The people
A big thank you to the town council members who signed the letter to U.S. Forest Service Superintendent Scott Fitzwilliams. As elected representatives, you considered all the input, listened to each and every point of view, and then took a stand for the majority in town. Good on ya!

Meanwhile, the USFS ignored their own NEPA policy and turned their back to Main Street (literally and figuratively). They made the mistake of ignoring the public at the local level, but there is still time for collaboration before we take ‘em to court…

Nothing cries democracy like, “the people vs. the United States of America.”

Jeannie Perry, Satank

Public input vital
In June, Garfield County sent out a Notice of Valuation to property owners. The increase in valuation was as shocking as was the estimate of 2023 property tax. In many cases, it was more than double.

Valuations are only one piece of the property tax formula. Mill levies are set by your elected officials and are the basis for determining your taxes. Colorado Mountain College and Garfield County have said that they will reduce their mill levies to offset the valuation increases in order to keep their taxes at 2022 levels. Be sure to thank those elected officials.

Other elected government representatives must be encouraged to follow that lead and adjust their mill levies down to keep our tax bills manageable. Local governments are currently working on 2023 budgets. Now is the time to give your feedback on proposed spending and mill levies. Your elected officials need to know your thoughts if you want property taxes to resemble 2022 amounts. Do this before mill levies are set. Write to them. Attend budget meetings and/or public hearings. Your input is critical. The public rarely attends budget meetings or hearings. Taxing entities should not get a tax windfall just because valuations skyrocketed.

The reduced mill levies shown below are for the governments that serve southeast Garfield County. These numbers would keep 2023 taxes in this area close to 2022 dollars. If you live elsewhere in Garfield County, the numbers may generally apply to your tax situation and/or could help you make your own calculations.

Public input to elected officials is vital to their decision-making. The taxes you pay next year can be lower with your input. Please note these estimates do not factor in the possible effects of Proposition HH.

Davis Farrar, Missouri Heights

Allyn Harvey, Carbondale

Go Betsy
Our district would be lucky to have someone with Betsy After’s skill set, keen understanding of our community’s unique needs, and fiscal prowess on the Roaring Fork School District Board of Education.

Betsy brings a wealth of experience as a local nonprofit leader with a demonstrated knowledge of fiscal management and working with large, complex budgets. As a mom of two young children currently in the RFSD and a proud local business owner in Carbondale, she shows up for her community by supporting local functions and has served on the board at both the Basalt Regional Library District and Mount Sopris Preschool. Betsy’s experience with local governance and investment in the community can offer a unique and holistic approach to educational planning that will benefit both the RFSD and RFV.

As a board member, Betsy will prioritize responsible, transparent leadership and encourage open communication and increased participation in decision-making by parents. She will also support educators by increasing teacher retention through creative measures and ensure success for all students by tackling the persistent achievement gap between Latino and white students. Both the Roaring Fork Community Education Association and Latinos Unidos have endorsed Betsy.

Ballots start hitting mailboxes this week and I encourage our community to elect Betsy After. She’s invested in the success of our community and I’m confident her leadership will be an asset to our Valley for years to come.

Jen Burn, Carbondale

Vote Lindsay 
I have lived in Glenwood Springs nearly all of my 42 years. As a mom of three children in the

Roaring Fork School District, and a citizen deeply connected and dedicated to the health and well-being of the children of our community, I am writing in support of Lindsay DeFrates for Roaring Fork School Board: District C.

I met Lindsay when we were both in the throes of parenting young children. At the time, she was an eighth-grade teacher at Carbondale Middle School. Of course, anyone, who can not only teach middle school but loves their students while doing so, has my utmost respect. Both of our lives have taken various turns, hers with stints as a full-time parent, freelance writer and, most recently, as the Deputy Director of Public Relations for the Colorado River District. Throughout this time, I have learned a few things about Lindsay. 

First, she is incredibly bright. Her ability to see the whole picture and decipher how different pieces of a problem are related is impressive. Second, and maybe most importantly, she’s curious. Curiosity is a trait I increasingly look for in public servants, as problems are rarely black and white and true understanding of issues takes a person who is willing to really listen and consider all sides. These days, that’s a tough trait to find and I know she will be thoughtful in this position. Third, she has grit. And this position takes grit. Surviving in our valley as a parent with three small kids, without local family support, is an enormous challenge and she has resilience that will serve her well in this role. Lastly, she cares. She cares deeply about our children, about the human community that we all need to thrive. There is no other reason she is willing to dedicate her time and energy to this task.

She truly embodies one of my favorite sayings, “There is no such thing as other people’s children.” For these reasons, she has my vote for school board, and I encourage you to consider giving her your vote also.

Brandy Drake, Glenwood Springs

Remembering Kristi Nicholls
Kristi Nicholls was in the advanced stages of kidney cancer when, on Oct. 30, 2022, with her family by her side, she proactively ended her life using prescribed medication. Four days before her carefully designed death, Kristi asked Ron Kokish to record a video interview. Join us at the Carbondale Library on Oct. 21 at 2pm, to hear what Kristi Nicholls and the people who knew her want to tell us about dying, one year after Kristi drank lethal medication to hasten her death. A panel discussion will follow Kristi’s video.

Niki Delson, Carbondale

RIP Jill Soffer
We are writing to express our profound sadness about the death of Jill Soffer last week. Jill was an important and passionate supporter of Roaring Fork Audubon and many other local and national environmental organizations. She will be sorely missed. Her commitment to wildlife, natural landscapes and a host of conservation causes was unmatched. With her and Steve’s guidance, their property on Missouri Heights is a sanctuary for wildlife and a model of thoughtful land management. 

Jill’s life was an example of how those with resources can commit to giving back to the natural world without any expectation of reward other than enjoying the beauty of that world as it unfolds every day. We honor her memory and offer our sincere condolences to her partner, Steve, and to her many friends and family. Jill requested that donations in her memory be made to the Sierra Club. Please use this link to the Colorado chapter to donate in her name: 

Mary Harris & Board of Roaring Fork Audubon

I am writing to express our deepest gratitude and share the resounding success of our recent “Stepping Up for Youth” fundraiser. The evening brought together 160 youth, community members and sponsors to celebrate the impact of Stepping Stones in Carbondale.

We came together to celebrate our collective commitment to empowering youth. The event was a testament to the power of community, and it would not have been possible without the invaluable contributions of many. I am thrilled to share that we exceeded our goal and raised over $17,000! These funds will enable us to continue serving over 350 youth each year, offering supportive mentoring relationships and 32+ hours of free drop-in programming each week. Together, we can empower youth and families to thrive!

This success is a testament to the dedication of our sponsors, the passion of our attendees, and the shared belief in the potential of our youth. We are truly humbled by the support we received. We want to extend special thanks to our youth, staff, attendees and sponsors: Alpine Bank, FirstBank, Forum Phi, Glenwood Insurance, Karp Neu Hanlon, Man Plumbing, Reese Henry, Tuesday Foods and Aspen SkiCo.

Thank you to each sponsor and attendee for making “Stepping Up for Youth” a resounding success. We look forward to continuing this journey together, forging connections that help every youth flourish. To learn more about our impact, please visit

Kyle Crawley

Stepping Stones

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