Thanks Sopris Sun
Thanks for making “GHOSTS, GOBLINS, AND GHOULS” available for the Roaring Fork Valley children on the Works in Progress page of The Sopris Sun on Oct. 26. 

I hope lots of them danced to it in costume this Halloween. It may even get a few of them interested in making music.

Clay Boland, Carbondale

Bear in mind
It’s a sad truth but harsh reality that the Aspen bear got euthanized because it swiped and injured a security guard. It is clear that when bears injure a person, their fate is sealed despite actions and circumstances. It becomes a liability and, sadly, that is Colorado Public Wildlife’s policy and their officers can’t stray from that because of lawsuits.

Although we had excellent natural food sources this year — only a few bears have been looking for trash lures or attractants — there is still no reason to let our guard down and be less attentive; especially now as it gets colder and food gets scarce due to freezing temperatures. We must be vigilant, taking extra precautions by caring for human safety first, and remain proactive to prevent bears from finding themselves in this predicament. 

Roaring Fork Valley Bear Coalition has provided bilingual Bear Aware BearWise® education as a top priority since 2019. We have assisted Aspen and Roaring Fork Valley community members with bear-resistant trash cans, electrified doormats, bear spray, blaster sirens, stickers, magnets, backpacks, NeighBearHood bear alert yard signs and banners.

Being hands-on and boots on the ground, providing innovative and solution-based proactive tools for community members has proven beneficial. We collaborate with the Boy and Girl Scouts Troops of Aspen, local law enforcement, CPW and other community groups. 

Our bear info booth at local community and farmers markets throughout the RF Valley has positively impacted our residents and visitors.

We are a volunteer-based nonprofit 501(c)(3), if you need help or would like to get involved, please contact: Daniela Kohl 305-710-2977,, or find more information at 

Daniela Kohl
Roaring Fork Bears

RE: Wildlife McCarthyism
I don’t know if a particular current program, policy or project inspired Dale Will to pen his column highlighting “Wildlife McCarthyism,” but it is rampant in opposition to renewable energy projects. Though the Atlantic coast is a long way from here, you may have heard the hysterical cries that offshore wind development is “killing whales” and “destroying whale habitat,” among other impacts. But, that “Wildlife McCarthyism” drowns out the measured responses of experienced observers of the ocean. 

A Nantucket captain of whale-watching ecotour boats said, “No one denies that there are some impacts … The sonic blasting used by the oil and gas industries is not used for turbines. Impacts to the benthic community are temporary. Observations in Europe show displacement of fauna during construction but they return afterwards. It is my belief these turbines will create a sanctuary for species like the North Atlantic Right Whales because large fast-moving ships — one of the leading causes of mortality — will not be in the area.”

There are similarities to claims that onshore wind and solar farms are “destroying” habitat, farmland, cultural sites, viewsheds, etcetera. Mr. Will’s column provides some good guidance that can be applied to dealing with these issues, too.

Fred Porter, Carbondale

Yes on HH
Saying that a special district will lose money if HH passes is false. If HH fails, and the Fire District board votes to keep all their mill levy, unlike Colorado Mountain College which has decided to lower their allowed mill levy, the Fire District will see almost a $2.5 million increase in the 2024 property tax revenues over the 2023 ones. If HH passes, that revenue will only increase about 90% of that, or $2.25 million. Future increases will be limited to 3% annual property value increase, not the nearly 40% most property owners experienced this year.

So the special districts will see less of an increase in future property tax revenue, but not a decrease in future property tax revenue.

Vote for HH. Lower prop tax this year and limited increases in future years is good for homeowners and renters, who will see property tax increases passed on to them if HH fails. 

Susan Rhea, Carbondale

No on HH
When examining the 2022 financial statements for Eagle County, the first thing one notices is that the fiscal 2022 surplus was $77.9 million and $29.9 million for fiscal 2021. Sales tax collection was up $8.8 million and property tax collection was up $1.02 million. The 2022 surplus was 261% of property taxes collected in 2022, raising the question why property taxes in Eagle County are even necessary, since even if zero property taxes had been collected in 2022 the surplus would still have been a hefty $48.0 million.

This whole discussion surrounding proposition HH is a smokescreen to hide the obvious

fact that property taxes for everyone are too darn high. Add the fact that valuations for

fiscal 2024 have soared means that upcoming surpluses have the potential to be even more

egregious for all taxpayers including both primary and second home residences.

What needs to happen is a serious dialogue at both the county and state level about how to

lower everyone’s taxes so that more money stays in the hands of economically-active

citizens and not idling in a government controlled money market fund providing no

demonstrable value to the taxpaying citizens of Eagle County and the State of Colorado.

Vote “NO” on Proposition HH.

Mike Meehan, Eagle County

From Jasmin
I am excited to be running for a second term on the Roaring Fork School District’s board of education. It has been an honor to serve our community these last four years.

As a community, we need to ensure that our scholars have access to the best possible education that we can provide. It is our responsibility to prepare them for the challenges that they will face in the future and to equip them with the skills that they will need to succeed.

We need to create educational environments where our students can thrive. This means investing in our schools, our teachers and our communities. It means providing access to technology and resources that will help our students learn and grow. It means creating a culture of inclusivity and diversity that will foster creativity and innovation.

As we look to the future, we need to think about the challenges that our students will face, and we need to prepare them for those challenges. We need to give them the tools that they will need to succeed in a rapidly changing world.

I believe that our students are the key to our future. They are the ones who will create the new technologies, the new businesses and the new ideas that will shape our world. We need to invest in them, and we need to believe in them.

So, as a candidate running for four more years, my hope is this: let us unite as a community and recommit to our students. Let us provide them with the best possible education, and let us give them the tools that they will need to succeed.

Together, we can create a brighter future for all of us.

Vote Jasmin Ramirez, District D, for Roaring Fork School board on Nov. 7.

Jasmin Ramirez
RFSD, District D

From David
For personal reasons, I am a huge fan of Colorado Mountain College (CMC). My father was a high school teacher who involved himself with improving graduation requirements. When alone, my dad talked to me about the importance of high schools and colleges needing to provide education tailored to the needs of the community. I admire CMC for being the type of college that my father envisioned. CMC continues to adjust to the community’s needs while delivering an affordable education.

As an engineer, I worked 38 years for a single company. My many roles included budgeting, strategic planning and decision analysis. Additionally, working for a corporation instilled in me extremely strong values of safety and diversity. Now retired, I am an adjunct faculty member at CMC teaching community education classes.

Putting students first is the core principle that guides my approach and priorities. My plan is to address forest fire evacuation. Responsible budgeting will ensure the long-term health of CMC while keeping education costs low. Broadening the diversity of the board of trustees brings the board more in line with the perspectives of the student population and the community. Adding my experience to the board will address blind spots and improve the quality of decision making. 

I’m running for the District 2 board position because CMC is important to me. I clearly see that the board of trustees can benefit from a wider range of work experience. Voting for me, David Use, will change and improve the board, taking a great education institution to a new level of excellence.

David Use, CMC Board Candidate

‘Freedom to Read’
I came away from the Oct. 18 “Freedom to Read” forum impressed with the passion all attendees had for the power of reading. It was also clear that for some this power was exhilarating, while for others it was a source of fear. They worried that reading the wrong sorts of materials could lead to “grooming” and “desensitization” of their children.

I grew up in a family of readers; I was groomed to be a reader. Books were read and discussed as part of daily conversations. My reading spanned a variety of authors and genres, from classics to contemporary authors and included both fiction and non-fiction. II enjoyed extended dialogues with my family about what I was reading and valued the expanded worldview I was given. We talked about Shakespeare, whose plays were performed with men in drag playing the female roles and often included concepts that might even be considered by some to be “pornographic.” Should his books be placed on the metaphorical “top shelves,” only available to those over 18? I read fiction by Dickens, writing about the seamier aspects of Victorian life, and by Sinclair Lewis, once vilified as a communist. 

Where should those books be shelved?

The freedom to read is one of our fundamental rights. We are fortunate that Garfield County Public Library District’s executive director, Jamie LaRue, has both the understanding and conviction to ensure that our libraries follow the guidelines of the American Library Association to continue to provide the excellent services so valuable to society. As a user of the library I have access to the world, through books on shelves, books available through interlibrary loans and media that is available digitally.

The Dewey Decimal classification system is easy to use and allows users to know where materials are shelved; juvenile and young adult materials are NOT in the adult section. We can’t keep building taller shelves to restrict books from fast-growing teenagers! Parental involvement in their children’s reading does not mean restricting books. It means providing open and thoughtful dialogue about what they read.

Susy Ellison, Carbondale

Letters policy: The Sopris Sun welcomes local letters to the editor. Shorter letters stand a better chance of being printed. Letters exclusive to The Sopris Sun (not appearing in other papers) are particularly welcome. Please cite your facts and include your name and place of residence or association. Letters are due to by noon on the Monday before we go to print.