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Letters – May 26, 2021

Locations: Letters Published

Re: Francisco

I am disappointed about the dismissal. This is a perfect case for a trial to sort out what took place on Dec. 24, 2020. The concerned public deserves and requires an explanation and a resolution of this important case for the future of policing and justice in Carbondale.

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Richard Vottero


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Slippery slope

Several letters have been published recently about the proposed Ascendigo Ranch at Missouri Heights. Those opposed have brought up the issue of property taxes as a basis for Garfield County to deny Ascendigo’s land use application. Opponents claim that because Ascendigo is a nonprofit organization exempt from property tax, the County should deny the application and allow the alternative use option – a housing subdivision. This argument is a slippery slope that can impact all 200+ Roaring Fork Valley nonprofits.

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While it is true that nonprofit organizations are generally not required to pay property taxes, what is not considered in this argument is the significant economic benefit that nonprofits bring to our local economy. For example, Ascendigo is one of Carbondale’s largest employers, employing approximately 60 individuals year-round as well as many more on a seasonal basis. The organization shops with local vendors, pays rent to local landlords (who in turn pay property taxes), and partners with local service providers. Clients of Ascendigo and their families eat at local restaurants and shop in local stores. And many who come to town for the seasonal programs offered by Ascendigo stay in area hotels and vacation rentals, including those in Missouri Heights. The many benefits brought by Ascendigo to our local economy far surpass the singular benefit of property taxes that would be generated from a new housing development.

The Roaring Fork Valley has a long history of supporting the nonprofit sector and nonprofits have rewarded residents with not only amazing services but also with substantial economic benefits. If we didn’t allow nonprofits to occupy our valley’s real estate, we would not enjoy such beloved amenities as Colorado Mountain College, ACES’ Rock Bottom Ranch, WindWalkers, Spring Gulch Nordic Center, Anderson Ranch, our local hospitals and the many other important community resources brought to us by the nonprofit community. Ascendigo Ranch will be another of these treasured community resources once the Board of County Commissioners approves this important use.

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Michael J. Carter


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Dear Ascendigo,

Ascendigo’s land use change request has been divisive for the community. Many opposed have donated money, goods, services or have children and/or loved ones on the spectrum. Some chose Missouri Heights because their own disability required that they relocate to a quiet, non-stimulating area. Are your clients’ needs more important than the needs of your neighbors who were already established here? Perhaps the reason that you continue to get so much pushback is because you continue to choose residential neighborhoods, which are just not compatible with what you are trying to do.

This community supported you well before you could afford a $3.9 million piece of land and when 10-13 million dollar build-outs weren’t in the works. You are in jeopardy of permanently fracturing the relationships that have helped you prosper thus far. The community, your community, has spoken (~560 people to date).

Your proposed project doesn’t fit with an educational use. Your own history and IRS tax filings show that. Your project would bring a continuously lit parking lot to the backyard of a residential neighborhood, provide unacceptable levels of traffic and noise, disrupt the rural feeling that we all bought homes in Missouri Heights for and bring a wildcard to the most extreme wildfire-prone area in our county, all without proper egress.

Your traffic study and water tests revealed problems. What do you have to gain? Nothing is worth destroying the good name of your company. You can still come out of this intact, with a community behind you. Your actions speak louder than words. Please open up your heart and return to the community that has supported you since the start. Your clients do deserve a camp, just in the right location that won’t further divide and fracture our community and interfere with the enjoyment of people’s property.

Natasha Soby

Missouri Heights

Proud opportunity

First, let me say I do have an interest in the proposed Ascendigo Camp in Missouri Heights. My autistic 19-year-old daughter who can’t speak and requires 24/7 one-on-one care receives daily therapy through Ascendigo. She also attends camp for several weeks in the summer and no, we are not rich. Ascendigo has a generous scholarship fund that benefits many families including ours. There is a reason families bring their autistic kids here from all over the country. There is virtually no other place that offers similar high-quality support and experiences for the autism community. Ascendigo gives these kids the opportunity to do outdoor activities that would seem impossible without their specialized ability to make miracles happen. Skiing, horseback riding, river rafting, wakeboarding, etc. are things we never dreamed possible for my daughter.

I read the daily negative letters in the papers that seem never-ending and often repeated. If Missouri Heights is a barren, waterless, fire hazard, windswept wasteland why does anyone live there? Should the elderly, disabled and children not be allowed to live in this dangerous area?

The Ascendigo property is a very large 125-acre site and I can’t imagine an already zoned 23 house development would be preferred but then I think the negative letters would also flood in opposing that too. I guess Missouri Heights is just OK for the people that already live there.

Ascendigo is a beacon of hope and an amazing accomplishment for so many autism-affected families throughout the country, and right here in our community. Rather than attacking this project, I hope the whole Roaring Fork Valley can be proud to have this opportunity to do something truly special for so many kids and families in need in this beautiful place.

Robert Manning

Old Snowmass

Holy Cross

As a mother and a skier, I urge you to take action against climate change by voting in the current board election for our electric utility, Holy Cross Energy. Holy Cross provides stable, reliable and affordable power with an increasingly clean energy supply. Two incumbent board members, Bob Gardner and Kristen Bertuglia, are each running for one more term to complete the amazing transition to renewable energy. And a newcomer in the Northern District – Kristen Hartel – is being supported by the same coalition that backs Kristen B. and Bob. Your ballot should have arrived in the mail. Please vote by June 7 for Bob Gardner, Kristen Bertuglia and Kristen Hartel.

Tarn Udall


Qualified candidates

It’s not easy to find large-scale, meaningful ways to tackle the climate problem. But, if you’re a customer of Holy Cross Energy, you have that opportunity by mail-in ballot right now to vote for directors who will prioritize renewable energy. There are several qualified candidates on the ballot who care about climate. Bob Gardner was one of the original architects of reform, laying the foundation for Holy Cross’s 100% carbon-free commitment. Brian Davies brings a wealth of technology and energy security knowledge. Kristen Hartel and Kristen Bertuglia will make renewable energy a top priority. Please vote and mail your ballot by June 4!

Chris Lane


‘60s scents

Growing up boomer

Folgers and Marlboros

Daybreak’s aroma

JM Jesse

Glenwood Springs

Untitled haiku

The trees are buzzing

Against the sky float black specks

Among the blossoms



Tags: #Ascendigo #Holy Cross #letters #poetry
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