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PI Editorial: Glenwood Canyon closures offer no easy solutions, but doing better is possible

There are a lot of reasons to love Glenwood Springs, but canyon closures aren’t on that list.

While our community — and region, given just how many people rely on the canyon for commerce and vacation — was blessed with a relatively unremarkable summer season through Glenwood Canyon, this winter has been anything but.

In January, the canyon was fully or partially closed six times for crashes involving semi trucks. This particular moment feels like it would be easy to blame truckers, but that seems to miss the bigger picture. There are indeed truck drivers who choose to speed or otherwise drive unsafely through the canyon, but they’re not the sole cause of our canyon woes.

Outside of related factors — such as our reliance on Amazon and other companies to get us exactly what we want in one weeks’ time or less — it’s also true that truck drivers are subject to the same hazards all of us are on the road: Aggressive motorists, weather hazards, mechanical failure, terrible Google maps directions and more can happen to anyone. It’s just that the consequences are higher when you’re hauling 30,000 pounds in freight.

In our thinking, the Colorado Department of Transportation has two main questions to answer: how to help everyone become safer drivers through the canyon and how to reduce the chances of a semi-truck crash forcing an hours-long closure.

Neither question has a simple answer, but we truly believe that CDOT can help alleviate both. While some might advocate for stronger traffic enforcement through the canyon, the reality is there are very few places where a law-enforcement officer could safely pull a motorist over. The risk to both officers and the greater public is too great to rely simply on human enforcement.

One possible solution that would help reduce speeding altogether through the canyon? Traffic cameras — they’ve been employed elsewhere in Colorado to great effect and could be a helpful tool in making sure all drivers are more likely to follow the variable speed limits through Glenwood Canyon.

And for semi-trucks, CDOT could also consider keeping the chain requirement in effect on Interstate 70 through the canyon. Currently, trucks are allowed to unchain at Dotsero. Extending the chain law to Glenwood Springs or even through South Canyon to New Castle might require some additional truck pullovers to be built, but it would certainly help during adverse weather. Chains also have the secondary effect of requiring a reduced travel speed, which would also help reduce the risk of crashing.

It’s likely we will never completely mitigate the travel bottleneck Interstate 70 through Glenwood Canyon poses, but we are hopeful that CDOT can come up with solutions to make the canyon both safer and more reliable regardless of winter weather.

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

Friday letters: Wrong place, renewables, canyon traffic, concert kudos, council endorsement, logging concerns

Speak out on Habitat project

There seems to be a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the city of Glenwood Springs and Habitat for Humanity regarding the proposed housing development of 8th street and Midland Avenue. 

The MOU is a legal document, but it is not legally binding. It expresses an understanding between the parties, indicating an intended common line of action. This still has to come in front of the P&Z for review and approval. Why would you create even more congestion at this intersection?

Talk to anyone on the street and their biggest gripe is traffic. Affordable housing is not the number one concern with the locals. This project will greatly hamper any kind of future improvements at this intersection. I hope the silent majority out there, who are like me not against affordable housing, but against this location, will voice their opposition. 

There have been attempts before to try and sell this property for development and they were canceled when knowledge of why it was condemned revealed. The P&Z should ask for a copy of the court case (05CV119) and read the language of why the property was condemned by the city and CDOT. The fact that the city has not disturbed this property for 17-plus years and has held it in trust for future right-of-way needs is a “use” in my eyes. 

The city seems to take the stance that it has not been “used” for any public purposes. This avoids any public city vote on the matter. I would like to see the MOU published in the paper for all to see what we are getting into.

Don “Hooner” Gillespie, Glenwood Springs

Renewable energy thoughts

Twin Lakes, Colorado has had pumped storage hydro for over 50 years. The idea is to pump storage to a reservoir above Twin Lakes with low demand/cheap energy to generate power during high demand/higher cost energy.

All well and good. It’s just that it’s an ongoing electrical cost. On the other extreme, wind and solar are intermittent, so the supply varies, but the infrastructure is a fixed cost. Once it’s paid for, the energy is free, short of maintenance. Combine the two concepts and it’s a marriage.

Use the “intermittent sources” to supply a large potential source of water for a reliable constant clean, battery-free hydroelectricity. This concept could be used universally. All that’s needed is water at differential elevations powered by intermittent renewables for endless dependable energy.

Fred Stewart, Grand Junction

Need better canyon traffic management

Was anyone surprised to see the recent Glenwood Post Independent photos of three semi-trucks jammed abreast between the guardrails in Glenwood Canyon or the semi dangling between the westbound and eastbound lanes? Our community continues to be impacted by these regularly occurring incidents in many ways, whether in our travels east of here, the bare grocery shelves or the number of idling trucks fouling our air while they wait.

Why are trucks over 26,000 GVW still allowed to use the left lane when such left lane usage is clearly prohibited for the 14 miles of the canyon at each end by signage with flashing yellow lights?

During a chance dinner with the owner of the company that deployed and maintains the traffic monitoring system in Glenwood Canyon I learned that the system is capable of identifying and tracking each vehicle through the canyon, down to license plate and often driver. Why isn’t this tool used to discourage the traffic behavior which is leading to these frequent incidents?

I call on our elected and appointed politicians to make traffic safety in Glenwood Canyon a priority. Glenwood City Council, use your influence with CDOT and CSP to get better traffic management in Glenwood Canyon rather than pursuing traffic clogging islands in Grand Avenue. Representative Velasco and Senator Will please bring forward legislation which would enable trucking companies to be fined effectively for traffic violations in Glenwood Canyon based on remote sensing evidence and provide funding for such enforcement.

Recently, while in a line of traffic behind a CSP trooper and plows, I saw the first vehicle behind CSP in the left lane was a semi. Next to me in this line was a semi operated by David of Blue Moon Trucking in Grand Junction (on the driver’s door) repeatedly forcing himself into the left lane and back, with nothing to be gained. This behavior is all too common and endangers us all. Psychologists say a behavior will continue until the consequences outweigh the benefit. We need greater consequences for this traffic behavior for all our safety.

Ray Tenney, Glenwood Springs

Great concert

Last night, my husband and I had the privilege to attend a performance by the Travis Anderson Trio, a Minneapolis-based ensemble giving a modern twist to classic jazz and pop favorites.  As newcomers to the Roaring Fork Valley, we were absolutely delighted to see this talented group of musicians perform. 

Steve Pikal on the double bass was enchanting to watch and listen to with his unique slap style, appearing to be dancing with his instrument with an eternal smile on his face. Drummer Nathan Norman took on a more serious tone, expertly weaving in and out of the melody of the music. Travis Anderson, the pianist leading this classic jazz combo, wowed us with his playful brilliance on the keys.  

Together, the trio drew us into their music by performing classic TV and movie themes familiar to many, while offering a unique and unforgettable interpretation that left us awe-inspired. 

This concert was presented by the Glenwood Springs Community Concert Association, which brings world-class musicians of various genres to the Roaring Folk area. Tickets are very affordable for season tickets as well as individual concerts. Check them out at www.gsconcertassn.org.  

We are very fortunate to have such incredible talent come to the area at such accessible prices. As season ticket holders, we look forward to attending many more concerts in the future.

Stephanie Vander Zanden, Glenwood Springs

Schachter for Council

Good news! Sumner Schachter is running for Glenwood Springs City Counsel. 

I sat down with Sumner yesterday over a cup of coffee and we talked for an hour and a half. He listened. He took notes. He asked questions. Our common ground was we love Glenwood.

Sumner has lived here since the 1970s and I have lived here since 1980. We’ve seen the changes, some good, some not. We talked about the culture of City Counsel and how we might bridge the gap between the public and the counsel members. We talked about why we moved here and how we can keep those elements in place, like the old days here in our city. 

He has contributed to our community through his work with Planning and Zoning, the Housing Commission, Roaring Fork School District Accountability Committee, Adult Literacy, Valley View Hospital Foundation Board, Youth Soccer coach, and more. Going forward he has the experience and the heart to lead us into the future. He is down to earth and cares about our city’s future. He has a goal to listen to the people. I know we are all busy working, shoveling snow, paying the bills but this is important. This is what we need, and my hope is you will vote for Sumner Schachter for City Council. He has my vote!

Rachael Windh, Glenwood Springs

Logging impact intolerable

As a resident and lover of the Four Mile Creek area, I am compelled to respond to the recent article about the logging operations in Four-Mile Park. This is not a letter about the article’s gross glorification of a project that is turning the landscape into a real-life image from The Lorax. (I understand the need to thin and manage forests — but when will we learn that it doesn’t have to be like this?) 

This letter is about the immediate and acute impacts that the operations are having on environmental and public health. Twenty massive logging trucks per day descend Four Mile Road and they run their Jake Brakes the entire time — beginning the moment that they descend. Each truck’s brakes — not just the engine, but the bone rattling sound of those brakes — echo through the valley for the entire trip. It is a documented, biological fact that this has a gross negative impact on wildlife and on human beings. This real and extreme behavior on the part of the logging company sets a precedent for the kind of work and work-ethic that will be tolerated in our wilderness and community. 

I have called multiple and various departments in Garfield County about the issue and have received no response except from the Sheriff’s Department, when a deputy explained that there is no noise ordinance in Garfield County. (Which is a separate, but no less pressing and disturbing issue). 

Are there stipulations in the contract with West Range Forest Products, who is turning a profit with 100-year-old trees born and grown on our land, addressing the environmental and public health impacts of the logging operation? If so, who is in charge of oversight? If not, why not? The impact of this project is massive and unacceptable, particularly in light of the fact that the project is set to last until 2026 — as published in the aforementioned Post Independent article. 

Glenwood Springs is full of committed, concerned and active citizens who love the Four Mile Valley as much as my family and I do and I hope that this letter serves as a whistle that needs blowing.

Sarah Evans, Glenwood Springs

Doctor’s Tip: What to do if you have an abnormal carotid IMT screen for heart disease

February is heart month. Almost all heart attacks are preventable, but in spite of that they remain the number one cause of death in the U.S for both men and women.

Let’s say you are a 50-year-old man and take advantage of the special IMT screen for heart disease offered by Compass Peak Imaging in Glenwood during February, and your report comes back indicating that you have arteries of an average 65-year-old American man based on thickness of the endothelium lining of your arteries. If arterial age is 8 or more years greater than your actual age, you are increased risk for a heart attack or stroke.

Let’s say the report also says you have soft plaque (plaque is “hardening of the arteries”). The presence of plaque also puts you at significant risk (even if your endothelium is not thickened), and soft (uncalcified) plaque is more worrisome than calcified plaque because it is less stable and more apt to rupture and block off an artery.

You and your medical provider need to figure out why you developed atherosclerosis, which is the cause of heart attacks and strokes and is also a huge risk factor for dementia. Atherosclerosis is not inevitable as we age — there are groups of people in the world such as the Blue Zones whose arteries are as healthy at 90 as they are at 19, making these people heart attack proof. What these societies have in common is that they eat primarily plant-based, unrefined foods including daily legumes; and they engage in frequent, low-level physical activity.

Following are measures you can take that can prevent, treat, and even reverse atherosclerosis:

DIET: Adopt a plant-based, whole food diet with no salt, sugar or added oil. Dr. Dean Ornish proved over 30 years ago that atherosclerosis can be reversed with this diet. Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn confirmed this subsequently — read his book, “Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease.”

EXERCISE: The Ornish program — which has been approved by Medicare and many insurance companies — includes regular aerobic exercise. If you’re sedentary, ease into a program of exercise such as walking for at least 30 minutes a day. If you have cardiac risk factors and/or severe atherosclerosis, talk to your provider to see if they recommend a cardiac stress test before starting vigorous exercise.

STRESS REDUCTION is also included in the Ornish program. Consider yoga or meditation. If you suffer from depression, anxiety or sleep problems, seek treatment.

BLOOD PRESSURE should be less than 120/80. For mild hypertension, weight loss, salt avoidance and exercise can help, but do whatever it takes to control it, including medication if necessary.

CHOLESTEROL: The aforementioned populations in the world who are heart attack proof have total cholesterols < 150, LDL (bad cholesterol) in the 30s and 40s, and triglycerides < 70. Plant-based, whole food nutrition lowers cholesterol, but if it doesn’t get your numbers to goal, consider medication. In their 2022 book “Healthy Heart, Healthy Brain,” heart attack prevention experts Bale and Doneen recommend a statin for anyone with plaque, no matter what their cholesterol is.

WEIGHT: Attain and maintain ideal body weight. If you look at your profile in the mirror and have even a small “belly,” lose it because that almost always means you have insulin resistance (pre-diabetes), the driver of 70% of heart disease. High triglycerides and low HDL (good cholesterol) are another indication of insulin resistance. Fasting blood sugar above the low 90s, and/or A1C above 5.6 (a measure of average blood sugar levels the previous 3 months) are also indicators of IR, but the gold standard is a 1 and two-hour glucose tolerance test (1-hour sugar of > 125 and/or 2-hour sugar of < 120 indicate insulin resistance).

SLEEP APNEA: Anyone who has atherosclerosis should have an overnight oximetry to screen for sleep apnea. This inexpensive test involves wearing a monitor on your finger all night that records oxygen level and pulse rate.

TOBACCO should be avoided in any form, including second-hand smoke.

INFLAMMATION from conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis, and dental problems plays a large role in development of plaque, and in plaque rupture. Practice good dental hygiene, and if you have tooth or gum problems, see a dentist well-versed in the mouth-vascular connection.

REPEAT THE IMT TEST IN A YEAR: With appropriate treatment, endothelial thickening should improve; soft plaque often disappears or at least calcifies thereby becoming more stable; and the amount of calcified plaque doesn’t increase and often decreases.

Next week’s column will be about cholesterol.

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.

Writers on the Range: The housing crisis is harming my town

In Girdwood, Alaska, we’ll long remember the snowstorm of Dec. 6, just two months ago. But it won’t be for the school cancellations. We’ll remember it as the night dozens of residents traveled a snow-packed highway to testify at a public meeting — about housing.

Residents across the West will recognize why so many came out that snowy night. A proposed development, called Holtan Hills, would expand our town’s footprint but include almost nothing affordable for teachers, firefighters, wait staff or others who comprise the soul of our community and drive its economy.

With no guardrails to support local homeownership, second-home real estate investors would likely gobble up the project’s predominantly high-end units. It’s happening already, with most shunning the long-term rental needs of a few thousand people in this south-central Alaskan community. New owners often offer nightly rentals or just leave their houses unoccupied.

That would mean more empty houses in a town with a severe housing shortage. The dozens who testified that night, and the hundreds who wrote letters, described the impacts.

They included Emma, who runs a fishing boat with her husband, and whose young-adult daughter can’t find a place to rent in the town where she grew up and now works. And Amanda, the pizza shop owner, who is overwhelmed trying to help her employees find housing, including the 65-year-old man whose landlord recently booted him out on short notice.

Erin described bailing on her long-held dream of raising a family here after 11 years of pouring her talents into nonprofit youth education programs. She reminded me of Autumn, my daughter’s former piano teacher, who recently moved away after years of teaching music to local kids. She had been unable to find steady housing.

Such stories swirled into that winter night from the heroes every mountain community knows — the ones who clean rentals, provide health care, build houses and teach our kids to speak, spell, ski and say “thank you.” Business owners were there, too, detailing how the lack of attainable housing causes employee shortages that curtail operating hours, leaving fewer visitor services.

Some who didn’t speak that night included the local workers who sleep in their cars or in drafty cabins on the edge of town. We also didn’t hear from the Filipino parents of my daughter’s close playmate, who are trying hard to remain in the town where their accounting jobs are located, and where their daughter is thriving.

Dozens of us highlighted how communities across the West have fought similar battles for an entire generation now. We talked about Whitefish, Tahoe, Breckenridge, Boise and other towns. We explained their use of sensible deed restrictions, limits on nightly rentals, incentives that promote local home ownership, and concessions from developers. All helped local workers attain housing.

I know the benefits. Living in Colorado in the 1990s, I accepted a financial incentive to put a deed restriction on my modest condo. After my wife and I sold the condo, the payment became seed money for our first house. Meanwhile, the condo still holds a deed restriction that helps locals enter the market. Under such reasonable measures, developers could still make buckets of money while workers gained access to housing.

Someone else who didn’t show that night was the developer, who instead dropped a guest column in the state’s largest newspaper maligning her project’s critics.

Some of our elected officials were equally indifferent. One blithely suggested that someone just needs to build a hardware store in town so that building costs could come down. Another asked why our town hadn’t solved the housing issue earlier. Others grilled residents on how many more houses it would take to solve the problem.

Of course, as with many Western communities, the issue is not an actual shortage of houses. It’s the blizzard of cash that second-home speculators and others can throw at any property that enters the market.

The meeting ran almost to midnight, as snow blanketed the cars outside. I imagined this must have been the scene two decades ago, as housing proponents in the West’s mountain towns spent nights eking out seemingly small wins. But those wins are now the proven programs that can help communities today.

We just need elected officials to understand that people can’t work here if they have nowhere to live.

Tim Lydon is a contributor to Writers on the Range, writersontherange.org, an independent nonprofit dedicated to spurring conversation about the West. He writes in Alaska.

Wednesday letters: Water concerns, favoritism, traffic deaths, canyon speed limits

‘Dry-up’ not enough

Just thinking of local news about the Colorado River and the start of dry up:

1. The Colorado River District has $125 million (federal funds) to pay ranchers and farmers to dry up land to put as much as 833,000 acre-feet in the Colorado River.

2. This is a short-term solution, over 1-2 years to put water into Lake Powell and Lake Mead, if downstream, California, Arizona and Nevada cut back.

3. Last year, only 60-65% of snowmelt made it to the River. This could happen again.

I am not a water expert, but it does not take much to see that the west is struggling with who gets the water, and where it is going to come from. Colorado must meet its obligations to supply water — no matter how much snow we get!

So, how will Western Slope (WS) agriculture look after dry-up to deliver more water downstream? This first dry-up is teaching the WS how to give up more of its water. With a 20-year drought, why did the west use more than the snowpack had to give. Why did all the states not cut water use, 10% every year?

Long term solutions to save the ecosystem? Why were we not financing water efficiency projects, why not fixing the leaks, and forcing better planning ? Why were we not collaborating? Why was no one screaming about this? We have not had enough protection for our water resources!

Some good news. In November 2020, Western Colorado voters passed ballot 7A to raise funds for “The River.” The Colorado River District grants these funds to WS residents’ water projects.

Did downstream states do what WS voters have done? Did the Front Range (FR) do the same? There are already 24 trans-mountain diversions over the Rockies. The Water Districts’ dry-up plan does not ask for FR cutbacks or cuts to increasing water demands. The climate is going to dictate some of the answers but this is only the beginning of dry up.

Joani Matranga, Carbondale

Good ol’ boy syndrome

I am now ashamed to admit that I voted for Jeff Cheney for DA. I thought he would be fair and treat everyone equally, which he proved wrong when he dealt with Mr. Pagni’s arrest. If anything, a chief of police should be held to a higher standard than anyone else. 

Mr. Pagni swore to serve and protect the public, which he grossly violated on July 29, 2022. For anyone to get drunk and brandish a loaded weapon is bad enough, but then put it in another person’s chest and threaten harm, is atrocious. And if anyone else had done this they would still be in jail with a bond set at $100,000 or more. 

But Mr. Pagni didn’t have to pay a dime and got to go home. It seems to me Mr. Pagni has two lawyers, the one he hired and our DA, Mr. Cheney. I ask you, Mr. Cheney, are you going to let every criminal off the hook because they have had a traumatic experience some time in their life? This action by our DA is a gross misuse of the power we gave him. Did Mr. Pagni have all of his weapons taken away after threatening someone, while drunk, with an assault rifle? This is plain and simple favoritism to a police officer that you and I would never get. 

We do not need that kind of action from our DA. And the best way for the public to fight against this kind of “good-old boy syndrome” is to not vote for Mr. Cheney in the future.

John Korrie, Glenwood Springs

New high for Colorado

The year 2022 resulted in a 17% increase in roadway deaths for our state. The count: 745

This new high translates to deadly lows for hundreds whose lives have been impacted.

What those who survive live with now: Loss of connection, loss of income, loss of stability.

Please ‘Take A Minute,’ think about daily driving and how we take to the road.

If we drive with community, compassion and courtesy at the forefront of our thoughts, imagine what we could create.

Ease off the gas, Slow Down in Town.

Diane Reynolds, Committee member Take A Minute/Slow Down in Town, Glenwood Springs

Enforce Canyon speed limits

Does anyone else think speed limits should be reduced and enforced in Glenwood Canyon? 

Driving through the canyon at a slower speed would save time and money when you consider long waits and long detours with every semi truck and car accident. 

Just think of all the time and manpower to clean up every accident and repairs to the road and infrastructure. Slow down, enjoy the scenery. Respect the other drivers that share the road. Five or 10 minutes on your trip is worth a safe trip.

Gail Owens, Basalt

Whiting column: Freedom of speech can be complex

Freedom of speech isn’t easy.

Everyone desires it. No one’s happy without it unless it’s negatively affecting us, making us feel uncomfortable or requiring responsibility.

It requires we not only allow and tolerate another’s words but be willing to fight for their right to safely espouse words with which we vehemently disagree, deem inappropriate or find disgusting. Freedom of speech doesn’t require our acknowledgement of validity, just the right to say it.

We must acknowledge the personal responsibility to utilize manners and role model appropriate behavior when exercising our right. Sensitivity and freedom of speech are not oxymorons. If our words don’t meet that criterion, they will stop listening and with it any chance to change their minds.

Demonstrating empathy is effective. When our first word is “no,” others don’t feel they’ve been heard and resulting acrimony assures nothing constructive occurs. The “yes, but” technique is useful: acknowledging their thoughts first, then presenting ours.

Our daughter asks to ride with friends to an out-of-town Taylor Swift concert necessitating her returning after midnight. Instead of immediately responding “not a chance,” if we respond “That would be a lot of fun; she’s a great singer. However, your curfew is 11 p.m. and the roads are too slick to drive that far at night.” She may not like the answer, but she may accept it better knowing we heard her. The technique can be useful when an employee asks for a work schedule change or any instance when a positive response isn’t possible.

Freedom of speech includes the written word, but not freedom of action. It doesn’t include infringing on others’ rights, such as spray-painting store windows or rec center walls. It doesn’t include physically demonstrating a contrary opinion by throwing rocks through a window or burning a police car. Doing such magnifies their admission that their words won’t stand on their own merits.

Freedom of speech does require us to toughen up our toleration level. No matter how passionately we disagree or how distasteful or disgusting we may feel their words are, they have the right to say them, and we must allow them to do so. We can’t nit-pick freedom. It’s an all or nothing concept.

It bears repeating that it’s helpful to remember most people who hurt or disparage us, don’t care about us. Consequently, let it go. Why allow someone who doesn’t care about us to control us?

We’re better off spending our energy advocating the validity of our words. Attempting to prohibit theirs, arguing or getting mad feeds their motivation; their energy. However, we don’t have an obligation to listen or read what they say. We can turn around, walk away, or disregard their paid ad, sign or column.

There are exceptions. After justifying youthful disagreement with my father with “freedom of speech” he responded. “You may have freedom of speech, but so do I and I win.” His response could have been worse.

We don’t have an obligation to facilitate their words. It’s up to them to acquire the means. They shouldn’t expect free space in a newspaper, radio or TV time any more than we should.

Freedom of speech doesn’t include violating our right to privacy. Technology can facilitate tracking our movement in our cars as well as private and commercial airplanes. Those doing so argue “it’s freedom of speech.” Sorry, that’s a stretch.

Freedom of appearance isn’t included when it’s essential. I reminded students to dress appropriately for an interview and an employer may require certain appearance on the job. They occasionally said, “That’s not fair. My appearance expresses my freedom of speech.” The world’s response is, “Fine, dress as you wish, but the employer may not to hire you. He hires those who fit in with his company culture and meets the needs of the position.”

Can employers control our freedom of speech? Depends. Views contrary to his expressed outside of work? Probably not. During work? Yes. Courts have reinforced the employer’s right to develop and maintain the company atmosphere he deems essential.

Contrary to what media may feel, courts have supported “confidentiality” related to running a business or the White House.

Freedom of speech in social media? Yes, but remember opening the app is voluntary. It’s hard, especially for our youth, but we can role play the will power to resist.

On a Sunday interview show, the guest made a unique argument that may have validity. The nature of social media emphasizes physical attractiveness, accomplishments and social acceptance. Consequently, it’s created a group of very lonely young men who don’t possess any of those characteristics. They aren’t getting attention, so they look to create it. A significant percentage of those committing mass shootings tend to occupy this group. At the least, it requires conversation with our children about social media and provide them with strategies to maximize its positives and minimize its negatives.

A tougher question is, “does our freedom of speech trump a person’s right to not be offended?” The short answer is, yes. It can be considered the price we pay for the freedom. We must realize if we want to think, improve or change we must be willing to risk being offensive to someone, especially those involved in the status quo. We must be willing to hear and consider uncomfortable words or questions if there is to be the possibility of progress.

The ramifications of freedom of speech can be difficult, but it exemplifies the extensive freedom we enjoy. It requires we demonstrate the personal responsibility to exercise that right with empathy, manners, good taste and an open mind.

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.


Numerous politicians have been in the news recently for their treatment of classified documents. Where do you keep your classified documents?

36% (190 votes) Classified documents? What classified documents?

17% (92 votes) Neatly filed in my office file cabinet

11% (60 votes) Safe deposit box at the bank

10% (52 votes) In the recycling like a responsible person

9% (47 votes) Unorganized random piles on my desk

7% (35 votes) Under a magnet on my fridge

6% (31 votes) In the bathroom for some light reading

4% (21 votes) Scattered loose on the floor of my car

This week’s question: How are you coping with midwinter cabin fever?

Vidakovich column: Maravich memories

A few weeks back, in the sports briefs section of the Denver Post, I read that a young man from Detroit Mercy University had moved into second place on the NCAA college basketball all-time scoring list. His name is Antoine Davis and he had just scored 42 points in a game the previous day to pass Freeman Williams, who played at Portland State in the mid-1970s.

Davis, a fifth-year graduate player, has amassed 3,274 points in his collegiate career, which puts him behind only Pistol Pete Maravich who starred at Louisiana State University in the late 1960s. Maravich, who was coached by his father, Press Maravich, scored 3,667, a total which is well within the reach of Davis.

Growing up in Glenwood Springs in the 1960s, this hotshot from LSU who they called “The Pistol” was my boyhood basketball idol. Back then there was no cable TV, so college basketball games on television were usually relegated to the single game on Saturday afternoon’s CBS broadcast. Since these games almost always featured the powerhouses of that time such as UCLA, Indiana and North Carolina, I never got to see Pete play in college.

My first time seeing Maravich play, other than on the late night sports highlights, was when he was a rookie with the Atlanta Hawks. It was in New York’s famed Madison Square Garden, on national TV against the Knicks. Pistol Pete made a behind-the-back pass on a fast break that not only faked out Knick’s guard Walt Frazier, but had my dad jumping out of his seat and asking me, “Did you see that, Mikey?!” Of course I did, pops. This is my hero dressed in shorts, a tank top and floppy gray work socks which were his trademark.

At that time, I was convinced that Pete Maravich was born in a manger, walked on water, and could feed the multitudes.

If you have taken the time to read this far, you may just be convinced that what I have to say from this point on is a bit biased, but in actuality, I’m just giving you a few facts to ponder in case this Davis guy actually does break Pete’s scoring record.

First of all, as I mentioned above, Davis is a fifth-year senior, that means he had four full season to accumulate the point total he is at now, and that is with a 3-point line and more games being played each season than back in Pete’s time.

When Maravich played, freshmen were not eligible to compete at the varsity level, so he scored all of those points in just three years. Legend has it that when the freshmen played at LSU, the stands were packed to watch this young phenom from the steel city of Aliquippa, Pennsylvania play. The stands would pretty much empty for the varsity game at LSU.

Maravich played far fewer games in his three seasons than what is allowable today and there was no 3-point line back then. Pete averaged 44.2 points per game (that is not a misprint) for his career. When Dale Brown took the coaching job at LSU in the 1990s, he watched all of the games on tape that Maravich played in his career, charting the long bombs that would have counted as 3 instead of just 2 points. Brown came up with the calculation that had there been a 3-point line when Maravich was playing, he would have averaged an astounding 52 points per game.

Just some things to think about folks, if you see down the road near the end of the season that Davis did indeed eclipse Pete’s record. I’m not sure that I will recognize it, and I do hope when it happens that it will be pointed out by the national scribes and broadcasters some of the facts I have mentioned.

Pistol Pete Maravich passed away at the young age of 40 years while playing a pickup basketball game in a church gym in Pasadena, California. It was January 5, 1988 and I will never forget that evening when I walked into my parent’s home and my father told me the news.

It turns out Pete had major problems with his heart, and doctors were amazed that he had lived as long as he did, based on the strenuous physical activities he had engaged in for so many years.

I always joke with my sixth grade friend Hayden Picore that Pete was much better than her idol, Steph Curry. She just gives me a look like, “C’mon old dude,” and she rolls her eyes. You know what? I would have done the same thing at that age to someone who tried to tell me that Pete wasn’t the top dog.

Pistol Pete will always be the greatest basketball player who ever walked the earth in my eyes, and that’s all that matters.

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

Carsten column: Oral health is essential for quality of life for pets

February has been designated as National Pet Dental Health Month to help draw attention to the importance of dental health care for our pet companions.

It has long been clear that there is a connection between the health of the mouth and the health of the rest of the body. Dental disease starts early in life for pets with the majority of dogs and cats having some degree of dental disease by the time they are three years old. Ongoing dental disease can contribute to mouth discomfort and stress on organs like the heart, liver and kidneys. This means that dental checkups and care are important important all year. Monitoring and preventive care should start early in life.

It is often bad breath and build up of hard calculi material on the teeth that brings attention to the mouth. These changes are often just what is seen on the surface with more serious conditions becoming apparent with a deeper look. Indication that there are more problems include a pet with abnormal chewing, food dropping from the mouth when eating, drooling, reduced or no appetite, swelling in the mouth or face, bleeding from the mouth, or pain in or around the mouth.

One goal of preventive dental care is to avoid more serious problems by addressing issues early. Regular dental exams along with regular dental cleanings are an important part of any preventive program. Ideally, daily teeth brushing with a pet appropriate toothpaste occurs as a way to reduce the plaque on the teeth. Unfortunately not all pets will allow teeth brushing.

Other options for attempting to reduce plaque accumulation include dental foods, dental treats and chews, oral sprays, and additives in the food or water. Products that have been approved by the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) can be found on their website. Strategies for reducing plaque and maintaining healthy gums vary by product. Some focus on reducing bacteria levels in the mouth or altering the biofilm on the teeth. Others mechanically “scrape” across the tooth during chewing in a way that helps reduce plaque.

There are some products that are a combination of these approaches. For example, products like soft rawhide and vegetable based chews containing enzymes, antimicrobials, and antioxidants combined with special shapes to increase plaque reduction when chewed are available. Keep in mind that not all effective products are listed on this VOHC website. For example, a controlled study evaluating a green tea product added to the daily water showed efficacy in reducing plaque.

Some online sources advocate the use of natural products like deer antlers, rawhide, bones and bully sticks. It is important to recognize that some of these hard products, like bone and antlers, can cause tooth fractures and other trauma to teeth when chewed. Tooth fractures can lead to pain, infections, and often extraction of the tooth. It is important to note that fractured teeth have been reported to occur in nearly 50% of pets at some time in their life. Depending on the extent of damage to the tooth, a root canal and restorative procedures can be done to save the tooth, but not all damaged teeth can be saved. So consider avoiding hard products or at least be aware of the potential problems so that careful monitoring can be regularly done. Concerns with rawhide include how free of contamination the product is and the potential that the pet could swallow pieces of the rawhide leading to digestive distress.

Regular dental cleanings under anesthesia should be anticipated over the life time of all pets. Some pets like small breed dogs typically require more frequent cleanings than large breed dogs because of the structure of their mouths. Dental x-rays can be essential when assessing the overall health of the mouth. In some studies it has been found that almost 28% of dogs and 42% of cats had diseased teeth seen on x-ray of teeth that appeared normal above the gum line. In pets with teeth that appear abnormal above the gum line there was an additional 50% more teeth in dogs and 53% more teeth in cats that were found to be abnormal with x-ray.

In addition to regular dental cleanings, daily or every other day brushing is valuable along with the use of products that reduce plaque accumulation and maintain overall oral health. If you have questions about your pet companion’s oral health, contact your veterinarian.

Ron Carsten, DVM, PhD, CVA, CCRT was one of the first veterinarians in Colorado to use the integrative approach, has lectured widely to veterinarians, and has been a pioneer in the therapeutic use of food concentrates to manage clinical problems. He is also the founder of Colorado Animal Rescue (CARE). In addition to his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, he holds a PhD in Cell and Molecular Biology and is a Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist and Certified Canine Rehabilitation Therapist. He practices integrative veterinary medicine in Glenwood Springs. Dr. Carsten is the 2022 Colorado Veterinary Medical Association Distinguished Service Award recipient.

Monday letters: Save Glenwood Historical Society

Don’t lose history by repeating history

The former Arts Council that ran the Center for the Arts in the Hydroelectric Building lost its funding and support from the City of Glenwood. To close the Arts Center the Arts Council had to sell off all the supplies, costumes, pottery kilns and office furniture at ridiculous low prices or give the items away. These were items that the arts council raised money to procure. 

The city has tried to make the Hydroelectric building an art center (buying new replacement equipment). However, most of the space in the building is dedicated to offices for parks and rec. We have lost the essence of the old art center.

The Union Pacific Railroad forced the closure of the Railroad Museum. For many years, the Union Pacific had given the museum a “sweetheart” deal on the rent. The Union Pacific informed the Railroad Museum that they needed to charge the museum a commercial rate. The city of Glenwood would not write a letter of support for reduced rent for the museum. Again, the staff at the museum had to look up the donors of all items and return them to their owners or to donate the items to other 501c3’s. That local history and tourist attraction is lost forever.

The city should not lose another cultural or historical nonprofit that contributes so much to the essence of our community. Members of the Art Council and the Railroad Museum put their hearts, time, and money into supporting these organizations, just as the Historical Society is doing now.

There is no way that the Historical Society can raise the $120,000 needed to keep the doors open next year. The museum itself needs approximately $500,000 to restore the building. Please help the Historical Society remain viable. It is time to realize how this organization contributes to our community. 

If you do not help the Historical Society, we could lose another aspect of our community. What will history say about this community?

Judy O’Donnell, volunteer at Frontier Historical Museum