Wednesday letters: Response to Evans column, wolves, books for kids |

Wednesday letters: Response to Evans column, wolves, books for kids

Post Independent Letters to the editor graphic

Re: Sarah Evans column

I went before the Garfield County Board of County Commissioners, along with Chelsea Carnoali, as representatives of our respective counties to inform on where the Region 5 Opioid Abatement Council is in the work we are doing across the five counties and to alert the public to the Request for Proposals that has been released. 

During that meeting the commissioners expressed displeasure in Harm Reduction, which includes more than syringe access, being one of the three priority areas that the Region 5 Council has chosen to fund for our 2022-24 cycle. To clarify this matter, the $100,000 that the council has earmarked are not coming through Garfield County and are not under the purview of the Garfield County commissioners. The regional funds are routed from the Colorado Attorney General’s Office to the fiduciary which is Eagle County, who will then pay out to grantees when those are approved. 

Garfield County and the five municipalities are receiving separate funds from the settlement (20% of the overall) and all have earmarked their funds, which are small, comparatively, for the Social Setting Withdrawal Management Program at this time.

We wanted to be upfront and transparent in this process, so if there are future questions/concerns you can email me at

Mason Hohstadt, MPH, Garfield County Public Health

Rehab, not needles

In her 2-10-23 opinion, Ms. Evans says giving addicts easy access to clean needles is an “act of grace and compassion.” Her beliefs are based upon brain research.

I don’t know about her unspecified brain research, but I have extensive personal experience with addiction. And providing needles to addicts is a ludicrous disservice to a drug-dependent individual. 

Ms. Evans’ naive compassion for drug users normalizes addiction and facilitates self destructive behavior by making it safer. Her compassion will evolve into safe injection sites with paramedics on call and drug dealers on site.

I was a functional addict who never missed a day of work. A sign behind the bar at Little Annie’s in old Aspen served as my guide: Excess in Moderation. Through the grace of God and my wife I survived my self-inflicted misery.

I finally accepted that I and I alone was responsible for what I did to feed that selfish love for instant gratification. The first time I used a needle for “fun” I knew how people became addicted. Back then, coke was ether-based and that smell flowed up my spine and exploded simultaneously in every cell of my body with extreme ecstacy.

That first high is never duplicated, though an addict will chase it eternally. The only addicts that recover realize this, and that their behavior is suicidal. An addict must first want to change. 

In no way will handing out needles make a positive change. Ms. Evans opines from books, I speak from experience. Tom (Jankovsky) and Mike (Samson) are right, use the money on rehab for addicts. Tough love, not grace and misplaced empathy is the greatest good we can offer.

Bruno Kirchenwitz, Rifle

Wolf meeting impressions

My wife and I attended the CPW meeting on Feb. 07 in Rifle.

I advocate for wolves, for apex predators in general and the essential ecosystem services they provide for all humans. Four commenters spoke about climate change and even more importantly the staggering loss in biodiversity, the impact on nature and humans.

I would like to address several comments that deserve a closer look.

One Commissioner stated that a predating wolf must be lethally removed for the good of the other wolves? Why encourage any killing? The facts: killing wolves does not reduce predation — the opposite is true.

One rancher seriously stated that grass in the west evolved to feed livestock! Really — grass in the western US evolved for an invasive species that arrived in the west less than 200 years ago!

One outfitter reported that wolves double their population every year. The facts — wolves self-regulate, they do not reproduce exponentially.

High school girls were engaged to express their fears of the big, bad wolf — a retelling of The Little Red Riding Hood, a fairy tale published in 1810 when wolves had already been extirpated.

Depletion of game herds was a favorite subject. The hysteria about wolves killing all the elk — all 270,000. The facts — with paws on the ground we are seeing more and healthier elk than ever — the result of a wolf-elk equilibrium. Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation at work?

And so, it went for nearly two hours. Fear, hysteria about scenarios that have not played out elsewhere in the northern Rockies; 300 voices opposed wolves for cultural reasons.

It is clear to me, and I believe most Americans are starting to realize that business as usual is no longer an option. We need to adapt, we need mutualism, we need to become “nature positive.”

Kudos to the many ranchers that already coexist with predators — successfully. Wolf reintroduction must be a joint project protecting nature and biodiversity. CPW is well-positioned to take on the leadership role.

Rainer W. Gerbatsch, Arvada

Books for kids

A big Thank You to our community for supporting the Kiwanis Great Holiday Burn-Off, an exercise contest during the month of January to raise funds for Valley Settlement and Raising a Reader, both supporting early childhood literacy from Aspen to Parachute.

The exercisers, ages 15 to 80+, competed for prizes from community businesses and individuals. Thanks to Charlie Willman, REI, Factory Outlet, Glenwood Hot Springs Athletic Club, Glenwood Springs Rec Center, Grease Monkey, Sunlight Bike and Ski, and Kiwanis Club members for donating all prizes.

Special thanks to our major sponsors, Alpine Bank, Bank of Colorado, and Adam Decker State Farm Agency. They provided basic financial support to make this event possible, reflecting their continued commitment to a better community. The funds raised will enable the purchase of more than 800 books for the two organizations!

Look for this fun contest next year to burn off those holiday calories and support a good cause!

Sheryl Doll and John Stephens, on behalf of the Kiwanis Club of Glenwood Springs

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