Wednesday letters: Donations to LIFT-UP, ask for help, commissioners and county health, hunters and anglers, Holiday Baskets Program
Rotary Club of Glenwood will match donations to LIFT-UP
Our Sunset Rotary Club of Glenwood Springs recognizes that the COVID-19 pandemic and the measures to control it have resulted in serious economic impacts to our community, including reduced incomes, closed businesses and job losses. We would like to encourage those who have a little to spare to help out those in need during these trying and uncertain times. To help, our club and its members will match up to $30,000 in donations made directly to LIFT-UP, a 501(c)(3) organization that provides food and other essential items to those grappling with the pandemic and its consequences.
Our community has a strong history of taking care of its most vulnerable, and consistent with that the Sunset Rotary Club and its members previously donated $22,500 at the beginning of the pandemic to give those in need a LIFT-UP. However, the duration of the pandemic continues, and there is a continuing and urgent need to provide food and necessities to persons struggling at this time. Please help if you can. Donation information can be found at https://liftup.networkforgood.com/projects/119217-sunset-rotary-matching-campaign.
A word about Rotary: Rotarians believe in a shared responsibility to take action on our world’s and our community’s most persistent issues. Our club and over 35,000 others around the world work together to: promote peace; fight diseases such as polio; provide clean water, sanitation and hygiene nationally and around the world; support education through scholarships; and impact our community by mentoring and supporting local nonprofits. We provide service to others, promote integrity, and advance world understanding, goodwill and peace through our fellowship of business, professional and community leaders. Together, we see a world where people unite and take action to create lasting change — across the globe, in our communities and in ourselves.
If you are interested in getting involved with our club, please feel free to contact me at email@example.com. Put “Rotary” in the subject line.
James F. Fosnaught
Ask for help because it’s never too late to turn things around
A tumultuous 2020 is fading, and with the holidays and COVID-19 upon us, many people are suffering from depression. Sadly, this time of year also sees a spike in suicides. So I’d like to share my personal experiences with depression and suicide in hopes that maybe just one person reading this will not make the worst and last bad decision of their life.
A quick background: I was a “smart” young man who quit college at the wise old age of 19 to get married. A few years and a couple of drug busts later, I’d lost my marriage, my daughter, my business and my self-respect. After feeding a bad habit via my arm for too long, I wound up living on the streets of Los Angeles. My almost last campsite was under a bridge in northern California.
I sat with a rope cinched around my neck, knowing I was the worst mistake God ever created. Leaning back slowly, the rope tightened but just before slipping into unconsciousness, a survival fear kicked in, and I didn’t die under a bridge that night. However that was not the first time I’d opted to take the coward’s way out.
After my divorce and business failure, I tried ending my life by hitting a 3-foot-wide tree head on at 60 mph. All I achieved was breaking the little finger on my right hand. Not only was I a failure at life, I was even a failure at death. My slit wrists did get me confined in a funny jacket for a while, though.
My life took a 180-degree turn when I found an angel to love. I stopped putting a needle in my arm when I found I was going to be a father to my first son. For years we went back to a more normal lifestyle until my oldest son’s best friend got killed. He was working for me on a highway project in Georgia when a semi-truck ran him over. My guilt, though irrational, was devastating, and the demon depression reclaimed me with both claws. But thanks to strong family support, I got through this also.
I have felt that dreadful pang of regret for waking up alive in the mornings. I have lived like a recluse inside my head with no hope or end in sight. Severe depression is a chemical imbalance in the brain. You can’t just decide to be happy and unafraid. But I survived. And I am ever so thankful for being alive.
If I’d worn that noose just a little longer, I wouldn’t be the proud father of three fine, upstanding men and their loving families. I survived, and I’m truly enjoying life and am eternally thankful I didn’t kill myself.
Do not give up. Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. You are not the Lone Ranger; everyone has their own demons to fight. The trick is to not face these demons alone. People care. Ask for help, because it’s never too late to turn things around. At the moment all you might see is darkness, but I’m living proof there is a dawn.
Life is too precious to waste. I survived and found happiness. So can you. Please, reach out for help. People do care.
Commissioners know the secret handshake
As COVID-19 explodes in Garfield County, a showdown with Colorado’s health department looms. The county could lose its 50%-of-indoor-capacity variance for businesses and other gathering places and face yet harsher restrictions. Their backs to the wall, our Republican Garfield County commissioners have found religion.
The commissioners recently stressed that mask wearing is mandatory for businesses — for patrons and employees alike. They argue for “complaint-driven outreach.” Following a citizen complaint, businesses are to be reminded about the rules, and following a second complaint, “the name of that business comes before this board and becomes public,” according to commissioner Tom Jankovsky.
This smells disingenuous, because our commissioners already know who at least some of these businesses are. You bet they do.
And a “rat on your neighbor” strategy smacks more of Venezuela or China than democracy in America. My gal Marilyn and I could report retail outlets where the owners and staff flout their defiance of the mask order, but some of these folks are our friends. Tattling is not how we roll.
Besides, what would publicizing the names of these businesses accomplish? They’re inexplicably proud of their self-centered civil disobedience.
But they might listen to reason, if someone they respect took the trouble to persuade them. Someone they voted for, someone like, say, a Republican county commissioner.
Non-mask-compliant business owners are part of the commissioners’ loyal political base. They look at the world in a way that I cannot fathom. But the commissioners speak their lingo. They know the secret handshake.
Business owners set an example for their staff and their customers. A courtesy visit from John Martin or Tom Jankovsky or Mike Samson could make clear the threat our economy and public health face from both COVID-19 and irresponsible actions.
Right now it appears to be a matter of when — not if — the state steps in and further restricts our economy.
Maybe we can still head this off. Challenging a dangerous mindset would require political courage and leadership. It would surely be worth a try.
New oil and gas rules a win for hunters and anglers
Colorado’s public lands and waters provide for some of the best hunting and fishing opportunities in North America, but our state’s population is exploding, and with it our combined impacts on public lands, waters and wildlife have become more pronounced and problematic.
One of the biggest threats to Colorado’s hunting heritage is the loss of high-priority wildlife habitat due to fragmentation and degradation. Since 2001, Colorado has lost more than half-a-million acres of habitat, nearly the size of Rhode Island. Partly as a result, during April 16, 2019, Gov. Jared Polis signed SB19-181, which required the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC), the body that regulates oil and gas development, to update its rules.
During November 2020, the commission unanimously adopted appropriate revisions to its rules. Among other major reforms, SB19-181 changed the mission of the COGCC by directing it to safeguard wildlife and its habitat against negative impacts of oil and gas development and clarified that COGCC may deny a permit application if its approval would not protect wildlife, the environment or public health, safety or welfare.
The bill also brought state wildlife officials into oil and gas permitting decisions for the first time, calling for consultation between Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) and COGCC on oil and gas permitting in sensitive habitat areas. In addition, it directed COGCC to minimize habitat fragmentation, surface disturbance and adverse impacts to wildlife.
Some of the many species that will benefit from these changes include bighorn sheep, elk, mule deer, antelope, sage-grouse and sharp-tailed grouse. These (and other) changes will serve to protect dozens of species from the negative impacts of oil and gas development and, hence, help perpetuate Colorado’s great public lands hunting and angling heritage.
co-chair, Colorado Backcountry Hunters & Anglers
Don’t tell me what to do
One sure way to get the Republican Garfield County commissioners’ dander up is for the Democrats on the Front Range to tell them what to do. I can relate. I’m an independent, and I don’t like either one of the major parties bossing me around.
In August, the commissioners objected to Air Quality Control Commission oil and gas extraction regulations pertaining to methane emissions and spent $1.5 million on a fruitless lawsuit against them. Now, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s COVID-19-related decision to reduce occupancy in the county’s restaurants and churches from 50% to 25% is meeting with resistance from the county. Both of the state’s actions are medically motivated and backed by science.
I’m sure Garfield County’s government would like to secede from Colorado and join their kindred spirits in Wyoming and Utah. I can identify with that, too. I’m a resident of District 1 in Garfield County, and because this isn’t a home rule county, our representative on the Board of County Commissioners, Tom Jankovsky, in no way reflects the sentiments of the District 1 constituents. Pitkin or Eagle counties would be a much better fit for District 1.
Fred Malo Jr.
Donate to Holiday Baskets Program
The Holiday Baskets Program is in full swing. For nearly 40 years we have supplied food and gifts to people in need in our valley for the holidays. Run entirely by volunteers, this program is a wonderful community effort with numerous groups and individuals participating. Ten local social service agencies refer recipients to this program that provides gifts for 250 families, approximately 1,000 people, who live between Aspen and Glenwood Springs. In addition to gifts, each individual or family also receives a City Market Gift Card. The Holiday Basket Program often gives the only gifts families will receive for the holidays. We are still in need of donations to purchase toys and gift cards. If you would like to participate you may donate online (holidaybasketsprogram.com) or send a check to Holiday Baskets Program, PO Box 2192, Basalt, Co. 81621.
Holiday Baskets chairperson
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