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Monday letters: Growth limited by water, Xcel’s Comanche 3, 480 Donegan

Growth limited by water

For over 100 years, the citizens of Glenwood Springs have been drinking pure water from No Name and Grizzly drainages. These streams can provide only enough water for a limited population of Glenwood.

In 2015, the city hired a Boulder engineering firm to confirm there would be enough water for Glenwood citizens until the year 2050. The findings concluded that with full compliance with a water efficiency plan and an additional 500 acre-feet from Ruedi, there would be adequate water for the next 35 years. This rosy picture was based on a really bad assumption that Glenwood would grow at only its historic rate of 1-2% per year until 2050 (18,800 residents). The report concluded that “more accelerated growth would be unlikely given the steep slopes, flood plains, river canyons …” The report did not consider the effect of climate change on stream flows.

What happens when there isn’t enough water in the drainages? It appears that the city’s solution is to suck polluted water directly from the Roaring Fork and blend it into our pure mountain water. Currently, there is an emergency pumping station under the Eighth Street bridge that can be temporarily tied into the existing raw water line. The city is proposing increasing the size of the pumps and digging a new raw waterline from the river to the treatment plant. This will allow the city to suck the purchased Ruedi water directly from the river.

The Roaring Fork River at Glenwood is the sewage outfall for the entire valley with every gallon of treated municipal waste passing under the Eighth Street bridge. You should never get municipal water supply directly from a river. Surrounding towns use well fields far from the river, which help filter the contaminants. Glenwood citizens may go from having the best water in the valley to the worst when we start drinking water directly from the Roaring Fork.

Perhaps it is time for the city to revisit the water issue with realistic assumptions.

Chuck Peterson

Glenwood Springs

Xcel hanging on to Comanche 3

Xcel Energy’s coal-fired Comanche 3 power plant in Pueblo was a lemon since it came online in 2010 six months behind schedule. It’s been offline 25% of the time since then, including a 373-day outage in 2020 and 2021.

The state’s largest energy supplier has spent $12 million in repairs. Total it up, and Comanche 3 has cost 45% more to operate than forecast in 2010. It costs $66.25 for the plant to produce one megawatt hour of electricity. A wind farm can do the same for $19.30.

And that’s just money. Comanche 3 is the largest emitter of carbon dioxide in the state, pumping 5 million tons into the atmosphere per year. That’s the equivalent of the emissions of 1 million cars.

In a drought-stricken state, Comanche 3 consumes 180,000 gallons of water per day, more than the top 10 water users in Pueblo. The volatile organic compounds and particulates spewing out of the plant’s smokestacks give Pueblo some of the worst air quality in the state.

So Xcel wants to keep Comanche 3 running until 2035. That’s when President Biden says we should be at 100% renewable power generation. We’ll never make that target with coal-fired power plants running. Pueblo, Glenwood Springs and Aspen have all set goals of being carbon neutral by 2030. If Xcel keeps a coal plant running past that, good luck.

Workers in Pueblo are rightfully concerned about their jobs if Comanche 3 shuts down earlier. House Bill 21-1290 was passed earlier this year, and it would allot $7 million to help coal plant workers transition into other industries. It was cosponsored by Rep. Daneya Esgar, D-Pueblo, Sen. Bob Rankin, R-Carbondale, and Rep. Perry Will, R-New Castle.

It cost Xcel $855 million to build Comanche 3. They went deeply in debt to do it. I’m sure Xcel would like to convince their stockholders it wasn’t a bad investment, but if this megacorporation doesn’t want to exacerbate the climate crisis and send good money after bad, Comanche 3 should be banked by at least 2030.

The Colorado Public Utilities

Commission is meeting to review Xcel’s plans. Please contact them at dorapucwebsite@state.co.us or 800-456-0858 and make your wishes known.

Fred Malo Jr.

Carbondale

‘480 Donegan is still too big’

Your editorial board challenged us to come up with solutions — which we’ve always been about — when seeking a repeal of the 480 Donegan development. By the way, our referendum signature collection is going strong, and our boots on the ground have doubled.

We, the grassroots organization of Glenwood Springs Citizens for Sensible Growth, have come up with myriad ideas to replace the 300 units annexed into the city on less than 16 acres of land behind the old mall in west Glenwood Springs.

No surprise that the majority opined that a public open space park or community garden would be a good idea. Quite a few suggested taking care of our growing senior population in the valley by creating a senior center or senior housing. An early child care facility was mentioned more than once. A bowling alley and a movie theatre also came to mind since Glenwood lost both of those entertainment outlets a while ago. Others suggested a mix of open space, child care center and a small residential area of rent controlled single family or duplex dwellings. Many suggested 100% affordable housing or employee housing.

So many good choices, rather than the one that currently sits on the desk at City Hall. 480 Donegan is still too big. No one likes it, not city nor county Glenwood residents. They know it’s a fire hazard, they know there’s not enough water, and they know it will create a traffic nightmare for everyone.

Sensible development is preferred. 480 Donegan is not that. If you’re a city resident, and registered and want to sign the petition or gather signatures, look for us — we’re all over the town. Or please email 480donegan@gmail.com.

Annie Uyehara

Glenwood Springs

West Glenwood development plans account for fire danger

On Friday, and in past weeks, numerous letters to the editor have addressed potential wildfire evacuation concerns for the West Glenwood area. In an Oct. 14, 2021, city of Glenwood Springs staff letter to City Council, these concerns were addressed by the city Engineering, Police and Fire departments, who met the previous week with Colorado Department of Transportation representatives for access management, the resident engineer and the maintenance superintendent.

Traffic management plans are being engineered to include two emergency access connections onto Interstate 70 to address current, as well as future, development, such as the 300 townhomes and apartments recently approved for annexation north of the Glenwood Springs Mall and redevelopment of the mall property. In the October staff letter it states that the “Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and CDOT have reviewed the locations and indicated their preliminary support.” Additionally, “(F)unding for the connections is currently included in the 2022 (city) budget.”

Anyone can further educate themselves regarding this matter by reviewing the above referenced letter located online in the city planning file: 09-20, 480 Donegan Road, Update on the Evacuation Management Plan, including photo egress diagrams, Oct. 14.

Vreneli Diemoz

Glenwood Springs

PI Editorial: Developer lawsuit against Glenwood Springs is no surprise

After a tie City Council vote killed a proposed development in Glenwood Meadows, the city of Glenwood Springs now faces a lawsuit.

We can’t say we’re surprised.

The development met what standards and regulations the city has in place — it also had a recommendation to approve from city staff.

Yet some council members seemingly became distracted by the development’s lack of designated affordable housing.

The need for more affordable housing in Glenwood Springs is indisputable. Health care providers, schools, law enforcement agencies and more have all cited the rising cost of housing as an obstacle to hiring.

In March, council members approved an affordable housing policy requiring developments to cap rent on 10% of their units.

In the case of the Meadows development, however, council appeared to mistakenly base much of their decision-making on an ordinance that wasn’t in place when the development proposal was submitted.

Development regulations and code are in place for a number of reasons. Working at their best, such ordinances can improve a community’s quality of life, increase market competition for prospective renters and home buyers and provide clarity for developers on what is and is not allowed.

Over the past, we have seen some council members all too eager to wade into the weeds — in some cases, coming very close if not outright making development requirements on the fly in council chambers. It’s a bad habit, and it has unfortunately led to the lawsuit that the city now faces.

If council’s denial is overturned, the city could be required to pay legal costs for the developer. It could also lead to overreaction from council members and an overly deferential attitude toward developers in the future.

Just as we don’t want overreach, we also don’t want a council that rubber-stamps future proposals. It’s difficult to do, but we believe every one of our council members can indeed walk the line between the two sides. Regardless of the outcome, we hope this lawsuit serves as a reminder for them to do just that.

The Post Independent editorial board members are Publisher Bryce Jacobson, Editor Peter Baumann, Managing Editor/Senior Reporter John Stroud, and community representatives Amy Connerton and Mark Fishbein.

Friday letters: 480 Donegan, senior transportation, calling out Boebert, and balanced reporting

Lucky last time

My name is Ron, and I was a USPS “mailman” in Glenwood back in June 2002. My task on the afternoon of the Coal Seam Fire was to perform what we called collections (collecting the outgoing mail from all of the blue drop boxes all over town and take it to the mail processing facility in West Glenwood).

I had one last box to “collect,” by the doors nearest the Kmart. I couldn’t get to it. The fire was roaring up South Canyon in our direction. I managed to get to the frontage road in front of the Mall and Glenwood Ford. The traffic was at absolute gridlock. The police were likely doing the best that they could under the circumstances.

If the fire had come any faster, there likely could have been deadly consequences. Let’s not forget how quickly the “Storm King 14” were overwhelmed. A number of us believe that it is not a matter of if, but when, there will be another conflagration.

I think that the 480 Donegan project and adding 200 to 300 additional vehicles to this mix would be a serious and grave mistake. Luckily there weren’t any fatalities in 2002. I sincerely hope that there won’t be any in the next fire as well but am greatly concerned that this project may alter these odds in a negative way.

I feel that this project is a bad idea.

Ron Reed

New Castle

Traveler service clarification

In the Nov. 26 article titled “Rifle keen to continue support of senior meals program despite finding unknowns,” The Traveler transportation program is described as a senior transportation service. Additionally, the Garfield County website lists the Traveler and Paratransit under the heading “Senior Transportation,” misleading the public to believe that the county has transportation services for the older population.

In fact, eligibility has to do with being unable to use public transportation because of a temporary or permanent disability. Service is governed by Americans with Disabilities Act rules, which prohibit age discrimination. This means that age cannot legally be used for determining eligibility. Hence, a 20-year-old with a broken leg would be eligible for The Traveler while an 80-year-old who can comfortably walk would not.

In reality, there are no transportation services specifically for seniors in Garfield County, and therefore The Traveler and Paratransit should not be listed on the GarCo website, nor referred to, as being senior transportation services.

Judie Blanchard

Carbondale Age-Friendly

Community Initiative co-chair

Carbondale

Blackhearted and evil

It’s been a week since the video broke showing CD3 Rep. Lauren Boebert’s racial, religious and xenophobic attack of fellow Congresswoman, Minnesota Democrat Ilham Omar. 

Aside from an AP report in this paper, why has the editorial board not stepped up to denounce this behavior as wrong, disgraceful and un-American? Or when will the Garfield County Republicans speak up, even when those they support err? 

There was a time not long ago that Republicans had a sense of decency and dignity to censure a member of Congress who disgraced her office like this. Let’s face it, Republicans are scared of their own supporters; they’re scared to anger the former president who led them down this treacherous path. The decent Republicans who have called out Jan. 6 for what it was (a treasonous attempt to overturn a free and fair election) now face retirement or ostracism from the fringe elements of their own party. 

The Post Independent and the Garfield County Republicans have a duty to call this behavior out, so that it hopefully won’t happen again. The more the media and the Republicans turn a blind eye to this behavior, the more it persists. It is a parallel, identical cycle to what the party did with the former president. If you ignore the bad behavior, it won’t go away. In fact, it propagates.

Today a new video has surfaced from a fundraiser in September where Rep. Boebert used a similar but distinctly different routine disparaging Ilhan Omar and another Muslim member of congress, calling them black-hearted and evil. 

It’s time for this woman to take a good look in the mirror and resign.

Lee Barger

Glenwood Springs

Balanced reporting

A huge thank-you goes to Ike Fredregill for his thorough, balanced and insightful reporting, “Residents file referendum on 480 Donegan” in the Nov. 29 GPI. 

A huge housing development is being pushed through in West Glenwood without the infrastructure to support it. I worry for the residents needing to flee the next wildfire when there is already gridlock. 

If that land must be developed, how about using it for a senior center? Or a preschool? Or a community garden? Or walking trails? These are things we need that won’t impact existing roads. We simply can’t afford to bring more people and housing into this community at this time.

Our city councilors were elected to listen to us. Clearly, Charlie Willman, Jonathan Godes, Shelley Kaup and Steve Davis do not listen to their constituents.

Joan Isenberg

Glenwood Springs

Sundin column: Sayonara, a parting shot for my final PI column


This will be my 500th column — my final column in the Glenwood Springs Post Independent.

A little information about me: I was born on April 2, 1926, and grew up in Jamestown, New York, graduating from high school in 1943. This makes me more than 95 years old — time to quit writing newspaper columns.

I was fortunate to be the right age and qualify (both competitively and physically) for the initial year of the U.S. Navy V-12 Program, which was a college engineering education sponsored by the Navy. So one week after graduation from high school, I was in the U.S. Navy and embarked on a three-semester-a-year civil engineering program at Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth College, from which I graduated with a bachelor’s degree a month and a half before my 20th birthday.

I continued my engineering education, getting master’s degrees in structural and sanitary (environmental) engineering and a PhD. I thought about a college teaching career, but, though I enjoyed teaching, I gave that up when I was exposed to the politics that went with it. Instead, I joined a small sanitary engineering firm near Chicago that grew to over 80 when I retired as president in 1988 and retired to Glenwood Springs in time to be a charter member of the 100 Club in 1990.

My working career involved writing engineering reports for village boards and city councils educating them in engineering concepts in wastewater collection and treatment. Then, as a resident of Glenwood Springs, I served on the Transportation Commission for 12 years, becoming involved in transportation issues.

I started writing letters to the editor of the Glenwood Post. Then one day early in 1998 I got a call from (former editor) Dennis Webb asking if I would be interested in writing an opinion column for the newspaper. That sounded like a great opportunity, especially since it paid $50 per column and would appear every other week. Both of those conditions have changed — publication to twice and then once a month, and the $50 per column became $25, and then disappeared.

I enjoyed the opportunity to express my opinions, so I have continued writing, and have welcomed reader comments, both pro and con. But now I have found that it takes a lot more time and effort than it used to, so I am retiring from the job.

Going back to my first two columns, March 7 and 23, 1998, the first was for collusion in price-fixing the cost of gasoline, for which the dealers had already received a wrap on the knuckles from state authorities.

The second recommended planning for a bypass route to get through-traffic off Grand Avenue. The city council members, who were largely local business owners, wanted the traffic to continue coming in front of their businesses and parking to do business, so they did everything possible to maintain the status quo. The Colorado Department of Transportation, which had made future traffic forecasts and could see what was coming, probably said, “You want that traffic coming by your businesses, by golly, you’re going to get it.”

Now, Grand Avenue traffic is a nightmare at almost any time of the day and especially during morning and evening rush hours (and getting worse by leaps and bounds). And you guessed it: Now fewer people even try to park in front of and shop in downtown businesses in the Grand Avenue congestion, which must now be adversely impacting those businesses. And it is only going to get worse as more people continue to move into the area, until Glenwood Springs will become known as “gridlock city.” Even CDOT’s representative in Glenwood Springs, Dick Prosence — plus Floyd Diemoz, John Haines and I — could see and preached the need for a bypass route along Midland Avenue and the railroad corridor but to no avail.

Instead, the city council went ahead with what we got without filing an Environmental Impact Statement, which would have required an examination of future traffic needs.

Sam Skramstad was an exception. When he was mayor, he set about acquiring the additional property along the D&RG right of way needed to provide a minimum width of 100 feet through the city, which would provide space for a four-lane highway, with ingress and egress, plus pedestrian and bicycle paths.

You ask, “What about space for a rapid-transit railroad?” Rapid-transit rail has been proven to be financially feasible only if it serves a population of at least 250,000, which is far more than the Roaring Fork Valley will ever see.

Hal Sundin’s “As I See It” has appeared in the pages of the Glenwood Post and Post Independent since 1998, and online since the early days of the newspaper’s internet presence. Hal continues to live in Glenwood Springs. Contact him at americron@comcast.net.

Extra editor’s note: It has been a pleasure to host Hal’s column all these years. Enjoy retirement, and keep that critical eye open, Hal.

Whiting column: Is it desirable to eliminate income inequality?


What’s wrong with income inequality?

A dominant issue in the current political environment is “eliminating income inequality.”

It’s not possible, and we shouldn’t.

The American economic system provides unlimited opportunity for income advancement. A primary tenet of our system is incentive. If we work hard and generate an income, we can keep the fruits of our labor. The government or others can’t arbitrarily take it from us. Work more; earn more; keep more. It’s our choice.

Beyond working more, our system facilitates working “better.” Become more proficient, and increased income will be the reward, because you reduced supply in your labor pool. Less productive economies pay everyone the same. Why work hard and do quality work? Our economy says it should be a function of quality and skill. If we choose to increase our skill level compared with others, “more” is our reward.

Beyond working better, when compared to other economic systems, ours provides even greater opportunity through entrepreneurship. We can open our own business; in most cases, government approval is not required. Take the risk, and, if successful, greater rewards are available. It’s our choice.

This “incentive” concept has been crucial to facilitating innovation; a major factor in our economic system being the most effective in history. The opportunity this “incentive” provides is why people began flocking to our shores in 1787 and continue to do so today.

We have learned, however, that some choose not to take advantage of this feature of our system. They are content with the minimum reward for minimum effort and skill level. Some prefer not to work at all. Economists have traditionally felt 3-4% unemployment was “full employment” because there are those who don’t want to work and will sabotage any attempt to find them work.

Currently, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports 7.4 million people unemployed and 10.4 million job openings. They choose income inequality. If we believe in freedom, we must allow them to make this choice, but we shouldn’t be required to subsidize it.

Those advocating a system of income redistribution say, “It’s not fair.” They feel the government should take money from those who have and give to those who don’t. If change of behavior is the goal, this method will never work. People don’t value what they get for free. Recent history reinforces that people aren’t going to modify their behavior if they receive money for not changing.

Similarly, some say “it’s not fair” that my career isn’t available, and I don’t want to move. The necessity for career and location change has always been a characteristic of any efficient economy. The average person has four different careers and moves nine times. Everyone can’t make a living in Hawaii.

More than any other country, we facilitate making the choice for more income. We provide free education through high school for everyone, not a select few. Those advocating income redistribution cite “19% don’t graduate from high school, and their income is low.” Those dropping out chose to do so. No one made them. They chose income inequality.

Our system also provides the opportunity for post-secondary education, which further facilitates higher income. Income redistribution advocates cite “51% drop out of college”; another choice. No one made them quit.

Further education is hard and expensive, but it’s possible. It’s more fun to “play” than go to class and study. It’s hard, but most worked their way through college. It was their choice, and they will be rewarded.

Increasingly available careers in the trades also produce increased income and don’t require college. Necessary training is readily available through short-term training and apprenticeships. But they do require reliability and hard work.

This opportunity is available for everyone. It doesn’t matter where we live, what our parents do, having one parent or two, our race, sex, religion or economic background. There are situations making the choice more difficult but possible. It just requires work. It’s our choice. It requires choosing to take command of our own life instead of using circumstance as an excuse. Overcoming circumstance is one of the best ways to demonstrate the work ethic employers desire.

Sure, taxes and the cost of living are high; athletes, celebrities and corporate executives are overpaid, but those are separate issues independent from the level of our income. The government doesn’t owe us a living; that is our personal responsibility. If we believe in freedom of choice, we cannot reward those who choose not to take advantage of the provided opportunities.

If our country is to continue to advance, whether in an economic or humanitarian regard, we must facilitate the incentive component of our economic system by rewarding results, work ethic, skill level and entrepreneurial risk. Governmental action artificially instituting a method of eliminating income inequality is counterproductive.

Some may feel this is overly simplistic, but it is that simple. If we obtain a marketable skill, use the skill to obtain a career position, demonstrate work ethic, work hard, work more and work better, income inequality will not be an issue in our life. It is our choice.

Bryan Whiting feels most of our issues are best solved by personal responsibility and an understanding of nonpartisan economics rather than government intervention. Comments and column suggestions to: bwpersonalresponsibility@gmail.com.

Wednesday letters: coke ovens, propaganda, holiday baskets, Boebert

History help needed

The recent vandalism of the Cardiff Coke Ovens in south Glenwood Springs, reported in the Glenwood Springs Post Independent, has created a new awareness of an important piece of our local history. In 1887, Cardiff was a thriving community of 250 people.

The significance of this site is not only local but national, too, and dates to the late 1800s when coal was mined in several nearby locations then superheated in these ovens to produce material from which steel is made. Today, just 50 of the original 249 coke ovens remain under the ownership of the Glenwood Springs Historical Society.

It’s not easy to get a property on the National Register of Historic Places. And once on the register, acquiring funds to save a place is even more difficult. The vandalism occurred as the Glenwood Springs Historical Society was preparing an application for a National Park Service (NPS) grant to help stabilize the coke oven site, install signs and a parking lot, and clean the site of unwanted vegetation. The grant is due Dec. 14.

The grant requires a one-to-one match and in-kind contributions, such as surveyors, engineers, masons and other professionals. For every dollar requested, we must match that dollar with money we have raised and in-kind work. The historical society is requesting help from citizens who care about history.

We need your help. Visit GlenwoodHistory.com and look in the upper right corner of the homepage. If you want to make a one-time contribution to help save the coke ovens, click on Donate. Not a member? Click on Membership. You can also send a check to the Glenwood Springs Historical Society, 1001 Colorado Ave., Glenwood Springs, 81601. Be sure to put “Save our coke ovens” on the memo line.

Your contribution will allow us to increase our commitment to saving the Cardiff Coke Ovens so that they remain a part of our local history. Give us a call at 970-945-4448 or email archivist@rof.net if you think your skillset can serve as an in-kind contribution.

Bill Kight

executive director

Glenwood Springs Historical Society

Whose propaganda?

The far-right has finally devolved into child-like behavior. Big Bird had the audacity to state that he had received the COVID-19 vaccine, and his wing was a little sore. According to Business Insider: “Texas Senator Ted Cruz critically responded to Big Bird’s tweet, accusing the character of promoting propaganda.” Newsmax, Fox and other right-wing pundits tweeted criticizing the Sesame Street character, calling it propaganda also. No one had an issue in 1972 when Big Bird got a measles shot, but Nixon was the president, and Fox, Newsmax, etc., didn’t exist.

This got me thinking about “promoting propaganda.” I have a number of clients and acquaintances that have told me they “home school” their children as they don’t want them “indoctrinated” by public school. When I asked them if they sent their children to Sunday or Bible school, they said “yes.” They didn’t or don’t get the irony and hypocrisy.

A search for Bible School lessons will give you over

71 million results. There are programs for preschool, elementary school, middle school, high school, teens, tweens, girls, etc. If I recall correctly from catechism exposure at an early age, the “teaching” went something like this: “Who made you? God made me. Who made the world? God made the world.” When I asked “Who made God?” I was told I couldn’t ask that question. Don’t get me started on Noah, Hell, The Rapture, Satan or Fear of God or women’s rights. Question: “What’s your definition of propaganda?”

Big Bird encouraging children to get measles or COVID-19 vaccinations on top of the other multiple vaccinations that are required to go to school is not propaganda. It’s common sense. Ted Cruz’s children attend St. John’s School in Houston. They require seven vaccinations, covering 11 diseases. Unfortunately, not the COVID-19 vaccine. Not yet.

Craig S. Chisesi

Rifle

Support Holiday Baskets effort

The Holiday Baskets Program has been supplying new gifts, toys and food to people in need in our valley for 40 years. This program, run entirely by volunteers, is a wonderful community effort with numerous groups and individuals assisting. We serve approximately 250 families, over 1,000 people.

The Holiday Baskets program often gives the only gifts families will receive for the holidays. People are referred to the program by 13 local social service agencies and are then “adopted” by individuals, the faith community, schools, businesses and other groups. The Adopting Angels buy toys, gifts and/or gift cards for each member of the family.

There are always more families in need than are adopted. The gifts for these families are contributed by people who choose a gift tag and then purchase the requested gift. All these gifts are gathered at the Aspen Chapel and St. Peter’s Church in Basalt, where they are sorted and wrapped for individual families. In addition to gifts, each family member receives a generous City Market food gift card.

To adopt a family or an individual person, please send an email to rfvholidaybaskets@gmail.com.

We also gratefully accept donations which are used to purchase food gift cards for over 1,000 people. Checks may be sent to Holiday Baskets Program, PO Box 2192 Basalt, CO 81621. You may also donate on our website: HolidayBasketsProgram.com.

Thank you to all for your continued support of this program.

Anne Blackwell, chairperson

Carbondale

Apologizing for Boebert

Dear Rep. Ilhan Omar:

I apologize for the words and actions of my representative, Lauren Boebert.

Ms. Boebert does not reflect the views or beliefs of the vast majority of western and southern Colorado. Throughout her adult life, Rep. Boebert has displayed that her only priority is her own notoriety and fame. The examples are far too numerous and egregious, and seem to only multiply without consequence.

I cannot stand by and allow Ms. Boebert to continue to use tragedies, false narratives, racism and bigotry for her own personal gain at the expense of western and southern Colorado. Her attacks on you are in line with her history of anti-Muslim bigotry and her deeply ingrained xenophobia. The vast majority of the good people of Colorado do not share her misguided beliefs.

I grew up in the suburbs of Detroit, and Michigan is home to the sixth-highest proportion of Muslim Americans in the nation. Growing up in a largely Muslim community, I’ve seen firsthand how anti-Muslim rhetoric harms families and encourages dangerous acts of violence.

These behaviors would and should be immediate fire-able offenses in any other job. She believes, as she has her entire adult life, that she will suffer no consequences for her words or actions. We must prove this belief unequivocally false. I believe the constituents of Colorado’s 3rd District will prove this on Election Day 2022, and in the meantime I am proud to stand with you and others in Congress holding her to account.

Very truly yours,

Colin Wilhelm

candidate for Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District

Glenwood Springs

 

Doctor’s Tip: Our biggest epidemic — child abuse

Dr. Greg Feinsinger

We seem to be living in an age of multiple epidemics: obesity, diabetes, heart disease, drug abuse, gun violence and COVID-19. In terms of human suffering, and damage to our society and economy, child abuse is arguably the biggest of them all.

At workers’ compensation medical conferences, there is usually a presentation about “delayed recovery”: Ten people suffer similar low back injuries at work, nine are pain-free in a few weeks but the 10th never gets better. We were told to always consider a history of child abuse — mental, physical or sexual — in these cases. It’s not that the pain is in these patients’ heads; it’s that childhood trauma “rewires their brains” so that they react differently to life stresses such as injuries, through no fault of their own.

“The Body Keeps The Score” is a book on the New York Times best seller list by Bessel Van Der Kolk, M.D., a Boston-based psychiatrist who started his career working with Vietnam War veterans with PTSD. He eventually went into private practice and is past president of the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies. The title of the book refers to the fact that emotional trauma leaves a lifelong imprint not only on people’s brains, but also on their bodies. An example of the mind-body connection is that trauma victims (including those who suffer child abuse) continue to secrete high levels of harmful stress hormones for decades afterward, resulting in chronic problems such as memory and attention deficits, irritability, sleep disorders, migraine headaches, autoimmune diseases, cardiovascular disease, weakened immune systems and even cancer (stress causes inflammation, which contributes to cancer).

In his book, Van Der Kolk points out that research by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found the following: “One in five Americans was sexually molested as a child; one in four was beaten by a parent to the point of a mark being left on their body; and one out of eight witnessed their mother being beaten or hit.” Over 12 million women in the U.S. have been victims of rape — more than half when they were under the age of 15. As Van Der Kolk puts it, such trauma “is not just an event that took place sometime in the past; it is also the imprint left by that experience on mind, brain and body.” Victims of child abuse “often feel sensations (such as abdominal pain) that have no obvious physical cause,” and suffer from lifelong mental illness and relationship problems.

The Adverse Childhood Experiences study was conducted by Kaiser Permanente and the CDC and involved 25,000 subjects, mostly white and middle class. High scores on the number of adverse childhood events correlated with higher workplace absenteeism, financial problems, lower lifetime income, depression, chronic pain, suicide attempts, alcoholism, heart disease, liver disease and cancer. Women who witnessed domestic violence as children were at higher risk of ending up in violent relationships; men who witnessed domestic violence as boys were seven times more apt to abuse their partners as adults.

Due to studies like Adverse Childhood Experiences, Van Der Kolk calls child abuse “our nation’s largest public health problem,” affecting not only individuals but their families, the economy and society as a whole. It is estimated that “eradicating child abuse in America would reduce the overall rate of depression by more than half, alcoholism by two-thirds and suicide, IV drug use and domestic violence by three-quarters. It would also increase workplace performance and decrease the need for incarceration.”

The National Child Traumatic Stress Network was established by Congress in 2001, and it now has 150 centers nationwide. Its mission is to educate teachers, judges, ministers, foster parents, physicians, probation officers, nurses and mental health professionals. The societal solution to preventing child abuse, in Van Der Kolk’s opinion, is to provide more help for families: “Economists have calculated that every dollar invested in high-quality home visitation, day care and preschool programs results in seven dollars of savings on welfare payments, health care costs, substance-abuse treatment and incarceration, plus higher tax revenue due to better-paying jobs.”

Van Der Kolk is not a big fan of medications for PTSD because — with the possible exception of hallucinogens (read “How to Change Your Mind, by Michael Pollin) — they help the symptoms rather than the underlying cause. Based on patient outcomes and brain-imaging studies, good results have been achieved with nonpharmaceutical treatments such as meditation, yoga, rapid eye movement (EMDR) and neurofeedback.

Dr. Feinsinger is a retired family physician with special interest in disease prevention and reversal through nutrition. Free services through Center For Prevention and The People’s Clinic include: one-hour consultations, shop-with-a-doc at Carbondale City Market and cooking classes. Call 970-379-5718 for appointment or email gfeinsinger@comcast.net.

Guest column: Congress should follow Colorado’s example, protect immigrants


With the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act finally signed into law and the Build Back Better Act passed in the House, Congress must continue working for the American people and support our communities across the nation. America’s immigration system hasn’t been reformed in decades and, like our nation’s infrastructure, is in desperate need of repair to protect the immigrants endangered by its failures.

As an immigrant myself, I deeply understand the fear and anxiety caused by the prospect of deportation and separation from our homes and loved ones. While patchwork, temporary solutions have offered some immigrants limited protection, failure to provide immigration relief jeopardizes Colorado’s economy, communities and families.

This reality is especially true for Dreamers, young immigrants who came to this country as children with their families. The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program was established in 2012 and provides many Dreamers with work and study authorizations and deportation protections.

I am a former DACA recipient and came to Glenwood Springs from Mexico when I was just 9 years old with my parents. Thanks to the opportunities made available through DACA, I was able to graduate from Fort Lewis College in Durango. Because of DACA and the obstacles it helped me overcome, I discovered my passion of supporting students and their families as they navigate the challenges that come with being an immigrant.

Today, I serve on the board of trustees at the Metropolitan State University of Denver as the first Dreamer to serve on a Colorado state board. I am incredibly proud and humbled that I’ve had the opportunity to support other immigrants and serve my community and state.

Hundreds of thousands of immigrants in Colorado, such as Nayda Benitez and Monserrat Ariza have similar stories of success, including 14,000 current Colorado DACA recipients. However, despite the success of the DACA program, it has survived under near constant threat. Former President Donald Trump and his administration spent four years trying to end the program, only to be stopped repeatedly by the Supreme Court. Then again earlier this year, a judge in Texas tried to end the program despite the horrific impact ending the program would have on families across the country.

The Biden administration, in response to the judicial ruling against the program, issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on DACA. This notice, which allows the public to comment in support of protecting the DACA program, signals the administration’s commitment to protecting DACA recipients. I urge all Coloradans to take advantage of the notice’s 60-day comment period and share their support for the DACA program and the thousands of young immigrants it protects.

The comment period is a critical opportunity for Coloradans to show our at-risk immigrant friends and neighbors that we support them and stand with them in this trying time. I know from firsthand experience how powerful it is to know that you are not alone.

Personally, I am thankful that our governor, Jared Polis, who has been an incredible ally, submitted a comment in support of DACA. This past year, Gov. Polis also signed legislation to open professional licenses to immigrants and protect immigrants’ data privacy from unlawful targeting. I am incredibly grateful for his steadfast commitment to Colorado’s immigrant communities.

While the DACA comment period and the administration’s support of DACA are important, they are only temporary measures. It will take an act of Congress to pass a legislative solution that permanently protects Dreamers.

With an overwhelming and bipartisan majority of Americans supporting the passage of a pathway to citizenship for DACA recipients, Congress must include immigration reforms in the final budget reconciliation package, also known as the Build Back Better Act, which recently passed the House of Representatives and now awaits a vote in the Senate.

I am grateful to U.S. Reps. Joe Neguse, Jason Crow, Diana DeGette and Ed Perlmutter for their support of immigration relief. Their support, along with that of Gov. Polis, is an example for U.S. Sens. Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper to follow. By working together, we can secure a brighter future for Colorado’s immigrant communities, their loved ones and everyone in our state.

Marissa Molina is a former Glenwood Springs resident and director of FWD.us Colorado State Immigration.

PI Editorial: Choose referendums over recalls

Looking ahead to 2022, it seems as if the question of what development could or should look like in Glenwood Springs will be going to the voters.

Many West Glenwood residents have already begun circulating a referendum seeking to place on the ballot the recent annexation that paves the way for a 300-unit development in the neighborhood.

Many residents pushed back against the project tooth and nail and were gravely disappointed when Glenwood Springs City Council voted to approve the project 4-3 earlier this month.

While R2 Partners made significant changes to the project to try and allay residents’ concerns, increased traffic and its impact on the ability for residents to evacuate during a fire remains front and center in the minds of many opposed to the development.

In order to have it overturned, however, opponents need to collect signatures and get it on the ballot first.

We’re OK with the project going to a referendum. Referendum votes can help gauge just how broad support or lack thereof is for a recent decision made by our elected officials, and this issue can help drive necessary conversation about how the future of Glenwood Springs looks.

One thing we’d want to hear is what West Glenwood residents see as a smart vision for growth. Any position that claims Glenwood shouldn’t grow or can’t grow ignores the growing crisis of hiring and retaining employees that our school districts, law enforcement agencies, health care entities and more already face. Housing for employees is not a future crisis, it’s a crisis already here — with the potential to get much worse if we don’t address it as a community.

The referendum will be a great way to help explain these issues — and see what we can come up with as a community for solutions.

On the other hand, we’re more skeptical of the value of recall elections. There have been murmurs of trying to replace one or several council members for how they voted on the annexation and other issues. Colorado law allows for recall votes, but just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should. At each level, our system of government uses representative democracy, not direct democracy. That means we vote to entrust those who we believe will make smart, good and, perhaps most importantly, difficult decisions.

Voting to kick someone out whenever they did something we disagreed with would attach revolving doors to our representative bodies — and most likely result in electing politicians who are inclined to do nothing at all out of fear of reprisal. Then there’s the fact that we already have opportunities to replace them during regular elections and, unlike special elections, they aren’t an extra expense to the taxpayer.

Finally, we just don’t think throwing recalls and a referendum all at once to the voters is smart strategy. The kitchen sink approach might feel good, but it dilutes energy and attention all around. A referendum on its own focuses conversation on the most important matter: How should we grow?

Railroad Avenue kudos

On a completely different note, we encourage anyone who hasn’t already done so to visit downtown Rifle and check out the new improvements throughout the core. Construction finally, finally, finally wrapped up earlier this year, and it is great to see the benefits throughout downtown.

Thanks to the contractor, the city of Rifle and downtown business owners for sticking through it all and helping us get to the other side.

The Post Independent editorial board members are Publisher Bryce Jacobson, Editor Peter Baumann, Managing Editor/Senior Reporter John Stroud, and community representative Amy Connerton.

Monday letter: ice rink contributes to climate change

Consider climate impacts of ice

The Glenwood ice rink is closed for repairs. I wonder if there has been an analysis on the production of greenhouse gas emissions from the rink operation.

It is hard for many to believe, but the world has a “climate emergency.” It is one thing to play hockey on a frozen pond or on a flooded level field left to freeze. That was done for years in Snowmass Village and even in Carbondale. That is harder to do now with warmer winter temperatures. Ironically?

Is ice skating for a few people now more important than a livable future for the kids?

Patrick Hunter

Carbondale