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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

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

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

Friday letters: Uinta rail, term limits, Ukraine stance, justice?

Colorado needs to weigh in

The state of Utah has filed an amicus brief in support of the Uinta Basin Railway, a proposed 88-mile stretch of tracks from the oil fields in northeast Utah to the Union Pacific line along the Colorado River. The oil that would be transported is so viscous it must be loaded into heated tanker cars.

Where does the Colorado state government stand on this? These highly volatile drags would be pulled all across the state through some of the most environmentally sensitive areas in the country.

Eagle County has filed a lawsuit in federal court against the approval issued by the Forest Service and Surface Transportation Board saying the environmental impact analysis was insufficient. It didn’t take into consideration the impacts in Colorado. Ten local governments have filed amicus briefs in support of the suit including Glenwood Springs, Pitkin County, and several environmental groups.

The court will probably ask the Forest Service and the Surface Transportation Board to revise their Environmental Impact Statement, but to stop this in its tracks will take a directive from Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack or President Joe Biden. A petition requesting just this can be accessed at stopuintabasinrailway.org.

Since the state of Utah has chimed in, it sure would help if our state government got behind Eagle County’s suit. Contact Gov. Jared Polis (governorpolis@state.co.us), state Sen. Dylan Roberts (Dylan.roberts.senate@coleg.gov), and Rep. Elizabeth Velasco (Elizabeth.velasco.house@coleg.gov) and ask for the state’s support.

350 Roaring Fork has protested the UBR at Glenwood Springs’ Centennial Park on Dec. 10 and Jan. 21. If the situation isn’t resolved, more demonstrations could be planned. Stay up to date on 350 Roaring Fork’s website, Facebook, or Instagram page.

Fred Malo Jr., Carbondale

Supporting term limits

I want to commend your newspaper for publishing the column (Bruell, 1/20) written about the ancient local political “professionals” running Garfield County. It clearly and articulately supports the reasons that Garfield County citizens must demand term limits for elected officials. 

In my view we are sorely in need of new and creative individuals on the county commission and a new sheriff who will represent the entire county, not just those that look, talk and think like they do.

Rebecca Doane, Carbondale

Reprehensible rep

It has become apparent that our current 3rd District U.S. Congressperson has not had a class in American History or civics. Her opposition to military and financial aid to war-torn Ukraine serves as a case and point.

Putin and imperialistic Russia must not be allowed to take over another sovereign country. What would the world look like today, if my father, father in-law, uncle and other members of the greatest generation, had not heeded the call to stop Adolf Hitler? As imperfect as our world is today, it could be far worse, and we owe them a great debt for their valor.

A year ago, a U.S. Army commander training NATO troops in Europe explained why he was proud to help. “Twenty years ago, after we were attacked on 9/11, everyone of these NATO countries sent troops to Afghanistan to help us fight against Al-Queda.”

Perhaps our U.S. Congressperson doesn’t see the importance of stopping Russian aggression in Europe? Perhaps she is too self-absorbed on her phone to pay attention and comprehend the atrocities being committed against innocent women and children in Ukraine?

Whatever the cause, her congressional voting record and behavior speaks for itself. The citizens of Colorado’s 3rd District deserve a more conscientious U.S. representative.

Joe Mollica, Glenwood Springs

Questioning justice

I obviously need some help in understanding how things work around here. 

I have been a healthcare worker for 18 years, and have seen many tragic things. So, from what I understand, that means I can get drunk, take my AR-style rifle, go over to my neighbor’s home, stick it in his chest, and threaten to “muzzle thump” him with it? Then I can barricade myself in my home, come out and not be shot by police? 

I will be able to be released on a personal recognizance bond, be required to present for urinalysis testing that may or may not be done, and have the results sealed by the court. 

Oh, and then the District Attorney will argue for me that I did this because of the bad things I have seen in my profession and I should not be penalized? Yeah, right! 

If I had survived the shooting when I came out from barricading myself in my home, they would have thrown the book at me and thrown away the key! Now here is my question: is this just “good old-boyism” or is this a case of “it’s all in who you know”? I just want to be clear.

Molli Deines, Rifle

Wednesday letters: Buddies coming, thank a school board member, facts, wolves, growth, term limits

Collaborating for Buddies

Happy 2023! We are so excited to announce the expansion of programming for the Buddy Program, a youth mentoring organization, to Glenwood Springs this year!

As many of you know, Youth Zone has been serving the community since 1976. For many years a part of that programming was the PALS Program, a mentoring program for youth. YouthZone discontinued the PALS program in 2016 and continues to this day to maintain focus on intervention services for at-risk youth who are either involved or at risk of involvement in the justice system.

The Buddy Program and Youth Zone have always worked collaboratively to ensure seamless prevention and intervention services for youth in our communities. As they celebrate their 50th Anniversary of serving youth, it is an opportune time for the Buddy Program to expand their preventative, mentoring programs to youth and families in Glenwood Springs. We are working to recruit Big Buddies now so that we can start matching youth in late summer!

As we continue to work together to ensure all youth throughout the Roaring Fork Valley are supported, we invite you to be a part of our work! For more information on volunteering for or donating to the Buddy Program please call 970-920-2130 or visit www.buddyprogram.org For more information on volunteering and donating to YouthZone, please call 970-945-9300 or visit www.youthzone.com.

Yours in service to youth and families,

Jamie Hayes, Executive Director, Youth Zone

Lindsay Lofaro, Executive Director, Buddy Program

Thank a school board member

January is School Board Recognition Month. Every year, we take this opportunity to publicly thank our elected board members for volunteering their time and talent to the Roaring Fork Schools. Kathryn Kuhlenberg, Jasmin Ramirez, Natalie Torres, Maureen Stepp and Kenny Teitler spend countless hours every month to make public education the best it can be in our district, and our school district is better because of their individual and collective efforts.

Over the past year, our board has hired a new superintendent, updated dozens of policies, passed resolutions of support for LGBTQ+ students and for Hispanic Heritage month, regularly visited schools, and engaged a board coach to improve our school’s governance practices. Our board makes tough decisions on complex issues that affect our entire school community. Board members bear responsibility and oversight for an annual budgeted appropriation of $100 million; 6,300 students in 14 schools; and 1,000 employees across our district.

Being a board member is never easy, but it has been especially challenging these past few years during a global pandemic and in the face of other controversial political issues. Each board member has been tasked to make difficult decisions as school community members called for contradicting actions. They handled these challenges with grace, diplomacy, wisdom and compassion.

Thank you to each of our board members. We are grateful for your service and leadership. With three of five seats up for election on Nov. 7, 2023, we hope you will join us in thanking our board members for all that they have done for our school district community over the years.

Superintendent Jesús Rodríguez, on behalf of the Roaring Fork Schools

Fact-checking

I feel that we could use some fact checking from beyond the roundabout in response to the 1/20 letter from Tom Mooney.

Glenwood Springs does have a penny sales tax that goes to RFTA. All of the buses in town are free. There is a separate municipal contribution to fund the free Ride Glenwood bus service. 

Battery electric buses require a little more infrastructure than a Nissan Leaf in the driveway. The ongoing construction on the RFTA facility in West Glenwood includes charging and indoor storage for upcoming purchases of electric buses. In the meantime, much of the fleet in Glenwood uses compressed natural gas (CNG), which is better for air quality.

I must admit, however, that Glenwood does not give people $55 for groceries. Perhaps that’s the silver bullet.

Debbie Cooper, New Castle

Quality, not quantity

The city’s draft comprehensive plan was released in mid-December, comments due Jan. 6. It’s a guideline for the city for the next 10 years. I doubt many could read all 185 pages over the holidays.

The words “growth” and “develop(ment)” appear 515 times. But the words “quality of life” only appear 25 times. Do we have our priorities straight?

There are sections on Land Use & Growth Management, Economic Development, Transportation, Housing, Public Utilities, Recreation, etc.

Let’s add a section on Quality of Life. How did we miss that? Quality of life is what Glenwood Springs is all about.

The plan talks about what type of growth, how to grow, where to grow, etc. And ways we can try to address the impacts.

Instead, let’s discuss how to improve our quality of life, and how much growth that will allow. That’s where the planning should start. Are we growing Glenwood Springs for the people who are here, or the people who want to be here? Do the citizens want to continue the scale and pace of recent growth?

This plan also changes the Urban Growth Boundary … areas the city intends to annex. A large area east of the Roaring Fork down to Riverview School was added, and a big area along Four Mile Road. Also some slopes of Lookout Mountain.

In 2003, the city annexed Four Mile Ranch (Red Feather Ridge then), the first development on the left as you head up Four Mile Road. Citizens voted overwhelmingly to reverse the annexation. The issue was clear … citizens wanted Four Mile Road to remain rural.

Recent votes on the airport and 480 Donegan show that the planners and our government aren’t in touch with the citizens on growth and development issues. Here we go again.

Growth brings us new faces, a larger tax base, more retail choices, and more economic vitality.

But growth also brought us traffic, higher taxes, no spring clean-up, less and lower quality water, and soon, paid parking downtown.

There’s a balance between growth and quality of life; this plan isn’t there yet.

Jon Banks, Glenwood Springs

Wolf thoughts

Tom Zieber, I have some thoughts about your letter to the editor (Wolf fear-mongering, 1/20/23). 

Not all dogs can be on leash. Working cattle and sheep dogs are good example.

Did you know almost one half of Colorado voted not to reintroduce wolves? The voters of Moffat and Rio Blanco counties voted no. Do you know why? Have you spoken to any ranchers or outdoor persons from these counties?

You might be surprised to know, we already have wolves in Colorado. There is documented evidence of wolves killing livestock. 

Why do we need to reintroduce wolves if they are already here. The reintroduced wolves should be in counties that voted for them. Just because Moffat and Rio Blanco counties are not heavily populated does not mean they should be reintroduced in these counties. We already have them.

Steve Woolsey, Dinosaur

Vote, don’t limit

Regarding the column on Jan. 20 about term limits by Debbie Bruell, I’d like to remind everyone that the election cycles are what would satisfy these term limit concerns. 

Vote when you want a change at any seat in government. Get your neighbors to vote, too. That, and having a few good ideas, will get most candidates elected.

Rick Gendreau, Rifle

Friday letters: Wolves, traffic, transit

Wolf fear-mongering

Here we go again. Mitch Mulhall’s recent column (1/13/23) regarding the restoration of wolves in western Colorado is fear-mongering hog-wash.

If you want to protect your pets, the solution is simple: Keep them on a leash and be aware of your surroundings. An agitated moose will stomp your dog to death without a second thought.

Wolves consider loose dogs to be territorial rivals, so conflicts aren’t the wolves’ fault, they are on you. Yet, somehow, the culture-war says we should destroy wolves and spare the moose. Get real! Exactly how many leashed dogs do wolves attack, anyhow?

Does anyone think for a second if a pack of human-killing wolves was on the loose — anywhere in the world — that we wouldn’t know about it? That some government agency wouldn’t have killed them off? Bears kill people. Mountain lions attack lone joggers. We routinely avenge any human killed by another animal. Are we to really fear that wolves will run amok without consequences?

Do you actually fear losing a child to wolves? The solution to that fear is to drive your kids to school. Just remember, they are much more likely to die in a car crash than get killed by wolves while waiting for the bus. Why? Because, there has never been a child killed by wolves while waiting for the bus.

Mr. Mulhal, sir, you are no longer a child. The myths and fairy-tales about wolves that continue to haunt you are not true. Little Red Riding Hood lied.

The impending restoration of wolves to the hunting grounds of their ancestors will be a splendid success, providing ecological balance to our elk and deer herds.

Sure, restoring wolves will mean that livestock growers will have to do things differently to avoid conflict with wolves — that’s stewardship. Fortunately, a citizen-led body has helped to create a toolbox of non-lethal deterrents and reasonable compensation.

The best thing you can do right now is read the draft plan that Colorado Parks and Wildlife just released. It’s 293 pages long, but you might learn something. If you disagree, or agree, then send comments to the agency. That’s citizenship.

Tom Zieber, Gunnison

Revisit the bypass option

Glenwood Springs needs a real bypass. No amount of speed control on Grand Avenue will prevent rush hour gridlock within 10 to 20 years. 

When traffic backs up on I-70 at Exit 116 every morning and to the Buffalo Valley signal every evening, CDOT will act by changing stoplight timing, removing stoplights and left-turn only lanes and increasing speed limits. 

There is an option.

The city’s 2007 “SH82 Corridor Optimization Study” identified a four-lane bypass alignment called the “East River Corridor.” The alignment follows the railroad right-of-way from a re-constructed Exit 116 to the existing four-lane State Highway 82 near Walmart. There would be signalized intersections at Eighth Street and somewhere near 27th Street and a full interchange at 14th Street. Of the 22 alternatives considered in the study, the “East River Corridor” was the only one that provided regional connectivity and reduced local congestion. The bypass would eliminate all State Highway 82 traffic from Grand Avenue.

A project of this size requires 10- to 20-year of commitment, planning, funding and construction. The bypass would require long-term support from both current and future Glenwood residents and city councils. If there is no new development in the “corridor,” the four-lane bypass remains an option that will become increasingly attractive as traffic volumes increase with the valley population.

Citizen input for the newly released “2023 Comprehensive Plan” is requested. It is highly unlikely that the “East River Corridor” alternative will be included in the plan. The very first step in reducing Grand Avenue traffic is public awareness that there is an option for a true bypass. It is time to have the discussion.

Charles R. Peterson, Glenwood Springs

An E-transit future

If I were on the Glenwood Springs City Council I’d propose putting a half penny sales tax question on the next ballot for transportation infrastructure and equipment. 

Aspen has a penny sales tax for Roaring Fork Transportation Agency bus services. All of the buses are free and tourists pay a lot more than locals and I get a $50 dollar check from the city every year to soften expenses at City Market.

If the above doesn’t work I’d propose putting a municipal bond question on the ballot for free city bus services.

Make the hard decisions for a better city and buy electric buses. Yes, they are initially more expensive, but with a small fraction of lifecycle maintenance and fuel costs they are less expensive than fossil fuel buses in the long run.

The future of transportation is electric. May we all breathe clean air downtown.

Tom Mooney, Aspen

Monday letters: 27th Street underpass costs, civil political conversations

Re: 27th Street underpass

With the trillions of dollars floating around, inflation on the rise and the uncertainty of local government, no wonder contractors are excited to get their share for what amounts to the installation of an oversized culvert under Highway 82 that 60 years ago was a dirt road up to Archie Hager’s Ranch Haven Saw Mill. 

Of course, like everything else, it’s the “middleman” markup on such things that makes it official.

Fred Stewart, Grand Junction

Meet in the middle

How many of you dared to discuss politics with family over the holidays? Or have you found yourself avoiding certain conversations for fear of it turning ugly? While we have more to communicate than ever, our ability to do so effectively seems to be diminishing.

It’s becoming increasingly difficult to have thoughtful, informed discussions about complex issues, let alone when there is even a hint of disagreement between the parties. As such, there seems to be fewer and fewer people with the desire, will, and/or courage to utilize their freedom of expression that Americans have valued and protected so fiercely over time.

Personally, I love the challenge of a difficult subject and welcome discussion or debate with all perspectives, provided there is respect and common courtesy. I think fostering this type of dialogue is a critical ingredient to building strong communities. So last year I launched ‘Meet in the Middle’ on KDNK Community Access Radio, a public affairs show where we discuss complex issues with local thought-leaders, with differing opinions. The hope is for listeners to gain new perspective and empower freedom of expression.

Another goal of the show is to provide safe space for differing (e.g. unique, unpopular, minority) opinions to be expressed. By doing so I hope we will model the type of community dialogue I believe is needed to solve complex problems. If you are a community thought leader or perhaps an aspiring one, please consider this letter an invitation to contact me at richardson@rof.net with topics, or better yet, to be a guest, provided you have a little courage to share unpopular thoughts, enough intellectual curiosity to gain new perspective, and the discipline to be respectful.

Dan Richardson, Carbondale

Friday letters: Holiday basket thanks, new MAGA’S, climate comments

Holiday basket thanks

Although this letter is somewhat tardy, the message of gratitude remains. The Holiday Baskets Program, run entirely by more than 300 volunteers, was once again a joyful community effort. For over 40 years, this program has provided new toys, gifts and food for people in need in our valley. 

The response this year was extremely generous and heartwarming, with many individuals and groups participating for the first time, enabling us to serve 265 families; 1,144 individuals. This includes gifting over $50,000 worth of City Market food cards. In addition to all our volunteers, I especially wish to thank our Steering Committee; Elaine Bonds, Marsha Cook, Kathy Dreher, Suzi Jenkins, Elizabeth Parker and Bobbi Teliska who spent many, many hours and lots of energy matching families with Holiday Angels and making sure all the gift bags were ready on pick up day. 

We also thank the 14 agencies who referred the families and delivered their gift bags. We are extremely grateful to Mike Garbarini who once again entered all the applications online, so that the committee could operate virtually. We greatly appreciate the Aspen Chapel for serving as a drop-off site for gift bags and wrapping and St. Peter’s Church in Basalt for providing space in which to coordinate and distribute the thousands of gifts and gift cards. A quote from Angela Hanley, English in Action staff member, summarizes the hopes of the Holiday Baskets Program: “We are grateful to all the Holiday Baskets volunteers and donors for their generosity, and the greater message of care and compassion this program communicates in our valley.” 

Anne Blackwell, chairperson, Carbondale

Dinosaur commissioners

“Garfield commissioners critical of forest-management approach,” Jan. 11 postindependent.com.

I read this article with disgust.

There’s Tom Jankovsky spouting his non-wisdom about forest-management practices. He needs to reserve his opinions for something he may know about. Certainly, not this. 

Being the good, narrow-minded Republican that he is, he insisted on changing the wording of the management plan to exclude any references to “climate.” He convinced the other two commissioners to get in lock step. 

Fast-forward a day, one of the main articles says, “Billion-dollar climate disasters rise with drought in Colorado.” This is the very reason these dinosaurs need to be removed from office.

It’s absurd with all the climate-related disasters we’ve experienced that these ridiculous men can’t use the word “climate.”

Ken Fry, Glenwood Springs

Calling out the new MAGAs

Last year, the American people rejected extreme election-deniers in key races. But, we were unable to win every fight, and a tremendous threat to our democracy remains — the new Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy and the MAGA extremists he leads.

According to The Washington Post, over 70% of all House Republicans are themselves election-deniers — and these extremists now have McCarthy in the palm of their hands.

McCarthy had to give up tremendous concessions to appease the most outlandish members of his party to win the gavel. Extremists like Matt Gaetz, Lauren Boebert and Jim Jordan will have all the power they need to enact their agenda: sow chaos, waste taxpayer dollars on sham investigations, and ignore their constituents.

In their first act, Speaker McCarthy’s MAGA majority gutted the nonpartisan Office of Congressional Ethics — hamstringing future investigations into corrupt members like the serial fabulist George Santos. That speaks volumes.

It’s up to us to call out this new MAGA majority and fight back against their extreme agenda. I hope others will join me.

Nadine Adamson, Aspen

Don’t give up on climate

I just talked with one more person who does not believe humans have anything to do with floods, fires, rapidly melting glaciers, or the fact that the ocean is the hottest ever recorded.

The human capacity for willful blindness is unending! I marvel that some of our species can provide scientific marvels while others have about as much awareness as those of the Dark Ages. Unfortunately, manipulators with money and power take advantage of this backwardness and help to send unintelligent, backward people to Congress.

Please, support every effort you can to combat climate change. Don’t say, “There is nothing I can do.”

If your bank is still supporting fossil fuels, you can change banks. If you have money to invest, go for non-fossil-fuel accounts. Support organizations fighting fracking and other fossil-fuel use. Many organizations have said the number of people who support is more important than the amount of money donated. They need numbers behind them when they lobby. Vote for intelligent, knowledgeable candidates, and contact them with your opinions.

Millions of individuals affect the direction of this country — we who have the worst impact on the climate. The entire Earth is in crisis. Don’t give up.

Katherine Delanoy, Eagle

Wednesday letters: Traffic cameras, thanks from farm fire victims

Slow traffic on Grand Avenue

Succinctly stated, we live in a culture of speeding.

Sunday afternoon a news feed, koat tv, referenced House Bill 22 (New Mexico) using traffic cameras to issue tickets, send letters to drivers insurance companies and points on drivers license.

I do think this is one way to slow down the traffic going through our town, making Grand Avenue safer.

Part of the bill has drivers appearing in court before a judge. With the amount of people speeding this would overwhelm our courts. There are other ways starting with fines being paid, letters to drivers insurance providers, points on drivers license. With repeat offenders fines increased, second letter to insurance providers and more points accrued on drivers license. 

If courts need to get involved there are options: Zoom calls, video statements submitted to the court. As drivers we all need to remember diving is a privilege and with it comes responsibility. Slow down. Make Grand Avenue safe.

If you are interested, see koat.com House Bill 22.

Bernard Downing, Glenwood Springs

Dooley Farm thanks

We are writing to thank all of those in the community who have supported us after our house burned to the ground the day before Thanksgiving. 

The outpouring of love and practical help has been amazing and we feel so very grateful to all of our friends, family, neighbors and the Roaring Fork Valley community for caring for us in our time of need.

Thank you to everyone who brought by clothes, shoes, toys, toothbrushes, diapers, food and other essentials in those first few days. Thanks to everyone who sent notes of condolence and encouragement and to all those who donated money to help us rebuild.

We are in awe of the generosity of this community. Both acquaintances and total strangers alike have reached out to help.

We ran our family business, Dooley Creek Farm, from our home and a lot of equipment and supplies were destroyed in the fire. But we want to continue to produce food for this community and so we plan to continue on with the farm at full capacity and will be able to do that for the 2023 season thanks to the generous gifts sent our way.

The plan is to rebuild our home. We can’t replace all that was lost but we can move forward with hope and new dreams.

Thanks to all who have been a part of our journey of recovery.

Jake and Mollie Shipman, Carbondale

Monday letters: More speed-control thoughts, sad day remembered

Speed deterrents

Bernard Downing has good points in his letter (Jan. 6 LTEs). Glenwood does not have many options regarding traffic. He mentions cameras that take pictures of violators’ plates followed by an electronic ticket.

Cameras could be mounted on speed displays that give offenders warnings as the ticket is sent. On the other hand, after an alarm system was installed at my residence, the sales person walked out to the front and announced “this is the greatest deterrent” as he placed his sign in the lawn. So be it, if travelers along Grand Avenue got such a threat that their speed was being monitored… if at all.

A passive way to deter speeding would be low-tech dips or bumps that would be tolerable at legal speeds and annoying for speeders. That, by default, would make everyone legal, even escaping bank robbers.

Fred Stewart, Grand Junction

Sad day for ‘We, the people’

Jan. 6, 2021 will remain one of the darkest days in the history of our country. Many of us watched in disgust while horrific events unfolded. 

A violent mob stormed the Capitol building to prevent Congress from formalizing the victory of President-elect Joe Biden. Earlier, during a “Save America” rally, Donald Trump repeated false claims of election irregularities. Numerous rioters then vandalized and forcibly entered the Capitol. Police officers and others were assaulted. Attempts to capture and harm lawmakers were made. Deaths occurred and many were injured during numerous acts of lawlessness and incredulous behavior. A gallows was erected while many of the rioters chanted “Hang Mike Pence.” 

Sadly, a number of Americans including members of the media and some elected officials continue to minimize and justify such a disgraceful act of insurrection — “a violent uprising against an authority or government.” 

President George Washington acknowledged, “the establishment of our new government seemed to be the last great experiment, for promoting human happiness, by reasonable compact, in civil society.” 

President Abraham Lincoln, concerned by acts of mob violence warned us in his Lyceum Address, “At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer, if it ever reaches us, it must spring up amongst us. It cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide.”

Our country continues to endure a tumultuous period of internal conflict that tragically polarizes a “Not So United States.” We are in danger of having “the last great experiment” implode. 

If we are to “Save America” we must put aside our divisive political beliefs and focus on the common good. The importance of the common good is prominently addressed in the Preamble to the United States Constitution, “We the People.” 

Popular sovereignty is the foundation upon which the entire Constitution depends. Unifying efforts must be made to peacefully defend and maintain our democracy.

Jim Coddington III, Carbondale