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Your Letters

Coal Ridge has just inserted itself into the valley’s most controversial issue of the century, gas drilling in Silt Mesa. Antero wants to increase the density of drilling on a 640 acre plot of land; the people are worried about possible water contamination and air pollution.

The major problem is there is a lack of facts surrounding the issue. The oil and gas facts are obviously biased and therefore cannot be trusted without a little more research; whereas the people’s facts seem to be based on hearsay and also need more research to be trusted.

The EPA, our trusted government agency that has probably been bought off by oil and gas companies, has been slow to reveal any information they have on the subject.

Unfortunately, articles published in your newspaper have made me believe that the Silt Mesa representatives (the county commissioners) have also been bought off by the oil companies.

The only representative that voted against increased drilling in the area was just voted out, Tresi Houpt. So, it can be inferred that no matter who we just put in office, and how much the people complain and write letters, that this bill to increase drilling density is going to pass. After it passes the people must remember two things:

1) That they voted in corruptible representatives and

2) That Thomas Jefferson once wrote, “That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government.”

I for one think that the community should focus on the second item, so I can grab my torch and pitchfork and be a part of an angry mob for the first time of my life. I will be reading future letters to see if anyone else would like to join me.

Jonathan Angelo

New Castle

As residents of Garfield County, we would like to commend the men and women of law enforcement for the superior jobs they recently did in dealing with two virtually simultaneous and potentially explosive, life-threatening situations (reported in the PI issue of Dec. 14). These incidents were successfully resolved with no loss of life, innocent or otherwise, because of several anticipated and prepared-for reasons:

Reason 1: Our officers have received and continue to receive the necessary equipment that enables them to deal with these situations, i.e., the Bearcat and associated tools designed for today’s law enforcement’s needs.

Reason 2: nationally certified training, i.e. AHRT certification

Reason 3: anticipation of simultaneous and/or multiple scenarios requiring advanced levels of intervention, i.e. multiple nationally certified negotiators. (All available only through the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office.)

Reason 4: an integrated chain of command, i.e. deputies, corporals, sergeants, etc., who constantly work and train together for just such circumstances.

These dedicated law enforcement officers deserve our thanks and, most of all, our respect and support.

One final thought, (sorry, we can’t resist): These incidents would have ended very differently if not for the concept “See the future; prepare for it today.” Remember, some people, including pseudo-law enforcement types maintained that this equipment, training and preparation were not necessary. It was “not a necessary investment” So, how much money should be invested in a human life (innocent or otherwise)?

Thank you for your time,

Very truly yours,

Tom and Jane Ashworth


I respectfully disagree.

Mr. Stover of Rifle offers that County Commissioner Tresi Houpt has been a “divisive, polarizing figure.”

In fact, in the eight years Tresi Houpt worked for the citizens of Garfield County, she consistently advocated for environmental health, open government and the rights of land owners. What Tresi did bring this county was effective balance between the rights of individuals, and the privilege of corporate interests in the gas industry. People in Colorado want balance and expect it from our local officials. Listen to what people say when they grapple with local issues. Consistently, most people strive to balance the interests of families and communities with the demands of industry.

Sometimes, to be effective, an elected official must light a few fires, take on entrenched interests and even ruffle a few feathers. If the “industry at any cost” bunch wants to call Commissioner Houpt “divisive and polarizing” they’ve missed the point. Tresi Houpt’s legacy in Garfield County is one of advocating for those who bear the impact of resource extraction, and there have been many in that difficult place. Her legacy has always been balance, an idea that industry has not always appreciated in its rush to accomplish as much as possible as fast as possible.

So I respectfully disagree, Mr. Stover. We demand balance, not patronage and privilege. Tresi has been one of the most courageous, thoughtful figures in Western Colorado. We expect this same thoughtful consideration of all our interests from the next commission.

Greg Russi

New Castle

Is it a blessing or a burden to live long enough to reminisce about the “olden days?”

Looking back, I guess that it’s a blessing that I survived, because I grew up before government began make our critical decisions.

• As an infant, my parents weren’t advised not to put a plastic bag over my head.

• As a toddler, they weren’t reminded to remove me from the stroller before folding it up.

• As a youth, I had no bike helmet or knee pads.

• As a student, at school “God” was in the pledge and “Christmas” was a proclaimed holiday.

• As an athlete, it was not unsportsmanlike to keep score.

• As a youth, military service was an obligation and source of pride.

Early TV was bearable, not obnoxious – like The Simpsons and Geico or Capital One commercials.

Remember when scholastic achievement was rewarded? Now, mediocrity is an accepted norm:

• Schools have eliminated valedictorian honors to avoid offending underachievers.

• Teacher tenure in our school systems protects sub par teachers from termination.

Year end used to create excitement for college football bowl games – the nation’s 10 best teams played in five major bowl games. Now there are 34 bowls with many inferior teams among the 68 participants.

In the “olden days,” presidents exhibited pride in praising our great nation, not disdain by dissing it; and “first ladies” sponsored worthy causes instead of deeming parents incapable of choosing what children should eat.

I can also recollect many congressional representatives as role models, respected for their service to the country. Was there ever a past legislature with a “disapproval rating” of 70 percent?

As an adult former businessman, now retired, I truly resent government interference in my life, but I’m still proud to be an American free to make judgments and free to worship as a believer. The November election proved that I’m one of the multitude of citizens who will continue to fight for the constitutional freedoms to which we are entitled.

We simply refuse to be “dumbed down.”

God bless America!

Richard Doran


So today I read the article in the Post that District Attorney Martin Beeson will not be filing charges against baby sitter Eryn Thistle. According to Beeson, “It is clear that McKenzie’s death was not caused intentionally by Erin (sic) Thistle.”

Does Mr. Beeson need to be reminded of what the definition of involuntary manslaughter is? Is it me or does something seem to be a little out of whack with our judicial system that we are letting an adult go who voluntarily gave a child an overdose of adult medicine that plainly states in the autopsy report was cause of her death?

I am sure that Eryn did not intend to kill a child, but her actions resulted in that child’s death. Involuntary manslaughter according to Wikipedia is “the unlawful killing of a human being without malice aforethought.” It truly saddens me that our judicial system will not be finding justice for McKenzie, and I hope that no one finds themselves going through the tragedy and injustice that this family has experienced, not once but twice now that this decision has been made my Mr. Beeson.

Jacque Ninnemann

Glenwood Springs

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