Wednesday letters: Buddies coming, thank a school board member, facts, wolves, growth, term limits

Collaborating for Buddies

Happy 2023! We are so excited to announce the expansion of programming for the Buddy Program, a youth mentoring organization, to Glenwood Springs this year!

As many of you know, Youth Zone has been serving the community since 1976. For many years a part of that programming was the PALS Program, a mentoring program for youth. YouthZone discontinued the PALS program in 2016 and continues to this day to maintain focus on intervention services for at-risk youth who are either involved or at risk of involvement in the justice system.

The Buddy Program and Youth Zone have always worked collaboratively to ensure seamless prevention and intervention services for youth in our communities. As they celebrate their 50th Anniversary of serving youth, it is an opportune time for the Buddy Program to expand their preventative, mentoring programs to youth and families in Glenwood Springs. We are working to recruit Big Buddies now so that we can start matching youth in late summer!

As we continue to work together to ensure all youth throughout the Roaring Fork Valley are supported, we invite you to be a part of our work! For more information on volunteering for or donating to the Buddy Program please call 970-920-2130 or visit For more information on volunteering and donating to YouthZone, please call 970-945-9300 or visit

Yours in service to youth and families,

Jamie Hayes, Executive Director, Youth Zone

Lindsay Lofaro, Executive Director, Buddy Program

Thank a school board member

January is School Board Recognition Month. Every year, we take this opportunity to publicly thank our elected board members for volunteering their time and talent to the Roaring Fork Schools. Kathryn Kuhlenberg, Jasmin Ramirez, Natalie Torres, Maureen Stepp and Kenny Teitler spend countless hours every month to make public education the best it can be in our district, and our school district is better because of their individual and collective efforts.

Over the past year, our board has hired a new superintendent, updated dozens of policies, passed resolutions of support for LGBTQ+ students and for Hispanic Heritage month, regularly visited schools, and engaged a board coach to improve our school’s governance practices. Our board makes tough decisions on complex issues that affect our entire school community. Board members bear responsibility and oversight for an annual budgeted appropriation of $100 million; 6,300 students in 14 schools; and 1,000 employees across our district.

Being a board member is never easy, but it has been especially challenging these past few years during a global pandemic and in the face of other controversial political issues. Each board member has been tasked to make difficult decisions as school community members called for contradicting actions. They handled these challenges with grace, diplomacy, wisdom and compassion.

Thank you to each of our board members. We are grateful for your service and leadership. With three of five seats up for election on Nov. 7, 2023, we hope you will join us in thanking our board members for all that they have done for our school district community over the years.

Superintendent Jesús Rodríguez, on behalf of the Roaring Fork Schools


I feel that we could use some fact checking from beyond the roundabout in response to the 1/20 letter from Tom Mooney.

Glenwood Springs does have a penny sales tax that goes to RFTA. All of the buses in town are free. There is a separate municipal contribution to fund the free Ride Glenwood bus service. 

Battery electric buses require a little more infrastructure than a Nissan Leaf in the driveway. The ongoing construction on the RFTA facility in West Glenwood includes charging and indoor storage for upcoming purchases of electric buses. In the meantime, much of the fleet in Glenwood uses compressed natural gas (CNG), which is better for air quality.

I must admit, however, that Glenwood does not give people $55 for groceries. Perhaps that’s the silver bullet.

Debbie Cooper, New Castle

Quality, not quantity

The city’s draft comprehensive plan was released in mid-December, comments due Jan. 6. It’s a guideline for the city for the next 10 years. I doubt many could read all 185 pages over the holidays.

The words “growth” and “develop(ment)” appear 515 times. But the words “quality of life” only appear 25 times. Do we have our priorities straight?

There are sections on Land Use & Growth Management, Economic Development, Transportation, Housing, Public Utilities, Recreation, etc.

Let’s add a section on Quality of Life. How did we miss that? Quality of life is what Glenwood Springs is all about.

The plan talks about what type of growth, how to grow, where to grow, etc. And ways we can try to address the impacts.

Instead, let’s discuss how to improve our quality of life, and how much growth that will allow. That’s where the planning should start. Are we growing Glenwood Springs for the people who are here, or the people who want to be here? Do the citizens want to continue the scale and pace of recent growth?

This plan also changes the Urban Growth Boundary … areas the city intends to annex. A large area east of the Roaring Fork down to Riverview School was added, and a big area along Four Mile Road. Also some slopes of Lookout Mountain.

In 2003, the city annexed Four Mile Ranch (Red Feather Ridge then), the first development on the left as you head up Four Mile Road. Citizens voted overwhelmingly to reverse the annexation. The issue was clear … citizens wanted Four Mile Road to remain rural.

Recent votes on the airport and 480 Donegan show that the planners and our government aren’t in touch with the citizens on growth and development issues. Here we go again.

Growth brings us new faces, a larger tax base, more retail choices, and more economic vitality.

But growth also brought us traffic, higher taxes, no spring clean-up, less and lower quality water, and soon, paid parking downtown.

There’s a balance between growth and quality of life; this plan isn’t there yet.

Jon Banks, Glenwood Springs

Wolf thoughts

Tom Zieber, I have some thoughts about your letter to the editor (Wolf fear-mongering, 1/20/23). 

Not all dogs can be on leash. Working cattle and sheep dogs are good example.

Did you know almost one half of Colorado voted not to reintroduce wolves? The voters of Moffat and Rio Blanco counties voted no. Do you know why? Have you spoken to any ranchers or outdoor persons from these counties?

You might be surprised to know, we already have wolves in Colorado. There is documented evidence of wolves killing livestock. 

Why do we need to reintroduce wolves if they are already here. The reintroduced wolves should be in counties that voted for them. Just because Moffat and Rio Blanco counties are not heavily populated does not mean they should be reintroduced in these counties. We already have them.

Steve Woolsey, Dinosaur

Vote, don’t limit

Regarding the column on Jan. 20 about term limits by Debbie Bruell, I’d like to remind everyone that the election cycles are what would satisfy these term limit concerns. 

Vote when you want a change at any seat in government. Get your neighbors to vote, too. That, and having a few good ideas, will get most candidates elected.

Rick Gendreau, Rifle

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