Apartment Canyon 

When I first visited the Crystal River Valley in November of 1986, the old ranch building behind Sopris Lighting/Ajax/Basalt Ski and Bike was in its original state — without the brick addition surrounding it. There was no roundabout at the “old, old” City Market that cashed a check that I forgot to sign. I drove south through wide open grasslands guarded by Mount Sopris, tracing the river’s course where bald eagles and ospreys perched on tree branches as they hunted prey. We bought rural land near Redstone because we didn’t want to live in a suburb. Fast forward to 2022 and Carbondale has become a bedroom/commuter community for Aspen’s workforce. My biggest disappointment is that one’s view of the mountains to the east is now obscured by three-story buildings that block out the sun. Many more are promised to go beside the new City Market. The rural character of Carbondale will never return. Take some pictures now of the grazing cattle before that last pasture on 133 is gone.

Pam Heckert


Substitute appreciation

I am writing to express my gratitude and appreciation for everyone who has worked as a guest teacher at Crystal River Elementary School (CRES) this year. We are so grateful for the 23 individuals who helped support us — we couldn’t have done it without you. Some of you came for one morning and some for three weeks in a row. Some of you signed up for the job weeks in advance and others replied to a 6 a.m. text message from me, desperate for coverage. Sometimes it was an art class, other times first grade, P.E. or even helping in the nurse’s office. Whatever the circumstances, you showed up with a smile. Thank you from all of the CRES staff and families. We appreciate you!

Kendall Reiley

Crystal River Elementary

What can we do?

Do you ever stop to think where your food comes from? It’s best to buy locally-sourced food as much as possible to reduce the number of trucks on the highway delivering food from other states and countries. Plus your food will be much fresher. You’ve probably been to some of the local farmers’ markets, but there is a lot more going on in our community to support local produce and meat. The Carbondale Chamber of Commerce developed a farm map of our area with information on local farms and ranches. Check out the amazing quality food grown right in our backyard at www.bit.ly/farmmapcarbondale 

What can we do? We can buy locally for many good reasons.

Wendy Draina


Salsify is upon us…

…and spreading a LOT in recent years. Neighbors… hello… yellow salsify season is upon us. There are several noxious weeds here in Lions Ridge and the one most likely to spread is the yellow salsify. Sometimes, it’s just one little flower and sometimes it’s a whole large clump of them — five, 10 or more! It starts out for a day or two as a pretty little starburst flower, but then it quickly turns into a huge seedhead, like a giant dandelion… as big as a tennis ball or larger.

Naturally, the wind will spread those hundreds of seeds far and wide. This year, the salsify are just now flowering and seeding. It is the perfect time to try to limit their spread. This plant and its roots will attract both deer and bears to the neighborhood. We had bears sniffing around just last night but, I’m happy to say, they did not find any yellow salsify on our property to eat.

If you see some yellow salsify sprouting on your property, you may want to pull them out by the roots and put them in the trash.

With our nice rain-soaked ground they pull out — roots and all — fairly easily. Yes, I guess that I am a little “OCD” about Weeds… haha… I just figure that our neighborhood will be better off without these. So, hopefully you feel the same and will help out by removing whatever ones you can.


Marty Stouffer



Voting for Coram

Some Democrats in the Third Congressional District (CD3) have changed to unaffiliated as a method to vote against Lauren Boebert in the primary. I, a registered Democrat, am absolutely opposed to Boebert, but Dems should not vote in the Republican primary. Democrats must focus fully on electing someone who can beat Boebert. 

Boebert’s opponent in the primary is Don Coram, a reasonable bipartisan state legislator. But he won’t beat Boebert. She has $4 million in the bank and national support. Coram has less than $100,000 and is unknown.

Boebert beat Scott Tipton by 10,000 votes in the 2020 Republican primary and it’s likely she’ll get more votes this time from her base. So, that means at least 15,000 unaffiliated would need to vote for Coram. That’s a massive amount of votes in a primary.

By voting for Coram, Democrats also send a terrible message to actual independent/unaffiliated voters. This election will hinge on independents — the largest block of voters in CD3. They need to know that Dems are firmly behind the Democratic nominee. A lot of independents don’t like Boebert. 

Boebert can be defeated. She beat Diane Mitsch-Bush by 51% to 45%. But Mitsch-Bush chose not to campaign because of COVID and still gathered nearly 200,000 votes. 

We Dems must put all of our effort — and money — into winning CD3. That work starts with Democrats voting for Democrats in the primary. We can beat Boebert/Trump!

Joe Lewandowski



It’s not the guns

I just picked up The Sopris Sun at the library. Usually I will just ignore some of the items, but this time I have to say that Jean Perry is dead wrong about a lot of things.

First of all, I am so sorry about the shooting in Texas, or any place at all where there is a number of young kids killed or any mass shooting. Jean Perry needs to call and talk to our sheriff in Garfield County — he can probably explain this a lot better than I can. I have talked to him several times about these shootings. For one thing, there has never been one person — young or old — that belonged to the NRA (National Rifle Association) that ever did anything like these mass shootings whatsoever. For another thing, there is a background check when you purchase a gun. It sometimes takes a week for that background check to come back. I know that personally, as I own a pistol. If you want, you can call Roaring Fork Valley Coop and ask them about a background check. 

As far as Lauren Boebert is concerned, you’re only getting what the news says about Lauren. Have you ever talked to her? I have. You need to call her and talk to her. She is a very nice lady. If you’re referring to her guns, she has been maligned by Nancy Pelosi who does nothing for anyone, anywhere. I am not sure if you actually know all the facts or not — apparently you don’t. Illéne Pevec, you might want to talk to Lauren Boebert. I have talked to her. 

I have been here in Carbondale for at least 61 years. I am an independent voter. The vast majority of news regarding Lauren isn’t true. Of course she is an independent thinker and she hasn’t sucked up to Nancy Pelosi for any reason. If you talk to Lauren, then you will understand that not everything you read in newspapers or see on television is what has actually happened. I don’t like Nancy Pelosi, as she has been in Congress for over 40 years and she does have a problem remembering things correctly. Of course, if you’re a newspaper person and you are strictly a Democrat, you will only get one side of the story; her side, which, according to her, is always the right side. B.S. 

I still believe that it’s not the gun, it’s the person with the gun. If these schools had a police officer with a gun then there might not be a shooting in these schools. One officer inside and two outside. 

Maybe Jean Perry and Illéne Pevcc should look into why these school shootings occur everywhere else besides here on the Western Slope. 

Audrey Jane Spaulding


Dear Mitch McConnell,

I am a father of two and have been a middle school teacher for over 20 years. I have had a unique and horrible perspective watching students process mass shootings since before Columbine and now through Uvalde. When I began teaching, we had no lock down or lock out drills. Now, my own children huddle among their peers trying to stay quiet, pushing down the fear that such a thing would ever happen in their community, much less their school. The question they ask me again and again, student after student, is “Why don’t the people who are elected to lead and protect us do something about this threat?” 

As a teacher who hears the voices of these kids who, unable to vote, rely on adults to make good decisions for them, I have passed the question on to elected representatives (including you) for years — and nothing has happened. Correction: increased numbers of mass shootings in churches, schools, hospitals and public transportation are not nothing — they are the obvious, horrible result that legislators have been too cowardly to prevent. 

As the person who controls what legislation can be discussed on the Senate floor, you bear SO much responsibility. I believe you understand the immense power entrusted to you by those whom you represent. Americans are reeling, hurting and wounded from the gun violence that continues to plague our country’s public places. You are not just silencing them, you are IGNORING THEM for the sake of a loud minority who want gun rights over any other rights, including the 5th Amendment’s right to not “be deprived of life… without due process of law.” It is shamefully neglectful of your sacred duty to the American people to do nothing to act on their will and appeal for protection for the freedom to move about safely in their country. Will you not let the majority opinion even be discussed in the Senate?

I watch kids everyday, Sir — they are afraid, and this fear is sitting in their guts at a key time in their development. It is painful to watch, and their trust in you and the institutions that govern this great country are falling into cynicism because of your failure to listen and to act. I can’t appeal to you strongly enough — for myself, my children and my students who all must walk into a school everyday — DO SOMETHING. Ban assault weapons again. Limit magazine size. Close the loopholes in background checks. Keep weapons of war off our streets and out of the hands of people who’ve proven they don’t make good decisions. Why is this hard?  Then go further and sponsor a federal gun trafficking bill (there is no such law today!) to keep US-made guns out of the hands of Latin American drug cartels, which will make those countries and our border safer.

Please — let these issues that are tearing the U.S. apart be debated, amended and approved on the Senate floor so you can proudly create new laws that fit today’s America.

Ted Frisbie