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Letters to the Editor

Dear Editor:

Citizens of Archuleta County
It’s time to unite
We might be in for one
Heck of a fight.

What all this fuss about
You might say
Your property rights have been
Taken away.

Your home is in danger
Not by flood or foreclosure
But by those who make laws
With no vote or disclosure.

The “Planning Workshop” on
Sept. 9 is at night
Come voice your opinion ‘cause
You have that right.

The 2006 zoning law we want
To amend
We need your input and
For you to attend.

So ranchers and farmers and cowboys
Come all
Teachers and artists … citizens
Please heed this call.

Maureen Balog

Why care?
Dear Editor:

Why isn’t the stimulus spending working in the U.S. and why are billionaires funding the Tea Party?

The missing key ingredient for our recovery is corporate capital investment, but it hasn’t happened. Our Fortune 500 firms are making significant profits and continue sitting on more than an aggregate trillion dollars of cash. No plants or jobs in the U.S. from them! Fear not, the majority of Fortune 500 CEOs blame us (the consumer) for “paying down our debts” vs. buying their Chinese made goods.

So are there any nations that are out of the global recession? Yes, Germany and China. Germany, because they did not export manufacturing; preserved employees skills/training by reducing hours, not layoffs; corporations stayed at home; trade unions are on every board; they export goods; have an excellent national health plan costing less than half our free market version per citizen; individuals ran up less debt than American consumers and when you think of a well made product, you do think German. And China’s just pouring billions (US T bill-funded) into their cities and government run industries.

Billionaires, and the Tea Party. It seems, as a nation, dogmas and special interests are more important than survival as a nation. Recovering the national initiative to fight won’t be easy. To do so we’ve got to recognize who is the enemy. The Tea Party protestors probably have no idea they’re “played” by billionaires with a self-interest in returning to the Republican freeloading days.

Ahh, why should you care? We’ve still got 5-15 years before China blows by us economically and, heck, who knows, maybe the Passion’s coming, or you just might be dead. Or worse, the Republicans will start another Congressional committee to investigate the nefarious Democrats!

Dave Blake

Dear Editor:

Colorado Secretary of State Bernie Buescher ((303) 894-200) has filed for a waiver (a copy of which I have in my possession) to allow him, through his county clerks, to send out the ballots as late as 30 days prior to the election, thus risking the timely return and receipt of the Military Absentee ballots in time to be counted. The Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) has denied this waiver.

The Archuleta County Clerk is required by statute, “The Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act (MOVE) of 2009,” to mail Absentee Ballots to our deployed military service men and women not later than 45 days prior to the November election. The third paragraph of this waiver request states, “on behalf of Colorado’s county clerks, we submitted the MOVE waiver request because Colorado’s electoral calendar, as set out in Colorado Revised Statutes, makes compliance with the 45-day mandate extremely difficult in light of the late ballot certification date.”

I say, “Tough! Work weekends and nights, like our GIs and get the job done!”

Intentionally blowing off this statutory requirement disenfranchises our soldiers, sailors and airmen, and tells them that it’s okay for them to die for us, but are being denied the right to vote for who gets to send them into harm’s way.

Contact June Madrid, Archuleta County Clerk, an elected official (264-8350). Ask about her compliance with MOVE ACT, which ensures that our deployed service men and women receive their Absentee Ballots in time to vote in the November General Elections. If she tells you that they can’t, because it is “extremely difficult” to comply with this requirement, my response would be that, therefore, her office reflects incompetence. If she can, her office then reflects a can-do spirit of patriotism, exceeding that of the Colorado Secretary of State.


Duane C. Branson

Dear Editor:

I wanted everyone know how proud I am of all of them for fighting to keep our downtown store. We started the petition which many of you signed. We have over 1,500 signatures. Thank you. The following letter was sent with the petition.

Dear Ms. Norris:

My name is Twila Brown. I live east of Pagosa Springs. My family homesteaded here in the late 1870s. We have seen a lot of change, some good, some not so good. Most of the time we all just sit back and let it happen. But when we heard about our downtown store being closed we woke up.

We feel that it is important for you to hear from us, the people of Pagosa Springs. I know you have heard from our town and county governments, also the Chamber of Commerce. They have told me that this is a done deal. There is no reconsideration about the closure. Although, I felt it was important for you to see the community support for our downtown store. You will find enclosed with this letter the stack of signed petitions. I am so proud to be a part of a community who cares so much. This letter may not help, but it won’t hurt

What I want to describe to you is what this store means to us. Please indulge me. This store is like walking into a Norman Rockwell painting. It has that old fashioned charm, warm and friendly. It is home. The folks that work there work as a team. They are so connected to each other that it’s passed on to their patrons, us. They truly care. We are always greeted with a smile and for some of us, a hug. It is our main social hub. You will always see someone you know or make a new acquaintance. We all catch up on the news of the day. I tell people all the time, that when I need to feel loved I go to the grocery store. Most retail stores want their customers to have an enjoyable shopping experience. This store is a perfect example of that. The downtown store is the heart of our town. The thought of losing it is breaking our hearts.

I invite you Ms. Norris to come and visit this store, unannounced. I want you to see for yourself that you have something very special here, the last of a dying breed. We never feel like just a number, we are family. Please take a drive down here. Check it out for yourself. I know you will feel it too.

I appreciate the time you have spent reading this letter and looking at all the names of those who signed the petition. I hope you will reconsider your decision and allow us to keep our town treasure open.


Twila Brown

Dear Editor:

First, thank you to all the concerned citizens that showed up at the special workshop Planning Commissioners meeting on Aug. 26. Thank you for being brave and speaking to the commissioners with your concerns. Your input was needed and you were heard!

I walked away from this planning commission workshop with a little hope that maybe the planning commissioner’ are taking into consideration all the concerns they heard on the road show and that evening. In the past few meetings, the planning staff has presented rewrites of some regulations (Exhibit A in various forms) to the planning commission and public. It seem to us that after every meeting, there was frustration that staff was not giving the public what they expressed at the road shows. At the workshop meeting, the planning commissioner chairman presented the public with a rewrite/redraft of some of the following issues that are on the agenda for Sept. 9. We applaud the planning commissioners for attempting this feat. It is a start. What we heard in the preliminary draft presented by Chairman Kirk England was reasonableness and balance. It was not perfect, but I feel we are finally headed in the right direction. The commissioners will be presenting another draft on Sept. 9. It may be voted on or not. They are not the last say; after they vote on a regulation, it then goes to the BoCC for their approval.

Temporary Use Permit-Living/Camping on your own property/RV.

Septic Issues — Full Time Part Time

Accessory Structures, Garages, Animal Protection, Cargo Containers, Sheds, Outdoor Storage. ( To be allowed without main residence.)

35 Acre onetime split to family members.

At the workshop, we were asked to only speak on the agenda items presented for that meeting. I know several of you came for other planning issues needing to be addressed, such as large ranches-housing issues, alternative housing, home business, and renting of guest houses. So, at the Sept. 9 meeting in new business, we will ask the planning commission to set a schedule to deal with these other issues.

At the workshop, our group presented a contact list for the concerned citizens regarding Land Use Regulations. We delivered this to Greg Schulte, county manager, on Friday, Aug. 27. We will be contacting anyone on this list to remind you of this meeting. Hopefully staff will find a way to communicate with concerned citizens.

We think we are moving forward in a balanced and positive motion. See you on the ninth.


Debra Brown

Dear Editor:

Recently we may have been given a valuable lesson which, unless we tragically disregard it, beautifully illustrates the sick hypocrisy underlying our democracy. Even worse, I feel this hypocrisy is purely chauvinistic, without moral value, and is now a dark distraction from the real crises facing our nation.

Because some people decided to build a house of worship in New York, a short distance from the spot where the world’s most impressive monument to selfish control of money and power once stood, all sorts of protests have occurred, groups making threats, spreading innuendos, politicians blandly spinning the issue. It’s as though that ground is now hallowed, as if those who worked and died there were all-Americans and engaged in some holy quest. The fact that the structure was so flimsy built and collapsed so readily — like the world economy they manipulated — is no longer the issue. I see it not as one of right or wrong, good or bad, or really even security, but do these New York Moslems conform to “our way,” despite the fact we’ve seen that change from generation to generation.

Has it ever been different? And aren’t so-called religious beliefs so often near the heart of the problem? Al Smith was acceptable as governor of New York but not for president because he was a Catholic. Then forty years later many die-hard Protestants swallowed hard when John Kennedy took the oath of office. I recall how an irate few even took nail polish and painted red caps on Washington’s head on the quarters, as though we’d depict a cardinal on the coin.

One hundred fifty years ago Andrew Jackson’s wife, suspected of bigamy, was not welcome in Washington, and sixty years ago Adlai Stevenson could not become president because he was divorced. Since Ronald Reagan that hypocrisy may have been resolved. Now we argue a different question: the differences between marriage, civil union and holy matrimony while readily accepting co-habitation.

Being the “right kind,” has always been important to “purists.” In the Albigensian Crusade the poor general couldn’t tell Cathars from Catholics, so the pope told him to kill them all, God would separate them out. History to this day is full of Protestant-Catholic turmoil in England and Ireland, Israelis vs. Palestinians. We’ve recorded our own KKK atrocities, the Sand Creek and Ludlow massacres in Colorado. Jews were barred from Peter Stuyvesant’s colonial New York fire brigades and, along with Blacks, excluded from military service and almost everything else for centuries until we accepted that we need to respect one another. We can live and work together.

Or is all this anti-mosque hullabaloo, as New York mayor Bloomberg stated, just another dose of divisive pre-election nastiness, bound to be forgotten by year end, not unlike the emotional abortion issue raised before Bush’s last election? Chauvinism makes fools of us. Will we ever learn that?

Henry Buslepp

Dear Editor:

An open letter to the county road commission:

We who live on Prospect Blvd. — better known as pothole alley — plead with you to patch the potholes in the blacktop section before another winter makes them even more dangerous. We just do not understand how the county was able to take better care of our roads back five to three years ago when the property taxes in the county weren’t anywhere near what they are now. There were not the $400,000 to $600,000 homes that there are now. So, why can’t you send two men — would only take about an hour — to patch the holes? Oh, and while you are at it, send a grader and fix the gravel section also.

Can we thank you advance or are we dreaming?


B.J. Carruth, Shan Brown, Glenn Brown, Monica Rodriguez, Leroy and Syl Lobato

Farm Fest
Dear Editor:

Twelve rabbits. One pig. Twenty-five chickens. Four turkeys. A 42-foot diameter growing dome. A 26-foot diameter growing dome. Maybe eight goats. One sheep. A very large size poodle dog. And Jonni, alone, is a single-woman farm crew. She built everything. She tends to everything.

Jonni McAteer hopes that her learning farm “Heaven on Earth” will get people to follow their dreams. Jonni says, “You have got to have a dream and to follow it.” “Even if the odds are against you. You have got to do it because it is your dream.”

The last Heaven on Earth “Farm Fest” will be this Sunday, Sept. 5, from 1 to 4 p.m. You head south on U.S. 84 (between mile markers 21 and 22) and then take a left onto Catchpole Road. You will see signs posted. For more detailed directions, best to call Jonni yourself at 264-0155.

Jonni McAteer is not looking for a huge crowd to show up at the Farm Fest, but only those members of the community who want to learn about Jonni’s farm and how she does it.

“I am hoping that these people will be inspired to do something that they really wanted to do anyway. And that they have just either forgotten or they are not taking time anymore or something. So, that is kind of my feeling that I just want to help people get going. To get accomplishing and being more responsible for their life. Because that’s what growing food is all about. You are growing it for your body.”

“Those kind of connections that people are so far from. They are so far from them, but not really. ‘Cause all they have got to do is say ‘I am going to do this!’”

Two wood stoves in that big dome. One in the house. One in the barn. One in the little dome. Jonni has 1,000 feet of driveway to plow of snow in the winter. Then shovel for another five hours. She is off of the electrical grid. She does use propane, for now, for cooking. She has a few solar panels. And a small generator if she needs it.

Jonni is over 55 years young. She loves to cook. She pumps water. Takes care of the animals. Gets around in a solar powered golf cart from one building to the next.

Jonni is not a demonstration of a money-making local business. At the end of the year, Jonni mostly just grows her own food and supports her loving family of farm animals. What Jonni is, is an example of being connected to the earth. She is a teacher of living in loving harmony. Go check it out for yourself, Sunday afternoon.

Teddy Herzog

Dear Editor:

I recently read in The Pagosa SUN about the harebrained proposal to add an additional property tax to fund continuing education in Archuleta County. I can only hope that the voters of Archuleta County do the right thing and vote this proposal down. The last thing any American citizen needs is to pay more taxes! Continuing/higher education already receives tax money from other sources, why isn’t that enough? If people want continuing education, they can pay for it out of their own pocket, why should property owners throughout the county subsidize this? Any continuing education programs should be self-sustaining, self-financed or it’s pretty safe to say it’s just another special interest’s pet project that’s going to benefit mainly the special interest at the expense of the taxpayer. Personally, I’m sick and tired of the government, whether it’s local or federal, sticking their hands into my wallet placing a greater and greater financial burden on me and using MY money that I worked for, to fund their pet programs that benefit themselves or a special interest group that they represent. No more taxes! None!

I also found it interesting that part of this money is supposedly going to be used to fund a scholarship program. Why would I, as a private citizen, want to give my hard-earned money to a scholarship fund with its layers of bureaucracy and costs when I can hardly afford to send my two kids to college now? Personally, I would rather use that money responsibly for my family than fund what amounts to a “lottery” for others. How many bureaucratic jobs would be created to run this scholarship fund and how much of that money would actually be used to fund students education? Government is very adept at misallocating and mismanaging money and I certainly don’t want to give them any more of my hard earned dollars to waste on projects we don’t need.

Andrew Holbert

HC GW Agnostic
Dear Editor:

Ah, Mr. Dungan, the ultimate condemnation — if I don’t agree with you I must be a “Denier.” Sounds more like a religion than a political discussion, and make no mistake, this is political. For the record, I am not a GWD, I am an HC (human caused or human correctable) GW Agnostic. I just don’t know, and frankly, neither do you. The earth has gone through numerous climatic changes over the millennia — most long before there were humans. Significant human interaction with the atmosphere started several thousand years ago with the introduction of organized farming and animal husbandry. There appear to be reputable scientists on both sides of the issue. All of the dire predictions being bandied about are derived from computer models — that form of human endeavor most susceptible to “garbage in; garbage out.” I have not been able to find any references to any ordered set of data that could be used by others to duplicate any of the cited results. From my experience with operational testing, data collection plans must be carefully developed to avoid collecting skewed data to fit a pre-conceived result. I can find nothing about assumptions used to accept or reject certain data for the models or that account for possible natural causes like sun activity. I do find a lot of conflicting information (e.g. oceans contain about 50 times as much CO2 as the atmosphere, gas solubility goes down as the water temperature goes up so that more CO2 is released as ocean temps rise, increased atmospheric CO2 is absorbed by the oceans and increases the acidity of the surface water which kills the coral — so which is it?).

Do I believe we should reduce our emissions to clean up the atmosphere — absolutely! I am currently living in a more energy efficient house half the size of the one I lived in 10 years ago and am driving fewer miles a month than I did a week 10 years ago. Is that enough — no way! But, any solution and reduction in emissions will be as a result of political decisions and none of those currently on the table will work or are reasonable. Most of our politicians can’t find their rears with both hands because at least one hand is deep in someone else’s pocket. You cannot believe anything a politician says, you can only watch what they do or have done. Reducing energy use sufficiently to get emissions down to early 1900 levels without having alternative sources on line and producing the energy required is not a solution, it is national suicide. The “Cap and Tax” scheme floating around Congress will not reduce emissions; it will create a carbon trading scheme that will allow polluters to continue to pollute as long as they buy credits though the Chicago Carbon Exchange (putting millions/billions in the pockets of owners like Soros, Gore, and Goldman Sachs) while charging their customers (you and me) for the cost of the credits. We will know that the government is serious about climate change and emissions when the first new nuclear power plant is completed. If Al Gore truly believed in HCGW, he would not be living in a couple of houses whose carbon footprint is approximately the size of Rhode Island and buying ocean front property in California.

Jim Huffman

Dear Editor,

After living in Pagosa Springs for 22 years, DeLynn and I have moved. That certainly isn’t newsworthy or monumental; after all, people come and go every year. What is important, to us anyway, is to say a genuine thank you to the community for the way our lives have been enriched over those two decades. We built our home here, raised our children here, began our careers in education here, and we had a defining spiritual sojourn here. Being the one place we have lived the longest in life, we leave friends, neighbors and colleagues behind.

In writing this, I realize there is too much to say and too many to say it to, but thank you for being the place that allowed us to grow, thank you for the privilege of loving and teaching your children, and thank you — town, county, businesses, acquaintances, friends, neighbors and co-workers — for sharing life with us for 22 years; we will miss you and hope our paths cross again.


Curtis Maberry

Less impact
Dear Editor:

I think Kroeger could try to minimize the impact of the shutdowm by trying a curtailment of the downtown store to say open only on Thursday, Friday and Saturday with limited hours say 8 to five. This would allow those downtown to get the weekend supplies purchased without the need to find a way to get to the big store. This could be done at minimal cost to City Market and greatly lessen the impact to Pagosa.

Ed Mergens

Dear Editor:

Isn’t it time for some truth and ethics, Democrats?

Bill Clinton lied about having sex with Monica Lewinsky.

Hilary clinton misspoke about being fired on in Bosnia.

John Edwards lied about having an affair and denied having a “love child.”

Blumenthal misspoke about his Vietnam service.

Charlie Rangel charged with ethics violations.

Maxine Waters charged with ethics violations.

Rod Blagojevich convicted of lying to the FBI.

Michael Bennet — “The nation has racked up $13 trillion in debt and has nothing to show for it.” This is the same Michael Bennet who voted for all the big spending bills put forth by Obama, Pelosi and Reid.

John Meyer

Good luck
Dear Editor:

Once upon a time, even in the land of “Siberia with a view,” Dumbocrat’s took care of the poor and unproductive, Republicans took care of the rich and productive, and there was harmony across the land.

Now, not so much. It’s even gittin rough in the troglodyte’s (Mr. Bob Dungan) cavern in Arboles. All the glaciers are melting and the trog’s fathomless residence could be inundated, real soon!

However, doing what’s right for the common good and country just sounds like empty political rhetoric these days. Personally, I could care less about liquefying glaciers and the supposed massive melt creating Al Gore’s chaos.

The real problem: God complex Obama believes we need a big benevolent government that watches out for a lucky few businesses and an unlucky lot of poor people. As for the rest of us — good luck. Obomo’s gonna see to it that big corporations and high dollar donors control every aspect of our lives. They’ve got us hangin by a thread.

If ya add it all up, the government is now making the major financial decisions on nearly 50 percent of all trade and commerce. Yes, you can call that what you like, but I call it “corporate socialism.” The pigs are at the trough.

But here’s my big rub. Government can try as hard as it wants, but it cannot create wealth. It can only borrow. That is all that’s left. If our government ever wants to begin paying the bar tab it’s running up, it’ll have to ask taxpayers to fork over $2 trillion in tax increases this decade alone.

Like that’s really going to happen?

So, what do numbers like this mean? Who knows? These numbers are beyond the comprehension of all of us. But as shocking as these numbers are, what’s really very sad, is the mess that our children and grandkids will inherit. Just the interest payments on our national debt is gonna explode from 164 billion this year to more than $1 trillion a year in a decade!

Lest we forget, that trillion won’t be used to pave roads, or buy medicines or build our defenses. It will be paid to creditors. And we’re just talking about interest, of course. As for the total debt burden, well, that will just continue to spiral wildly out of control.

The Flounder-In-Chief committed trillions in a vain attempt to keep the economy afloat and businesses open and folks eating. Now the waiter has brought us the bill, and we know that we can’t pay it. We can’t dine and dash in this restaurant any longer; not without taking the entire economy into the toilet. What instead will we do?

A thought: We could take Obomo and all his appointed dummycrat czars on a little history sharing trip about cement blocks and the Chicago River. There they could comfortably reside with the rest of the fecal matter.

The developing picture isn’t gonna be very pretty folks, even in the subterranean caves of Arboles.

Jim Sawick

Dear Editor:

My name is Annie Sewell. My husband, 2-year-old daughter and I have lived, owned property and paid taxes in Pagosa Springs for three years now.

I have run and cycled every summer, and have put somewhere in the neighborhood of 600 miles on my BOB stroller.

I have written before about the lack of infrastructure in Pagosa Springs that would provide safe passage for those of us who cannot or do not want to drive everywhere; not to mention peace of mind for motorists. Most of all, I am concerned for the safety and health of the many children and families in Pagosa Springs who ride their bikes and walk to various destinations.

Just today, I was running with my daughter in the BOB, I was met by a family of five walking up the hill I was running down. There is no sidewalk, not even a dirt shoulder. This road is busy and has two blind hills, and sadly, this is the safest way for pedestrians/cyclists to get from Archuleta Housing apartments and the surrounding neighborhood to Town Park, the river, or downtown businesses — myself included. Several days ago, I was driving home up Put Hill and was shocked to see a man strolling his sleeping baby down the shoulder. These scenarios are appalling and need to be addressed, preferably before someone gets hurt or killed.

I cannot help but feel jaded when I run past the big, beautiful, modern buildings that house the town council and community center, or when I observe that some of the nicest — albeit rather pointless — sidewalks start and end right around the town council buildings.

It is high time the county and town leadership of Pagosa Springs and Archuleta County start putting the best interest of its local families first, or families will continue to leave Pagosa Springs — as many have already.

I was born and raised in Gallup, N.M., a town that is derided far and wide. However, Gallup has sidewalks throughout every neighborhood that connect all of its many parks so that children can ride bikes or walk to parks without having to compete with traffic. If you want to go downtown, you can walk on sidewalks the whole way. If you want to go to the aquatic center, the college, the clinic, hospital or dentist, there are sidewalks that can take you there, too. Children can safely walk and/or ride their bikes to school, and many do. Gallup has also built gravel trails along the busy Route 66 connecting several neighborhoods so that one can walk or bike safely from one part of town to the other.

If Gallup can do it, certainly Pagosa Springs can, too.

Annie Sewell

Dear Editor:

Challenging times bring incredible opportunities! We resist change although it is one of the two guarantees we are given at birth! Should the opportunities it inevitably offers be recognized and acted upon however, PS could well be a front runner in creating a small community that could thrive regardless the ever changing tides.

Communities that promote sustainable building, that have vibrant downtowns, ones that truly support small businesses, local artists and “alternative” lifestyles with functional bike, foot, (even horse) paths, communities that have accessible recycling centers, local electric busses with bike racks primarily powered by solar stations, community gardens, housing and business developments that tie into the entire community infrastructure, etc.; these communities speak volumes and are growing. Innovative small companies and educational facilities are emerging based on active and alternative lifestyles. What draws and keeps them are the likes of the above mentioned. They come from places where these simple things are staples in their community and are choosing to live their lives exemplifying social and environmental responsibility; they look for small towns that showcase this approach in their long term growth plan. They want to climb mountains, not just look at them! This is our missing link as we have done well in attracting tourists and second-homeowners over the years, neither of which for the most part, are truly vested in our community. One hiccup in the economy, a severe (or lean) winter bares witness to that fact!

We absolutely sit on a gold mine here. If we would collectively think outside the old tattered box, and then actually do something, we could again prosper based on a new emerging paradigm. Looking back at what was will only ensure more of what we’ve already experienced.

We have trail blazers who have made amazing strides by quietly setting the tone. The new biomass facility is a shining example, The Springs Resort was just awarded the first LEED Gold certification for a hotel in Colorado, Growing Spaces has been a frontrunner for years. Individuals implementing age old building principles such as geothermal use, solar domestic hot water, smaller building envelopes with passive solar design, etc., all make valuable contributions. Those instrumental in bringing bike races through town as well as the other local races that have so successfully been launched. This is the kind of energy our town needs as it directly represent a local environment that so many look for when they are relocating! “Pretty” isn’t enough to keep people, and thousand(s) of dollars in monthly utility bills will send them running: it’s lifestyle that holds communities together!

Sustainability is a lifestyle, not a cool or trendy activity. Its greatest example is taken from our history books as it is how cultures are built and maintain over time … or not. It is insanely obvious that the lifestyle approach of the last several decades is not withstanding the tests of time; people are getting that and responding accordingly! As a cohesive community, let’s do the same!

Veronica Taylor