Congratulations to the winners of the 2022 Carbondale Chamber Business of the Year Awards: Alpine Bank (for-profit) and Aspen Valley Land Trust (nonprofit). Pictured, left to right: Andrea Stewart (Carbondale Chamber), Erin Quinn and Suzanne Stephens (Aspen Valley Land Trust), Garrett Jammaron (Alpine Bank) and Katie Montie (Carbondale Chamber). Courtesy photo

Forever Young
Congratulations on the occasion of Alpine Bank’s 50th anniversary. Carbondale is the birthplace of Alpine Bank and it has been much more than just a bank. We have all heard Alpine’s ads and jingles espousing community involvement and concern for its patrons. For 50 years, founder/president Bob Young has walked his talk and been a benevolent presence in our valley. There is little that has not benefited from the practiced philosophy of Bob Young. In a society sorely short of heroes it is important to recognize people committed to sharing their good fortune by leaving their space a better place.
Happy anniversary, Alpine Bank, and thank you, Bob Young!
John Armstrong, Satank

My long-lost brother?
Hi! I’m white dog named Bernie, residing on the dirt part of Capitol Creek Road in Snowmass. I like to read my favorite newspaper — The Sopris Sun — to keep abreast of community happenings! Imagine my surprise when I spotted a white dog on the front page of the Jan. 5 edition who is the spittin’ image of me! Does anyone know the owner of this dog, whose image was captured by photographer Jane Bachrach at the River Valley Ranch sledding hill? I think he must be the brother I never knew I had! 
Bernie, canine, Snowmass

Thoughts to share
Hello, my name is Anne and I am a mom of three girls ages 3-9. In this day and age, parents in the United States are faced with the real fear of school violence and shootings. Every time I am at the Carbondale Library after school, there are about 10 elementary and middle school boys playing violent shooting video games for hours, talking about the people they’re shooting and killing. Not only can everyone see the shooting games in the center of the library, but it seems inappropriate for the Carbondale Library to facilitate this. I’d be curious if other parents support this type of computer use or if they’d agree that it would be worth changing the use of the computers to something other than teaching kids to normalize gun violence and make a game out of shooting people. 
Anne Buchanan, Carbondale

Safe passage
I write in support of the work being done by the Watershed Biodiversity Initiative (WBI) and Roaring Fork Safe Passages (RFSP). Wildlife has been under tremendous pressure for many years. We have expanded the human footprint in ways that make wildlife’s effort to survive and thrive more difficult. By developing natural landscapes into human spaces, creating barriers for animal movement and migration and pressuring them with recreation, we create unnatural struggles that wildlife are forced to overcome. I appreciate the need for people to have places to live and support themselves. But in doing so we create a moral obligation to lessen such negative impacts on our fellow living things. 
Movement of animals is natural and necessary. They must move to survive, to eat, to find safe shelter and to adapt to an ever-changing environment. Our collective impact on the climate makes this movement an even more urgent matter of survival. 
The work of WBI has revealed that there seems to be adequate space and forage to provide survival opportunities. But the wildlife must have access to those opportunities. That is what RFSP is focused on; analyzing the need for, and eventual establishment of, corridors to allow wildlife movements across Highway 82 and elsewhere as needed.
Imagine having your kitchen on one side of the highway and the rest of your home on the other. Imagine your family on one side, and you on the other. Remember, multi-ton metal objects are hurtling along that highway day and night. That’s what our wildlife neighbors face every day. It isn’t just that we break up habitats, occupy them and change them. We create barriers to access the habits that remain. 
It isn’t enough to preserve, protect and manage habitats on behalf of nature’s needs. We must provide safe access. The newly formed RFSP is trying to do just that. I support their efforts and those organizations such as WBI that support them by providing the data necessary to make good choices in how and where we provide that safe access. 
Wildlife has it hard enough. We make it worse by our past, present and future choices and behaviors. Safe corridors for movement to help wildlife thrive isn’t just a great idea, it’s what we owe them in return for our collective actions.
If you’d like to learn more, attend a Naturalist Night on Jan. 25 in Carbondale and Jan. 26 in Aspen, where the executive director of RFSP, Cecily DeAngelo, will be speaking. 
Ted A. Behar, Carbondale

Thanking schools
January is School Board Recognition Month. Every year, we take this opportunity to publicly thank our elected Board members for volunteering their time and talent to the Roaring Fork Schools. Kathryn Kuhlenberg, Jasmin Ramirez, Natalie Torres, Maureen Stepp, and Kenny Teitler spend countless hours every month to make public education the best it can be in our district, and our school district is better because of their individual and collective efforts. 
Over the past year, our board has hired a new superintendent, updated dozens of policies, passed resolutions of support for LGBTQ+ students and for Hispanic Heritage Month, regularly visited schools, and engaged a board coach to improve our school’s governance practices. Our board makes tough decisions on complex issues that affect our entire school community. Board members bear responsibility and oversight for an annual budgeted appropriation of $100 million; 6,300 students in 14 schools; and 1,000 employees across our district.
Being a board member is never easy, but it has been especially challenging these past few years during a global pandemic and in the face of other controversial political issues. Each board member has been tasked to make difficult decisions as school community members called for contradicting actions. They handled these challenges with grace, diplomacy, wisdom, and compassion. 
Thank you to each of our board members. We are grateful for your service and leadership. With three of five seats up for election on Nov. 7, 2023, we hope you will join us in thanking our board members for all that they have done for our school district community over the years.
Superintendent Jesús Rodríguez, Roaring Fork Schools

Letter policy: The Sopris Sun welcomes local letters to the editor. Letters of 500 words or less stand a better chance of being printed. Letters exclusive to The Sopris Sun (not appearing in other papers) are particularly welcome. We reserve the right to edit letters for length and content. Please include your name and place of residence. Letters are due to by noon on the Monday before we go to print.