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Post Independent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

In the midst of a stubborn recession, clean energy has emerged as a regional economic engine. Garfield Clean Energy (GCE) provides the programming behind that economic boost in Garfield County.

Clean energy enhances our economy in three ways. Right now, it puts people back to work. Locally, energy auditors, construction workers, insulation technicians and clean energy installers are earning wages. Without the stimulus clean energy brings, these jobs would not exist as they do in Garfield County.

In the long run, clean energy saves businesses and households money on monthly energy bills by improving efficiency. Businesses that use less energy to deliver the same good or service run efficiently, just like the family that warms their home on less money due to insulation in the attic, or modern appliances.

We can expect the cost of fossil fuels to rise every year, as it did this year. Buttoning up our houses and businesses just makes good economic sense.

From Parachute to Carbondale, more than 70 businesses and 1,000 households have signed up for the Garfield Clean Energy Challenge, where energy evaluations lead to energy efficiency improvements. Annual energy savings resulting from these improvements topped $310,000 and every year those improvements mean more savings to our homeowners and businesses.

Rebates have spurred more than $600,000 in energy evaluations and energy conservation upgrades for business, homes, and affordable housing units, putting local contractors back to work.

This is what GCE does.

Garfield Clean Energy boasts a third accomplishment that will create local jobs. GCE hosts the Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) Forum which is finding new uses for natural gas. CNG burns much cleaner than conventional automobile fuels, and is a product that originates here in our local economy. By facilitating CNG as a transport fuel, we are paving the way for expansion of new markets for one of our primary industries. This puts people back to work, makes gas less expensive, and improves the security of our nation.

GCE’s board, including elected representatives of each area of the county, is proud of the work our towns, districts, and the county are doing together.

Greg Russi, Chair

Garfield Clean Energy

New Castle

We would encourage voters to support Pat Chlouber.

Pat has dedicated her life to educational opportunities for all students, of all ages, all across Colorado. We speak with first hand experience, as Pat was our daughter’s teacher; was our local school board president and our representative on the state board of education.

And Pat was one of the few with actual classroom experience to work for the U.S. Department of Education as the president’s representative.

Her in-depth experience and vast network of fellow educators and policy makers can only serve as an asset to assist CMC as it grows both locally and regionally.

Pat’s vision for a dynamic, leading edge and community-centered college will be of benefit to us all. Her recent involvement in the successful capital campaign effort in Leadville shows her commitment to CMC in time, talent and treasure.

While the incumbent has served us well, Pat’s vision and energy will be a major boost to CMC as it pursues academic excellence in our mountain communities. Please vote for Pat Chlouber.

Jack and Cindy Saunders


There’s a lot of misinformation out there surrounding the mill levy override (ballot initiative 3E). I hope people will make sure they have the facts straight before they make up their minds.

One misinformed comment I’ve been hearing from people is, “Why didn’t the school district spend their money more prudently when property values were high, so that they wouldn’t be in such terrible financial straits now?”

The fact is, during the years when property values were extremely high in this valley, the district did not enjoy a corresponding increase in funding. Because of our state’s equalization system, when the amount of revenue a district collects from local property taxes increases, the amount of funds given to that district by the state decreases. As a result, the total funds the district receives each year doesn’t vary with fluctuations in property values.

Fortunately, the mill levy override does not enter into the state equalization formula. That means that the funds we raise through the mill levy override will not result in a decrease in funding from the state. It’s a separate pot of money, so to speak. The funds from the mill levy override will be funds for our district only, under our local control.

Our schools, like schools throughout Colorado, are facing a very dismal financial outlook. This budget crisis is due not just to the recent economic downturn, but more fundamentally it is due to Colorado’s inadequate system for funding public education. It has been widely documented that Colorado’s public school funding system is not working. (See the recent University of Colorado study: “Colorado’s Fiscal Future: We’ll get what we pay for.”)

The mill levy override is a solution that we can take locally, to take care of our children, our schools and our communities, despite insufficient funding from the state.

Mary Sikes


I wish Colorado was a lot more like Utah in terms of energy development. Just last week Utah’s lieutenant governor said, “Utah is open for the energy business.” Why aren’t our elected officials backing up energy development like our western neighbor?

It seems like Colorado is doing everything in its power to kill off every energy source that has kept western counties afloat for more than a century.

First they implemented HB 1365 that hurt coal, then these mountain counties started trying to stop energy development in their boundaries and outside their jurisdictions, then came the attacks on oil shale. What next?

It’s just unfair, if you ask me. We have some of the largest gas fields in the nation. We have some of the best-quality coal reserves. We have untapped nuclear potential. We have an oil shale resource that is exponentially bigger than Saudi Arabia’s oil reserves.

But are we promoting this development? No, quite the opposite.

How does this make sense? We have the largest and richest oil shale reserves. But are we promoting it? Not a chance. Utah has the second largest oil shale reserves and they are bending over backward to promote this resource. Why aren’t we?

It’s a question we should all be asking ourselves and our elected officials. If Colorado is going to remain competitive, we need to start changing how we do business.

Ken Robar

Grand Junction

I’m more than a little fed up with the notion that you only love and truly believe in your community if you advocate its remaining as it was in the 1960s.

Such is the bullying attitude of a small but well-orchestrated group of activists in Carbondale who, for years, have blocked any reasonable attempt to move our town into the current millennium, simply because any advancement does not conform to their narrow view of what’s right.

By its definition, economic development is not a negative concept. In fact, by its charter, the Carbondale Economic Development Partnership is committed “to preserve our community culture, enrich Carbondale’s identity and enhance the town’s ability to compete for sustainable economic opportunity.” Pretty scary, eh?

As our tax base erodes in comparison to our more progressive neighboring communities, we’re beginning to lose our ability to maintain both the basic infrastructure and the amenities that make us a truly special place in the valley.

Let the more reasonable residents of Carbondale move to the front of the line in urging our trustees to approve measures that are vital to the current and ongoing success of our community.

Al Higdon


I find Stan Rachesky’s comments on President Obama in his Oct. 18 letter to be very interesting.

I have yet to find anyone that voted for Obama who has read all three of Obama’s books. I ask Obama supporters, what good has he done? Most cannot tell me any thing except Obamacare.

In my survey of business owners, only one out of 100 is still for Obama. This survey was done in my travels from New York to California.

I love the USA. We have more freedom than any other country that I know of. I want it to stay free.

Can any Obama supporter tell me what good President Obama has done for this country?

Herman Cain is looking better to me; he’s a man who can run a business. How many people in Obama’s cabinet and czars have had a real job?

John Lekowski

New Castle

As a resident of the Roaring Fork/Crystal River Valley region, I am disturbed and offended by what seems to be the move to fast-track oil and gas leasing in the Thompson Divide area. The recent proposal to unitize 32,000 acres in the Thompson Divide area is incompatible with the unique integrity and current and future recreational and agricultural value of the area.

The current move to place multiple lease holdings into a single unit for debate is an affront to a sincere and legitimate means of input and disclosure for a community very much opposed to extractive development in the Thompson Divide area.

Not just a Not-In-My-Backyard issue, the Thompson Divide area holds a wealth of very real current and future economic and aesthetic value in ranching, agriculture, hunting, fishing, hiking, mountain biking, skiing, horseback riding and other recreational opportunities.

Although we do rely on oil and gas resources to sustain a quality of life, extractive activities in such a unique and vulnerable area such as Thompson Divide need to be done, if done at all, in a responsible and ethical manner.

The recent proposal to lump SG Interests leases into a unitized parcel does not by any means ensure any potential development would be done with the sustainability of the natural environment upon which my community depends.

I urge readers concerned about the environmental integrity of our region and a viable democratic process to get involved. Become educated, spread the word, stay informed. Contact elected officials and regional BLM/USFS administration and insist they deny any proposal to unitize 32,000 acres in the Thompson Creek area and take steps to ensure the integrity of the economic and social values of a wild and scenic Thompson Divide.

Peter Pierson


Ballot question 3E is about local control. Sure, it’s about the kids and their education right now, but it’s also about the quality of life in our community. It’s about the economic health of our communities in the near future and generations to come.

We cannot control the unpredictable outside sources for financing our local schools, but we can vote yes on 3E and ensure that our money stays here in the valley.

By taking control now, we ensure that our schools don’t waver with the ebb and flow of state funding. Our home values cannot recover without good schools and our businesses will not have customers without good schools. Whether voters have children in the schools or not, whether they are a business owner or a retired citizen, 3E is about everybody.

Without 3E, funding is pretty much up to the economic weather across the state. The state’s latest forecast predicts that our local schools will lose $2 million to $3 million just in 2012.

Without 3E, schools may have to close. A town like Carbondale without local schools will not be a thriving community. And that will have an impact on both Basalt and Glenwood Springs. A no vote will hurt our businesses, our home values and will prevent the economy in the entire valley from recovering when it can.

Those unhappy with the direction of the school district need to talk to their school board candidates and have a voice that way. But vote yes on 3E and help our valley stay the beautiful thriving place it is.

Our community needs your vote. Turn in your ballot and vote yes on 3E.

Maria Bagby


Vote yes, vote no,

So many long letters, I don’t know.

No more taxes, it’s the principle.

More money won’t help, it’s the principal.

About nine bucks a month, geez, 30 cents a day.

Nay, nay, nay you say?

Go visit a playground, have a nice day.

Gary Pax


In view of the recent articles and opinions with the accidents on Highway 82, I would like to offer some information.

Highway 82 was never designed to handle the high traffic volume or interstate speeds.

The average car weighs approximately 4,000 pounds, while the interstate limit for trucks is 80,000 pounds. Colorado highways and county roads are allowed up to 85,000 pounds.

Weight increases the stopping distance for the vehicle. A study by James Madison University reports the safe stopping distance for trucks at 55 mph is 313 feet. This also equals about five truck lengths.

Whenever a car pulls in front of a truck approaching a traffic light, this reduces the truck’s ability to stop safely by about 50 feet. If two cars pull in front of a truck, 100 feet of safe stopping distance has been lost.

If a vehicle approaches one of the many blind curves and the traffic signal changes when the vehicle is less than 300 feet, the truck when not be able to stop safely when needed.

While completely redesigning the whole highway is impractical, I propose the following:

1. Install more “Be prepared to stop when flashing sign/lights” in both directions at every traffic signal on Highway 82 with enough distance to be seen before entering the blind curves.

2. Set the traffic lights for a four-way red light as an added precautionary measure for an additional three to four seconds to ensure all traffic has come to a complete stop before green light comes on.

3. Increase the length of a yellow light for one to two seconds longer.

4. Reduce the 65 mph speed areas back to 55 mph for all vehicles.

5. Reconsider an electric train/transit system between Glenwood Springs and Aspen to reduce the traffic volume.

While this thought may have some opposition – a few seconds’ delay at each traffic signal – it would only cost a possible 60 seconds between Glenwood Springs and Aspen and possibly save some lives. These solutions will require the cooperation of all drivers for a safer driving experience on Highway 82.

Harold Carnal


We are truly blessed to live in this state and particularly in the Roaring Fork Valley. As parents of four children, we want our kids and their friends to have the same opportunity we have had – to live and work in the most beautiful, vibrant, and enriching community possible.

If we don’t provide our children with a quality education, our community values and attributes will be severely compromised.

Prior to the state budget cuts, our public education funding ranked 40th in the country on a per pupil basis. Since then, budgets have been cut by an additional $375 million. We already spend $2,000 less per student than the average school in the U.S. Nothing about our community is below average, our children deserve more. Vote yes on 3E.

Mike and Laura Kaplan


Attention all NIMBY negators. Get a clue.

It’s not about location or noise or dust, or “mine” and “yours,” or make a buck. It’s about the reality of survival. I guess you could call me a NOME: Not On My Earth.

What if, as in my case, I don’t have a backyard? What if I live on a river? And what if all the potentially deadly chemicals, metals and toxic waste get in “my” river?

Just as we all live downwind, we also all live downriver. Once we poison all the water, we are, in fact, doomed. That is not a political crybaby lament, it’s simple rocket science. If you can light the water, it’s probably not a good idea to drink it.

We better figure it out soon, or it’s going to be one heck of a cockroach picnic.

Karen D’Attilo


Pass this jobs bill so teachers, police and firefighters can keep their jobs. So says Vice President Biden. This is a surtax of one half of 1 percent, he continued. If you make more than $1 million you pay half a percent on the additional money. If you earned $1.1 million your additional tax would be $500, half a percent on the additional $100,000. Surely they can pay another $500, and besides, according to Biden, millionaires want to pay more.

First, teachers, police and firefighters are not paid by the federal government. They are paid by the state or the municipality they work for, always have been.

Second, $500 more in taxes to a millionaire sounds like nothing, right? However, look at the facts and you see that the top 1 percent (there is that 1 percent thing you hear about today) of wage earners pay 40 percent of the taxes collected by the federal government already. The top 10 percent pays 70 percent of the income taxes. Forty-seven percent of Americans pay no federal income tax at all. At what point do you pay your fair share?

If millionaires want to pay more, as Biden and folks like Warren Buffett suggest, they can. Sen. John Thune of South Dakota has introduced legislation that will allow anyone who wants to pay more to do so on their tax return, to pay down the deficit.

And who is stopping millionaires from giving to their local teachers or first responders? I guarantee if you walk into Re-1 or Re-2 they would gladly take a check. This class warfare that the Obama administration continues to spew has to end. Stop trying to pull on the people’s heart strings and guilt them into opening their wallets. Charity is done through generosity not coercion.

Bryan Fleming


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