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Your Letters

Post Independent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

I was deeply disappointed to learn of Superintendent Judy Haptonstall’s decision to instruct teachers and principals in our district not to air the president’s speech aimed at American secondary students because a small group of parents complained that they did not want their children to be a “captive audience.” What concerns me the most is that the negative rhetoric afflicting our country is actually affecting the decisions of those who are supposed to be acting in the public interest.

I believe her decision and subsequent action constitute a far more political statement than if our children had been allowed to hear their own president speak in a message directed specifically to them about staying in school and persevering in their goals. I can only imagine the outraged reaction this same decision would have brought about if a previous president’s speech had been blocked (I’m pretty sure the word “unpatriotic” would have been widely used).

We are the adults here, making the decisions for our children. What good is the First Amendment (freedom of speech) if we are teaching our children systemically not to listen?

Like most parents, I am interested in the best possible education for my children, which I strongly believe includes civic awareness. How can that be achieved when the public schools send quite the opposite message: Don’t listen to your president; in fact, we won’t allow it in our classrooms.

Gretchen Hayduk Wroblewski

Glenwood Springs Middle School and

Sopris Elementary School parent

Congratulations to the superintendent and board of Re-1! They took time out of their busy schedules and heavy work loads to teach the students in their district some important civics lessons:

1. Fear ideas: Be so afraid of ideas that you close your mind the words of the president of the United States.

2. Fear your government: Regard the man elected president of your country with great suspicion and distrust.

3. Fear the opinions of others and shirk your professional responsibilities: When you’re in a position of responsibility, such as a school superintendent, let a few members of the public not charged with the responsibilities of your job, and who likely lack the special professional knowledge you have, make those tough professional decisions for you.

What curriculum decisions will be up for a vote next week? Should we expose our students to American history, government, biology, literature? Get your votes in folks! The superintendent and board members are waiting by the phones with their tally sheets.

Pat Helland


Well, let me join what will probably be hundreds of letters protesting Re-1’s decision to prohibit teachers from airing President Obama’s speech to students on Tuesday. Superintendent Haptonstall wishes “this whole thing hadn’t become so strangely political.” Sorry, Ms. Haptonstall, but your decision fed the political sharks while robbing our students of an opportunity to hear a thoughtful and intelligent president advise them to stay in school and to set personal goals. It’s a travesty that an entire school district would disrespect the office of the president of the United States by “banning” him. And it’s another travesty that (surely) part of your decision was to consider what message a ban might send to students … and that you went ahead with that message anyway: What the president has to say to students was not to be trusted without a “preview.” And speaking of previews, surely the superintendent of Re-1 could have made the decision to go into work for an hour on a holiday to preview the president’s speech for the purpose of affording our students an opportunity to be a part of history – a good part of history, rather than the ugly part in which they found themselves. Now they may get to watch the video of the president, knowing that the school in which they are learning didn’t trust the messenger. What a sad day for our valley.

Lisa Wilson

Glenwood Springs

I’d like to say thanks to the Re-1 superintendent. I’m glad my child got to miss out on one of those moments she would have remembered the rest of her life. I mean seriously, c’mon! What kind of message would it send to all the students in Re-1 if their administrators embraced this opportunity to further the same old daily talking points like, “Stay in school, do your homework,” “learn from your mistakes,” “take responsibility for your future,” “pull yourself up by your own bootstraps…” It sounds suspiciously like that socialized, liberal, east coast elitism whose aim is to tarnish the young impressionable minds of tomorrow.

Leo McKinney

Glenwood Springs

I was extremely disappointed with the Roaring Fork School District Re-1 decision to not show President Obama’s school speech. While they were not alone, it is a truly sad day for our country and democracy. The definition of patriotism certainly has changed recently.

No matter what you believe the president’s policies are, he is still the president and the leader of our country. I don’t know when it changed, but I do know presidents of the past would not have come under such hate-filled fear mongering for what really was a speech about the benefits of education. Even though I thoroughly disagreed with President Bush, I would not have opposed such a nonpartisan effort on his part.

It is truly sad that a small minority of loud radicals have so intimidated the school district that it us unable to show proper respect to our president. I imagine the same people would be just as unhappy if the district tried to ban playing the “Star Spangled Banner.” There is no logical difference between the two – both are unpatriotic and show disrespect to our country.

It is time to once again show respect for our country’s institutions. It is time to stop the fear mongering and lies, and go back to an honest discussion of the issues based on truth and reason.

Bruce Wampler

Glenwood Springs

Thank you, Rifle, for re-electing the three incumbents to Rifle City Council. Thank you for re-electing our mayor who spends his time out of state seven weeks out of the year. Thank you for re-electing our mayor pro tem, who publicly berated a third generation oil company who provides local jobs to our families and friends. Thank you for re-electing the other incumbent, a self-proclaimed “open-minded, diesel pickup truck hater, who thinks her county is one that has not evolved” and thinks her job as councilor is “boring.” Oh, yes, and thank you for voting in the New Guy. New Guy is a friend of the mayor’s who prides himself as a good communicator; a “communicator” on the golf course and in local bars.

Thank you, Rifle, for ignoring the other five capable candidates who were ready to serve you. Five working folks who know what it’s like to work full-time jobs, like the majority of Rifle folks. Thank you, Rifle, for electing four folks who haven’t known what a full week of honest, hard work is for years.

Thank you, Rifle, for electing individuals who believe roundabout cows and downtown flowers and murals are of more importance than, say, our unpaved streets and creating new local jobs.

Thank you, Rifle, for re-electing the same candidates who will continue to push their liberal agenda on local residents for at least another four years.

Make sure you thank yourselves, Rifle, when your neighbors continue to lose their jobs and homes. Be sure and pat yourselves on the back when you find yourselves sitting around complaining about our town, just as you have for several years.

Sam Powers


John Scalzo, where do we begin? The election is over, and your term limits initiative passed. Congratulations.

In your letter of Sept. 9, 2009, you made some comments that border on slander and require a response. Again, you are confused about what happened at the July 15 council meeting. Your initiatives in the form of ordinances came up for second reading after passing on first reading two weeks earlier. Councilor Thompson moved to approve Ordinance 20-09, not “to accept your signed petitions.” As soon as the motion was made a councilor asked a question that pre-empted the second of the motion and there was an awkward moment while council determined whether a second had been made. Councilor Sanborn seconded the motion when a determination was made. There was no question of coercion, John. The City Charter provides for three council actions, and the council chose to send your initiatives to the voters for approval weeks before the ordinances came to council for a vote. The vote was merely a formality.

The question put to the city’s attorney was about the wording of the initiative. You are correct that your wording was taken from the state Constitution. However, your references to the Article and Section were incorrect. “Art. XV 11 – Miscellaneous, Section a.” refers to “Article XV, Section 11. Street railroads – consent of municipality.” There is no Section a.

That the statements made in the state Constitution are false does not mean that we have to accept them as true or that council has no obligation to ensure the accuracy of our Municipal Code. The framers of the amendment to the state Constitution used the same emotional appeal to win approval that you used to obtain passage of yours. The question to counsel was whether the wording of an initiative can be changed, and the answer was no. Ordinance 20-09 passed unanimously without coercion. The position of councilors on whether they favored term limits was never discussed, and I doubt that any councilor knows how another councilor voted in the election just finished.

Jay Miller


We are longtime hikers and mountain bikers in the Roaring Fork Valley, and have hiked or ridden nearly all the trails in the Hidden Gems proposal. As avid hikers and mountain bike enthusiasts, we are adamantly opposed to the current Hidden Gems proposal to add more wilderness designations to the national forest. The Wilderness Workshop (WW) and its supporters are presenting a proposal that guarantees they lose nothing in the Hidden Gems proposal process. The WW has asked people to look at higher values in the health of the ecosystem and wildlife rather than their own recreational pursuits regarding the loss of mountain bike trails, climbing areas, and other existing multi-use trails or areas. These comments are easy to make and justify when your “user group” isn’t losing recreational access privileges. If hikers and equestrians were to lose prime trails with this proposal their tune would be much different. The tone of “my recreational pursuits are OK, but yours are not” does not fit into the spirit of why we live and play here.

If it’s really best for the ecosystem and wildlife to eliminate exposure and minimize disturbance in any wilderness areas, then we should talk about closing existing wilderness trails to hikers and equestrians to include American Lake, Cathedral Lake, Conundrum, Maroon, Capital, Snowmass or any of the other hundreds of wilderness hiking trails that are currently off limits to other users. If the suggested closures where to be enacted, the WW and its supporters would be outraged at the loss of “their” trail use and their user designation.

We have more in common than the WW leads people to believe. We support the Roaring Fork Mountain Bike Association’s goals to limit the loss of prime mountain biking trails and responsible utilization of the proposed areas as multi-use as they were originally intended.

G.D. Derosier, Randy Dahl, Tom Schramer, Scott Miller, Mike Tache, Jim Pokrandt, Pete Anzalone, Bill Madsen, Joe Farrell, Andre Schwegler, Dave Garaffa, Dave Pietsch, Jaclynn Derosier, Blake Nelson, Art Burrows, Scott Hicks, Erik Hendrix,Louie Dawson III, Wade Livingston, Eric Falhaber

The Hidden Gems wilderness campaign is not out take away anyone’s mountain bike trails. In fact, nearly all of the existing trails in the Roaring Fork Valley, including all the most popular ones, will not be affected by the Hidden Gems proposal.

For more information, please log on to the Hidden Gems homepage at There is information about mountain bike trails and the wilderness proposal. There are links to maps that show the proposed areas and a list of all the trails that have been preserved. It will give you a chance to learn all about this effort to preserve the last true wild gems in our part of Colorado.

Please learn as much as you can before you make up your mind about the Hidden Gems campaign.

Allyn Harvey


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