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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

Eagle

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

Clifton

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

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

Carbondale

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

Rifle

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.

Carbondale

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.

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

Wednesday letters: Boebert’s claims, and support for Boebert

Substantiate claims

I don’t like to think Rep. Boebert believes QAnon theories, and I also hate to think she is telling us lies about the election results. 

Please, Ms. Boebert, substantiate your information. You owe this to your constituents. Otherwise, it is time for you to resign your post. We can’t have liars representing us in our government.

Judith Elzinga

Glenwood Springs

Supporting Boebert

We the people elected Lauren Boebert to uphold our rights as citizens called the 2nd Amendment, and that is exactly what she is doing. She took an oath of office to uphold the Constitution of the United States the day she became our congresswoman, and she plans to follow those laws. 

If any of you knew the laws of the Constitution you would understand, but you clearly don’t know the Constitution. You all should educate yourselves a bit. 

We the people support Lauren Boebert as our congresswoman. 

Tonya Walls

Silt

Monday letters: Boebert, Trump, D.C. violence, politics, new hope

Responsible parties

This was the darkest day this nation has seen since I was born in 1983. Far darker than any foreign attack, this was the culmination of Trump’s attempt to stay in power through his lies and combative rhetoric.

We all saw an attack on the citadel of democracy. This was an insurrection, a failed coup d’état. Make no mistake, Trump has lied to the American public. We are all shocked, but none of us should be very surprised; a small part of each of us saw something like this coming.

His desire to stay in power is so strong that, since Nov. 3, he has lied about winning the election, and his language while perpetuating this lie has gotten increasingly combative. Worse, he is not alone. While the president and his lackeys were fanning the flames and whipping a crowd of thousands into a vengeful mob in D.C, some members of the House and Senate were agreeing with this lie throughout the soon-to-be-invaded halls of Congress. At that same time, one of Colorado’s representatives was pledging that this day was the new 1776.

In some of the far reaches of the internet, on message boards and the social media app Parler, calls for revolution and violence have grown since Trump lost his re-election. This was no surprise.

What was surprising was to learn that many people calling for a revolt to keep Trump in office were claiming “this is the new 1776” or “a 1776 moment.”

When she signed a 1776 pledge that morning, I believe our congresswoman knew what that meant to Trump supporters. She was openly asking for an insurrection. What may be worse is, after the violence, she, unlike the eight other delegates from Colorado, continued to perpetuate Trump’s massive lie by voting to object to certification of the Electoral College.

Our congresswoman and the president are directly responsible for what happened on Jan. 6, 2021. We know Trump will be leaving office in two weeks, and our congresswoman should save us all some trouble, acknowledge what she has done and resign her seat.

Colin Wilhelm

Glenwood Springs

Condemn the violence

The violence on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, Jan. 6, should be condemned. It is very clear that there can be no peace in America until the Democratic and Republican parties are gone.

This violence is the first step toward a civil war started by both the Democratic and Republican parties. All of their corruption, monetary greed and election rigging has brought us to this dangerous point. Look at all of the billions of dollars spent on these elections.

The spending is way out of control. All of this money was wasted on two corrupt political parties during this time when millions of Americans are suffering. Legally, these two political parties are mere political clubs fighting for control of America’s election system. They have no legal right to control America’s election system. Election reform can only come from nonpartisan open elections managed by independent nonpartisan election commissions.

Neither of these two parties care about the American people. While these two parties debated for nine months over how little money to give to the American people, they had no problem giving their corporate sponsors billions of corporate welfare.

Apparently, the American people are not worth much, according to these two parties. It is our money, not theirs.

These two parties are dangerous to America and to the American people. Nothing good can come of their continued existence. Their continued existence can only escalate into more violence and civil war.

With only two skimpy survival checks, the violence of 2020, and now the attack on Capitol Hill, the Democratic and Republican parties have written their own political obituaries for 2022, for 2024, and hopefully forever.

Randy Fricke

National Election Reform Committee/Independent Voting

New Castle

Flipping the game board

The Jan. 6 insurrection, ordered by Trump and sons, grabbed me with the thought that we’re waging sedition against Congress, over a vote, despite it following the rules and procedures set out in the constitution.

We stormed the halls, in the name of the Constitution, while flying a confederate flag. Dang, it’s like flipping the monopoly board because everybody’s playing fair.

Seems to me it’s a demonstration of the cognitive dissonance that is daily broadcast to and absorbed by a third of our population. Information from the nonscience, alternate fact universe, where cellphones are made like lollipops.

John Hoffmann

Carbondale

Awaiting new chapter

Another terrible day in Washington, D.C. — Jan. 6, 2021 — unfolded as our current president held a rally and told his supporters/protesters that they should march to the Capitol. He also said, “You will never take back our country with weakness.”

In America, we all know that peaceful protesters are allowed to voice their opinions. Many of these protesters sadly transformed into a violent mob. The attack on our U.S. Capitol left four people dead, many injured and much property damage.

In the Bible (Galatians), it says, “You reap what you sow.” The current president has told the American people so many lies that many find it hard to know what is true. All American citizens have the right to vote, but if they don’t vote for “you,” they are enemies.

Let us hope on Jan. 20 we can start a new chapter of our history — All Americans working together to get through a difficult time.

Nancy Hess

Glenwood Springs

Accept responsibility

How ironic that the poll in Wednesday’s paper asked what we thought should be the No. 1 area of focus for Rep. Boebert.

I’m sure my thoughts are not one of the options provided, but here’s what I would suggest: Ms. Boebert — as I know that you advocate personal responsibility, I request that you accept your personal responsibility for the events at the Capitol on Wednesday, including the loss of five lives.

One of those people died trying to protect you from a mob, and I would hope that you would consider donating at least half of your congressional salary to a fund for the benefit of that officer’s family, as well as the other officers injured in the melee.

Most other members of Congress, from both parties, have acknowledged that what happened was not “patriotism” or “protest.” I also suggest serious study of the Constitution, every article and every amendment.

Sharon McLin

New Castle

Investigate hate groups

Rep. Boebert, please use your position and power to investigate white supremacy groups. They were on full display Wednesday at the U.S. Capitol where five people were killed and many more police officers were wounded.

The Southern Poverty Law Center reported in 2019 that there are 1,020 U.S. hate groups and that they have increased 30% since 2016.

As a child, I crouched under school desks during nuclear attack drills, but I am far more fearful today of white supremacy groups. They meet in secret locations like public forests to practice military drills, they are heavily armed, and they use symbols I do not understand, like the Nazis did in Germany before World War II.

I am very worried that if we do not investigate and root out these secret paramilitary groups, they will proliferate and assault free speech and ultimately cause our open society in America to close.

Ken Ransford

Carbondale

Boebert reference out of context

Separate but equal. Poorly written rhetoric or dog whistle?

I just couldn’t let it go. Our elected officials need to have integrity. The insurrection at the Capitol was heartbreaking, humiliating and horrifying. It was indefensible.

Then, I listened to our representative, Lauren Boebert’s, speech on the House floor. I take no issue with the necessity of civilized debate. That is what she was sent to Washington to do. She stated she had a “separate but equal” obligation to object.

Huh? Separate but equal was the Supreme Court doctrine circa 1954 that upheld legal segregation. Those three words strung together were out of context in Rep. Boebert’s speech.

On that day, at that time, those are the words that were carefully chosen to express her duty? The knot that had been in my stomach moved to my throat, and I couldn’t let it go. It must have been poorly written rhetoric, a beginner’s mistake.

Rep. Boebert came out with an ad earlier in the week, “Why I’m carrying my Glock to Congress.” In the ad she is shown walking the empty streets of D.C. (allegedly) with her Glock. She did not have her Glock with her on Jan. 6, according to an interview Rep. Fallon (Texas) gave to Chris Salcedo on Newsmax on Jan. 6. This is because Rep. Boebert has not been carrying her Glock to Congress, according to a statement her spokesperson Ben Goldey gave to the Washington Post.

Again, I am giving our newest representative the benefit of the doubt. Our elected officials need to have integrity, be honest. That is why I couldn’t let it go. Rep. Boebert represents the constituents she left in western Colorado, not just the ones outside the Capitol with her on Wednesday. My hope for 2021 is that we all focus more on the facts, the issues and working together.

Not so thinly veiled racist rhetoric was not the message southern and western Colorado should have sent to the world. I hope that was not the message the world received. That is why I couldn’t let it go.

Heather Beattie

Rifle

A way out of the darkness

Everyone is unhappy these days. We are living under a cloud of suffering. Most Americans, and I believe citizens of the world, feel a certain level of frustration, fear, anxiety, anger and powerlessness.

Our leaders have failed us on both sides of the aisle. Their self-serving interests are there to divide and conquer the human spirit.

I have news for those “leaders,” you may be able to rule the limited human ego through fear. But you can never vanquish the human spirit. It is what gets us through the tough times, including the predicament we find ourselves in today.

The only thing more powerful than the fear being tossed about is the light of love that exists within the heart of every human.

We will never solve the problems we face with more of the same negative energy.

This is no time to hide in the shadows and fester in the wrongs of the past. Use your past to fuel your present and harness your inner power.

It is time for us to take responsibility for our own lives, to stop making excuses, beating ourselves up, blaming and clean up our inner attitudes.

It is time for our egos to step aside, stop taking things so personally and put our true selves in the driver’s seat.

Only light can change the dark.

That light has to come from within. Refocus on what is good in you, your life, the world. Look for what connects you to others instead of what is different. Choose to give your energy to lifting yourself and the world up through positive thoughts, words and actions.

One person at a time, we must stoke our own inner fire of potent love to overcome the darkness we face.

This is not someone else’s responsibility. It is your responsibility and mine. Will you join me in consciously letting spirit rise up while letting ego sit down?

Now is the time. The world truly needs you.

Mindy Arbuckle

Glenwood Springs

Be responsible, and resign

January 6, 2021, will be remembered as a very sad day by me. Our nation’s Capitol was looted by rioters, domestic terrorists. Five people died. One of them was an Air Force veteran. One, a police officer.

The officer died protecting Rep. Lauren Boebert from the very people she encouraged to be at our Capitol that day, her “constituents,” she called them, while she hid in an undisclosed location.

Is that how you support our law enforcement men and women, Representative? Is that how you “Back the Blue”?

In less than a week on the job, the blood of five dead people is on your hands, Ms. Boebert. I ask you to take responsibility and resign.

Surely, we can find someone that will think about protecting our Constitution and defending our democracy to take your place.

James Gilliam

Carbondale

 

Friday letter: Trump’s legacy

Trump leaving dangerous legacy

Like many of you, I watched in horror and disgust the violent protest and insurrection that occurred at the United States Capitol yesterday. Three things stand out as I continue to process the events of the afternoon. 

1) I find it inconceivable that the police did not make arrests. Compare this protest and insurrection to the protests against racial injustice. If the angry mob had been black or brown instead of white, would the outcome have been the same? How many would have been arrested or shot? 

2) The rhetoric of Donald Trump and his encouragement of his Proud Boys/militia/MAGA supporters has led to this sorry state. While I am shocked to see the Confederate flags, flags that represent traitors to our Constitution, being carried through the Capitol buildings, at the same time I am sad to say I am not at all surprised. This is the culmination of years of lies, misinformation and stoking the fires of political and racial division in our United States.

3) In Rep. Lauren Boebert’s very first speech on floor of the House of Representatives yesterday, immediately before the angry white mob stormed the House and Senate buildings, she stated that “her constituents outside” demanded that she object to the results of the free and fair election of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. Boebert very plainly identified her constituents as the group of insurrectionists and seditionists — not the residents of Colorado District 3. Nothing she can say now, no amount of mealy-mouthed, half-hearted Twitter statements, can erase the damage that her statements have done by contributing to the division and encouraging the armed violent uprising.

I am not naive enough to believe that this nightmare will end on Jan. 20. While Trump may have to be dragged kicking and screaming from the White House, he is leaving behind a dangerous legacy of insurrection. It will take our beloved country years to heal.

Laurie Lawrence

Rifle

Letters: Colorado River Fire Rescue, building codes, stimulus checks, and collective action

Thanks for Colorado River Fire Rescue

In the wake of our house fire up Divide Creek, Mitch and I feel so blessed by the outpouring of support from our neighbors, friends and family. We would like to first thank our neighbor Brent Herrala and his family for reporting and documenting the fire. Our wonderful neighbors, Mark and Lisa Balcomb for all their concern and offers of help. The Colorado River Fire Department was incredible in keeping the fire contained to only the house. They fought tirelessly for over 20 hours. At times like this you truly realize what an amazing community we live in. Words cannot describe our gratitude to everyone who reached out.

Sanja and Mitch Morgan
Silt

Roaring Fork Valley should update building codes to help combat climate change

Insanity, said Einstein, is doing the same thing but expecting a different result. Unfortunately, the Einstein diagnosis means that Carbondale, and this valley, are far around the bend. Some 90% of Americans now think climate change is happening.

But what are we doing about it?

While researching methods of dealing with the lowering of carbon emissions, I came across a Danish company that is manufacturing innovative equipment and products to retrofit and lower the emissions of existing buildings in Europe. Even Carbondale recognizes that existing buildings are a major part of our local greenhouse gas emissions. The spokesperson pointed out that, ironically, the world (and Carbondale) continues to construct new buildings that are also emitting greenhouse gas from burning fossil fuels. These new buildings are now just added to existing buildings that need to be retrofitted.

What would Einstein say? When you find yourself in a hole — stop digging! The technology exists for new buildings to be free of emissions. We should demand that they use it. Parts of California are now requiring this. New gas lines are not allowed.

There are existing building codes that do require new structures to be more efficient. We also have new requirements for solar panels on some buildings. But all these buildings are still part of the problem. I suggest we get tough on this and only allow fossil fuel free buildings. And soon. We are in the midst of a development boom.

Changing these building codes will spur innovation and push for better pricing on the kinds of practices, materials and products that can solve these problems.

Patrick Hunter
Carbondale

Don’t need a $600 stimulus? Donate it to those in need

Yesterday I received my $600 stimulus check. I began thinking about what to spend it on. As I went over the many options I realized that without the check I can pay my mortgage. I can pay my utilities, phone bill, cable TV, car payment, insurance. I can put food on the table. What happened to me that I deserve or need this stimulus check. Nothing. Why should I receive this unearned and undeserved windfall? I would like to challenge everyone who received the stimulus check who has a job and can take care of all your needs without it to consider as I have done to donate the money to Lift Up or some other charity. We have many of our fellow citizens who have fallen on to hard times thru no fault of their own who desperately need a hand up. It is difficult for me to see the need in our community and turn a blind eye while I think about spending my check on things I don’t really need. Please consider donating to help the people in our community who need our help.

Gary Paul Starr
Glenwood Springs

‘We can make a difference through collective action’

One of the aspects of my job that I love the most is being out and engaged with my community, developing relationships, and tackling complex issues. I deeply miss gathering in the same room with my neighbors to discuss how we can improve our valleys and putting pen to paper on big ideas. Over the last year, just like everyone out here, I have had to rethink and retool the majority of my professional and personal activities.

All of our lives have been disrupted by this pandemic – shucks, it’s in the name — pandemic: global outbreak. Businesses have had to innovate to overcome new challenges. Schools have had to make tough decisions and adapt to evolving circumstances. Health care workers have had to persevere through months of consistent crisis.

With information coming from our hospitals and public health professionals on the deepening severity of our situation, I am reminded of how we must remain diligent in doing our part to stop the spread. I am motivated to do this by the people in my life who are affected by my actions.

I would never be able to forgive myself if something happened to my parents, my sisters, my friends if they became ill because I wasn’t careful, because I thought that I was the exception to public health’s warnings. Beyond those who are closest to me, I think of my fellow community members and the immense weight that comes with health and financial hardships.

I think we can all agree that we want to see our local business community succeed. I chose this community precisely because of our vibrant local character. This is why I prioritize shopping local and order delivery or take out as often as possible. If we all follow the fact-based protocols of limiting gatherings, wearing masks, washing hands, keeping our distance and staying home when sick we can bring our numbers down, but we ALL have to do our part.

We can make a difference through collective action. This is what the United to Stop the Spread campaign asks us to do. Encourage your neighbors and friends to take health protocols seriously for our businesses, our schools, our families and our essential workers.

Bryana Starbuck
Team member for the United to
Stop the Spread campaign
Glenwood Springs

Monday letters: Restore USPS, open letter to Boebert, Trump analyses, stimulus needed

Restore the USPS

I very much look forward to the turning over of new leaves. I can feel a softening. People are taking this new year seriously. Even Jupiter and Saturn have forged new bonds.

We have a lot to put right.

Laws to ensure clean air, clean water, soil, food, employee safety. My pet project is freeing the Postal Service from Director De Joys ministrations. He had slowed service before the election and is drumming up business for private carriers.

I want the sorting machines and blue boxes back, the office staffed at pre Louis De Joy levels. I’m tired of the long waits in line with frustrated people and the mail clerks looking overworked and harried.

I want my cheerful postal workers back.

The U.S. Postal Service has dutifully maintained the backbone of communication and commerce in America since its inception.There is a reason it is called the Postal Service. Let’s insist on its full restoration.

John Hoffmann

Carbondale

Open letter to Congresswoman Boebert

I am Jennie Sanchez, a United States citizen and registered voter. My ancestors were living in the United States when Mexico ceded our homeland to the United States. Because I am Latina, often my votes have not counted. Anglo voters block-voted against Latino-preferred candidates.

In 1993, I was lead plaintiff in a voting rights lawsuit that won for Latinos in Colorado the ability to elect a state representative of their choice. (Sanchez v. Colorado, 97 F.3d 1303 [10th Cir. 1996], cert denied, 520 U.S. 1229 [1997]).

You are not the voice of Donald Trump. You represent the Third Congressional District where I live. According to your oath of office, your obligation is to the Constitution of the United States. I object to your proposed action to contest the electoral certification on January 6, 2021 as an undemocratic stunt; you are refusing to accept the legitimate voice of voters.

President-elect Joe Biden won the presidential election by 7 million legal votes. The courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court, the Department of Homeland Security and Attorney General Barr have verified that the Nov. 3 election was free and fair. Your refusal to accept the election results is not based on any credible information or expertise.

I call on you to honor your oath and to abandon your selfish, false and undemocratic plan to disrupt the certification of the electoral votes cast in the 2020 presidential election.

Jennie M. Sanchez

Center, Colorado

Trump dumpster fire is over

The gentleman whose letter appeared in your paper on New Years day hit the nail on the head regarding what is waiting for Donald Trump in the days following his exit from the White House.

New York state Attorney General’s office is going after Trump for the Trump.org charity scam. Trump.org was set up as a charity, but prosecutors found that none of the money from that supposed charity went anywhere except into the Trump family pockets. And, it was millions of dollars, so that is a big one.

The next offense Trump has to deal with is involving payments to Stormy Daniels; if you remember the porn star who had an affair with Trump, then when she threatened to tell her story to the newspapers 3 months before the 2016 election, Trump directed Michael Cohen, his lawyer at the time, to pay her off. Trump’s signature on the check is in evidence now with the prosecutor’s office.

And, then there is the civil suit that is moving forward in January by a woman who claims Trump raped her.

And, lastly the Deutsche Bank deal, where Trump borrowed $480. million dollars without the approval of the bank, and now the 2 bankers who authorized that loan no longer work there. So, we could say Trump’s plate is full.

The dumpster fire that was 2020 is over, and I wish everyone a Happy New Year.

Unfortunately, there are still those who want to actively overturn Biden’s win. That will not happen. Even Mitch McConnell and Mike Pence are protecting the Electoral College. They understand the gravity of protecting our most precious constitution.

Yesterday, Lin Wood, Trump’s attorney, claimed that John Roberts, one our Supreme Court Justices is a pedophile. Then Trump tweeted it again. Any guesses as to how John Roberts feels about Trump and his attorney?

The pandemic virus will be beat this year, and I hope all of you did not get it, and I hope you did not lose a loved one to it.

Good days ahead.

Steven Gluckman

Glenwood Springs

Finally figured it out

I’ve been struggling with a conundrum for the last four years. How could so many evangelical Christians, or anyone who purports to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ, support a man as patently immoral as Donald Trump?

I mean this guy had an affair with a porn star and a Playboy model while his wife was pregnant. It seems to me a good Christian would pray for his soul, but would never want him to get anywhere near the White House. Instead, they rally around him as if he were a deity himself with slogans like “Jesus Christ is my Savior and Donald Trump is my president.”

After considerable deliberation, I’ve finally divined the solution. These people go to church every Sunday where the preacher dishes out a ration of bilge without, as the White House reporters constantly have to say, any evidence to support his claims. The man in the pulpit says Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior when he can’t even prove He existed. The parishioners gobble it up because they believe that’ll get them into Heaven.

So, somebody like Trump comes along with the same lack of commitment to the truth and those steeped in gullibility conclude he’s divinely inspired as well.

P.T. Barnum allegedly said. “There’s a sucker born every minute.” Obviously, there’s at least that many.

Fred Malo Jr.

Carbondale

Stimulus check really needed

I want to respond to Dave Reed’s comment regarding donating your stimulus checks if you are not in need of them.

I am a low-income disabled senior citizen. My annual income is barely above $10,000 per year. I am on the wait list for a new apartment building in Grand Junction that is low income based through the Grand Junction Housing authority.

It will cost me close to $1,000 to hire movers in March when the apartments open. It will also cost me just over $700 on my deposit. I do not have $1,700 to pay for this, but I am moving to be closer to all my doctors.

I do not know which charity organizations in Garfield County help people like me. My only hope is that yet another stimulus check will be approved by President Joe Biden by March.

I don’t know of anyone that would volunteer to move my things. I can afford to rent a moving truck but can’t load my things. If anyone can give me the list of charity organizations that can help with deposits or pay for movers please let me know before March. I will truly appreciate the information.

Janie Wilkey

New Castle

Friday letters: Phosphorus in water, herd immunity, school worker vaccinations, and Trump not responsible

Stop removing phosphorus from water discharged to Blue River

As a retired civil engineer who specialized in projects involving water quality and quantity, I have the following comments about the article titled “Tinkering with a pollutant, Colorado ranch seeks to improve fish habitat.” It addresses a proposal by a landowner along the Blue River in Summit County to add the chemical phosphorus to the river to increase the growth rate of trout that are stocked in it by the state for the benefit of fly fishers.

I object to the inference in the title of the article that phosphorus is a “pollutant.” That is simplistic at best, and an all too common example of journalism that injects a political bias into what is being reported.

In fact, phosphorus is one of the elements that is essential for the existence of all green plants and thus for the animals that eat them. That includes the many species of algae that inhabit natural water bodies, and the food chain of microbes, invertebrate animals and vertebrate animals that depend on these aquatic plants at its base.

As is true of many other substances found in water and air (think carbon dioxide in air for example), phosphorus is only a pollutant when it occurs at a sufficiently high concentration to cause harm of one sort or another. But what is beneficial to some people is harmful to others. As to phosphorus in water, unnaturally high concentrations in water may substantially increase the growth of algae, to a point that gives the water a disgusting greenish cast, kills fish and makes the water unsuitable for drinking by livestock or humans. Therefore, determining the best concentration of phosphorus for a particular body of water is largely a political decision that should be informed by qualified technical judgment as to the impact of various concentrations, and include economic considerations regarding the cost of maintaining those concentrations.

In this particular case, the wastewater treatment plant at Silverthorne spends money on chemicals to remove phosphorus from its discharge to the Blue River. Maybe it should just stop doing that.

Carl Ted Stude

Carbondale

State of New York will have the final word on fate of Trump family

 The Trump regime’s unofficial policy all along in regard to the COVID-19 pandemic was the so-called public health strategy of herd immunity. This policy of complete surrender to the coronavirus is a direct result of the Republican Party’s malign neglect and “herd mentality,” as Donald Trump himself said.

Trump has made it perfectly clear over the course of this conservative-caused catastrophe that he wants, in his own words, a “herd developed” solution to this crisis of his own making. Over 350,000 Americans are dead, most of whom didn’t have to die. Trump is directly to blame for this genocidal crime against humanity, not to mention his countless crimes against the Constitution.

Being voted out of office in a landslide is insufficient punishment for Vladimir Putin’s puppet.  Trump deserves to be prosecuted to the full extent of the law upon the end of his pathological presidency on Jan. 20. No presidential pardon is going to save the Trump crime family from state civil and criminal prosecutions, which is why the state of New York will have the final word on the fate of these fascists and their bogus business empire.

Jake Pickering

Arcata, CA

Vaccinating school workers should be a priority as a recovery catalyst

(This letter was originally addressed: Dear Governor Polis)

The sooner we vaccinate all the adults in our schools, the sooner they can resume in-person teaching. This will allow both parents to work if needed, taking a huge burden off of them and getting people back in the work force.

It also will bring a sense of normalcy back to our kids who need to be in school learning with their peers.

The federal government is allowing the states to control distribution of the virus vaccine. I would say vaccinating school workers should be a priority as a recovery catalyst.

Joe Mollica

Glenwood Springs

Trump not responsible for year of sickness, death, social unrest

Big tech and the media colluded with the Democrats to drag Joe Biden across the finish line as he hid in the basement. You’d think letter writers like Christmas Day’s Linda Carr would give the Trump derangement syndrome a rest.

But no, she holds The Donald responsible for a “horrible year of sickness, death, social unrest and food insecurity.” She deplored “violence from the followers of Trump.” 

The violence and social unrest were caused by BLM and Antifa radicals in Democratic controlled cities and called “peaceful protests” by the liberal media. Trump supporters were the law abiding protesters.

Like the sham Mueller probe that was based on lies manufactured by Hillary and the DNC? Or like the fake impeachment Nancy Pelosi weaponized against Trump while he was battling the coronavirus invasion?

Facebook and Twitter aren’t pro-Trump. In reality those two big-tech monopolies did more to throw the election for the cognitively challenged one than all the hundreds of millions in filthy campaign lucre.

I pray Biden can’t ruin the U.S. before the 2022 midterms when we will regain the House and hold the Senate. Maybe then we can have a legitimate impeachment.

Bruno Kirchenwitz

Rifle