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Your Letters

Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

It’s an exciting time to work with energy efficiency and sustainability issues. The federal attention being given to these subjects has bolstered an already strong and engaged foundation and significantly increases the likelihood of future progress.

In regard to energy conservation and environmental efforts, I often receive the question, “What can I do in my daily life to help out?” There are a number of easy, cost-effective steps that can be taken from weatherizing your home, buying green and avoiding single-use, disposable products like bottled water. As the weather warms, I thought this would be a good opportunity to address the importance of “eating local.”

Any discussion about a sustainable economy must address our eating habits. The bad news is the average American meal travels nearly 1,500 miles from farm to table, consumes a vast amount of energy and relies on fossil fuel-based fertilizers, which contaminate many watersheds. The good news is the Roaring Fork Valley community has a wealth of regional Community Supported Agriculture (CSAs) and other agricultural resources.

Last Thursday at the Woody Creek Community Center, I was fortunate enough to attend a local foods event hosted by Slow Food Roaring Fork. The focus was on the collective valley movement toward local, organic foods. My sincere thank-you goes out to those who have worked so diligently to provide the wonderful resources that are already in place. But we have so much more potential. The missing link is increasing awareness and demand from valley residents, which includes restaurants and grocery stores.

Eating local saves energy, keeps money in the local economy, provides a healthier food source and sends the message we demand a more sustainable future. Plus, it’s pretty nice to have a heaping basket of fresh fruits and vegetables arrive on your doorstep. This spring, if you are looking to make a difference, I encourage you to contact one of the regional CSAs and eat local.

For a list of CSAs, community gardens and local resources visit the Connected Organizations for a Responsible Economy (CORE) website at http://www.aspencore.org and look under the “Programs” tab.

Nathan Ratledge, CORE

Aspen

An expert on Garfield County population growth tells us solid data exists projecting the population of the Battlement Mesa/Parachute area will swell by 100,000 people over the next 25-30 years. That is frightening.

Well-documented studies show increased taxes these new people will pay represent only a fraction of the dollars required to support this growth.

We currently have a 14-bed hospital in Grand River, an 80-bed at Valley View, and a 244-bed at St. Mary’s. We will need at least 10 new hospitals to accommodate this growth.

We currently have 500 students in our local high school, and about the same number in our elementary school. Based on our current population, we will need at least 10 more high schools, and probably 25 more elementary schools to support this growth.

Our current infrastructure of roads, bridges, water supply and sewage is already operating at or near their design capacity. The costs of these new infrastructure requirements are staggering. Our current taxes that support this activity are already more than we want to pay. Soon we will not be financially able to support this new infrastructure.

State and federal agencies will help as much as they can, but there will still be a tremendous shortfall in needed dollars.

The quality of living we enjoy today will be dramatically diminished. None of the things we are doing to control this forecasted growth is having any affect. As long as we have the “open society” none of us wants to give up, we will continue to have this invasion of people from other lands. Their life in a more crowded open society will be far better than the lives these invaders have left behind.

As our way of life diminishes, our taxes will continue to go up, and we will be paying more for less.

Let us urge our leaders to put this issue on their agenda today before it is too late. This problem is not unique to the Battlement Mesa/Parachute area. It exists all over America.

Pete Simmons

Battlement Mesa

I am writing in response to Susie Kellogg, who wrote a letter to me recently, who seems to think the world is perfect and must be untouched by this economic downfall. By the way, congrats on being so successful!

First, the simple fact is I attempted to get financial assistance and was denied because I make a little over $20,000 a year. I attempted to get help. I’m in luck. The American Legion is offering to help, through a benefit for me. I am very thankful the community will help.

What makes me frustrated is financial assistance should not just be given because of what you make. They should also take into consideration the bills you pay. I never expected anyone to pay my bills, but to have a very unexpected injury turn into an $8,000 bill for someone who only makes around $20,000 a year and to expect them to pay it off immediately does not make any sense. I was hoping for a little help or at least a payment plan option, and I didn’t get either one.

I have been fighting tooth and nail to begin starting a successful business, but in this economy it is not easy right now. I am 25 and have just finished finally getting out of debt because of college. I am a hard-working middle-class individual who worked my way through college. I am attempting to get myself in a better place, but I am beginning to realize getting ahead in this world is the toughest thing to do when you do not come from money and are just a hard-working individual making it from paycheck to paycheck.

You seem to be one of the lucky ones that has money. Try being the working class, barely getting by. It isn’t easy.

There should be other options in this world for poor people to get health insurance. I am not bitter about anything, because what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger and wiser.

Mariane Maynard

Glenwood Springs

In this era of recycling and emphasis on reducing waste, I find it peculiar both Glenwood Springs (and other towns) and Garfield County offer free trash disposal. To quote “The Economist:” “People feel they have a natural right to throw away as much stuff as they like, just as those lucky native Americans chucked the shells from their plentiful oyster piles over their shoulders. They shouldn’t. Rubbish damages the environment and is expensive to dispose of. With household waste, just as with toxic chemicals, governments need to persuade people that they should be responsible for the muck they produce.”

This decades-old policy of stuffing the garbage dump with free trash disposal is out-of-date and completely inappropriate. It makes no sense and should be ended.

Hugh MacPherson

Glenwood Springs


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