This is a response to the letter by James Gorman, the out-of-state hunter from Grand Rapids, Mich. His question was, “So who wins if the Hidden Gems becomes a reality?” The short answer is we all do.As a visitor to our beautiful state, I want to thank you for visiting and participating in our winter sports and September hunts. I take it that you are either a bow hunter or a muzzler loader hunter.I have lived in this country my entire life, 57 years, and have seen the destruction of our wildlife habitat on a grand scale. Our recreation-based economy mandates more development for humans. Development has and will continue to compromise our wild places. Our precious wildlife is pushed further and further into fractured habitat. Easy access to quality habitat destroys their intact ecosystems.If you lose access to one of your favorite hunting areas, rest assured that the place itself is not lost. Nature will quickly reclaim what man has destroyed. The wildlife will flourish and, with a little more effort, you will see more game.I am an avid bow hunter and choose to hunt in wilderness areas and other hard-to-reach areas because that’s where the game is, far away from the noise and the crowds. Believe me, you won’t be disappointed; you only have to put in the effort. At 57, it helps keep me young. And our Division of Wildlife is doing fine. In your state of Michigan, there are 13 wilderness areas, such as Mackinac and McCormick. As an avid outdoorsman, I assume you and your family have entered and enjoyed them. So ask yourself, what would the experience be like if they were not preserved? Who wins when all those areas were deemed wilderness? The answer: You and all Americans do. God gave us dominion over the animals and the land, and with that comes certain responsibilities. We must give those who do not have a voice our consideration. Imagine if you will that all of Michigan’s wilderness areas did not exist. Frightening, isn’t it?Jim GonzalesMinturn
The notion of a shopping center in Silt costing the town $3.35 million in bond debt is foolish, to say the least. Do the mayor and trustees have any idea what kind of profit margin grocery stores normally generate? It’s roughly 2 to 10 percent, depending on the volume a store can generate. The key to success in that type of business is volume. Silt does not have the population to support this sort of business. I would suggest that the town spend its energy trying to find businesses to fill the already-built empty retail spaces that are on Silt’s Main Street now. If I need a loaf of bread or gallon of milk now, I can go to Go-Fers or Kum & Go and get one for convenience. I will pay more because, just like a local grocery store would, they have to charge more than City Market or Wal-Mart due to a lack of volume. The population of Silt cannot sustain a competitive edge with New Castle or Rifle for a local store. It is simple economics. The community of Silt does not have the financial or people resources for this plan to succeed in the foreseeable future. Is it the town’s place to be a real estate manager or landlord? Will the “Wet Lands” Shopping Center generate enough revenue to get beyond the planning stage? If it moves forward, at what cost to the residents of Silt? Do we need another governmental agency – an Urban Renewal Authority – for this pipe dream, which the taxpayers will have to support for how long? How much will our local taxes have to be raised to sustain this ill-advised plan? Does a government entity, such as the town of Silt, belong in the real estate business, in direct competition with the already built businesses trying to rent retail space?John MainguySilt
As a member of the Colorado 8th Senate District Vacancy Committee, I am happy with the process used to replace outgoing state Sen. Al White. The steps taken to provide transparency by committee chairman Phil Vaughan and Secretary Audrey Danner were well thought out. Of the 35 votes cast during the five ballots, my vote on the first ballot was the only one Bob McConnell received in the whole process. I cast that vote because of input I received from Moffat and Routt county citizens. After seeing that Bob did not have any other support, I changed my vote to the person that I felt could best represent the district and be immediately effective – Jean White. The original rules called for an initial vote. If there was no majority winner, then the committee would vote between only the top two. Input from state party counsel encouraged changing that rule to require voting until a majority was received by one candidate. No one would be eliminated, unless they took themselves out. This would allow a compromise candidate from the entire field to move forward. That is exactly what happened; Jean White was that compromise candidate. I am not sure how or why Bob McConnell felt the “fix was in” and the process was flawed. He was one of five who did not receive the required votes needed that evening. During Bob’s campaign for this position, he encouraged supporters from not only the 8th Senate District, but from across the state and country to contact committee members regarding his campaign and worthiness. He also reminded supporters to let committee members know they would be up for election as party chairs in their respective counties soon, and Bob’s supporters would be involved in that process. I welcomed and answered more than 100 e-mails received on Bob’s behalf, even though some of the messages were very indignant. I personally felt Bob was running a campaign of intimidation, not one of honor. During the proceedings, Bob McConnell struggled to articulate his status as a “recovering lawyer.” Though I have not visited with other members of the committee, I also expect that Bob’s viewpoint on encouraging civil disobedience toward the very government to which he aspired did not help his cause. I sincerely believe that Mr. McConnell would have been content with the process had he won the seat. His message at this time is not one of encouraging transparency, but one of furthering his goal to intimidate and influence a positive outcome for himself. We do not need political representatives who boost their egos by bullying others. Bob now wants to change the rules of the sandbox he chose to stop playing in. I am proud of my votes on the vacancy committee, proud of the process, proud of the conduct of the other committee members, and am very confidant that Jean White will represent the 8th Senate District in an exemplary manner. John Ponikvar 8th Senate District Vacancy Committee member chairman, Moffat County Republican Central CommitteeCraig
Every winter we feed the birds – finches, sparrows, jays, flickers, downy woodpeckers, etc.By this time of year, we usually have fed the birds 50 pounds of seeds. This year, we’ve fed maybe 10 pounds.In the early days, miners kept a canary to detect bad air.Conclusion: Maybe the birds left for better air. The problem is probably pollution from gas well drilling. Myron ShoemakerCarbondale
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Colorado Parks and Wildlife is urging anglers to stay off the Roaring Fork River between Carbondale and Glenwood Springs during afternoons beginning Saturday.