Letters to the Editor

Letter: Willard Clapper was a hero to many

October 25, 2014 — 

Willard Clapper was one of the finest people I have ever known. In 1985, his then-girlfriend, Ann Austin, and I were together for a couple of weeks in Hawaii. Every day, Willard would call, and instead of saying hello, he would be singing, “I just called to say I love you.” Of course, I answered many times, and I’d say, “I’ll get her,” and he’d laugh.

Everyone knows Willard was a hero in the Fire Department. He risked his life many times. One incident I remember very well was a combined Mountain Rescue-Fire Department body recovery. Willard was searching, under water, at the Grottos. He wanted me to be on belay holding him. The search went on for hours — Willard would not give up, and he located the victim.

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Letter: Bettis for coroner

October 24, 2014 — 

Bettis for coroner

Eagle County voters should re-elect Kara Bettis for the office of Eagle County coroner, the clearly superior candidate based on her experience, forensic training, dedication and commendable performance. The county coroner’s tasks must be performed under often arduous and unpleasant circumstances beyond those directly related to the tragedy itself. Consider the challenges of a single mom with two school age children at home traveling to the site of a traffic fatality at 3 a.m. in the middle of a snowstorm. That requires tremendous dedication while performing those tasks with professionalism and compassion for the deceased and their families. I know from my personal acquaintance with Ms. Bettis that she is a thoroughly professional and compassionate person and a reliable and dedicated public servant of the residents of Eagle County.

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Letter: Need to reconsider Sky Hotel plans

October 24, 2014 — 

I agree that the Sky Hotel needs to redeveloped.

I do not agree that every possible variance asked for should be agreed to. The city Land Use Code came up with these regulations after many years of study and all for good reasons.

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Letter: Donovan for state Senate

October 24, 2014 — 

Donovan for state Senate

If you are on the fence about voting for your state senator in Senate District 5, get off the fence and vote for Kerry Donovan. This woman embodies all the values that are held dear to each of us on the Western Slope. She is a thoughtful politician who cares deeply about the importance of smart economic growth, managing complex water issues, working to enhance education, and protecting women’s rights.

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Letter: Markey Butler is the right choice for Snowmass

October 24, 2014 — 

Thanks very much for endorsing me for the Snowmass Village Town Council. I’ve worked hard during the campaign to present my positions in a clear fashion. I appreciate your recognition of my experience and leadership expertise.

I don’t agree with your endorsement of Jason Haber for mayor. You see Haber as “congenial and respectful.” I must have missed that part at Oct. 16’s candidate forum. I find Jason arrogant and intransigent, which aren’t attributes I look for in a mayor. All too often he seems to review issues with an agenda rather than on the facts.

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Letter: Tribute to Aspen war hero Casey Owens

October 24, 2014 — 

Aspen lost one of its own, a true American war hero, Casey Owens. He was only 32 years old when he took his own life. I only got to know him for the past three months as a patient, but during that short time, I really was tremendously impressed with his determination, positive attitude and personality. Casey carried a heavy burden from his war injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder. No young man or woman should have to do so. I am asking the Aspen community to join with me in joining the Wounded Warriors Project and pledging a small amount of your money in Casey’s honor.

Also, I am joining with Pitkin County Sheriff Joe DiSalvo in asking Aspen Valley Hospital and its board members to hire a staff psychiatrist and devote at least one room at the hospital for safe treatment. Aspen Valley Hospital should not wait until Phase 3 to have a treatment room. Aspen is in great need of this; we are losing too many young people to needless suicide. I think our Aspen City Council should step in and take the leadership role providing funding for this to happen rather than spending untold sums of money on resodding its snow-polo field.

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Letter: Losing our freedom

October 23, 2014 — 

If a people and a country do not get their politics right, people suffer. North Korea, Iraq, Pakistan, Sudan and Libya are extremes, Russia and China less so at the moment. People in our much-loved country have suffered and are suffering. We are not getting our politics “right.” The statistically unreported, uncounted unemployed; the underemployed; the millions who are quasi-illiterate; the millions of children who grow up in poverty and fatherless homes; a flattened and declining income for the middle class; corporations fleeing overseas to avoid the highest corporate tax rate in the Western world — on and on. All this and more have their roots in politics and political ideas. We have centuries of proof that highly centralized governments, centers of power, always harm the people. Power corrupts.

People are not angels. As there are no perfect people, there will never be a “perfect system of government.” The least oppressive system, which has been most successful in history, is the U.S. Constitution, a republic form of government. It is messy, it is often slow and cumbersome, but it has kept tyranny at bay, as the Constitution was specifically designed to “chain up the government” by separating areas of power; this system was meant to balance and to specifically constrain. Up until 1913, most understood and supported that the power was to be retained by the people and the states, with the national government confined to specific arenas of necessity. The erosion to this great and unique document has been a constant; presently the erosion has become a flood. Our Constitution, of which vast numbers of the voting public have no clue and no education and thus which they have no interest in protecting, is what has made this nation great. Many countries in the world have vast resources. Many countries have hardworking people but remain enslaved to a central, all-knowing, all-providing government under the control of the elite few who live well while the vast majority do not. We need to examine our closely held beliefs and our political emotions. What beliefs and ideas have really led to the betterment of all? What political beliefs and ideas have led to the betterment of the few? What political economic ideas float all boats? What economic, political beliefs consolidate power and prosperity with the few? It is not what leaders say but the results. The actual facts and statistics would shock many closely held political belief systems if rationally examined. Many closely held political beliefs are emotional, not based on facts and results. As Americans we need to “wake up” and do an “about face.” We are losing that which is most precious to each of us — freedom.

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Letter: ‘Green is what we want to be’

October 23, 2014 — 

‘Green is what we want to be’

As Kermit once said, “It’s not that easy being green.” At least it sometimes feels this way. Yet every day, organizations and businesses in Snowmass Village are making tremendous strides in reducing their environmental impacts. And why do they do it? It’s good for their customers, their community, and their bottom line. And now, it’s time to recognize these efforts.

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Letter: Vote to ensure quality ambulance service remains

October 23, 2014 — 

Let’s face it, nobody want to call 911 for a ambulance; it usually means a family member, friend or stranger is in distress. If you had to make that call today, you would receive a well-equipped, state-of-the-art ambulance that is well-maintained and staffed with well-trained paramedics and EMTs that suits our high community standard. Even after the call is made and the ambulance leaves, most people don’t know what it takes to sustain this valuable service. Who provides the service? Who pays? And where does the money go?

Created in 1982 by the Pitkin County Home Rule Charter as a special district, the original mill levy was 0.82 mills. It has dropped over time, to today’s 0.22 mills. Today the Ambulance District can collect only 0.22 mills as a result of revenue limitations in the Taxpayer Bill of Rights and the Fenton Amendment of Pitkin County’s Home Rule Charter. Formed in 1982, the Aspen Ambulance District was funded by a property tax mill levy of 0.82 mills. Over the years, Colorado’s Taxpayer Bill of Rights laws and our own, local Fenton Amendment, have worked to reduce the actual mill levy collected to only 0.22 mills. Residents in the Aspen Ambulance District currently pay less than $4 per $100,000 of assessed property value for this vitally important service.

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Letter: Community support for 1A

October 23, 2014 — 

The Friends of Aspen Ambulance District is proud to announce the community supporters of Pitkin County Ballot Question 1A.

I announced in a statement Thursday afternoon that the Aspen Chamber Resort Association, Aspen Skiing Co., Pitkin County Public Safety Committee and the Aspen Valley Hospital Board of Directors, have all unanimously voted to support the Aspen Ambulance District mill levy ballot question in November’s election.

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Letter: Voting for Hamner

October 23, 2014 — 

I want to say a warm thank you to our State Rep. Millie Hamner. Public service can be a thankless job, and our legislators work hard to help make Colorado better every day. Millie has been our representative in the state Capitol through one of the most active and remarkable legislative sessions ever. While she has been in office, Colorado increased spending on eduction, recognized same-sex marriage, promoted fire-arms safety and restricted how anonymous political contributions can be spent. I am really proud of Millie and I am proud to call her my representative. When mail-in ballots arrive this week, I am going to thank Millie by giving her my vote, and I hope you will too.

Gordon Bronson

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Letter: Left-leaning Democrat for Rob Ittner

October 23, 2014 — 

I am a left-leaning Democrat, and I am supporting Rob Ittner for county commissioner because, like me, he is a life-long progressive who has a proven record of fighting against over-development and protecting the local flavor of Aspen and Pitkin County.

For Rob, talking about protecting the environment aren’t just words. He has demonstrated an incredibly passionate defense of our open space and natural habitat through his full throttled support on the Thompson Divide issue as a sitting member of the Board of County Commissioners.

Rob also has the leadership skills, business acumen and a proven ability to help steward Pitkin County’s finances, to make sure the county is investing its resources in what is in the best interest of our community — protecting open space and natural habitat, supporting our seniors, supporting affordable housing and, at a high level, supporting a progressive agenda for the residents of Pitkin County.

Let’s give Rob another chance to continue his work to improve the quality of life for all of us here in this valley, rural and urban alike. And not just try to win an election by creating divisions based on party affiliation.

Rob is a progressive, through and through. We need his leadership on the Board of Commissioners. I’m voting to keep him there!

Martin Davis


Letter: Markey will lead us wisely

October 23, 2014 — 

This letter is an endorsement for Markey Butler in the Snowmass Village mayoral race. Markey’s qualifications for the position of mayor are stellar. Her executive background places her high in the business arena. Her community political and public service place her far above any other candidate as a qualified, dedicated public servant. Markey seems to understand the many unique aspects of Snowmass Village. No other town in the valley has the blessing and the curse of sloping down a magnificent hillside — creating stunning vistas as well as particular challenges. Having steeper roads, driveways and walkways than any other town in the Roaring Fork Valley requires specific safety measures. Many solutions that might work in towns on the valley floor simply aren’t viable in Snowmass Village. Markey understands this, and works to make Snowmass Village the best town on a hillside in the state.

Markey also realizes that we, as town residents, have suffered mightily under the stalled construction of Base Village. The standstill has impacted every facet of economic and social life in Snowmass Village. It is imperative that we solve the stalemate in a timely manner, with acceptable compromise, to stimulate the economy and facilitate positive growth.

We urge voters to elect Markey Butler to be mayor of Snowmass Village — she will lead us wisely.

Wolf and Nancy Gensch

Snowmass Village

Letter: Let’s keep Pitkin wonderful

October 23, 2014 — 

Let’s keep Pitkin wonderful

I voted for Patti Clapper for Pitkin County Commissioner because Patti will be our advocate protecting Pitkin County’s pristine environment, managing growth at a sustainable level and providing quality health and human services support. Patti sums it up well in her campaign literature: “Pitkin County is a wonderful home to our friends, visitors and families. Let’s keep it that way!”

Walt Madden


Letter: Support American values and principles

October 23, 2014 — 

We’re writing in response to the disparaging and false claims about Republicans in recent letters to the editor. Not only is it divisive — after all, President Obama often talks about there not being red states or blue states but the United States of America — it’s insulting to a large percentage of Americans who identify with the values and principles that we believe have proven to be the best for the most people, especially the most vulnerable.

All Americans, regardless of their party affiliation, have benefited from these principles — especially those who, through no fault of their own, depend on an economically strong and secure America to guarantee a safety net and a hand up to a better, more independent life.

We treasure the liberties our brave brethren have fought and died to preserve, and support our bi-partisan tradition of “peace through strength.”

We believe in consumer choice and the free market as the best guarantor of quality and abundance — not a command and control economy or health care system — and cherish the opportunity and prosperity it has granted so many generations of Americans. If we limit government to its intended purposes, there’s no limit to what American ingenuity and industriousness can accomplish.

We believe in upholding equality under the law and the U.S. Constitution, that remarkable document that assures our freedoms and our way of life.

We believe in Colorado, our home and the greatest place on earth to live. We invite our fellow Coloradans to reach for a better future by supporting these uniting values and principles and by rejecting divisive calls for partisanship.

Jo-ann Hall, Anna Zane, Jill Teehan, Carol Jenkins, Bob Jenkins, Dawn Lamping


Letter: Base Village will be a valuable asset for Snowmass

October 23, 2014 — 

By continuing to emphasize the value of public and private cooperation, the Town of Snowmass Village is moving forward toward completion of Base Village. The outcome of this will be to evolve Base Village into a community asset that will create jobs, enhance tourism and generate tax revenues for the community.

This is a direction that all of us, as members of the community, can support.

Nancy Wilhelms

Executive Director, Anderson Ranch Arts Center

Letter: Consider real traffic solutions

October 23, 2014 — 

Summer is over, and we have again survived the constant unacceptable traffic delays into and out of town and the accompanying parking congestion. For years, our elected officials have studied methods of reducing this problem, but nothing has been done despite the spending of hundreds of thousands on studies.

I am no traffic engineer, but it’s readily apparent that there is one best solution. That would be to build a new road extending south from the intersection of Cemetery Lane and Highway 82 and then looping through the Marolt Open Space and running east directly into West Main Street. That road would be one-way going into town. The existing Highway 82 from South Seventh Street to Cemetery Lane would then be changed to be one-way-out. This would result in there being at least two lanes into and out of town. In addition, keeping the existing road as a one-way-out would minimize the construction of the new road and bridge into town.

Another benefit is that a parking lot could be constructed in the open area, which combined with bus or shuttle service would enable visitors to park out of the downtown area. This could reduce our congested parking problem.

I urge our city officials to consider this and finally act.

Eric A. Simon

Snowmass Village

Letter: An outstanding candidate for coroner

October 23, 2014 — 

My wife and I are proud to endorse Sue Franciose for Eagle County Coroner. We have known Sue for four years, and we have been impressed with her compassion, dedication, enthusiasm and professionalism. Most of our contact with her has been through the Shaw Outreach Team, where I served as chairman of the board. Sue joined the Shaw Outreach Team in the beginning, helping to raise more than $4.7 million to build Jack’s Place, a cancer caring house at the Shaw Regional Cancer Center in Edwards. Since then, Sue has spent innumerable hours organizing “Hike, Wine & Dine,” the team’s primary annual fundraising event on Beaver Creek Mountain, which just completed its sixth successful year, raising significant amounts to ensure the care and comfort of cancer patients and their families at Shaw.

I didn’t know Sue during her medical career, but her resume of more than 20 years in the medical field speaks for itself. She has dedicated her time to make a difference in Eagle County, and she will continue to do so in the Coroner’s Office. Former Eagle County Coroner Donna Barnes has chosen Sue, and so should you. See Sue’s website at www.suefranciose.com, and please vote for this outstanding candidate.

Jack Gardner


Letter: Not voting the party line for coroner

October 23, 2014 — 

Not voting the party line for coroner

I recently moved to Vail and look forward to voting in the upcoming election. I must say, as a Democrat, I usually vote the party line, but I am making an exception this year. I have been following the coroner election, and after looking at both candidate websites, I am very impressed with Sue Franciose. I was surprised that the coroner position doesn’t require a medical background. She obviously has one, as a medical professional for over 20 years. I was particularly interested and bothered by the whole organ/tissue donation topic, and certainly realize that this is a personal choice that doesn’t work for everyone. I am a registered donor and certainly expect for my wishes to be honored upon my death. I was amazed when I saw the coroner debate and newspaper articles to follow when Sue Franciose stated that the current Eagle County Coroner didn’t consider this to be part of her role, an hasn’t participated in the program ... ever!

I couldn’t believe it, so I researched a bit directly with Donor Alliance. They directed me to the online annual report that showed a list of all the Colorado coroners that participate in the donation referral program. Eagle County was not listed. This is very disturbing to me. I personally know friends and family members that donated after their death. It was a comfort knowing that their death helped so many others. I also know many people that have benefitted from skin grafts, knee ligaments, and cornea transplants. I truly can’t believe that the current coroner doesn’t support this. Sue Franciose’s website, www.suefranciose.com, shows how she worked directly with organ/tissue transplants for over 11 years. She obviously knows how the program works, supports it, and wants to make sure our wishes are fulfilled. I’m glad she is willing to speak and represent those that can’t. Whether you are a registered donor or not, I urge you to respect those of us who are, regardless of your political party affiliation. Vote Sue Franciose.

Lola Thorng


Letter: Van Beek for Eagle County sheriff

October 23, 2014 — 

I have known James van Beek and his family for generations. He is an upstanding man that has taken on the responsibility of keeping our community and country safe. Putting his life in harm’s way so we can all sleep better at night. The sacrifice that on each of his overseas missions or Eagle County emergency calls is that he might not come home to his family and wife. I know of no other place James would rather be than protecting others.

I am personally asking everyone in Eagle County to vote for James van Beek for Eagle County Sheriff. If you are not registered, please take a moment to register. Your voice and vote matters when it comes to your safety and protection.

Our county safety is extremely important and we need a sheriff that has been part of our community for decades and knows us as neighbors and friends. A sheriff that is a leader skilled to manage the department and work well with all other agencies in Eagle County. James is willing to step up and protect Eagle County. The least we can do is honor his commitment to us by voting for James.

James Matlock

Board president, Rock Creek Volunteer Fire Department

Letter: Voting for solid character in James Van Beek

October 23, 2014 — 

James van Beek is a gentleman and a hard worker. I came to know him through family and have followed his career in Eagle County and abroad. What comes through every time is his strength and caring for family and community. I will vote for him because of his consistently solid character.

Rosalie Hill Isom


Letter: Confidence in James Van Beek for sheriff

October 23, 2014 — 

As the elected Sheriff of Eagle County from 1983 to 2003, this letter is in support of James van Beek for your next sheriff.

I worked with James for a number of years and found him to be morally just, compassionate and someone who would listen to and help others.

James has always been enthusiastic and committed to enhancing operational processes, working diligently under minimal supervision and could be trusted to carry out assignments and organizational values as both a deputy and an investigator.

James has the knowledge, leadership experience and integrity to move the sheriff’s office forward. He will give a hundred percent to see that an established mission is accomplished within the parameters of public safety, customer service, fiscal responsibility and the Constitution.

Over the years that I have been acquainted with James, he has grown in many directions, demonstrating self-respect, competence, commitment, integrity and leadership.

James is an involved and committed member of your community and will be a good sheriff — someone you can trust and have confidence in.

I encourage to you to support and vote for James van Beek in November!

A.J. Johnson

Grand Junction

Letter: McQueeney gets involved and takes action

October 23, 2014 — 

McQueeney gets involved and takes action

As many of us cherish, Eagle County offers tremendous assets for community members, particularly for young people fortunate enough to grow up in the Eagle Valley. We can take advantage of the snow sports, gorgeous hiking, art and cultural opportunities, and plethora of free public events. Still, there are often-overlooked populations of children lacking basic literacy skills, positive adult mentors, and access to healthcare needs. I have experienced the disparity firsthand while working in the local nonprofit service field over the past decade. An incredibly inspiring attribute of our local services are the nurturing, committed leaders who have dedicated their lives to serving local youth and families, including Eagle County Commissioner candidate Jeanne McQueeney.

When Jeanne recognizes an opportunity to improve opportunities for community members, she gets involved and take action, an admirable trait when it can be much easier to sit back and observe. Through the past five years, I have had the honor of working alongside Jeanne in various projects related to education, self-sufficiency and community collaboration. Jeanne has worked tirelessly to address critical needs in our community through her roles as president of the Eagle County Board of Education and founding executive director of Early Childhood Partners. Jeanne brought the Family Leadership Training Institute to Eagle County which has since trained dozens of community leaders in advocacy, service and civic engagement. Jeanne holds numerous leadership roles which reflect her steadfast commitment to children including serving on the board of directors for the Eagle River Youth Coalition and Family Learning Center, as well as serving with the Rural Resort Region Early Childhood Council and Governor’s Advisory Council for Early Childhood.

I am voting for Jeanne McQueeney for Eagle County Commissioner because she is intelligent, experienced, and compassionate. I am proud to raise my family in the Eagle River Valley, and would be honored to have Jeanne lead our county so that others may have access to the incredible opportunities that go along with getting to call this amazing place “home.”

Michelle Stecher


Letter: Time to leave Aspen?

October 23, 2014 — 

Oh no, now you have done it: 201 E. Hyman was determined in 1966, and again in 1969, to be the best looking Victorian in town by two very stoned residents on their way to see “Easy Rider” at the Wheeler Opera House. The powers that be have said it can be moved off site while they dig a “basketball court,” taking maybe six months or much longer. And the rumor is that the owner might be a sports celebrity. That’s it, I can leave now, the beach in Mexico is looking pretty good given these developments.

Andy Hanson


Letter: Harvey puts ‘service before self’

October 23, 2014 — 

My husband and I have lived in Eagle County for 33 years. Our valley is certainly not the same place it was back then. Eagle County has grown dramatically over the past three decades, and with that growth and time have come great cultural and social changes. Our population has become more diverse and that is a good thing. Eagle County also experiences many of the social challenges facing other communities including domestic violence. Thankfully, the victims of domestic violence and sexual assault in our county have a resource that they can turn to for support and assistance, The Bright Future Foundation.

It was through my work with Bright Future that I came to know Cmdr. Daric Harvey, of the Vail Police Department. I had heard of him and the impact that he was having at the Vail Police Department but we did not formally meet until he joined the board at Bright Future. From the beginning, Daric displayed a commitment to those whom Bright Future is dedicated to helping that reflects his “service before self” ethic.

Over 33 years, I have seen many public servants come and go in Eagle County, but I believe that Daric is a rare find. I believe that he has, and will, continue to serve all of us fairly and with a dedication that we can be proud to say, “I voted for Daric Harvey for Eagle County Sheriff.”

Susan Frampton


Letter: Join me in voting for Sirkus

October 23, 2014 — 

Being among the 49 percent on the Base Village question a decade ago, I have come to realize that an unfinished Base Village in 2014 is not in the best interests of our community. Therefore, I am left pondering how best to move this project along while holding the various developers accountable to their obligations and benchmarks.

I believe Bob Sirkus is an individual who meets this standard. Bob would bring significant expertise to his role as a Snowmass Village councilman. He has experience as a company chief financial officer as well as six years on the Snowmass Village Planning Commission. On a personal level, I have found Bob to be level-headed, honest, thoughtful and open to hearing the thoughts of others (even if impassioned). Oh, yes, he also possesses a sense of humor, which surely must be a requirement for holding a political office in Snowmass Village these days.

I trust Bob to represent local residents, and as a result, ask my fellow residents of Snowmass Village to join me by voting in Bob Sirkus for Town Council.

Jeff Kremer

Snowmass Village

Letter: Harvey for new energy, positive leadership

October 23, 2014 — 

I am writing in support of Daric Harvey for Eagle County Sheriff. I have gotten to know Daric personally over the past year and believe that he will do an excellent job at the helm of the department. I have been impressed with Daric’s community engagement and willingness to speak directly and understand the people he would serve. He has actively participated in the tough issues that face our towns, and I believe that he is a consensus builder who will work together with all of the jurisdictions to find common ground and solutions that work for everybody. Judging from his actions and words to date, I believe that he will bring new energy and a positive leadership style that our communities need. In short, please vote for Daric Harvey for Eagle County Sheriff.

Yuri Kostick

Mayor of Eagle

Letter: Voting to bring choice, compassion back to coroner’s office

October 23, 2014 — 

I would like to express my concerns with the upcoming election of the Eagle County Coroner. First, I want you to know that this is not my opinion, but my personal experience with the current coroner Kara Bettis. This will address her opinion on organ and tissue donation as well as why she is not allowing family members to make crucial decisions about what funeral home a loved one should be taken to.

Having gone through the loss of three children, I, unfortunately, have become quite familiar with the procedures at the time of death with regard to organ and tissue donation. My first son died of SIDS, and the only thing that he could have donated was his eyes. Being very young at the time of his death, when asked if we wanted to donate his eyes I said no.

In 2002, when my 16-year-old son died in a motor vehicle accident while on his way to homecoming, I was never notified (not even by emergency personnel). A friend called around 9 at night and said that they had heard that my son was in a car accident. I immediately got on the phone with the State Patrol and Vail Valley Medical Center. The hospital confirmed that there was a car accident and that we should come to the hospital. When we arrived at the hospital we were met at the door by Kara Bettis. She led us to a room and proceeded to tell us “your son is dead.” I asked if I could see him and she said “no.”

I insisted that I wanted to see him and she said “no” and that he wasn’t even at the hospital. I then told her that he was an organ and tissue donor, could he donate, she said “no,” that it was not possible. You see, that is only partially true. He was not able to be an organ donor due to the nature of his death. However, he could have been an eye, tissue and bone donor. Kara Bettis simply didn’t care enough about calling Donor Alliance and trying to make that happen. Then when I asked where he was, she said that he would be taken to Leadville. So I ask you why did we have to go to the hospital when my son was not even there? Why weren’t my wishes for my son to be a donor not respected and why was I not given the choice of the funeral home in which he was taken? You see, I had to pay to have him transferred from Leadville to Glenwood Springs because Leadville did not do cremation. To this date, Kara Bettis continues to send those that have died to Leadville, even though Eagle County has a funeral home. As you know the coroner is an elected official and therefore we pay that salary. Don’t you think our tax payer dollars should stay in this county unless the family chooses to take their loved one out of the county?

My third son was hit by a car in Grand Junction and was taken to the hospital where he was put on life support. When the doctor finally told us that he was brain dead and asked if we were familiar with organ donation and if we would like for him to be a donor, we said yes. We were allowed to make that choice with our son and it has been a great healing and comfort to know that he was able to save so many people’s lives.

Kara Bettis states that it is very difficult to ask the family about organ and tissue donation at such a horrible time in their lives. She stated in an Aspen Times article that it wasn’t her role as a coroner. I disagree. I say it is worse to live with knowing that the opportunity was available, but not honored. The coroner should fulfill the wishes of the deceased and their family. It has been 12 years since my one son passed away, and I continue to hurt because of the choices Kara Bettis made for me, instead of taking the time to explain my options and allowing me to make those decisions.

Unfortunately, at some point in all of our lives, we will have to make these difficult decisions for a loved one. So I ask you, don’t you want to be the one to make those decisions, not a coroner?

So I ask you to join me in voting for Sue Franciose for Eagle County Coroner in this November election by bringing compassion and choice back to the coroner’s office. Don’t let what happened to me so many years ago happen to another family in this valley.

Susan Spiegel


Letter: Franciose gets my vote

October 23, 2014 — 

Sue Franciose gets my vote for coroner! She is more qualified than the incumbent with a National Level V Medical Investigator certification. She is a nationally certified forensic nurse and a member of the International Association of Coroners and Medical Examiners.

Her interest in forensic medicine led to her volunteer with a coroner’s office for a number of years. Sue’s background as an RN in critical care is a solid foundation for working with grieving families, and equally importantly, her interest and dedication has compelled her to continue her education in the field of forensic medicine.

I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Sue for the past 10 years and I can say without bias that she is an amazing woman. Her energy has always impressed me as has her attention to detail. Sue is someone you can always rely upon to get the job done. When she sees an opportunity to improve something, she doesn’t talk about it, she sets the goal, pushes back her sleeves and works at it.

Sue is an exceptional leader. As a member of the Shaw Outreach Team, she has coordinated the very successful fundraiser for Jack’s Place and Hike, Wine and Dine in Beaver Creek for a number of years.

We all have the opportunity to donate organs and other tissues. If we die at home, organ donation is not an option, but tissue donation is. Sue has identified that this does not currently happen in Eagle County, and despite some nasty objections from the opposite camp, has brought this important issue to light. Tissue donation is an intensely personal decision, and if we go through the steps of creating a record that is not respected, something needs to change.

Knowing that Sue would be a part of the team that investigates deaths in Eagle County is a comfort. She knows that continuing education, experience and commitment are necessary to perform a job well, and I know that her professionalism, compassion, commitment and attention to detail are what we all want when faced with a death at home.

I hope you will join me and vote for Sue Franciose!

Lisa Muncy-Pietrzak


Letter: Franciose for coroner

October 23, 2014 — 

I think we have two good candidates running for the county coroner position. One has 12 years of experience in the job and the other has all the credentials, medical training and compassion necessary for the job, along with the endorsement of the previous coroner under whom she worked.

What’s the difference and why would I vote for one over the other? The difference is one has shown how she does the job, and it’s adequate. The other has the ability, skill set and enthusiasm to look beyond just doing the basic job and will work to make it a position that not only comforts those who are dealing with a loss but offers them an opportunity to make some lasting meaning from a time of despair.

I have known Sue Franciose for more than 10 years as she has worked with the Community Guest Service program. Sue has proven her concern by helping other people and has shown an ability to make their lives and experiences more rewarding.

Sue is passionate about the job of county coroner because she knows she can make it more meaningful, implement new programs and help save lives with transplants that are not occurring under our current approach. I, for one, hope that the heart on my driver’s license that I had put there to afford an opportunity to save another’s life through organ donation is honored instead of being ignored under the current policy.

Sue has contributed to the community in many ways and has always shown a concern for helping others through medical practice and volunteerism. When Sue is endorsed by people such as Dr. Jack Eck and Cheryl and Bill Jensen, you know you have someone who is showing concern, commitment and caring for our community. Please vote for Sue Franciose and give her the opportunity to make the coroner’s job more meaningful to our county.

Tom Edwards


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