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Letters to Editor


Dear Editor:

I write to express the frustration and concern of my neighbors and myself over the condition of our road, Caddy Circle. When we moved to Pagosa, the road was paved, as it had been since the 1970s (or chip sealed as County Road and Bridge explained to me). Whatever ... the reality is the road worked well for all of us as it was. Yes it needed some repairs, but it did not need to be replaced with dusty loose dirt, rocks and a terrible washboard condition.

All of us on Caddy Circle were very frustrated that we were never consulted by anyone from the county about changing the condition of our neighborhood road. One day the road was paved; the next it became a dusty and bumpy hazard for all of us. This summer has been the worst. The road was graded, but the condition quickly deteriorated to more washboard, more rocks and more dust. Calls by neighbors and myself to County Road and Bridge have had little effect on a remedy. Hopefully, writing to you and gaining attention will help with needed relief.

Doug Becker

Dream Act

Dear Editor:

While gullible Americans sat in front of their TVs, mesmerized, with their attention diverted, watching the NYC earthquake, Hurricane Irene and the Simpsons, our “community organizer” quietly, by executive Fiat, turned illegal aliens into voters, thus allowing foreign nationals to slither into our voting booths by the hundreds of thousands, in November 2012, in order to vote for him in the next presidential election.

This is only the latest example of his Chicago-style political tyranny taking over the United States of America: your America.

Don’t take my word for it; go to Bing or Google and type, “Dream Act Executive Fiat.” Lots of links there.


Duane C. Branson

Manhattan Project

Dear Editor:

I enjoyed Ms. Jean Kilczer’s articles on Albert Einstein, J. Robert Oppenheimer, and the Manhattan project. In my mind, Albert Einstein is the second most influential man who ever lived. Einstein was awarded the Nobel Prize for his work on the photoelectric effect; the idea light is carried in particles called photons, the fundamental idea behind Quantum Mechanics; the source of all our electronic gadgets. His special and general theories of relativity are the bases for our understanding the cosmos.

It is unlikely many readers of The SUN know much about Los Alamos, “the Atomic City,” the Manhattan project or J. Robert Oppenheimer. Oppenheimer, (Oppie), the Destroyer of Worlds, will never become an American folk hero like Billy the Kid who once roamed the Jornada del Muerto, later to become the Trinity test site. But, in my opinion, Oppie should. The stress of the job and cigarettes ruined his health and he was crucified by the American government for telling the American government the truth as he saw it. I was privileged to be at Oppie’s last lecture at Los Alamos and still remember the standing ovation that went on forever. Incidentally, there are still a few people in Pagosa who took physics from Oppie’s brother, Frank, back in the ’50s. (My wife, now deceased, had taken physics courses from Frank at the University of Minnesota.)

The Manhattan Project was the most massive engineering and scientific project ever undertaken, with the possible exception of the space program. At the project’s peak in early 1945, tens of thousands of people were employed building huge facilities and entire cities throughout the land. In today’s dollars, the cost would be in the hundreds of billions and the total cost of the nuclear energy program ran into the trillions over the years. I know modern politicians don’t read books (few can read or write), but for the few who can read, I recommend Gen. Leslie Groves’ “Now It Can Be Told.” It would sure shut up the “government doesn’t create jobs” crowd.

Of course, the Manhattan project could never be undertaken in 21st century America, an America paralyzed by politics, even if we had good intelligence that the enemy would get there first. As for the morality of the Manhattan project, I’ll let the few survivors of the Pacific campaign speak to that issue.

Bob Dungan



Dear Editor:

My wife and I have been coming to Pagosa Springs since 1996, spending from 30 to 90 days here every year, and now from two to six months every year. When we first started coming, I was amazed at the Pagosa Springs Police Department. It seemed every time I drove the 160 corridor from one end to the other, there was someone stopped for speeding or some other traffic infraction. We were pulled over ourselves several times, a light out, 47 in the 45 zone, etc. Traffic was continuously monitored and all drivers were polite and respectful or pulled over.

That was then. Now, I never see anyone pulled over, traffic regularly moves 5 to 10 miles per hour above the posted speed limit. I had a woman two or three cars behind me, as I was making a left onto Lewis Street heading east, pull into the oncoming traffic to pass me and turn left directly in my path — then pull over and park. She was in such a hurry and so upset with traffic that she was willing to risk her life, and mine, to park on Lewis Street.

What has happened? Where have the police gone? Why aren’t they out there? Certainly, the income provided by ticketing speeders and other inconsiderate drivers more than pays for their patrols … or could, or should. Back then, there was only one traffic signal in the whole town; now, there are many more and traffic is worse.

It is a sad turn of events. I hated having to drive so carefully, so as to not get pulled over, now I miss it.

Brian Every

Aspen Springs

About the kids

Dear Editor:

Some in our community have called the idea of combining our school campuses a “mega campus.” Actually, this term is quite complimentary. “Mega” is defined as: of highest level of rank, excellence or importance; great or large, greatly surpassing others of its kind.

Our school staff, curriculum and educational resources are among the best anywhere. Combining campuses for our kids is about excellence, safety, preservation of resources and common sense.

The “Three Rs,” refresh, refurbish and reuse, have been getting a lot of attention recently. In reality, we’ve been doing them in our schools for over 20 years. Our current K-8 school buildings range in age from 44 years to 94 years. At what point do we say, “enough is enough?” When do we stop throwing good money after bad?

My question would be, “Where do we invest wisely in our future?” Where do we want to be a year from now, or in five years, or 10 to 20 years? This is not about “shiny new buildings” or a “mega campus” versus excellent education. It is about the future, a vision for our community … it’s about our kids.

Jean Fox


Dear Editor:

It’s less than two weeks to the 10th anniversary of 3,000-plus people being murdered in New York and still no justice. A conspiracy theory is a set of ideas that lays out a hypothesis. When the hypothesis is backed up by actual events, it becomes fact. A serious crime took place on 9/11/2001. When are we going to demand justice for those slain that day? In New York, three buildings were blown up that day. Two were hit by planes and then turned into dust in midair and shown over and over, while the third was demolished in the usual implosion method, but not broadcasted repeatedly. In Washington, D.C., at the most secure place on earth, the Pentagon, something went through the side of the building. It was not an airliner. Nothing happens in or around that place that is not on surveillance cameras. Ask yourself, why was there never any pictures of an airliner flying into the building or any debris from a wrecked one ever broadcast over and over? This is no conspiracy theory, it is just an actual fact. What happened to the America I grew up in where the only thing we have to fear is fear itself? Fear and the promotion of fear has become a huge business. This nation has turned into, “We the Sheople.”

Look back, we even allowed Bush to start two wars without the constitutionally required congressional declaration of war. Just another endless money pit war. Then, before he left office, he gave two trillion dollars to Hank Paulson and his bank buddies. No criminal prosecutions of the Wall Street types will ever happen. We the Sheople won’t demand it. Go figure. Is any of this a conspiracy theory or is it just facts? On 9/11/2011, I will be mourning the loss of 3,000-plus people I did not know personally. I will be lamenting the loss of the true American spirit of freedom and dignity. I need to travel back east; I will not be supporting the airline industry and its Gestapo homeland security organization by flying. It may take more time and waste more fuel, but I will not support the fear mongers, either. We have to take back America.

Greg Giehl


Dear Editor:

I was saddened and disturbed to read the article in last week’s SUN that the Gay and Lesbian Fund of Colorado is donating money to Pagosa’s new Thingamagig Theatre Company. We can be certain they are not giving this financial support without strings attached. They will expect the theatre company to portray homosexuals in their performances and therefore try to influence us that the homosexual lifestyle is a normal way of life. Be certain that radical homosexuals have an agenda and the money with which to promote it. Polls have shown that their incomes are far greater than the average American. We must not be deceived by their apparent generosity!

Beverly Haynes


Dear Editor:

As the new school year begins, so too does a time of bustling about for many people, shuffling children from one activity to another, often needing to be in multiple places simultaneously as different aged kids have varying activities schedules. For those of us who have already been through this frantic routine, finally having watched our children walk across the stage for that hard-earned diploma, there may be a collective sigh of relief knowing that we are past that particular chaos. We don’t have to think about the education system, the economic struggles of school districts across the state, particularly in rural areas, or whether our children are receiving a 21st century education so that they are well-prepared for the workplace or college.

That is precisely where we would be wrong.

Schools are not separate from the community as a whole, relevant to only families with school-aged children; they are its incubators. We are all impacted by the quality, or perceived quality, of our school system. It produces our workforce, our leaders, our problem-solvers. We must ask ourselves how we want those roles to be filled in the years to come. I dare say that in a small community, this is particularly critical. Not only do we have a smaller pool of candidates, but rural schools face unique challenges in funding and working to ensure that students receive an education on par with their urban peers, thereby also working to continue the sustainability and growth of the community. We all must support those endeavors.

At a recent community forum, someone noted having empathy for the teachers. While this is quite noble and appreciated by educators, we also have to realize that the administration, faculty and staff of our school district are the community, for they shoulder a great deal of responsibility for how we will look in the years to come through their impact on the lives of students. It is imperative that they have not only our empathy, but our support, whatever form that support must take.

It can be far too easy to let issues that we don’t see as directly impacting our everyday lives fall by the wayside. We may falsely reassure ourselves that we’re off the hook because others will “take care of it.” However, when it comes to the quality of our future, we cannot afford to take that approach. Our education system lays the foundation for that future; we are all responsible for acting as stewards.

Nicole Kelsheimer


Dear Editor:

In response to Georgia Parnell’s letter, “Furious,” you are a perfect example of what’s wrong with this country — someone who moves next to an airport and then complains about the noise. Livestock have continuously grazed the Hurt Valley of Unit 5 for the last 120-plus years. You have two very simple options to your dilemma. Number one: Fence your property in accordance with the Colorado State Law. Number two: Move to an area that better suits your lifestyle; but don’t move here and tell us that we have to change. You are the newcomer and the bad neighbor. Have a good life and learn to leave the locals alone, or at least try to fit in rather than change us. You’ll find that we’re not as bad as you portray us to be.

Stephen Keno


Dear Editor:

Based on The SUN’s report Aug. 25, the numbers don’t add up. If you believe you’ve got something for the de-Brucing since 2008, stop reading.

In brief, there are several road self-taxing districts like Aspen Springs that service their own roads; also, about four years ago, the county decided that no services would be provided to 409 roads (abandoned). After, with pressure, the county agreed to snowplow these roads if six inches or more of snow. No blading, no mag chloride, no weed control, no potholes filled, nothing but the same real estate tax rate.

The following numbers, I believe, are based on flat real estate values over the next 10 years and the five-year road plan of $7.65 million per year, equaling $38.25 million.

Not including state gas tax money and de-Brucing money:

Five mill times 10 years equals $16.2 million divided by one-half equals $8.1 million to the town;

10 mill times 10 years equals $32.4 million divided by one-half equals $16.4 million to the town;

15 mill times 10 years equals $48.5 million divided by one-half equals $24.25 million to the town by state law.

Maybe the town has 10 miles of roads to the county’s 275 miles; this should mean that the yellow and white road markings should be gold where yellow is used and silver where white is used. Are you kidding? Since the town has less than 2,000 residents, the county about 8,000 to 10,000 residents, why would the county residents give millions to the town? Please take pen and paper and read The SUN’s article, as I don’t believe in long, boring letters to the editor. Figure it out yourself.

Carl Kummer


Dear Editor:

To Mr. Sawicki.

Dear Jim:

The percentage of income that Americans spend on taxes is the lowest it’s been since 1958, according to an analysis by USA Today. And with the exception of five years after the 1986 Tax Reform Act, the highest marginal income and corporate tax rates are the lowest they’ve been since World War II.

Federal taxes as a share of GDP are at their lowest point since 1950, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. When all taxes, including state and local, are added up, the proportion of GDP going to taxes has been essentially flat for nearly half a century, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

The OECD figures also show that, as a share of GDP, taxes in the United States are lower than in most other developed nations. Sorry, Jim, ol’ buddy.

The only income tax hike passed during the Obama administration was part of the healthcare reform bill, through which Congress raised the Medicare payroll tax for high earners, according to the Heritage Foundation. The excise tax on those evil tobacco products was also raised as part of a children’s health insurance bill in February 2009.

Ah, what about that job-killing federal corporate tax rate which stands at 35 percent?

While it’s true the official rate is “high,” few corporations pay it according to the Tax Policy Center. The TPC points out that the effective tax rates that corporations pay actually goes down a lot with the myriad of deductions available and puts us in the middle of the pack with other countries. How are those overseas tax shelters workin’ out for ya? Do you think corporations are going to move back because of a lower rate? Corporations are people! Corporations want to keep our hard earned money and employ tax accountants and lawyers to “help” the economy.

As for the evil stimulus package, that has clearly not brought back the country to a normal level of unemployment, it has prevented deeper unemployment.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act has increased employment by at least 2 million jobs. Most economists estimate that unemployment would have been as high as 12 percent. All this, remember, is while states have cut large numbers of state employees and continue to do so.

The Recovery Act as passed, was estimated to cost about $787 billion. More than a third of that was tax cuts! Another third was entitlements, such as unemployment benefits and Medicaid assistance. Of the $275 billion in spending by federal agencies, less than 200 billion was dedicated to projects.

The projected cost of the Recovery Act is now $830 billion (not trillions), largely because of the qualification of more people for tax credits.

It’s been said that the stimulus did little more than fill potholes and create a lot of temporary jobs. In truth, the Recovery Act provided funding for a number of projects that people will be able to point to generations from now. No, not like the New Deal legacy, but solar power plants, inner city tunnel projects and bridges, environmental cleanup projects, new military hospitals, schools and the Homeland Security headquarters building, to name a few.

Jim, I’m sorry I had to make a quick visit before next year’s election results, but I just couldn’t help myself. Your constant “flailing and railing” against the liberals and our president is always entertaining and welcome. That your rants are devoid of facts doesn’t deter you in the least is always a bonus for the critical thinking crowd. It means you are like background noise that is heard momentarily, then blissfully ignored. You really need to widen your scope of politics. There is a big, interconnected world outside of Washington, DC. Did you know that there is an Asian and European debt crisis and worldwide rising gas and energy prices and demand? Of course you and your Baggers can vote for Michelle Bachman and the price of gas will fall to $2 a gallon and a new era of conservative American politics will be gloriously reinstated. I hope we will still hear from you regularly.

Ron Levitan

Asheville, N.C.


Dear Editor:

I was recently visiting Pagosa Springs from Austin, Texas, as I do two to three times a year. There were many more tourists in town enjoying Pagosa Springs than I’ve ever seen before. They all seemed to be having a great time tubing the river, at the springs, walking on Reservoir Hill, at the restaurants and shops. They seemed to like Pagosa just fine the way it is.

The Town Tourism Committee wants to put an amusement park on Reservoir Hill. How sad for the town. Cutting down live, healthy trees when so many trees in the area are dead and dying. Who are these people on the TTC? Are they elected or appointed? I see many letters in The SUN criticizing the federal government and Obama and their tax and spend philosophy. People can really make more change at the local level if they would get involved. It seems that Shari Pierce is the only one that cares enough to stand alone for beautiful Pagosa Springs. Thank you, Shari. I keep reading about a business plan, but have yet to see one. I hope The SUN will publish the plan in the paper so we can all see how unreasonable their plan really is. They want a water slide on the hill? The town is so determined to rush ahead with their next big plan that they neglect to maintain the completed projects.The landscaping around the new footbridge seems to be dying from lack of water.

The Town Council said they want to hear from town residents. If you oppose this waste, please let them hear from you. Once nature on Reservoir Hill is gone, it cannot be brought back.

Francine Morris

Austin, Texas


Dear Editor:

Question: Where is it written that the following facts are acceptable?

1. The manager of Archuleta County Road and Bridge continues to allow trucks to tear up County Road 326 (Upper Blanco Road), hauling road material, which will be used to build and repair another county road, which is some 50-plus miles distant?

2. County Road 326 has continual wash boarding and potholes … all due to truck traffic.

3. Once County Road 326 is repaired by Road and Bridge, trucking of road material begins all over again.

4. Residents have repeatedly requested noise and dust abatement … to no avail.

5. Because the noise and especially the dust is so prevalent, residents must daily have their doors and windows closed.

6. Days and times of hauling road material are non existent … therefore, trucks have been arriving anywhere from 7:15 a.m. to 8 a.m. and continue until an unknown time in the late afternoon and for an unknown period of days or weeks or months.

7. Many residents of County Road 326 and possibly tourists have been subjected, on occasion, to “taking to the ditch” when trucks have been going at an excessive speed and taking up more than their half of the road.

8. And now we are expected to consider the proposed millage for the repair of roads?

Cynthia and Jim Peironnet

Open range

Dear Editor:

To Georgia Parnell.

Do you seriously think your neighbors and people who use open range laws feel that their lives and the lives of their animals are more important than you?

What are they doing wrong? Answer: Absolutely nothing.

I think it’s wrong that you feel that your property is only yours. What is next, banning the deer, elk, bears and turkeys?

Open range was here before you moved here?and it is one of the last scared reminders of the “old” west.

You moved here knowing about the laws and now you want to change things for your convenience.

If you want to block out natural roaming animals, then I suggest you move to a state with no open range laws and live in a nice high rise so you can have your privacy or do the logical thing and build a fence.

It’s not about not affording to feed the animals, it’s giving these animals their right to roam and exercise. They have no voice like you do. Take your “frustration” and put it towards a great cause like the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals or the Humane Society. Animals that are born to roam should not be caged in like prisoners. That is why we moved here to beautiful “open range” Colorado.

KJ Smith


Dear Editor:

To the awesome people of Pagosa Springs:

I had a rollover car accident in Aspen Springs on June 27. I was very fortunate to have my life back. The EMTs and ER doctors were great! The only residual problem is my eyesight (double vision). My wonderful friends have been generously devoting their time with phone calls, emails, cards and visits. Not only that, but rides (since my car was totaled) for errands, invitations for lunch and/or supper.

Special thanks to Mary Webb, Jane Baker, Barb Elges, Sandi Butcher, Marilyn Dahm, Joyce Ryan, Shirley Van Dyken, Jeanine Malaney, Linda Bundy, and many others who have made my life very tolerable, convenient, and now pleasant. And special thanks to my husband, Fred Uehling, who gave me the support and love when I needed it most.

Annette Uehling


Dear Editor:

Last week’s letter regarding horses running at large and livestock grazing on roadways and private property urged me to address this issue. For years, I have heard the community saying they want open space, they don’t want walls and fences. In the early 1880s, Colorado legislature passed a “fencing” statute, commonly referred to as the “open range” or “fence out” statute. “Open Range” is a definition of land, not a law. Fence out as defined in the law is “a well constructed three barbed wire fence with substantial posts set at a distance of approximately twenty feet apart ...” That type of fence may keep cattle out; it doesn’t keep sheep and goats out. Suitable perimeter fences for sheep are multi-strand, high tensile, electric fences and woven wire with electric offset wires and barbed wires at the top and bottom of the fences as recommended by fencing for containment of sheep. From research on the site under the Department of Agriculture. (“Open range” does not mean a stockman can simply allow their livestock to run at large without penalty. CRS 35-46-105 “Grazing on roads and in municipalities” and CRS 35-47-101”Horses and mules running at large” are two statutes to deal with negligent livestock owners.)

The owners of these animals that have taken over one subdivision of Aspen Springs do not have common courtesy for their neighbors. Their attitude is that the entire subdivision should “fence out.” For every one-and-one-half acre parcel to be fenced with six-eight strands of electric or barbed wire, doesn’t keep the attitude of the community of open space, the ability to ride horses on the greenbelt, down the roads, to take a walk through the greenbelt, to observe the deer, elk or other wildlife in their yards. It doesn’t make sense to me to fence off the greenbelt, where we have just established a county park. This isn’t just about fencing off our yards and pastures; we have to fence our entire property because these animals are walking on and under decks and porches to get shade and water.

This is not about ranchers who are raising livestock and providing sufficient water and pasture; this is about a few with three acres or less, who feel it is their right to abuse the agricultural history of this state and take advantage of their neighbors, with no consideration for the safety of the community (animals on the roads, trampling through private yards where children play, or the protection of the land and soil, as thistle and other noxious weeds are spread on land that is overgrazed). Those of us who bring in hay, grain and water for our animals, should not be paying for the feeding of those that either can’t or won’t provide for their animals as they break through the fencing that keeps our animals on our properties. Please help support the petition to ask the commissioners to stop this abuse.

Ronnie Zaday

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