Mendoza: Help protect public lands

The BLM just finished accepting public comments on a draft land management plan that will determine where new oil and gas leasing can occur on almost 2 million acres of our public lands stretching from the Roaring Fork Valley to Grand Junction.

I recently submitted the following comment to the BLM, asking them to pick Alternative F for this new plan because it protects many areas from the impacts of oil and gas development:

“I am a Hispanic resident of Silt, Colo., in Garfield County. I am a parent of 4, and I would like the BLM to select Alternative F for the revised Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement. I believe that if more mineral leases are granted, it will directly affect my family and me. Our family loves to spend time on public lands to go camping, hiking, and many other outdoor activities. These lands would no longer be the same if, instead of wildlife habitat and nature, there were oil and gas wells and other development associated with mineral extraction.”

I hope the BLM will listen to all the members of our community who are asking for public lands to be protected.

Rafael Mendoza


Mooney: Old is new again

Sometimes things old are new again. I’m experiencing a Downton Abbey lifestyle. I’m the guy who lowers insulating window shades in the evening and raises them when the sun breaks over Smuggler Mountain, kinda like Pee-wee Herman or a houseman.

George Jetson lives up in his house, he’s got voice command – shades up, shades down, shades halfway down, or stop shades. Pushbutton remotes are old.

These shades will pay for themselves, saving energy and have paid for themselves, because the room feels so much warmer.

Tom Mooney


Silverman: Marolt’s Tues. 21 column

In response to Roger Marolt’s letter of Tuesday, November 21, I find it concerning that he feels the need to define himself as “not antisemitic”. Most people I know do not feel the need to defend themselves from something they are not. Perhaps he did that to try and preempt readers’ feelings and responses to his opinion that Israel is being too aggressive and his humanitarian compassion for Palestinians is his justification. I have to wonder why he did not call for a Hamas (recognized terrorist organization) surrender, or a Hamas cease and desist from using Palestinians as human shields, or releasing the 240 Israeli citizens including a 5-month-old baby among 40 children as well as geriatrics. Holding Israel responsible for a war they did not start or want, attacking a Jewish commissioner for standing up to terrorism, and wanting a courageous act of unity with Israel does not align with someone purporting to be “not antisemitic”. Jews learned long ago that without courage in the face of evil, we are all doomed. This is needed from society in general – not just the Jewish people. Flying a flag in unity with the sovereign, democratic, barbarically attacked State of Israel should not be a question with moral Americans who are “not antisemitic”. #NeverAgainIsNow

Tracy Silverman

Snowmass Village

Wessler: Thanks, CORE

Thanks CORE! Worker bees of Aspen often hesitate to commit monies to their employee housing units when the complemental equity is unrealized. When it came time to replace our gas range stove in our AABC employee unit, my wife Susan and I looked to an electric range for environmental, monthly utility cost, and possible CORE rebate reasons. After replacing our range stove and moving from gas to electric, we applied for a Community Office for Resource Efficiency rebate through the CORE website. A few days ago, we received our CORE rebate check for 50% of the cost of the stove! CORE is an amazing valley resource that other valley worker bees like us should check out. Now, we’ll keep that extra cash in the valley and send it over to AVSC to help our kids participate in their amazing winter programs. Thanks CORE!

Mike Wessler


Maple: Giving thanks

What better time than now to espouse what I am thankful for? I am thankful for a body that somehow works. A mind that remains sharp. And that I have access to good food and good company to nourish me.

But most recently I am thankful for the Aspen community that came out of the woodwork to support a dream. In the beginning, dreams are such fragile things but they are already springing to life with your nourishment. Last Saturday’s event at Mi Chola was a success and together we have successfully funded at least part of my racing season. Special thanks to Adam and the Mi Chola crew for making it happen and all the local businesses and artists who provided over 60 silent auction items.

If you are interested in following my career or helping support my season, please find me and more details of my travels on Instagram @wcmaple. We put a serious dent in the season’s cost Saturday night, but we’ll have to continue to fundraise throughout the season – help us by spreading the word!

Lastly, a big thank you to my parents and friends for encouraging me in most endeavors. The Steadman Doctors as well as Glen McLeod at Sports Performance & Therapeutic Services, Chris Peshek for bringing me back from the dead so many times. And Kathleen Callahan for helping me get my head in the game.

Thank you all for allowing me the opportunity to once again chase a dream – to in some small way represent you and our town!

Wiley Maple


Geller: Congrats to Cassie

As the former Aspen District Theatre Manager, I would like to offer my congrats to Cassie. Cassie’s addition to the board will return discussion in school board meetings from one of saber rattling and posturing to actually helping our students. The negativity was unbearable from the additions to the board pre-pandemic that dismissed Dr. Heald and Dr. Maloy, I welcomed my dismissal as the last District Office Employee hired by Dr. Maloy to serve under the new administration as the rhetoric and blame casting was unbearable.

I would also like to add I think it’s funny the new theatre manager is using $500 drum microphones to host the school board meetings now onstage as pictured in your paper rather than the appropriate microphones purchased under my management with funds raised by rental fees. Also would love to see where the dollars went promised to the District Theatre “improvements” from the the last bonding issue which was created by the former administration and myself with the input of the Aspen community but of course the current admin takes credit for. Mysteriously I can only find totals and not actual work done.

But I digress.

Again congrats Cassie.

As a side note to my Aspen friends and family who I miss dearly my recovery from AML leukemia is going well as I write this from my hospital bed. Happy Thanksgiving everyone and hope to visit and see you all soon.

Jon Geller

Production Supervisor

San Diego Theatres

Coddington III: Main Street (Carbondale) vs Wall Street (USFS)

“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.” Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Drastic measures are necessary to have the elephant (US Forest Service) get its foot off the mouse (the community of Carbondale- population roughly 6,600)! The USFS continues to disregard vocal outrage concerning plans to begin redevelopment on their Carbondale property in early 2024. USFS deceitfully bypassed the need for adequate public input in 11/2019 by using a Categorical Exclusion of “Repair and Maintenance” reserved for minor projects such as painting and roofing contracts. Clearly, this classification is not appropriate for a $6.5 million Site Redevelopment. In letters submitted to Colorado Congressional Representatives, USFS believes this was “the appropriate level of analysis” and falsely claims “our staff has spent significant time coordinating with the Town of Carbondale since 2019.”

Carbondale Trustees endorsed a letter submitted to Scott Fitzwilliams White River National Forest supervisor that raised concerns about the deceitful Categorical Exclusion and failure to list the project on USFS website along with Cayton Butler Culvert Replacements… The Carbondale project was belatedly added to the USFS website on 9/25/23. The BOT believe USFS plans are “a rushed process” with “a lack of formal comment period.” The BOT endorses a need “to incorporate more public comments” to pursue a “mutually beneficial collaboration.”

Fitzsimmons “acknowledged that the level of community concerns suggests extra discussion would have been helpful (Aspen Daily News (10/7/23).”

Call your three Congressional Representatives- demand USFS place their redevelopment plans on hold to allow all stakeholders to engage in a mutually beneficial collaboration to maintain the integrity of our beloved community.

Jim Coddington III


Horn: Gratitude for the management of RFTA

I drove a bus for RFTA for a little over a year, starting in November of 2021.
I am writing to express my gratitude to the management of RFTA,
as well as the passengers, and the employees of RFTA,
for making the experience an enjoyable one.
RFTA trains the drivers to be safe and courteous.
The management of RFTA, as well as all the supervisors, are very kind.
When you experience a driver treating you poorly, or driving unsafe,
that is not how the management of RFTA wants them to behave.
The management of RFTA wants the drivers to treat the passengers, as well as all the vehicles sharing the road,
with respect, and common curtesy. By using mass transit, the passengers are doing their part to reduce pollution.
They deserve respect. If you experience poor behavior from a RFTA bus driver, that is not the fault of the management.
Maybe their hemorrhoids are flaring up, or maybe they just are not nice people.
My experience with the passengers was a very good one.
Again I say, thank you to all the passengers, most of the employees, and to all the supervisors, and management of RFTA.
I’ll see you from the passenger seat.
Ex RFTA employee number 1469,
Valley, and Planetary Resident,

Stephen Horn


Williams: What a beautiful wetlands! Let’s develop it!

If the proposed Basalt Black Mountain housing development directly on the Roaring Fork adjacent to the library proceeds, residents will have to swallow permanent precedent-setting problems. With 68 housing units, 12 hotel cabins, and 7 “glamping” pads on a 9.3-acre site expect constant gridlock on the service road from the roundabout at the town entrance to its exit onto Highway 82.

The intersections will be jammed. Emma Rd. will no longer be a popular, safe section of the Rio Grande Trail with constant traffic on the road entering and exiting the development. The hundreds of residents, hotel guests, and the service people required will use vehicles, and with little room to widen and no space for roundabouts we’re guaranteed a traffic nightmare.

Also, expect these hundreds of residents, guests, and pets to frequent the path to the riverbank. During the wetland growing season the luxury tents with their guests and pets will sit on “temporary ” pads 50 feet from the river. It’s an old story that when riparian vegetation is destroyed there’s a downward spiral with eroded sediment killing aquatic plants and everything that depends on them.

Aesthetically, the southern views from the popular trails across the river will be blocked by three story buildings. The first view of Basalt coming up 82 will be this strikingly inharmonious development.
Willits’ big developments are still coming online to address housing problems at scale (on more appropriate sites). We have yet to experience the impacts of this-yet we’re being asked to allow more of the same on one of the town’s last remaining “untouched” sections of the Roaring Fork.

Construction of two previous projects on this site failed approval, and since the same problems exist, why should we allow this one?

Edward Williams


Collum: Lincoln Creek

It’s a good thing the decline of bald eagle populations was resolved decades ago. If “scientists” were looking at the problem today; they would blame it on climate change and the real culprit, DDT never would have been discovered and banned.

Does anyone really doubt that the toxic metals leaching into Lincoln Creek came from some mining activity above Grizzly Reservoir? Instead of spending trillions on decarbonization, cleaning up whatever is polluting Lincoln Creek would be money much better spent. Some would say, “Yes, but we still need fix global warming.” People live above the Arctic Circle and at the equator.
They actually do a lot better at the equator.

A friend of mine recently told me he was sure climate change was an existential problem because all the scientists said so. I asked “Scientists or journalists?” Which scientists? He couldn’t name one. How many books on the subject have you read I asked. None. I had to quote Mark Twain…”The man who does not read, has no advantage over the man who cannot read.”

As you read this and assume that I am misinformed, you are probably unaware that last year’s Nobel prize winner in physics says there is no climate crisis. I can rattle off a long list of super-credentialed scientists who believe the same.

Ned Collum