Happy New Year 

January has already come and gone. They say time flies and we are watching it happen.

Carbondale Homeless Assistance is still very active in our Community. Although “different,” 2021 still showed the need for our help. We are grateful to all of those who have contributed to our program. We could not exist without your donations. Those funds help us provide City Market cards, gas cards, gift cards, the shower program, emergency overnight accommodations, pet care and other miscellaneous items. The clothing and gear you donate to Ragged Mountain Sports also helps, as they in turn donate to Carbondale Homeless Assistance.

Please, please, please continue to donate. Send checks or gift cards (City Market, Dos Gringos, Subway, Peppino’s, White House Pizza) to Carbondale Homeless Assistance at 711 Main St, Carbondale. Or you can VENMO @CarbondaleHomelessAssistance or direct deposit to Carbondale Homeless Assistance at any Alpine Bank.

Unhoused persons in our community are taking advantage of the daily hygiene program that we offer with shower passes at the Rec Center. Those in need have met the criteria and are given the opportunity to use the facility as needed. Even during restrictions imposed for health concerns, we were able to assist and provide showers.

During the extreme cold and other emergencies, we continue to assist with clothing and outerwear appropriate for the weather conditions. Our local motels, the Days Inn and Comfort Inn, assist us with discounted accommodations whenever possible. We are very grateful to Michael Miernicki at Days Inn and Emily Ravn at Comfort Inn for their personal involvement with our program. 

It is with heartfelt gratitude that we thank you for your continued support.

Here’s to a healthy and happy 2022.

Lynn Kirchner 


Heat pumps

Thanks to The Sopris Sun for highlighting heat pumps for electric heating in some new buildings in the Roaring Fork Valley (Jan. 27 issue). Gas heat is a major source of climate-disrupting emissions here. Compared to burning gas (plus upstream leaking and venting), heat pumps greatly reduce global warming emissions. This advantage gets better as more solar, and particularly wind, is installed on our electricity supply. While it’s kind of sad that Holy Cross Energy issued only 20 heat pump rebates last year, this conversion is just getting started here.

This is not just a Roaring Fork Valley thing. Other regions and countries are pulling ahead. In the Netherlands last year, in areas where gas is available, 90% of all new buildings installed electric heating instead. They have plans for two million heat pumps in a decade in their little country. Europe is installing more “natural refrigerant” heat pumps, too. I spent a month in Vermont last year, and outdoor units for heat pumps were popping up on many older buildings.

We need heating conversion programs which result in much higher participation. A few entities seem to be having success with centralized contracting for multiple energy retrofits using leasing models, and there are probably other approaches. This is instead of trying to pile greater rebates and credits on the current model of custom assessments and applications, bespoke financing, and multiple contractors bidding on each home or business.

A traditional conservative question is, “Why can’t we let ‘the market’ do this?” It might, if we added the emissions damage from fossil fuels to gas rates. At the low-end compromise rate of $75/ton of damage from CO2 emissions (plus 70% or so to account for 2.5% methane venting and leaking), retail heating gas rates would nearly double from this winter’s relatively high level.

More recent estimates of this form of deficit spending are $200/ton for current and future global damage and disruption. To compensate, current gas rates would need to triple! One projection estimated $400/ton would be needed to induce change quickly enough. Others say higher yet. Obviously, no one is going to impose these fees, so successful “programs” are needed instead.

Our downvalley neighbors can participate. Perhaps someone would provide funds for vocational and training facilities. Beyond current HFC refrigerants, natural refrigerants for heat pumps can be high-pressure (CO2), flammable (propane) or toxic (ammonia). These issues are dealt with routinely by the gas industry. Also, the gold standard in heat pumps utilizes drilled geoexchange boreholes, which also require some skills familiar to the gas industry.

Fred Porter


Elizabeth Velasco for HD-57

I first met Elizabeth Velasco in 2009 at the high school graduation of her younger brother. It was a proud moment in my tenure as Headmaster of the Vail Ski & Snowboard Academy, and I stayed in touch with the family ever since. Fast forward to 2022, I could not be more thrilled to see Elizabeth gearing up to represent House District 57, a tri-county mash-up of Pitkin, Garfield and a portion of Eagle County. She is driven, well-researched, abundantly hopeful and full of creative solutions. She has a vision for a prosperous economy and she is uniquely positioned to execute that vision, so it works for all her constituents. She is a policy super-nerd but can have a casual conversation that makes you feel like a part of her team. 

On her website (www.elizabethforcolorado.com), Elizabeth outlines key areas that will improve quality of life for her neighbors and friends while supporting her points with compelling data. Elizabeth has worked in the field as a firefighter and she has worked in the office as a small-business owner. She has heard stories in English and Spanish from community members that have been prosperous and those that struggle every day. She has built a reputation as a grassroots advocate and activist, and from that foundation she now attacks her first big role in policy. She is not a corporate executive from a wealthy family, blind to the challenges of everyday people. She is on the front lines, and she has been on the front lines. 

If you have not yet gotten to know Elizabeth, you should. Her path to citizenship took 23 years, but she never gave up and she crushed that goal. Elizabeth’s story is an inspiration to young leaders of all backgrounds, perspectives and values, but especially for awakening Latina leaders and women of color across the state of Colorado. I hope you will make time today to learn more about Elizabeth, her American Dream, and how you can get involved in supporting her victory in HD-57. 

Geoff Grimmer


United truckers

High time we made a stand, and shook off the views of the common man,

The love train rides from coast to coast, DJ’s the man we love the most!

This is the opening stanza from an ‘80’s song by Tears for Fears, “Sowing the Seeds of Love.” You may have become aware of what is happening across the Provinces of Canada, and especially in Ottawa, where thousands of people have gathered in the downtown area.

Could you be, could you be squeaky clean? And smash any hopes of Democracy.

As the headline says you’re free to choose, but there’s egg on your face and mud on your shoes.

They are there to support independent truckers, who are making a stand against medical mandates. The truckers have been told that they are free to choose getting another jab (most have had the first round), or no job. Is that a choice in a democracy?

Politician granny with your high ideas, have you no idea how the majority feels? So without love and a promised land, we’re fools to the rules of a government plan.

The prime minister of Canada has described the gathering of over 50,000 semi trucks, vans, cars and tractors, and several tens of thousands of people, as a racist, violent and fringe minority, saying their message is hateful and unacceptable.

Feel the pain, talk about it. If you’re a worried man, then shout about it. Open hearts, feel about it. Open minds, think about it. Everyone, read about it. Everyone, scream about it. We’re sowing the seeds of love.

The real story will not be in the mainstream media — look to Rumble, BitChute or YouTube. And keep your ears open. In the next few weeks, you might hear the honks for freedom driving down I-70.

Diana Alcantara