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Letters – August 12, 2021

Locations: Letters Published

Senior Matters

Senior Matters has been serving Carbondale’s older residents since 2008, when we became the Third Street Center’s first tenant. Over the years, we produced occasional single-event programs (e.g., Medicare Monday, Weed for the Wise) and sponsored two other not-for-profit programs (Brain Train, Valley Meals and More) until they stood on their own. But primarily, we made Room 33 available for independent groups to enjoy a variety of activities (e.g., bridge, book club). Four groups presently use Room 33 each week. Two additional groups have requested weekly use. Others use it for time-limited events (e.g., a two- or three-day training program). Funding has come from various sources (e.g., the town, user fees, thrift store grants, sales at events like Wild West Rodeo).

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Carbondale’s older population has increased by about 70 percent since 2008 and will continue to be the fastest growing demographic for at least the next two decades. In 2021, in response to population growth and pandemic challenges, Senior Matters collaborated with other community organizations to add monthly programs on topics of interest – virtually at first, then in-person (e.g., birding, history). We also added “drop-In Mondays” for social opportunities to better serve our rapidly growing demographic. Perhaps you or someone you know enjoyed one of these programs?

Sadly, the future for Senior Matters is uncertain. Keeping all this going takes many people working together. The Senior Matters board has always been a hands-on board whose members are part of the demographic the organization serves. Right now, there are only four active members. Three will be gone for the winter. For Senior Matters to continue, others will have to step forward to do the necessary work.

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If you want to see Senior Matters continue and are willing to give your time and talents in that respect, please contact us via email at

Udelle Stuckey

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Sue and Ted Zislis

Ron Kokish

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For the people of our global society at large to have a chance at overcoming the imminent challenges of overpopulation, climate change and increasing financial and environmental inequity, the diverse and talented youth of our nation must be utilized. I became an educator to help develop this massive resource into a problem-solving engine. In the decade plus since, my enthusiasm has deteriorated as I’ve observed the trajectory of our society and how we’ve chosen to use our resources.

Resource allocation is especially impactful at the local level via education and (in a connected world) is influenced by national politics/marketing. The issues I opened with are more prescient in the Roaring Fork Valley than in most geographical locales. In order to inculcate values and knowledge critical to addressing these issues, dedicated and enthusiastic educators are needed.

Again and again in my academic studies and during professional development, I’ve read that the teacher is the most important aspect of the learning environment. I have worked for students within the public education systems in several U.S. states and I can say confidently that I did not ever feel sufficiently supported. I’m not speaking of being reimbursed for supplies or mileage, I’m referring to the basic human needs of access to healthcare, effective representation and ability to secure housing.

These conditions are generated by the universally adversarial relationships between district administration and teachers, which are often thinly veiled by pleasantries and insincere platitudes of community development. In reality, the district will coerce teachers into putting their physical and psychological health at risk to conserve money anywhere and everywhere possible.

In my experience, teachers’ unions have too few members and too little influence to make significant improvements; or the union is sufficiently powerful as its own entity for their priorities to be in preserving the status quo.

As long as these systems remain in place, we should expect a future of marching toward ever-increasing discomfort and oppression. Systems must be restructured and more resources must be devoted to education at all levels. Whether this second need requires additional tax revenue or merely a reprioritization of funding is irrelevant to my point here. The way we spend collective funds reflects our priorities as a culture. Currently, we do not value wisdom or empathy for arguably the most valuable professionals in our society.

Salvatore Bandini



West Douglas horse herd

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) should never be allowed to arbitrarily select wild horse herds for roundup and slaughter. The BLM was created by wealthy ranchers and other power brokers for their own purposes. Initially, it was for the roundup and sale of cattle, followed by the roundup of wild horses, which were frequently slaughtered.

This practice continues to this day, evidenced by the roundup of the West Douglas herd, which is currently taking place without allowing timely input from the public — who legally own these public lands. This means the public is legally entitled to have major input on this decision, as well as sufficient time for responses.

Powerful grazing associations across Wyoming and Colorado have systematically eliminated all impediments to their acquisitions of public land. Cattle drivers used slaves, while cattle barons threatened and subjugated Native Americans and settlers who came west looking for a better life. All fell prey to the wealthy, fast-growing cattle industry. In controlling all these grazing lands, the cattle barons controlled the cattle herds, and thus, the money that came from the sale and slaughter of these cattle.

Unfortunately, the federal government approved of these practices, because they generated more money for the government as well. Consequently, the cattle industry absolutely wanted the government to control and regulate the use of public lands. Hence the creation of the Bureau of Land Management, which was never created to allow the public to control their own lands.

The next impediment to this land control has become the wild horses who manage to survive in this wilderness. Instead of being a symbol of The Great American West, and left alone to survive on their own, they have now become targets of this land acquisition. They are rounded up, transported to places where they have very little chance of survival, and then slaughtered. The myth of having them adopted is just that — a coverup of the fact that the BLM doesn’t even keep track of their whereabouts.

Horses have always been an integral part of the nation’s growth, used for traversing vast distances during the western expansion, as well as for farming, mail delivery and, sadly, instruments of war. They have helped us in numerous ways, and they are as important as every animal who lives on our public lands.

Using the excuse that they are putting a “strain” on the ecosystem is a noxious argument. We put the worst strain of all on the planet. Horses should be protected and preserved, not slaughtered. The BLM is doing a disservice to us all. If they truly are the “managers” of our public lands, the BLM must protect these horses. This agency is at a crossroads now. Does it protect our lands for the benefit of all the creatures that inhabit them, and the public who cares about them?, or does it bow to the wishes of the rich and powerful? The West Douglas horse herd is now the lynchpin.

Don Moore

Grand Junction



A piece of sunlight

On the bottom of the couch

Slides onto the floor.




Nature Park

The Carbondale Nature Park is amazing, it’s like walking into a painting by Monet. At any time, day or night, it is the most utilized park in town. Thanks to our Boy Scouts, it has an ADA ramp from the parking lot, benches for seniors to rest on and the scouts even put culverts in the ditch crossings to help elders get across. It is gratifying to see so many happy dogs, free of the leash and having a good sniff. The field is so flat that we could make the park fully wheelchair accessible with a 4-foot-wide track down the middle of the loop. What a great use of $40k that would be.

John Hoffmann


Tags: #horses #letters #nature park
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