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Thiessen column: Ronald Reagan’s policies helped bring down the Berlin Wall. Now he’s not even welcome there

WASHINGTON — In June 1987, President Ronald Reagan stood before the Berlin Wall at the Brandenburg Gate and uttered those iconic words that shook the world: “General Secretary Gorbachev … come here to this gate … Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” They had been repeatedly removed from his draft speech by nervous State Department bureaucrats, but Reagan kept putting them back in. And just 2½ years after Reagan spoke them, that wall came down.

We speak now of the “fall” of the Berlin Wall, but in truth the wall did not just fall. It was pushed. It was the policies of Reagan — his insistence on speaking truth about the evils of Communism, and his support for anti-Soviet freedom fighters, increased defense spending, the deployment of intermediate range missiles in Europe and the Strategic Defense Initiative — that bankrupted the Soviet Union and brought about the peaceful collapse of the wall and the Evil Empire that built it.

So it comes as a shock to learn that today Reagan is not welcome in Berlin. To mark the 30th anniversary of the wall’s collapse, the United States tried to get German agreement to erect a statue of Reagan in a public square in Berlin. Berlin officials refused. John Heubusch, head of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute, said that “we were told it would be near impossible to make such a statue in Berlin.”

Faced with German rejection of a Reagan statue on German soil, the Trump administration decided to erect it on U.S. soil — on the embassy terrace overlooking the Brandenburg Gate where Reagan delivered his fateful call. In an interview, U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell says, “We decided we were going to take matters into our own hands and put a statue up on the top of the U.S. Embassy.” Last week, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo traveled to Berlin to unveil it.

Germany’s ingratitude is stunning. Perhaps no country on Earth owes more to the American people. It was the United States that rebuilt postwar Germany with the Marshall Plan. It was the United States that saved Berlin from Soviet domination with the Berlin Airlift. It was the United States that stationed tens of thousands of troops in Germany to prevent a Soviet invasion across the Fulda Gap. The threat of such an invasion was real. The Washington Post reported in 1993 that after East Germany’s collapse, the German military found that the communists had “prepared a detailed plan for the takeover of West Berlin” in which “Soviet forces and East German army, border police and local police … would storm through the Berlin Wall.” The planning was “so detailed and advanced that the communists had already made street signs for western cities.”

Without the United States, without Reagan, the wall would have been brought down — smashed under the treads of Soviet tanks.

It is not simply Germany’s refusal to honor Reagan that rankles. Grenell points out that Foreign Minister Heiko Maas “wrote a definitive opinion piece that was produced in more than 20 papers across Europe … about the 30th anniversary of the fall of the wall and how far Germany is coming … and he didn’t mention the United States.” Indeed, his only reference to America was bemoaning how Berlin’s exhortations to address issues such as climate change “fall on deaf ears in Moscow, Beijing and, unfortunately, to an increasing extent also in Washington, DC.” He thanks “Gorbachev’s policy of glasnost and perestroika” but not a word of gratitude for Reagan or the United States.

This from a country that is failing to meet its financial obligations to the NATO alliance that secured its freedom. Germany is one of the wealthiest countries in Europe, which sends billions of dollars to Russia for natural gas in Germany. Yet it spends just 1.24% of its gross domestic product on defense, among the bottom of the NATO allies. This month, Germany’s defense minister called for raising its defense spending to the required 2% of GDP … by 2031.

In the 20th century, Americans sacrificed their lives and treasure to liberate Germany first from National Socialism and then from Soviet socialism. When the world wanted peaceful coexistence with Soviet communism, Reagan declared his policy toward the U.S.S.R. was simple: “We win, they lose.” Lose they did, without a shot fired. And today, the United States still has 50,000 troops stationed on German soil. Germany owes its freedom and prosperity to America and specifically to Ronald Reagan. The least they could do is say thank you, and put up a simple statue.

Follow Marc A. Thiessen on Twitter, @marcthiessen.

Thursday letters: Tobacco tax, checks and balances, the Electoral College, and mansplaining

City will lose on tobacco tax

Regarding the recent election, I was quite disappointed in our electorate approving the tobacco tax for the City of Glenwood. My disappointment is not at all related to the cause that inspired the ballot measure or the virtue behind the inspiration. Rather my disappointment is in the recognition of the lack of scrutiny that voters apply to issues.

I predict that the result of the additional tobacco tax in the City of Glenwood will result in lower revenue rather than additional revenue. I also predict that the projected additional revenue will be spent before it is realized. In the end a large portion of the current revenue generated by all of the tobacco sales will be lost to sales outside of Glenwood Springs and the additional tax added after Jan. 1 won’t replace that loss.

Ray Schmahl
Glenwood Springs

Checks and balances protect American people from a tyrant

What is reality (truth)? According to many of those who are running the federal government in Washington, it is whatever they want it to be.

Those who wrote the U.S. Constitution established a system of checks and balances. One purpose of this system is to protect all the American people from a tyrant. Remember George Washington did not want to be a king.

Perhaps the only thing that matters to many in Washington is staying in power, so they will accept lies and say whatever they must to do so.

To quote Jimi Hendrix: When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.

Let us hope that those who truly care all Americans prevail.

Nancy Hess
Glenwood Springs

Electoral College balances inequities in human nature

You can’t beat public opinion, but it isn’t infallible. Witness the rise of Nazism in the 1930’s. With the Electoral College, a balance is created between tyranny and tradition. Today the inference is that there is tyranny in the Electoral College. No such formal charge has been made.

In place of real charges, the “red herring” proposal is that since the Electoral College is an anachronism that dates from a less technological age at the formation of the republic, it should be amended to a national winner take all. This is a false argument.

An alternative as stated on 270towin website: “Maine and Nebraska have adapted a different approach. Using the congressional district method, these states allocate two electoral votes to the state popular vote winner, and then one electoral vote to the popular vote winner in each Congressional district.”

Why is this important? It would give people in lessor-populated areas who have a different view, representation. We are Americans. We can’t lose the voice of the minority. The Electoral College was introduced to balance the inequities in human nature.

Fred Stewart,
Grand Junction

Insulted by manslplaining

I can handle and respect most of the opposing views expressed daily in the opinion section, even if  I disagree.

Mansplaining? I read it twice, considered each example, and reflected. I was insulted, twice.

I kept hoping this would be a tongue-in-cheek observation that would be a friendly reminder to look straight ahead, utter nothing (including a friendly greeting) and mind my own business at all times.

Being a mostly-white Boomer (OK), who like most men and women contributed to society over several decades, being dismissed and derided in public and now in the newspaper is the new norm.

Would the Post Independent print an opinion if the author was a male and wished to marginalize the entire female population?

Don Moore
New Castle

Wednesday letters: Oil and gas permits, and bald eagle preserve

Stop permitting now

Eighty-seven oil and gas drilling permits have been issued by the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission since the passage of Senate Bill 181 in April. That legislation changed the priority of the COGCC from promoting the oil and gas industry to protecting public health, safety, welfare, the environment and wildlife, and the rules are still being written.

The new permits come despite pleas from community, environmental, and climate groups for moratoria on drilling and fracking until the new rules are in place sometime next year. The permits being approved now are under the old rules which have been deemed to provide unsatisfactory safeguards.

What is it about leave it in the ground the COGCC doesn’t understand? Colorado’s air quality is three times worse than Beijing’s and we haven’t met federal standards for decades.

Are you still working in the industry and concerned about your job? You should be. Like typical American businessmen, your employers have failed to anticipate changing market conditions and written a business plan that calls for the company to make money the way they always have.
It’s time to move on; to renewable energy, to tourism, to hemp, to anything with a future. Join us in bringing this destructive industry to a halt and call for the COGCC to withhold permits until, at least, the new protective rules are in place.

Fred Malo Jr.

Preventing shared land with eagles along Crystal River is nonsensical greenwashing

We are now entering the time of year when public lands are “closed” to hikers and other non-motorized, non-hunting recreationists for the alleged protection of wildlife, based on the political power of people whose extreme concern for the welfare of wildlife is like “helicopter parenting” of children.

One example concerns the area along the Crystal River in Carbondale that was established as a “Bald Eagle Preserve” as a condition of the creation of the River Valley Ranch planned community. This “preserve” was left in essentially its natural, heavily vegetated condition. The key to protecting all species of wildlife is to preserve “cover” consisting of natural vegetation and rugged terrain features. In evolving survival instincts over the millennia — threatened by predators much more lethal than people hiking down a trail — wild animals have become amazingly adept at using cover to avoid real and perceived threats.

Eagles have made a wonderful comeback over the past several decades because of prohibitions on hunting them and on the use of persistent pesticides such as DDT. I love to observe eagles as well as other wildlife, and I have never seen any evidence of their being disturbed by my presence, and have visited numerous places where they nest in towns and other areas open all year to the general public.

In the case of the “Bald Eagle Preserve” in Carbondale, the only eagles there are ones that occasionally fly through, searching for fish in the Crystal River. So, unless they are a subspecies that is more “sensitive” to humans than their cousins elsewhere throughout North America, preventing people from sharing the land along the Crystal River with them is one more example of nonsensical, feel-good greenwashing. Carried to this ridiculous extreme, other areas of Carbondale should be “closed” to outsiders, to protect the ”critical habitat” of that most “sensitive” of species — the left-winged loon.

Carl Ted Stude

DeFrates column: Mansplaining 101

Mansplaining has been a popular activity since the existence of genders, but it’s only been in the past few years that the term itself has really taken off. Mansplaining is a great way to get noticed and feel good about yourself at the expense of others, and often aligns perfectly with any number of personal biases. So if you’re interested in joining this growing trend, or want to find out if maybe you’ve already been doing it for your whole life, read on.

The most important thing to understand about mansplaining is that it can only occur when no one asked for your input. If, say, a woman were to ask you for advice on the subject because she knew that she needed more information, that is not mansplaining. That’s just being a good citizen or friend, and you’re going to have to try a little harder.

Real mansplainers have to assume that almost every female in the world is in need of their guidance, no matter what the situation or subject. They have to get out ahead of any meaningful personal connection which might help them understand the other person better. A good mansplainer knows that as long as he can hold up his hands and say, “I’m just trying to help,” afterward, then any comment is fair game.

To really get in the mindset, picture this: A not-young woman waits at a cross-walk with her three very young children. A good mansplainer would know to step up and explain to her that the left-hand turn signal is coming, and that that is not a safe time for her to cross with her children. There would be no need to take time to consider how she could possibly have survived to the age of at least 33 without knowing this, better to just jump in and assume that she has never seen a traffic light in her entire life. Tell yourself, after her reaction is confused and ungrateful, that you probably just saved the life of all those kids. There’s no way she could have figured it out on her own.

“I’m just trying to help.” Well done, mansplainer.

How about another biking-related example? Let’s pretend this time, that the same grown-up woman is riding her bike without a helmet on as she takes her kid to school. Shocking, I know. As a mansplainer, you would immediately shout out, “Mom needs a helmet.”

You have to make sure to use a tone of absolute authority, and be loud. The kids need to hear you in order to learn that any random old man walking his dog has the god-given right to tell their mother how to live her life. Always be sure that in the moment, your advice changes nothing about her immediate situation.

In this case, the lack of personal connection or empathy is especially crucial, because wearing a helmet is probably a good idea. If you were to take the time to get to know her and respectfully explain, when asked, that wearing a helmet is important to you because of, say, a tragic accident in your past, then the effect would be lost completely. You would also need to avoid taking any time to consider the reasons why she might have left the house that morning without one. If you listened to her share the realities of her life with you, you would quickly lose track of the moral high ground, maybe accidentally admit that she is an adult capable of making her own decisions, and hence, fail at mansplaining.

One final example to help all you budding mansplainers off to the right start: whitewater rafting.

Side Note — If you’re struggling to find authentic opportunities to mansplain, just pick up any adventure sport. There are many expert-level mansplainers in almost all the adrenaline-fueled pursuits, so you’ll have a lot to learn from.

Pretend that you are catching a ride to the river with two ladies you’ve never met. The driver asks you to remind her where the turn is because she hasn’t taken the drive from this direction before. You chat with the two women and learn that both of them have decades of whitewater experience, one of them internationally. They’ve run this stretch and one even writes and ambassadors for several rafting manufacturers. It’s highwater season, though, and you’re a man, so it would be a good idea to launch, unprompted, into a detailed description of exactly how to run the river.

Don’t stop when they gently remind you they know what they’re doing. When the driver finally calls you out with a, “Zip it, mansplainer,” then splutter indignantly for 10 minutes and refuse to tell her when the turn is coming up. She asked for that information, so it wouldn’t have been mansplaining.

If you are in the market for a new hobby that belittles half of the population while winning you the approval of like-gendered individuals, mansplaining is for you.

Always remember, you’re just trying to help.

Lindsay DeFrates is a freelance writer living in Glenwood Springs. She can be reached at http://www.roaringforkwriter.com.

Guzzardi column: Coming soon: A borderless U.S.

Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren shocked most observers, including her New England neighbor and fellow White House hopeful Bernie Sanders, when she announced the $52 trillion price tag for her Medicare for All proposal. Sanders’ plan for essentially the same universal coverage would come in at a comparatively modest $32 trillion.

Despite the mind-numbing costs, Warren, with a straight face, said her proposal would not increase taxes on the middle class “by one penny,” a point disputed by many. But most alarming was Warren’s lack of compassion when she brushed off the large numbers of working Americans who would lose jobs under her plan.

It’s not Warren’s only unsound proposition. Her promise to decriminalize illegal border crossings and defang interior enforcement would lead to endless migratory waves from all the world’s corners with major societal consequences on domestic employment, health care, education and population growth.

In recent years, erasing the border has become an increasingly popular goal among elites. In fact, Congress has repeatedly demonstrated more concern about Syria’s border than the shared U.S. border with Mexico where neglect has festered for decades. With only token resistance, the U.S. has ceded border control to criminal operations, including the Sinaloa Cartel, that wreak havoc along and inside Texas, Arizona, New Mexico and California.

Last month, President Donald Trump defended the United States’ troop withdrawal from northern Syria by saying that “it’s not our border” and that “we shouldn’t be losing lives over it.” Congressional Democrats and many Republicans roundly condemned the president. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell objected forcefully to President Trump’s action. In a Washington Post op-ed, McConnell called the troop withdrawal “a grave strategic mistake.” McConnell said that pulling out of Syria leaves the U.S. homeland more dangerous and encourages our terrorist enemies.

If only McConnell and his congressional colleagues were concerned about the southwest border crisis, where the drug war is ongoing, with powerful cartels pushing their deadly products stateside. Why Congress continues to ignore the mounting chaos at the southern border is a question Americans should be asking of their elected representatives. Acting Citizenship and Immigration Services director Ken Cuccinelli said that savvy northern Mexico cartel bosses — “the most evil, vicious, awful people in the western hemisphere” — have turned the border “into a toll booth.”

Experts on the front line describe how the cartels have taken over. Jackson County Sheriff Andy Louderback explained that every minute of every day cartel lords perpetrate human and drug trafficking, among their many criminal activities. They also are responsible for a record 33,341 murders last year alone in Mexico that are a signature method of maintaining control over their methamphetamine, marijuana, cocaine and heroin distribution centers in key metroplex areas, including Phoenix, Los Angeles, Denver and Chicago. Other local authorities concur. Otero County, New Mexico Sheriff David Black said that lax enforcement has given the cartels “the green light” to continue their deadly criminal behavior.

Yet Congress remains mostly mum about inadequate enforcement, especially as it applies to asylum seekers traveling with minor children, who the cartels are particularly adept at manipulating. While some border security improvements have been initiated, others have remained in limbo since the Secure Fence Act of 2006.

But even excluding the cartels’ deadly dominance, open borders is a horrible, indefensible policy. The Census Bureau predicts that if the status quo remains, by 2060 U.S. population will hit an unmanageable 404 million, up from today’s 330 million. If Warren and other candidates who champion open borders get their way, over the next five decades, today’s population of 330 million people is likely to approach a nightmarish 500 million.

Joe Guzzardi is a Society for American Baseball Research and Internet Baseball Writers Association member. Contact Joe at guzzjoe@yahoo.com.

Purcell column: Driving an ‘underwater’ car is no fun

What’s the best car on the road? One that’s paid off.

That’s what my father loves to say. Regrettably, too many Americans aren’t heeding his advice. What’s worse is that they’re taking on “underwater” loans that far exceed their cars’ value.

The Wall Street Journal recently featured a 40-year-old electrician who bought a $27,000 Jeep with a $45,000 loan.

How is that possible?

A string of bad luck was part of it. He “replaced one because it had 100,000 miles and another when he went through a divorce, and he changed cars again when his family was expanding.”

Since auto dealerships earn more from financing cars than from selling them, they’re happy to extend “underwater” loans that can take many years to repay — though in those cases, “car owner” probably isn’t the right term for the buyer.

Buyers often trade their cars in before those lengthy loans are paid off, driving into a perpetual state of indebtedness. In 2019, a third of car buyers have taken on “underwater” loans, The Journal says.

It also says rising car prices are another cause of growing debt. I know a few fellows who’ve borrowed $60,000 or more to buy new trucks, which get pricier by the day.

A 5%, seven-year loan on a $60,000 truck costs $850 a month. You can still buy a house for that amount in Pittsburgh.

“Easy lending standards are perpetuating the cycle, with lenders routinely making car loans with low or no down payments that can last seven years or longer,” reports The Journal.

“Easy lending standards”? When has our country encountered that eerie term before?

“Consumers, salespeople and lenders are treating cars a lot like houses during the last financial crisis: by piling on debt to such a degree that it often exceeds the car’s value,” The Journal reports.

Automakers have realized they can charge more for their vehicles if they give buyers, who aren’t very good at math, monthly payments they can swing — even though those vehicles depreciate massively and are “underwater” throughout the loan’s lifespan.

“A record 7 million Americans are now 90 days or more behind on their auto loan payments,” The Washington Post reported in February.

Some observers are starting to use the “bubble” term regarding auto loans, as such debt has grown 75% since 2009, to about $1.26 trillion or about 5.5 percent of GDP, according to a U.S. PIRG report.

Look, I’m a car guy. I’ve owned 27 vehicles. When I was younger, I did my fair share of boneheaded deals, taking on more debt than I should have to drive nice cars. I figure everyone has a right to be foolhardy this way once or twice in a lifetime.

But I’ve learned that paid-off vehicles are for more enjoyable to drive than those the bank still owns — that massive debt on rapidly depreciating automobiles takes the joy out of driving. And that all that auto debt combined with college-loan and credit card debt is doing no favors to our economy.

Thankfully, I finally came to my senses.

I now own a 2008 Toyota 4Runner in mint condition; a super-clean 1992 Chevy S-10 that sits in my father’s garage, waiting to haul furniture or mulch; and a recently acquired cherry 2011 Chrysler 200 convertible, which I’m enjoying the heck out of.

Why are they three of the best vehicles on the road? They’re all paid off.

Copyright 2019 Tom Purcell. Tom Purcell, author of “Misadventures of a 1970’s Childhood,” a humorous memoir available at amazon.com, is a Pittsburgh Tribune-Review humor columnist and is nationally syndicated exclusively by Cagle Cartoons Inc. For info on using this column in your publication or website, contact Sales@cagle.com or call (805) 969-2829. Send comments to Tom at Tom@TomPurcell.com.

Tuesday letters: Alzheimer’s help, wolf facts

Improving HOPE for Alzheimer’s

Today, 73,000 Coloradans are living with Alzheimer’s or another type of dementia. Last year, 252,000 of their family members and friends provided 287 million hours of unpaid care to support their journey living with the disease. I witnessed what being one of those caregivers did to my parents for 10 years. November is National Family Caregivers Month. Congress should honor dementia caregivers by making their efforts easier.

Care planning allows people with dementia and their families to plan for the future and learn about clinical trials and support services in their community. Individuals receiving dementia-specific care planning have fewer hospitalizations and emergency room visits and are better able to manage their medications. This not only helps the person with dementia, it also lowers health care costs.

Thankfully, Medicare covers care planning services. The problem is that most people don’t know that. The   Act (HR 1873/S 880) would help educate health care providers about this coverage so that they can help connect more people to these services.

Thank you Sen. Michael Bennet and Congressman Scott Tipton for standing up for Colorado’s dementia caregivers by actively supporting this legislation in Congress. I hope Sen. Cory Gardner joins you soon. Caregiving is hard. Thanks for trying to make it a little easier.


Meaghan Ziegler
Alzheimer’s ambassador, Carbondale

Commissioners wrong about wolves

In their Nov. 4 anti-wolf resolution, Garfield commissioners express many of the misgivings I heard during the preparation of the environmental impact statement on restoring wolves to the northern Rocky Mountains 25 years ago. Fortunately, we now have decades of data that respond to those concerns. For instance, the commissioners see wolf predation as a serious problem for wildlife (game). Here are elk harvest figures for the tri-state area since wolf restoration there.

Wyoming: 1995 elk population = 103,448; 1995 elk harvest = 17,695.

2017 elk population = 104, 800 (31% over objective); 2017 elk harvest = 24,535, average hunter success rate = 35%;

Montana: 1995 elk population = 109,500, no harvest data for 1995.

2018 elk population = 138,470 (27% over upper objective); 2017 elk harvest = 30,348,;

Idaho: 1995 elk population = 112,333; 1995 elk harvest = 22,400.

2017 elk population = 116,800 (18 elk units at or above objective, 10 units below for a variety of reasons including predation, human harvest, agriculture, habitat degradation); 2017 elk harvest = 22,751.

Bottom line: In all three states where wolves were restored in 1995-96, statewide elk populations have grown, and harvests have increased.

Predation by wolves on domestic livestock is hardly a threat to the industry. Here are the actual data from a 2015 report.

There were about 6 million cattle in the northern Rocky Mountains (NRM) in 2014. The 140 cattle taken by wolves made up 1 in 43,000, or 0.000023% of cattle in the states.

There were about 825,000 sheep in the NRM in 2014. The 172 sheep taken by wolves made up 1 in 4,800, or 0.000208% of sheep in the states.

On human safety: From 1995 to 2018, Yellowstone hosted 101,070,722 visitors, none of whom was injured by a wolf. Among 2.7 million tent campers in Yellowstone from 1995 to 2018, no camper was injured by a wolf.

Norman Bishop, Bozeman, Montana

Guest Opinion: Veteran support for CORE Act, Camp Hale protections

On this Veterans Day, we are reminded of the brave soldiers of the 10th Mountain Division, who trained at Camp Hale outside of Leadville and defended our country during World War II. As we remember these veterans today, we encourage fellow citizens to contact Sen. Cory Gardner to ask him to honor them by voting yes for the Colorado Outdoor Recreation and Economy (CORE) Act in the U.S. Senate.

Earlier this month, we celebrated a landmark victory for the bill when it passed the U.S. House of Representatives — a victory that brings us closer than ever before to realizing protections for several beloved places in western Colorado.

The CORE Act would protect 400,000 acres of land across four landscapes — areas that have each been introduced in Congress as stand-alone legislative proposals in the past.

It will create new and sustainable recreational opportunities and expand wilderness in the White River and San Juan national forests, permanently remove the Thompson Divide from new oil and gas leasing, and increase public access to and management of fishing areas in the Curecanti National Recreation Area.

And, importantly, it would honor our veterans (and many of the founding members of the modern recreation industry in Colorado) by establishing Camp Hale as the nation’s first National Historic Landscape.

These 400,000 acres include some of Colorado’s most beautiful landscapes, as well as prime wildlife habitat and offer tremendous opportunities for connection to the natural world through all types of recreation. Notably, our beloved Thompson Divide, which spans more than 15 watersheds in Garfield, Pitkin and Gunnison Counties, also provides clean water and high-quality grazing for agricultural and ranching operations.

As veterans who fought in Italy during World War II and in the Vietnam War to protect our country and public lands, and as the son of 10th Mountain Division veteran Sgt. Harry Poschman, we believe that passing the CORE Act honors all veterans. Designating and protecting historic Camp Hale and all the landscapes within this bill is essential to preventing these lands from being diminished by private interests, and most importantly, preserving them in perpetuity for future generations.

Camp Hale was the only military installment in the nation to provide high-altitude combat training to soldiers who were preparing to fight in the harsh winter conditions of the Italian Apennines during World War II. At an elevation of 9,200 feet, the location was ideal for creating an elite ski corps that was highly advanced in alpine and Nordic skiing, mountain climbing, and cold-weather combat and survival.

Before the last of the 10th Mountain Division troopers pass on, Colorado’s senators and congressmen should join forces to honor them by designating this landscape, as well as protect the 400,000 acres of land proposed in the CORE Act. Now that the bill’s fate rests in the hands of the Senate, Sen. Gardner has a real opportunity to be a champion for Colorado’s public lands, which are so important to the identity and vitality of our state.

The CORE Act has been widely vetted through years of community engagement, and the final bill is the result of compromise and collaboration among a broad and diverse set of stakeholders.

Sen. Gardner has not yet taken a position on the bill, and it is our hope that he will become an advocate for it, helping to distinguish Colorado as a leader for public lands stewardship among the western states.

Now we need your help. Please take a moment to contact him today and ask him to vote yes for this legislation. Phone: 202-224-5941; Email: https://www.gardner.senate.gov/contact-cory/email-cory

John Tripp of Carbondale is the Roaring Fork Valley’s last living 10th Mountain Division, World War II veteran, at age 100; Lt. Col. Richard Merritt of Basalt, USMC (Ret), is a Vietnam veteran; Greg Poschman is a Pitkin County commissioner.

Monday letters: Impeachment a sham, Glenwood needs composting


The bad shepherd of my party, the Democratic Party, calls out: “Come out of your crying rooms to dismiss, discredit or overturn the 2016 election results. Arm yourselves with any charge to see if it will stick. Change the electoral college, find Russian interference, quid pro quo… anything.”

What is the driver of these narratives really hiding? Dare I say criminal activity. The swamp dwellers. Trump didn’t go as far as a Nixon break-in or a Clinton sex-job.

Insider knowledge knew that Ukrainian aid was in the pipeline when Trump’s call to Zelensky was made, and conflated the two as quid pro quo. Someone without that knowledge couldn’t have conflated the two; therefore, Zelensky suffered no quid quo pro as witnessed in the phone call. The whole fabric of this impeachment is reverse engineered.

It’s sad to see Democrats who can’t diagram a sentence on a seventh grade level. They are weaponizing ignorance to appeal to the lowest common denominator of the electorate. The irony is that everyone sees through this condescension … except those who are perpetuating the lies … that won’t stop, ever.

Let this sham be seen for what it is. Bring on impeachment. Know that the whistle-blower will never be seen because he only exists metaphorically in the form of a lawyer’s cabal.

The bottom line is there’s money flowing into high-level pockets from the Ukraine. Check out the source of “pocket change” of the Clintons, Bidens, Schiff, et. al. It twists and turns and trickles-down into the CIA/FBI/NSA. It’s a quid pro quo to perpetuate a status quo for the crooks in the Democratic Party.

Fred Stewart, Grand Junction


Regarding the front page Saturday, Nov. 2, “Turning trash into Cash” article by Matt Bennett. 

The reason there was a loss of compost revenue in Glenwood Springs is because it’s not actually compost. Glenwood takes the grease trap waste from local restaurants, car wash sludge, the septic waste from the Porta Potties, old ground up mattresses, cardboard, leaves and branches, and turns it into something that sort of resembles compost if you don’t look to closely. It does not have a high value for resale but is suitable to reuse in the landfill for cover. I would encourage anyone interested in large scale compost to go to Pitkin County Landfill and purchase what they have for sale. They take food waste, leaves and branches, from all over the valley and turn it into a Class A compost, highly profitable product for gardens and landscaping.

Its time to consider how tourism affects our landfill and the glut of food that can be turned away from landfill and put to use as compost. Glenwood residents need to demand that there are programs available for us to start recycling in our own town. If we can spend $1.2 million a year on bringing tourists here, we can also spend a good amount figuring out what to do with the waste tourists and our community create.

Remember when looking at this $80,000 the landfill is pulling in this year. That is a drop in the bucket to revenues produced by adding a Class A compost production that people and contractors and CDOT will buy on a continuing basis.

Jennifer Vanian, Glenwood Springs

Sunday Letters: Kudos to Bennet, Ride the Gray Wave

Bennet joins the fray

I’d like to thank Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Co.) for jumping in on the Senate Climate Solutions Caucus. Such a group was formed in the House in 2016 at the urging of the Citizen’s Climate Lobby.

Bennet joins Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Angus King (I-Me.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Ak.), Mitt Romney (R-Ut), and Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.) in the caucus created by Sens. Christopher Coons (D-Del.) and Mike Braun (R-Ind.) last month.

The bipartisan nature of this conference is important. Climate change shouldn’t be a Republican versus Democrat issue, but it has become so because of GOP allegiance to the fossil fuel industry. The coming climate catastrophe will affect all of us, regardless of political slant.

I’d like to see Bennet persuade Colorado’s Republican Senator Cory Gardner to come on board. The more legislators from energy producing states like Colorado, the merrier. The better to convince our climate change denying chief executive the climate movement isn’t just an anti-oil and gas endeavor.

Maybe if Bennet’s working alongside Murkowski, the chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, he can pressure her to expedite the CORE Act through committee where it currently resides after passage in the House. The bill, cosponsored by Bennet, would permanently protect 400,000 acres of public lands, including the Thompson Divide, from oil and gas development.

Fred Malo Jr.

Surf the gray wave, don’t flounder in it

The Carbondale Age-Friendly Community Initiative (CAFCI) invites citizens and all friends of Carbondale to assemble at the Third Street Center from 3:30 to 6 p.m. on Nov. 21. It’s an invitation you can refuse, but please don’t. Here’s why.

You’ve probably heard about the gray wave washing over America. Ever more of us are seniors over 65. In 2010 there were 4,724 seniors) in Garfield County. In 2020, we’ll nearly double that number. By 2030 we’ll add 5000 more. In 2020 about 9% of seniors will be over 85; 16% by 2030.

These numbers are personal to me, because in 2026 I’ll join that growing over-85 cohort. Who’s going to take care of us? We’ve had fewer children than previous generations. We’re living longer than we maybe had a right to expect, and honestly the communities we built seem poorly prepared for the challenges we pose. What are we to do? Take care of one another and keep building our communities, that’s what. Many of us don’t just need services; We can and do serve others. We keep working to make our communities more age-friendly. Friendly that is, to all ages including senior citizens, without excluding anyone. That’s what CAFCI is about. Our trustees, commissions and town staff are working with us, and thanks in large part to our partnership with Senior Matters, we’re off to a good start.

In June, Carbondale committed to the AARP Network of Age-Friendly Communities, giving us access to national and international expertise and funding. We want you to join Mayor Dan Richardson, AARP Associate State Director Roberto Rey, Senior Matters Chair John Hoffmann, over a dozen CAFCI leaders and representatives from 20 organizations. We’ll learn about ways we can use what’s available to us through our membership in the AARP Network and talk about how we can help build it. Together, we’ll surf the gray wave instead of floundering in it.

Ron Kokish
Carbondale Age-Friendly Community Initiative