ms. Boebert, is willing to publicly give this disgusting and dangerous movement legitimacy at the same time as she runs to represent the largest geographic district of our state in Washington, D.C. 

Please give this development your serious attention and concern. Help young people understand how this cult is dangerous and completely illegitimate in its baseless claims. Fight its myths and fallacies openly with courage. Please do not give it power by electing a proponent of its idiotic and dangerous ideas to Congress.

Trish Kramer

Glenwood Springs

The anarchy continues

The FBI investigates a Nascar garage door rope as a hate crime. Orange County wants to strip the Duke’s name from John Wayne Airport. And Abe Lincoln’s statue is racist? These are the liberal headlines.

Nothing said about 104 shootings and 14 murders in the Windy City of Death last weekend. Not a word about NYC’s 400% increase in crime. The media keeps calling destructive violence from all four corners of our country “protests.”

The reason is sadly simple: all those cities and the media are Democrat controlled. We don’t hear “news,” we hear a liberal agenda.

And we allow the anarchy to continue.

Bruno Kirchenwitz 

Rifle

Pendley unfit to be BLM director

The arsonist trying to be a firefighter, letting a wolf guard the sheep, William Perry Pendley as director of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) … all three are “an expression of a given speech form that is peculiar to itself,” states Mr. Webster.

Pendley joined the BLM July 15, 2019, as deputy director and has been the “acting” head of the BLM since July 29, 2019, with no individual officially in charge of the BLM since 2016. Last week it was announced that Pendley will be going through Senate confirmation hearings to be “America’s” official public land protector. After four years of stagnant BLM leadership, this appears to be a political antic for the voting climate this November.

The U.S. Senate recently advanced a bill that would fund the very popular Land Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), and the House of Representatives has introduced companion legislation. This legislation can address maintenance backlogs at all national parks — your public lands. Previously, President Trump had suggested cutting the LWCF by 97%, but has since reversed that decision. This initial action of the president suggested he did not have on his agenda protecting your public land, and now he will continue to stifle land protections by appointing Mr. Pendley.

Pendley, a previous president of Mountain States Legal Foundation (1) wrote in 2016 “he opposes federal public land protections including national monuments, supports land transfer movements in Utah and advocates for the selling of BLM lands.” Bloomberg Law July 2019

(2) In September 2019 Mr. Pendley’s name was still at the top of one of the two lawsuits associated with Bears Ears and Grand Staircase Escalante. His name has since been removed from one lawsuit, but not the other, which is “peculiar” considering Pendley has been the acting BLM director. The president’s ethics pledge prescribes no participation with prior employers, clients, regulations or contracts. The Salt Lake Tribune August 2019

(3) Pendley stated “I am a Marine and do what I am told.” It has taken Pendley over 60 days to obey an order to rescind his interests that conflict with his duty as the single leader accountable for protecting 240 million acres of your public land. The Colorado Sun October 2019

There are dozens of incidents, quotes and writings by Mr. Pendley that clearly state his life-long professional goal is the transfer, selling and the collapse of America’s public lands. Hopefully, our government appointees that will speak on our behalf will not confirm this anti-public land individual. 

Rick Seymour

life member BHA

Montrose

Which is the conspiracy?

Why do we see a conspiracy in being asked to wear a mask, but we don’t see one in people sickening and dying?

John Hoffmann 

Carbondale