Monday letters: Teitler, Kuhlenberg for school board; yes on 5B; no on 78; bald eagles |

Monday letters: Teitler, Kuhlenberg for school board; yes on 5B; no on 78; bald eagles

Elect Kenny Teitler

We are writing to endorse Kenny Teitler in the upcoming RFSD school board election. Our two sons (now in their 30s) attended Roaring Fork School District schools in Basalt for all of K through 12. They were blessed with many amazing teachers, but both would agree that one of the very best was Kenny Teitler. Kenny created the bilingual program at Basalt Elementary School.

Dan and Andy were both in his class, and we sat in occasionally as parent volunteers. We watched this talented instructor keep kids interested and on-task while switching between English and Spanish, often mid-sentence. He always had creative and fun lesson plans and could help students of every learning level move ahead. He communicated well with parents and valued their input. He clearly knew and cared about each and every child in his classroom.

We’ve watched Kenny’s continuing passion for kids and student achievement over the years — including during Mary’s years serving on parent involvement groups, and Pete’s years as a RFSD school board member. Kenny studies the data, has a clear understanding of the school system and plenty of good ideas on how to improve the learning environment. The perspective of such a thoughtful and experienced teacher would be a great asset to the school board.

We hope our community throughout the valley will vote to elect Kenny — a vote for intelligence, creativity, school experience and, most importantly, kindness.

Pete and Mary Delany


Kuhlenberg for school board

Kadi Kuhlenberg has the experience, passion and dedication we need for leading strategic initiatives. She has focused her life and career on education.

She has an extensive background in education and a wealth of professional experience related to education, education policy, employment, finance and children that would make her the right board member at the right time. Kadi has undergraduate degrees in education policy and child psychology and a law degree with specialties in education policy and civil rights.

She’s focused on improving communication within the district, attracting and retaining education professionals, addressing the budget crisis and expanding early childhood education.

If you want to learn more about Kathryn and her vision, please visit

Kathleen Wanatowicz


Bald eagle attention

Thank you for writing about the bald eagles in Garfield County. Although I reside in Florida, my ancestral family is from Glenwood Springs.

In Florida, I have spent 20 years observing bald eagles in the wild and in wild urban landscapes. I watched during delisting as bald eagle historical territories changed, some with and some without buffer zones. Bald eagles are big birds ­— they need a lot of space, and they move nesting sites for all sorts of reasons. What they need is for the areas along the river to be protected. Not just the old territory, but the new one, and everything in between. New trees can grow. Keeping alternate nesting sites protected is as critical as protecting active nesting sites. Otherwise the natal territories just disappear, one by one, until the eagles are just nesting in cellphone towers. The entirety of the land in question should be managed for bald eagles in perpetuity. That means taking care of the water, the native plants, the prey base.

I totally understand the USFWS position. It is a growth strategy. The tree is gone, eagles moved on, so why protect it? Because eagles move around. The tree they are in could fall, too. Other wildlife sometimes takes eagle nests, so the eagles have to build another nest. The habitat needs to support that for the long term. The Garfield County eagles are genetic survivors, and the young they produce should also have room for expansion. This means buffer the river.

I would urge Garfield County Commissioners, landowners and all residents to manage the land for all wildlife, responsibly, dutifully and respectfully. But especially, protect the river and the trees and land for the bald eagles.

Barbara Walker

Palm Harbor, Florida

No on state Amendment 78

In this year’s election, one initiative we are asked to decide is Amendment 78, the Custodial Funds Appropriations Initiative. Custodial funds are state revenues that are not generated through taxes. Custodial funds come from federal grants, pension funds and court-approved settlement funds. There is currently a lawsuit seeking to remove the question from the ballot or have the votes go uncounted.

By Colorado statute, initiatives in odd-numbered election years must be related to TABOR, the taxpayers bill of rights. TABOR oversees tax changes. It is legally questionable if custodial funds even fall under TABOR’s guidelines; thus, the suit questioning the initiative’s placement on the ballot during an off-year election.

Amendment 78 seeks to bring more accountability to the way these funds are spent; on the surface, a worthy goal. However, for hunting and angling sportsmen, there is a serious unintended consequence; the typical $25 million that Colorado receives annually from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service from Dingell-

Johnson and Pittman-Robertson excise taxes is jeopardized if this initiative is successful. Placing the Dingell-Johnson and Pittman-Robertson funds in a special account overseen by the Legislature directly contradicts federal guidelines on how those monies may be overseen and spent. Colorado’s Department of Parks and Wildlife has already fulfilled those guidelines with the federal government. Introducing an extra approval process muddies the water, slows the disbursement of those funds, and, if there is too much delay, the funds are lost to the state altogether; they get relocated to the Migratory Bird Conservation Act.

While accountability on how state dollars are spent is a worthy goal, this initiative fails to achieve that goal without jeopardizing this specific funding for conservation, funding that is a self-tax paid by sportsmen. We sportsmen deserve to have our funds spent on wildlife conservation, the very reason these excise taxes were created. CPW has a proven track record on spending these funds annually. Let’s leave it to them, not a committee.

Vote no on Amendent 78.

Bob Shettel


Votes for our local schools

Our son was pretty nervous about his first day at high school in Basalt this year. But since day one, his experience has been great, with engaged teachers and staff, a well-managed program, access to interesting classes and incredible sports and club opportunities.

We are lucky have great leadership in the Roaring Fork School District — from the superintendent to our principals and staff. And to continue that progress, we’re going to do two things. First, we’re voting for Kenny Teitler and Kathryn Kuhlenberg for RFSD school board. Kenny and Kathryn have years of experience in education locally. They both bring the intelligence, commitment to service and the ability to build relationships and make hard decisions that will prove invaluable on the school board.

Second, we’ll be voting an enthusiastic “yes” on ballot issue 5B (mail-in ballots are in your box now). 5B will help address RFSD’s staffing crisis by enabling the district to pay teachers enough to compete with neighboring school districts that can pay their teachers more and/or where the cost of living is lower. We believe an investment in our local schools helps to ensure that we continue to live in a great community, long after our kids have graduated high school.

Ellen Freedman and Auden Schendler



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