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Your Letters

As taxpaying residents of Garfield County, we found the most recent press release from the Sheriff’s Office quite interesting. To begin outlining our thoughts, let’s remember the 2010 sheriff’s budget was approved unanimously by the county commissioners. Yes, that includes Ms. Houpt.

Although we may disagree with some of her political positions, we must sincerely commend her for the intelligent support she has always exhibited toward law enforcement.

Two main observations (if we may):

1. $5 million returned in two years. We think that is significant when you realize no cuts in services or programs occurred. Actually, services were added to the benefit of our residents, including inmates. How many other departments have returned $5 million in the past two years?

2. To begin, some background. Phil Amonette of Silt/Rifle was being sought by Rifle Police on suspicion of domestic violence. Upon contact with the police, he broke free and fired at the Rifle officers, striking one officer in the chest. The officer’s vest saved his life. The second officer returned fire, striking Mr. Amonette several times. He was flown to St. Mary’s and, somehow, survived.

Mr. Amonette was one of the most verbose, acerbic, and vitriolic critics of Sheriff Vallario during the last election cycle, as his published letters in the Post Independent demonstrated. It is interesting that he is now costing the county taxpayers $77,991 for several months of “extreme medical care.” This added expense has no end in sight!

This is not his first “extended stay” in the Garfield County “Hilton” on similar charges. This would explain his point of view regarding the sheriff’s office. This situation is a perfect example of how the best thought-out budgets can be altered to the detriment of our county’s taxpayers. This is why experience and professionalism are so important: to prepare for such episodes.

As readers can probably tell, this letter was prompted due to the frustration caused by outright lies on some people’s parts during the last contentious election for sheriff.

Tom and Jane Ashworth


On March 19, state legislators held a meeting in Grand Junction about changing our congressional districts. Unfortunately it appears that there is a push by some, the chairman of the local Democratic Party being one, to take Garfield County out of the 3rd Congressional District.

They want to put it in the 2nd District, which is Boulder and the I-70 corridor basically.

While we may have some of the same characteristics as Eagle County, we do not have much in common with Boulder County. I really don’t believe that a congressman from Boulder is going to represent western Garfield County.

This is an attempt to dilute our vote. The Republicans won every countywide race last November in Garfield. But our vote won’t matter one bit if we get thrown into the 2nd. I believe that the current congressman from that district is a backer of Hidden Gems and is not a supporter of the energy industry or agriculture.

Please, if you believe that this should be stopped, contact all your state representatives and senators. Our voice is way louder if we stay in the 3rd along with the rest of western Colorado.

Brett Jolley

New Castle

The Post Independent on March 16 endorsed Russ Arensman, Councilor, Ward 1, for re-election. Russ earned this endorsement for his vision, thoughtful leadership, and experience.

Experience stands out as the key attribute here. Greg and Sean Jeung’s editorial letter of March 17 reiterates and enlarges on how and why Russ earned the endorsement as “best for Ward 1 council seat.” The experience comes from serving. The vision and leadership come in part from diligently cultivating the governmental experience and in part from his nature.

Russ has served on the council, planning and zoning and the city’s Energy Efficiency Committee. In the course of this service, he has learned much of the substance of local government and policy in areas of transportation, downtown preservation and improvement, renewable energy and energy efficiency, and the council’s fiduciary duties for assuring wise use of citizens’ tax dollars.

He can discuss knowledgeably the local Highway 82 alignment or the bypass, “full redevelopment potential . . . for riverside residential, recreational or commercial use of the Confluence area,” possible development of geothermal resources, and overseeing the city budget.

Russ Arensman, you see, is looking even beyond economic recovery to the post-recovery. Presently, time is essential, as recovery must come first. He is “best” for city government now because he already knows what he is talking about.

The editorial endorsement alluded to the incumbent’s thoughtful approach, openness, flexibility, and readiness to collaborate. When it comes to capability and personal style in governance, I should simply restate what the Jeungs said: Russ “has the skills, knowledge and demeanor to work effectively with residents, the business community, city staff, professionals and other regional and governmental entities.”

In summary, Russ Arensman has made himself a pivotal councilor, and should be re-elected.

Jerry Rankin

Glenwood Springs

The Xcel Energy website has a form that you can fill out telling Xcel of streetlights that are burned out or not working properly. If everyone in Silt who lives by a streetlight that is not working would fill out this form, we can have this problem taken care of.

Chris Classen


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