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Your Letters

Post Independent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

I am writing this letter in support of Ted Edmonds’ bid for the Glenwood Springs City Council seat in Ward 1.

I’ve known Ted now for about 23 years on both a business and personal level and I can tell you, Ted is straight as an arrow when it comes to personal or business dealings. Ted is not only well-educated, he is street smart, too. I think as a city councilman he will be an asset to the whole city, and not just Ward 1.

Ted has a belief that you can’t spend more than you take in or you are going to go broke. I think Washington calls that “deficit spending,” and that’s just against Ted’s principles.

Running a successful business for more than 20 years has got to be a testament to both Ted’s values and good business judgment.

Not living in the city, and having investments there, it’s frustrating not being able to vote for Ted. With Ted’s real-world background, I feel he will keep the citizens’ best interest first when he faces some of the challenges in the city’s future projects.

Ted will ask the questions: Does it make good business sense? Does it make good financial sense? Does it make good sense for the citizens of Glenwood Springs? And finally, how can we help the city be easy and pro-active to work with, rather than being a huge challenge some of the time?

Please give Ted your vote, and I don’t think you will ever regret it.

John Haines

Glenwood Springs

Russ Arensman is the clear choice to provide balanced leadership for Glenwood Springs City Council. We are fortunate to have such a thoughtful, hard-working, and independent decision-maker to represent us.

As a City Council member, Russ has demonstrated thorough knowledge of the issues and has not backed down from making the tough decisions. We feel he has done a great job leading our city through rough economic times in a fiscally responsible manner, while still succeeding to move important projects forward such as our new wastewater treatment plant. This is leadership that we need now, more than ever, on our City Council.

Many important issues are on the horizon: confluence development, downtown rejuvenation, transportation. Russ has the vision and determination that City Council will need to face our upcoming challenges.

We live in Ward 1, we’re voting for Russ Arensman, and we hope you will join us.

George and Margaret Wear

Glenwood Springs

I have known Ted Edmonds for almost 20 years through serving with him on various committees and charitable fundraising efforts. Ted is one of those quiet, self-effacing type of guys that can work together with all types of people to build consensus on important items.

I believe that Ted will bring important skills to our city in that he has been an owner, consultant and director of a tourism-related business and especially in the field of advance reservations. He also is experienced in the hotel/motel reservation business.

We all know that Glenwood Springs tourism is not what it was three or four years ago and Ted’s experience can bring needed changes that will benefit our economy.

Ted Edmonds has proven his leadership in numerous civic organizations and venues. Let’s give him a chance to do the same for the city of Glenwood Springs.

Patrick M. Fitzgerald

New Castle

Our son was a student at Glenwood Springs Elementary School from kindergarten through fifth grade. We have experienced Sonya Hemmen’s leadership, interaction with students, parents and teachers. She has done nothing but truly care about each one – both present and past. She believes in no child left behind, and knows each student personally to make sure none is.

Even though our son is no longer at GSES, Mrs. Hemmen still checks in on him. He knows she is a safe person and if he ever needs someone to turn to, he has told us that she is one of those people. He may not be a GSES Grizzly any longer, but she still cares about him, his education and well-being. She always tells the kids that even as Cougars or Demons, they are still Grizzlies deep down inside.

Knowing Principal Hemmen on a both a professional and personal level, I do not have any idea of what Ms. Haptonstall thinks Principal Hemmen could have done that would warrant her removal from her position.

And during CSAPs? Seriously? Please explain to me how this benefits any student. Students knew she wasn’t there. I am sure they talked about it. And how could they concentrate on CSAPs with that?

I find it interesting that the morning after the suspension, Ms. Pelland addressed the Roaring Fork School District employees, as seen on their website, discussing the many difficult budget cuts. And one cut that was noted was a principal position. Is Principal Hemmen’s suspension due to the budget situation?

We implore the school board to direct Ms. Haptonstall to reinstate Principal Hemmen immediately. This suspension is unfair, unjust and just plain wrong. And it does not support our kids. What happened to the district’s philosophy of “Our kids are worth whatever it takes”?

We support Principal Sonya Hemmen because she is a dedicated, hardworking, caring educator who wants nothing more than to see her students succeed – at her school and in life. Please reinstate her immediately so she can continue on her mission to do this.

Don and Jenny Cutright

Glenwood Springs

During my three terms as mayor of Glenwood Springs, I have had the opportunity to visit Glenwood Springs Elementary School on numerous occasions at the invitation of Sonya Hemmen and her faculty. In each case, as I would walk the halls of the school with Ms. Hemmen, we would be greeted by smiling, happy and inquisitive children who clearly thrive within a culture totally committed to learning and student well-being.

I give great credit to the teachers of this outstanding school, but also must point out that this would not be the case without great leadership. Sonya Hemmen’s leadership is clearly a necessary component to the success of both the school and its students.

The cultural and demographic diversity of the school is also evident to anyone who spends time there. While this may certainly provide challenges with regard to test scores, I can think of nothing that will go further to prepare children for life in the real world.

I and other members of our community find it insulting that GSES is referred to as “the ghetto school” by those who seem to place shiny new buildings above the quality of the people who actually facilitate learning. Ms. Hemmen and her staff continue to do more with less than probably any other school within the Roaring Fork district.

I consider Sonya Hemmen to be a true gift to our community and am outraged at the possibility that her job is in jeopardy. I have never heard a single negative comment about her from a child, parent or community member. What I am consistently told is that she devotes countless hours of her own time and energy to better the lives of the children who are enrolled at GSES.

I urge all citizens of Glenwood Springs to contact members of the Re-1 school board and ask that they consider the impacts of their actions not only on this wonderful and dedicated woman and on the children who continue to benefit so greatly from her skill and passion.

Bruce Christensen

Glenwood Springs

I am writing in regards to the recent suspension of Sonya Hemmen. The school district to this point has given no grounds for suspension.

How can this approach to managing the school district inspire, motive and create a positive work environment for the employees? The district has struggled with a high turnover rate as it is.

If the district is going to continue to suspend Sonya, it should provide her with the justifications and make its personnel meetings regarding Sonya’s employment public, as she has requested.

As a citizen looking in, it would appear that something fishy is going on between superintendent Judy Haptonstall and the board. Please be transparent.

I have known Sonya for seven years and in those seven years I have learned that she is a very passionate person. She is very passionate about every kid’s well-being at Glenwood Springs Elementary. As a father, it is good to know that there are people such as Sonya who are looking out for the well-being of my child.

Please reinstate Sonya back to her position as principal of GSES.

Chris Lehrman

Glenwood Springs

Mrs. Hemmen is a great principal for our school, and all the kids love her. She supports every one of us.

Sometimes if I am having a bad morning and she gets on the loudspeaker, then she makes me feel a lot better with her confident voice.

I don’t know what we could do without her.

Hannah Worline

Glenwood Springs

Mrs. Hemmen has supported our whole school. She has supported me with math and literacy and in homeroom.

She helps students show pride throughout the school day. It makes me feel good when I get a letter from her saying that I have been doing a great job in school. That makes me want to work harder at things that are difficult for me.

I hope she can come back to our school.

Emily Worline

Glenwood Springs

It is with no small disappointment that I write this letter. The superintendent of the Re-1 School District has suspended Glenwood Springs Elementary School Principal Sonya Hemmen without explanation, without justification, and without the decency of revealing the basis for this suspension, even to Principal Hemmen, the one person whose position, say nothing of career, is at stake.

Not only does this action defy every precept of professional and common courtesy, it constitutes the kind of avoidable travesty that has no place in this community. At the end of the day, I hold the Re-1 school board accountable for this action by the superintendent.

The damage is done, but there is one action the board can take to save face. Principal Hemmen has waived her privacy rights and petitioned the board to make this process public, and the board needs to make this happen. If there are lawful, moral or ethical justifications for this suspension, then let them be heard, but more importantly, if the foundation for this suspension lacks veracity, the board and the community need to know.

Failing this, the board forces conjecture on the community. Worse, the board effectively cloaks motives and hides truth, both of which run counter to the principles of responsible public service. There is one clearly correct and dignified course in this matter, and that is for the board to honor Principal Hemmen’s request to make this process public. The collective reputation of the Re-1 school board is at stake.

Mitchell E. Mulhall

Glenwood Springs

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