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Letters – May 11, 2023

Locations: Letters, Opinion Published

Re: Boebert country
I direct this email message to Mr. Menard as an individual and your rag of a publication as a group. I am a resident of the southwest corner of Colorado (Montezuma County) and I am PROUD to say that Rep. Boebert is VERY POPULAR in our little corner of Colorado. Mr. Menard is obviously a true liberal implant from some other area or state. His op piece on Rep. Boebert’s husband and other ATV owners/drivers was full of liberal talking points, jargon and misinformation. While I do not own or operate an ATV, many of my friends and relatives do. I prefer riding a mountain bike and I do have to say that most of the people (probably left-leaning individuals) that I meet on the trail are quite rude, inconsiderate and haughty. I just feel that perhaps Mr. Menard should clean up his own backyard before he casts shade on others of a different view than his own.

Melanie Filener

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Lifelong resident Montezuma County

Not “redneck “ but proud of my rural heritage

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Solar follow-up
To clarify last week’s letter regarding local onsite solar electricity and Holy Cross Energy’s rates: I believe onsite solar is desirable. Electricity from solar farms and wind farms is often less expensive, but onsite solar has some obvious benefits. And while HCE and Xcel may be saturated with renewables sometimes, Colorado and the Rocky Mountain West are not yet.

So how to, and who should, compensate owners of onsite solar for this? I think the Nature Conservancy should buy down costs. It’s called the “world’s largest conservation organization” and is publishing maps showing all the places they think we shouldn’t put renewables. Or other land preservation organizations should pay. In some places, governments subsidize onsite solar more than other types. In Switzerland, solar installed to provide more winter output (steeper south tilts) gets extra incentives.

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But we can’t hold our breath for these sensible policies, so hopefully HCE and the local solar industry can figure out some compromise that keeps local solar on an upswing. But we all need to recognize that “100% renewable” Glenwood Springs and Aspen, the less-misleading “net-zero” buildings and all onsite photovoltaic systems are backed up from off-site renewables, stored renewables or fossil fuels. This costs something, and codes and policies need to consider it. 

Fred Porter, Carbondale

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Just dandy
As Dandelion Day approaches, I’d like to share what this day means to me, with gratitude for where it came from and where it’s going!

To start off, this event was born out of a mission: to protect our land, water and children from pesticides being sprayed in our parks. The dandelion was adopted as the mascot. Special thanks to Doc Phillips for leading and the community supporting. 

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This town tradition has been passed down through many hands, a grassroots labor of love. I’d like to recognize the work of the women who passed the event to me, Alyssa Reindel, Suzanne Gray, Stacy Stein and Candace Goodwin.

Today, this Spring Jubilee of Sustainability has a new team of leaders. I want to thank, from the bottom of my heart, the rock star team that is going to make Dandelion Day a roaring good time this year! Thank you Quinn Port, Kat McAfee and Luke Wander for not only carrying on this event, but adding your magic. I’m excited for their hard work to bloom on May 13!

As difficult as it is to write a short list, I’d like to acknowledge the biggest supporters of Dandelion Day who helped me over the years: Amy Kimberly and Carbondale Arts for bringing Dandelion Day under their umbrella; KDNK for airwave outreach and hosting the Beer Garden; Bill Flanigan for the groovy sound system; Evergreen Events making it zero-waste; Eric Brendlinger, Steve Weaver, George Wear and Richard Vottero for continued assistance and volunteering; Carbondale’s African drummers and dancers and Bonedale Flashmob for your arts; MANA Foods for hosting the plant sale in 2020’s pandemic, and supporting local agriculture year-round.

Shout-out to all the farmers and ranchers working hard to keep the heritage of the land, and stewarding it into the future! You make Dandelion Day the plant extravaganza that it’s known for, the green heart at the center.

Can you believe the Town almost let Dandelion Day disappear?! Hearing this event was optional when its succession was in question years ago lit a fire in me to continue its legacy. Today, Carbondale’s Environmental Board is the largest contributor to the event, a commitment of the Town’s belief in its inherent value. Thank you Environmental Board for your support! One day I hope Dandelion Day gets to see its 50th and 100th anniversary like its predecessors, Mountain Fair and Potato Day!

I’m grateful for the opportunity I had to organize and serve this inspiring community. It was not easy to say goodbye to this event, or town. I developed as a person putting on this daunting, and highly rewarding event for five years. It’s a comfort that this year’s team fully embraced Dandelion Day’s legacy, and have organized a very special day for you all to enjoy. 

Get out there, join the Parade of Species, grab your plant starts and celebrate spring and sustainability the Carbondale way. 

With love,

Natalie Rae, Portland

ATVs in Marble
If the commissioners wanted to reapprove ATV use on County Road 3 (CR3) near Marble, they would have during their meeting last week. The agenda even included a blank form of the resolution to approve. As a concession to ATV opponents, the commissioners have made the approval an annual event. The fact that they have left the reapproval to such a late date shows that they recognize serious concerns.

It is highly ironic that Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) is considering banning paddleboarding on Beaver Lake near Marble, while the Gunnison commissioners are considering ATV traffic on adjacent CR3. It is hard to find a lower impact, silent, human-powered activity which only temporarily disturbs the water. Try to imagine a higher impact activity than ATVs, which affect the environment in multiple ways, quality of life for residents and visitors and even property values.

In defense of CPW, of all the agencies which regulate this area, they are the only ones with a clear mission statement. This allowed them to make the simple decision to not allow parking for ATVs at Beaver Lake. The paddleboarding issue will be based on the management of the lake as a state wildlife area, not as a state park. 

Parking for ATV unloading is the commissioner’s first consideration. As absentee managers, the commissioners are probably not aware that on a typical summer weekend, cars drive up to Marble and then leave after searching in vain for a parking space. ATVs take two to three parking spaces.

Provision of an unloading site at Marble Mill Site Park, a national historic site, is part of the plan to allow ATVs on CR3. Efforts were made to connect the commissioners with the Small Business Administration and History Colorado. Both agencies enforce the covenants which are violated by the parking plan. There was no mention at the meeting that ATV unloading would be available at Mill Site Park.

Given parking restrictions by CPW, the Town of Marble and Gunnison County, the only other possible unloading site is at the base of Daniels Hill. The Gunnison County public works director addressed efforts to provide parking there. He did not mention that the right-of-way there does not even allow enough space for ATV trailers to turn around.

Kevin Warner, district ranger for the Forest Service, stated that there was no plan for that agency to provide a parking lot there, citing the opposition of the Lead King Loop Study Committee. Another consideration was the possibility of a Town of Marble management program for ATV parking. It was mentioned that moving the ATV parking across the street was still within the Mill Site Park and thus continues to violate covenants.

There continues to be an idea that an ATV management program could be funded by parking fees. The covenants at Mill Site Park do not allow any commercial operations. This is why the Town of Marble attempted to modify the covenants. In fact, the ATV lobby has successfully passed a state resolution which prohibits any state, county or local group from imposing any additional fees to access public lands. It is amazing that this fact goes unnoticed.

Did you know that Marble took back their town for a weekend last summer? In order to put on the wonderful and highly attended Marble Fest, the town actually banned ATV parking at the Mill Site Park for the weekend. This meant that CR3, below the town where ATV traffic is not allowed, was the site of dozens of illegal drivers parking for ATV unloading, extending for miles all the way to Bogan Flats. It is sad that the law has to be violated for townspeople and visitors to enjoy their park. 

The commissioner’s main concern is enforcement of a closure of CR3 to ATVs. In fact, closure is the easiest thing to enforce and would take care of the parking problems and ease impact to the Lead King Loop. Gunnison County Sheriff Adam Murdie could easily relocate their sole deputy on the north side of the mountains to existing facilities in Marble. Somerset, where the deputy is currently stationed, is smaller by at least one order of magnitude.

Momentum exists now to return the quality to Marble and to reinvite local residents and visitors who have written it off as a haven for noisy machines. The commissioners will definitely have a decision in the next couple weeks. Last Chance. Email Gunnison County Sheriff Adam Murdie,, and the commissioners, 

Alex Menard, Marble

Rams Run
On April 27, Crystal River Elementary School (CRES) celebrated the 10th Annual Rams Run! Parents, teachers, and CRES alumni looked on or joined in, while students from every grade took the course in matching shirts throughout the day, running to music and raising money for the Specials programs at their school. It was wonderful to see the kids taking pride in being a Ram, and feeling empowered to support the programs that expand their awareness, experiences and knowledge. To commemorate the milestone 10th annual event, we had a record number of incredible sponsors! There were 19 in total, and we want to thank them sincerely, beginning with our amazing Title Sponsor donating $1,000: Alpine Bank! Without the support of our sponsors, volunteers and staff, the event wouldn’t be possible. We would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to Ridge Runner Construction, Stratus Group, Comfort Dental, Coldwell Banker Mason Morse broker Carly Passchier, Valley Ortho, Cheney Plumbing and Heating, CUC Construction, Level Build Co., Katie J Photography, Imperio Restaurant, EV Enterprises, SGM, Key Elements Construction, TE Builders, Rocky Mountain Ranch Services, Roaring Fork Oral Surgery, Artisan Fine Finishing and Rebekah Group. Your generous donations to Rams Run are deeply appreciated and the impact reverberates far beyond the event itself. 

I would also like to extend heaps of gratitude to Sue Rollyson for her time, energy and dedication to our schools. She spent the bulk of the day taking Rams Run photos, and the front page spread on the event in last week’s edition of the paper was tremendous. 

With sincere gratitude,

Autumn Evans-Lough, Carbondale

Arbor Day thanks
It was a real pleasure to attend the Tree Board’s recent tree planting event at the Thompson House Museum. The combination of education, celebration of the lives of two beloved board members, and neighborly social occasion — all taking place on the lawn of Carbondale’s most beautiful historic home — well, it just couldn’t have been a better way to spend the morning. I’m sure that the many people that attended would agree. Thank you, Tree Board and Town of C’dale for another memorable event.

Linda Criswell, Carbondale

Appreciating teachers
It’s Teacher Appreciation Week and each one of you deserves all the accolades in the world. Though every single member of our RFSD family is important, this week provides a special opportunity for all of us to express the innumerable reasons why we are grateful for the special people who work so hard and passionately to educate our students: our teachers.

Some of you have heard my story about how fortunate I was to have a teacher and mentor who I often credit for changing the trajectory of my life. Thanks to him, I enrolled in college. At that point, I recognized that he had already significantly impacted my life, and I wanted to have that same kind of impact on the lives of others. It is because of him that I became a teacher. I have been lucky to be a student of countless educators who have positively impacted my life.

I am confident that you each have at least one teacher who left a lasting impression on you and if you’re anything like me, you have way more than just one. I also know that each of you are making a difference in the lives of our students in the Roaring Fork Schools every single day.

In honor of National Teacher Appreciation Week, on behalf of the RFSD Board of Education and Executive Leadership Team, I want to thank our teachers for all you do for our students. We cannot fulfill our mission without you.

Jesús G. Rodríguez, Ed.D., RFSD Superintendent

Tags: #Alex Menard #ATVs #Autumn Evans-Lough #Dandelion Day #Fred Porter #Jesús Rodríguez #letters #Linda Criswell #lte #Marble #Melanie Filener #Natalie Rae
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