Letters to the Editor

Letter: Gondola gratitude

June 25, 2016 — 

The Aspen Art Museum would like to thank Steve Sewell and Mary Catherine LaMar of Aspen Skiing Co. for generously donating gondola passes to our Summer Workshop participants, enabling them to view Shinique Smith’s mural “Resonant Tides” at Elk Camp in Snowmass.

We are grateful to continue to build on our collaboration with Skico.

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Letter: Support Hawk Greenway

June 25, 2016 — 

I support Hawk Greenway for Pitkin County commissioner. He distinguishes himself from Greg and Scott in many ways, and I encourage you to vote for him in the Tuesday primary.

All three candidates are longtime residents of our valley who have multiple associations with our community and who care about the quality of life here. Hawk stands out as the strongest candidate. He has an extremely keen intellect that enables him to understand and navigate complex issues. He has 18 years of experience volunteering for the Open Space and Trails Board and this role gives him insight into the responsibilities of a county commissioner, exposure to how our local government operates and skills for collaborating with county employees and citizen boards.

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Letter: Beware of barbecued bugs

June 25, 2016 — 

What ever happened to the good old days when our worst worries on the Fourth of July were traffic jams and wayward fireworks?

A well-warranted worry, according to the Department of Agriculture¹s Meat and Poultry Hotline, is food poisoning by nasty E. coli and salmonella bugs hiding in hot dogs and hamburgers at millions of backyard barbecues. The hotline’s advice is to grill them longer and hotter. Of course, they avoid mentioning that the high-temperature grilling that kills the bugs also happens to form cancer-causing compounds.

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Letter: Leave it as it is

June 24, 2016 — 

In response to Mick Ireland’s commentary (“Keep open space, open,” Aspen Daily News, June 20):

Hi, Mick — a group named Responsible Citizens for Open Space has been organized. In principle, we are opposed to a 25-year or even 20-year extension of the tax to Pitkin County Open Space and Trails, as no entity anywhere deserves a tenure of that length. Open Space and Trails wants to redefine “trails” as “transportation corridors” and to change the name “historic agriculture” to just “agriculture.” We are vehemently opposed to such name changes, as they are historical and valid names. What purpose would the name changes serve? We also are opposed to humans invading the backcountry where wildlife has been disrupted so badly that mountain lions are now invading rural areas such as Woody Creek and mauling small children because of man-made trails that go into the wilderness, where people don’t belong on bicycles or any motorized vehicles, often even foot traffic. The bears, lions, elk, deer, bobcats and so on don’t have anywhere left to go but to invade our backyards here in Woody Creek, where we try to keep a balanced life of farming, ranching and fostering the wildlife in the backcountry, which is becoming increasingly difficult. Yes, we want to keep a gravel and rural road for a trail system, as this is a rural area. You are in an urban area where the roads are paved, and I assume you want to keep those roads paved and urban. We don’t try to impose our will on you; why impose your wants on us down here in Woody Creek or in our rural ranching areas? It does not make any sense, Mick — leave us to our lives here, and stop funneling your agenda and activities into our backyards, where they impact more than just farmers and ranchers and just plain folk trying to live a rural existence, as it hugely affects the wildlife that is severely impacted by your wants and needs. There are dozens of trails already and dozens of places to ride your bicycle, so have at it, but stay out of Woody Creek if you don’t like it the way it is, and leave our neighborhood alone!

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Letter: On the topic of guns

June 24, 2016 — 

Maurice Emmer states, “Automatic weapons are illegal in this country” in his editorial “Court makes the law” (The Aspen Times, Commentary, June 24). With all due respect, Mr. Emmer is misinformed and incorrect. I personally have fired a fully automatic Uzi. It is quite an experience but can be very expensive unless you load your own ammo. I still don’t see a need for them in hunting applications as some people would argue they are needed or used.

Here are some facts I gathered from a Type 7 License-holder gun-enthusiast friend and Google:

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Letter: Commissioner commentary

June 24, 2016 — 

As a relative newcomer to the area, having just arrived in Aspen in 1970, I really need some help with historical context.

Can anyone tell me if there has ever been another general election year in which not one single incumbent elected official in Pitkin County faced a challenger for their office?

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Letter: Court makes the law

June 23, 2016 — 

This is regarding the letter to the editor “Getting facts straight” in a recent edition of your paper (The Aspen Times, June 22).

Here is a serious question: If I buy a street version of an H1 Hummer, is it accurate to say I have a “military” vehicle? No. The military Humvee is an almost totally different vehicle with different capabilities.

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Letter: A candidate who understands

June 23, 2016 — 

I’ve never endorsed anyone for local government before. Well, there’s a first time for everything. Vote for Greg Poschman, please.

It’s not just because he remembers what this valley looked like before monster homes. It’s not just because he remembers monastery eggs and Delice sandwiches. It’s not just because he’s managed to grow up an Aspen kid and grow into a dedicated Aspen adult (as much as you can be an adult in Aspen). It’s because he gets it. He gets that the woods, the bears, the foxes, the coyotes, the deer, the elk, the lions, the hawks, the eagles, the trout in the rivers — they were all here first. We are interlopers. The mountains in which we live are not the ball pit at Chuck E. Cheese’s created solely for a few giggles and YouTube video. We have a greater duty, a greater responsibility, a tougher job than just jobs, housing and transportation. Those are all important, but our greatest task is to live gently on the Earth with all creatures great and small. Do this, and the rest will follow.

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Letter: Feeding young minds

June 23, 2016 — 

After Richard Branson concluded an informative and joyful Ideas Fest presentation telling of his aspirations, his determination and the decision making that went into his life’s story, several of us said, “Wow, I had no idea!” However, it is the young folks, those just starting on their life’s journey, who also should be benefiting from hearing these inspiring and knowledgeable individuals. That opportunity is available this year for 14- to 21-year-olds for only $15, and scholarships are available.

The Aspen Institute’s Ideas Festival’s first Young Adult Forum is taking place Monday from 2 to 5:30 p.m. at the St. Regis for an afternoon of big ideas with Rajiiv Vinnakota, Aspen Institute vice president of youth and engagement, and other presenters, including Supreme Court legal expert Neal Katyal; New York Times reporter and author Charles Duhigg; Theaster Gates, artist in residence at the Aspen Institute and professor at the University of Chicago; Alex Wagner, senior editor at the Atlantic; poet and community activist Donte Clark; author Adam Grant, who is the highest-rated professor at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania; Kristen Soltis Anderson, author, Republican strategist and columnist at the Daily Beast; Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper; Navina Khanna, director of Heal Food Alliance, who is an educator, community organizer, policy advocate and recipient of a James Beard leadership award; Clint Smith, a teacher, writer, national poetry-slam champion and presenter of the TED talks “The Danger of Silence” and “How to Raise a Black Son in America”; poet and activist Sonita Alizadeh; and Jose Anton Vargas, a journalist, media publisher and founder of Define America.

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Letter: Please don't sensationalize animal killings

June 23, 2016 — 

I have been following the articles in The Aspen Times about the recent mountain lion attacks in Woody Creek. I do not blame the parents for anything they did, and my heart goes out to them for what must have been a terrifying experience. Nor do I question the actions by the authorities in making a difficult decision to put down the lions to prevent another attack. I do, however, question the necessity of showing the animal’s bloodied carcass in the paper repeatedly and making it seem as though the animal was a vicious predator and that its death was some type of victory. We live in a wild area, and we share habitat with these creatures. It’s unfortunate that bears and mountain lions sometimes cross paths with us, but it’s often (perhaps not in this case) due to humans intruding into their habitat and our carelessness with trash and food. Showing pictures like this sensationalizes the incident and perpetuates the Old West stereotype of man’s necessity to conquer and kill anything that might pose a threat. We need to learn to live in harmony with nature and take intelligent steps to protect both human and animal life.

Jeff Bay

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Letter: Thanks for supporting recreation

June 23, 2016 — 

Basalt Recreation would like to thank the Aspen Elks Lodge for its generous support of our recreation programs. Each year, the Aspen Elks Lodge helps us provide scholarships so everyone can participate in our programs. This year it also provided funding for us to purchase swimming-lesson supplies for the Basalt pool. We truly appreciate the support of the Aspen Elks Lodge for its continuing contributions to the Basalt Recreation Department.

Dorothy Howard

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Letter: Never should have happened

June 22, 2016 — 

This tragedy in Orlando is a failing by the FBI. It knew that Omar Mateen was associating with extreme Muslims three times. That should have been a red flag to all gun dealers not to sell guns to Mateen and advise the FBI if he tried to buy guns and where any guns were sold to him in the past. This is called connecting the dots.

This failure reminds me of an agent in the Midwest reporting that some Muslims were getting flight instructions to only fly before the 9/11 tragedy, not to take off or land.

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Letter: Getting facts straight

June 22, 2016 — 

It is seldom that a letter one puts forth in a local paper gets a response. But, as usual, quibbling about the details is meant to distract from the main point. My main point is that allowing the use of military-type weapons by ordinary citizens is wrong and it needs to be stopped. No other country similar to ours suffers anywhere near the slaughter we do. The gun lobby has brought us this tragic state purely in the interest of monetary gain. The profits of the gun industry have been great, and it has used that wealth to buy off our elected officials. Literally millions of dollars have flowed to politicians over many decades.

The gun lobby has carefully cultivated (as in “paid”) academics and others to create an alternate story of the creation of the Second Amendment that promotes the idea of an individual right as opposed to a right of a state to maintain and keep control of (as in “well regulated”) their own force. The dutiful right wing of the Supreme Court reversed 219 years of understanding in a 5-4 partisan vote. What have been carefully covered over are the clear expressions of limitations on gun ownership by Justice Antonin Scalia, who wrote the majority opinion.

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Letters: What would founders think?

June 22, 2016 — 

Donald Trump is so full of shiitake mushroom soup. Self-funding and paying his own companies and family with that money. What a complete fraud. He and his kids running this country is the worst idea ever. These people have no ethics or shame. It’s going to be really interesting to see how graceful they act when their campaign melts down, they get a bunch of grief at the convention and they lose the general election in a landslide. A note of further caution: Any American who has his or her own coat of arms and names one of their children “Baron,” etc., should automatically not be allowed to run for the highest office. What would the founding fathers have thought about all of this nonsense?

Miles Knudson

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Letter: Two mothers

June 22, 2016 — 

Wow! What a woman — the mother who pried her child from the jaws of the monster (“Mountain lion attacks boy in Woody Creek,” The Aspen Times, June 18). What an amazing and gripping story. What a triumph. She deserves a long vacation in a lovely place! And I hope fervently that family heals from this traumatic event. I find myself thinking, too, of another mother, the lion mother of the one (or two?) juvenile lions that made that deadly error in judgment, attacking a human child, no doubt because they were out and on their own, motherless and untutored.

Young lions stay with their mothers for a long time, learning to hunt, learning what prey is good, learning where to go and what to avoid. A well-educated lion learns to eat deer, perhaps bighorns, and to stay out of sight of humans. My guess is that the mother to these lions in question was absent, dead. Who knows how? Hit by a car, felled by an infection? This lion, or lions, had no education. Maybe it was starving and out to pounce on anything that moves.

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Letter: Volunteer opportunity

June 22, 2016 — 

Want to help out the Buddy Program and have a chance to win two Bash tickets? The Buddy Program is looking for volunteers for the Boogie’s Buddy Race on July Fourth and the Buddy Beach Bash on July 7. Volunteer opportunities include race registration, course marshals, wait staff, decorations, setup and more!

The Buddy Program serves nearly 1,000 youth and their families through our four youth-mentoring programs from Aspen to Carbondale. Volunteering at these events is a great way to show your support for the Buddy Program!

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Letter: The big ideas

June 22, 2016 — 

Dear fellow Aspenites,

The Aspen Ideas Festival will take place on the Aspen Institute’s Aspen Meadows campus today through July 2. Once again, some of the most thoughtful scientists, artists, politicians, historians, educators and community leaders will come together to discuss some of the most important and fascinating ideas and issues of our time.

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Letter: City shirks its duty

June 21, 2016 — 

I am surprised and very disappointed that Aspen’s Planning and Zoning Commission would even consider changing the zoning of an area presently zoned for conservation to allow additional development by private developers, in this case the Gorsuch group. Shouldn’t the city of Aspen be fighting to enforce zoning rules instead of bending them? And shouldn’t the city of Aspen be the primary guardian of land designated for conservation?

Members of my family have enjoyed skiing in Aspen for decades. One daughter fell madly in love with the place and moved from Chicago to become a ski instructor for a couple of years. She still skis with that same passion.

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Letter: You don't get it

June 21, 2016 — 

If you cannot see the irony in having a firearms ban enforced by men (government) with firearms, then you will fail to understand why the Second Amendment was written and included in the Bill of Rights in the first place!

Michael Galvis

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Letter: A desperate developer?

June 21, 2016 — 

Jeff Gorsuch’s recent letter to the editor in the Aspen Daily News (“Gorsuch Haus embraces vision of Aspen’s founders,” June 18) implies that, although Aspen won hosting the World Cup finals for 2017, Aspen will lose the World Cup going forward unless the city approves his large, on-the-slope hotel. One can only stand in awe of Gorsuch’s imagination!

It is true that replacing Lift 1A will probably be an FIS requirement going forward.

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Letter: Fan mail

June 20, 2016 — 

I appreciate Mike Littwin’s column. A thoughtful and excellent writer. Thanks for it.

Everett Peirce

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Letter: A man of integrity

June 20, 2016 — 

Greg Poschman has been known to me for nearly 30 years, and every time I have seen him, he has been a sober, steadfast, responsible man of integrity. Greg and the two other candidates for commissioner appeared at the Woody Creek caucus, since the caucus is in the district that the new commissioner will represent, and Greg was well-prepared, he had read the Woody Creek master plan, and indeed he even said he could use the master plan as his platform! Hawk Greenway had not even read the master plan prior to his visit. Greg is a responsible advocate of open space, which we need, since few parameters are in place to guide the system gracefully into the future. Please vote for Greg Poschman as your new commissioner — he will make us all proud!

Linda Waag

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Letter: Teachers should get priorities straight

June 20, 2016 — 

The Katina Leatherby letter “Book opportunity was limited” (Glenwood Springs Post Independent, June 17) deserves my reply whether I address all her points or not.

The Basalt public school teachers:

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Letter: Excited about new interns

June 20, 2016 — 

The Aspen Science Center is as excited as a Rydberg atom to announce the six wonderful interns who will be helping us bring fantastic science programming to the Roaring Fork Valley this summer. Arnold Muasa, Andrew Olson, Clayton Mickles, Linda Fischbacher, Will Orben and Will Pryor were chosen from our most competitive field to date and represent the best of the entire valley. They are students, athletes, pilots, roboticists and, of course, scientists.

Collectively we will bring you a series of science-based events including favorites like weekly Physics Barbecues (Wednesdays June 29 through Aug. 3), “Science of Music” (July 29 and Aug. 4 and 11), the Science Street Fair (Aug. 7) and Science Day Camps (Thursdays July 7 through 21 and Friday, July 29). We also will introduce exciting new programming like “Stars Over Aspen” in conjunction with the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies and Three Rivers Astronomy on Aug. 10.

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Letter: On women and weapons

June 20, 2016 — 

Re: Julie Engles’ aghast-ness (“Quote in Semple’s column was offensive to women,” Letters to the editor, Aspen Daily News, June 20) at the use of the word “tits” by Lo Semple (“Everybody’s workin’ for the weekend,” Commentary, Aspen Daily News, June 18), welcome to Aspen! It is relaxed here. For years we were amused by a barn that displayed the finger to all passers-by — I don’t recall anyone aghast. I truly do not feel that the women in this town feel treated like “slabs of meat,” but don’t take my “said” word for it; do a survey. Have a sense of humor. Relax.

By the way, Laura Hendricks (“Guns aren’t the problem, people are the problem,” Letters to the editor, Aspen Daily News, June 20), if military-style weapons are solely for the purpose of killing large amounts of people as quickly as possible, why exactly do you need your assault weapons?

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Letter: Precious history

June 20, 2016 — 

Regarding “Portal into time,” an excellent article by Tim Cooney in June 19’s Aspen Daily News: Well done!

Chris Preusch and the guys at the Smuggler and Compromise mines are preserving Aspen’s mining history. Stefan Albouy would be proud!

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Letter: Initiatives and information

June 20, 2016 — 

I went online to do some research on the candidates for the Pitkin County District 3 commissioner’s race. Early in the process, it began to seem really strange that there was no mention in either local newspaper of any other county political contests.

It might be an ancient or erroneous memory, but I’m pretty sure it used to be a biennial tradition for the papers to run an article explaining which offices would be decided in the upcoming election as well as how and when any interested candidates would need to qualify to be on the ballot. I searched back to February and could not find any such article.

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Letter: Islamophobia-phobia

June 18, 2016 — 

This regards James DeFrancia’s letter “That idiot Trump” (The Aspen Times, Commentary, June 15).

Since DeFrancia has taken to muttering that those of his countrymen who question Muslim immigration are “idiots,” I think he is in need of a nice, long vacation in Europe.

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Letter: Lasting solutions for Coloradans in crisis

June 16, 2016 — 

Coloradans facing mental emergencies don’t need jail time or timeouts spent in facilities that aren’t equipped to address their specific needs. Instead, to be helped through an already traumatic time, they need a supportive environment that provides the proper psychiatric care. It’s a dark moment when those who need help can’t get it just because the right resources aren’t available at the right time.

On June 9, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper vetoed Senate Bill 16-169, which aimed to broaden the location where a person could be held under a 72-hour emergency mental-health procedure without provisions for the psychiatric treatment needed. Conversation surrounding this bill highlighted the fact that Colorado, and especially Colorado’s Western Slope, continues to need more resources for psychiatric treatment. Simply put, we need more psychiatric hospital beds for people facing mental-health crises.

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Letter: Water planning takes wisdom

June 16, 2016 — 

After reading the article in the May 29 Aspen Daily News (“Keeping water in the Crystal”), I felt the need to clarify a few comments. Using language such as “a growing number of irrigators,” “informed and advised,” “vetted” and “willing irrigators” paints a picture that more than a few irrigators subscribe to the plan.

The Crystal River Management Plan is a scientific and technical document regarding ecosystem functions within the river and watershed. That said, few if any irrigators are qualified or willing to support or refute the data. I believe the plan is well-done but, as mentioned, technical in nature, and to his credit, Seth Mason did simplify some data to color graphs most can understand.

In the article, I am quoted as saying, “It’s a good time to strike while the iron is hot,” and I have said that in several water meetings within the past year. A few years ago, our governor asked for a statewide water plan, and that plan is now in his hands. During the last legislative session, there was much discussion regarding water issues statewide, and that is the reason to “strike while the iron is hot.”

Water issues in Colorado and the arid West have always made for lively discussions. Our issues, unique to the Crystal River, will be no different. Over the past several months, I have handed out several documents to inform and educate those interested in water in the West. Smart people from Kansas to California are working hard to find balance among agricultural, municipal, recreation and environmental water users; I support this endeavor.

This plan or some other plan, if adopted by local irrigators, will take time. Trust among stakeholders must be developed. Clarification and changes to current water law to protect and facilitate alternative transfer methods must be in place. How do we place a value on water? The value of an acre of irrigated corn in Sterling is different from a meadow in Carbondale, just like Aspen real estate is valued differently from Baggs, Wyoming. These questions and many others must be answered before any agreement will be reached, and now is the time to have our lively discussion.

Colorado water-management laws, interstate compacts and trans-basin compacts — such as Colorado Big Thompson, Windy Gap, Animas and LaPlata — have taken anywhere from 10 to 60 years to develop. If Mother Nature blesses us with the time, for my grandchildren’s sake I hope we use it wisely, and for that reason I will be at the meeting.

Bill McKee

Crystal River Valley

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