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Riverside Middle School has closed-loop ventilation and extra-thick walls. Poor ventilation restricts fresh air flow inside, and can be the cause of sick building syndrome. Symptoms of sick building syndrome are headache, dry cough, dry or itchy skin, dizziness, nausea, difficulty concentrating, fatigue, sensitivity to odors, and irritation of the eyes, nose or throat. Typically these symptoms improve after you leave the building.Volatile organic compounds may cause serious symptoms, such as loss of coordination, liver damage, and damage to the central nervous systems. Some can cause cancer.Our grandchild, an asthmatic who attends Riverside, was admitted to ICU and then, after returning to school for four hours, had severe respiratory trouble, given an emergency referral to National Jewish in Denver. National Jewish requested an air quality test be done at Riverside for approximately $350. Based on 2006 budget figures, its 5070 cents per student to insure Riverside has safe air quality. National Jewish does not want our grandchild to return until one has been performed. Ms. Morris and Mr. Smucker felt it unnecessary, and wanted to transfer our grandchild to another school. Mr. Smucker investigated construction and learned formaldehyde was used, a known VOC. He thinks it will be safe in perhaps 2-3 months, but no more than a year. He was unable to tell us what type of ventilation was present, or how frequently it circulated. He has agreed to do his own testing for formaldehyde only. Our grandchild is only one student; our concern is for all the other students attending Riverside.As parents, we are entitled to a clean bill of air health for all VOC air quality threats to students. If your child has had or continues to have some of the symptoms listed above, please contact the school/administration and let them know. Mr. Smucker believes dismissals due to headaches or VOC symptoms at Riverside is normal, and has no knowledge of others with symptoms. We need to let him know.Not knowing hurts!Arthur and Penny KeifRifle

How ironic. Those who argue so fiercely in favor of totally unfettered, unregulated capitalism to stave off the least hint of socialism, have now put us in a position where our financial system is essentially socialistic. We, the people, now own most of the large financial institutions that were supposed to assure us of economic security.There is a mental process called thinking. When used properly, it allows us to weigh facts, distinguish between truth and fiction, objectivity and emotion. It can save us from the deadly trap of either/or, so we can find shades of gray, ways to compromise and cooperate. In terms of our economy, this can mean utilizing regulations that preserve the best of all possibilities for the good of all.There is another concept that bears our attention: social conscience. We humans are capable of living our lives on a higher plane than that of lower animals. Survival of the fittest cannot intrude on our moral decisions if we truly want a healthy society, financial and otherwise.I hope these ideas will influence voters in deciding who to vote for.Patricia GirardotGlenwood Springs

When you watch the first presidential debate on Friday night, please think about this: In all your experience, have you ever known a human being who got sharper between the ages of 72 and 80?Now maybe as the next eight years evolve, McCain will seem less befuddled, maybe hell have an easier time remembering the difference between Sunni and Shiite, and maybe hell be more likely to aim before he fires, as he did this last week during the financial debacle.But nature tells us otherwise. And Im too close to his age myself not to recognize that reality.Brenda SternBasalt

Obama has consistently refused to support legislation that would define an infant who survives a late-term induced labor abortion as a human being with the right to life. He insists that no restrictions must ever be placed on the rights of the mother.On March 30, 2001, Obama was the only Illinois state senator who spoke against a bill that would have protected babies surviving late-term abortions. Not wanting to be the only senator voting against the bill for political reasons, he voted present, which is the equivalent of voting no.In 1997 Obama, as an Illinois senator, voted against SB 230, designed to prevent partial-birth abortion.Obama has consistently voted against requiring minors who get out-of-state abortions to notify their parents. He chooses to ignore the great harm abortions have done to our black citizens. Blacks make up 13 percent of the U.S. population but their abortions account for 35 percent of the total. Since Roe vs. Wade (1973), there have now been 13 million African-American abortions in an estimated 37 million black population. Abortion on demand is allowing genocide to be waged against the African-American population in America.On March 29, 2008, Obama referred to his two daughters, saying, if they make a mistake, I dont want them punished with a baby. Only a pro-abortion radical would make a statement like that. Even Barbara Boxer, the far-left California advocate, tempered her views and voted for the 2002 Born-Alive Infants Protection Act.On the other hand, John McCain says life begins at conception. Where do you stand on this issue? Stan RacheskyGlenwood Springs

At first, I was insulted by Stan Racheskys blatant insults, such as: If you think Obama is qualified youve got to be as dumb as a nail, or if the numbskulls of the country think or what kind of idiot would think Well, at this point, its obvious that Stan Racheskys politically-radical, right-wing beliefs are a telling statement that he is out of touch with reality. He is out of touch, because he doesnt see McCain is part of the reason our nation is in such financial crisis. McCain is a part of the health care problem. McCain is out of touch with the people who cant afford health insurance, or pay for health care that is spiraling out of control.And how about the gas and oil industry, which continues to make exorbitant profits, but the guy trying to commute to his job every day has to make choices between buying groceries and gas? How great it is if you have a job! There are a growing number of people in the nation who are unemployed. Yet what is McCain doing for those people? And what about the minimum wage? Under the Bush/McCain era, McCain voted numerous times to keep peoples wages at poverty levels.Granted, McCain is a war veteran and hero, but does that qualify someone to president? I dont think so. Especially when the person chosen as second in command is more frightening than the financial market.So Stan, keep writing those extremist radical right-wing letters to the editor, because the only person you are fooling is yourself.I am proud to be one of many thoughtful, intelligent people voting for Obama/Biden to give our nation new hope.Renee McCulloughGlenwood Springs

As you know, Steve Carter is running for Garfield County commissioner. What you may not know is that Steve has had his own law practice in Rifle since 1972, was an elected Garfield County judge for 32 years (recently retired) and continues with his law practice today.In addition, he is a soccer referee, a Friend of the Rifle Library, and he serves on the Advisory Board of Parks & Recreation in Rifle.I have known Steve for many years and served with him with the Friends group. What I know about him is that he is a terrific listener. He has heard the concerns that we face in this area affordable housing, transportation, the environment, sustainable energy, the many impacts of the gas industry, home prices and foreclosures, and so forth.And he has faced the commissioners on many of those topics, especially the recent vote to allow eight essential employees to live adjacent to gas well sites without the knowledge and permission of the landowners.Steve will be an excellent commissioner, as he has the experience of many years of listening to two sides of every story, whether in court or on the playing field. He understands the consequences on each side, and he plays fair. What more can one ask?Please vote for Steve Carter for Garfield County commissioner in November. We need him.Nella BarkerRifle

Stephen Bershenyi is a man of vision, and Garfield County needs a man of vision to help us shape the future. Mr. Bershenyi is running for the position of Garfield County commissioner; his vision is sorely needed to both remedy the lack of vision shown by Messrs. Martin and McCown, and to complement the vision shown by Commissioner Houpt.The lack of vision and proactive management exhibited by Martin and McCown has resulted in several of our roads being in ruin. Recently the commissioners had to vote to require one of the energy companies to stop work on a pipeline they were building along one of our county roads. This is because there was no construction oversight in place, and the companys contractor had essentially made the road impassable. Even worse, Garfield County, unlike Rio Blanco County, has failed to require energy companies to contribute directly to road maintenance necessitated by the intensive use of these roads by energy company heavy equipment. As a result, our citizens are suffering untold frustrations with deteriorating roads and interchanges. Other examples abound. Anyone with vision could foresee the countys need for more and better public transportation, for more affordable housing, and for preservation of more open space. Yet these items remain low on the priority list. Most importantly, Garfield County has been unwilling to pursue a new, mutually beneficial relationship with the energy companies to ensure they operate to best industry practices, as they do in other parts of the country, and evolve into constructive partners helping us protect our heritage and our environment. This is not a dream, it is a reality in other parts of the country. Garfield County has a yet unfulfilled obligation to negotiate the best outcomes for its citizens.Stephen Bershenyi will meet these obligations. He will exercise full executive authority in negotiating with energy companies. He will engage our citizens in a dialog about growth issues, and create a shared vision of Garfield Countys destiny.Your vote can usher in a new vision and a new reality. Vote for Stephen Bershenyi. Michael LarimeGlenwood Springs

After reading Mr. Racheskys letter concerning Sen. Obamas qualifications for the presidency, I decided to do some research to determine if any presidential candidate in history has a resume that resembles that of Sen. Obama. I found one person whose record seems quite similar. Lets call him Mr. X.Both men came from humble beginnings. Both men served eight years in the Illinois state legislature.Sen. Obama was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2004. Mr. X was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1846 and served one, two-year term.Both men gained national exposure due to their flair for oratory.Mr. X was an attorney, as is Sen. Obama. Mr. X was Abraham Lincoln.Ted Edmonds Glenwood Springs

Wow, Stan Rachesky! I bet if it was your presidential candidate who was so eloquent, you might find it within you to consider eloquence a virtue. Nov. 4 will indeed be a big day for this polarized nation. Your diatribe printed in the Letters section of the Sept. 20 issue of the Glenwood Springs Post Independent reminds me of a Harry Potter howler a letter full of intensity and anger that ends by self-destructing. I, for one, am hopeful our nation will begin a new direction on Jan. 20, 2009.Annie HoghaugGlenwood Springs

I grew up during the Great Depression, served in the Army during World War II, and worked in government for 32 years and in private industry the rest of the time, including two sessions as a union coal miner.My lifelong experiences have turned me into a staunch conservative, not a Republican, since too many of them have forgotten the meaning of the word. Goals I would subscribe to are less government, especially at the federal level; and more reliance by people on themselves instead of waiting to be rescued by a governmental entity. Our society is being strangled by excessive red tape and regulations. A large part of the cost of living today can be blamed on the environmental movement. Good judgment has not been applied in development of regulations and ancillary laws created with the noble goal of protecting our environment. Private property rights have been taken from citizens as a result of the application of the latter law. Elimination of overlapping regulations and laws would save taxpaying citizens billions of dollars a year.Stuart Udall opposed building I-70 through Glenwood Canyon. His nephew, Mark Udall, opposed off-shore drilling for oil, construction of new petroleum refineries, and nuclear power plants. Hopefully, voters will see through his recent hypocritical shift in policies on off-shore drilling.Short-term solutions to our energy problems include opening up our shores to drilling (not with the phony 50-mile limit being debated), drilling in barren arctic regions such as the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and reducing the red tape required to get a nuclear power plant under way or the building of a new oil refinery.Long-term solutions should be the development of clean-coal technology, (our greatest resource), hydrogen, solar, wind, and all of the other possible, practical methods for sustaining our high standard of living. Our only hope of restoring sanity to our political system is to elect a Republican president, and Republican majorities in the Senate and House. Then it will be our duty to hold their feet to the fire and insist they adhere to conservative principles. Dick ProsenceMeeker

Palin should visit during Banned Books WeekI was happy to read about the Banned Books Week recognized in Garfield County. How about we send an immediate invitation to Sarah Palin to join us in this celebration? After all, she tried to ban Catcher In The Rye, Grapes Of Wrath, To Kill A Mockingbird, Death Of A Salesman, Leaves Of Grass, As I Lay Dying, Huckleberry Finn, Catch 22 and others (you can Google the book list), a precedent set by those great thinkers, Hitler and McCarthy. Whoops she only suggested this banning, the Wasilla librarian said, as she should have absolutely not. What are you thinking in a free speech, First Amendment country? Of course, that librarian was yet another who almost lost her job. So no guess on reflection that an invitation for her to be here for our celebration of intellectual freedom would be just silly. She is not about First Amendment or intellectual freedom. I implore you to think before you vote about things that really do matter. The value of free speech should be one of those considerations, as it is the foundation of our country. Cheryl CainGlenwood Springs

This is for Karl Oelke. Karl, I agree with Mr. Herbst that we do need to commit ourselves to a doctrinal system. First off, graven images refer to any statue, painting, whatever it may be that you worship. Im pretty sure its OK to have those things, as long as you dont pray to them and worship them; then, its a sin. Stoning to death applies to anyone claiming to be a prophet that leads people away from God, not to throw rocks at Jehovahs Witnesses or LDS missionaries that come knocking on your door.As far as Im concerned, our nation should be ruled by biblical laws. If loving your neighbor and God (i.e. biblical laws) were implemented in this nation, wed be better off. Wives are commanded to be subject to their husbands (heres the important part, Karl) as their husbands are subject to God. Have you read Ephesians 5, or just picked out what you wanted? Husbands are commanded to love their wives as Christ loved His church and gave His life for it. The other scriptures you quoted were out of the first five books of the Bible, part of the Law of Moses or law of sacrifice, which was done away with when the Savior gave his life. People werent killing lambs (Law of Moses or sacrifice) after Christ was killed, because he fulfilled the law with his blood because he was the ultimate sacrifice. Even the woman that was caught in adultery and brought before the Savior wasnt stoned. Because Christ brought a higher law. Love thy neighbor as thyself and love God with all your heart, might, mind and strength. Upon those two commandments rests all the commandments. Thats the doctrinal system we all should commit ourselves to, even me. Jason WhitcombNew Castle

Many years ago, some individuals in Aspen were forward-thinking enough to create a bus system to serve both residents and visitors at that end of our valley. That system has evolved into one of the finest, most highly recognized, small bus systems in the nation.Later, nine jurisdictions come together to purchase the Rio Grande Rail Corridor from Glenwood Springs to Woody Creek for future transit use. When voters determined the valley was not ready for a mass transit rail system, Roaring Fork Transportation Authority (RFTA) expanded its bus service and trail system to better serve the needs of residents and guests in our valley from Aspen to Glenwood Springs and Rifle. Today, RFTA is expanding its service, improving its schedules, and providing more appropriate stops and park-and-rides. Someday, as needs dictate and communities support, RFTA will expand east and west on the I-70 corridor in support of other transit systems being studied.Today, RFTAs board of directors includes representatives from Pitkin County and Eagle County, the communities of Aspen, Snowmass Village, Basalt, Carbondale, Glenwood Springs and New Castle. Silt residents will vote this fall to become voting members of RFTA. Today, RFTA needs your help, your vote, to support ongoing improvements to the system. Vote yes for RFTA. Vote yes on 4A throughout the valley and yes on 2A in Silt. Dorothea FarrisCarbondale

Last night our power went out while we were in the middle of preparing dinner. We called Holy Cross and left a message. In just under 30 minutes, we were called back and received a report that the on-call men were looking for the cause. As we sat eating cheese and crackers for dinner, it caused us to realize how we just take for granted the lights will be on when we need them. In about an hour a magic blink came on, and we had electricity! Thank you, Holy Cross, you are a wonderful company with a great attitude in serving your customers. I just did not think that a letter to your office would reach all the wonderful people in your company. The next time I am shivering in the cold under my warm blankets, while your company men are out fighting the elements for my comfort, I will say a little prayer that I am thankful you are my electric company.Lori Anderson ThompsonSilt

I support re-electing Peter Runyon to the position of Eagle County commissioner. He kept his promise to try to get a representative for the Roaring Fork Valley with home rule. He has brought in funding from state, federal, private and nonprofit sources to help solve the countys environmental, transportation and growth problems. Runyon has supported preserving open space, green initiatives and slow growth. He is someone who cares about Eagle County and should get your vote.Voter registration ends Oct. 6, early voting starts Oct. 20-31, and election Day is Nov. 4. Cathleen KraheCarbondale

We need to support our young people instead of always reporting the bad. I was taking a nap last Friday when I was suddenly awakened with yelling and cheers. We live two houses from Burning Mountain Park. It took about two minutes to realize it was a pep rally, and I thought it was fantastic. It reminded me of my high school days growing up in a small town in California (when there were still small towns in California). We were allowed to paint all the storefront windows on main street for homecoming, and we also paraded down our one main street.Thanks, guys, for bringing back some wonderful memories of my high school days, and please keep this tradition going. Go all Coal Ridge teams!Barbara Kemp SunderlandNew Castle

Until a Garfield County commissioner candidate explained to me whats really going on, I thought the County Road 204 project sounded OK. Turns out, this is Garfield Countys Road to Nowhere.One gas company is going to spend $23 million dollars of our money to rebuild a road which serves its facilities north of DeBeque. The only beneficiary of the project is this multinational gas company.But thats not the worst of it, because its not their money being wasted, its our money. According to the deal they worked out with two of our current commissioners, Larry McCown and John Martin, the company pays for the road, but then we pay them back, with interest. Our county got $2.13 million in severance taxes this year. At that rate, we will have to sign over all of our severance tax revenue for at least the next 10 years.Because Martin and McCown chose to squander all this money on the Road to Nowhere, who will pay to repair the other roads torn up by gas-drilling vehicles, or for all the other needs created by the gas industry? You, the taxpayer. It also means severance tax dollars wont be available to invest in creating economic diversity, so when the drilling boom ends, we would have something to fall back on.John Martin is proud of this deal he cut with the gas industry. Steve Carters opponent, Mike Samson, also thinks private industry has a better ability to get things done than the county does. The private sector in this case, a multinational gas company gets things done real well when they have $23 million of our money to spend.Larry McCown sent out a letter saying if you like how things are done in Garfield County now, you should vote for his hand-picked successor. But if you dont like giving $23 million to a big gas company, then elect Steve Carter as Garfield County Commissioner.Nancy SmithCarbondale

Why are we once again using taxpayer money to bail out these companies that used bad judgment? Because they are not bleating like sheep that are lost, and our good shepherd, Mr. Bush, who has always screamed about no government involvement in free enterprise, is suddenly all concerned for them. I say, give us the money and well bolster the economy! Yes, Mr. Bush, show us the money.Susan B. SmithGlenwood Springs

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