Insurance and construction

Future generations will look back on the insurance industry of today with the same contempt we view the money changers of days gone by.

“How did they get away with it?” our descendants will ask. “They made a fortune selling air.”

Insurance companies have actuaries examine the risk a potential client would pose for filing a claim. If that possibility is high, the company will either refuse to write the policy or charge prohibitively expensive premiums. Since the unprecedented wildfires of 2020, Colorado has been adjudged to be a state with high fire probability. 

In Colorado, this practice is preventing the construction of the much-needed affordable housing, or any dwellings for that matter. Banks won’t approve a mortgage for a home that’s uninsured. How many of us can afford to pay cash on the barrelhead for a new home? This issue is particularly acute here in the high country where affordable housing is scarce.

One year after the Marshall Fire that destroyed over 1,000 homes in Boulder County, only one family has been able to rebuild and move into their new home. High construction costs have a great deal to do with this, but insurance problems have played a role.

The state legislature has convened and Representative Judy Amabile of Boulder will propose a state supported “last resort” fire insurance plan. Colorado is one of only 13 states that doesn’t have one. For a steep price, it’ll provide fire coverage for homeowners for whom private insurance is unavailable.

If you’re facing this issue and could benefit from a state supported homeowner’s insurance, contact state Sen. Dylan Roberts and Rep. Elizabeth Velasco and ask for their support.

Fred Malo Jr., Carbondale

Thompson Divide

One of the main reasons I am raising my kids in the Colorado high country is because of access to our incredible and beautiful public lands. I am grateful and humbled that we get to call these lands “our backyard.” I want to ensure that these lands are protected so my kids and future generations have the opportunity to explore, enjoy and admire these amazing lands as well. There is nothing better than the smile, giggle or inquisitive question from my toddler about something we’ve seen while we’re out hiking, skiing or rafting in our public lands. 

The Thompson Divide, nearly a quarter of a million acres just outside of town, is one of our favorite areas to explore and enjoy. I am relieved to hear that there’s a proposal by the Biden Administration to temporarily protect it from new oil and gas leasing. I would like to see permanent protection for the area, but this is a good first step. I’ve seen lots of yard signs around town asking for the protection of Thompson Divide, so I know many of my neighbors feel the same way.

By protecting the Thompson Divide we will safeguard multiple watersheds, vast forest lands and keep air quality pristine. Clean water, lands and air are critical to raising healthy kids and healthy communities. As a CSA shareholder from the North Fork Valley, the produce we get to enjoy every summer is grown from the clean waters of the Thompson Divide — healthy foods equals healthy kids. 

The protected lands will also support healthy animal populations and the area is a favorite location for my family to look for wildlife while recreating on public lands. For all these reasons and more, I support the Thompson Divide mineral withdrawal. 

I hope the proposal to protect Thompson Divide goes through and that it will be followed by permanent protection in the not-too-distant future!

Lindsay Fallon, Carbondale

Holiday Basket thanks

Although this letter is somewhat tardy, the message of gratitude remains. The Holiday Baskets Program, run entirely by more than 300 volunteers, was once again a joyful community effort. For over 40 years, this program has provided new toys, gifts and food for people in need in our valley. 

The response this year was extremely generous and heartwarming, with many individuals and groups participating for the first time, enabling us to serve 265 families (1,144 individuals). This includes gifting over $50,000 worth of City Market food cards. 

In addition to all our volunteers, I especially wish to thank our Steering Committee: Elaine Bonds, Marsha Cook, Kathy Dreher, Suzi Jenkins, Elizabeth Parker and Bobbi Teliska — they spent many, many hours and lots of energy matching families with Holiday Angels and making sure all the gift bags were ready on pick-up day. 

We also thank the 14 agencies who referred the families and delivered their gift bags. We are extremely grateful to Mike Garbarini who once again entered all the applications online so that the committee could operate virtually. We greatly appreciate the Aspen Chapel for serving as a drop-off site for gift bags and wrapping and St. Peter’s of the Valley in Basalt for providing space in which to coordinate and distribute the thousands of gifts and gift cards. 

A quote from Angela Hanley, English in Action staff member, summarizes the hopes of the Holiday Baskets Program: “We are grateful to all the Holiday Baskets volunteers and donors for their generosity, and the greater message of care and compassion this program communicates in our valley.”

Anne Blackwell, Carbondale


Letter policy: Please limit your letters to 500 words. We are committed to including all perspectives in The Sopris Sun. If your letter does not appear, it may be because of space limitations in the paper or because other letters we printed expressed the same idea or point of view. Letters are due by noon on the Monday before we go to print.