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Post Independent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

We found candidate Winters’ letter to the editor quite interesting – uninformed and naïve in most areas, but interesting, nonetheless.

In the interest of civil discourse, we will ignore several of his assertions. We would like to address his thoughts about “renting out space” in the Garfield County Jail. When funding for the jail was approved by the Garfield County commissioners, it was presented with the codicil that the jail would not be offered to other counties to “warehouse” their inmates. It has been proven that receiving and housing other jurisdictions’ convicted offenders is a failing proposition for two basic reasons:

1. These convicted offenders who are leased out are the most confrontational and litigious of inmates.



2. These “transferees” can also have the most pressing mental and/or physical health issues.

Both of these categories regarding problematic inmates cause the receiving facility to incur costs far beyond the norm. It would be in our taxpayers’ best interests if Mr. Winters and his “handlers” had done a more thorough and informed analysis of this issue.



If this is an example of “evaluating programs,” we, as residents and taxpayers, are quite concerned about the theoretical future of Mr. Winters’ “plans” if he were to become the Garfield County sheriff.

Thank you for your time,

Tom and Jane Ashworth

Rifle

The Hidden Gems Wilderness Campaign is leading a hike up Huntsman Mountain on this Saturday, July 3, and a wildflower hike with ACES (Aspen Center for Environmental Studies) naturalist Jim Kravitz in the Hunter Creek area on Wednesday, July 7.

These free hikes are part of a larger hike series into proposed wilderness areas in Eagle, Pitkin and Summit counties.

The hikes are a great way to get out into less explored areas of the Roaring Fork Valley and see firsthand many of the areas in the Hidden Gems Wilderness Proposal. With so much public discussion about the Hidden Gems, this is an opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of where the wilderness proposal areas are and what they look like on the ground.

Huntsman Ridge towers over the vermilion sandstone canyon of the Crystal River above Redstone. The ridge crest offers fabulous vistas of Capitol Peak, the Marble Valley, Chair Mountain, and even the distant San Juan Mountains. The goal of this hike will be to reach the summit of remote Huntsman Mountain, towering above Coal Basin at almost 12,000 feet.

The Hunter Creek hike is an easy half-day ramble past the popular lower area – Aspen’s playground – into the less-frequented terrain that is proposed to be added to the Hunter-Fryingpan Wilderness. The hike will include frequent stops to admire and learn about the wildflowers from ACES naturalist Jim Kravitz.

Other upcoming hikes in the Roaring Fork Valley include a trek to the hidden waterfall and mining ruins on the backside of Mount Sopris on July 18, a trip to the red rock slots of Seven Castles Waterfall on July 31, and an ascent of Treasure Mountain on Aug. 15.

To view the hikes schedule and sign up or to learn more about the Hidden Gems Wilderness Proposal, visit http://www. whiteriverwild.org/p-Hikes-74. html.

Collin Stewart

Carbondale

Originally addressed: Dear Commissioners:

The Battlement Concerned Citizens and the many residents of Battlement Mesa that we represent wish to express our gratitude and appreciation to you for your unanimous decision to consider our request for designation of the Battlement Mesa Community as an activity of state interest pursuant to C.R.S. 24-65.1, the Colorado Land Use Enabling Act.

Battlement Mesa is the largest unincorporated community in Garfield County with great potential for further growth and development, which we feel is seriously threatened by continued oil and gas development in and around our community. It is reassuring to know that local county government is also concerned enough to consider all possible options to protect our community and its citizens.

The designation of Battlement Mesa as an activity of state interest would allow the county to provide a level of local regulatory authority, where none currently exists, to react to potential impacts that may affect the overall growth and development of the community. It would also provide an avenue whereby citizens and local entities could appeal and provide input concerning major issues that could impact the community.

We look forward to your timely review of our request, and hope that our organization can be of further service to Garfield County in considering and possibly acting upon our request.

Sincerely,

Ron Galterio and Dave Devanney

co-chairs

Battlement Concerned Citizens

Battlement Mesa

Whether Mr. Roles’ suspicion of malfeasance is accurate (“Rifle area rancher thinks his activism may have triggered retaliation,” PI June 29) his loss underscores a tragic and wholly unnecessary division between those imperiled by this industry – whether through toxicity or other physical threat – and those within the industry with a mindset of “my job or your life.”

Unfortunately, conflicts that should inspire reasonable debate and a process of solution-seeking between all affected parties, instead inspire the fossil fuel industry to reduce valid disagreement into an inane slogan like “Drill, baby, drill” and retaliate with hostility against anyone voicing an objection to their devastation.

Maybe it is unreasonable to expect more from an industry whose every threat and effort to buy silence is met with reward. If a child were rewarded after every tantrum or threat with not only a cookie, but the cookies of all their pals, you would have raised an adult with neither social- nor self-awareness.

Blanket exemptions from common sense regulations have allowed operators to pursue the cheapest and therefore worst practices in order to economically compete with other operators doing the same. Proper regulation – not over-inflated, useless hooey – could level the playing field and create better conditions and economic benefit for everyone.

But, routinely, even minimum regulation is rejected in favor of fatter profit margins for industry stakeholders. Political will to represent citizens and conserve other vital resources of air and water is undermined by conflicts of interest where every level of government takes a cut of royalties from ever-expanding and faster development.

In this enduring scenario, even operators who want to do better devolve into worst practices, which residents in the bull’s eye must try to survive without legal standing. This creates an extraordinarily unbalanced situation toward which the industry is neither cognizant nor accountable.

How hard is it to crush, even more, someone or something doomed and helpless in industry’s path? The overly-simple polarization of “industry against everyone else” is why natural gas development produces such diametrically opposing viewpoints instead of better-benefiting, as it could, a broader cross-section of our region.

Lisa Bracken

Silt

It is time for Wilderness Workshop to throw in the towel on the Hidden Gems campaign.

WW and your paid cronies can go to smell, the roses, in the existing wilderness areas.

As a resident of the Roaring Fork Valley I have personally witnessed the ineptitude of the Wilderness Workshop.

If WW really wants to make Hidden Gems a reality I would suggest firing Shoemaker and Kincade for starters.

I believe that the public could get behind some of this if the WW were not so blatantly arrogant and underhanded in their tactics.

Just like the current federal administration, it is time for WW to clean its house.

Joseph Hultquist

Rifle


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