Wednesday letters: Glenwood airport and 480 Donegan election, Parkinson’s proclamation, Bernhardt, mental health, labor bill, library
Special Election Note: The deadline to submit letters related to the May 3 Glenwood Springs special election is April 25. Now that the ballots have been mailed out, only one letter per writer, per topic, please. Our 350-word limit will be strictly enforced.
Untold airport data
The Airspace Study is presented in a manner that suggests to some that the airport is dangerous. It is not. The airport is safe for day use in good weather and is not a particularly challenging airport to fly into or out of, as any pilot who flies into it will attest. There is no requirement on the part of the city by the FAA or any agency to remove obstacles identified in the Airspace Study, even to possibly obtain federal funding. The city’s assertion that these obstacles must be removed is blatantly in error.
Federal funding for the airport may be available without significant modification to the airport, but the city has never applied for such funding. This fact was omitted from the presentations.
Including multiplier effects, the CDOT 2020 Colorado Aviation Economic Impact Study states that the airport supports 202 jobs, business revenues of $36 million, value added of $18 million, and $10 million of payroll. This study was omitted from the presentation.
The $6.7 million in airport capital projects shown by the city is significantly in excess of figures presented by the Airport Board, which believes that many of the capital projects are not needed and those that are needed can be performed for far less money than shown in the study.
Despite agreeing to work hand in hand with the Airport Board, the city did not include the Airport Board’s budget (and their comments on the city’s budget) for review. They continue to misrepresent this.
There was no option presented for an improved, expanded airport, funded in part with federal monies, in part by private funds from entities such as Classic Air Med (see below), which could attract well-heeled private pilots to Glenwood Springs for recreation and overnight visits.
Classic Air Med has offered to build, at its own expense, an FBO (a small terminal for private planes) to provide overnight parking, rental cars, a lobby and other amenities to visitors. There was no mention that the city has refused to allow this development.
The minimum standards being put in place by the city are generated by no one with any aviation background or experience and, to date, without proper consideration of input provided by the Airport Board.
Please join me in asking council members why these items were omitted from, or misrepresented on, their information boards.
Parkinson’s awareness thanks
I would like to thank Jonathan Godes, mayor of Glenwood Springs, and the Glenwood Springs City Council for proclaiming April as Parkinson’s Awareness Month at their April 7 meeting.
Parkinson’s disease is a chronic, progressive, neurological disease and is the second most common neurodegenerative disease in the United States. Each year, 60,000 people in the U.S. are newly diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, and more than 1 million people are currently living with it.
The proclamation included the need for increased research, education and community support services, such as those provided by Michael J Fox Foundation, Davis Phinney Foundation, Parkinson’s Foundation and others, to find more effective treatments and to provide access to quality care for those living with the disease today.
Locally, we have two opportunities for Parkinson’s patients from Aspen to Parachute.
One is Power Punch Parkinson’s Boxing in Carbondale Tuesday and Wednesday from 10-11 a.m. at All Valley Boxing Gym, and Thursdays in Glenwood from 10-11 at Midland Fitness Center.
Call 303-830-1839 for more information.
Secondly, the local Parkinson Support Group is for those living with Parkinson’s disease and their caregivers. We meet on the fourth Monday of each month in either Glenwood or New Castle. Specific information on the monthly meeting dates and locations can be obtained by calling Evelyn McGill, volunteer of Valley View Hospital, at 970-963-4478. The group appreciates the leadership and energy Evelyn puts into organizing our meetings including bringing speakers and webinars.
After reading Friday’s PI article about former Trump administration Secretary of Interior David Bernhardt’s speech, the misinformation jumped out at me. That’s being polite. It was probably more like disinformation.
Bernhardt’s audience was the Energy and Environmental Symposium in New Castle. One misleading statement he made to his audience was that reliance on foreign oil continued with the administration prior to Trump, and now again with Biden. It’s easy for anyone to search for graphs that show our net imports began decreasing during the Bush administration and continued declining at the same pace through the Obama administration. During the Trump administration, the decline continued, again at the same pace until net import reached 0 in September 2019. It bounced a little above zero in May of Trump’s final year and continues to bounce a little each way around the zero line. Despite the undulations, we remain “energy independent.”
Being a former secretary of Interior, one would think Bernhardt has access to accurate numbers for BLM approvals of applications for drilling permits (APDs). He stated the approvals issued in December 2020 numbered 864, dropping to 164 in December 2021, then to 95 in January of this year. Where did he get these numbers from?
It’s not difficult to find the actual numbers of APD approvals on BLM’s website. Just Google “BLM applications for permit to drill.” On the BLM website, you’ll find reports for fiscal years 2020, 2021 and 2022. I discovered they don’t even approve permits in the month of December — 7,091 permits were approved FY 2020 (10/1/2019 through 9/30/2020), 9,623 in FY 2021, and 8,825 through the first five months of the current FY 2022. Clearly the national numbers have been rising.
I tried matching Bernhardt’s numbers to Colorado’s numbers on BLM’s website, but that didn’t work either. Those were 367, 573 and 519 for the three years, respectively. That’s 519 for only five months of this fiscal year.
I know where I got my numbers. Where did you get your numbers, Sec. Bernhardt?
Address mental health
I am a 17-year-old student in Glenwood Springs, and I am hoping to shine some light on mental health in Glenwood and the surrounding valley.
Almost every single student I know is suicidal and mentally ill, and most friends I have including me have had at least one suicide attempt. My close friend had an attempt last night that sent him to the hospital.
There are no outlets in Glenwood for mentally ill teens and the mentally ill in general. There has been a very big increase in mental health driven crimes recently, too, which I feel needs to be addressed.
480 Donegan facts blurred
The line between fact and opinion is increasingly blurring. Arnold Glasow once said, “The stronger the opinion, the fewer the facts.” This appears to be true with the 480 Donegan project and annexation. It is time to clarify the line between facts and assumptions, conjecture and opinion.
Wildfire is a concern in our area. I understand this concern. I had a fire line cut across my property during the Coal Seam Fire. It is an inherent risk in this area that we choose to live. R2 Partners, the 480 Donegan development company, agrees that a community evacuation plan is necessary and have pledged $100,000 toward that process. However, it is a multi-jurisdictional endeavor requiring collaboration between local, state and federal entities. Additionally, the annexation agreement requires that no tenants can occupy the neighborhood until an emergency plan is in place.
Subsidizing housing for teachers, health care workers, law enforcement or other professionals is not the responsibility of any developer. However, 480 Donegan provides 60 units that fall under the city’s affordable housing guidelines. Valley View Hospital, Garfield County, Roaring Fork School District and the city of Glenwood, among others, could purchase units in this development or other developments to offer housing for their employees at a reduced cost.
In his recent editorial, Tony Hershey commented that, among other things, the location is wrong, and that the city’s aging infrastructure must be replaced. I would counter that this location is exactly the right place if the city hopes to revitalize an aging mall, attract another grocery store and other businesses to the area. It is exactly those things that will bring the funds to the city to help pay to repair and replace the streets and infrastructure.
R2 Partners listened to the recommendations and incorporated many changes including improved bicycle and pedestrian access along Donegan — a critical need in an area with two schools.
This parcel will be developed, whether annexed or not. 480 Donegan will increase the traffic. However, a commercial project currently approved for this site would have a significantly greater impact.
Facts over fear. Do not let someone’s opinion become your facts. Vote “no” on Issue B on May 3.
Common sense: ‘No’ on B
To be clear, our parcel on Donegan is privately owned and will be developed. On May 3, voters in Glenwood Springs have two choices as to what happens to our property:
1. Vote “no” on B for a diverse residential project within the city, including affordable housing for Glenwood workers, open space, and donated land for a new fire station.
2. Vote “yes” on B for our already approved commercial/warehouse complex in Garfield County.
My family has owned this parcel for over 60 years, and our roots in the valley go back well over a century. We have waited decades for the right family development team to build the right project on this land for our community. 480 Donegan will give the city substantial water rights, housing for people working in Glenwood, and hopefully enable the redevelopment of the adjacent mall. All of the city’s professional staff advocated for annexation because it is the appropriate project at exactly the right time.
All of the disinformation regarding this annexation is incredibly disappointing. Let’s not complicate the issue facing Glenwood Springs voters: Vote “No” on B for real affordable housing. If you need additional information, please visit 480Donegan.com or NoOnB.vote.
Glenwood Partnership LLLP
‘Yes’ to repeal annexation
We’ve been opposed to the 300-unit development from out-of-town developers R2 from the start based on the sheer density of the project and the impact 700-1,000 people and their vehicles will have on Glenwood’s safety, traffic, water and so much more.
All it will take is one emergency such as a wildfire and one closure of I-70, and the safety of most of the residents of Glenwood is seriously at risk.
Never in the history of Glenwood Springs has such a dense development been proposed immediately next to single-family homes. If we do not repeal the annexation and the development goes ahead, it will be seven times the density of the neighborhood.
Unfortunately for those of us that will be most impacted, we have no vote, no say in the safety of our lives and our homes. If you live in the city of Glenwood Springs, please vote “yes” on B to repeal the annexation. For more info https://www.gscsd.org.
Randy and Annie Stephens
480 Donegan prediction
I predict the “yes” will win by a 3-1 margin. Here’s why.
1. This will be a democratic vote. The Glenwood residents will decide. We will see if our City Council, planning commission and planning department are still in step with the people.
2. Our fire danger is real and at our doorstep. The devastating fires of 1994 and 2002 are a stark reminder for us who survived them.
3. I don’t think Glenwood wants to be the housing and human services focal point for Pitkin County anymore.
4. Lastly, it’s just too big. If this project was just 100 units, I believe the West Glenwood residents would support it.
Unfortunately I can’t vote, but maybe you can. But I’m sticking to my prediction of a 3 to 1 win for the “yes.”
Pointless cure for bogus ailment
As a member of the board of Trustees of Colorado Mountain College, I am concerned about the Collective Bargaining Bill being considered by the Colorado Legislature. This bill would eliminate the state’s tradition of local control and strip local trustees of their authority to effectively manage college operations. It would also cost between $750,000 and $2 million to implement annually. (Note $2 million is equivalent to a permanent 17% tuition increase!)
Current laws do not prohibit collective bargaining at colleges in Colorado, so the proposed bill is a solution in search of a problem.
At the trustees’ March 2022 meeting, we enthusiastically listened to administration recommendations for next year’s budget that included an across-the-board 5% cost-of-living increase plus a 1.5% merit opportunity for employees. We embrace our responsibilities to enable CMC to be an employer of choice by offering superior benefits; competitive compensation that is adjusted at or above rates of inflation; opportunities for personal growth and professional advancement; and generous leave and retirement programs. We all agree that our institution is only as good as its employees, and that our employees are among the best. That’s why the college has set the high-water mark among open-access public colleges, even adding compensation plans that are nonexistent elsewhere, such as paid annual leave for part-time employees, education benefits for adjunct faculty and their dependents and annual wellness investments for all.
Unfortunately, in this election year, several legislators from outside of the Western Slope have targeted colleges like CMC and all counties in the state to impose an agenda that is unwarranted and pointless. Importantly, the bill excludes K-12 and municipal governments. It is specifically targeting colleges and counties.
The CMC board of trustees officially opposes this bill. Please urge your legislators to vote “no” on any new collective bargaining bills which may be introduced.
Support your library
I recently volunteered at Glenwood Springs Library under the grace of Daniel Messer, branch manager. We ended up running an open mic every Friday for the last few weeks. Even if my open mic is never popular, the important part is that the community and the library do more to engage with one another. As budget crunches and COVID-19 winds down, this library could synergize with the community to be an educational foundation for growth.
Daniel hopes to make the library a more visual member of the community by targeting youths, seniors and the Hispanic community. He believes these groups are the least represented by the library and have the greatest need.
Youths need a place to learn while waiting for parents to finish daily tasks.
Seniors need a place to remain connected while enjoying retirement.
The Hispanic community can enjoy resources to increase their chances of success in America while learning more about their own cultures.
As Daniel put it: “Losing a library can have cascading effects on a community” — increases in illiteracy, fewer safe spaces for youths, and isolated seniors.
We’ve all needed a helping hand, so as your library opens up, reach out and hold on.
Keith Karleen, CMC Student
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