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Letters to Editor


Dear Editor:

Today I read in the letters to The SUN, “something went through the side of the building, it was not an airliner … Ask yourself why was (sic) there never any pictures of the airliner flying into the building (referring to the Pentagon) or any debris from the wrecked ...”

I Googled 9/11 Pentagon pictures and lo and behold, there was a gallery pictures of burned and smashed airliner parts scattered about the Pentagon; just like the real time images, some of us will never forget. I also Googled 9/11 Pentagon Memorial and found, “southwest of the Pentagon in Arlington, county Virginia dedicated to the 184 men and women who lost their lives as victims of the attack, killed in both the buildings and on American Airlines Flight 77 in the September attacks.”

It is, of course, appropriate that we honor the innocent victims of the attack this week. There is no need to mislead the public about this tragic event.

Bob Dungan


Yes, and no

Dear Editor:

Last week’s letters from Jean Fox and Beverly Haynes incited me to do something I don’t often do. Write a letter to the editor. First of all, Jean is right on the money in her letter “About the Kids.” Thanks, Jean, for your vision and your love of the kids.

As a middle school art teacher and veteran teacher in all the school district buildings, I must concur. Everybody that enjoys a dark, windowless, airless, high traffic, next to the highway, leaky, moldy, crowded, hard to protect, space ... will enjoy spending time with me and all the kiddos at the middle school. We do our best to keep it looking nice and work on it constantly, but it needs to be replaced. These problems are too big to fix.

However, I must disagree with everything that Beverly Haynes said in her letter called “Saddened.” I feel saddened by what she said.

I was volunteering at Pagosa Center for the Arts one of the days that the Gay and Lesbian matching fund was announced before the play. I witnessed two people who were not gay or lesbian pulling out their checkbooks and writing a donation check for $25, which then will be matched by the fund and become $50. That is a good thing. Right? In my opinion, the “agenda” of the Gay and Lesbian Fund is to support the arts. The performing and visual arts are the agenda. Nothing more.

The Pagosa Center for the Arts is a high class act. It would be imprudent for them to say no to any matching grant offer. Tim and Laura have complete autonomy over the plays and artists they choose to represent. They are struggling to bring excellent theater to this community. It could be a colossal benefit for Pagosa if we rally round getting it off the ground. Let’s get with it and support the arts!

Gail Hershey


Dear Editor:

It would appear that Mr. McQuiggin took exception to my remarks at the school board meeting on the 30th because I read a prepared statement and my “talking points regarding BEST and Lobato v. State of Colorado may have missed the mark as far as full details of both matters are concerned.” When Mr. McQuiggin is a little older he may appreciate the necessity of writing out anticipated comments so that one can make sure they have remembered to include all of the points they want to make, then printing those comments out in a large enough font that they can be easily read, and finally reading those comments at the public meeting to make sure that nothing is forgotten and that numbers are not scrambled. With respect to not including sufficient details, when the school board (as opposed to the BoCC) tells you in advance that you will only be allowed to speak once for two minutes (even though they change it to three minutes just before the first speaker at the meeting), you are forced to prioritize your 15 minutes of comments in order to select only what you consider the most important and they are inevitably reduced to key “sound bites.”

Reference BEST funding, Mr. McQuiggin’s figures for BEST funding of an Archuleta County project correcting mine fall into the “interesting but irrelevant” category. The fact is, we just don’t know how much BEST might have contributed to our school repair or building projects because our school district, after they received the Blythe Group Facilities Master Plan in 2008 (based on 2007 data) that identified $7,069,755 in repairs that needed to be done “immediately” or “within 5 years,” did not attempt to get BEST funding and/or recommend a bond measure for repairs. And after the CDE School Assessment Reports were conducted during FY 2009, finding a (suspiciously high) total of $33,881,091 in repairs that needed to be done “immediately,” “within 1 year,” or “in 2-5 years,” the district still did not attempt to get BEST funding and/or recommend a bond measure for repairs. In addition, despite the fact that all schools were rated an “F” in maintenance, there still appears to be no organized large scale maintenance program — although the “housekeeping” (cleanliness, wall coverings, etc.) that I observed in the junior high looked excellent.

Last, apparently I don’t understand the Lobato lawsuit and whether it is challenging the state’s distribution of school funds to the different districts as being inequitable — or just irrational. Regardless, according to Superintendent DeVoti at the meeting last Tuesday, even though our district did not join the other 21 school districts who are co-plaintiffs in the suit, they have recently sent a $1,500 contribution to the Lobato Plaintiffs, saying “the reason we did get involved with a small financial pledge was we found out if you didn’t have some type of financial pledge the state would look at your district and say that because you hadn’t pledged any money for it you would consider yourself equitably funded.” So, clearly, I am not the only one looking at this as an equitable funding issue.

Jim Huffman


Dear Editor:

Enjoy your Labor Day holiday? The reason we celebrate Labor Day is largely because of the contributions made by unions to the betterment of America’s workers. The numerous beneficial influences of organized labor cannot be ignored. Most of the benefits workers now enjoy are directly attributable to unions. To cite but a few: the 40-hour work week, paid holidays and vacations, sick leave; grievance procedures, collective bargaining and generally superior wages.

Unfortunately, succeeding generations have come to take those benefits for granted. Those benefits came about because of unions and soon became the norm for union workers and many non-union workers as well.

All American workers owe a debt of gratitude to Organized Labor for its achievements.

Paul G. Jaehnert

Vadnais Heights, Minn.


Dear Editor:

I am a parent of an elementary and middle school student and am blessed to live in the beautiful Pagosa Springs area. The years my children have attended the Pagosa Springs Elementary and Middle School have been wonderful, thanks to the dedication of teachers and staff that work intensely to ensure my children are receiving an excellent education. Unfortunately, the educational process is often overshadowed by the inadequate facility conditions of the elementary, intermediate and junior high school buildings.

Since 1917, 1954 and 1967, the intermediate, junior high and elementary school, all located adjacent to U.S. 160, have served this community and its students. But as the years have passed, traffic has greatly increased, the buildings have aged, the mechanical and electrical systems have become outdated, plumbing issues need to be addressed, acoustics are dire, roofs continually leak and the repairs are overwhelming. We need a solution.

I am grateful to the board of education for authorizing a ballot question which delivers a solution. A 40-50 year solution bestowing many generations with school facilities that provide 21st century learning environments, lessen energy and water consumption, are well-ventilated, provide indoor temperature control, utilize natural light, have favorable acoustics and the added benefit of a location which will reduce transportation costs. That solution is a new K-8 school building located at the adjoining property to the Pagosa Springs High School.

Lara Khung


Dear Editor:

To Mr. McQuiggin:

I thought your article in the Aug. 25 PREVIEW was well-written. I am a little uncomfortable with some of the rather extreme views I see expressed in The SUN. It is refreshing to have someone express a more balanced, progressive opinion of the current political and economic situation in the U.S., especially when you have valid economic data to back up your statements. So many views and opinions are just emotional rhetoric written by people who are poorly informed, but determined to shout out their narrow, rigid thoughts in an almost menacing way intended to intimidate anyone who does not share their views.

You are right about the error in thinking government is bad.

However, our own government is not really “our” government these days. Our politicians are “owned,” bought and paid for by big money interests. In fact, these so-called “job creators” have done very little in the last 12 years to create any jobs in the U.S. They have taken more jobs out of the country. It is a myth that favoring wealthy corporations is good for the country, and this myth is perpetuated by politicians who have been bought by the same interests who want the myth to continue. It is a perfect example of doing the same thing over and over, expecting a different result — one of the definitions of insanity. Profits do not “trickle down.” Instead, like cream, profits rise to the top where they are skimmed off by greedy executives.

A country which lacks availability of good health care, good education, secure retirement, decent living conditions for the elderly, opportunities for the poor, care for low-income children, job opportunities for those seeking work — such a country cannot have a bright future. A country that favors the wealthy, excuses them from their fair share of taxes, allows them to buy politicians and lawmakers, allows them to control media which they use to delude a gullible audience, a country that has decided it’s fair to let financial institutions deceive customers, then loot the U.S. Treasury as long as they make millions in the process, a country that values money above all else and believes everything is fair in the accumulation of wealth — this is a country of which we should be ashamed and which should arouse our collective outrage.

But, somehow, it really doesn’t. We have been so effectively divided by emotional issues like gun rights, choice, religious beliefs, gay marriage and racism that we find it impossible to work together to rebuild the deteriorating economy I believe this is a situation encouraged by interests that benefit from our division. As long as we are distracted from what is really happening within our government, the corrupt leadership can continue to be the puppets of the money-mongers who benefit from the ignorance of the American public. They will continue to keep laws in place that send more money their way, and they will continue to write legislation that increases their wealth, while Americans wave signs, point their fingers, talk about walls and welfare, blame each other, and fail completely to see the real enemies of the country who are tearing it apart, bit by bit, dollar by dollar. Soon, they will have it all, and the befuddled masses will wonder how it happened. It happened while we were squabbling with each other over divisive social issues they have no intention of changing. It will happen just like the sudden crisis in 2008, which required the looting of the U.S. Treasury. Surprise, we didn’t see it coming! We were too busy blaming and fighting with each other over immigration and walls, gay rights, women’s rights, civil rights, religious rights — just like they wanted us to be.

Joy Losee


Dear Editor:

I want to thank Duane Branson for alerting us to this abuse of power by our sneaky dictator. I looked up the information to see for myself. First we have mandatory health care forced on us and now this. The Democratic party is getting more undemocratic by the day.

John Meyer


Dear Editor:

Several years ago I congratulated you and The SUN for the unexpected and proper use of the word “narthex.” Today, it is my rare pleasure to congratulate you and The SUN once again, this time for avoiding the subliterate use of “comprise,” which use sadly dominates in this degraded age. I refer to the caption under a photo of the local band Bixby where the word is gracefully deployed. Bravo! I look forward to seeing more good work.

Jim Milstein


Dear Editor:

Reference Pagosa SUN 9/1/11, Roads.

County clerk is asking for public input, pros/cons on forming road districts. A letter to county clerk and county commissioners:

Here we go again. Is our safety at risk, with the proposal of road districts taking place? We live here, pay road taxes and yet our county is willing to let go of road care. Most importantly, snow removal, in an area that can have road closures due to snowfall.

I do not agree the citizens need be weaned off road care.

Please explain to me in writing how districts could be formed. To subject a neighborhood to this obligation is unreal, i.e., 40 percent of residents are living here part time, many that live here are retired, and not all are rich.

Part of the county commissioners’ job is to provide safety for this community, is this in the plan?

On another note, was the Germany trip paid for out of pocket, commissioner Whiting? I hope so.

Pam Morrow


Dear Editor:

I have lived in Unit 5 of Aspen Springs since 1974, and in that time the only domestic animals that have free ranged here are those sheep.

In 1883, the Colorado Supreme Court made a ruling entitled Willard v. Mathesus, 7 Colo., 76 (1883). “The rule as to sheep is different. It is the custom to close-herd sheep upon the range. This custom has the force of law. In the view of these customs, farmers make their fences good against cattle, but not necessarily against sheep. It is the duty of the herder in charge of a flock of sheep to use ordinary care to prevent their trespassing upon crops, and in the absence of such care, the owner of the sheep will be held responsible for damage to crops by them.”

The Supreme Court ruling tends to make Colorado a fence in, rather than fence out state, where sheep are concerned. Stockmen in Colorado are also required to carry liability insurance on their herds.

Leroy Oldham

Not yours

Dear Editor:

To Stephen Keno and KJ Smith, regarding open range in our subdivision.

First of all, I was born and raised in Colorado. I have lived in this subdivision almost 25 years, so I am not a newcomer. I also lived on a ranch in Colorado for over half my life. We had cattle, and we kept them fenced in.

I want to point out that “open range” actually means more fences. Wildlife has a hard enough time crossing highways without getting maimed or killed. Now you want people to put up more fences so that deer and elk have a harder time migrating. What about the fawns and elk calves that are too little to jump a fence?

Also, people who enjoy horseback riding have to contend with fences everywhere they go.

Oh, and by the way, my property, Mr. Smith, does belong to me and any “wildlife” that happens to pass through.

It is not your land.

Georgia Parnell


Dear Editor:

The whole world is facing severe economic problems most of which derive from unsustainable debt. Around the world political leaders seem at a loss as how to correct the very situations they and their predecessor got the world into.

Unfortunately, it appears our leaders here in Archuleta County are on a similar course. With our local economy struggling, our future growth in question, we are going to be asked at the next election to increase taxes for roads, along with other perceived county needs to the tune of 5, 10 or 15 mills, as well as a debt issue for a new school bond for upwards of $50,000,000. This latter bond issue will also increase the mills levy on all real estate in order to pay for it.

The need for road improvement and upkeep is not a question but a fact. The need for new school buildings to replace the current buildings also should be considered, but probably in different times. Both of these issues being presented by the county commissioners and the school board respectively, were developed with little to no community input. They seem to have come with little thought as to the economics of the time or place. The commissioners were at least hearing complaints about the roads, but to my knowledge the school board was not hearing complaints of need from outside their members, appointed committee and insiders. The community was not clamoring for better education, quite the opposite. The quality of our teachers and their efforts were applauded.

Concern on both these issues is to the exclusion of those who will be expected to pay the taxes, both residential and business, to support the boards’ views of what is needed. Schools and the education of the children is of prime importance to the community but major disruptions such as abandoning three school buildings and moving all to a mega campus, with its accompanying cost, is not something that should be left to the whims of a small group. This type of massive effort should come from the community at large. It should be shown that it will truly result in a better education for our children.

I, like many, have attended the “public meetings” held by the school board. The only supportive positions were those expressed by teachers and these dealt with basically correctable problems. Opinions from outside the direct education community tended to oppose the board’s action at this time for various reasons, not the least of which was the welfare of the community. But it was evident the decision had been made and “thank you for coming and expressing yourselves, but we know best and have made our decision. You will be advised how much it impacts you on your next tax bill.”

Robert Rawlings


Dear Editor:

We were saddened and disturbed by the contents of a letter from Beverly Haynes published in the Sept. 1 Pagosa SUN. Ms. Haynes warns our community of the potential dangers she associates with the acceptance of the generous grant given by the Gay and Lesbian Fund to our wonderful Thingamagig Theatre. We have attended their last three performances and intend to see as many more as we possibly can. We love the diversity of the characters they present.

Our sadness comes from the realization there is a person (dare we hope only one) in our community so threatened by the diversity characterizing American society that she feels compelled to attack those different from herself even to the point of restricting their support of theatrical performances. We are very happy to have an outstanding new theatre adding to the cultural resources of our community and very confident about the artistic integrity of its initiators.

Patricia B Richardson

Richard C Richardson Jr.


Dear Editor:

For those who may have missed it, I wanted to point out that our Board of County Commissioners recently approved a proclamation designating September 5, 2011, (Labor Day) as a “Day of Appreciation and Recognition for the Public Employees of Archuleta County, Colorado.” I’d like to thank Commissioner Lucero for introducing the measure, which was conveyed to him by the Archuleta County Democratic Party, and to also thank the other commissioners for their support, as well.

I mention this now because the message contained in that proclamation makes clear that support and appreciation for our teachers, our law enforcement officers, our town and county employees, and all the other public employees we depend on to make our lives better is a bipartisan stance which we should all embrace. Too often,people forget about this most essential of all community resources that we have — our neighbors, our friends. Thank you, commissioners, for acknowledging this fact, making this most recent Labor Day even more meaningful for Archuleta County citizens.

Nan Rowe


Dear Editor:

It’s going without saying that the fair-haired bread guy, Ron “The Baker Man” Levitan, couldn’t handle it. As a matter-o-fact, won a few wagers with P-Town’s coffee shop regulars that I’d get Ron to “rise again” with some deep rooted conservative yeast — and way before Dec. 2012.

Besides, reminds me of time spent next to the ovens at the Rollin Pin Bakery engaged in raucous deliberation with my devoted liberal compatriot. Which is a might safer than having the “troglodyte” in Arboles, Mr. Bob Dungan, rollin in with his “Sop With Camel” and dropping one of those Los Alamos ”Oppie” eggs on the atmosphere.

Anyway, let’s “widen the scope of politics” for the Carolina ridge runner (da “Baker Man” needs reality numbers).

How bout some skinny that Obama will never admit: 1) “The rich” pay the bulk of taxes in the United States. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the top 1 percent pays 40 percent of all federal income taxes. The top two quintiles pay 99 percent. 2) The bulk of the Bush tax cuts — which Obama himself extended — went to the middle class. According to CNN Money, only 81.5 billion out of 544.3 billion in tax cuts — a mere 15 percent — went to “the rich,” families making over $250,000.

These two facts are undisputable, but Obama’s entire presidency hangs on denying them, and instead advancing policies on two lies: 1) The greedy rich pay almost nothing in taxes; and 2) “tax cuts for the rich” destroyed the economy. These are the two central lies that the left uses to indict capitalism.

In an interview in Business Week, Obama bragged, “You would be hard-pressed to identify a piece of legislation that we have proposed out there that, net, is not good for business.” Au contraire! I challenge you, ol’ buddy, to identify a piece of legislation from this Democrat Chi-town thug regime that is not utterly catastrophic for business.

This is a buffoon who has never created a job, or made a payroll. He shows an abysmal ignorance of American history and a profound distrust — even hatred — of the free market. By blaming and punishing “the rich,” Obama has ruined the job creation engine of this country, virtually destroying the American private sector. But he is not going to get away with his dangerous class-warfare demagoguery.

Message to the Man-child: Stop. Enough. You’ve done plenty to wreck the American economy in your two-and-a half-year experiment with socialism. From Obamacare to card check to the moratorium on oil drilling to cap-and-trade to thousands of new czar regulations that have created a frightening climate of uncertainty in the business community, the last thing we need is any more “help” from yer Marxist mindset. We live in the “land of opportunity,” not in a land of handouts.

BTW Ron, even if the liberal elite are preparing for a breakdown in law and order, that’s OK; “we the people” are secretly moving our industrial 55-gallon cans of whoop a_ _ into position to open them and take our country back! And ya keep right on listening to my “background noise” without “ignoring” it.

Jim Sawicki


Dear Editor:

I would like to respond to the two letters that criticized Georgia Parnell’s letter on open range grazing and roaming horses.

Mr. Smith, we don’t want to ban deer, elk, bear and turkeys from our property, just your horses, and we don’t need to change the laws to get it done, because they are already there. So, you see, Georgia didn’t move here and try to change the roaming horse law. You moved here and are breaking the existing ones.

If you really want your horses to be free to roam, then maybe a wild mustang herd is your answer, or is that too free?

I agree that animals don’t have a voice, but if your horses could talk, they might ask you why you allow them to be in harm’s way, i.e., prairie dog holes, other animals (both domestic and wild), an irate property owner with a gun or careless drivers.

I must admit I’m not sure about the whole animal rights issue, but I do believe that owners have an obligation to ensure they are properly taken care of.

Mr. Keno, Georgia has lived here longer than you and is a native to Colorado, so if she is a newcomer, then what does that make you? Not that it really matters. I made it a point to double check the First Amendment in the Bill of Rights and nowhere did it exclude newcomers from exercising their right to free speech.

Georgia was raised on a cattle ranch and her father never used open range. Georgia herself gave up her horses when she moved here because she knew her small acreage was not sufficient for them.

As far as trying to fit in with the locals, you might try asking a lot of these good old boys and girls how they feel about open range grazing in a subdivision. I have, and I don’t think you are going to like what you hear.

I am aware that grazing has been here for 120 years, but what you failed to tell your readers is that the Hurt Ranch was hundreds of acres owned by one man with a couple of horses, not hundreds of lots owned by hundreds of people. The entire county’s population was less than a thousand. Going back to the late 1800s to make your point only shows how much has changed and strengthens Georgia’s point. If you really believe what was right in 1890 still applies, then why not go back to 1870 and tell everybody how many domestic animals were grazing the Hurt Valley. Answer, none.

In closing, I would like to ask all Aspen Springs property owners who feel that our subdivision can no longer accommodate open range grazing to let your voices be heard.

There is a petition going around (point of contact Ronnie Zaday); please sign it and encourage other property owners to do the same. Call or write your local and state representatives and complain, but whatever you do, don’t let a couple of good old boys have you believe that your only options are to build a fence or move; it’s a lie and an insult to our intelligence.

Also, please, don’t harm the animals. They’re just along for the ride.

Richard Sutherland

Open range

Dear Editor:

Open range — and leave it that way!

Every time I read comments from Ronnie Zaday, whether in the editor letters or her wording on her petition, I just get in an uproar. She’s good at quoting statutes, however, even better at implying the meanings. In the statute of “fencing out” and the definition of a well constructed fence, yes the statute gives an example of a three wire barbed wire, but that doesn’t imply that’s the only thing that can be used. And if she thinks that type of fence will keep cattle in, she’s only fooling herself! For that matter, electric fences, high quality steel fence panels, and many other types of fences do not keep all animals out, or in, all of the time.

For many of us, we moved to this area because of the statutes of this state. With the beauty of the wildlife and the beautiful scenery come the hassles of the same. Ms. Zaday mentions nothing about the hassles of the bear tearing through our trash, the mountain lion that killed our dog in our own driveway, or the deer and elk that eat our hay that we feed our horses. What new law will she come up with to protect us from these inconveniences? There are no laws being broke and picking out small portions of statutes to quote so that people see it “your” way is misleading! There is no such thing as “Unlawful Grazing.” No one is “simply allowing their livestock to run at large.” No one is having their animals “grazing on roads.” Not once have my horses been able to find food on the roads. And the horses and mules are not “running at large” throughout the greenbelt. And why would horses or sheep “overgraze” your yard when they’re free to walk another 100 feet to where there is overgrown grass to eat? When my horses have eaten down the grass, they move on. I bring in hay, grain and water for my animals and always have and I like the option that I can allow them to graze in surrounding areas. This is what it’s all about!

That’s right, in this state, we are allowed to graze our animals. It’s our right as property owners and residents. Many people move out of town limits so they have these options available. If you don’t like it, then you shouldn’t be here. Perhaps a nice house in the Vista would suit you better.

In addition, I did notice, however, that the county park that she has just “established” (as she put it), is bounded by neighboring horse owners with electric wire surrounding. Won’t that be nice when the kids visit the “park” and get a hold of it? And where are the restroom facilities? So, when our community families get together and have a picnic with other children around and “have to go,” won’t that be nice?

Pam Wallis


Dear Editor:

The facts might help understand the situation.

With regard to Mr. Keno and KJ Smith‘s letters in reply to Ms. Parnell. I’m not sure if KJ lives or even owns property in Aspen Springs. I do know that Ms. Parnell has owned property here many years prior to Mr. Keno and his Kritters (May of 1996). Yes, when Hurt Valley (Aspen Springs Metro District-owned greenbelt) as he calls it, was part of a large ranch, the land was grazed. However, per county records in August of 1971, the Tiday’s, Beuclers, and Westman, the sole owners of the property, subdivided it into one-plus acres; with a nine-hole, 126-acre golf course in the valley, I do not believe the intent was to have a flock of 50-plus sheep, six or more goats, an alpaca (llama) and a steer, to be allowed to be released each morning to roam freely during the day throughout the subdivision causing whatever destruction to other people’s property. Yes, Mr. Keno and KJ, people buy property and move to an area with certain expectations, one is their rights to their property, and not to have others trespass on ATVs while herding their flock of Kritters, as you put them up at night, or to have horses walking up on their porches and decks for shade, water and to eat gardens, etc. That is what I call a BAD NEIGHBOR!!!

In response to KJ, each of us that own our one-plus acres, having to put up eight-strand fence to keep Mr. Keno’s Kritters out, is definitely a way of blocking out the roaming wildlife that those of us that chose to move here enjoy. Ms. Parnell said in her letter “have a small pond for wildlife” not for other people’s livestock. If you need a definition of the difference between wildlife and livestock, please search the Internet or the public library. Please, pull up the county records and see the plat maps of Aspen Springs subdivisions, it doesn’t look like open range.

“Open space” is what people long for of the “old” west where deer, elk and other wildlife can roam. “Open range” requires property owners to fence out, they are not the same thing. I am glad you moved to beautiful “open range” Colorado, however, please check out the cruelty to animals when wildlife is caught on Colorado state law-defined Fence. Here is one Internet site you might review Also, I don’t believe that sheep and goats are being picked up and set up for adoption by our local Humane Society. Being a neighbor, knowing the facts and understanding the situation before speaking out would solve lots of “what’s wrong with this country.”

Ronnie Zaday

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