Friday letters: Coke ovens, dog etiquette, Holy Cross election, affordable housing

Coke ovens are filthy

Coke ovens. What is the logic or priority to celebrate and restore these coke ovens in Glenwood, Redstone and other places? They were filthy poison-spewing devices. The sky was black and choked with smoke debris. I’m sure large numbers of people suffered serious health issues from these awful things. Hello — burning large quantities of fossil fuels. Aren’t there other worthwhile endeavors?

Ken Fry, Glenwood Springs

Dear Roaring Fork Valley friends and visitors

I’m writing to raise an important topic that affects both dog owners and our beloved community: dog etiquette.

As a proud pooch parent myself, I believe it’s essential to promote some guidelines for all of us as we strut our stuff in parks and on paths. By embracing these simple principles, we can create a harmonious environment while keeping our parks and trails clean and enjoyable for everyone.

Let’s talk about leashes. While our four-legged friends may be the best-behaved buddies on the block, not all park-goers and trail users feel comfortable around unleashed dogs. It’s important to keep our furry pals leashed, ensuring a relaxing experience for all. Plus, it adds an extra touch of safety and prevents any unexpected wildlife chases. While walking our dogs, it is crucial to respect the personal space of others and maintain control over our pets. Ensuring that our dogs do not jump on strangers, chase wildlife and bikers, or disturb other park visitors is essential to creating a positive atmosphere for everyone.

How about the not-so-glamorous but oh-so-necessary topic of picking up doggy doo? No one likes stepping into an unwanted surprise, and it’s not exactly a fragrance we want wafting through the parks and trails. Poo pickup is also necessary to keep our river water clean. The city of Glenwood has done a fantastic job with selecting compostable waste bags and with placing convenient trash cans around town. If you’re hiking with your pooch, please ensure you carry extra bags with you, and please don’t deposit the doo bags on the trail. There is no poo fairy, so let’s arm ourselves with those waste bags, scoop the poop and doo our part in keeping our paths and trails pristine.

So, let’s embark on this journey together, my fellow dog lovers. By following these guidelines and encouraging others with a friendly woof or two, we can create a community that respects one another and ensures a pleasant outdoor experience for everyone.

Wishing you endless wags and happy trails,

Katy Knapp, Glenwood Springs

Make sure to vote in Holy Cross Energy election

If you are a Holy Cross Energy member, ballots were delivered to you recently, and now you have a chance to make your voice heard. All members are eligible to vote regardless of voter registration or immigration status — if you receive electric service from Holy Cross, you are a member and have the right to vote for who you want to represent you on the board.

In this year’s Holy Cross election, I am supporting Alex DeGolia, running in the Western District. Alex shares my values to protect our air, climate and water by investing in clean, affordable, renewable electricity. Over the past several years, Holy Cross has become a state and national leader in transitioning to clean energy and protecting our climate. This has helped save members money while ensuring a safer, better future for our families.

Ballots must be returned by June 13, or you can vote online in your Holy Cross account or in-person at the annual meeting June 15.

Beatriz Soto, New Castle

Deed-restricted housing won’t meet our needs 

I appreciate Gail Schwartz’s passion and leadership in addressing the housing crisis in the Roaring Fork and Colorado River Valleys. However, I disagree that local governments can solve it by encouraging more affordable-housing development.

I draw a different conclusion from the same study. It found that more than half of the homes in both valleys are owned by non-residents or second-home owners who contribute little labor to the local economy. This suggests that building some deed-restricted homes will not meet the needs of the local workforce, unless we restrict who can buy homes on the free market, as well.

Moreover, another group adds to the housing pressure in both valleys, especially since the pandemic: remote workers. They live here but work elsewhere, often for large corporations or institutions that have no connection to our region. They enjoy living in a beautiful place but rely on the local workforce for every service and amenity they need, year-round. They compete with the local workers for housing, driving up the prices and reducing the availability.

I should know. I’ve been part of the problem since I moved here in 2009. I live here and work for Johns Hopkins University as a senior systems engineer. I love this place but realize that my presence here impacts the housing market and the community.

I recognize that limiting who can buy a home in both valleys may seem unfair or impractical. However, there are precedents and models for doing so in other places, such as Banff National Park in Canada, where residents have to meet criteria to qualify for housing. This policy preserves Banff’s natural and cultural heritage, while ensuring that its workforce can live there.

In conclusion, I believe that the only way to solve the housing crisis in both valleys is to limit who can buy a home here, such as Banff has done. This would reserve our housing stock for those who contribute more than dollars to our economy. I welcome further discussion and collaboration on this issue.

Nate Klingenstein, Glenwood Springs

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