The Chris Klug Foundation (CKF) recently had the honor to be a part of the 52nd TCS New York City Marathon. We were so grateful to be one of over 500 charity partners, with 13 runners completing the race. We also participated in the Expo, where we had the opportunity to speak with the 140,000 plus attendees about the importance of organ, eye and tissue donation.

We would like to express our extreme gratitude and appreciation for our 13 runners, including our nine Colorado locals: Rocio De La Cruz, Charlie Singer, Charles Lucarelli, Sarah Cole, May Selby, Christy Mahon, Jason Anderson, Max Rispoli, Jill Canning and Erica Rasmussen. We were honored to be joined by 1K12M (1 Kidney 12 Marathons) athletes, Hilary Baude and Matt Cavanaugh, as well as living liver recipient and 2023 CKF Bounce Back Give Back award winner, Dave Galbenski.

We want to recognize and thank our sponsors, Aspen Meadows Resort, for supporting our team, and rabbit for providing the team kits.

The NYC Marathon is an incredible experience. Watching 51,000 plus runners be supported by five boroughs worth of cheering spectators is the uplifting human success story we all need right now. Over 130 countries and all 50 states were represented! Every year, we are inspired by the stories we hear from racers. This year’s tales included: a senior runner who had an appointment to be an altruistic kidney donor following the race; a runner who proudly wore a QR code to help her kidney recipient find a second kidney; and those of our own runners, including living kidney donors, Baude and Cavanaugh, who are on a mission to complete 12 marathons each this year in honor of living donation, and Galbenski, who celebrated 10 years from his diagnosis by running his first marathon back since receiving a lifesaving liver from his living donor, Mark, in 2019.

We are awestruck by the amazing capacity of people and so honored to see how much good is

still out there.

Chris Klug Foundation

‘The Minutes’

I expected to be able to relate to Tracy Letts’ “The Minutes,” now running at Carbondale’s Thunder River Theatre. The play is about a small-town board of trustees meeting.
My experience as a staff writer for the Glenwood Post, covering Rifle, Silt and New Castle, and my involvement in town matters here in Carbondale, had me prepared. I recall struggling to keep my eyes open while trustees and staff droned on about town budgets and liquor license approvals, wondering how I was going to make any of this interesting or relevant to my readers when I got back to the newsroom facing deadline pressure.

If only those meetings had been as confrontational and volatile as the Big Cherry get-togethers in “The Minutes.” The vast majority of the play revolved around occasionally hilarious agenda items, like a martial arts smackdown at the town’s annual festival and a fountain and statue in the town square.

Then, a dark cloud passed over the proceedings as the town fathers came to grips with a typically sordid tale of how white Europeans have conducted genocide against the Native Americans since they infested this continent in 1492.

I’ve been exposed to a lot of this lately. I’ve been watching the Ken Burns’ documentary, “The American Buffalo,” where the white invaders, using their rifles and horses, slaughtered the nearly 60 million bison that roamed the American prairies in 1800 to the point where they were almost extinct in less than a century.

Burns showed pictures of mountains of rotting carcasses. All the whites used from the dead buffalo were the hides and the tongues, which were considered a delicacy in Europe. When the Native Americans killed a bison, they used every part of it. It was considered sacrilege to waste any. When the whites wiped them out, they destroyed the Native Americans’ means of sustenance.

On Friday, I went to the Crystal Theatre to see Martin Scorsese’s film “The Killers of the Flower Moon.” It’s about how greedy, white supremacist whites methodically murdered Osage Native Americans in Oklahoma so they could inherit the rights to their oil wells.

All this has left me with the impression that European-descended Americans are the most gawdawful critters that have ever inhabited this planet. And, I haven’t even considered slavery lately. Conservatives and Christian nationalists say we shouldn’t teach about these atrocities in school. We should lie to our children so they come to believe that everything that’s white is wonderful. Is that the way we learn from our mistakes? I left TRTC moved and shaken. That’s as it should be.

Fred Malo Jr, Carbondale

Public comment

I attended my first Garfield County commissioners meeting on Nov. 8 to voice my opinion about their upcoming library board decision. 

Commissioners take public comment at the beginning of every meeting. It’s supposed to be a time for anyone to speak up to their elected officials about any topic that concerns them. 

It’s already intimidating to make a recorded and streamed public comment in front of the commissioners and a room full of people. What made this experience even more intimidating was the behavior of at least one commissioner during what should have been a welcoming forum for the public. 

Commissioner Mike Samson took time away from the public comment portion of the meeting to spew his opinion repeatedly and emotionally while an unsuspecting citizen sat nervously, but politely while he “blew his stack.” You can watch him by visiting and clicking on the Nov. 8 meeting. 

It’s fine for Mr. Samson and his fellow commissioners to express their opinions, but I think they should wait to do so until after everyone has had a chance to speak, not while we’re still sitting at the table! 

You may be trying to  intimidate us but we’re going to keep coming to your meetings and letting you know what we think. We are also going to rally our friends and neighbors to go to the polls when the time comes to elect new commissioners who will treat their constituents with more respect. 

Pat Fitzpatrick, Carbondale

Main St. (Carbondale) vs Wall St. (USFS)

“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.” – Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Oppression is a state of being subject to unjust treatment or control. 

Drastic measures are necessary to have the elephant (US Forest Service) get their foot off the mouse (the community of Carbondale, population roughly 6,600)! The Forest Service (USFS) continues to disregard vocal outrage concerning plans to begin demolition and construction on their property located on Main Street in early 2024. The USFS deceitfully bypassed the need for adequate public input in November 2019, originally using a categorical exclusion of “repair and maintenance” reserved for minor projects such as painting and roofing contracts. Clearly this classification is not appropriate for a $6.3 million administrative site’s redevelopment in the heart of downtown Carbondale. In letters submitted to Colorado’s congressional representatives, the USFS believes this was “the appropriate level of analysis,” and falsely claims, “our staff has spent significant time coordinating with the town of Carbondale about the project since 2019.” 

The Carbondale board of trustees (BOT) recently endorsed a detailed letter that was submitted to Scott Fitzwilliams, the White River National Forest supervisor. The BOT raised concerns about the deceitful categorical exclusion and a failure to list the project on the USFS website along with Butler Creek culvert replacements, etcetera. The Carbondale project was belatedly added to the USFS website on Sept. 25. A contract was awarded on Sept. 29. The BOT believe USFS plans are “a rushed process” with “a lack of formal comment period.” The BOT endorsed a need “to incorporate more public comments” to pursue a “mutually beneficial collaboration.” 

As reported in the Aspen Daily News on Oct. 7, Fitzwilliams “acknowledged that the level of community concerns suggests extra discussion would have been helpful.”

Please call your three congressional representatives to demand the USFS place their redevelopment plans on hold to allow all stakeholders to engage in a mutually beneficial collaboration to maintain the integrity of our beloved community. Time is of the essence!

Jim Coddington, Carbondale 

Library board

Shame on the Garfield County commissioners. They know that Colorado law prohibits them

from changing decisions made by the library trustees who refused to limit access to books in our

libraries. Nevertheless, they are stepping onto a path of intimidation and harassment when they

refuse to accept the trustees’ recommendation to fill a vacancy on the library board, and instead

ask for legal advice to see whether they can remove all of the trustees because the commissioners don’t agree with their decisions. And, lest we forget, the trustees were appointed by these same commissioners. 

The commissioners know that Colorado law does not allow for trustees to be removed because of a difference of opinion on book choices. If we accept that the commissioners can act in this illegal way, how will they draw the line with the next request to ban or limit access to a book? 

Whose judgment do you want applied when a request comes in to limit access to other materials that touch on race, sexuality, religion, politics, history or even comedy? This is the first attempt to control our access to books in Garfield County. I ask you, if we quietly accede to these actions how then can we stop attempts to ban or limit books like “To Kill a Mockingbird”, “A Brave New World”, “Beloved” and “1984”? These are all books that people sought to ban from libraries and schools. 

To take any step in the direction to ban or limit access, is a step in the wrong direction. To paraphrase Martin Neiemoller’s message of personal responsibility in the face of persecution and suppression, if no one speaks for these books today and they are taken from us, then when they come for your favorite books there will be no one left that can speak for them.

Ellen Dole, Glenwood Springs

Hamas goals

Judaism and the State of Israel are not the same thing. So says Yakov M. Rabkin, Professor Emeritus of

History at the Université of Montréal. I highly recommend his article for context (  

“As Israeli society has moved steadily to the right, it has consolidated the support of right-wing extremists and racists, including antisemites, around the world, such as white supremacists in the United States,” Yakov’s piece reads. Israel began as a “settler colony” in 1947. Ethnic cleansing began and continues to this day. America and Australia did the same.

I have yet to see any attempt at describing why Hamas made their attack or what they hoped to accomplish. Hamas wanted to provoke Israel to overreact, which Betanyahu is doing. The unmitigated violence has shocked the world. Hamas is expecting Israel to self-destruct. It’s possible. They are also hoping the world’s nations will find a way to force a stop to the so-called “war.” I say so-called war because wars are fought between nations. The Palestinians in the occupied territories are wards of Israel. By law, it is the obligation of the controlling authority to ensure their protection and well-being. Israel has not.

The United Nations (UN) has a long history of stepping into conflicts to stop violence. Either the UN, or perhaps NATO (North American Treaty Organization), should come in to stop the attacks, the killing and the destruction. The government of Israel has shown itself to lie outside the bounds of a civilized society. As Yakov Rabkin explained, the actions of Israel are creating a rise of antisemitism worldwide. The ethnicity and religion of Judaism is being damaged severely.

Patrick Hunter, Carbondale

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