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Letters to Editor


Dear Editor:

John Graves states basically that he is now an atheist due to some who apparently merely pretended to be followers of Jesus Christ, hence the hypocrisy. Surely Mr. Graves must understand that though he had observed imperfect faith through imperfect people, that in no way equates in any way to the truth of the teachings of Jesus Christ. I pray Mr. Graves does not allow imperfect people keep him from the perfection of Christ. Merry Christmas to all.

Doug G. Bell Sr.

Granbury, Texas


Dear Editor:

As a former owner of two businesses in Pagosa Springs, a longtime resident and Republican, I read with great interest and some reassurance last week’s SUN article about the Community Development Corporation (CDC) board meeting.

I am thankful that we have someone such as Commissioner Whiting representing the Board of County Commissioners (BoCC) on that board, who strongly supports local business development and also insists on balanced budgets and thoughtful planning.

I, too, am not willing to accept “trust us” with my tax dollars. I, too, want to know, not trust, that we are getting a good return on our investment, before we invest. That is how business operates. That is how our Chamber of Commerce operates. That is how our Community Development Corporation should operate.

Maybe the frantic actions of the CDC are behind us now that cooler heads, who take the long view and focus on concrete actions and results, are part of leadership here in Archuleta County.

For the first time, there is a glimmer of hope for the CDC and local business. Keep up the good work.


Ann M. Bubb


Dear Editor:

The conventional wisdom is that tax increases for the roads and schools failed because the people didn’t want to pony up. I believe this is only part of the explanation. I suspect that deep down, most of the folks in Archuleta County believe we need better roads and schools. Perhaps some believe as I do that the current local political leaders would just squander the money on their pet and ill-advised projects; projects such as the airport, the CDC and the out-of-town road consultant; projects that if they were put on the ballot would be defeated not by four to one, but by ten to one. (I encourage the commissioners to prove me wrong.)

The school board came up with the same plan as their grandfathers in 1912: A big box with small rooms that serves about ten percent of the county’s population. The school board and teachers should be wary of the “law of unintended consequences.” The big box school would be occupied only about 25 percent of the time, but must be maintained 100 percent of the time. As time passes, the maintenance of the school will absorb an ever increasing portion of the ever decreasing school budget, leaving less and less for what really matters, salaries for superior teachers.

I maintain that the resounding defeat of the road and school bond issue was due in large measure to the fact that the taxpayers have lost confidence in our local political leaders. I see two possible solutions to this problem. The political leaders can engage in a meaningful dialog with the taxpayers or they can continue to wait for Santa Claus.

Bob Dungan


Slow down

Dear Editor:

The Archuleta County Farm Bureau wildlife meeting (SUN Dec. 8) speaks of declining elk populations, even while reporting record harvest by hunters. Hunters (I have been one) may blame other predators, land managers may blame cattle and sheep grazing, foresters may blame habitat loss. In such discussions, it is certainly true that “everyone is seeing their own part of the elephant.”

As one who has worked with population models and statistical methods for estimating animal population size or density, I can appreciate the reasons for diverse opinions on the abundance of deer and elk in our area. The Colorado Division of Wildlife makes a concerted effort to provide us with objective data.

My concern is that predators too often receive much of the blame. The principal predator operating against our game animals is a 2,000-pound one of steel and glass that hurtles down our highways at 60 mph. Just drive to Durango or Ignacio before the next snowfall and you can count the casualties. Coyotes seem abundant because our drivers provide a steady supply of carrion for scavenging. In winter, animals spend all of their time trying to get enough in their stomachs to sustain them for another day. Highway roadsides are attractive because there is often some vegetation exposed and these areas have been little grazed or browsed during summer.

The recent signage requiring slower nighttime speeds should help if followed. Big 40,000-pound trucks are a problem because they are hard to slow suddenly and drivers are concerned about making time. In Canadian Parks near Jasper, Alberta, the highway speed limit is 50 mph, and it is enforced. AAA lists two of our area locations among the eight most hazardous for drivers and wildlife: U.S. 160 Durango to Pagosa Springs and Durango to Mancos; Colo. 550 north of Durango and Montrose to Ouray (EnCompass, January/February 2006).

Between 1999 and 2003, more than 65 percent of vehicle crashes in the vicinity of Gem Village were wildlife related (Telegraph, Oct. 18, 2007). In 13 years from 1993 through 2005, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) received 31,824 reports of animal-vehicle collisions, which probably represents less than 50 percent of the total actual accidents (SUN. April 3, 2008). From 1993 to 2002, 24,678 animal-vehicle collisions were reported on Colorado roadways, with 23 people killed, 2,266 injured and huge property damage (EnCompass January/February 2005).

This year, I attended a driver’s safety course offered for seniors by AARP. At the end of the sessions, there had been no mention of wildlife hazards, so I chimed in to tell people that a deer doesn’t react like a person; you see a deer beside the road and he is looking at you, so you think he sees you coming and he won’t try to cross. However, it may panic at the last minute and leap out in front of you. I’ve seen it happen. I told them, if you see a deer cross the road ahead of you, don’t watch that deer, watch for the next one that might be following. Drivers: Slow down!

Norman French


Dear Editor:

I’m writing to let you know that someone from Pagosa won the lottery …

This morning, when I was training a group of Special Education Teacher interns, we started talking about what we would do if we won the lottery. One of the interns said, “I would travel the world.” Another said, “I would buy new supplies for my classroom and get it fitted with the latest technology; “and yet another intern said, “I would feed the homeless.” The last to offer an opinion said, “I would buy a Skeel.”

“What’s a Skeel?” I asked, wondering if it was a cross between a ski and a snowmobile and if I had ever ridden one.

“Ski hill,” she enunciated slowly, as if she were speaking to a first grader. “You know, a hill where people ski.” Boy, it was impossible to contain my laughter after that, so I didn’t. I sure got a kick out of the way this back-east-somewhere-and-still-talks-too-fast gal pronounces her H’s and I’s. But it was Ian Vance, graduate of Pagosa Springs High School and Fort Lewis College, who really made me smile.

“I feel as if I have already won the lottery with the LETQP grant,” he said. He meant it, too.

Ian, the son of Norman and Ruth Vance, is a full-time teacher intern in our Land of Enchantment Teacher Quality Partnership Grant. The grant pays for a master’s degree in special education through NMHU and provides a full-time teacher salary for one year while the resident completes the degree requirements. All coursework is delivered via ITV or online. In addition to salary and tuition, Ian is also provided with monthly training on the finer points of teaching — everything from how to teach writing in an over-crowded, junior high classroom to how to steer clear of (and out of) the local school grapevine. He also gets twice-a-month site visits from a field coach who provides on-the-job support or listens to him vent, if that’s what he needs to do.

Incidently, none of the interns said that they’d quit their job if they won the lottery. I’m finding that most teachers are like that.

For applications to LETQP, visit Internships in Educational Leadership (Administration) are available as well.

Pat Martinez-Lopez


Dear Editor:

Although I have served as a director for La Plata Electric Association (LPEA) for a number of years, I write this letter as an individual. In the January Colorado Country Life magazine, CEO Greg Munro will explain why it is necessary to raise the electric rates. I am writing because there seems to be some confusion about the process the board went through to make the rate decision.

For as long as I have been on the board, we have worked to balance reliability and environmental responsibility with costs. Once it became apparent a rate increase was needed, the question was whether to raise the base charge or the electric component. The staff at LPEA prepares a cost of service study to help the board ensure that the membership is treated equitably when determining rates. According to the study, some members have not been paying their fair share for their electric service. In other words, they are being subsidized. After two days of discussion and debate, the board felt the fairest way to raise the rates was through the base charge.

The base charge is independent of consumption. Use less electricity, conserve, and your base charge remains exactly the same, but you can still save money through conservation. To say otherwise is just not true. The base charge is designed to make sure everyone pays their fair share for a service.

The cost of service study uses individual members’ records to establish an accurate scenario. LPEA takes member privacy very seriously. For this reason, LPEA will not release this information to the public.

The LPEA board makes every decision in meetings open to all our members/consumers. If you don’t mind watching sausage being made, I invite you to come and visit a board meeting. Also, all board meeting minutes are posted on the LPEA website.

I will end by saying that LPEA is one of the leading coops nationally in conservation, efficiency and renewable generation. The company has won national awards and been recognized as a leader in these areas. LPEA serves more than 30,000 members and the board is responsible to consider all of them when making decisions.

Davin Montoya



Dear Editor:

So disturbing that the drug companies do not understand why President Obama struck down the over-the-counter availability of the “morning after” pill for girls ages 12-16. Regarding this decision, he stated that common sense guided his decision.

Ahhhh, common sense! I am part of what is called the “greatest generation” — yes, we survived the Great Depression and WWII, times when every man, woman and child worked together and did their part. But that is only part of it. We were a generation of personal morals and responsibility. Following the war was the fifties — the greatest time to be an American! All young couples were having babies, neighbors helped neighbors, did the best we could with what we had and we were so very happy. Children played around the neighborhood with all moms looking out for all of them. They had total freedom to just be “kids,” innocence was protected. Teenagers were allowed to have fun without fear of “required” sex to make a date worthwhile.

Then came the sixties and forward — morals went out the door, our young people became obsessed with “anything goes.” Respect for parental values was no longer the norm. Birth control pills and condoms came in and sexual freedom was born — sex became another form of “recreation.” No need to get to know a person, just enjoy a little “recreation.”

Well, if the current generation wants to become another “greatest generation,” then it is time to reject the values of the sixties and recover the values of the fifties. Society removed all innocence from “growing up” during the sixties. Now, here comes the “morning after” pill, which, in my opinion, consequences cannot be proven until young girls have used it for several years. It is not a natural thing to put the body through, especially for a developing teenager.

Many parents today believe they can enjoy a “worry-free” time with their teenage girls — simply put them on birth control pills, then tell them they are protected from getting pregnant and, of course, the girl “reads into this” that it is OK to do “whatever.” Maybe through enough varied “recreation,” she will find the “right” one some day. Sadly, by that time, who knows what will be the physical effects of all the “recreation” when she decides she wants a family.

So, Moms and Dads, it is time to do what parents did in the fifties — allow your little ones to stay innocent, play with friends, protect them from knowledge they are too young to grasp; then, when they reach puberty, teach them about their bodies and the responsibility of their sexuality. Teach them that prior to any sexual relationship, one must first get to know that person very well, have fun together, demand mutual respect, learn what they have in common, talk about future desires and goals. Then, one day, they will come to realize that they cannot imagine life without this person a part of it. That is the time for a lifelong commitment (for most, that is marriage). Then the privilege of a sexual relationship begins and is one of mutual respect, committed love and preparation for building a family.

Thank about it.

Patty Patton Tillerson

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