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Letters to Editor

Energy

Dear Editor:

In a letter to The SUN, Mr. Jim Huffman states that, “The recent volcano which probably spewed more pollutants into the air in a month than humans have produced in several decades.”

I take exception to this statement. According to the Department of Energy, in 2008, the world spewed 130,000 billion pounds of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. According to U.S. Geological Department, volcanoes spew about 400 billion pounds of carbon dioxide into the air each year. Humans spew more carbon dioxide into the air than all the volcanoes of the world by hundreds of times.

I am guessing that the Gulf leak of perhaps 100 million gallons of oil is roughly equivalent to a billion pounds of carbon dioxide. (Twelve pound of carbon will produce 44 pounds of carbon dioxide.) Multiply the Gulf oil leak by a hundred thousand times to get a feel for the amount of carbon dioxide being added to the atmosphere each year. Researchers at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, tell us that the weight of the atmosphere is about ten times ten to the eighteenth power in pounds. With a bit of arithmetic, one can concluded that the concentration of carbon dioxide is increasing at roughly a part per million per year, in line with the measured results.

I do believe that Mr. Huffman’s suggestion for building more nuclear power plants is sound. Unfortunately, the word nuclear terrifies the American public. The only real knock on nuclear power is the waste disposal. My old outfit, Sandia National Labs, headed the Yucca Mountain high-level nuclear waste depository effort, which was killed by the Nimbys. My person opinion is it is easier to safely deposit nuclear waste than it is to clean up oil spills.

The oil company hacks and their Washington lackeys tell us that the buildup of carbon dioxide is harmless and scientists who disagree are threatened with death. Of course, no one can predict the future, but it is likely our grandkids will see the outcome of this massive build up of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. I believe it prudent to begin the transition to a less carbon energy base economy. The Chinese also believe this policy prudent and are out to dominate the solar power and wind power industries, and if America doesn’t take the lead in nuclear energy, other countries will. I hope the electric cars will be built in America, not Japan.

I hope the electricity for the cars will be supplied by a gas fired (even better, nuclear) electric power station sited near Pagosa. Put it out in the woods and paint it green and the Nimbys will never know it’s there.

Bob Dungan

Arboles

Exchange

Dear Editor:

Hello again. If you recall I am an exchange student who was supported by people in the town of Pagosa Springs, and Rotary. I would like to update you on my year abroad. When I first arrived in Romania I was completely frozen, not knowing what to expect from the next year. I kept my head up and kept going. My first host family consisted of my mother, my father, and my two brothers. Both my brothers and I are very close. In the beginning, school was difficult, but I could tell it was getting better as time went on. Halfway through my year I hit a “slump,” which was activated by my skateboard breaking, I went into depression and just wanted to come home. I felt like it was all just a waste of time. But, as I learned the language, I fell in love with Romania, its people and its language. Everything was really difficult until I got the language under my belt. In the last months I felt the bonds between my friends and my host family growing stronger because I was improving in my language. School was about the same as it was in the United States, although a little bit advanced in mathematics and in sciences.

Even if it was hard I would choose to do this exchange again and I would like to thank Rotary International for this amazing opportunity. In conclusion, in nine months I have made tons of friends, gained two new families and I have become much more mature as a person. Unfortunately, I will not be able to return to Pagosa, due to the fact that my family is moving.

I would like to thank the people of Pagosa Springs for allowing me to act as their ambassador. I will never forget this experience, and I believe it has afforded me the opportunity to understand our world in a much deeper perspective.

Lliam Frey

Public works

Dear Editor:

Just wanted to say “many thanks” to Valerie and Ron for taking on the project of cleaning and replanting the sign at the east entrance to town. They decided on their own to do this so they supplied the flowers and the back-breaking labor to accomplish this. And, then there is all of the beautiful landscaping being done on Lewis Street. The little trees will give us more and more pleasure as they grow and blossom in the spring and display their lights during the holidays. Thanks to master gardener Mary Webb and her committee; there are surprises every week around the Methodist Church, and the daisies in the boxes around the parking area will be lovely year after year.

Thanks so much for it all.

Cindy Gustafson

Friendly

Dear Editor:

My wife and I have been visiting Pagosa Springs for several years now and have experienced the friendliest people we have met in our travels. We joke with our friends that we are on a quest to find that first “rude person” in Pagosa, but so far we have not been able to find that elusive person. It’s true that the natural beauty and location of Pagosa Springs is a natural draw for tourists and visitors, but the most important factor for our decision to retire in the Pagosa area was, in fact, the people who always greeted us with a smile and a friendly conversation. We never felt like “strangers” on our visits. We still plan on spending our money on lodging, food and other items on our visits, but we really look forward to spending money there as permanent residents. Being friendly really does matter!

Sincerely,

Wayne Hooper

Carlsbad, Calif.

Disappointing

Dear Editor:

Reference PAWSD board meeting June 15, 2010.

WRF — related water resource fee, impact fee, whatever it will be called. Most of the community has heard “impact fee” for years now. Most of the community has let you, the board, know that growth needs to pay.

Now, a new committee (community water supply planning), comes on board and tells you, the PAWSD board, your decision is wrong. The voters have voted for the board members. Count the endless hours that have been put into saying yes to impact fees ... and now a suspension on these fees.

Very disappointing.

Pam Morrow

Safety

Dear Editor:

My husband and I moved here over two years ago. Since then, we have had a daughter and become property owners in Pagosa Springs. I am a runner, and since having had my daughter, I have run well over three hundred miles within the Town of Pagosa Springs. Because I have chosen to be a stay at home mom, I have done most of my running with my daughter in her baby jogger. Recently, my husband bought me a bike that has a child seat so that I don’t have to drive every time I go out. My bike has large panniers so that I can get groceries and run most of my errands on my bike.

I have written before about the concerns that I have about the safety of pedestrians and cyclists in Pagosa Springs, and now that I am riding my bike with my daughter, I have become even more alarmed at the very serious potential for a motor vehicle vs. pedestrian or cyclist accident because of the lack of basic infrastructure in Pagosa Springs. When I say infrastructure, I am speaking specifically about such basic taxpayer-funded projects that are standard to most towns in America like sidewalks, bike paths and walking trails.

Yesterday, June 17, I felt safe riding my bike in Pagosa for the first time. The reason was that the Ride the Rockies race was coming into town, and so 160 was lined with vehicles warning cars to watch for cyclists. As a result, the town’s awareness of cyclists and the need to “share the road” was heightened.

I have absolutely nothing against tourists, and I understand the incredible economic value of tourism, and I also understand that safety is the number one concern in any race or event.

What bothered me is that when the race is gone, when the tourists leave, I, the local taxpaying, year-round citizen of Pagosa Springs will be on my own again. I will go back to feeling very vulnerable when I ride my bike or run in town. I will have to ride miles out of my way to avoid the heavily trafficked roads that are often the shortest route, and I will have to fight to try to get what in most towns is basic infrastructure: sidewalks bike paths and walking trails.

All of us, whether we drive our car, ride our bike or walk, have everything to gain and nothing to lose by demanding that our town and country governments build sidewalks and in-town trails so that we all have a place to commute that does not put one in jeopardy of hurting the other.

It’s a win-win situation.

And as for tourism? Who doesn’t enjoy visiting a town where there are trails that you can walk on so that you don’t have to drive uptown to go out to eat? Who doesn’t enjoy the ability to ride bikes down to the river without the hassle of riding on a major road that is used even by 18-wheelers? Who doesn’t enjoy simply the sight of people out walking and cycling on a trail from the car window?

A trail system and sidewalks would only be a boon to businesses and tourism in Pagosa Springs, would foster a sense of community, encourage exercise for all ages and abilities, add a touch of class, and most of all, it would make life for the local, all-season citizen so much more pleasant and enjoyable and I wouldn’t wonder why on earth my taxes keep going up.

Thank you,

Annie Sewell

Illegitimate

Dear Editor:

I want to thank your reporter, Chuck McGuire, for subjecting himself to yet another lengthy meeting of the PAWSD board of directors in order to bring to your readers important information. I want to remind your readers that we citizens cannot possibly attend every meeting of governmental boards and committees, so the news media plays a vital role in being our eyes and ears.

At the PAWSD Board and Board of County Commissioners joint meeting on May 24 as reported in your edition of May 27, the BoCC made three requests. At our regular meeting June 15, we, the PAWSD board, only acted on one of the requests, and then only partially, in spite of the fact that Allan Bunch and I had presented a resolution that would have addressed all the county’s and our constituents’ concerns about fees and debt. The BoCC had asked that we agree to lower or eliminate our fees for development. Allan and I had proposed to repeal the district’s onerous $5,617 so-called Water Resource Fee and refund all money that had been collected since its inception in its several prior forms and amounts.

Thanks to excellent public presence and participation, including County Commissioner John Ranson, the board settled on a compromise which neither lowered nor eliminated the WRF, but instead placed a six-month moratorium on it. While nevertheless glad that this controversial fee was being lifted at least through this building season, I was compelled to vote no on the motion in order to maintain my principled opposition to the very legitimacy of the fee. In other words, you can place a moratorium on a legitimate fee, but an illegitimate one needs to be repealed. The issue has merely been swept under the rug.

Roy Vega