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Friday letters: Riverview Drive thanks, shrink business, COVID-19 a distraction, responding to McWhorter, clarifying county funding

Riverview Drive thanks

Many thanks to Gould Construction and the city of Glenwood Springs for the excellent work on Riverview Drive. We were kept informed of what to expect and when. Gould Construction was very respectful of property, kept the dust down by watering and did an overall great job of upgrading the street. It is wonderful.

Joyce Yoder

Glenwood Springs

Business cut back

The Aspen Skiing Co. is saying it is short of employees. So are many businesses and public operations, like the schools and the bus system. The traditional reaction is to construct more affordable housing. That new housing must be subsidized with taxpayer money to stay low cost. This causes still more growth.

The smarter and more logical course is to reduce the operations of the ski areas; just like a shorthanded restaurant reduces its hours.

For example, close Buttermilk. Or close Elk Camp. The community can surely get by with a few less acres than the current total of 5,527. That could mean a few less customers all around, and therefore fewer employees required for all the supporting businesses and other operations.

A little less business could mean a little less traffic in and out of town. Less business might mean not building more housing outside town. Less business might mean less pressure on the water supplies. Reducing the skiing business could provide numerous other benefits and actually improve the quality of life for residents.

Especially with the increasing severity of climate change, the old mantra of constant growth really does not make sense. All of our government levels have now pledged to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. We can only get to those goals by reducing the activities that produce a lot of greenhouse gas.

Patrick Hunter

Carbondale

Distractions

A recent letter, “Vaccinate for others,” is based on misinformation, ignorance and fear. The vaccinated letter writer caught COVID-19 and blamed unvaccinated folks.

Being vaccinated does not make you less likely to spread COVID-19 than being unvaccinated. Being vaccinated does not prevent COVID-19 infections, either, it just makes it less likely that you’ll have a severe case of COVID-19.

The politicalization and fear mongering of COVID-19 is only being used to distract us from the miserable failures of the Biden cabal. If they really cared about American lives, hundreds of thousands of unvaccinated and diseased foreigners would not have been allowed to invade our country.

Bruno Kirchenwitz

Rifle

Writer counters

Mr. McWhorter, thank you for your reply to my letter. I was ready to answer all of your questions, but then I re-read your comments and found the answer to anything I wanted to ask were in your inquiries to me.

In your own words, people who have a delta (variant) and happen to have breakthrough infections can carry these really high levels of virus and can unwittingly spread the virus to others. You made my point for me.

Big difference between unwitting transfer and the personal decision to not vaccinate and willfully put others at risk. God blessed us all when we were born or became Americans.

Please, all of us need to act like we deserve that amazing good luck. Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas.

Alan AJ Nieman

Rifle

Responding to McWhorter

In his letter to the Post Independent on Nov. 15, Mr. McWhorter cites several articles to bolster his position. In the world of the internet, there’s an acronym, TLDR. It means, “Too Long, Didn’t Read,” which people tend to do. Thanks for the cites, I read all the articles, and a thorough reading paints a different story. The first article from Bloomberg News, “Truckers cheer vaccine mandate exemption without explicit rule” outlines a possible exemption for truckers who have no contact with others, i.e. drive alone, load and unload alone. I’m fine with that. I also know that many truckers have gladly taken the vaccine. Why jeopardize your livelihood?

As to the second article in the LA Times, called, “Study shows dramatic decline in effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines,” one only has to read a few paragraphs in to see that the effectiveness of the vaccine wanes with time, as many do. However, the article also notes this is why we have boosters of many vaccines. The article states that the boosters bring a longer, more robust immunity against COVID-19. Colorado allowed all adults boosters for COVID-19 after six months, and the CDC quickly followed suit. It’s free and very available. Get it.

Thirdly, a Nature.com article says that vaccinated people who have breakthrough infections are more contagious than unvaccinated people (Nature.com/articles/d41586-021-02187-1). For the first week of infection, one study showed that vaccinated people did carry as high a virus load as an unvaccinated individual, but the virus count drops precipitously in week two. The article states that masks and handwashing remain the most effective way to prevent transmission of COVID-19.

Mr. McWhorter, I voted for science, education and safety for all the children. So did many people. Let’s get this pandemic over with. Wear a mask, wash your hands and, most important, get vaccinated.

Gay E. Moore

Glenwood Springs

Clarifying county funding

We are members of the Garfield County Human Services Commission (HSC) Grant Allocations Committee, and co-chairs, writing in response to a letter published in support of a request made by Valley Meals for funding from the Board of County Commissioners.

Since 1980 a portion of sales tax collected in the county have been dedicated to the HSC grants program, where dollars are awarded every year to nonprofits in the county that are providing vital human services. This most recent 2022 cycle saw the commissioners granting over $550,000 to agencies and organizations.

The grant process is open to every agency that fits within the guidelines of being a 501(c)(3) in good standing with the Colorado Secretary of State and that they provide human services as outlined. The grant applications are posted to the HSC website beginning in early July, and submissions are due middle of August. Agencies do not need to be a part of the HSC to apply for these grant dollars but are asked to present before the BOCC on how the dollars were used.

We want to ensure that all agencies within Garfield County know about this program and that we are always open to helping new applicants with the process. The mission of the Human Services Commission is to bring together nonprofits and other organizations to determine the needs in our county, strengthen the services that are provided, and act as a conduit for networking and coordination. This has been especially needed during the past two years and will be as our organizations move through the end of the COVID-19 pandemic.

It is not the responsibility of the Human Services Commission to voice an opinion on requests for funds outside the scope of the HSC Grant Program, but rather to make known that there is a process in place for all agencies in our county to seek funding for their non-profit through the county.

Mason Hohstadt

co-chair of HSC and Grants Allocation Committee

Jill Pidcock

co-chair of HSC

Pat Horwitz

Grants Allocation Committee

Samantha Freese

Grants Allocation Committee

 

Wednesday letter: airport

Airport perspective

I grew up in the Hartford community area. There is an airport alongside the Connecticut River (Brainard Airport) named after Morgan Brainard. In the early ’50s, my dad was chairman of the board of the Hartford City Council and also a commercial pilot.

Singer Sewing Machines and Underwood Typewriter wanted to purchase the airport from the city and make it their new industrial park. The city licked its chops about the money.

My dad fought hard to save the airport. He received a handwritten letter from their senator, Prescott Bush, thanking my dad. My sister learned to fly at Brainard Airport and then went to Embry Riddle in Florida. She recently retired as a captain on an Airbus A330. To this day, Brainard generates more money than Underwood and Singer could ever do.

As a young pilot, my dad always said, “Never get rid of an existing runway.” You will always need it, especially in case of an emergency.

Robert Andrews

Glenwood Springs

Monday letters: Crystal River modification, Support Valley Meals

Crystal ‘scheme’ unjustified

As a lifelong user of streams for boating, fishing and enjoying nature, a civil engineer who specialized in designing water projects and a 16-year resident of River Valley Ranch, I have the following comments on the latest scheme for modifying the Crystal River there.

The scheme has two components. One is to replace the existing crude “push up dam” that diverts water into Carbondale’s main irrigation ditch, with a low dam that would be more structurally robust. The dam would also create a pool that would provide improved fish habitat — at least until it filled with sediment.

The additional components consist of various modifications to the channel and banks downstream of that dam. These modifications are “justified” as allegedly “restoring” the stream by making its channel deeper and narrower. In fact, the stream channel always has been wide and shallow, with a bed of loose cobbles and gravel that is typical of every stream channel situated downstream of a steeply sloped “canyon” reach. This coarse sediment is carried by periodic high flows through the upstream canyon and deposited in the channel in the valley below, where the slope and thus the water velocity decrease.

Dredging the channel to deepen it, with the associated release of sediments downstream to Glenwood Springs and beyond, would only deepen the channel for a brief period before it was re-filled with sediment by subsequent high storm flows.

Further, the idea of constructing a site for “environmental education” — including handicapped access — ignores the availability of a better site in Carbondale’s riparian park about a half mile downstream. That site already includes a parking lot with level access to the Crystal River that could be economically improved to make even wheelchair access possible.

The entire scheme is an example of misusing grant funding to “piggy back” modifications disingenuously dubbed as “green” onto an infrastructure improvement that does make sense. Its chief “benefit” has been to make work for the over-abundance of “environmental experts” in the area.

Carl Ted Stude

Carbondale

Support Valley Meals

As for many of you in our close community, I have become a caregiver as a daughter to an amazing 81-year-old woman who has been active and independent her entire life until a year ago. Dementia finally became clear to me when she asked whether she usually comes over for Christmas, a highlight holiday we’ve shared as a family for the past 20 years since she moved here. I cried. I still cry. As much as I love and am close to my mom, I didn’t sign up to be a caregiver, but I did sign her up for Valley Meals.

Valley Meals and More came to life just as COVID-19 hit, and our seniors, homebound or not, were able to receive meals five days a week when they could no longer go to the grocery store or see families and friends. Delivery volunteers provided meals with an additional critical purpose of social connection to decrease the isolation and loneliness. It is an act of humanity, of human kindness.

This program grew out of an unmet need in the greater Carbondale area. It now serves over 80 seniors a day, five days a week. Valley Meals has picked up where the county was unable to provide a solution. It is efficiently run with dedicated volunteers, and hot meals are prepared by local restaurants, Whole Foods and City Market. This is a unique model that has supported our seniors and businesses. So unique, in fact, that the president of Kroger flew out to Carbondale to view and film the food preparation and coordination for the senior meals.

In order to sustain the program after Dec. 31, Garfield County is being asked to commit $85,000 in order to hire part-time staff to support the unpaid executive director who is committed to continuing grant writing and coordination. Now speaking as a taxpayer who has looked over the Valley Meals budget, that $85,000 gets us another $100,000-plus in private grants and donations we wouldn’t otherwise secure without Valley Meals. That’s money left on the table.

Please contact Garfield County Commissioner Tom Jankovsky at tjankovsky@garfield-county.com. Ask how our citizens will be fed if the funding is not directed to Valley Meals.

Carrie Jean Podl

Carbondale

 

Monday letters: Council doesn’t listen, it can happen here, Responding to ‘AJ,’ Wiley’s story

Council’s lost personal touch

On Sept. 7, I went before City Council and asked if they had any updated studies regarding increased traffic and water supply issues due to the 20-year drought and the prediction of no relief in sight.

I told them it would be nice to have these tools in their toolbox for making educated decisions on future growth. After my three minutes without any response from council, I was told that staff would get back to me.

As has happened in the past, no response as of now. For the last 15 years, council has slowly cut off citizens who come before them to get answers to their concerns they might have or at least some kind of response that there is hope that it will be investigated. What happened to the time when a citizen could come and talk to council about a problem and walk away with the satisfaction that council shows that they care.

When I was on council, we had citizens come before us at the start of the meetings and at the end of our meetings, in case they were unable to be there for the beginning. So what if the meeting lasted to midnight? What happened to the councilmen giving reports from their assigned commissions at the start of each meeting? This was a way for citizens to find out what was going on in the different commissions. Council should pay attention to what the commission members are saying. They are generally expressing the citizens’ concerns and ideas. Emails are poor substitutes for personal interactions.

The pandemic let council off the hook for a year of no personal contact, but that is over. Having coffee with the public is nice but not a substitute for the exposure that one gets at a council meeting. Workshops during the daytime hours do not get much of a turnout.

Get back to listening to the citizens, and you just might avoid what is taking place currently. I see from the legal notices in the paper that there are another 360 units waiting for approval.

Don “Hooner” Gillespie

Glenwood Springs

It can happen here

I recently read “The Cellist of Sarajevo,” a disturbing fiction about surviving, or not, during the three-and-a-half-year Siege of Sarajevo. The story is compelling because eight years earlier, the 1984 Olympics were hosted by Sarajevo. In 1992, ethnic and religious war broke out as the former Yugoslavia countries tried to define themselves. There was no reasoning, no ability to work it out in words, no shared reality. One tribe took to the hills surrounding the city, bombing and using snipers to attack the residents. Eventually the UN and President Clinton brokered a peace. The city was in ruins.

What is most devastating is to realize that a place can go from “civilized” to Stone Age in a blink of an eye; that it can happen anywhere, including here. The behaviors I’ve read about attacking and threatening school board volunteers, threatening their family members, making jokes about cutting people’s heads off, or printing their heads with gunsights overlaid on them — these are not idle, “free speech” expressions. These are behaviors that embolden people to act on them, to take out personal frustrations with acts of violence, behaviors that do lead to thug behavior and mob mentality.

These are dangerous acts. Take a breath, reflect; do you really want to take the U.S. to a place where voting doesn’t matter, where laws no longer matter, where it’s every person for themselves? I don’t.

I am dismayed, disappointed, frustrated, exasperated and sad that nearly half of Americans cannot embrace the common good, cannot behave in civilized manners, cannot put themselves in others’ shoes, cannot take in (verified) new information and change their mind or adjust their behavior.

Many of us struggle, not knowing how to reach people, not knowing how to get us back on track, not knowing if behaviors will deteriorate to survival mode instinct. None of us are innocent bystanders; choosing not to choose or be informed is also a choice; we are all responsible.

Susan Rhea

Carbondale

Responding to ‘AJ’

Questions for AJ (PI letter to the editor, Nov. 8), the grocery worker (and other vaccinated people angry at unvaccinated people):

First, you don’t have a job and none of us eat without farmers, ranchers and truck drivers. Are you OK with unvaccinated people processing and delivering the food to your stores? (Bloomberg.com, Nov. 5)

Second, are you concerned about the efficacy of the vaccine you received?

“All three COVID-19 vaccines available to Americans lost some of their protective power, with vaccine efficacy among a large group of veterans dropping between 35% and 85%, according to a new study.” (LA Times, Nov. 4)

Third, can you confirm you received COVID-19 from an unvaccinated person?

“People who have a Delta virus and happen to have ‘breakthrough’ infections can carry these really high levels of virus and can unwittingly spread the virus to others.”

(nature.com, Aug. 12)

The sad reality is spreading a narrative and pointing fingers is more important today than seeking truth. Nature and the LA Times may soon be labeled as Russian misinformation sites for these articles. I will probably be personally labeled something along the lines of “far-right radical” or “conspiracy theorist,” since that is the default label for people who present any conflicting science/stats.

Labeling and blind anger towards certain groups is a desperate attempt to make sense of complex issues. Rather than question and potentially come to an uncomfortable conclusion like “maybe this vaccine is not very effective” or “maybe I actually got COVID-19 from another vaccinated person,” it is easier to simply direct anger at unvaccinated people.

Chase McWhorter

Carbondale

Wiley’s story

I wanted to thank Mike Vidakovich for such a heartwarming column (PI, Nov. 10) about our horse Wiley, aka Seabiscuit.

Most of the local hikers on Mitchell creek have their own names for our horses. I sometimes don’t realize how much they are a part of the neighborhood and the joy they bring to those daily hikers.

Maybe for my own healing I felt the need to tell you about that horse.

He was born 32 years ago on our small ranch the same year as my eldest daughter, so needless to say we all grew up together. When he was a young colt I held my breath many times thinking he was about to buck Bruce off, so fitting he was to his name. But as he grew up with many hours in the saddle, he became a trusted member of the herd. He took care of my daughters on many packtrips across the Flat Tops or up the Fryingpan for countless years, and even some boyfriends who had never ridden and packed a few elk out besides.

But what I will miss most is his nickering, as he was very vocal about his wishes. On those packtrips, I never worried in the night, because if anything was askew, he would be sure to let us know. If he would catch me coming out of the house, I would hear that nicker as he stared at me as if saying, “I could do with some oats, lady.”

And in the winter when Bruce would come to feed him, he was watching and letting him know it was about time, as he was hungry. He was the patriarch of the herd. So he wasn’t just a horse, he was family, and with all of us it’s hard to play God with any of our pets.

Thank you, Jay Merriam, as your article did give me comfort. We broke all the rules for Wiley and let him live longer than any of our horses, because he was a special guy, but it was his time, and he had a great race. Thanks for so many awesome memories, Wiley. RIP.

Lee Bowles

Glenwood Springs

Friday letters: School board intimidation, don’t forget Cleyo, wallet returned, oil and gas rules weak, great horse story, Ascendigo thanks

School board intimidation

I was appalled to learn that some anti-vax/mask mandater(s) caused a school board member to resign.

What kind of lousy parent pursues a vendetta of hate against another person via their children? I’m not privy to particulars, but bullying a child because of a difference of opinion is ludicrous.

Are we changing opinions through intimidation rather than ideas now? There are legal remedies for such bellicose bullies, and I urge that public servant to pursue them. And, please, reconsider your resignation. We need folks like you who selflessly give so much to our community. Our valley communities will not tolerate such purulent behavior (purulent, i.e., oozing or discharging pus).

Lastly, I participated in protests in Glenwood Springs and Rifle a few weeks ago. I am wholeheartedly against politically motivated medical mandates. Apparently this cowardly zealot was in our midst, and I am mortified.

Until I find out who this person was, I will not be associating with this group.

The cause for personal freedom is just. Slow-witted bullies dishonor the cause.

Bruno Kirchenwitz

Rifle

Schoolhouse revitalized

This is a letter of thanks for Ambleside for the amazing job they did on the old schoolhouse.

Just to give credit where credit belongs, it is referred to as Rosie’s schoolhouse, but Rosie’s husband, Cleyo, was part of that schoolhouse. Let’s not forget that Rosie had dreams, and Cleyo, being the great person he was, saw to it that Rosie’s dreams came true. It was Cleyo who did all the rock work on the outside and all the woodwork and brick on the inside.

As Cleyo’s health declined, so did the schoolhouse. So let’s remember to include Cleyo Ferrin when referring to the schoolhouse; he put in a lot of hard work there. It should be referred to as Cleyo and Rosie’s schoolhouse for the history books

Matthew and Vonnie Vanhoose

New Castle

Honest people exist

Maybe people really are inherently kind. This afternoon, I accidentally left my wallet in my cart at the City Market in Rifle. I realized it almost immediately and raced back to the parking lot, but although the cart was still there, the wallet was gone.

The adrenaline rush was nearly overwhelming as I tried to organize my thoughts regarding all the things I needed to do — cancel credit cards, get a new license … As soon as I walked into the store (praying it had been turned in), employee Tracy Beauford smiled and handed it over to me. A woman had found it and had brought it back to the customer service counter.

This incredible human being didn’t take anything, even though there was an unusual (for me) amount of cash and numerous credit cards. I wish I could have been there to thank her myself. It’s been about five hours, and I’m still shaky thinking about what could have happened.

I would just like this gal to know how appreciative I am, and I hope that her good deed leads to another one coming her way in the future. Kindness begets kindness. Thank you again for your honesty.

Kathy Pototsky

Rifle

Clean up your mess, O&G

As children we were taught to clean up after ourselves. Put your dishes in the sink. Pick up your toys.

The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission is telling the oil and gas industry, make all the mess you want, and the Colorado taxpayers will pick up the majority of the tab for the cleanup when the wells run dry.

The commission’s new draft rules for oil and gas drilling operations have no set amount for financial assurances put down by the industry to pay for plugging orphaned wells, some 1,500 statewide, that are and will emit massive amounts of methane. Instead, plugging fees would be based on estimates determined by the industry. You can bet those approximations will be low-ball.

Further, the new proposed rules would allow blanket bonding, which would cover tens of thousands of wells instead of a well-by-well assessment. Previous preliminary rules called for a $78,000 single-well financial assurance. Similar bonds in Alaska go for $100,000.

The industry says there’s no problem with orphaned wells, and a bond would drive them into bankruptcy. Both of those statements can’t be true. If there’s no issue, the financial assurances will be refunded.

It’s becoming increasingly clear the COGCC is listening only to the industry and not the climate and environmental groups that are advising them during the rulemaking process. These groups are asking for single-well financial assurance of $282,000. In fact, none of their recommendations are showing up in the draft rules.

There will be another set of draft rules in December before they’re set in stone early next year.

Fred Malo Jr.

Carbondale

Great horse story

Wonderful reflection on the importance of seeing and relating to the animals in our world, especially the big ones. As a veterinarian for half a century, I have assisted many beautiful horses “across that rainbow bridge.” I take great care of the privilege granted to us to provide a painless, smooth departure from a painful or debilitating life, such as the one you so aptly described in Seabiscuit.

It’s a gift that only we can give to the animals who have served or just touched our lives. I have done this in some of the most extenuating circumstances both in the U.S. and abroad where animals are not pets, but working tools and often the only means for a family’s survival. And even there, tears and grief attend. It’s not at all a “female” thing, this sense of loss and pain. But our pain is outweighed by the lifting of their burdens, the easing of swollen joints, the washing clean of raging disease.

You were correct, no matter their accomplishments, as in the Great Race, it always comes down to the realization that one day, the time is here and will not be stayed. So relish the memories of those mornings and take comfort in the fact that the owners cared enough to commission the act before he was down on an icy pile of mud and snow begging,– if you will, for relief.

We all need to step back and cherish the gifts that animals give no matter how small they may seem on a given day.

Well done, coach.

Jay Merriam

Glenwood Springs

Ascendigo Trunk or Treat thanks

On Oct. 29, Ascendigo Autism Services hosted our second annual Trunk or Treat event, offering a safe and fun environment for Halloween trick or treaters, especially those with autism or other special needs. The night was full of Halloween spirit as families and kids from throughout our community came ready to celebrate and dressed in their favorite costumes.

Ascendigo’s stellar volunteers decorated imaginative trunks and handed out candy, toys and trinkets to the excited crowd.

Sometimes, those with autism or other disabilities do not have the same access to social activities as those of their neurotypical peers. With your help, we were able to provide a safe and welcoming Halloween experience for many individuals on the autism spectrum for whom Halloween can otherwise be overwhelming.

The Roaring Fork Valley continues to welcome our autism community, and we are grateful to the many partners who provide accommodation to people of all needs and abilities.

I would like to extend a special thank-you to our partners who helped make this event special: Glenwood Springs Ford, Carbondale and Rural Fire Protection District, Carbondale Police Department, RFTA, GF Woods Construction, and the Carbondale Rotary Club.

Your contributions go a long way in supporting our mission, to elevate the spectrum by empowering people, inspiring lives and shattering expectations.

Dan Richardson

CEO, Ascendigo Autism Services

Carbondale

 

Wednesday letters: 480 Donegan, airport, CRFR thanks, zombie gas wells, Hal Sundin, Take a Minute

Whose interests?

To Charlie Willman, Jonathan Godes, Shelley Kaup and Steve Davis: You were elected to represent our best interests. Are you not aware of the lack of infrastructure we have for the residents who are already here? Whose interests are you representing? Certainly not those of your constituents. I am worried sick about the people in West Glenwood next time there is a fire and they will be unable to escape due to the gridlock.

The owner of the pasture certainly has a right to develop it, but it went through a Planning and Zoning process, and it was denied. You think you know better? Why do we have P&Z if you don’t bother listening to them? Why should we reelect you if you don’t bother listening to us?

Kudos to Tony Hershey, Paula Stepp and Ingrid Wussow for doing the right thing.

Joan Isenberg

Glenwood Springs

Not ‘unruly,’ just committed

I was so taken back, surprised and stunned when reading the article in the Post Independent regarding the City Council meeting on Nov. 4.

I attended that City Council meeting, and it was, I must admit, the first time I have ever been accused of being unruly or threatening or described as “rabble” (according to the dictionary = the lower classes; the common people).

I’m surprised after covering and listening to our comments to City Council these past four to six months, the Post couldn’t recognize the fear, frustration and panic in every speaker’s voice and tone.

Instead of the fervor and intensity of those speaking, our messages were mistaken as being “unruly,” “boisterous” and “threatening.”

I’ve heard others in our town accuse our residents of being “cry babies” and acting with a “NIMBY” attitude.

I’m sorry after all this time that’s what some heard, for that’s never been our intent.

Lots of sorrow I’ll admit, but I have no regrets for attending council meetings, signing petitions, writing letters and making phone calls. I do mourn, however, the four City Council members’ decision in favor of the annexation. I feel those who agreed to the annexation reflect the division in our country and unwillingness to sit down with and listen to those “on the front lines” in regards to our concerns and fears.

As Margaret Mead said; “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.

Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

Jamie Darien

Glenwood Springs

Support those who’ve lost children

Recently there has been a wave of unexpected deaths among our younger community that prompts me to write this letter of awareness. I lead the Chapter for The Compassionate Friends of the Roaring Fork Valley, which serves families from Silt to Eagle and Glenwood to Aspen.

When a child dies, at any age, the family suffers intense pain and may feel hopeless and isolated. We offer support to bereaved parents, grandparents and siblings. The Compassionate Friends come from all walks of life, yet we need not walk alone. None of us chose this path; however, the friendships that result from the common thread of losing a child become so meaningful to those who need the support from others experiencing a similar loss. Our group has lost loved ones to suicide, drug overdose, health issues such as cancer and the flu, SIDS and car accidents. Each tragedy is unique, yet we provide a place of comfort and understanding where participants are not judged and all emotions and concerns are kept confidential.

Some of us have lost more than one child, and the time frame since our losses ranges from three months to 35 years. It’s not a life event any of us ever expect to experience. We welcome new friends who feel the initial shock of their loss is truly unbearable. This support group is not for everyone; I personally have a handful of friends/acquaintances who have lost a child in the last five years that have never attended one meeting, and I now have new friends that attend every single time we gather.

We meet the first Tuesday of each month at The Orchard in Carbondale at 6:30 pm. Meetings generally run an hour and a half or however long members need to stay. We are not a sad group but are a group of people with hope to find a better way of coping with our losses. We find time to laugh, breathe and mostly honor our loved ones.

Vivian Williams

Aspen

Airport debacle

I was the Glenwood Airport manager for about 17 years, and in 2018 I parted ways due to the city’s political misadventures and their total lack of transparency. Everyone knows one thing — the city does not want the airport.

I could never get a reasonable explanation as to “why.” I assume they don’t want the liability, they have a better use for the land, and possibly an underlying need for the money that the sale of that property will bring, plus I doubt if anyone that works in City Hall knows anything about aviation.

There are dozens of pilots and workers that depend on that airport as a means of livelihood and a genuine love of aviation. That airport delivers those things.

So, as a last ditch effort, they put the ballot up for votes. We all know what it says. Some of the money goes to South Bridge and some to the airport. It’s so obvious that they are manipulating the future of the airport based on that vote. The voters have struck it down, the city will take that as justification to close the airport because the voters did not support it. If a municipality floats a vote for a mill levy to bolster a school and the voters say no, do they demolish the school? How about if a mill levy to aid fire protection is voted down, do we get rid of the firehouses and fire engines? May I suggest we set up a vote to increase taxes to refurbish City Hall and apply the same logic.

Let’s get together and talk about getting the airport out of the hands of the city and to the people with the experience — the users and pilots. Rezone the property back into the hands of the county, which has lots of experience with its Garfield County Airport. The airport has more than enough reserve monies to continue without any tax help from the residents of the city. Without experienced people managing the facility, the probability of a lawsuit has increased. Aviation lawsuits can run as high as

$100 million to $400 million. If the facility is managed with experience, the risk is diminished considerably.

Dick Weinberg

Glenwood Springs

CRFR support thanks

Thank you to the communities of Rife, Silt, New Castle and surrounding areas for your continued support over the last year. We are grateful to have passed our mill levy increase to fund the fire department.

We will keep in mind the taxpayers we serve who recognized a healthy fire district is an asset to their communities and granted us their hard-earned tax dollars to allow us to build for the future. To show our appreciation, we will do so in a manner that meets our campaign promise of transparency and openness spending tax dollars while building and strengthening the services we provide.

Alan Lambert

board president, Colorado River Fire Rescue

Leif Sackett

fire chief, Colorado River Fire Rescue

Airport needs value engineering

I am writing as a past Transportation Commission member in support of the South Bridge project.

The current alignment for the project was selected by a long, involved public process. Keeping the alignment but removing the tunnel violates that whole process and re-introduces an option that was rejected by that process. Keeping the tunnel is not an add-on cost, it is the selected option. I appreciate the intent of removing the tunnel, but retaining the tunnel alignment is the wrong solution. Realign that short section of road around the airport.

The approach of value engineering this short section of the South Bridge connection is one that I heartily endorse. From the beginning the selection committee publicly held the twin goals of reducing cost and maintaining a fully operational airport. The airport has safety and economic benefits to the community and region well beyond the simplistic counting of the number of pilots using it. If you proceed with value engineering, sooner or later you will have to include the engineering company in the design. Involving them sooner may yield better results than waiting until later.

You have another resource that is being underutilized: members of the Airport Commission. Gregg Rippy and Steve Shute have decades of engineering and construction experience relevant to the project. Listen to them.

This project has huge benefits for residents of Garfield County beyond the limits of Glenwood Springs, not just as an emergency exit but as an advantageous transportation link. It will decrease upvalley mileage and trip times by approximately 15 minutes and reduce pressure on the 27th street roundabout, bridge and stoplight — not insignificant benefits for using those links. Financial participation by Garfield County would seem to be appropriate.

I want to thank you for the time, effort and thought that you devote to this and other matters. These are not the easiest times to be plotting the course for the community, but it is a crucial endeavor.

All the best,

Dave Alcott

Glenwood Springs

Beware zombie gas wells

Halloween just wrapped up, and it was great to see kids in the neighborhood on the lookout for zombies, ghosts and ghouls while trick-or-treating. But I was just alerted to zombies of another sort, perhaps even more dangerous than the undead: zombie oil and gas wells and just how many of them there are in Colorado.

If you go to the website WellWellWellColorado.com, you can see how many unproductive and even abandoned wells exist in Colorado. These wells should have been plugged and the sites cleaned up, but Colorado doesn’t require companies to do so. It’s enough to make your skin crawl.

Fortunately, the Colorado Oil & Gas Conservation Commission has a chance to change these regulations for the first time in years. We have to stop this ghoulish behavior on the part of oil and gas companies. I ask the commission to put these zombie wells to rest for good and change regulations to clean up our air and environment immediately.

Mary Carman

Clifton

Look inward, Hal

Hal Sundin has an accurate portrayal of the Weimar Republic and the rise of Hitler, but he’s blanked out about the current conditions affecting this country.

Without a litany of current items, suffice it to quote Jimmy Falla: “A lot of people hate Trump because they don’t have to look inward about what they hate about themselves.”

Otherwise, Hal Sundin is a good man.

Fred Stewart

Grand Junction

Just between us

The “average” distance between our valley communities is 10 miles.

If we are five minutes late, pushing on the gas won’t magically transport us to our destination. To “make up time,” these conditions would need to be met:

• No enforcement

• No other cars ahead of us

• All green traffic lights

• A speed of over 90 mph

Take a minute, think about it, take the pressure off with a phone call to your destination, leave sooner next time.

Take A Minute/Slow Down in Town

Diane Reynolds, committee member

Glenwood Springs

 

Monday letters: vaccinate for others, fire USPS chief, council meeting misrepresented, bear mitigation plan wrong

Vaccinate for others

I am an employee at one of your local grocery retailers. Without us, you don’t feed your family.

We all worked through the pandemic while most of you were quarantined. Most of you have been decent, caring neighbors throughout this mess, but we have all been exposed to a small group who have no regard toward anyone else, personal freedom over the rights of the rest of us.

Nearly two years into this mess and many of us are still at risk of catching this virus, because some of us will not vaccinate. I am an at-risk elder who got two shots and assumed I was OK, but recently I came down with COVID-19. This happened because some people think it is OK to put others at risk by being in my store or any public place without being vaccinated.

That is not OK. We have lost well over 700,000 Americans to this virus with no end in sight. Please think about what is best for America and your neighbors. Vaccinate or stay away from us.

Alan “AJ” Nieman

Rifle

Fire USPS chief

A force harming the Postal Service is strengthening its influence. Postmaster Louis DeJoy, former CEO of New Breed Logistics, a supply chain management company, appointed by Trump in June 2020, effectively slowed the Postal System prior to the 2020 elections.

Louis DeJoy will maintain his USPS position until we ask Biden to replace Ron Bloom from the postal board of governors so that the president and the postal board can fire DeJoy. A CBS headline says “Mail delivery slowdown: USPS to slow delivery starting October 1.” While a Forbes headline says: “Louis DeJoy’s Former Company, New Breed Logistics, May Have Overcharged Postal Service By $53 Million, Audit Found.”

I love the post office. It has performed its function of maintaining our democracy with unbiased, excellent and unfailing carrier service to every corner of the nation, not just the profitable ones. Please petition President Biden to replace Ron Bloom on the USPS board of governors and encourage the board to fire Louis DeJoy.

WhiteHouse.gov/contact.

John Hoffmann

Carbondale

Misrepresented

I attended the City Council meeting last night and was present from the beginning until the very end. Ike Fredregill’s story grossly misrepresented that event, and I’d like to correct the record.

Were we “unruly,” as he stated? Well, that depends, as it always does, on your definition. As about 200 residents (not Fredregill’s “dozens”) waited apprehensively for the second reading vote, we were admonished to leave the council chamber because its maximum capacity is 93 persons.

The irony was not lost on us, as concerns about overcrowding the chamber were enforced, in contrast to how our concerns about the real threats of overcrowding this development would inflict on our community have been dismissed. We lack an enforceable maximum capacity in West Glenwood.

Yes, our frustration and fury was palpable. We residents have presented our universal criticisms courteously, over and over, for the better part of a year, and been met with insulting sanctimony from the developer and patronizing from four of those elected to represent us. In fact, we fear for our lives if this project goes forward before the evacuation infrastructure they depend on is in place. Accepting mere promises is a betrayal of current residents in favor of hypothetical newcomers and in favor of the interests of the industries that benefit from such projects while insulated from their harms, like real estate, construction, finance and large service providers that profit from expansion. Silly us, we believed we elect people to exercise judgment and restraint on our behalf.

And Ike, “threats of recalls”? Really? We have persevered through this extended battle, employing every tool we have. Recalls, referenda, initiative processes ­— are these legal rights of the governed to challenge government actions to be construed as weapons and their mere mention to be “threats”?

When people feel that they are fighting for their lives, for their bedrock values of not only community well-being but survival, they will not meekly give in. We have not and will not concede defeat while we still have our rights as citizens, our energy and our determination.

Laurie Raymond

Glenwood Springs

Bear mitigation plan wrong approach

Colorado Parks and Wildlife has drafted a “Bear Management Plan,” the primary goal is to manage human-

bear conflicts. CPW recommends Alternative 2, which increases the harvested number of bears from 70-122 to 122-174; that’s a 74% increase at the threshold and over 40% at the top.

Given the plan data confirms the existing population is in decline or stable, this increase could have a detrimental impact and even result in an unsustainable bear population. Killing more bears isn’t effective in reducing conflict.

In 2011, CPW initiated a six-year study, led by Dr. Heather Johnson, to address human-black bear conflicts that produced reliable evidence-based data on how to mitigate conflict. The USDA described the project and results this way: “National Wildlife Research Center researchers partnered with Colorado Parks and Wildlife to evaluate whether the use of bear-resistant trash containers in Durango, Colorado, could reduce bear-human conflicts.

“The town was divided into two treatment and two control areas for comparison. Residents in the treatment areas received bear-resistant containers free of charge, while residents in the control areas continued to use their own trash containers. Trash-related conflicts were 60% lower and compliance with local wildlife ordinances increased by 39% in the areas with bear-resistant containers.

“Researchers recommend that cities within or adjacent to bear habitat consider bear-proofing measures, such as providing residents with bear-resistant trash containers, implementing bear-proofing ordinances or regulations, and increasing the enforcement of existing regulations.”

We know what works, so why isn’t that the proposed recommendation? How about a win-win solution: Work with towns, the county and trash haulers to install bear-resistant trash containers and follow the recommendations above to mitigate conflict.

Please submit comments to CPW by Nov. 10. supporting Alternative 1 — maintain current harvest levels. Contact your local officials and let them know you support bear-resistant containers

Jacci McKenna

Eagle

 

Wednesday letters: 480 Donegan, airport, air quality, Christian Science stance misrepresented

Editor’s note: A letter to the editor published Wednesday both contained incorrect information and quoted a private citizen without providing notice or asking for permission. In response to the letter, the City of Glenwood Springs released the following statement from City Manager Debra Figueroa:

“The South Canyon Landfill is a valuable community asset for the City of Glenwood Springs. A recent letter to the editor incorrectly implied that the landfill was dangerously close to being full. While this is not the case, we also want to emphasize that waste diversion is and should be taken seriously.

The City is in the process of preparing for a future conversation with City Council about ways construction waste can be more efficiently managed and processed. Part of this conversation are waste pricing and fees, potential regulation for acceptable construction waste, and requirements for how buildings are deconstructed. Expect to see more information on this discussion in 2022.

To be clear, the City has not received plans for the demolition of the West Glenwood Mall. If the mall in West Glenwood were hypothetically demolished, unsorted debris would not completely fill up the landfill.

The life expectancy of the currently permitted operating area of the South Canyon Landfill is estimated to be six years at current service levels and regulations. The City of Glenwood Springs recently submitted an application to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) to expand the landfill onto City-owned land surrounding the existing operating area in South Canyon.

The objective of considering changes to waste pricing and policies is to give staff tools to better manage incoming waste, including ways to more sustainably accept and process debris. An example of this might be working with construction permit holders on how to properly sort deconstructed materials for an efficient use of the landfill and reuse of all materials available.

We are very fortunate to have our own city-owned landfill as a resource, and we as a community need to be aware that this is a finite resource and exercise stewardship of how we use this space. Waste diversion is top of mind for staff and we look forward to working with City Council on paths forward for our landfill.”

Sickened by city decisions

I am sickened that the 480 development went through. This City Council is destroying our small-town character. Affordable housing does not mean massive development. Additionally, the airport ballot questions appear to be worded so the city has cause to close the airport.

Lastly, the next time the city sends out a survey, an included question should be “Do you feel City Council is trustworthy?”

David Malehorn

Glenwood Springs

City Council going against the will of the people

The kings rule.

Why are the mayor and City Council going against the will of the residents of the city of Glenwood? What happened to the long-term planning for the city?

They go against the people of Glenwood and the Planning and Zoning Commission and OK the annexation in West Glenwood. The mayor takes out a full page in the paper threatening to close the airport if a don’t vote for money for the tunnel.

Closing the airport has been voted down many times over the years before he moved here. The airport stays.

Maybe it’s time for our mayor and City Council to go. They are supposed to be representing the people not the developer, who stated that the council has to do what’s good for the town even if the people don’t like it? What is that all about?

Now they are having a meeting this Thursday going after South Canyon to develop it? Does anyone know about the meeting? They don’t like the gun range so they want an RV park in the canyon? Build it and they will come.

Vote these people out and save Glenwood.

Ron Myers

Glenwood Springs

City Council pulls the old switcheroo

The old switcheroo. The four foibles — Shelley, Godes, Willman and Davis — have really pulled a fast one. Three City Council meetings ago, a vote was taken on whether to annex R2 Partners’ 340-unit project into the city of Glenwood. The vote was 4-0 against the annexation.

Yes. But wait. Shelley and Godes proposed and got a continuation. Three weeks later, Oct. 21, a new vote was taken. The annexation was approved 4-3 by the four foibles. Is that legal?

We have spoken at meetings, sent letters to the editor, along with emails to City Council. We have over 620 residents on Facebook. We have over 1,700 signatures for denial. Everyone we talk with is with us. City Council does not listen to us or read our emails. The developers are treated like royalty. We are treated like crap. Strange, because City Council’s No. 1 priority is to take care of its residents.

As we all know, the infrastructure is totally inadequate for this project. Safety would be nonexistent. With 1,000 new people and over 900 vehicles, we would have no chance to escape when the next fire comes. Some will die. Our welfare and quality of life will disappear. In West Glenwood and beyond, gridlock will be the norm.

Glenwood Planning and Zoning Commission voted 100% to deny the application. The same result from the county commissioners. Mr. Samson called it a total nightmare. We are extremely angry with the four foibles’ vote.

Please join us on Facebook at West Glenwood pasture development. Join us for saving Glenwood from this proposed disaster. Raise hell and keep the faith.

Michael Hoban

Glenwood Springs

City Council should govern, not rule

Originally addressed Dear Glenwood Springs City Council,

I worked on the GWS airport petitions. It simply stated that any change of use for our airport should go to a vote of qualified electors. Why was that so scary for City Council and staff?

Just days after the second petition was rejected by the city clerk, our City Council came up with ballot issues 2A and 2B. Well played, mayor, for your win-win tax request in an effort to close our airport.

I find this action by some of our City Council a shady, disingenuous and devisive political move better suited for cities like Chicago or Providence.

How can South Bridge be so greatly needed yet so underfunded?

Please do not misinterpret my no vote on issues 2A and 2B as a vote to close the airport.

Please remember, you were elected to govern, not rule.

Ross W. Roginski

Glenwood Springs, Ward 5

Mall demolition will cost us

There is something really important that people in Glenwood must pay attention to. When the West Glenwood developer told City Council he plans to tear down the Glenwood Springs Mall, my jaw dropped. Where do you think they are going to dispose of it, and who do you think will pay the price for that?

We are all going to live with the consequences of this council’s inability to live within its means. This new West Glenwood development has not sealed our fate yet. Show up at 6:07 p.m. Thursday, at the Council Chambers, or call your representative. If you want to call Charlie (Willman), he told me he is now taking calls on this matter. His number is 970-379-7820.

Please call Charlie and tell him to vote no on the second reading. This council has not done near enough homework to let this happen. Charlie has the deciding vote.

Jennifer Vanian

Glenwood Springs

Christian Science stance misrepresented

First Church of Christ, Scientist, Glenwood Springs, established in the early 1900s, has always had close ties with the community, and continues to do its best to be a loving and healing presence in town. A recent article in the Post Independent, “Vaccination mandate prompts exemption requests at Grand River Health,” is inaccurate when referencing the church’s website when the article says, “Christian Science, however, questions vaccinations and can see them as problematic, according to ChristianScience.com.”

The statement on the church’s website, “A Christian Science perspective on vaccination and public health,” actually states, “For more than a century, our denomination has counseled respect for public health authorities and conscientious obedience to the laws of the land, including those requiring vaccination.”

Christian Scientists are diligently working toward the same goals in light of the pandemic as everyone else in the community: health and protection. Church members who have experienced in their lives the power of healing prayer that Christ Jesus practiced, still might request an accommodation from vaccination, when such accommodation is provided for in the law. But this choice is not a distrust in or a shunning of vaccinations. It’s simply that some church members would prefer, given the privilege, to rely solely on their proven practice of Christian healing to achieve this goal.

It’s worth noting that these decisions are made as a matter of individual religious practice. Our church does not tell members what to do but instead leaves it to the individual church member to speak with their employers about their own religious healing practice when requesting an accommodation. Christian Scientists strive to approach these conversations with the hope of bringing a sense of calm and even healing.

We would like to extend a prayer to Grand River Health. I am moved by the spirit from a proverb: Each person’s gift, provided from on High, also comes with it the opportunity and right place to use this gift.

David Price

legislative and media spokesperson for Christian Science in Colorado

Denver

Action needed to improve air quality

Colorado has set a new record for Air Quality Action Alerts this summer.

Sure, the wildfires contributed to this problem, but the way I see it, the two main culprits here are climate change and oil and gas drilling.

Our climate is growing warmer, the recent report from the International Panel on Climate Change paints a dire picture: Without acting now, it’s going to get worse.

I don’t think we should accept unhealthy air quality and scorching hot summers as Colorado’s way of life.

No, we need to act now, and one action we can take before the end of the year is for Colorado’s Air Quality Control Commission to adopt direct regulation of the oil and gas sector. The IPCC report specifically calls out methane emissions as a huge driver of climate warming pollution that we have to get under control now.

I urge the AQCC to act boldly and adopt direct regulations to help clean our air and fight climate change.

Danielle Carver

Clifton

Heavy bag

My congratulations to the majority members of the Glenwood Springs City Council for Thursday (Oct. 21) night’s vote in passing and approving the annexation of the mega complex behind the Glenwood Mall.

You have proven that it is possible to put 10 pounds of manure into a 5-pound bag.

Luke Bradshaw

Grand Junction

Here’s an idea

Why not move the airport to the rim of Glenwood Canyon above Spring Valley, and extend the road from there, descending east of Glenwood Canyon? That would solve a lot of problems regarding the South Bridge and open up an alternative route around the canyon.

Fred Stewart

Grand Junction

 

Monday letters: climate change; insurance denied for unvaccinated is next; yes on 5B; Carbondale Comp Plan; COGCC; 480 Donegan

Don’t let fox guard the hen house

In response to a letter to the editor Oct. 4, “Invest or not Divest for Climate Solutions.” As merely one example, the major oil and gas producers could start to promote “green technologies.” By permitting advances in common carburetor designs to be used rather than buying up the patents and thus prohibiting their use. Cars have been shown to achieve far more MPG than we have become accustomed to using carbon technology that has so effectively been kept in the closet, primarily for their own financial gain.

This should be regarded as a crime of utmost consequence, regardless of its legality, to say the least.

Why let the fox guard the hen house? Our tax dollars should be invested with entities that have interest in sync with ours.

Why align with those who have such a wretched M.O.; wars, economic and ecological devastation, etc.; e.g. rainforest damage in Ecuador, flammable tap water in the Divide Creek area, among myriad other examples.

Let the majors wallow in their own filth and give someone else a chance.

To me, it is simply a matter of common sense as well as a practical and financial decision, to say nothing of the possible ecological benefits that will result.

Craig Bliss

Carbondale

Here it comes

It is well known if you have an auto accident and are not wearing a seatbelt, an insurance company may reduce the amount of compensation you receive for injuries.

How long before insurance companies start denying COVID-19 medical claims if you are unvaccinated?

Gary Pax

Carbondale

Teacher wage math favors 5B

There are harsh financial and emotional realities that motivate my perspective on 5B and the arguments that seek to undermine the passage of this mill levy override.

While concerns articulated in this space about the language of the mill levy are accurate — there is no sunset clause, and the mill is indexed to inflation — the subtext of such arguments, from the perspective of a teacher, is clear. The subtext is that teachers should have to continually beg taxpayers for a living wage. The subtext is that educators cannot be trusted to invest taxpayer resources to improve student outcomes. The subtext is that teacher wages should not increase with inflation. How are the contributions teachers and educators make for their students and communities not devalued in the context of such arguments?

Moreover, these issues with the language of the mill levy override are decontextualized. There is already a publicly elected board that oversees teacher contracts and yearly district budget allocations to ensure taxpayer money is well spent. There are many districts in our state with mill levy measures on the books that include no sunset language and are indexed to inflation.

It is, in part, because there are many districts with larger mill levies than those in the Roaring Fork School District that teacher wages are comparatively anemic in our valley. My brother works for a school district on the Front Range (Adams 12), and for the remainder of his career and retirement, he is slated to make more than $645,000 in wages than I will make here at Glenwood Springs High School. The math becomes much worse if he changes employers to the Cherry Creek School District or Boulder Valley School District, where the difference in lifetime earnings rise to between $860,000-$1,200,000 versus teachers in our district. These figures are easy enough to find and verify with published pay scales across districts in our state.

Any prospective and current teacher can find these numbers and come to the same basic conclusion — it does not pay to work for the RFSD. If 5B fails, I am left to wonder who will.

Charles DeFord

teacher, Glenwood Springs High School

​Ignorance is bliss

Here we are in a little slice of “paradise,” tucked snugly into a little mountain valley. Like the mythical utopia called Shangri-la in the novel “Lost Horizons.” Or like Garrison Keillor: “Welcome to Lake Wobegon, where all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average.”

In about 1747, English poet Thomas Gray wrote of Paradise (in the first known use of “ignorance is bliss”):

“To each his Suff’rings: all are Men,

Condemn’d alike to groan,

The Tender for another’s Pain;

Th’ Unfeeling for his own.

Yet ah! Why should they know their Fate?

Since Sorrow never comes too late,

And Happiness too swiftly flies.

Thought would destroy their Paradise.

No more; where Ignorance is Bliss,

’Tis Folly to be wise.”

As climate change rapidly gains strength, far too little is done to counter this disaster. Instead, the oft-touted goal of local community leaders is “vibrancy.” As in: “pulsating with life, vigor or activity.” What vibrancy really translates into is “growth.” The common credos of the promoters are “growth is inevitable,” or “if you aren’t growing, you’re dying!”

But let’s be honest, it’s about the money. There is a lot of money in growth. But what does it cost? A lot! Call it “growing pains.” Traffic is out of hand. Would-be employees are leaving in droves. Taxes are increasing to cover shortfalls in infrastructure. The stress of living in “vibrancy” creates myriad human problems from shortage of food to substance abuse to mental health issues. My Carbondale native neighbor feels the difference; she said one of the things she misses most is “serenity.”

Carbondale is now defining a new Comprehensive Plan. Such plans are done to guide development. One thing is certain: More buildings and more people will not help us make desperately needed preparations for climate change. Nor do they improve the quality of life — even in Paradise.

Patrick Hunter

Carbondale

A positive start turns sour

It was heady days for the Colorado climate movement in 2019. Jared Polis, with a history of climate action, replaced John Hickenlooper, known as Gov. Frackenlooper, after eight years of loyalty to the oil and gas industry as governor.

The new chairman of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission was Jeff Robbins, taking over from Matt Lepore, who’s shown his stripes since moving to the private sector by working for Insight Energy Law, a firm fighting oil and gas regulations.

Early in 2019, Senate Bill 19-181 changed the role of the COGCC from an organization that primarily promoted the oil and gas industry to one that protected public health, safety, welfare and environment through regulations. The bill did that by setting guidelines, like the 2,000-foot setback from all dwellings for oil and gas operations.

I’m sorry to report these early days of sunshine have turned cloudy. What SB 19-181 lacked was enforceability. It established some outstanding goals for the industry to meet but no consequences for noncompliance. Should we expect the oil and gas industry to meet these sometimes-expensive requirements out of a sense of public responsibility? We need a mandate.

So SB 21-200 was introduced this year, which would’ve put some teeth into rules set forth in SB 19-181. But Polis called it government overreach and threatened to veto it. The Democratic caucus dropped SB 21-200.

Incredibly, it’s been almost three years since SB 19-181 was passed, and the COGCC still hasn’t established the new rules. They’re working on it, but they continue to issue permits under the old rules. And the COGCC has still never denied a drilling request. During the rulemaking process, the COGCC seems to be listening only to the industry and ignoring the climate and environmental groups.

One action we constituents can take is to let our elected officials know their climate-related efforts are insufficient. Contact Gov. Polis at Governorpolis@state.co.us and COGCC Chairman Robbins at jeff.robbins@state.co.us. Remind them the COGCC’s stated mission is “to protect public health, safety, welfare and the environment.”

Fred Malo Jr.

Carbondale

Sad day in Glenwood

Today (Oct. 21) is one of the saddest days in the 40 years I have lived here. I don’t know about you, but I have this horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach over the decision that City Council made to approve that monstrous housing development in West Glenwood. It’s the feeling you get when something happens that you thought could never happen. When the vast majority of the citizens of Glenwood say this project is not right for us, and the city’s own Planning and Zoning Commission vote it down, how can it be that our City Council passes it?

What this says to me is City Council does not care what we think. They heard in meeting after meeting how overwhelmingly nearly all constituents were against this project. Yet they ignored the will of the people and voted against us. These are our friends and neighbors that we voted into office to represent “us,” and they blatantly did just the opposite. These days we kind of expect this kind of behavior from the federal government but not locally.

This is as wrong as it gets when it comes to government overreaching. The four councilors that voted this in should be ashamed: Your job is to represent your constituents, not just your own personal feelings. We can not let our city government continue like it has, and the way to put an end to it is to never vote for these people again.

No, I won’t name names, just look at the Oct. 22 Post Independent, where they tell you how all councilors voted. Make note of the councilors that voted against us, so when they come up for reelection, you do not vote for them.

I would like to thank councilors Stepp, Wussow and Hershey for listening to the people and voting to deny.

John Korrie

Glenwood Springs

Ambushed by council

Ambushed! That’s what our mayor, Jonathan Godes, and Steve Davis did after the vote was taken to accept the annexation of 480 Donegan at the City Council meeting Oct. 21. The developers, R2 Partners, had seemed to listen to us and the city council to reduce the density (if nothing else) from 332 units to 287 units. The original four councilors still voted against the move to approve, minus Charlie Willman, who was somehow persuaded that the changes were good enough. But he asked for more public open space.

That’s when Godes and Davis pounced: Godes lightheartedly said, “Let’s say, oh, we just level off the number of units to say, 300? Make it even?” What? What City Council does that? Then Davis read what seemed to be a premeditated plan that would ask for 2 acres of public open space (R2 originally planned on one acre). That’s still a very small parcel of parkland. But when Godes moved to vote yes on their ambush plan, I saw Willman hesitate and look down before voting yes. Seems he had a noose around his neck. How is this is in any way respectful of the people you represent, Mayor Godes? Two of your councilmembers, Ingrid Wussow and Paula Stepp, were stunned, as were the rest of us in the chambers. Wussow was kind when she said she was “disappointed” with Godes and Davis. She correctly said Godes and Davis don’t live in the western part of Glenwood Springs, so they won’t have to deal with all the traffic that 480 Donegan will bring. Kaup later wrote one of us a letter explaining her approval of the development, calling us citizens, not residents. Many of us are county residents and have no recourse. But many of us do live in the city of Glenwood Springs. And you cut us off at the knees, Mr. Godes and Mr. Davis. Shame on you. The fight for smart development — and a responsible, ethical and transparent city council — is not over.

Annie Uyehara

Glenwood Springs

 

Wednesday letters: airport, Carey for Re-2 board, yes on 5B, no on 5B, yes on fire district levy, Kuhlenberg and Teitler for RFSD

We have to get airport decision right

Years ago, my wife and I participated in the Citizens Advisory Group regarding South Bridge. We were the only two with no ax to grind. We were not aviators and didn’t live by the airport. After many meetings, 34 routing options were whittled down to one.

The final decision was to provide a “cut-and-cover” tunnel so as to take a direct path across the airport without permanently impacting the runway. Significant funding was expended on engineering studies. Presentations were made to citizens who endorsed this selection. It is wrong to now waste this investment and ignore the findings of the citizens, the CAG and the studies.

If the cost of cut-and-cover is now too expensive, we should re-evaluate the 34 options that were originally considered, in particular option 16 that passes just south of the runway without impacting the airport.

There is an underlying concern that City Council would like to close the airport and presumably use the land for purposes such as apartments developed by out-of-state investors.

There is widespread support for the airport. Nearly 1,000 signatures were obtained on a petition to place on the November ballot a question requiring citizen approval for any change in usage of the airport.

Regardless of the fact that the city initially rejected 80% of the signatures on this petition, nearly all of the signatures were from valid Glenwood electors, and the spirit of the petition should be honored. Instead, we got 2A and 2B — unnecessary because the airport is self-financing.

Just as the recently defeated road improvement tax did not indicate lack of support for roads, failure of 2A and 2B does not indicate lack of support for the airport.

South Bridge is an independent project. A tunnel is only required to facilitate an economic and direct approach to South Bridge. Therefore, the cost of the tunnel should be borne by the South Bridge budget and not the airport enterprise zone.

The airport was built 80 years ago. South Bridge will be here for 80 more. We have to get this decision right.

Richard Todd

Glenwood Springs

Airport forever

I thought the land for the airport was donated by a family who requested it be used for an airport. Has the city disregarded it? Will the city sell land for houses and a school? And now want to close the airport so they don’t have to build a tunnel?

I wonder what the relatives of the family who donated the land think of Glenwood Springs?

I am 90 years old and a retired Navy lieutenant commander. I spent 28 years in the Navy. And I have a hangar with my Forney Ercoup in it at the Glenwood Springs Airport.

Now the council wants to deny me the right to fly. I hope the voters of Glenwood Springs will give me that right. I fought for freedom and justice, and closing the airport is not either.

Nor is it what the people who died wanted for their city.

They gave the land for an airport.

LCDR Leonard A. Sinclair

Gypsum

Carey for Re-2 board

A vote for Caitlin Carey for Garfield Re-2 is a vote for Latino children.

As the mother of a fifth grader in Garfield Re-2, I am committed to ensuring that our children get the education that they deserve to build bright futures. This is why we need to vote for candidates for school board who will fight for our Latino children and all families.

My family and I are supporting Caitlin Carey for Garfield Re-2 school board. She supports improving achievement rates for Latino students by implementing language access programs, adding Latino history in the school district’s curriculum, hiring teachers with diverse backgrounds and being inclusive of Latino parents in decision-making.

Latinos play a crucial role in the success of our region, but, unfortunately, our children still face barriers to education. The solution is to elect leaders like Caitlin who has a history of standing up for our communities and our kids.

Beatriz Soto

New Castle

Another teacher for 5B

Like 75% of the teachers in the Roaring Fork School District, I work two or more jobs in order to survive in our valley.

This is my fourth year as a teacher in RFSD. I came in with two master’s degrees my first year. Every year, I have studied after school and on the weekends to get 10 salary advancement credits to move up on the salary schedule. Regardless of this hard work, I am still struggling today to survive in this valley.

Every year, I work a part-time job during the school year and a full-time job over the summer. Every summer, I have had to take significant time to reflect on my situation.

Every summer, I have had to honestly consider if I want to continue putting myself in a position of financial stress before I sign my contract for the year.

I knew going into education that I would not be rich. I didn’t know going into education that I would have to take time away from lesson planning, grading and, most importantly, self-care, to work a second job to make ends meet.

Unfortunately, I am not alone as 75% of the teachers in RFSD are working two or more jobs in order to make ends meet.

For most teachers, this is not a matter of having some extra spending money. This is a matter of survival. Thank you for voting “yes” on 5B.

Wendy-Anne A. Hamrick

Silt

Council doesn’t listen

A little background. I’ve been on the Airport Advisory Board off and on since the late 1980s. I was chairman during the special election in the late 1990s — with the highest voter turnout at that time. The citizens overwhelmingly voted to keep the airport. Did that council take these results into consideration?

No. That council still took the position that the future of the airport was uncertain.

Déjà vu — guess this current council’s position: The future of the airport is uncertain.

I’m on the board again, and we were not consulted about the proposed improvements. The city and council magically came up with all these improvements that need to be funded by the taxpayers. “If they want to keep the airport, they should pay for it,” said our mayor, Jonathan Godes.

I don’t disagree with that concept, but the airport has suffered from benign neglect long enough. The list of improvements is so large because these items have been put off, because “the airport’s future is uncertain.” So the city refused to do any improvements.

I also actively collected signatures to add an amendment to the ballot to let the voters determine the airport’s viability. My signatures were thrown out. Why? I was told my petition had been disassembled. It wasn’t. I had a hard, clear plastic cover on it as well as two binder clips over the staples. It wasn’t disassembled.

This council is being disingenuous with us.

Vote no on 2A and 2B. Then call your council representative and tell them why. A no vote here doesn’t determine the airport’s future. It says that you are aware that council is asking for bogus funding for a project that hasn’t been funded yet.

As Ingrid Wussow said, “This is like asking for money for tires for a car that hasn’t been bought yet.”

Don’t buy into this council’s misdirection. The city lost grant funding for a part of this bypass project and now are asking the airport and the voters to pick up the tab.

Stephanie Stanfield

Glenwood Springs

Tired of saying ‘goodbye’

Today I received another farewell email from a fellow teacher. Over the past few years I’ve seen several of these, and they all say pretty much the same thing: “Everyone has been great to work with, but I just can’t make it here financially.” These messages are sad for any educator losing a colleague, but I feel guilty, because for eight years I’ve been involved in Interest Based Bargaining for teachers, and I wonder if I’ve disappointed my community by not finding ways to retain them.

We have tried, though. The last RFSD ballot initiative saw voters approve a bond issue, part of which launched a teacher housing program. I have no doubt that without it our current staffing shortages would be even worse. But bonds are for capital improvements, not salaries, so the IBB committee researched the issue and identified three factors restricting the competitiveness of our pay scale.

The first obstacle is health insurance costs, already addressed with local clinics specific to our provider. There’s not much else we can do about this widespread issue. Second is student-teacher ratios, so three years ago teachers sacrificed class size and instructional supports to have similar ratios to other districts. At the same time the district office moved $160,000 from its annual budget to teacher salaries. But still we don’t pay what comparable districts do, not to mention the valley’s high cost of living. The third factor holding us back is that those other districts have maximized their local mill levy override. So now we are asking you to vote yes on 5B.

After years of exploring and implementing various incentive programs and cost-cutting solutions, this is our last best hope, there are no better options. I worry that someday I might find myself saying goodbye to friends, colleagues and students because I can no longer ignore the financial strain of raising a family on a teacher’s salary in this valley. But my bigger concern is for the children of this community if programs have to be cut or quality educators are no longer here. Please vote yes on 5B.

Rob Norville

Glenwood Springs

Airport questions flawed

The ballot issues 2A and 2B linking the airport and the planned new South Bridge “tunnel” are flawed and should be “no” votes. While there are merits and benefits to both the airport and a South Bridge route, this referendum should be voted down.

First, it asks us to raise significant taxes without a lot of specificity as to the needs and use of the airport and, apparently without the Airport Commission’s input. In addition, there is still evidently a significant funding shortfall to get the South Bridge route, and 2A and 2B do not ensure that either a tunnel or an alternate route will be completed.

Second, a broad base of stakeholders, including the airport commission and Glenwood residents, need to be part of the planning and design of elements affecting the future land uses in the airport area. Glenwood is just beginning a year-long process to review and revise its Comprehensive Plan. This process will generate input from the community and help to determine the desired future land uses to meet needs of transportation, housing, open space, safety and parklands.

Public input and comprehensive planning with community outreach are the way to address the demands for sustainable future development and the future of Glenwood’s character. We are not ready to vote, because we have not yet done the work required to update the Comprehensive Plan. Let’s slow down. Vote no on 2A and 2B, and do not be fooled: A no vote may be the most positive step towards maintaining a sustainable airport and selecting the best alternative connection to Highway 82 from South Glenwood when comprehensive planning and community input is involved.

David Hauter

Glenwood Springs

Teacher/parent for 5B

As a teacher at Basalt High School, an employee at Colorado Mountain College, and parents of a Roaring Fork High School student, we are supporters of the Roaring Fork School District’s 5B ballot question because we know this is the best way to raise teacher and staff salaries to a living wage. We have lived in the valley for four years and have seen too many co-workers and some of our son’s favorite teachers leave our community because of the cost of housing.

As a mentor to first-year teachers, I have seen the excitement of a new teacher turn into anxiety when the reality of finding affordable housing sets in. Many of them take on extra duties or second jobs to make ends meet. I have watched math and science teachers leave for higher pay and a lower cost of living in other districts. This financial stress is not good for the health and well-being of our hard-working teachers and directly impacts the quality education our students deserve.

Every other school district in our region collects more from local mill levy overrides than RFSD, putting us at a competitive disadvantage for recruiting and retaining top talent. We see job announcements advertised a month into the school year looking to fill multiple teaching and staff positions. These vacancies are filled by teachers using their prep periods to fill in where needed and class sizes being increased.

If 5B were to pass, homeowners would pay $3.62 per month per $100,000 of a house’s value as determined by the assessor, not the value you can sell your home for. This is a small price to pay to strengthen our schools in service of our children. Please join us in returning your ballot by Nov. 2 and voting yes on 5B.

Becky and Sean Nesbitt

Glenwood Springs

Charter principal for 5B

I am the principal of Carbondale Community School, a charter school of the Roaring Fork School District. Like other schools in the Roaring Fork School District, we struggle to recruit and retain teachers and staff due to low pay and the high cost of living in the Roaring Fork Valley. Increasingly dire budget and staffing constraints are also pulling Carbondale Community School staff from their most important roles: forging enduring relationships and inspiring Carbondale Community School students to pursue lifelong learning.

Carbondale Community School is an intentionally small, district charter school located in Carbondale. We attract children and families that seek a personalized learning environment and an alternative educational experience. Having a choice of exceptional schools makes the Roaring Fork Valley an exceptional place to work, live and play. Yet, we can’t do school without our exceptional teachers. Not only do I worry that our highly effective and dedicated teachers will have to leave the Roaring Fork Valley and Carbondale Community School because they can no longer afford to live and work in the valley, I also worry that we will have to cut our programs and, potentially, lose our incredibly talented and creative teaching staff. Our community charter school is feeling this crisis firsthand.

Please return your ballot by Nov. 2 and vote yes on 5B. In order to offer the exceptional learning experiences Roaring Fork youth deserve, we must commit to supporting our exceptional teachers and school staff. The state is not coming to our rescue, and we’ve already allocated every available dollar toward salaries.

Sam Richings-Germain

Carbondale

5B supports teaching mission

Strong schools make strong communities, and our educators are the keystone. You can be part of making our community stronger by voting yes for 5B.

Currently, teacher wages are not representative of the required workload and do not match most teachers’ education or career experience. I understand this firsthand in my 15th year as a teacher in the Roaring Fork Valley.

The Denver Post reported in February 2021 that 40% of Colorado’s teachers are considering quitting based on a Colorado Education Association survey. Respondents cited low pay as top among reasons that they might leave. The Center Square recently reported that Colorado is 41st in teacher pay and RFSD ranks 23rd within the state. Currently, 75% of Roaring Fork School District teachers work a second job, and this not only leads to burnout but also takes away from quality teaching. Our students deserve better.

Although pay is not why myself or my fellow teachers entered the field of education, increased wages would both demonstrate appreciation and ensure that we attract and retain quality educators.

As teachers, we understand the mission of our work, and are honored to have the opportunity to serve students, their families and our community. We are now counting on you to support your community. Vote yes on 5B.

Guinevere Jones

Redstone

Unwanted, unnecessary, unrealistic

The proposed improvements for the Glenwood Springs Airport are just an opaque means to secure funding for the South Bridge. Of the recommendations put forth by City Council, none are necessary for the safe operation of the airport. The Super Unicom is not required by the FAA, and, according to the Airman’s Information Manual, when arriving at an uncontrolled airport, a pattern should be flown. All the information it provides are the barometric pressure and the wind direction and speed. It does not provide any information on other airplanes or traffic in the area. It is convenient but not required. There are times when the windsocks on the north and south ends of the runway are pointing in opposite directions.

The Glenwood Springs Airport is an enterprise fund where the airport users pay the costs of operating the airport with little funding from the city of Glenwood Springs. The enterprise fund has been in place for 20-plus years. Now, all of a sudden, the city wants to get involved in the day-to-day operation of the airport with these proposed safety recommendations, none of which are required or necessary. I wonder who made these recommendations to the City Council. Apparently none on the council talked to their own Airport Commission.

As far as spending $2.5 million for a FBO building, the Airport Commission has been waiting at least 10 years for the city to provide an airport plan in order to give the Airport Commission guidance as to how the land around the airport can be utilized. Still waiting.

There are pilots wanting to build hangars at the airport, but without an airport plan, it’s not going to happen. Where does the city propose to build this new unnecessary and unwanted FBO?

All of the costs on the recommended safety and improvements proposal put forth by the City Council are inflated and unrealistic. All council wants is a mill levy increase to generate funds to construct the South Bridge by whatever means necessary at the airport’s expense.

Jim Terry

Glenwood Springs

Yes on fire district levy

Please vote yes on 6A to protect lives and property in the Colorado River Fire Rescue District. We count on our emergency responders 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. It’s money well spent and the right thing to do.

Ken Jones

New Castle

5B will ease teacher burden

This year marks my fourth year teaching at Glenwood Springs High School and my fourth year living in teacher housing in Cardiff. I feel incredibly lucky to be here and appreciative of everything the Roaring Fork School District has done to make working as a teacher here functional. They haven’t been an easy four years, and I’m proud of the hard work and determination I’ve put in to continue to bring quality education to students.

This year has been especially tough. I’m one of several teachers who are teaching an extra class because we’re understaffed. I also work two other jobs, one on weekends in the winter and another over the summer.

I’ve watched many of my friends and co-workers leave the valley after only a year or two here because, as a teacher who announced their resignation this week put it, they “just can’t make it financially.” RFSD ranks 23rd in teacher pay while our area ranks third in cost of living. Simply put, our ability to attract and retain quality teachers can only be helped by lowering the cost of living or by raising teacher salaries.

You have an opportunity to make a difference this November. Proposition 5B is a big step in the right direction, one which would provide the district with the ability to retain teachers who are passionate and dedicated to your community. Please support your schools and kids by voting yes on 5B.

Ben Roberts

Glenwood Springs

No to new property tax

Teachers absolutely deserve a large increase in pay. The problem with this issue is taxation on property taxes. To be fair and possibly bring more money for teachers is an exactly written retail tax that goes directly to teacher salaries (groceries, convience, liquor, etc.). Isn’t one of the biggest issues here the cost of housing? So now some want to add additional cost to homeowners and renters?

Reading 5B I don’t see that all this money goes to teachers. So maybe teachers get more money, but their rent goes up. Please stop adding money needs to property tax.

John Buscher

Carbondale

Another case for 5B

If you’re not sure how to vote on 5B, the Roaring Fork School District’s proposal to raise teacher and staff salaries to a living wage, consider this: I am one of the many teachers who has left the classroom for a higher paying, less stressful job this year. I consider myself well qualified and experienced, but more than that, I deeply cared for my students. It pained me to even consider leaving the teaching profession, but here I am. I found work which better suited what was necessary: a healthier paycheck with fewer hours, and far less stress.

The Roaring Fork Valley needs reliable teachers. Our students deserve high quality education, from the time they enter to the time they exit. The legacy of our community partly depends on this as well; strong education leads to thriving structure and stability. Low pay leads to high turnover, which threatens that structure and stability.

If we demand so much from our educators, we must reciprocate with a living wage and sustainable working conditions. Our beautiful little valley sits in an awkward bubble when it comes to educational spending. Roaring Fork Schools ranks rather poorly when it comes to per-pupil funding from the state. Paired with an enormous cost of living (which we all know to be very true), lackluster teacher pay doesn’t make sense.

The only way to achieve a better balance is to move forward with this mill levy override. Give teachers a chance to flourish; present them with a reciprocal statement. Vote “yes” on 5B.

Charlie Burns

Carbondale

Sneaky ‘airport’ tax

I’m confused …

We need South Bridge so we can escape from wildfires … but we don’t need the airport so we can fight wildfires?

This “airport tax” is a sneaky trick to make us choose. Vote no!

Maria Jacob

Glenwood Springs

No need for airport tax

The Glenwood Springs airport hasn’t needed special tax support since it opened in 1937. It doesn’t need it now.

But City Council is scrambling to come up with money for South Bridge, and the airport is an attractive target. Voters strongly support the airport, and council hopes they’ll approve $14 million for South Bridge “to save the airport.”

The airport wouldn’t need saving if council would stop attacking it.

Defeat the tax and send the City Council a message: No more attacks on the airport.

Vote No on Ballot 2A and 2B.

Bob Oddo

Glenwood Springs

Tired of airport attacks

Almost 90 years ago, George Summers sold the city 22.9 acres of land. The price was just $1, because the land would be used for the Glenwood Springs Airport.

The city wants to close the airport, and Karl Hanlon, the city’s attorney, says there is no binding agreement — the city doesn’t have to honor that deal. I believe Karl; his job is to tell the city what the law requires, what’s legal. He wasn’t asked whether it was right or wrong.

But a lot of us do care about right and wrong. We learned it growing up. You make a promise, you keep your word.

Maybe some of our City Council have forgotten. We can remind them on election day. Vote down this sneaky South Bridge tax, and tell the City Council we’re going to keep the airport anyway.

Daniel Guggenheim, hangar owner and aircraft sales business at the GWS Airport

Carbondale

Kuhlenberg and Teitler for RFSD

As a Basalt High School graduate and passionate advocate for public education, it’s disheartening to know that the academic achievement gaps for Latino students have not improved in the Roaring Fork School District. Our students deserve better.

This is why my organization, Voces Unidas Action Fund, is encouraging thousands of voters to elect and why I will personally vote for Kenny Teitler and Kathryn Kuhlenberg for the RFSD Board of Education.

Kenny and Kathryn are the right leaders at this time to champion policies to improve the academic experience of our Latino students. Both candidates support hiring teachers with diverse backgrounds, adding Latino history in the district’s curriculum, and creating plans to ensure Latino parents can participate fully in school decision-making.

Voces Unidas Action Fund feels strongly that Kenny and Kathryn can lead the fight for true equity and education justice in RFSD.

Alex Sánchez

Glenwood Springs

Pilot against airport tax

I am a pilot and own a plane that is based at the Glenwood Springs Airport. I feel compelled to weigh in on the current ballot initiatives 2A and 2B and urge voters to vote “no.” Why am I urging a “no” vote when I stand to benefit the most from the improvements? There must be something smelly going on.

In the recent Issues and Answers forum hosted by GWS Chamber, Mayor Godes offered a statement that was publicly read. As part of his statement, he mentions, “There are an additional $11 million dollars in upgrades and improvements that are specific to small private planes and their need for a runway. The improvements have been recommended by the airport users, the volunteer airport commission and city staff.”

This statement is a lie. As an airport user, I was never consulted about these improvements, and the airport commission was never consulted about them, either. A no vote on 2A and 2B is not a vote against the airport, but it is a vote against irresponsible ballot issues promoted by city staff for items the airport users don’t even want or need.

At last Thursday’s council meeting, Mayor Godes commented that, after the election, there should be a “listening session” with the city, the public and the airport commission. What the? Responsible governance would have “listening sessions” prior to drafting ballot initiatives that lack consultation with the persons most affected by the initiatives. Pathetic.

Regardless of the outcome of the election, I urge you to reach out to City Council and let them know your position on the future of our airport.

Joe Mueller

Glenwood Springs

Ex-CFO for 5B

Together, we can provide much-needed help to our local schools by voting yes on 5B.

As the former Chief Financial Officer of Roaring Fork Schools, I watched with frustration as the gap between education funding in Colorado and other states grew. In 1998, Colorado school funding lagged about $500 per pupil behind the national average. By 2018, that gap had grown to $3,000. This translates to significantly lower average teacher salaries in Colorado than in other states. And for RFSD, the funding gap is further magnified by having the third highest cost of living out of 178 Colorado school districts. This combination of low funding and high cost of living means RFSD cannot compete at the national or state level to attract and retain qualified teachers.

And it’s not just teachers who are impacted. From bus drivers to food service workers, substitute teachers to facility maintenance workers, nearly every support department in the district currently suffers from staffing shortages driven largely by wages that are no longer competitive.

Colorado laws provide one mechanism for local voters to increase funding over the amount generated by the state formula, and that is through a mill levy override. Our surrounding districts currently receive more per-pupil funding through voter-approved overrides than RFSD.

I hope you will join me in voting yes on 5B to provide this desperately needed funding for our local schools so they can attract/retain teachers and other staff members. Find more info at YesOn5b.com.

Shannon Pelland

Glenwood Springs

Paco’s for Kenny

I am writing to ask voters to join me in supporting Kenny Teitler for RFSD Board of Education.

I have known Kenny for pretty much the entire time that I have lived in the Roaring Fork Valley. His talented daughters were in my Folkloric dance program from the time they were in kindergarten, and I know how much Kenny has dedicated his life to the education of his daughters and to children throughout the valley.

Kenny started the bilingual program at Basalt Elementary, and I know that it has been a successful program. I know that Kenny looks out for the Latino community.

Kenny has had a lot of experience in the field of education, having taught in both Basalt and Carbondale and now at Colorado Mountain College. I know that as a member of the Roaring Fork School District Board of Education he will work to implement what our schools need, and he will positively impact our district.

Because of his experience as a teacher, he knows the needs of the teachers and the schools in areas such as employee retention, earning a fair salary, housing, student support programming, bilingual programming, after-school programming, etc.

Kenny will be an excellent school board member in supporting the Latino community and the entire Roaring Fork Valley. Please join me in filling out our ballots for Kenny Teitler before Nov. 2.

Francisco “Paco” Nevarez-Burgueño

Carbondale

Sleazy move

Don’t be fooled by city tax Issues 2A and 2B; they’re not a vote on the airport, instead a poison pill.

The city thwarted a citizen petition by dozens of supporters with 1,100 signatures to allow the community voters to decide what to do with the airport and South Bridge. Then the city inserted these last-moment tax issues to do the opposite.

If the voters turn it down, then the city will justify closing the airport. Some thought “clever lawyering,” but the rest of us thought “sleazy.”

Question 2A/2B are confusing. Maybe this analogy will help:

The GSHS football team is doing just fine, although the stadium isn’t perfect and may need work, three to five years from now.

School floats a $30 million bond for new Astroturf (oh, and a new high school)

Voters reject it.

School interprets, “See, voters hate football. Let’s bulldoze the stadium, today, so we’ll have land someday for something (not sure what).”

Don’t be fooled. Vote “no” or (like Councilor Hershey counseled) leave it blank. Then call your councilors about the sleazy part.

Steven Shute

Glenwood Springs

5B to keep good teachers

I am a teacher in the Roaring Fork School District, and I have two of my own children in middle school. Since moving here in 2016 I have been extremely impressed by every teacher my children have had. They are passionate, skilled, empathetic learners who truly care deeply about each and every student they have taught. They take their profession seriously, making sure each and every child succeeds to the best of their ability in all areas of life: academics, socially and emotionally.

I’m voting yes on 5B to ensure that our children continue to have a great education in our public schools.

We all know why we have moved here. This valley is surrounded by natural beauty and is a wonderful place to live and raise a family. We also all know it is expensive to live here. Because our district can’t currently pay teachers a living wage, many teachers work second or third jobs and have unstable housing. Students are impacted when their teachers are exhausted and financially stressed, preventing them from putting all their energy into meeting students’ needs. It is wearing on the teachers struggling to set roots. We have lost several excellent teachers at my school and across the district because they can’t afford to work and live in this amazing valley.

Due to the amount of turnover and lack of retention, RFSD has upward of 50 unfilled positions currently. 5B gives our community and school system an opportunity to shift our current pattern to one that retains the best educators that contribute to the community and our children. This benefits us all. Please vote yes on 5B and support our schools and community together.

Lauren Raymond

Carbondale

Former student for ‘Mr. Teitler’

Supporting Mr. Teitler for school board was an easy decision for me for several reasons. First, I was his student. Second, I have seen him outside of the school room and involved with his community. Last, I have witnessed Mr. Teitler with his family. All of these reasons have shown me through the years the kind, compassionate, educator, friend and father he is, which makes him the perfect fit to be on the school board.

I was 8 when I first met Mr. Teitler, and it’s been so long that I could probably address him by his first name, but to me he will always be Mr. Teitler. When you look back at your school years, there are always those couple of teachers that stick out to you. That is Mr. Teitler to me.

I can remember him being patient, kind and understanding. Just a great teacher. Mr. Teitler is bilingual and for me that made him so much more approachable, and not just for me but for Hispanic parents as well.

As I got older, I always remembered Mr. Teitler as my third and fourth grade teacher, but I got to see him in a different role when his daughters joined the Aspen Santa Fe Ballet Folklorico group. He wasn’t just the parent of a student, but he quickly became involved with a parent association to help fund for the group. You’d also see Mr. Teitler at all the performances behind the scenes helping with costumes, students, etc. He was a team player and was always willing to help.

Though Mr. Teitler clearly showed to be a caring and helpful member of his community he also showed his love as a father and husband. I got to see how his wife and him unconditionally supported their daughters through the years. It was quite inspirational to see that he was as great a father as he was an educator.

When Mr. Teitler said that he was running for the school board I could not have thought of a better fit. I was truly excited for him and for the community, students, parents and teachers, because having him on the board would be an incredible asset.

Veronica Ulloa-Franquez

Glenwood Springs

More educators for 5B

We are writing in support of ballot question 5B to save our local schools. This is our 20th year working in local schools. We care deeply about our community, our schools, and our students. Our hearts are in this.

We are inspired by the work our students and colleagues do every day to create schools that are positive and effective. Multiple studies show that the most important factor in a child’s education is the quality of the teacher in the classroom. Our classrooms are led by truly amazing professionals, but we can’t take them for granted. Most of our comparable districts have already maxed out the amount they can ask of local residents, and can offer better pay, so it is becoming difficult and even impossible to convince the best teachers to work here. They fall in love with our valley, but when they can’t find housing or pay their bills, that love is not enough. Furthermore, we rely on an army of support staff to make schools function. Our district is one of the largest employers in the valley. We depend on bus drivers, office staff, substitute teachers, custodians, cafeteria workers, paraprofessionals and more. These people are heroes, and all are critically underpaid, understaffed and at risk of working elsewhere.

Attracting and retaining exceptional teachers has always been a challenge, but we have reached a critical breaking point. This year we have seen several well-qualified staff members turn down jobs because of low pay. Currently we are unable to fill many of these positions. Our schools cannot close or cut hours like other short-staffed businesses, so this work has been added to the already full workload of our teachers. In time, this will erode the quality of education we can provide. It is unsustainable.

Please show your support for our teachers and students by voting yes on 5B so we can retain our experienced teachers, attract great candidates, and provide the high level education our children deserve. Please take a few minutes today to fill out your ballot.

Adam and Cora Carballeira

Carbondale