Monday letters: Habitat thanks, HD-57 candidate thoughts, missed the mark |

Monday letters: Habitat thanks, HD-57 candidate thoughts, missed the mark

Challenging year for Habitat

At Habitat for Humanity of the Roaring Fork Valley, we are thankful for all of our friends and partners throughout our communities who have supported our mission of building homes — despite the challenges of this past year. During a time when the need for affordable ownership housing has never been greater, together, we rolled up our sleeves and continued our important work.

In 2021, we completed 13 more homes at Basalt Vista with four to be finished early in 2022 for RFSD teachers and essential workforce families. We could never have accomplished this project without the help of our committed suppliers, contractors, donors and volunteers.

With your continued support, we will break ground this spring on a new Habitat community with 20 homes for older adults and families at Wapiti Commons in Rifle.

At our Glenwood ReStore, our dedicated team welcomed 51,160 loyal guests and appreciated the 3,600 donors who contributed gently used goods to fill our store.

None of this year’s successes would have been possible without the unwavering support of our HFH RFV communities.

Thank you all, and we wish for good health and blessings in 2022.

Gail Schwartz, President


Support Velasco for HD-57

I first met Elizabeth Velasco in 2009 at the high school graduation of her younger brother. It was a proud moment in my tenure as Headmaster of the Vail Ski & Snowboard Academy, and I stayed in touch with the family ever since.

Fast forward to 2022, and I could not be more thrilled to see Elizabeth gearing up to represent House District 57, a tri-county mashup of Pitkin, Garfield, and a portion of Eagle County.

She is driven, well-researched, abundantly hopeful, and full of creative solutions. She has a vision for a prosperous economy, and she is uniquely positioned to execute that vision, so it works for all her constituents.

She is a policy super-nerd but can have a casual conversation that makes you feel a part of her team.

On her website (, Elizabeth outlines key areas that will improve quality of life for her neighbors and friends while supporting her points with compelling data.

Elizabeth has worked in the field as a firefighter, and she has worked in the office as a small-business owner. She has heard stories in English and Spanish from community members that have been prosperous and those that struggle every day. She has built a reputation as a grassroots advocate and activist and from that foundation she now attacks her first big role in policy.

She is not a corporate executive from a wealthy family, blind to the challenges of everyday people. She is on the front lines, and she has been on the front lines. If you have not yet gotten to know Elizabeth, you should. Her path to citizenship took 23 years, but she never gave up and she crushed that goal.

Elizabeth’s story is an inspiration to young leaders of all backgrounds, perspectives and values but especially for awakening Latina leaders and women of color across the State of Colorado. I hope you will make time today to learn more about Elizabeth, her American Dream, and how you can get involved in supporting her victory in HD-57.

Geoff Grimmer


HD-57 candidate thoughts

I was scared. I was working at the Command Post of the Grizzly Creek Fire as ash was falling on me and the people and vehicles around me. I will never forget the fear of waiting for the wind to change and wondering what I would do if my family and I had to evacuate our home.

The summer of 2020 was the start of my career as a public information officer, working with state, local and federal agencies and Incident Management Teams on wildland fires. This past year, I encountered many displaced people and disrupted lives while working all summer on megafires in Colorado, Oregon and California.

My experience has convinced me that we must invest in community resiliency, including steps to become fire-adapted communities. In wildfire-prone areas, fire-adapted communities reduce the potential for loss of human life and injury, minimize danger to homes and infrastructure and reduce firefighting costs by taking necessary steps to prepare people and property before wildfire occurs. We are still dealing with the aftermath of the Grizzly Creek Fire. We no longer have “fire season,” fires happen year-round. The recent devastation in the Boulder area, where fire destroyed over 1,000 structures in just half a day, occurred in midwinter.

To become a fire resilient community, we must work on infrastructure improvements, including water infrastructure to keep water flowing to our farms, ranches and communities, emergency response strategies, such as evacuation routes and upgrading community shelters. We must also invest in our human infrastructure, including our CDOT state workers, Fire Districts and communication systems that reach everyone in our community.

We need leadership that understands our rural community and will fight for us at the state Capitol to make sure we have the resources we need. Now more than ever we need elected officials that will ensure that no matter what we look like, where we come from or what’s in our wallets, we have what we need to take care of our families.

Elizabeth Velasco

Glenwood Springs

Missed the civics mark

It has been over two decades since I had the opportunity to serve Glenwood Springs as a City Council member. It was an honor and a privilege to serve this community.

Since that time, I have rarely interjected myself into city politics, I applaud anyone willing to spend their time and effort serving their community, and I believe they should be given the benefit of the doubt for “off-handed” comments.

We are all human, and we are all able to put the proverbial foot in our proverbial mouth. City Council folks are elected to represent the people of Glenwood Springs. Not because they are brighter than any of us but because we assume they will listen to us and represent us well. (How often any of us are solicited by any of our council for our thoughts, well that’s another story).

I am saddened and slightly appalled at the recent comments made by an “at-large” council member during the last meeting. Glenwood Springs citizens took time to pass around, sign and present a petition requesting some city support and some help.

The 35-cent comment made by our elected official wasn’t helpful, wasn’t a show of leadership, wasn’t good representation of the people ­— and wasn’t good listening. If I approach any council members about a concern, I don’t expect that they will always agree, but I do expect they will listen, they will look at options and opportunities to be part of a solution, and they will do that with respect.

Sorry “Mr. At-Large,” but you missed the mark.

Rick Davis

Glenwood Springs

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