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Friday letters: Democracy, sage grouse, vaccines, school board, and the left

Democracy has prevailed

Who are we as a country, a Christian, a Muslim, a truth teller? Hopefully, we are all asking that question of ourselves. I am feeling relieved, joyful and full of love for my country after the inauguration of Biden. However, I am also a worriedly optimistic, grateful American.

Democracy now must pick itself up, dust itself off, and move forward. What an awesome and difficult task this is for Biden. We stood up to the bullies and said, “This is our country, and you will not take it from us.” It was way too close for comfort. We will have a democracy, if we can but keep it.

The majority of us are really tired of hearing about Republicans and Democrats and whatever differences we have. We want to live as promised in the Constitution: to pursue life, liberty and happiness. There is still a percentage of Americans who want to fight for their party rather than the good of our beautiful country. This is the reason I say I am worriedly optimistic. 

What a joy it is to turn on the news and hear truth and serious problems being addressed, rather than chaos and confusion about what is truth and what is alternate facts (lies). I want this to be an uplifting letter, rather than the letters I’ve been writing the last four years, out of sheer frustration of recognizing all the lies and watching some of my friends falling for the con of Trump.

 I am hopeful knowing that democracy prevailed and our grandchildren will be able to enjoy the freedoms we have taken for granted. My hope is that folks will learn to embrace our differences, rather than criticize each other because we may be a different color or religion. This is America, and it is our diversity that has made us strong, is it not?

Linda Carr


Interactive map showcases energy development’s impact on sage grouse

Colorado wildlife lovers rejoice. The amazing folks at Rocky Mountain Wild have put together an interactive map showcasing how the new rules implemented by the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) protect some of our most cherished native species. On Jan. 15, new oil and gas rules went into effect as a result of the COGCC’s mission change, a shift brought about by Senate Bill 19-181 in the Colorado State Legislature.

The map shows how 5.5 million acres of land have been protected from ground disturbance, and another 12.7 million acres require consultation with Colorado Parks and Wildlife before operators can begin drilling. Species such as bighorn sheep and Colorado pikeminnow have been impacted, and the map shows how much habitat the new rules affect.

The Gunnison sage-grouse map in particular demonstrates the importance of protecting these crucial habitats; the expansion area of their remaining protected habitat is easy to visualize, but conspicuously missing are areas that are no longer protected because the species has been driven out of it. It all goes to show how meaningful reform and useful tools like Rocky Mountain Wild’s story map are essential to preserving Colorado’s biodiversity for future generations.

Here’s the url for those interested in seeing the story map for themselves and discovering the importance of the COGCC’s new rules for Colorado’s wildlife: https://rockymountainwild.org/cogcc_storymap.

Danielle Carver


Maybe there’s a better way

I got on the Garfield County COVID-19 vaccine list early, and I was pleased — not to mention grateful — when I received a call on Jan. 19 telling me to come in at noon the next day and roll up my sleeve.

When I arrived at Valley View Hospital, the scene was well-organized and orderly. Helpful volunteers and staff members got the crowd of masked inoculation candidates socially distanced in a long line extending down one hall and then another. 

Finally we were admitted to a large room filled with registration tables and nurses with needles. Everything proceeded smoothly, and after I got my shot and a Tweety Bird bandaid, I was directed to a waiting area at the far end of the room, for 30 minutes of “observation.” And it was at this moment that it hit me: I was in a roomful of people, in the middle of a pandemic. I didn’t want to catch the virus while I was getting a vaccination for it.

I stepped outside onto a patio and sat down in the warm sunshine, reflecting that it would have been possible to conduct this whole exercise outdoors. While COVID-19 numbers are down somewhat locally, new cases and deaths nationwide continue to increase at an alarming rate, as new, more infectious COVID-19 variants emerge. My group was mainly seniors, which is to say individuals at a greater risk from the Corona. Why would you administer these vaccinations inside a closed building?

Maybe there’s a better way. 

Ed Colby

New Castle

Superintendent thanks Roaring Fork school board

January is School Board Recognition Month, and the Roaring Fork Schools want to thank our board of education members for their commitment and contributions to our schools. Our board members volunteer countless hours to learn about big and small issues so that they can make critical decisions on complex educational and social issues that affect our entire school community. The board is charged an important and incredibly tough job — a job that doesn’t come with any compensation. Their decisions directly impact our 5,300 students and 1,000 staff members. 

The current board members have faced unique challenges as they have had to navigate the pandemic. Our three new board members had only been in the role a few short months before the Roaring Fork Schools had to respond to COVID-19. Each board member has found herself facing unprecedented challenges, forced to make decisions as school community members called for contradicting actions — all the while facing the same challenges personally as parents, family members and community members. They handled these challenges with grace, diplomacy, wisdom and compassion.

Being a board member is never easy, and it certainly wasn’t in 2020. We appreciate our board members for stepping up; we are grateful for their service and leadership. If you see a board member, please remember to thank them for all that they do for our school community. 

Superintendent Rob Stein and the Roaring Fork Schools executive team

Glenwood Springs

This is a democratic republic

If there’s anything we’ve learned over the past four years, it’s that there is no limit to the deceit of the left. They’ve outflanked civil society. 

It’s done quite simply by accusing the other side of what they’re already doing. Their dark consciences are projecting. Unfortunately, we only know what they’re thinking after the fact and naively believe it is a “one off.” That’s what’s so frustrating. They talk about the “Big Lie” on the right, but there’s the “Bigger Lie” on the left.

Take a peek once the honeymoon is over or not, how are Joe’s compadres going to neuter him? It could be anything from an arranged Antifa hit to appear to be from the right, all the way to poisoning him slowly, or putting him in a nursing home. 

More “bang for the buck” is framing the right for Joe Biden’s demise. Then the country could become a police state. Those lockdowns are fun. Sounds like a plan, eh, comrades? A bonus: Kamala will be a cute “perfect puppet.”

Their tactics are so primeval, you don’t need to be psychic to see them. These tactics are as old as time. Older than the oldest profession. 

We’re in this together, except those elites who have betrayed the many. This is a democratic republic. We are the United States of America.

Fred Stewart

Grand Junction

Vidakovich column: A week that seemed like an eternity

During my senior year at Glenwood Springs High School, our much-anticipated basketball season began on the usual mid-November day in 1978. Our season held an abundance of promise, even though we were kicking off the new campaign minus a couple of starters and some reserve players who were still involved in Glenwood’s successful football run through the playoffs.

We were aware that if the football team advanced all the way to the state championship game, our first basketball contest would fall on the night before the title tilt. Moffat County was scheduled for our home opener, and we all knew we could take them even if we were a bit shorthanded.

The football players held up their end of the bargain and were to play the Valley Vikings in Glenwood on the first Saturday of December. So, it was going to be a basketball Friday and a football Saturday for Demon fans to satisfy their sports appetite.

Or so we thought.

I suspected something was amiss when I saw the look on Coach Chavez’s face as he called us all together to begin that Monday afternoon practice session. The words came slowly and almost in an apologetic tone as Coach informed us the administration of GSHS had decided to postpone the basketball game for a week in order to keep the spotlight on the football team. Coach knew that even missing a few key players, we could still mop the floor with Moffat, but he wanted to start the season with the entire team together, not fragmented.

None of us were real pleased with this decision, especially myself, Kevin Flohr and Rick Eccher, who had worked our tails off and counted the days to that first game.

We told Coach how we felt about the decision and pleaded with him for a reversal. We even went so far as to half-speed our effort the first part of practice until he stopped the action and set us all straight in a diplomatic way.

Following practice, I remember foolishly acting childish while bumping into some of the football players who we shared a locker room with, and brushing by them without so much as a word. I was miffed. They could have their glory, but why were we being denied our moment?

That Saturday, the Demons won the 2A state football championship by easily defeating Valley on a snowy winter day in Glenwood, and the following Friday night, with our full group together, we sent Moffat reeling 98-49.

Of course I rooted on the football team, as I always did. I was glad they won and that we started the season the next week with a full compliment of Demons.

I vividly remember how mad and disappointed I was at losing a week of my senior season way back when. I can’t even begin to imagine how the athletes must feel now, having lost entire seasons of their high school career.

I’m glad the kids will be back in the arena very soon now and get the chance to live out their high school dreams. One week was unbearable to me as a senior, and I admire the youngsters now who have continued to wait and work for their moment to shine.

It’s almost here, so keep believing. I’m excited for all of you!

Glenwood Springs native Mike Vidakovich is a freelance sports writer and youth sports coach. His column appears on occasion in the Post Independent and at postindependent.com

YouthZone column: Changes in youth behavior could signal psychological trauma

No one likes to be told their child may be exhibiting behaviors that result from psychological trauma. These are hard topics of discussion, but depression, stress and anxiety drastically affect a large number of our youth.

YouthZone saw an increased need for therapy and substance intervention in 2020 when youth and parents experienced stress and psychological trauma as a result of COVID-19, school closures, loss of connection with friends, social unrest and summer fires. Youth specialists, parenting experts and trauma therapists at YouthZone were able to help youth and families by talking them through the stress and trauma.

Trauma results from people experiencing an event that threatens their life or their physical or emotional well-being. Witnessing an event happen to another person can also trigger trauma. According to the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, more than 60 percent of U.S. youth younger than 17 have been exposed to crime, violence or abuse, either directly or indirectly.

A wide array of traumatic experiences affects our youth, and every person reacts to trauma differently. What might seem like a trivial event to one adolescent may have an enormous impact on another individual’s sense of self-worth, emotional stability and behaviors.

Adults in our community need to stay curious and empathetic to traumatically-impacted youth. All people, and particularly young people, communicate through their behaviors, especially when they cannot find the words to express themselves.

Trauma disguises itself in behaviors like aggression, poor school performance, substance use, self-harm, isolation, fluctuations in attitude, delinquent behavior, poor self-esteem, and suicidal thoughts or actions. These behaviors don’t automatically indicate stress from a traumatic event, but any change in behavior should be explored because there is likely something at the root of it to be addressed.

It is definitely hard to watch disturbing displays of behavior. Often, our first response is to try to stop the behavior with punishment or consequences. This reaction usually comes from a place of fear and frustration, because we want our kids to be OK. We want them to make good choices and to live healthy, productive lives.

I challenge the adults in this community to take a different approach when they see unacceptable behavior. Try not to focus on the behavior itself, but chase the “why.” Strive to find out why a young person is acting the way they are. What is their behavior trying to tell us? Once we find out the why, we can help facilitate emotional and physical safety and healthy connection for our youth. This is where we will begin to see a positive behavioral shift.

Discovering the root cause of challenging behaviors or helping a child cope with a traumatic event can begin with a call to YouthZone at 970-945-9300.

Courtney Dunn is a therapist and specializes in trauma and youth. She obtained her BS in Human Services from the University of Northern Colorado and a Masters of Social Work from Denver University.

Wednesday letters: Our democracy, Republican mess, and Boebert should get to work

Our Founding Fathers initially rejected democracy

Thanks, Cindy Ryman, for your timely letter on Jan. 18, reminding our citizens to “Fly the Flag.”  We’re most proud to have our office flag flying at 30 feet. Your use of the words “our democracy” is universal, yet the words “our republic” is seldom to be found. The word “democracy” is not found in our nation’s Constitution of 4,500 words, containing the last amendment of 1992.

Few will remember that democracy was overwhelmingly rejected by our Founding Fathers during preliminary debates on the forms of government our new nation might pursue. The word “democracy” is found on less than 50 of the 1,400 pages of a collection of the founder’s political writings from 1760 through 1850. They believed a republican form of government with a stable constitution would guarantee the citizens “unalienable rights.”

Fisher Ames, a congressman to our nation’s First Federal Congress of 1789, in one sentence, clearly says it all: “The … political wisdom in framing the Constitution was to guard against licentiousness, that inbred malady of democracies.” The founders believed that the evolution of a voter’s desire for an ever-increasing benefit from their government would overburden government well beyond what it could or should provide.

Our republic has been reasonably stable over the past 250 years; however, our ever-increasing reliance on “democracy” and less on “self-
reliance” will continue the melting away of our republic. Cindy, again, thanks for your reminder of democracy and the flag, it allowed me to bring up a bit of history and ask that we all pray to calm our nation’s turmoil and end the COVID-19 pandemic.

Floyd Diemoz

Glenwood Springs

Republican administration once again leaves a mess to a Democrat  

As a liberal, independent businessman, I once again see that a Republican administration is passing on a shattered economy rife with societal and social unrest to a Democrat.

In 1994 it was George H.W. Bush with his little Kuwait war and protests, passed on to Bill Clinton, who presided over seven years of mostly balanced budgets, peace and prosperity.

Vice President Al Gore’s loss to George W. Bush in 2000 set the U.S. up for 9/11, after which Bush randomly fired missiles at Taliban sites in Afghanistan for a year, bringing the Dick Cheney-Donald Rumsfeld formula for perpetual warfare into fruition.

Bush handed off massive debt, Iraq War unrest and banking practices that had caused housing values to plummet for the first time ever to Barack Obama.

Obama and Biden quickly initiated FEC banking curbs on mortgage bundling, funded over $1 trillion to infrastructure improvements and instituted a radical departure toward national health insurance. They kept a lid on the Right’s favorite wars while slowly building the economy and environmental regulations back to a strong, healthy confidence. Relative calm was maintained despite seething, racial undertones on the right.

Trump squeaked out a victory in the Electoral College, taking credit for the country’s strong economy and social calm. And then by repeatedly demeaning people and kicking ant pile after ant pile, he freed our most debasing instincts. He turned the U.S. into a howling basin of social unrest and mind-blowing federal budget deficits, despite no foreign wars (except what is left of Bush’s). He now holds the U.S. on the brink of civil war with a planet in the grips of a pandemic and a climate on the point of no return for habitability as he hands the country over to smiling Joe Biden. I suppose the conservative talk show hosts like Rush Limbaugh will be busy for a while longer.

John Hoffmann


The campaign is over, Boebert should get to work

Our freshly elected U.S. representative, Lauren Boebert, is making quite an impression in Washington, D.C. She’s been in office for two weeks, and she has already been accused of tweeting to the terrorists while locked down for protection from those same terrorists — her “constituents,” as she referred to them — spoke and voted against certifying the Electoral College votes, called “bull crap” on impeaching the president while speaking on the House floor and refusing to go through the metal detector to get into the House chambers, then not allowing her purse to be searched for weapons, which are not permitted on the House floor. 

She also made false and inflammatory statements regarding a fellow representative that she later withdrew and apologized for. She’s received recognition on national news media (fake news), as well as late night comedy shows. She is being sued for blocking people from her Twitter account because they don’t agree or are critical of her, which is illegal because she is an elected official and is using the account in an official capacity. She has taken time to make a really swell campaign video walking down the street packing her Glock because this is her right as an American.

All of this in two weeks. I’m so proud of her.

Let’s see what she can do in the next two weeks. It would be nice if it was something to positively benefit the people in the 3rd Congressional District, or at least articulate a plan and any ideas she might have to help her constituents who sent her there in the first place.

The campaign is over, get to work.  

Stanley Trulock

Glenwood Springs

Monday letters: impeachment, COVID, inauguration, Boebert

Illegitimate impeachment

In just the past year, Democrats divided us along racial and economic lines, politically weaponized a pandemic and wantonly raped the impeachment process. Twice.

May only naive Biden voters reap what they voted for. After the midterms we can have a legitimate impeachment.

Bruno Kirchenwitz


Praise ‘Gillespie Street Angels’

In this difficult time of pandemic, incredible financial inequality and a divisive/dysfunctional national government, it is inspiring to discover a well-organized health operation serving the citizens of Pitkin County.

Due to my age, I was among the first to be treated at the Gillespie Street makeshift medical outdoor facility set up on the Aspen Music Tent parking lot. All those wonderful young people working in freezing weather were extremely efficient, polite and well-rehearsed for performing their various duties. Indeed, their performance was just as outstanding and inspiring as any given in the Music Tent during the summer.

Furthermore, their commitment to doing a professional job will save lots of lives. For this reason, I call them “The Gillespie Street Angels.”

I strongly urge health personnel from the other three counties in the Roaring Fork and Crystal valleys (Garfield, Gunnison and Eagle) to get permission to visit the Gillespie Street operation in order to replicate it in their own counties.

Clay Boland Jr.


Fly the flag for inauguration

The inauguration of a president is the visual celebration of our democracy. It’s also a time to reflect on where we are as a country and where we want to be for all of our citizens.

It would be wonderful if we could celebrate the inauguration together, but due to COVID-19 concerns it is not possible. Show your solidarity with our democracy by flying your American flag on Jan. 20.

Cindy Ryman

Glenwood Springs

Big election mistake

Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District has made a serious mistake in electing Lauren Boebert to represent us.

There are rallies now across our district calling for Boebert’s resignation.

Rep. Boebert’s first official act, after taking an oath to protect and defend the Constitution, voted to undermine democracy and incite insurrection.

On (Jan. 6), Boebert objected to the certification of the 2020 presidential election results. She stated on the floor of the House of Representatives, “Madame Speaker, I have constituents outside this building right now, and I promised to be their voice. It is my separate but equal obligation to weigh in on this election and object.”

The Rural Colorado United press release states: “Lauren Boebert has betrayed the American people and is a conspirator in the insurrection that occurred at Capital Hill on January 6th. As the citizens she represents in Congress, we cannot recall her and we cannot impeach her, but I do not accept that she is fit to represent the people of Colorado District 3 in Congress. We can only hope that her colleagues in Congress expel her.”

We can also be diligent in letting her know, as her constituents, when we disagree with what she calls “representing us.” It’s interesting that she has offices in Pueblo, Durango and Grand Junction but no office in the Roaring Fork or Colorado River Valleys.

Her D.C. contact information is: 202-225-4761 or 1609 Longworth House Office Building, Washington, D.C. 20515.

Marlene Manown

Glenwood Springs

Info requested from Rep. Boebert

(Originally addressed Dear Rep. Boebert:)

I am not a resident of the Western Slope, but I am a proud Coloradan who takes pride in what we stand for and how we are portrayed nationally and internationally, and I do contribute to your salary.

I am a life-long registered independent, voting for the person and their proposals, not their political affiliation. I need information other than parroted conspiracy theories from the FOX network in order to get a clear understanding of your ideas. I need information on the following:

1. You are clearly concerned about our country becoming a socialist nation. Would you please provide us with your proposals to replace Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and Obamacare. Please be specific.

2. You supported, by voice and vote, the baseless charge the 2020 presidential election was rigged and a fraud.

Would you promise to provide the citizens of Colorado with documented proof of your allegations and remedies by July 4, 2021? If unable to do so, would you promise to resign from your position on July 5, 2021? It would be the least you could do in order to maintain the integrity of the U. S. House of Representatives and your reputation for honesty. I will be checking in with the Post Independent on a weekly basis to get updates on your progress.

Respectfully yours,

Eric Reno

Fort Collins

P.S. Would you please park the gun. It’s not a good look for you, and I am tired of answering calls from folks across the nation, laughing first and then asking me how you got elected.

Guest Opinion: Mystery and history of the gray wolf in Colorado

Grey Wolf (Canis lupus) Stalks Forward - captive animal
Getty Images/iStockphoto

The gray wolf once roamed freely throughout more than two-thirds of the United States. However, they were extirpated (locally extinct) from most areas of the U.S. when settlers from Europe came to the new world.

Throughout history, wolves have been villainized, but in recent years many states have debated the reintroduction of the gray wolf. As areas of the U.S. are reintroducing the species we are seeing the dramatic impact that this canine can have on an ecosystem.

The gray wolf is known as a keystone species, a species that has such a disproportionate effect on an ecosystem, such that if it were removed, the ecosystem would change drastically. Colorado passed a ballot measure to reintroduce wolves to the state last November, and areas throughout the western United States have movements for reintroduction.

What makes the wolf a keystone species, and what kind of impact does it have on their ecosystem? To answer that question we first have to begin with why the wolf was extirpated in the first place.

Human relationships with wolves have long been complicated, starting with when we first arrived from Europe. As settlers moved out west, ranches replaced a significant amount of elk and deer habitat. Wherever their main food source was mostly eliminated, wolves turned to livestock. This quickly made wolves the new enemy of the settlers. When the wolves gained a new predator and had a strain put on their food source, they became extirpated in most areas of the United States.

Some studies have given us an idea of what happens when the wolf reenters an environment it once roamed, like the reintroduction of wolves in Yellowstone Park in 1995. When the wolf came back to Yellowstone, the deer populations decreased, and an interesting chain reaction also started to happen. The behavior of the deer changed. They stopped grazing out in the open and were more careful about where they went and when they came out.

Once that happened, bare valleys became forests. When the vegetation returned, the bird population grew. Beavers, another keystone species, returned because riparian plants were now growing in abundance. The wolves also competed with coyotes, which meant that more rabbits and mice survived, which led to more hawks in the park.

Bears, ravens, and eagles began to feed on carrion, the decaying flesh of dead animals, that wolves would leave and all of their populations increased. When riparian vegetation improved, it stabilized the river banks and less erosion occurred. Not only did the reintroduction of the wolves change the ecosystem of Yellowstone, but it changed the geography of the land.

We are still learning about the effects of the wolf reintroduction in Yellowstone and other areas of the West decades later. Colorado and the Southern Rockies, however, have many differences so we can’t predict all of the ways that our ecosystems will change when wolves are reintroduced to the state.

We know that wolves are a keystone species, this much is apparent. It is up to citizens to learn from the plethora of wolf biology studies to help inform the process of reintroduction over the next few years.

Chase McNair was a 2020 Naturalist at Walking Mountains Science Center in Avon and loves spending her time outdoors and learning about the relationships between animals and people.

Guest Opinion: Nazis have never been on my side of a protest march

Protest is an important part of the process in our country. Where would we be today without the hippies, the suffragettes, good ole Samuel Adams … we must use our voice in government, and protest is built into the structure of our history.

However, what happened on January 6th was not a protest.

Whenever I’m at a protest I can’t help but notice the myriad people marching alongside me: women, men, children, older adults, pets — the hoary and the hairy. We’re all usually talking and chanting and there’s a general feeling of safety in numbers, otherwise we wouldn’t bring our mother in a wheelchair or our toddler in his dinosaur costume.

I’ve marched beside politicians and plumbers, veterans and anarchists, transvestites and debutantes. In fact, the only type of person I’ve never seen in the crowd is a Nazi. And that is my sure-fire way to know I am on the right side of history.

“I have found that in times of confusion, particularly when emotions are running high and creating tunnel vision, the presence of Nazis can be an extremely helpful indicator. If I am attending a local demonstration or event and I see Nazis — neo-Nazis, miscellaneous-Nazis, or the latest-whatever-uber-mythology-Nazis — I figure out which side they are on. And, if they are on my side of the demonstration? I am on the wrong side.

I can always, always, always, rely on the presence of Nazis as a guiding light through a fog of disinformation.” — Rich O’Connor

I think it’s safe to say many of the Trump supporters at the Capitol were fed serious disinformation. Not misinformation, which can be a mistake. No, they were downright lied to. And it’s easy to get caught up in the energy of the event; anyone could miss the signs — like, why would zip ties be necessary to express First Amendment rights?

Human instincts are powerful and necessary for survival. Overriding an instinct with contemplation is not easy. The instinct to flee or fight after reading our neighbor’s body language when the lion decides to charge has gotten us this far. And the source of the information we absorb daily contributes to our E.Q. as well as our I.Q.

Back in the day, we would head down to the town square to catch up on the latest news and interact with fellow villagers. Now, we tune in to Fox News or Facebook to watch the latest feeding frenzy, and today’s news is all filtered through corporate consumerism. Sell, Baby, Sell! Which means playing to our base instincts like fear, and loathing.

Trump’s supporters seemed more interested in taking selfies while trashing their own Capitol than effecting real change in the political pendulum process, but image is everything these days — even in a revolution.

Speaking of image, we need to talk about the rebel flag. Personally, I understand the attraction; it’s a catchy design with bold colors, but there’s a real problem with its historical significance and it’s one strike away from representing dismal failure; one civil war lost, one coup botched.

The only positive associations left are southern rock and the Dukes of Hazzard. To those of us who grew up in the 1970s, Bo and Luke Duke were heroes, speeding through their redneck woods, eluding dumb deputies while yakking on a CB radio … But in hindsight, we can set the hero bar a little higher, no?

Like Eugene Goodman, a black Capitol police officer who stood up to an angry white mob.

Officer Goodman shoved a man and then ran up the stairs in a brave attempt to draw attention away from the Senate chambers. Since Washington, D.C. is not a state, there was no governor to call in the National Guard, leaving the police outnumbered and alone in their efforts to defend the Capitol. This was an orchestrated attempt to seize control of the government and bring about our first dictator — Fuhrer Trump.

Hitler’s Nazi party studied America’s systemic racism while writing the Nuremberg Laws, and now I’m afraid some Americans have been duped into believing they are creating a defining moment in our country’s history, when in fact they are being used to perpetuate an old agenda. An agenda for Nazis.

Jean Perry is a freelance columnist from Carbondale.

Friday letters: Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, New Castle P&Z, and Capitol terrorists

Protect ANWR

As a longtime local and advocate for wildlife and wild places, I even had the privilege during the Obama administration of going to Washington, D.C., to lobby on behalf of protecting forever the Endangered Species Act. Like many, I have been dismayed about the Trump administration’s numerous attacks on the ESA, our wildlife and our national parks and monuments. Right now, I am angry about the current rushed and behind-the-scenes sabotage of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Did you know that the Trump administration has rushed to sell parts of the coastal plain of the Arctic National Refuge to oil and gas development? In fact, the illegal lease sale was held Jan. 6, which was a date way before usual protocol allowing input from citizens and other analyses. The result of the lease sale was pathetic — Congress vowed to generate $1.8 billion from the lease sale and only $14.4 million was generated, or less than 1% of what was promised. 

It is just wrong to turn the Arctic coastal plain, an area totally unsuitable for oil and gas development, into an industrialized wasteland — this is a major anti-environmental effort in the closing days of the current administration. The Arctic Refuge is one of the last huge and intact landscapes in America. It is home to unique and diverse wildlife, which have adapted to life on those frozen shores. These include musk oxen, wolves, grizzly bears, arctic fox, lemmings and over 200 species of migratory birds. Please understand that 75% of this area is critical habitat under the ESA for polar bears. It provides on-shore denning for the threatened Southern Beaufort Sea polar bears. Industrial activity, traffic and humans there could destroy dens and cause abandonment of cubs. This is only one example of the devastation that drilling on the Arctic Refuge coastal plain would cause to wildlife.

The area is also spiritually and culturally important to the native communities. The indigenous Gwich’in are all opposed to drilling. Urge Congress and President-elect Joe Biden to protect the Arctic Refuge, please.

Ann English

Glenwood Springs

Concerning development

As I watched the New Castle Planning and Zoning Commission meeting Wednesday, my heart sank. On a 6-1 vote, commissioners approved an application for an 85-unit development on just 13 acres to be built next to existing single-family homes, with little regard for the effect of that development on residents and adjacent homeowners. 

This development, the largest in over a decade, was voted down 7-0 by the same commissioners in May, then returned to the commission on a 5-2 vote by the Town Council for reconsideration. Since that time, few significant changes to the original application have been made. Issues still concerning citizens include inadequate buffers between existing homes, inadequate parking, no wildlife corridors, unusable land fronting the main road or in the drainage area accepted as open space, no attention paid to multi-use zoning in the involved parcels, no updated water study or evacuation plan in case of a wildfire, little attention paid to traffic flow or pedestrians safely crossing heavily-used Castle Valley Boulevard, and no real attempt to minimize lost property values that the town’s own report acknowledges. 

The developer, CVR Investors from Castle Rock, owns 120 acres bought for pennies on the dollar, and I believe could address these concerns but chose instead to build tightly packed units to maximize profits (grossing over $30 million), and the town acquiesced. This development is destined to repeat the same mistakes recognized by residents in an existing multi-unit development by CVR. Over 70 residents signed a letter in May asking the town to adhere to its own comprehensive plan, which places a high value on open space and recreational opportunities, and many have continued to ask the town to develop responsibly and in a way that makes New Castle a good place to live. How ironic that the New Castle website declares that the town values civic engagement. This decision says otherwise. The town appeased the developer, and by doing so wasted an opportunity for valued development and a nice neighborhood.

Denise Scheberle

New Castle

DNA test Capitol terrorists

Here’s an idea that I’m sure will get some interesting comments from both sides of the debate.

In 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that police can take DNA samples from anybody under arrest for any crimes, regardless of whether DNA is relevant to their arrest. The Supreme Court’s ruling said that DNA swabs were more like fingerprinting and photographing than like searching, therefore a search warrant is not needed, and it is not an invasion of privacy.

Let’s swab all the domestic terrorists arrested for the Capitol invasion. After they are convicted as terrorists and sent to Guantanamo Bay detention camp, we test their sample. Next, we do a ancestry report, and show the white supremacists, Proud Boys, Neo-Nazis and other hate groups that we and they are all a mixture of cultures, nationalities, races or other ethnic groups.

Hate groups have beliefs or practices that attack or malign entire classes of people, typically for their immutable racial characteristics. They assume they do not have any of those characteristics.

What would they say if it could be proved without a doubt that they are not “white” or “pure” but have black, native American, Jewish or other ethnic or racial blood? How could they defend their purity if the fact is they are not “pure”?

I’m sure there would be an outpouring of funds to cover the testing costs if we had a process to release the results to those domestic terrorist organizations and their members. Would Proud Boys then have to be called Proud Melting Pot Boys?

Bill Wood

New Castle

Valley Life for All column: Book honors Eva, who won’t let cerebral palsy stop her from dancing

Author Nancy Bo Flood with her children’s book, “I Will Dance.”

Editor’s note: The Post Independent, in conjunction with Valley Life for All, continues a monthly series of profiles to increase the understanding and power of true inclusion.

“Let me try it.”

These words are the embodiment of who Eva is to Nancy Bo Flood, a local author who has written a book about Eva called “I Will Dance.” Eva, the main character in Flood’s children’s book, has cerebral palsy and is unable to move most of her muscles.

Flood was introduced to Eva through her daughter-in-law, Gretchen, the director of Young Dance, an all-inclusive dance company. Flood watched one of the classes and immediately noticed Eva among all the dancers.

“It was the joy on her face,” Flood recalls. “In that class, I saw all kinds of disabilities, invisible and visible. I thought, ’They really mean it when they say they’re an inclusive community of dancers.’ All were valued for who they were and what they could contribute.”

But it was Eva’s tenacity and joy that captured Flood, an award-winning author, and Eva’s journey of becoming a dancer turned into a children’s book about inclusion for those who are disabled and have dreams. “I Will Dance” was published this year.

“Eva had something of value to contribute, unique to Eva: a person first, then Eva, a person in a powered wheelchair,” says Flood from her mountain home.

“I Will Dance” is a vibrant book depicting Eva’s desire to dance. Eva sees able-bodied dancers but also those with challenges. She’s wary but persevered, eventually dancing in her wheelchair before an audience.

“’Let me try,’ that’s what I see in Eva,” says Flood. “She’d do it on her terms, and with each try, she’d risk a little bit more. The result was not only moving around the dance floor, but that she was not alone, it was not pretend, it was not imagine.”

Flood recalls her first time really taking note of a child with a disability.

“In my son’s elementary class, there was a boy in a wheelchair who had no movement and no language. Every morning, the teacher would let a student tell this boy a joke, and he would laugh. I thought, oh, he wants to be a part of this class just as much as any kid does. That’s what Eva wanted, too: to be a part of the community. Isn’t that what we all want? To do what we love and be a part of our community?”

Nancy Jo Flood’s book “I Will Dance” can be found at The Bookworm in Edwards, Glenwood Toys and Gifts in Glenwood Springs, Sawyer’s Closet in Carbondale and on Amazon.

Local nonprofit Valley Life for All is working to build inclusive communities where people of all abilities belong and contribute. Request a training or join the conversation at www.valleylifeforall.org or #voicability4all. Help us redefine the perception of challenge.

Whiting column: Political predictions are easier to determine than effective resolutions

The New Year tends to bring resolutions, but after an election year, valid predictions are more likely to happen.

• The deal has been made. A President who will be 81 on election day and 85 before the end of his second term is unlikely to be re-elected. Consequently, Biden will resign for health reasons before 2024, making Kamala Harris president, enabling her to run as an incumbent. With her being a woman of color, the Democrats feel confident of victory in 2024 and 2028.

• Taxes will increase. Initially, income taxes on the mega-rich. When the economy isn’t negatively affected, this foothold will facilitate lowering the income threshold.

• Medicare will be allowed to negotiate prescription prices. Resultant cost savings will be slid into Obama Care to aid solvency.

• Future stimulus bills will continue to hide unrelated projects to repay past and prepay future political favors. The latest $900 billion stimulus has $600 going to 127 million people totaling $76 billion. The $824 billion balance isn’t headed to the people. Pork barrel examples include $1B for museums in Connecticut, $400M to a closed Kennedy Center, over $1B going to countries for foreign aid, and millions to new governmental agencies. All $900B to 127 million would be $7,000 each.

• Contrary to stated mission, Democrats will pass bills benefiting the well-to-do. They will repeal the portion of the 2017 Tax Act capping deductibility of state and local taxes at $10,000. Only the top 20% have an obligation more than $10,000. Forgiving college debt will benefit the same because their children are more likely to not only attend college but choose to not work during high school and college.

• Democrats will continue to help large corporations instead of smaller entrepreneurships. Last session they restored 100% deductibility of corporate business meals, repealing the 50% limit.

• Colorado will not be selected as the primary location for the new “Space Force.” Senator Gardner was carrying the ball for Colorado, as he did for the adopted Great American Outdoors Act. Without Gardner, one of the other finalists (New Mexico, Nebraska, Texas, Florida, Alabama) will be selected since new Sen. Hickenlooper doesn’t bring any political clout, influence or effective reputation.

• World-wide coal power plants will continue to increase. We will rejoin the Paris Climate Accords requiring a $3B US payment to underdeveloped countries though they aren’t the source of most fossil fuel use. We won’t open new plants, but all other signatory countries will continue to do so. Due to our lack of demand, coal price has lowered making it more attractive to other countries.

• We will reenter the Iran Nuclear Agreement with the original enforcement procedures: Iran can select the UN inspectors, dictate where and when they inspect.

• We will experience some form of international terrorist attack testing the Biden response. Historically, this occurs with a new president: Kennedy’s Cuban Missile Crisis, Johnson’s Vietnam TET offensive, Carter’s Iranian Hostage Crisis, Reagan’s Muammar Gaddafi’s international aggression and hijacking of airplanes, Clinton’s Osama Bin Laden, Bush’s 9/11, Obama’s Benghazi, and numerous other examples.

• China’s economic aggression will accelerate. They’ve already purchased IBM’s PC Division, Motorola, Smithfield Foods, Cirrus Wind Energy, Chicago Stock Exchange, General Electric Appliances, Ingram Micro’s Apple and Cisco contracts, Nexteer Automotive and others totaling over $100B. These diversified acquisitions puts them into our base-need industries and enhances their intention to move world trade currency from dollars to yuan, facilitating their manipulating the value of the dollar.

• China will continue to increase their influence and control over Southeast Asia. China is resource starved. They have 25% of the world’s population but only 10% of arable land and 7% of potable water. Consequently, they need Southeast Asia’s timber, minerals and ability to grow food without formal irrigation; no formal aggression or confrontation required.

• A third political party will emerge and attempt to gain traction. Beginning with overwhelming dissatisfaction with our political system’s extreme partisan nature and culminating with the recent Capitol violence, no one is happy. This creates an opportunity for most of the Republican party to distance itself from Trump theatrics and Trump supporter violence. They can attract very moderate Democrats concerned with the far-left liberal influence on Biden. Vehement Trump supporters will be unable to control the Republican Party and create their own party to maintain identity. Republicans will push economic support of entrepreneurships attracting their employees. With over 70% of those identifying as independent, considering themselves fiscally and socially conscious, Republicans will give them a home with political influence.

• After the violent actions at the Capitol, members of both parties choose to model empathy, decorum, respect, manners, discussion and cooperation, while choosing to work toward the benefit of the country instead of themselves or their party. This is the least predictable item. We can only hope.

Regardless, it is our personal responsibility to start the process by modeling that behavior ourselves.

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