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It’s a statistical tie: Rates of alcohol or substance abuse and violent acts among the homeless and the community at large are the same. Only … the homeless cannot hide their excesses or vices in the privacy of their home. Further, some suffer from severe chronic and even terminal illnesses or injuries without the benefit of adequate medical care. So, tragically, a number of them self-medicate with alcohol. Homelessness in Glenwood Springs will not disappear any time soon. With a strong job market compared to other states, more will come in search or work only to discover they cannot afford a “roof.”Now the good news: Feed my Sheep, a homegrown ministry since 2003, reports that at any time more than 75 percent of our local homeless men and women are working. Thanks to FMS’s 8 a.m. to noon drop-in center where they shower, do laundry and eat breakfast before work, the great majority of FMS’s clients function like any working citizen.Feed my Sheep founder and director Karolyn Spencer, a 70-something force of nature, energized, driven and inspired by the words of the Great Teacher: “In as much as you have done to one of the least of these” is FMS’s heart and soul. Terry, a great bear of a man, a former Navy Seal with a heart of gold, runs the drop-in center and the winter overnight program with a strong hand.Far from enabling its clients to escape the rigors of life, FMS is relentless in its compassionate efforts to help those in trouble to find their way back into the mainstream. Strict rules are enforced at the center and shelter. Offenders are held to account, and repeaters will lose prized privileges.This is my take. Whenever I hear, see or read about offensive, inexcusable behavior by an alleged homeless, I remind myself this is the exception rather than the rule. Secondly, when confronted with a disheveled, drunk person in public, I try hard to reach deep for some compassion. Here may be a lot more pain and suffering than meets my eye.Gerry VanderBeekGlenwood Springs

I am a frequent flyer on the Roaring Fork River, either kayaking, rafting or swimming with my dog. Over the past several years, I have seen the garbage accumulate along the riverbanks. I am a strong believer in “pack out what you pack in.” Recycling has to start with picking up the trash. It makes me sad to see the littered riverbanks with socks, dirty underwear, flip flops, water bottles, soda cans, beer cans and my most recent upset is worm containers. It’s funny. The worm lid I found states clearly, “Do not litter, pick up your trash,” as it lay amongst the rocks along the riverbank. I used to walk along the banks with my dog for a peaceful moment to listen to the rush of the river and have a Zen moment. Now I carry a trash bag in hand and I shift to disgust while picking up a full bag of trash in one hour’s walk. I care about my environment, and I care about my child’s upcoming environment. Haven’t we already done enough damage? People of all colors and races, please pick up your trash and go green with me.Jenell HilderbrandGlenwood Springs

Bruno Kirchenwitz should check his facts. When Sheriff Lou Vallario took office, we had no animal control officers (dog catchers). If adding two animal control officers is screwing up, then I would have to agree that he must have done that.I taught my kids, when making a decision, to list the good things and the bad things, then see how they balance out. As I do this with Lou, he will sure have my vote because the list isn’t even close.I hope Bruno never needs any help, but if he does, he should be glad he has a Lou Vallario to call.Bob CampbellParachute


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