Letters to Editor

Health Department

Dear Editor:

After attending the board of health meeting in Durango last week, I feel compelled to write this letter in support of San Juan Basin Health Department and Lynn Westberg, director. My family has a long history of receiving services from San Juan Basin Health, beginning in the late 1940s, when Betty Fedrizzi, the public health nurse, traveled to Pagosa Junction to assure that everyone in Archuleta County was immunized. Years later, in the 1990s, my mother was taken care of in her home in Pagosa Junction by the home health nurses. For 25 years, I was a contractor and installed sewer systems in Archuleta County, working with SJBHD. So, you can see that I have had a long relationship with the folks at San Juan Basin Health.

In my tenure as Archuleta County commissioner, I sat on the board of health for several years. From this experience, I can make the recommendation that the board of health remain independent, with one commissioner from each county on the board. The idea of the BoCC of La Plata and Archuleta being the board of health is not a good one.

Under the direction of Lynn Westberg, I believe that the residents of Archuleta County are being served very well. The employees of San Juan Basin Health and Lynn Westberg deserve our support and respect. Please contact your BoCC and let them know that we are supportive of their efforts.

Lynn deserves a big pat on the back and an award for her 20 years of service to our two counties.


Chris Chavez

Upper Blanco

Dear Editor:

To the Archuleta County Commissioners.

We respectfully write this letter to express opposition to the planned gravel operations proposed in Upper Blanco Basin by Four Corners Materials and Jerry Feil.

As residents of the basin, we have long been dismayed by the road damage done by gravel trucks entering and leaving this pristine area. We have endured speeding trucks not adhering to their side of the road, dust clouds that do not disperse quickly, holes in our road, as well as “washboarding” to the max degree, and cattle guards that are torn and jagged causing tire damage. Many of these trucks were working for the county. We have had at least three deaths on this narrow road, and are fearful that should this project be approved, there will be many more.

We anticipate many more years before there are road improvements and are also aware that Four Corners does not have easement rights or any rights to pollute Rio Blanco where drinking water is obtained by many. As it is, our taxes result in very few benefits to us, and it would be unconscionable for the commissioners to consider permitting this travesty.

Please consider that Upper Blanco Basin Road is also designated a scenic area and is a gateway for hunting and fishing during the projected two- to 10-year time these trucks will be speeding down the road with their heavy loads and polluting the fishing areas so sought by visitors. That will not be the case should this project interfere with annual elk and deer migration and cause dirty water in the river, which as you know also diverts to the Chama area.

Do not allow monetary reasons to affect so many residents and visitors to an area that has not yet resorted to being comparable to the “concrete jungles” many of us have left, for good reason.


David and Merriam Paul

Atheist agenda

Dear Editor:

I often wonder why the liberals and the left wing press are pushing an atheist agenda. Didn’t our founders affirm in the Declaration of Independence’“that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness?” Seems ta me that these are natural rights; they are not gifts from government.

The far left has for many decades made its primary objective the eradication of God from every public quarter and routinely relied on judicial activism to undermine constitutional rule of law and, thus, the natural rights of man.

The intended consequence of this artificial barrier between church and state is to remove knowledge of our creator from all public forums and, thus, over time, to disabuse belief in a sovereign God and the natural rights He has endowed.

This erosion of knowledge about the origin of our rights has dire implications for the future of liberty. Even Bob Dungan should be keen enough to uncover that one, what with holding various degrees from different institutions of higher learning, even if they only tutored with”“archaic levels of English.”

Thomas Jefferson wrote, “Can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are the gift of God? That we are not to be violated but with his wrath? Indeed, I tremble for my country when I relfect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever.”

As the author of our Declaration of Independence makes quite clear, we should all tremble that man has adulterated the gifts of God. Even the “trog” could be “standing some day on St. Peter’s trap door,” which he articulated so eloquently in his last discourse to The SUN.

BTW … I wanted Mr. Dungan to be aware that “my heart is also in the right place.” I was going to cash a few of my skimpy “military pension checks” and contribute to the Humane Society of Pagosa Springs (HSPS). But I jist wasn’t “principled” enough to assist in funding a luxurious medical benefit insurance package for their CEO, Ms. Robbie Schwartz, and spouse, unless she wants to include all employees of HSPS; which will never happen.

So … in memory of all those departed veterans who have defended our Constitutional right to “life, liberty and our pursuit of happiness,” I will donate to a fund that provides college scholarships to the children of those heroes. It’s a worthwhile way to show my appreciation, as Memorial Day is right around the corner. Maybe the antiquated “troglodyte” will even ante up?

Jim Sawicki

Obvious needs

Dear Editor:

My name is Annie Sewell. Many of you in town may know me either by way of my big mouth or having seen me running around town with my baby jogger.

My husband and I moved here a year and a half ago, bought a home, had a baby, and, like most all of you, pay taxes.

I have lived in many small towns that did not have large tax bases, but somehow these towns managed to maintain their roads, build sidewalks and paths, invest in meaningful beautification projects, and provide nice clean parks, not to mention provide some level of college education (but that is a whole other subject I will address later), so I did not mind paying my taxes, because those tax dollars were being used to enhance my community’s way of life. I have come to realize that the local year-round population here in Pagosa Springs has not been much of a priority with our town or county government.

Since moving to Pagosa Springs, I have run over 150-plus miles in town (most of it pushing my infant in the jogger, no less), and have found it to be a disheartening and frustrating experience — not to mention hazardous.

First of all, there are few sidewalks and few paved trails, both of which have abrupt dead-ends and multiple heaves, cracks and holes. They do not seem to be maintained and are almost useless unless you are walking. The nicest trail is the Pagosa Property Owners Association trail, and even that has many dead-ends, holes and heaves to navigate.

When I run, I must be on high alert for traffic that is not watching out for me. Since all the trails in this town are rather short, disconnected and end abruptly into busy roads or nothing, I find myself running on heavily trafficked roads that have no sidewalk or shoulder. Not only is this an obvious safety issue for pedestrians, it is also a matter of great annoyance and frustration for car drivers who come upon a pedestrian unexpectedly.

By far, the largest demographic of fellow pedestrians I have met during my runs are kids. This infuriates me. Where is our government’s concern for the safety of its children? What about my daughter?

Our elected officials have ignored many obvious needs of the local population for too long, and that needs to change. Those of us who live here year round, are this town and county’s bread and butter, and it would behoove our elected officials to start investing in us. The safety of our pedestrians — largely children — is just one of many painfully obvious needs our elected officials have neglected to provide.

Annie Sewell

People’s fountain

Dear Editor:

This is a letter to reassure “Very Concerned” regarding the fountain in Pinon Lake which has been reactivated this past week. Allow me to assure you that the evaporation of water from the fountain is minimal compared to the amount of surface water in the lake that evaporates continuously. In addition the fountain helps to aerate the lake thus keeping the water cleaner and allowing the aquatic life and plant life to flourish. With the healthy plant life the wildlife, i.e, ducks, geese, swans have a good quantity of food to live off. Also I have found the fountain to be very popular amongst a large number of people in the town as well as the tourists who visit this town. I myself and my children love to drive past the fountain and watch which way the wind is blowing it and whether it is going straight up or, as it is at present, fanned out. There are a lot of people and organizations who support the fountain financially in order for the town to have it’s continued operation throughout the summer months. Let’s just enjoy it!

Liz Starks