Friday letters: oil and gas, science, Negro National Anthem, voter fraud, hearing aids, first-time gun owners

Commissioners funneling public funds to oil and gas interests is shameful

What would you do if you had $1.5 million to improve your community? Would you support our struggling tourism industry? How about bolstering the health department’s efforts to tame Covid-19? Maybe you’d help fund a job readiness program to help workers get back on their feet.

Unfortunately, our county commissioners have chosen to do none of those things.

Instead, they have decided Monday to waste another half million dollars in public funds, on top of the million they have already squandered, to unilaterally finance a special interest group that opposes common-sense reforms to make the oil and gas industry safer for those of us who live close to their drilling. These measures that the Garfield County commissioners oppose include increased inspections for leaks with operations located within 1,000 feet of homes, and twice a year inspections of all wells for leaks that are harmful to our health and the environment. 

As a Garfield County resident, I do not believe fighting basic health and safety measures is a good use of public dollars. When I raised this issue in the Garfield County commissioner meeting on July 6, I was rebuffed by Commissioner Jankovsky, who dismissed my concerns as those of “… a minority in Battlement Mesa … about 25%.” This isn’t the first time that Jankovsky has made it clear that he thinks his only duty is to serve the needs of his constituents who voted for him — as far as he’s concerned, the other 1,175 people who call Battlement Mesa home simply don’t matter.

Despite what our commissioners may think, an elected official’s job is to protect everyone in their community. Spending $1,500,000 to single-handedly fund an effort to allow oil and gas companies to release poison into the air near our homes isn’t protecting anyone, unless you count energy industry executives in Denver and Houston.

Now, I pose to you the same question I asked Jankovsky: If you were in the 25% with a gas well in your backyard, wouldn’t you think you needed protection, too?

Betsy Leonard

Battlement Mesa

Follow science, not speculators

Feels like basic military training. Do things because you’re told. That’s the subtext of all this COVID-19 lock-down. These “necessary mandates” like closing down schools and the economy are precautionary for a virus that hasn’t been studied. 

The results so far are anemic relative to the Spanish Flu or the Black Death. In regard to the regional population: One in three died during the Black Death. One in 10 died during the Spanish Flu. One in 16,000 died so far during COVID-19. The ordinary seasonal flu kills one in 19,000. 

So far, COVID-19 is just a bit more fatal than the ordinary seasonal flu. This doesn’t even compare to the Spanish Flu or the Black Death.

Be cautious, but notice who benefits from, or perpetuates speculative narratives. So far, data spikes are relative to the spotty testing. Is this a hoax, a crime and a cover-up all in one? 

Only more data will tell. That’s why comprehensive testing is important. The more who test positive, relative to those who’ve died, makes a disease less virulent. 

Keep calm. Carry on. Wait for the science and common sense, not the speculators, to tell us when to be ourselves. Speculators never will.

Fred Stewart

Grand Junction

Negro National Anthem

I betcha the first time the Negro National Anthem was played in Aspen or the Roaring Fork Valley was just a short few years ago when I made a birthday song request for “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing” (“Lift Every Voice and Sing”) by the brothers James Weldon Johnson and J. Rosamond Johnson to be played and sung for my birthday.

A small miracle when it was played and sung on two Sundays in a row, instead of just one Sunday. 

I only told a handful, including Father Jonathan Brice and his wife, that song in the hymn book was the Negro National Anthem. 

In the Episcopal Church hymnal it is listed as “Lift Every Voice,” Hymn 500. 

Also you’ll find the Negro National Anthem in the United Methodist Church hymnal. 

So welcome to real Americanism and Americana when you get to see, hear and have the marvelous chance to sing “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing” during “each NFL game during Week 1….” (“NFL To Play Black Anthem Before National Anthem”, Morning Briefing, Sports, Denver Post, July 3, 2020).

Also do bear in mind that “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing” did compete to be our U.S. national anthem.

Best wishes,

Emzy Veazy III

Burbank, California, and Aspen

Democrats benefit from voter fraud

Andrea Chacos must have been listening to Biden in another one of his less lucid moments when he slathered “we prefer truth over facts.” Andrea and Joe think there’s a difference between the two. OK …

She also opines that saying there’s no proof there isn’t voter fraud, “sounds stupid and that’s a fact.” No, Andrea, that’s your stupid opinion.

There can be no “evidence” of fraud since there’s been no investigation. Today, there are over 12 million active SSNs whose supposed users are all over 112 years old. That’s a fact.

The truth is that they could be used by noncitizens to vote fraudulently. My opinion is Democrats don’t want to know because they benefit from voter fraud.

Bruno Kirchenwitz 


Mind your hearing aid

On a recent trip, my mother lost a hearing aid somewhere, probably while removing her mask after we made a pit stop. 

When I phoned our hearing aid office to schedule an appointment for a replacement, the professional there said this has become a common event since the advent of COVID-19. 

As a public service, I would like to remind those who have such devices, and those who travel with them, to take special care to ensure everything is still with you whenever a mask is put on or removed. 

It’s an expensive mistake that can be avoided if we pay extra attention. Most seniors can’t really afford to make replacements on a regular basis.

Barbara Hauptli

Glenwood Springs

Appreciate that gun, first-timers

Well, it’s happened. With the current panic of some zombie intruder stealing our bottled water and toilet paper, or a “protester/rioter” wanting to beat the crap out of us because we believe all lives matter, or maybe the demands that police departments be defunded, “who ya gonna call,” the race to purchase a firearm has been setting new records for the last three or four months. This has gummed the works of state and federal background check systems, with approvals taking up to 10 days.

Most of this current panic to get a gun is by first time gun buyers, who last election were casting votes for the very candidates and politicians who promised to take away that “right.”

I’m curious to know how many of these first-timers learned that they couldn’t just go online, order and have their firearm shipped to their door, no questions asked. After all, this is what we’ve been told by the gun grabbers, political leaders, celebrities and lame stream media for decades. I would bet that 99% found that it was a much more difficult process than they ever imagined, with some being denied.

Well now that you have this chunk of metal and wood or plastic, I hope that you asked someone knowledgeable to accompany you to the shooting range, which, by the way, you were probably trying extremely hard to have closed down a couple of years ago. Someone to teach how to own and operate your new purchase safely.

Finally, “armed” with your purchase, responsibility and knowledge of what it took to acquire it, perhaps you’ll learn more about what your candidates have in mind for you and your new property before casting your vote in November. And while you are at it, you might want to join the NRA, the organization trying to protect your right to keep it. If interested, call me, I can help.

Richard Teague


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