Monday letters: Fentanyl, immigrant labor, a landlord’s perspective, kudos and more |

Monday letters: Fentanyl, immigrant labor, a landlord’s perspective, kudos and more

Fentanyl law is good step forward

Colorado’s lawmakers who passed the Fentanyl Accountability and Prevention Act deserve deep appreciation and recognition. Cheap and 80 times more potent than morphine, fentanyl is illegally mixed with pain pills and street drugs. In 2021 fentanyl killed hundreds of Coloradoans, and is implicated in more than half the 100,000-plus drug overdose deaths nationwide.

Lawmakers who saw this bill through without stonewalling wrestled with complicated issues to try to stop a relentless and invisible killer. This $57 million law lowers the felony fentanyl possession threshold from a ridiculous 4 grams (a lethal dose is 2 milligrams) to 1 to 4 grams of any compound containing fentanyl. A last-minute compromise allows defendants who prove they didn’t know they possessed fentanyl to have sentences reduced. Other provisions include expanded treatment options, statewide harm-reduction programs, and bulk purchases and distribution of naloxone to counter overdoses.

Tragically, many families who have lost a loved one to fentanyl live knowing the person who made and sold the poisoned substance is still on the street — and someone else will likely perish.

Critically, the law allocates $7 million for a statewide fentanyl poisoning investigation fund to improve law enforcement’s investigation and prosecution of cases.

The fentanyl crisis is tearing families apart. Young people experimenting with ways to get high don’t end up high — they end up dead. Blessings and thanks to the families of victims and others who labored to see this legislation through and who campaign every day to end this senseless murder.

Chelsea Congdon Brundige


Good conversation starter

I wanted to respond to Bruno Kirchenwitz (May 4 Letters to the Editor) about fentanyl and addiction. My son passed away in 2018 from an accidental overdose, he was 24 years old. His toxicology report showed that fentanyl was the cause of his death.

I know my son was not out to purchase that particular drug and I consider his death a murder by poison, the law didn’t see it that way. The law protected the drug dealer who called 911, who sold my son the laced drug, and my son ultimately died. That was his consequence. The dealer is probably still selling fentanyl laced drugs and contributing to other deaths. This is a critical issue and a continuously rising problem.

I agree, dealers need consequences that are stiff and will make a difference. Addicts are people, people with a disease. Those people are someone’s loved ones. Addicts also carry shame and have to face a number of things that come with addiction. We do need to stop the stigma to help educate others on this disease. Addiction touches many families, not only in our valley, but all over our nation.

I do believe we must talk about this issue of fentanyl, addiction included. Talking won’t solve a problem, but it helps to come up with better solutions to help work with this issue. What we are doing to help treat addiction isn’t working. Ninety days won’t do it. Families often don’t know where to turn. Treatment facilities are not closely monitored and are a gamble. They are making profits off of vulnerable populations. Outpatient treatment and support groups are improving and growing.

The truth, my son was not defined by his death or his addiction. I also felt alone and lost when it came to getting him the right kind of help, but by the time I started to find the best resources it was too late. We can’t turn a blind eye, but we do need more kindness. I appreciate you starting this conversation and I am so thankful you were able to get off the needle and change your life. You give others hope, where it can be lost. Thank you for bringing up this very important issue!

Jenell Hilderbrand

Glenwood Springs

Support immigrant labor

As you drive through Glenwood Springs, you’re likely to find an increasingly common sight: the help wanted sign. More and more businesses in communities all over our state are experiencing a major labor shortage. From family restaurants and shops to hospitals and major corporations, there aren’t enough employees to meet our needs, leaving businesses unable to meet their customers’ needs. The pandemic already forced many businesses to close their doors, and today’s labor shortage may close even more. Thankfully, there is a severely under-utilized source of workers that can help alleviate our workforce challenges: immigrants.

Here in Colorado, we’re no stranger to the many contributions that immigrant workers have on our state’s economy. Each year, the over 500,000 immigrants who call Colorado home pay nearly $6 billion in taxes and hold over $15 billion in spending power. Immigrants have also stepped up during the pandemic, manning the front lines in key industries like healthcare. Unfortunately, outdated regulations in our broken immigration system prevent many employers from recruiting and retaining legal immigrant workers and prevent immigrants from joining our overstretched workforce and instead force them to stay on the sidelines. Over the past several decades, bureaucratic processing delays at the Department of Homeland Security have resulted in the federal agencies failing to process immigrant visas up to the numerical limits in both the family-based and employment-based categories despite high demand. These delays have resulted in 3.7 million people in line for family-based visas and at least 900,000 people in the employment-based backlogs.

This is a foolish waste. It’s time for Congress to implement long-overdue reforms to our current immigration system. Please urge Senators Bennet and Hickenlooper to ensure that these immigration reforms are included in this year’s budget reconciliation package. With these updates in hand, businesses across the nation will have access to more workers and won’t have to close their doors.

Jennifer Smith

Glenwood Springs

Hearing services thanks

I would like to thank Blake Summers at Hearing Associates in Glenwood Springs. I’m severely hearing impaired from a flying accident years ago and depend on hearing services. I have new hearing aids and ran into a problem recently.

Hearing Associates has been moving into new office space. I contacted Blake this morning and was seen within two hours despite the move.

He and Sophia were caring, professional and really cared about my situation. The new office was large, warm and is ready for their patients. Thank you again.

Nancy Peterson


Quinton for Holy Cross

I am writing this letter to publicly support the re-election of Adam Quinton to the Holy Cross Energy Board of Directors.

Since meeting Adam shortly after relocating to the Vail Valley from Denver, I have found him to be a very thoughtful and caring member of our community and the Western Slope as a whole. Adam’s education (BA degree in Natural Sciences from Cambridge University, England with a focus on the Atmosphere) and professional background as a top ranked Wall Street research analyst who focused on electric utilities make him a perfect candidate to add significant value as a board member. He is analytical, well-spoken and extremely well-informed with respect to global trends in energy and the environment. He also cares deeply about maintaining the quality of life in our mountain community and ensuring that Holy Cross’ workforce and leadership reflects the diversity of the community in which we live.

Through his work as a board member of Walking Mountains Science Center and Holy Cross Energy, as well as all he does for our Eagle County Climate Action Collaborative, Adam is committed to seeking and implementing smart solutions to address the growing threat climate change increasingly poses to our environment, our lifestyles, and our jobs.

At Holy Cross Adam is the Treasurer and chairs the Finance Committee of the board.

As an experienced global financial analyst and Managing Director at Merrill Lynch, he brings business smarts and experience to the task of helping make sure our coop runs safely and reliably while keeping our electricity rates in the bottom third of all coops in the state.

I cannot think of a better representative for the Northern District seat on the Holy Cross Energy Board. Please consider joining me in voting for Adam when you receive your Holy Cross ballot.

Claude Pupkin


Landlord perspective

No, I can’t rent to you for less than my mortgage…

This is an open letter to the renters and keyboard warriors out there from a landlord. A number of years ago, after diligently watching the real estate market, I was fortunate enough to purchase an apartment that I could rent out.

My unit is not new, it is dated, but I keep it nice. The appliances are approaching their life span and require regular attention. The rent that I collect from my tenant covers the mortgage, HOA fees and homeowners’ insurance and, yes, I do make a monthly profit. That profit is included in my annual income, and it’s taxed, but no, I am not living a lavish lifestyle from this extra income.

That extra income is spent on the rental unit’s new furnace, the new washing machine or the after-hours call to the plumber to unclog the toilet. When needed, I spend weekends making multiple trips to the hardware store to reseat toilets and replace garbage disposals.

But please don’t confuse this with complaining. Please understand that this rental unit is my part-time job and an investment in my future. I spend my time and energy to keep it in good working order for my tenants. Inflation, the increased cost of homeowners insurance (as a result of the increased rebuild cost per square foot) as well as regularly rising HOA fees all contribute to increasing the rent. I don’t raise the rent year to year with tenants, but when I am searching for a new tenant, I research both the government’s fair market value calculator and what the market can bear, and that is where I set my rent.

Prior to every new renter, I have the entire apartment deep-cleaned by a professional cleaner and the carpets are shampooed. My time is spent waiting for prospective renters to hopefully arrive at showings, answering calls from Craigslist and responding to inquiries on Facebook Marketplace all the while getting lambasted for the monthly rent.

I own one unit among the many and I’m not asking you to feel sorry for me, I am just writing to provide some perspective.

James Doyle


River cleanup thanks

I would like to thank The Roaring Fork Conservancy for putting on its 24th annual Frying Pan and Beyond Cleanup. I feel honored to have been able to participate in such a rewarding event that gives back to our rivers and to our community.

My husband and I were designated with cleaning up the East Park area of the Roaring Fork River here in Glenwood, and were astonished with how much we were able to achieve during our time. Not only were we able to tidy the river banks, but we were given an opportunity to slow down and take in the sights that we normally cruise through on a raft.

It was so rewarding to give back to the river that we so often take for granted, in order to keep her healthy and roaring. I look forward to partaking in future events, and would encourage others to do so as well.

Krista Anderson

Glenwood Springs

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