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Letters to Editor


Dear Editor:

With the “no” vote prevailing on item 3B in recent balloting, Pagosa is faced with what to do about the school’s leaky flat roof. I am told that “experts” say it can’t be repaired. As a retired contractor with much roofing work in the vicious winter climates of the northeast, I see a positive outcome to the town’s dilemma.

First off, it’s got to be said that flat roofs are the most susceptible of all roof types to leaks, that the source of those leaks can be hard to find, and, even if found, are often hard to repair. Sometimes the solution must come down to building a pitched roof over the old flat roof, and this, I believe, is what Pagosa must do. Pitched roofs normally have any pitch from 12/12 (a 45-degree roof, 12 inches of rise for 12 inches of pitch down to, say, 6/12. They will always drop their snow loads on the low end of their pitch. On the schools, there would be as many pitch intersections as the intersecting shapes of the structure below requires. The directions of any “run” of a roof will be in accord with economy and where its snow and rain loads are to fall.

Both pitched roofs and, to a lesser extent, shed roofs create space over the old flat roof, and this can be valuable space. On it, for example, thick insulation batts can be laid down, these serving to offset the cost of roof construction, as well as to offer heat savings in the future. Also, if a 12/12 pitch — or even a 10/12 pitch — were chosen, valuable space, or fices, for instance, would be created over the old flat roof. Of course, the town would be called upon to have designs drawn up and put out to bid.

I used to live in Norwich, Vermont, across the river from Hanover, New Hampshire. The two towns have an interstate school district, high school students from Norwich going to Hanover High School. Eight years ago, the question arose about whether to tear down the old Hanover High School, built in 1931, and build a new high school north of the town proper, or to totally renovate the old high school, incorporating the former middle and elementary schools into it, for a new high school. Final costs were a bit unpredictable. But a strong sentiment arose “to keep our high school in town.” Cost estimates were advanced for both options (with final cost admittedly hard to predict), and finally both options were put to the town for vote. The vote to keep the high school in town won.

In Pagosa, there does not seem to be the same sentiment of keeping the middle school in town. It’s pointed out that middle school students have to cross U.S.160. Honestly, I see that residents in Norwich have to cross major traffic artery (the town population is over 6,000; add to that several hundred students of Dartmouth College). Also, at Hanover, there are about 3,000 students; school buses unload and load right in front of the school; about 500 students are bussed to and from Norwich every school day.

I have been back to the Hanover-Norwich area and visited the renovated high school. It is a masterpiece. Everyone is happy with the outcome of the town’s vote. And the town proudly keeps its “1931” shield over the old front entrance.

Lyman Allen


Dear Editor:

November is National Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month and I am proud to say that I am raising awareness about the fourth leading cause of cancer death in the United States. It has been 40 years since the enactment of the 1971 National Cancer Act and over the past decade, there has been significant improvement in overall cancer survival rates. Sadly, pancreatic cancer survival rates are not reflected in this. In fact, this insidious disease has seen an increase of cases and deaths since 1998 and remains the only cancer that still has a five-year survival rate in the single digits at 6 percent.

There are heroes in our community, along with myself, that are volunteering to make a difference in the outcome for those diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. We are fighting alongside the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, the national organization creating hope in a comprehensive way through research, patient support, community outreach and advocacy for a cure with a goal to double the pancreatic cancer survival rate by 2020.

Three years ago, I lost my father, Joe S. Lobato, to pancreatic cancer just 18 months after diagnosis. I understand firsthand the urgent need to create hope for others and their loved ones. I volunteer as a community representative for the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network in Pagosa Springs, and our surrounding communities. I will be participating in one of 45 national Purple Light Vigil for Hope events across the country to honor those who are fighting and have fought pancreatic cancer on Nov. 20, 2011, at the park located on the corner of Pagosa Street and Hot Springs Boulevard in Pagosa Springs, at 6 p.m.

Now is the time to be a hero in the fight against pancreatic cancer and volunteer for progress. Please visit to find out how you can become involved. Together, we can make a difference.


Inez Lobato-Winter


Dear Editor:

As I prepare to honor Veterans Day, I remind myself to also commemorate the original Armistice Day. It is also known as Remembrance Day and, by an act of Congress, is “a day dedicated to the cause of world peace.” I will take the traditional two minutes of silence “at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month” to honor and remember all those who bring an end to war and forge lasting and just peace. And the day may have special meaning for numerologists this year: 11-11-11-11.

Terry Pickett


Dear Editor:

This Friday our nation pays tribute to our veterans — 24 million vets. At this hour, a new generation of Americans is defending our flag and our freedom in the first war of this century. This war came to our shores on the morning of Sept.11, 2001. We know that they want to strike again and our nation has made a clear choice. We will confront this mortal danger to all humanity. We will not tire or rest until the war on terror is won. “The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave.” — Patrick Henry

The veterans that I talk to want America to win its wars. The veterans I talk to believe that politicians who talk about losing wars are giving aid and comfort to the enemy. The veterans I know respect and admire those who have volunteered for our military. My veteran friends revere those fine men and women who have risked all, and given all, for American freedom. We do not want leaders who bow to foreign leaders. We bow to no one but God.

The veterans I talk to support Israel wholeheartedly and without reserve. The veterans I talk to welcome foreigners, as long as they do not try to change America by force, and as long as they assimilate fully. The veterans I talk to do not think much of national leaders who spend money like it was mere grains of beach sand, often on selfish vacations, junkets, and tours to places that do not matter to America. Which is a message Obama needs to hear, no matter how far from home he wanders.

This veteran understands well the counsel of Ecclesiastes 3:1-3: “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal.”

This Veterans Day, and to all fellow patriots who have served our nation with courage and great sacrifice, we all offer our heartfelt gratitude. You have honored your oath to “support and defend … so help me God,” as do those on the front line in the war with Jihadistan today. You have kept the flame of liberty, lit by our founders, burning bright for future generations.

In 1918, the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month marked the cessation of World War 1 hostilities. This date is now designated in honor of our veterans, and a focal point for national observance is the placing of a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery. Today, nearly 24 million (8 percent) of our countrymen are veterans. Of those, 33 percent served in Vietnam, 18 percent in the Gulf War, 14 percent in WW II and 13 percent in Korea. About 3 percent served in Iraq and Afghanistan and other counter-terrorism theaters. More than 25 percent of those veterans suffer some disability. We should remember: “A nation that forgets its veterans will itself be forgotten.” — Calvin Coolidge.

Jim Sawicki

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