Letters to the Editor

Letter: A growing community

May 26, 2016 — 

It was a great day for the Grace-Shehi community garden in Basalt on May 7. A number of new gardeners showed up and acquired plots. There are still some plots available, and it is the perfect time to start the plants that will not tolerate frost. If you have a desire to grow some vegetables or flowers for yourself, email basaltcommunitygardens@gmail.com, call me at 970-927-4629, or show up Saturday morning between 9 a.m. and 12 p.m. and check out the garden. It is located just west of Basalt High School and south of the Rio Grande Trail on a piece of fertile land that gets all-day sun.

Gerry Terwilliger

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Letter: Our man for commissioner

May 26, 2016 — 

I’ve known Greg Poschman since he was a little guy running around our Shadow Mountain neighborhood. He is real, makes good decisions and definitely is not into speculative development. He recognizes our housing, growth and traffic problems as paramount. He is not insulated from the battering our overheated local economy delivers to young people and local families — and will work to solve them.

Greg Poschman is our man for county commissioner.

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Letter: Bringing fire back to the land

May 26, 2016 — 

On May 14, the Forest Service successfully completed a prescribed fire in the Hunter Creek Valley just outside Aspen city limits. People noticed there was smoke in the air, and I imagine a few hikers and bikers were disappointed they had spend a sunny day elsewhere, but other than that, there wasn’t much to write home about. In the world of prescribed fire and especially one so close to Aspen, it doesn’t get much better than that. Kudos to all the Forest Service employees who helped conduct the fire and those who spent months of work planning it.

To be clear, there was plenty to write home about in terms of how the fire impacted the landscape in Hunter Creek. Over 900 acres were burnt, and Forest Service biologists were more than pleased with the “fire effects,” the mix of impacts to vegetation that will shortly translate into a mosaic of new growth mixed with older trees and shrubs that provide great food and habitat for animals in the valley.

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Letter: Thanks for service to Scouts

May 25, 2016 — 

For the past five years, Greg Balko has tirelessly led Cub Scout Pack 224. Starting from scratch, with just a handful of boys and parents, he has transformed a fledgling ensemble just a few years ago into a group of passionate and involved boys. He’s passing the torch to another, but he’s made sure that he created something that will continue to grow and nurture young men in our town. We wanted to thank him. These boys have raised food and money for Lift Up and our local homeless shelter. They’ve planted trees in our local campgrounds and the school track field. They’ve spent countless hours of service and activities learning about being better people and better citizens. And they have had fun doing so. Greg, thank you for all that you did and do. We appreciate you always doing your best for us.

Dusty Diaz

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Letter: Heads in the sand

May 25, 2016 — 

Once decided, people rarely change their minds. This human attribute leads to the inevitable question: How do people choose the initial belief or opinion that then becomes their unyielding conviction? I have been fascinated by this question — even writing a college term paper on the subject — since high school.

On one hand, people do sometimes collect and analyze actual information. On the other, the concept of a “meme” (rhymes with beam) was proposed to describe cultural beliefs that people seem to acquire like a genetic trait — the social and intellectual equivalent of their eye color.

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Letter: Expansion confusion

May 25, 2016 — 

“The airport’s new marketing campaign features a quote from Hunter S. Thompson, an ardent supporter of airport expansion.” That was a quote from an Aspen Daily News article titled “Hunter S. Thompson quote used in promoting Aspen airport” on May 25.

Here is what Thompson really said about airport expansion in 1995 as he led the campaign to defeat the Sardy Field runway expansion: “There is some s--- we just won’t eat.” It was the opposition campaign theme that was promoted on a Thomas Benton poster featuring an ominous, shadowy gunslinger standing over a grave headstone with an inscription that read: “ASC RIP.”

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Letter: Economics 101

May 25, 2016 — 

Listening to “Morning Joe” on MSNBC on Wednesday, I heard a number of commentators complaining that at one time Donald Trump had actually rooted for property values to go down. Everyone on the set was appalled that he could root against the interests of the common people who own their own homes.

If you find Trump’s comments offensive, you should really be offended by the local governments in the Roaring Fork Valley. They not only root for housing prices to go down — they actually take steps to accomplish it with employee-housing programs. These programs are by their very nature designed to depress real estate values. If you own a home in Elk Run, Blue Lake, Sopris Village or any other free-market housing in the valley, the value of your home is affected negatively by employee-housing programs.

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Letter: Internet and auto sales

May 25, 2016 — 

I am glad I met Subaru general manager Carroll Winkler on Saturday at his automobile dealership’s special event in Glenwood Springs. We had a good talk about his sales territory and the Internet influence on how he does business.

Talking with Winkler was like talking with Stephen Smythe, former president of Beverly Hills Ltd. Mercedes-Benz back in the 1990s and early 2000s. I mentioned Smythe’s name to Winkler.

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Letter: Unfair health fair

May 24, 2016 — 

A not-so-sanguine situation has risen involving the annual Aspen Valley Hospital Health Fair blood tests.

For many years, the health fair has offered a more complete blood test along with a thyroid and prostate option that the community could count on at a yearly price below $100. People might then take the results to their doctor for further explanation. This was a local consumer consideration and a frugal end run around insurance companies. Unfortunately, this is no longer the case.

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Letter: Farewell to Fort Frog

May 24, 2016 — 

While Fort Frog burning down Sunday made the front page as a story (“Fire destroys Fort Frog cabin on Buttermilk,” The Aspen Times, May 23), to those of us who have Fort Frog as a part of our history, it read as the loss of a great friend.

Fort Frog was built by ski-industry icon Jerry “Bergie” Berg, designed by Jerry “Mad Max” Begly, the amazing kids instructor, and named for Greg “Frog” Fortin, an iconic Buttermilk ski instructor and supervisor.

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Letter: Democracy or dynasty?

May 23, 2016 — 

The U.S.A. does not need any more dynastic politicians! No more Clintons, Bushes, Kennedys, etc., etc.

This is America. We’re not supposed to have an aristocracy, and politics is not and should not be a family business.

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Letter: Job security

May 23, 2016 — 

Does Aspen Valley Hospital really care about the community’s health? Obviously not, or the person who made the questionable decision to eliminate the blood profile from the health fair does not. The blood profile, for all the people who have been coming year after year for it, is probably the most important element of the fair. It is the chance to catch an abnormality early and address it before it becomes a problem. Seems to be much more cost-effective than dealing with a disease later on. I guess the hospital is looking at the flip side. When you get diagnosed with something bad and they are checking you into their fancy new hospital, they will probably be telling you that the hospital and its good friends in the pharmaceutical industry will take good care of you. And before they realize what they are saying, they will probably add, “Too bad you didn’t catch this sooner.”

Joel Gorton

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Letter: Memories of a small town

May 23, 2016 — 

Tony Vagneur’s column “A large part of the bedrock” (Commentary, The Aspen Times, May 20) mentioned Walt Matthew and Dick Sturdivant. For my first winter here in 1962-63, I rented a bedroom in Pearl Maltzberger’s house at 333 W. Bleeker St. There were two other young men there. One was the son of the barber whose shop was next door to the lobby of the Isis Theater. The other was Dick Sturdivant, who had started working for Matthew about 1956. Dick was a volunteer fireman. When the town fire siren went off, he would run down the aisle of Matthew Drug to join the others on call that day.

I was the day-shift helper for Sarah Armstrong at the Copper Kettle, Aspen’s first gourmet restaurant. Every week, Sarah provided an erudite offering of a different national or regional cuisine complete with appetizers, at least three kinds of fresh breads, salads and entrees with sauces and condiments plus the desserts and wines specific to that cuisine. She worked out those menus a year in advance. Nick Lebby (busboy) and Terry End (hostess) are still around.

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Letter: A tale of two valleys

May 23, 2016 — 

The connections between the Roaring Fork and North Fork valleys run deep. People travel between the two valleys to see friends, climb mountains, eat locally produced food and build businesses. Travel over McClure Pass has likely gone on for millennia, and we all probably know friends who have lived and put down roots in both valleys. Many Roaring Fork residents get locally grown produce from the farms in the North Fork, while ranchers from the Roaring Fork sell their meat to those on the other side of McClure, as well. We share more than just a connected landscape. We also share a community and economy.

Earlier this year, our shared congressman, Scott Tipton, floated a draft bill largely written by an oil-and-gas company, SG Interests, that would exchange roughly 30,000 acres of gas leases in the Thompson Divide west of Carbondale for new leases in the Hubbard and Mule Park area north of Paonia. For nearly a decade, people in the Roaring Fork Valley have been working to protect Thompson Divide from gas development. For nearly as long, people in the North Fork have been fighting gas leasing near their communities and dealing with the impacts of existing gas production in the upper reaches of their watershed.

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Letter: Hospital's big-city attitude

May 23, 2016 — 

Good news for the hordes of people chagrined at the discontinuance of the blood tests offered up at health fairs at Aspen Valley Hospital for decades for $38 to $50 instead of hundreds or thousands of dollars: One can walk into Valley View Hospital, go to the lab and ask for a health-fair test — no appointment necessary — and the cost is $40. Don’t forget to fast.

With all the advertising the two hospitals are doing in local papers lately, I gather there is a bit of a competition going on. This move by Aspen Valley Hospital is a great incentive to the upvalley curious to check out Valley View when they go in for that blood test.

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Letter: Continuing in private

May 22, 2016 — 

The City Council will continue private discussions on leasing the Power Plant and whether the would-be tenant should be required to be a nonprofit organization as defined under federal law.

Carl Heck

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Letter: Practice responsible wilderness ethics

May 22, 2016 — 

Spring is blooming in the Roaring Fork Valley, prompting many people to plan adventures into the mountains that surround us. As you head into the mountains to get their good tidings this summer, practice “Leave No Trace” wilderness ethics, and respect the regulations enacted to preserve these special places for future generations. Popular destinations in the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness are suffering from the impact of a significant increase in visitation. Help reduce the problem and have a better experience by visiting alternate areas or going midweek. Important updates for 2016 include:

• Approved bear-resistant containers are required to store all food, trash and scented items for overnight visitors.

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Letter: In honor of fallen heroes

May 22, 2016 — 

Memorial Day ceremonies will be held May 30 at noon at the Roaring Fork Veterans Memorial, located on the east side of the Pitkin County Courthouse at 506 Main St., Aspen.

The public is cordially invited. A tribute honoring soldiers of the 10th Mountain Division who served in World War II will be presented. Veterans are encouraged to wear items of military memorabilia. Following the ceremony, Aspen Elks Lodge No. 224 is hosting a community picnic at Conner Park next to Aspen City Hall.

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Letter: The benefits of the Senior Center

May 20, 2016 — 

Dear Mr. Glenn Beaton,

How fortunate you are that you do not need any of the services provided by Pitkin County’s Senior Center, at least not now. Unlike you, there are many seniors in Pitkin County who do benefit from its services, like meals provided through the nutrition program, transportation to doctor appointments, technical assistance on the use of computers, exercise classes designed for seniors, foot-care clinics, information about Medicare, taxes, health services, etc.

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Letter: Medication access is important

May 20, 2016 — 

Hepatitis C is a life-threatening chronic disease that affects an estimated 3.2 million Americans, including about 60,000 people in Colorado. Previous treatments for the disease had significant side effects, caused patients to feel sick constantly and had a low success rate. But recent medical breakthroughs have resulted in new oral medications that can cure more than 90 percent of patients in about three months with few adverse side effects.

However, a new report from the Center for Improving Value in Health Care finds that the vast majority of Coloradans with hepatitis C are not receiving treatment through their insurance plans. The report concludes that only 11 percent of hepatitis C patients in the state have obtained prescription drugs to treat their condition through commercial or federal insurance programs. (The study does not include patients who pay out of pocket for these drugs or receive them through a financial assistance program directly from the manufacturer.)

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Letter: Aspen Power Plant is a win-win

May 19, 2016 — 

The approved Aspen Power Plant proposal, to me, is a no-brainer. Having an affordable place in which Aspenites can congregate and creatively incubate their ideas will not only help to stabilize our transient younger population — it will give more diversity to our city. The brewery will keep the space active and alive. And the local TV studio not only will be the siren that celebrates our town in all of its glory but will give the younger members of our community a voice. This proposal will benefit our community on all fronts and should be allowed to play out.

Tony Prikryl

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Letter: Great choice for children

May 19, 2016 — 

I realize that when it comes to elementary schools in Carbondale, there are many choices. To me, Crystal River Elementary School has proven to be exceptional. In the year that my child has been going there, she has thrived scholastically, creatively, developmentally and socially. To say that I am delighted with her progress would be an understatement!

The teachers and staff go above and beyond for each child. They are kind and caring as well as excellent educators. Crystal River Elementary School reflects the best qualities of our town; it offers great teachers, diversity and many learning opportunities for overall growth of the individual student.

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Letter: Rights for all

May 18, 2016 — 

Millions of us, as members of the armed forces, took an oath and risked our lives to “protect and defend the Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic.” We didn’t pick and choose which amendments or rights we would defend. We stood for all rights of everyone. We didn’t choose to defend those rights only for conservatives or liberals or anyone else. We stood up for all American citizens.

It is long past time the politicians, regardless of party affiliation, stood up for the rights of all citizens as constitutionally enumerated, not just the ones they agree with.

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Letter: Saying 'no' to Alex Beinstein

May 18, 2016 — 

In the May 15 Aspen Times news story “Carbondale’s Beinstein just says ‘no’ to Trump,” the Republican primary challenger to Scott Tipton is characterized as “definitely not jumping on the Donald Trump bandwagon.”

Since this expression denotes the joining of a movement mindlessly and/or opportunistically, we are to infer that Beinstein is a principled idealist, as distinct from ill-educated, knuckle-dragging Trump voters who let their emotions interfere with their judgments and better natures.

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Letter: What's in your water?

May 18, 2016 — 

I am writing this letter to inform you about the toxic effects of fluoride on all life on this planet. The truth and the fact is that the fluoride that is dumped in our water by the local water departments is a toxic-waste byproduct from aluminum and fertilizer industries from China. It is not natural, meaning coming from nature. It is also a fact that it is accumulative in our bodies and can cause life-threatening diseases. This fluoride is fluoricillic acid, which is a well-known carcinogen. It should not be ingested at any level. Ninety-six percent of the countries in Europe and Canada have rejected fluoride. Also, 144 cities in the United states have stopped fluoridation or have rejected it from the beginning. More cities are fighting against it. There is a reason why people are fighting against fluoridation. It is mass medication without consent and very toxic to our bodies. Would you give your child a glass of water with arsenic or lead in it? Lead is the same toxicity as fluoride but equal to arsenic, so I doubt you would let your child ingest these toxins so why would you let them ingest fluoride? I think you should think about this and do your own research. Visit www.fluoridealert.org.

Call your local water departments, and ask them to stop fluoridation. The Snowmass Water Department is at 970-923-2056, and the Aspen Water Department is at 970-920-5110. It is your right to choose what you want to put in your body. No one should be forced to be medicated.

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Letter: Surprised by opposition

May 18, 2016 — 

I am writing in regard to the Aspen Power Plant and the recent noise from the minority opposition trying to distract this project, which your council has already supported.

I am a native to Steamboat but called Aspen my home for over 10 years. I still spend a considerable about of time in town, as my flexibility as an entrepreneur allows me to chase the snow and the summers there.

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Letter: Misplaced criticism

May 17, 2016 — 

I am writing in response to Maurice Emmer’s letter to the editor May 13 criticizing the role of the Next Generation Advisory Commission (“Next Gen has some growing-up to do,” The Aspen Times). We welcome his thoughts and appreciate the dialogue and appreciate the opportunity to remind the public of our role.

The Next Generation Advisory Commission was born out of a City Council directive to engage the younger-than-40 demographic in 2012. In a memo to the council that year, Community Relations Officer Mitzi Rapkin wrote: “Public participation is essential in having a thriving political atmosphere. It is clear from city meetings, representation on city boards and commissions and participation in public engagement sessions that the 20- to 40-year-old demographic is underrepresented.” After more than two years of organizing, the Next Generation Advisory Commission was officially recognized as a commission in January 2015. Our mission is “to advance the policy interests of the 18-to-40 demographic who live or work in Aspen.”

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Letter: A great tournament

May 17, 2016 — 

As a member of this community, I would like to say what an amazing event the Aspen Lax Jam was this past weekend. Eighty teams, more than 1,k000 people and 10,000 smiles were my counts over the weekend.

I would like to thank all the kids who played, the parents who watched and supported lacrosse and the coaches who spent their weekend making this event happen. Special thanks to John Silich for being a major sponsor and all the parents who came early and stayed late to help with trash, tables and many other things. Thank you to Mike Goerne for putting in two 12-hour days, and the most special thank-you to Meredith Elwell Sauder for being the queen mother of lacrosse in this valley. She was able to make this tournament move along like a well-oiled machine, and for that the valley thanks you! Lacrosse has come a long way in the past 20 years thanks in large part to these people. Congrats to all the teams that won!

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Letter: Averse to the vaccine

May 17, 2016 — 

It is amazing that three cases of mumps in the valley are worthy of front-page news (“Pitkin County confirms three mumps cases,” The Aspen Times, May 13). A childhood illness is now being created to be some incredibly horrible disease.

Of course this is another epidemic that we all need to dread. It can go along with swine flu, bird flu, Ebola, Zika, SARS and a long list to which the answer is to get a vaccination.

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Letter: Lead like a leader

May 17, 2016 — 

Heck, Ed Cruz, the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority union head of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1774, shot off his mouth like gangbusters at the recent RFTA board meeting I attended (“RFTA union concerned about Glenwood traffic,” Aspen Daily News, May 14).

I wondered what he expected the RFTA board to do about a Colorado Department of Transportation and city of Glenwood Springs problem and his panic about road rage becoming a RFTA driver problem.

Cruz is a union leader. Shouldn’t he be smart and courageous enough to take his worries and solutions to CDOT and the Glenwood Springs City Council and its temporary city manager?

I’d like to see the guy have a transit-union representative attending every RFTA board meeting.

Also, I’d like Cruz get union-hip and talk with union leaders in the region and the post-office union member on the Carbondale Board of Trustees.

Start cruising, Cruz. Being a union man is 24/7/365. Get with the unionist-leader program like solving the damages from work schedules that badly influence your union members’ health and emotions.

Emzy Veazy III

Burbank, California, and Aspen

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