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Wussow column: Recognize the hard and invaluable work of Glenwood Springs’ law enforcement community

Ingrid Wussow

Timing in life is so often serendipitous. Case in point: I spent last Saturday night in a police cruiser as part of Glenwood Springs City Council training, since then I’ve been singing the praise of the Glenwood Springs Police Department and then coincidentally, saw that National Peace Officers Memorial Day is Saturday, May 15. It seemed appropriate to share with the community my experience while simultaneously encouraging some well-deserved recognition for our local police department.

My “ride-along” started at 8 p.m. May 8. After five hours of eye-opening experiences and thoughtful conversations with the officers, I drove home (at the speed limit of course) at 1 a.m. That is so, so late for me. For the officers at our local department, 1 a.m. is mid-shift.

These officers are the heroes that arrive at emergencies any time, day or night, in your homes, on our roadways, Christmas, Easter, their birthday, their kids’ birthdays and every other day of the year, because they are always on duty. They’re also the officers that remove drunk drivers from the roads so you and your loved one can travel safely. Often the first to arrive and the last to leave as they provide support in all types of emergency situations.

While the feeling of being pulled over is unpleasant, I saw firsthand how vulnerable a police officer is walking up to a car not knowing who or what they may encounter. My guess is that when you send your spouse to work, the potential for their bodily harm is relatively low. That’s not the case for the spouses, parents, children and family of our law enforcement family.

I have always had respect for this industry, now I have even more admiration, awareness and an incredible respect. I wish you all could do a ride-along. The amount of training every officer has is significant. Those on the force for any length of time, that amount of training would shock you. I met an officer who has a log book with almost 4,000 hours of training. That’s not rare. These guys are so incredibly educated, intelligent and on point. Meaning at 12:30 a.m. when I was hours past my bedtime and my eyes wanted to close, they’re wide awake and with an attention to detail that anticipates, identifies and resolves concerns before they become a problem.

We have the luxury of feeling safe in our small town. That’s not because crime doesn’t happen here; we are not immune to the ugly results of choices made by others. That feeling of safety and security is maintained and nurtured in large part by our police and emergency services.

I hope this illustrates that while the news sources share stories that cast doubt on law enforcement, I have zero doubt that with few exceptions, we are fortunate to have these quality humans. Professionals who have careers filled with the worst humans have to offer. They are fellow community members who stay in their jobs not for the money, and certainly not for the fanfare (that’s lean these days), but for what they’re able to give to their communities and the impassioned desire to serve, protect and do what’s right.

Please take the time to teach your children respect for law enforcement, while you’re at it, reinforce right and wrong. It’s time we all take accountability and responsibility for the problems within the system. Don’t pass the buck, identify your part.

I’ll leave you with a thought, especially for those formulating a response to counter my perspective with an alternative perspective or potential negativity: pause. Instead, take that same energy and reflect on the positive or work on a solution. Our society has more than enough negativity at the moment, more than enough polarity and enough opinions to last a lifetime. Let’s use our energy wisely, use it building up our fellow person, being an example to be proud of, teaching respect by demonstrating it.

Be that change in our community, starting today, and in particular on May 15. Let’s show gratitude to our officers, be it a wave out your car window, a kind word when you see them on foot or something that resonates with you. Thank you all for being my community.

Ingrid Wussow is a Glenwood Springs city councilor.

Glenwood Springs council slated to discuss Colorado Open Records Act policies this summer

 

Discussion over Glenwood City Council’s Colorado Open Records Act policies will be continued in a city council work session later into the summer.

City staff and council members want to meet in-person with members of the local news media — including the Post Independent, KDNK and more — to dig into their concerns over the city’s proposed policy to log all CORA requests which would be made available to the public to view on the city’s website. Anyone can make a public record request, including corporations or individuals of the general public.

CORA provides that all public records shall be open for inspection by any person at reasonable times, except records otherwise exempt by law or deemed not in the interest of the public.

City Attorney Karl Hanlon asked the council if they wish to post the CORA request log online, noting that the log is already maintained by the city.

“If you’d like, we could post who asked for it, what it was for, and when we fulfilled that request so people can go online and look at it and see what they’re able to download,” Hanlon said.

Federal government agencies provide a Freedom of Information Act request log that is made publicly available online.

Hanlon said such logs are a way to hold governments accountable and prove that a response was made to a request, and if that request was denied, the reasons why.

Glenwood Springs Post Independent Publisher Bryce Jacobson spoke in opposition of keeping a CORA request log, as well as city policy that requires notifying the impacted party of who requested the public records.

“That log is a terrible idea. I think that’s a bad policy, I don’t know of any municipalities that do it. I’d like to know who does that,” Jacobson said.

Jacobson said that in certain situations, notifying the impacted party of someone who has requested certain public records, such as a contract for a past project that was bid out could give the impacted party an unfair advantage.

For the contractor requesting the project contracts for jobs that have been bid out in previous years, being able to see the proposed prices submitted by their competition from previous years gives them an idea of how to structure their prices in an open bid.

However, under the city’s CORA policy, the contractor who would be the impacted party of the request now knows is looking at their previous bid submissions and may retaliate against the requester competing against them.

“The fact that you have a CORA request policy that says you will notify the impacted party is just counterintuitive to the CORA request policy,” Jacobson added.

Amy Marsh, KDNK Carbondale Community Access Radio news director, said notifying impacted parties seems to set a dangerous precedent, opening up the possibility of retaliation.

Marsh asked if the request forms included in the proposed CORA request log would redact the name of a requester.

Hanlon said he didn’t know and that was not outlined in policy to his knowledge, but could be at the discretion of the city’s chief operating officer Steve Boyd, who handles CORA requests.

Mayor Jonathan Godes paused the discussion as the back and forth between council members and members of the public fits a work session format more so than a city council meeting discussion where public comments are typically limited to three minutes.

Godes and the council did open up the conversation and allowed both Jacobson and Marsh to speak more than three minutes and actively engaged in the discussions.

Continuing the discussion in a work session also affords everyone the ability to meet in person, if desired, and discuss the issue in depth to ensure the transparency and accountability in the CORA process.

Reporter Shannon Marvel can be reached at 605-350-8355 or smarvel@postindependent.com.

Primary hunting draw applications, park visitation up statewide

Primary draw applications in Colorado are up by 74,593 applications from last year, according to data from Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

“What I can tell you is hunting applications were up, hunting license sales last year were up,” said Colorado Parks and Wildlife spokesman Randy Hampton.

“Everything in the COVID era, from a wildlife standpoint, is up.”

Hampton said the state is also seeing a 30% increase in park visitations over the last year.

“We continue to set a record for the number of people applying for licenses,” Hampton said, noting that what those applications translate to for the actual number of hunters in the field won’t be known until for several months.

Hampton surmised that some of the increases in primary draw applications could be due to Colorado hunters applying in-state versus going to hunt in other states with family due to COVID-19.

“Some of these increases could be due to other states restricting access for hunters,” Hampton said. “Hard to say if one thing is pushing the numbers or if all factors are driving it.”

In a more localized update, Hampton explained the impacts the Grizzly Creek Fire could potentially have on Glenwood Canyon’s wildlife.

“Fires have an impact, but the impact of fire in terms of big game hunting tends to be access not animal mortality,” Hampton said.

Hampton explained how wildlife in the western United States has evolved a resiliency to wildfires.

Hampton said the state was able to track collared elk during the Cameron Peak Fire.

“We were able to work with the firefighting groups and forest service and (Bureau of Land Management) to bring in their mapping and overlay the fire progression maps with the elk movement data from these collars,” Hampton said. “It was fascinating to watch. But these animals move out of the way of the fire and move right back behind it.”

During the Grizzly Creek Fire, Hampton said Glenwood Canyon’s bighorn sheep hung out along closed sections of Interstate 70 during the fire, in addition to seeking refuge in the Colorado River.

The burned areas left behind by the Grizzly Creek Fire may seem scorched, but Hampton said fire left behind an ideal setting for vegetation growth in those areas.

“If people go up in that burn area there’s a lot of green up,” Hampton said. “The canopy is gone, the sun is hitting those areas and what grows there is extremely nutritious for those big game animals that work their way back in there. There’s some long term benefits for big game.”

However, there are negative implications for the canyon’s aquatic life.

“There are some very big concerns for fisheries in areas where that ash drains into rivers and streams,” Hampton said.

Depending on how quickly the snow melts, ash can either absorb into the ground or run into the drainages, creeks and streams.

“Ash can contain both toxic chemicals, especially in areas where homes and outbuildings may have burned,” Hampton said.

“Anything with chemical composition, or even some bushes when they burn will have toxic elements in terms of being a fish.”

Hampton explained how fine ash particles in heavy quantities can cement in water beds, killing off the invertebrates and insects in the rocks that fish rely on for food.

“If it’s thick enough, if the water becomes muddy, the fish can suffocate from it,” Hampton said.

The ash’s impacts on the rivers and streams in Glenwood Canyon are something the CPW is watching very closely.

Hampton said the CPW is working closely with a team that includes area water managers, utility providers and federal agencies that’s monitoring the aftermath of the fire and making sure water sources are being protected as much as possible.

“That muck can clog diversion structures and irrigation structures,” Hampton said.

“It can be a real problem for municipal water supplies. We’re king of working to take care of all those things too.”

Primary Draw Applications
2020 2021 Percent Increase
Pronghorn 86,913 91,540 5.32%
Elk 215,207 246,602 14.5%
Deer 211,968 228,087 7.6%
Goat 23,388 27,338 16.88%
Sheep 31,192 35,919 15.15%
Moose 45,412 52,823 16.3%
Desert Bighorn 4,398 4,917 11.8%
Fall Bear 30,873 36,718 18.93%
Overall 649,351 723,944 11.48%

Reporter Shannon Marvel can be reached at 605-350-8355 or smarvel@postindependent.com.

Personal Finance: Spring cleaning

Between putting the winter toys away and anticipating upcoming COVID-19 freedoms, now is a great time to freshen up your finances.

Clear out the clutter: I recently helped my dad clean out his office. He still had the paperwork from my Blue Lake home that he co-signed with me back in 1989. Wild to see a 14% interest rate. He also had credit card statements for the past 15 years. Do you have old tax returns, brokerage statements or other financial documents? With cloud storage, eliminate or minimize the paper. Financial institutions, CPAs, financial advisors and brokerage firms keep secure copies, so many times you don’t need to. Review for accuracy and intent, but don’t stockpile paper. Make sure your cloud storage is secure, and any private information passed back and forth between professionals is encrypted.

Prior to 2011, you were responsible for keeping track of stock or mutual funds purchases and tracking your cost basis information. With securities bought before then, get your purchase confirmation history to your current custodian. Your brokerage firm or custodian is now responsible for keeping track of what you buy, sell, when and for how much. You are now free to pursue the “why” of your investing and determine the best tools and techniques for accomplishing your goals.

Do keep the receipts for improvements on your home as it increases your cost basis, which you will need if you decide to sell. Scan them into a computer file, back it up then shred.

Make sure you dispose of old documents safely. There are several shredding services in the valley as well as businesses and fundraising efforts that provide opportunities a couple of times a year.

Expunge your spending plan: Are you paying for services or products you no longer want or need? Reviewing your cable, internet, insurances, cell and other bills will allow you to reconnect with the value they provide or changes that can be made. Those apps and subscription services add up and need to be purged at least once a year.

Consolidate your investments: Career changes, physical moves, retirement — a lot has changed in the past year. Consolidating accounts or rolling old employer plans into your own IRA or new employer plan will simplify your life. Several custodians does not equate to “diversification.” Rules for distribution and roll over vary, so consult your financial advisor on how this would affect your individual situation before moving forward. Look at your investment strategy, current economic and tax environment and make sure your money is working efficiently for your needs.

Explore with a spring scavenger hunt: Check out www.colorado.gov/treasury/gcp to see if you have any financial “treasures” that have gone unclaimed. There are treasure troves in every state you have lived in. All states have rules around abandoned or unclaimed property. Usually, after five years, if a financial institution hasn’t heard from you, this property “escheats” to the state, and you have to reclaim it. Make sure you have current online access and set up three-factor identification with your financial institutions.

Look around the house for items that don’t serve you or are a money drain. Donate or sell them. You get a tax deduction for donated items. The cash from a garage sale or consignment store can be put into savings, pay down debt or support a local business.

Finally, tear down mental monetary cobwebs: Do you have money mindsets that entangle you? What negative financial scripts keep repeating themselves? ‘The Financial Wisdom of Ebenezer Scrooge: 5 Principles to Transform Your Relationship with Money’ by Drs. Ted and Brad Klonz, will help you become the master of your money, instead of its servant. You can refresh or replace belief systems and behaviors in all areas of your financial life.

Freshening up your finances won’t take long. With my home spring cleaning, I make my list, and systematically check it off over several weeks. More than you want to tackle? You may find someone to clean your windows or manicure your yard. Same can be true with your financial spring cleanup. There are organizers in the valley that will help you with paper or household clutter and financial professionals to walk alongside you with the investments or financial tools. Picture how good it will feel to get it done.

Danielle Howard is a CFP® and CKA® with Wealth By Design LLC in Basalt. Check out her retirement podcasts and blogs at daniellehoward4u.com.

On the Fly column: April showers? Fishing power hours


April means many things to fly fishers. For most, it rings in the fair-weather fishing season, as the first waves of blue winged olives and caddis arrive with those April showers. If you’ve ever experienced one of our blizzard caddis hatches on the Colorado or Roaring Fork rivers, you know what I’m talking about. This is a true “breathe through your teeth” hatch, complete with bugs crawling up your nose and between your eyes and polarized lenses. And it’s all starting right now.

Afternoons and early evenings can be magical, as adult female caddis come back to the water to lay their eggs on the water’s surface. Good patterns to carry are Missing Links, Pearl and Elks, and the E/C Caddis. Suggested caddis nymphs are the Z-Wing, soft hackle Hare’s Ears, and the ever-popular beaded Prince Nymph. Remember this — sunny days should favor caddis, while overcast days result in heavier mayfly hatches.

Blue wing olives, or baetis, are the most prolific mayfly in our valley, even though they get second billing behind our world-famous green drake hatch. BWOs are already hatching in good numbers along the lower Roaring Fork up to Basalt, and your best bet to catch this hatch is in the afternoon. Carry a few different patterns, and determine which fly the fish want on that particular day. We strongly suggest the Perfect Baetis, No-Hackle BWOs, Parachute Adams and Roy’s Fryingpan Emergers in sizes 20-22.

BWOs will be slightly larger on the Colorado and Roaring Fork rivers, (size 18-20) and are smaller on the Fryingpan (size 20-22). Many of us fish a dry fly followed by an emerger or nymph, as many of the naturals get caught in or below the film. The preferred emergers for the Fryingpan are Mayhems, Chocolate Thunders and black RS2s, in addition to Roy Palm’s Biot Baetis, Sparklewing RS2s and Jerome Baetis for the Fork and Colorado. These hatches are directly related to water and air temperatures, and with the warming trends of April, the fishing action only gets better.

This report is provided every week by Taylor Creek Fly Shops in Aspen and Basalt. Taylor Creek can be reached at 970-927-4374 or taylorcreek.com.