Letters to the Editor

Letter: Schendler shows his intolerant views

September 23, 2014 — 

Auden Schendler’s opinion (“Where were the fact checkers on Sturm column?” Commentary, Sept. 16, The Aspen Times) is a perfect example of Melanie Sturm’s point (“Inconvenient truths denied by climate faithful,” Commentary, Sept. 11, The Aspen Times). He is a climate-faithful member of the “Church of Settled Science.” Asserting that her columns are misleading and fallacious and need to be peer-reviewed is no different from calling her a liar — the first and last refuge of the ideologue.

Recall Melanie’s question: “So, who are the heretics? Are they alarmists intent on circumventing scientific inquiry and the free and open debate on which national consensus in a pluralistic democracy depends, or skeptics ‘not afraid to follow truth wherever it may lead,’ as Thomas Jefferson encouraged? ‘It is error alone which needs the support of government,’ Jefferson believed, because ‘truth can stand by itself.’”

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Letter: The Catholic Church’s cover-up

September 23, 2014 — 

In response to Roger Marolt’s column on the Roman Catholic Church, Marolt commented on the sexual abuse by priests within the Roman Catholic Church as being a few “rogue priests” (“Defending the Catholic Church,” Commentary, Sept. 19, The Aspen Times).

Did you know there is a site that tracks pedophile priests, BishopAccountability.org? Look it up. There’s a lot more than a few of them. Just Google “pedophile priest,” and see what comes up. You’ll see there are, once again, a lot more than just a few child-molesting priests out there.

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Thompson Divide Coalition isn’t going anywhere

September 23, 2014 — 

The West Slope Colorado Oil and Gas Association would like Thompson Divide and all its supporting members and groups to disappear. The tactic outlined in the Sept. 17 article in the Glenwood Springs Post Independent is akin to the ancient practice of shunning whereby you deny the existence of a person or group that you see as a threat. This old bullying tactic seeks to isolate and disempower those targeted.

The Thompson Divide Coalition and all the supporting individuals, groups, businesses, ranchers, water users, recreationists and appreciators are not about to disappear, and the Thompson Divide area is here to stay. David Ludlum, of the West Slope Colorado Oil and Gas Association, was correct on one account in that protecting Thompson Divide is the priority of a lot of groups. The Thompson Divide Coalition has built a very strong valley contingency over the past six years and will continue to work to protect the federal lands of the Thompson Divide area from oil and gas development. It seeks to work with the oil and gas leaseholders and political representatives to secure protection of this unique, unpolluted and economically sustaining area.

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Letter: Aspen Camp makes big strides

September 23, 2014 — 

It seems like yesterday that I arrived at Aspen Camp wanting to make a difference. And I did. The team and I did what many didn’t think was possible. Picture in 2009, when Aspen Camp served about 350 people for the entire year. Now jump to 2013, when we served more than 2,300!

We are the only camp in the world providing year-round programs for people who are deaf or hard of hearing. Although our mission is primarily the deaf community, we are proud to host organizations in the Roaring Fork Valley. We love having you here.

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Letter: Unnecessary clear-cutting in Snowmass

September 23, 2014 — 

Pitkin County Open Space and Trails is planning to clear-cut the gambel oaks and brush on four huge swaths totaling 105 acres on the side of the newly acquired Sky Mountain Park facing Brush Creek Road.

I respect and appreciate the work of Open Space and Trails, but in this case, they are misguided. Those hills are pristine and beautiful and are totally undeveloped, a 3-mile stretch of unbroken vista unmatched in the valley. It is the entry to Snowmass Village. The hills are highly visible to everyone who drives there, whether resident or visitor. Our local governments combined to buy the former Droste property at a very substantial cost to keep it from being developed and despoiled. Having it beautiful and undeveloped enhances property values in Snowmass Village, Brush Creek and the entire area.

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Letter: What we can learn from Scotland

September 23, 2014 — 

Scotland nearly seceded from the U.K. Academic and writer Juan Cole summed up the political differences that were never mentioned as reasons.

1) Sixty-four percent of Scots don’t like the conservative David Cameron (prime minister) government.

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Letter: A life-saving veterinarian

September 23, 2014 — 

To Dr. Scott Dolginow:

Our loss is another’s gain. Thank you from myself and my little Aussie shepherd, Emma. You saved her life.

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Letter: Where were you?

September 23, 2014 — 

If Aspen is so proud of its green initiatives, why were there only two Aspenites supporting the People’s Climate March on Sunday at Gondola Plaza (Courtland Kelly and myself)?

“I didn’t know about it” isn’t an excuse — not when you’re supposed to be gung-ho on climate change. The tourists walking up to the gondola knew about it.

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Letter: Aspen’s loss is Grand Junction’s gain

September 23, 2014 — 

The biggest loss to the Aspen School District, in recent memory, is Athletic Director Carol Sams. There are too many positive adjectives to define Carol’s worth. Everything and more should have been done to keep Carol here.

Grand Junction, you are one smart, lucky school district to have taken her away.

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Letter: Let’s push Base Village forward

September 22, 2014 — 

Dear editor and the Snowmass Town Council:

After attending the Sept. 8 Town Council meeting, listening to the arguments for and against extending Base Village vesting and reading the local newspapers, I see just one issue to address: Do you want to move forward in Snowmass Village or not?

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Letter: Fun for the money?

September 22, 2014 — 

So developer Mark Hunt wants to bring fun back with his new lodges? And I thought he was only doing this for money!

Carl Heck

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Letter: We must stop the degradation of Aspen

September 22, 2014 — 

Please, please, please do not build another hideous inside-out building like the Aspen Art Museum. It is absolutely the ugliest building in town. Come on, people — speak up! Don’t let this happen again.

How can the people in the Planning Office say they think that is anywhere near an acceptable design? Charles Cunniffe, what are you doing to us? I have almost always liked your designs, and I know you are a good architect. This Hunt guy is new, and maybe he doesn’t know how much we hate what has happened to our town with all the ugly, rich, new people who apparently have too much money and no taste. Aspen has always been known as a real Western town with character and an amazing, wonderful ski mountain. The charm and uniqueness were what drew people here year after year.

We didn’t even allow chain stores. McDonald’s was the first. Now all we have are chain stores, as nice and costly as they may be. This Hunt guy is so scary, he just slipped in and bought up half the town very quietly. That doesn’t mean he should be able to complete ruining the character and charm of our lovely old town.

Yeah, money screams here, but we can’t let it be the be-all and end-all of everything. How can this complete sellout of Aspen have happened? No, just because they have more money than God, they shouldn’t have the council and Historic Preservation and the Planning Office in their pockets. Let’s get rid of the bought-and-sold people on those city offices and boards so the real community members who love our town have a voice again.

Please, let’s get lots of petitions out and get some control back. I’ll sign and carry petitions to the people who really still do struggle to live here. Offseason is the right time, too, when the fakes are gone and elections are coming.

Jan Louthis


Letter: Aspen Art Museum falls flat

September 22, 2014 — 

Over the weekend, a friend and I took a trip to Sante Fe, New Mexico. I hadn’t been in awhile, and I had heard that the area down by the train yards had turned into something to see.

On Saturday morning, I found my way by following various musical sounds. I was blown away by an eight-piece marimba band wailing away on hybrid wood and PVC instruments; the music wiggled my innards! The farmers market is similar to Aspen’s but has more variety of goods to offer. The dahlia crop was in, and as I walked, my vision was overwhelmed with soft orange blossoms.

The market led me to a large, retro-industrial-style warehouse-type building with super-graphic-brutalist signage saying: “SITELINES.” It looked a bit pretentious. I went in anyway.

Similar in size and projecting similar artistic intent, I figured this was Sante Fe’s equivalent to Aspen’s new museum. Time to “compare and contrast.”

This facility is labeled “Sante Fe SITE” and tries to be nothing other than a repurposed warehouse on one level. The Aspen Art Museum is, and was always meant to be, a showplace enclosing art. The Aspen structure really makes a show of itself; the Sante Fe structure recedes into its neighborhood.

At first it seemed to be a display of crafts —uh oh. But upon getting a guide and a bit of an understanding of what I was about to see, my antennae went up. The guiding idea for this collection of art was “Creativity in the Americas.” Start with a conceptual piece by a Upik artist at the Artic Circle. Extending to the indigenous people at the southernmost tip of Patagonia. The art was to reference the phrase “Unsettled Landscapes,” which referenced the environmental pressures in their communities.

I write this letter not to be a schill for Sante Fe but to make a point.

A month ago, I did a quick tour of the new museum in Aspen. It was still suffering the opening-night jitters, so I came back a few weeks later. I transited from gallery to gallery, looking for the one piece that would grab me and make me stay. It never happened.

The “bronzed” deli-meat display was my only memory, and it was kind of troubling. I hope the future brings better work.

The reason I wanted to write of this is that in the week before going to Sante Fe, I made my second trip to Aspen’s new art museum to see if my first impressions held up.

My first visit took all of 20 minutes; I figured the museum’s cosmic mojo wasn’t happening yet. My second visit took less time. Shigeru Ban’s work related to refugee housing is commendable, but is it art? There was a display case of minerals found in the Roaring Fork Valley, just like the one in my high school. I saw a piece that was a panel of bronzed deli meats, including tongue.

Hopefully this a case of freshmen jitters.

David Panico


September 21, 2014 — 

Remembering Reese Henry

The good people of Aspen once again prove they are humble and appreciative. My father, Reese Henry, worked and lived in Aspen for almost 50 years. He started his accounting business in 1964, bringing to it his unique high ethical and moral standards. He expected his family, business associates and clients to act accordingly. Through the years, he and his associates and partners built the company one client at a time into what it is today — the well-respected Reese Henry and Co.

Reese wanted his legacy to be that he helped others achieve their dreams and, by doing so, was leaving this world a better place. By meeting his friends, clients and associates, and listening to the heartwarming stories about him, I believe he accomplished his goal.

Sadly, he passed away in May, and his memorial was held at Aspen Highlands this month. It was well-attended, and I had the special opportunity of being “reintroduced” to my father by way of other people’s special memories. He was well-respected and loved by many and will be sorely missed.

I would like to thank each and every person who attended Reese’s memorial for making this a real “celebration” of his life. He would have enjoyed the party immensely.

I, on the other hand, will cherish each and every story that was told that day and remember him as being so much more than just my father.

Lea Ann Henry Fienup

Shenandoah, Iowa

In praise of the Aspen Elks Lodge

Almost nine years ago, I gave birth to twin boys during an emergency cesarean section. Mark was born first, and the doctors were afraid we were going to lose him. During the next two months, things stayed firmly in the “worse” camp as he overcame meningitis, brain hemorrhages, eye surgeries and other close calls. We understood we were lucky to have him be alive.

Today, Mark is an active child with mild cerebral palsy, which makes him a little smaller and a little slower than his peers. He has always loved sports and especially football. We never dreamed that he would be able to participate, always just expecting him to be a fan on the sidelines.

The Aspen Elks Lodge-sponsored peewee football team accepted Mark as a member of the team. The coaching staff is excellent, the uniforms are amazing, and the venues are truly a sight to behold.

When I was told that Mark probably would not survive and most likely would not walk, I never allowed myself to fantasize about him in a football jersey. Today, thanks to the Elks Lodge’s generous sponsorship, I have photos of Mark in an Aspen jersey — and not just as a fan but as a player.

Thank you to everyone who has made this day possible!

Karla Kelly


Football has been good to peewees

My name is Pearse Stainton, and I am in third grade. I wrote this, but my mom typed it for me. (The words are all his but with translation by me, Mom.)

I wanted to thank everyone who makes it possible for me to play football. These good people include coach K (coach Ketchum), coach Vintsint (coach Vincent) and coach Ron Morehead. Special thanks go to Aspen Elks Lodge No. 224; Blair Elliott and his Parks Department crew; John Bangley, the high school athletic director; and Keith Bulicz, of the Aspen Recreation Department. Without you, we wouldn’t have uniforms, fields to practice and play on, coaches who care about us or any clue how to play well. You guys are the best.

What I love most about Mountain West Youth Football is that it teaches me how to be part of a team and tackle safely. I learned I should not tackle their chest. Get them by their waist. Coach K teaches me how to be polite to my elders by saying, “Yes, Sir” or “Yes, ma’am,” and showing respect. Look people in the eye. My teammates work hard to get it all done, and we have fun doing it.

I know what it means to be part of a team, and it feels good. My mom says I am better at my chores now, too, so she is happy. I guess I am part of my family’s team, too.

Pearse Stainton

Aspen Country Day School, third grade

Praise for Annette’s Mountain Bake Shop

If you’re an advocate of our mom-and-pop establishments, this is one not to miss! Annette’s Mountain Bake Shop is top-drawer!

When I first walked in, out of curiosity, I was immediately reminded of the European pastries of my happy childhood. As luck would have it, I miraculously was drawn to a pastry called kouign amann.

Not knowing what it would taste like, I took a chance, bought it and ate it, and I am now forever hooked! I still don’t know how to pronounce the name correctly. However, I was compelled to research the history of such an amazing, delicious treat.

It is a round, crusty cake made with dough, sugar and butter. The name is derived from the Breton words for cake (kouign) and butter (amann). It is the specialty of the town of Douarnenez in Finistere, Brittany, where it originated around 1860. Apparently, it is not very easy to make; however, Annette nailed it!

But that is only one of the delectable items to be found at Annette’s.

There is so much more, and you will know what I’m talking about once you enter her magical bake shop. Where do you find Annette’s? In Aspen on the “sunny” side of the Hyman Avenue mall!

Check it out — you won’t be disappointed!

Carole Gunther Cottrell


Letter: Columnist responds to letter-writer

September 20, 2014 — 

Thank you, Ms. Michelle, for your letter about my Sept. 14 column, “Are Democrats anti-science?” In particular, thank you for not calling me names, which is more than I can say for your tweet on the day the column was published, where you oddly name-called me “Rick Santorum” (which is not fair to him).

Thank you, also, for not contesting the fact that nearly a third of Dems believe in astrology.

As for the rest of your letter: You invited me to cite a study on the long-term effects of genetically modified organisms. According to Forbes, there are more than 100 such studies, and none has shown any adverse effects. Here’s a link to a meta-study of 24 such studies: www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0278691511006399.

You say I “spouted” about “golden rice.” In point of fact, however, I did not say anything nor “spout” anything nor for that matter “sprout” anything about “golden rice.” I did mention that wheat farming had been revolutionized by a geneticist who won the Nobel Prize for his work. Genetically engineered wheat has saved millions of people from starvation — another point that you have not acknowledged but also not contested.

As for the golden rice you mentioned, I have to take you to task because you’ve repeated a lie that has cost millions of people their eyesight and lives, according to Scientific American. You contend that genetically engineered golden rice was “scrapped” because it causes blindness by lacking vitamin A. The truth is exactly the opposite. Natural rice lacks vitamin A, which is essential to eyesight. Consequently, a serious problem in rice-dominated diets is blindness. Golden rice was genetically engineered to contain vitamin A. It has alleviated blindness and would do more to alleviate blindness but for ideological opposition by the ant-GMO crowd. This scandal has allowed millions of people to suffer blindness whose sight could have been saved. The scandal is discussed and deplored in the Scientific American piece (http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/2014/03/15/golden-rice-opponents-should-be-held-accountable-for-health-problems-linked-to-vitamain-a-deficiency)

Finally, the article you reference (but don’t cite) in the International Journal Of Biological Sciences, for the proposition that GMO corn is dangerous, is apparently the one by a Greenpeace-funded French researcher whose work has been widely discredited. The European Food Safety Authority specifically concluded that the conclusions in his article were not supported by his data. One of his later papers asserting the dangers of GMOs suffered the ignominy of the publishing journal retracting it after it was universally debunked.

As for the Dems’ legalization of addictive, cognition-impairing, brain-damaging drugs, well, I suggest that once the issue is so framed, it answers itself. Your contention that there have been “zero” deaths due to addictive, cognition-impairing, brain-damaging drugs (and your citation of a political website for that statistic) is not cognizant of the fact that we live in a technological society where cognition and brains are essential to survival. I can only hope that you and I are not near the roadway when addicted, cognition-impaired, brain-damaged drivers careen by.

Glenn Beaton


Letter: A family affair on Sept. 27

September 20, 2014 — 

An exciting learning opportunity is coming to the Roaring Fork Valley! You won’t want to miss this if you are a self-advocate; a parent or family member of a child of any age; a teacher; an adult service provider; an early-childhood person; or just a community member who believes in inclusion and wants to support their community to be more diverse, vibrant and successful.

The Think and Act Conference is coming to Carbondale on Sept. 27 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and is sponsored by PEAK Parent Center and a host of local cosponsors. The conference keynote speaker will be Norman Kunc, an internationally recognized consultant and family therapist from Vancouver, British Columbia, who will share his life experiences and wisdom gained as a person with a disability. Norman will challenge participants to think in a different way about including and serving people with disabilities.

I am a parent outreach connector for Peak Parent Center representing the Western Slope. PEAK Parent Center is very committed and passionate about the work of facilitating empowerment, re-energizing, creating opportunities for dialogue and providing doable strategies to assure that people with disabilities achieve and maintain their rightful place as full members in their schools and communities.

The conference will be held at The Gathering Place at The Orchard Center in Carbondale. Registration is only $35. To register, go to http://bit.ly/ThinkAct. For more information, contact 800-284-0251, ext. 117.

I hope to see you there!

Gina Gerbaz


Letter: Our outstanding mountain-biking trails

September 20, 2014 — 

It was nice to see the article “Aspen mountain-bike trails earn praise” in The Aspen Times on Sept. 17.

Many new trails have been built in the Roaring Fork Valley lately, and it is wonderful to see them getting recognition from the International Mountain Bicycling Association.

Recently I have become more active than I have been in the past 10 years — too busy drinking and medicating — and bought a new bike for the first time in 13 years (my old bike was to and from the bars). I look forward to riding these new trails.

I did have the pleasure of riding the new and remodeled downhill trails at Snowmass this past weekend. I wanted to say thanks to Aspen Skiing Co. and all those individuals involved in making these trails happen. It is a very different Snowmass from when I arrived in this valley the winter of 1995-96. The Burlingame double-lift took you to the Spider Sabich area, and there were a few fun singletrack trails down from there and Government Trail.

The new Verde trail is fantastic for first-time and novice riders with no mandatory jumps. The revamped Easy Rider is super-fun and has lots of little technical twists, turns and jumps! And Valhalla is really fun, too, even though I don’t clear a lot of the jumps yet!

I look forward to getting out and off my lazy Asspen lots more and enjoy the majestic mountains I live in and wonderful trails that roll through them.

John Norman


Letter: Where’s the accountability in parking fiasco?

September 20, 2014 — 

I’m rather surprised at the lack of interest or furor over the recent admission by the Aspen Parking Department that it has lost more than $1 million in revenue. I read Paul Menter’s column in the Daily News and can’t wrap my head around his math.

But let’s just take August, when the Parking Department claims it lost $56,000 (I’m just using an even number) in parking revenue due to the use of zeroed-out gift cards. If we divide that by 26, the number of parking days in August, that’s a loss of $2,153.85 per day. Divide $2,153.85 by eight hours, and that would equal 269 cars that are parking each and every day of the month for free!

How do 269 people find out that the parking meters don’t immediately charge their credit or debit cards? (I had no clue that they worked that way! It never would have occurred to me.) Only the people who installed them (the Parking Department) would know it and understand that you could park for free using a gift card that had a zero balance. So was this information leaked out to a few friends to exploit and it got out of hand? How many parking meters does Aspen have? How the heck do you cost the city this much money and still have a job? These are just a few of the questions that have yet to be answered.

Gail Mason


Letter: Support the Aspen High soccer team

September 20, 2014 — 

Aspen High School boys soccer returns to the home field Tuesday. The Skiers, 4-2 overall, take on Colorado Rocky Mountain School, with varsity starting at 4 p.m. and junior varsity at 6 p.m.

Come out and support your Aspen Skiers. They would love as much support as possible, so come and watch them in this conference game. True champions aren’t always the ones that win but are those with the most guts. One thing will not change: We are going out to win, work hard and play hard.

Good luck, and go Skiers.

Lauren Jackson


Letter: Eat pancakes for a cause

September 19, 2014 — 

Dear community,

You are invited to a pancake breakfast to help children in Haiti. Mercy and Sharing, a local nonprofit, is partnering with the Glenwood Springs Kiwanis to host a pancake breakfast during Ruggerfest on Saturday from 7 to 10 a.m. at Theatre Aspen’s tent, located at Rio Grande Park. The cost of the pancake breakfast is $7.

Besides giving a home and 24/7 care to 126 children, Mercy and Sharing also runs three schools to educate more than 1,100 students, serves 2,000 nutritious meals every week, supplies clean water daily to more than 5,000, operates a medical care and therapy center, and employs 220 Haitians.

The Kiwanis and Mercy and Sharing are asking the community to find it in their hearts and wallets to support efforts in Haiti. Come and enjoy a hearty pancake breakfast while helping those less fortunate. For more information, please contact Mercy and Sharing at 970-925-1492.

Hope to see you Saturday.

Debra Muzikar

Development director, Mercy and Sharing

Letter: Voters should decide on future of Snowmass

September 19, 2014 — 

There are significant, substantive and compelling arguments to allow Related’s vesting rights to expire in November. First, this is stipulated in the enabling resolution. May I remind you that when Aspen Skiing Co.’s Jim Crown asked for the votes that would develop Base Village, he told the town of Snowmass Village there would be no change or amendments forthcoming in a “no” vote? He was not to be held hostage. May I inquire as to why, 10 years later, Aspen Skiing Co. and Related are seeking extension and amendments? How does the Town Council explain its 3-2 vote of Sept. 8?

Second, vesting is a bad concept. Business failures and lack of imagination are often the benefactors. If a project will not meet its profit objectives, of what benefit is this subsidy to the public? Indeed, monies realized in bankruptcy may benefit a new title holder, but what are the benefits of failure to the issuing municipality? Why should taxpayers and businesspeople of the village not be extended these privileges? Why should there be vesting?

Third, the applicant should meet current mitigations as required of any other resident, or the council should explain why. To award extensions and contract rewording based on performance of the past decade is to award failure. The past several years have seen enormous growth in corporate wealth. Base Village remains a stagnant testimony to lack of imagination, torpid initiative and sullen insolence. The “10-figure” amount suggested by Dwayne Romero is an extraordinary amount, and these figures, or similar figures presented by other applicants as reason for Related privileges, are not the burdens of the town of Snowmass Village. What is the reason for the 3-2 vote for extension?

Fourth, affordable-housing mitigation was established for the benefit of employers to provide for their businesses and their growth, to provide them the needed labor pool. If our subsidy is no longer needed, then a different funding for community needs should be discussed and the appropriate legislation put forward to the council for discussion.

And fifth, a performing-arts center would be a vast and imaginative improvement over pools and the hotels growing like mushrooms just 8 miles east of Snowmass Village. Why this old, tired and worn-out formula for the village? Have they a toxic case of Aspen envy? Might this be a limelight envy of Disneyland or any number of other failed projects littering the base of ski areas and look-alike theme towns across the country?

This past summer, the idea of a pool was dismissed in town meetings. However, the applicant in comments to Town Planning said that the pool would be built and the cost of operation borne by Base Village Metro. Enough of this! Related’s behavior on the bonds that are 42-mill burdens on homeowners in Base Village is shameful. Related’s behavior in their bankruptcy was crass and avaricious. How does the Town Council’s 3-2 vote to allow privilege square with this lack of credibility?

There is a political solution. If the vesting extension with the changes in wording is so contentious, residents of the town of Snowmass Village should be allowed to vote on the issue via the candidates for mayor and council platforms on this issue in the November election.

Please allow the people of the village a vote.

James Herrel

Snowmass Village

Letter: Glenwood bridge should go to a vote

September 19, 2014 — 

We are addressing this letter to the newspapers in Glenwood Springs, Rifle, Carbondale, Aspen, Vail and Grand Junction because we think it is time to call upon all of the governments, both county and municipal, up and down the Crystal, Roaring Fork and Colorado river valleys to weigh in on the question of a state Highway 82 bypass around Glenwood Springs.

Valleywide transportation routes should be discussed and decided upon by regional consensus. The routing of a state highway through or around any municipality should never be determined uniquely by that municipality. We believe that over the past 60 years, the continued routing of Highway 82 along Grand Avenue has not been successful.

We believe that the time has come to put the question of a bypass to a vote of all the people who live here. We ask that the residents of Garfield, Eagle, Pitkin and Gunnison counties be given the opportunity to vote on the question. And we ask that further work on the design of the proposed new bridge be halted until such time as we have been able to vote on whether there should be a state Highway 82 bypass.

Ernie and Carol Gianinetti, Gregory Durrett, Dean Moffatt, Melanie Cardiff, Jerry and Judy Gerbaz, Skip Bell, John Foulkrod, Bradford and Patsy Nicholson, and Mark Chain

Roaring Fork Valley

Letter: Why fix what isn’t broke?

September 19, 2014 — 

Like many part-time residents in Snowmass, I’m an older guy who is lucky enough to spend my summers here. Not having much to do in the morning, I find myself dropping by the Snowmass Village Conoco several times a week to take advantage of the fresh coffee and pick up on some of the goings-on in the community. Being an ex-businessman, I find it interesting to see how the station functions. The two men are big Jeff and little Jeff. It is not hard to tell which is which. They own not only the station but also the land it sits on.

Of late there have been several articles in the paper regarding the situation at Snowmass pertaining to the planned roundabout, which may be located at the intersection between Brush Creek and Wood roads across from the Conoco. Rehashing all the possibilities regarding the roundabout is not my intent. Instead, here is what I observe during my visits: Many newcomers stop by with all sorts of questions, such as “Where is such and such lodge?” or whatever. Apparently the sign near the rodeo grounds listing “information,” among other things, is not seen. Not only does one of the Jeffs give them the information they need, but in most cases, he takes them outside and does the pointing thing. Often people come in just to use their (very clean) restrooms. A big smile and a little conversation are also the norm.

The phone rings often with things such as, “I’ve just arrived, and my car won’t start,” or “When we got here one of my tires was flat,” and so on. Without hesitation, someone such as Angel in the repair department is on his way to fix whatever. There is also a steady flow (during the high seasons) of customers getting their cars worked on or topping off their tanks.

Anyway, for Snowmass not to have a convenient station like the Conoco would be a travesty. If you have not taken the time to meet the Jeffs, you’re missing out on one of the many things our village has to offer. Their attitude is to help any way they can.

To end this letter to the editor, I have two questions: Why would the powers that be not at least try adding stop signs on Brush Creek with some sort of button system that activates a flashing red light for the very few pedestrians wanting to cross rather than a complicated roundabout for cars, big trucks, bicyclists and walkers to negotiate? Second: Why do politicians and bureaucrats feel compelled to spend millions to accomplish very little, if anything, just because the funds might be available?

Cully Culwell

Snowmass Village; Dallas; and Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Letter: Bartender was wrongly charged

September 19, 2014 — 

B.S. on citing Blake at Stubbies for the tragedy that led to Kania’s death. I read your article (“Bartender cited by state liquor board,” Sept. 27) and was amazed at how many steps this man took to keep a person from driving under the influence! Having gone through another incident not long ago, it seems obvious to me that he did everything in his power to stop this lady from driving from his establishment. I’ve never seen a bartender in Aspen or Basalt call 911 or even threaten so, take keys from patrons, find a ride, etc. This man went out of his way to get her home safely.

Don’t get me wrong: This is a tragedy; she arrived home safely. Under the influence, she believed that she could walk the 3 miles back to Stubbies to retrieve her car in driving rain, crossing the highway in a non-crosswalk area. That is terrible, and I pray for her family as well as those involved in the accident. However, if every bar acted as Blake did at Stubbies, there would be a significant decrease in alcohol-related fatalities everywhere.

If anyone is to be blamed for this, it should be the State Patrol or local police for not just sitting outside bars and pulling over every patron who leaves and drives. At 0.08 blood-alcohol concentration, a single beer can put you over the legal limit. We have a great bus system, and there should be no reason to drive while intoxicated. There is a bus stop directly outside Stubbies and I know very close to Willits.

I’m sad for all involved, but Blake should be praised rather than cited for his actions that unfortunate evening.

No relation — we just share a name.

Blake Williams


Letter: Bombs away

September 18, 2014 — 

If Republican John McCain were president now, we would be bombing seven different countries in the Middle East.

Carl Heck


Letter: Foxy news lady

September 18, 2014 — 

Don’t think I’ve gone off my rocker, but I watch Fox News sometimes. I need to know what my political enemies are up to. They criticize President Obama for everything and blame the world’s problems on him. I heard a rumor that Fox News thinks he is going to the bathroom too often when he should be solving problems.

The one thing I do like on Fox News is “The Five.” There is always a beautiful woman sitting at the table corner with beautiful long legs and high heels. She is told to rock or swing her legs in a sexy way.

Finally something I like about Fox (lying) News.

Richard Goodwin

Snowmass Village

Letter: Head games

September 18, 2014 — 

Mr. So-Called President, are you going to use a 7-iron on the fourth or use the Delta Force to stop the chopping-off of heads?

David Olexsak

Santa Fe, New Mexico, and Aspen

Letter: Pick a winner

September 18, 2014 — 

National, state and local elections are coming upon us once again. We get to elect our own liars, psychos, drunks, pickpockets, sock-puppets and want-to-be tyrants.

What a country!

Michael Galvis

Woody Creek

Letter: Writer misportrayed Jews, anti-Semitism

September 18, 2014 — 

In his Sept. 10 letter to the editor (“Breeding anti-Semitism,” The Aspen Times), Sean Elias unfairly responded to Rabbi David Segal’s commentary on the rise of anti-Semitism (“On anti-Semitism, from Aspen,” Commentary, Sept. 6). He not only mischaracterized Segal’s statements, but also he employed age-old canards about Jews that reflect bias.

Elias falsely accused Segal of equating criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism and appallingly called this the “Jewish race card.” Legitimate criticism of Israel is not anti-Semitism, and notably, Segal never claimed that it was. Elias’ argument is a red herring and represents a feeble attempt to undermine a serious discussion about anti-Semitism.

Even more troubling, Elias essentially blamed Jews for the existence of anti-Semitism and advanced disparaging stereotypes about Jews to do so. Relying on a canard that has been used since at least the Dark Ages, he asserted that Jews are somehow to blame for anti-Semitism because of their belief that they are God’s “chosen people,” which Elias erroneously equated with a belief of superiority. Contrary to Elias’ assertion, the concept of “chosen-ness” focuses on responsibility rather than any privilege or superiority. Flawed claims such as Elias’ have long been asserted by those unfamiliar with Jewish tradition and teachings as well as those with an intent to foster ill will about Jews. Furthermore, Elias’ attempt to blame Jews and Jewish beliefs (as he misconstrues them) for the existence of anti-Semitism effectively legitimizes and condones anti-Semitism and bigotry.

Elias would do well to learn from the essence of Segal’s message, which beautifully notes how thankful we all should be for living “in a country that, with all its imperfections, strives to be a beacon of freedom and acceptance” and that we have “the responsibility to work against bigotry, anti-Semitic or otherwise, whenever and wherever we witness it.”

Scott L. Levin

Regional director, Anti-Defamation League, Denver

Letter: Retailers deserve a greater voice

September 18, 2014 — 

I wonder if it would be permissible for a member of the business community to comment on a recent editorial (“Retailers shouldn’t dictate their competition,” Commentary, Sept. 12, page A13 located next to the advertisement by Pierre/Famille). There are several reasons why I believe the assertions are unworthy of The Aspen Times.

1) The two people who made comments to the City Council were but the merest fraction of the business community (as was indicated to reporter Karl Herchenroeder). Those who did speak simply wanted the business community as a whole to have a chance at a later date to come before the council. For the editorial writer now to weigh in upon this topic with the intention of precluding a hearing on this issue is premature in addition to being undemocratic. Let the business community, not I, and certainly not the editorial writer, speak on it first. Such public discussion should be encouraged, not discouraged, by The Aspen Times.

2) It is the business community that hires employees in Aspen, pays Aspen taxes and, unlike The Aspen Times, attracts visitors to enjoy this wonderful scenery, both natural and material. After all, if we only had majestic scenery, wouldn’t visitors and second-home owners be equally attracted to Leadville as to Aspen? (Our thanks to a Times executive for this point.)

3) To compare the business community, as the editorial writer does, to street performers or children setting up lemonade stands is either just insulting or demonstrates a shallow understanding of what brings economic vitality to this valley.

4) The impetus and indeed the title of this editorial suggests that business should not be permitted to voice its views on competition. Where has our editor been all of his life? The role of business has always been, among other things, to comment upon various competitive forces.

5) When speaking of merchants, the editorial notes the business community’s desire to “dictate.” Is this word suggestive of an ideological bias against business?

6) The last sentence of the editorial suggests that bringing the most goods before our visitors must be a good outcome. Sounds right. But what if the vendors who do this sometimes offer un-original, in-authentic goods or items advertised as government-confiscated goods that in truth are not? And what if these same vendors sometimes fail to collect local sales taxes, provide no guarantees, forge names of designers or artists and leave their advertisements on panel trucks parked all day in front of jewelry stores and art galleries? Are these the goods and the practices that our visitors deserve? Is this a level playing field? Should we as a community not discuss this situation?

Donald N. Stone


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