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Letters to Editor


Dear Editor:

Everyone is getting sick of the heated debate and often negative comments about the proposed Wal-Mart which seems to be tearing the community apart when we should be working together to make this a better place to live.

So, is there really anything new to say about the controversy?

What does our community really need to enhance our standard of living and be a physical and economic asset to the area without destroying the present struggling business community?

We already have three stores selling inexpensive goods, Alco and (soon) two dollar stores, all of which are located in the west Pagosa area. Why is that? People have expressed a real need for lower grocery prices. I purchase all my groceries at the local City Market, mostly sale items, and have never felt the Wal-Mart prices were much of a savings in the long run. Although many of their regular prices do seem lower than everyday prices at City Market, they do not have as many sale items and many of those are loss leaders. So I decided to keep track of my purchases for a couple weeks and compare them to Wal-Mart when I was in Durango last week. I compared my cost on actual items to the lowest price I could find at Wal-Mart, usually the Wal-Mart brand.

The total cost at City Market was $80.35. The total cost at Wal-Mart was $93.20.

These results were somewhat surprising to me and certainly do not prove that all prices at City Market are lower than Wal-Mart or vice versa, only that carefully shopping sales is the best way to save money and that Wal-Mart is not a panacea for the lowest prices or a quick fix for our economic ills.

It does seem desirable to have another grocery store in the area, located in town, both for convenience and traffic reduction. What we definitely do not need is a mega-store in west Pagosa, further drawing traffic from town and contributing to more closed-up stores. Why don’t we work together to realistically assess what our town and county really need?

Mary Bond


Dear Editor:

There is a very important date, actually several very important dates, coming up.

First is Monday, March 12. Starting at 5:30 p.m., Relay For Life will be celebrating its Kickoff Open House at the Eco-Lodge Springs Resort. This is the night you will be able to register your team for the Relay For Life event to be held at the Pagosa Springs High School stadium on Friday, June 22, 2012, starting at 5:30 p.m.

This year, the Relay promises to be bigger and better than ever. The organizing committee is hard at work preparing lots of activities, fund-raising opportunities, food, all night fun events, and they are even ordering nice, warm weather! Now all we need are teams to sign up and participate in the most heartwarming fund-raiser in Archuleta County. And, we need lots of teams with lots of walkers gathering lots of pledges.

On a per capita basis, Archuleta County is one of the leaders in the state in money raised. This money stays right here to help those going through the trial of cancer treatment, assisting families in supporting their cancer patient and providing education, supplies and transportation to cancer patients. This year it is especially important to bring in those dollars and cents for Relay.

You all know someone who is now, or has been, affected by cancer. As a 13-year cancer survivor, I know how important it is for the residents of Archuleta County to continue their incredible support. So I am throwing out the gauntlet, proffering a challenge, and daring everyone to come to the Relay, gather up a team, collect pledges from everyone you know (especially those out of town), come walk the track, and participate in the entertainment and other events that will make up a great night of fund-raising for Relay For Life.

I will also be going out in the community to sell luminarias that you can decorate to honor a survivor or create a memorial for one lost to this horrible disease. Stay tuned for more information about these.

Now, go out there and get your friends, neighbors and family together. Make up a team. Show up at the Kickoff for Relay For Life on Monday, March 12, at 5:30 at the Eco-Lodge Springs Resort and enjoy a fun evening with yummy snacks and a cash bar. See you there!

Sam Conti


Dear Editor:

The leading U.S. discount retailer, which owns and operates 9,813 stores in 38 states — more stores than any other American discount retailer — is on its way to becoming a one-stop shopping destination for everyday necessities. Can’t-do-without stuff like food, health and beauty products, paper and cleaning products, as well as pet supplies and apparel are the big mainstay items at Dollar General Stores.

It’s true, it isn’t Wal-Mart, but it aims to be a much better discount chain than the world’s largest retailer.

It might be hard to believe, but Dollar General has been doing a near-impossible thing: It has been taking market share from the world’s No. 1 discount retailer Wal-Mart, according to some analysts. The competitive advantage for Dollar General versus Wal-Mart is both price and convenience.

Mark Montagna, analyst at Avondale Partners who is bullish on the stock took a pricing survey in June 2011 which showed that a basket of 102 items at Dollar General cost $308.20, vs. Wal-Mart’s $338.84, representing a savings of 9 percent. And a survey in August of back-to-school items at Dollar General cost $49.08, some 10 percent less than Wal-Mart’s basket of $54.44. According to Montagna, this price difference is the, “most valid comparison of Dollar General vs. Wal-Mart.”

What’s more, Dollar General is more convenient in its stores’ locations, which are situated close by where people live and work, and are less crowded for customers. In fact, the average shopping trip to Dollar General takes 10 minutes, says Montagna, so there is virtually no additional gas used to pull in and out on the way home.

A trip to Wal-Mart, on the other hand, is more of a dedicated trip, due to its more distant locations, large parking lots and enormous stores. Just think of the mob scene at the Durango Wal-Mart, from parking to shopping to checkout!

Dollar General’s store would be a much more suitable size for a small town like Pagosa too, rather than a behemoth cement building across from a golf course and bordering a rural subdivision.

Dollar General has recenty broken ground here in Pagosa on a 9,100 square-foot store near Terry’s Ace on the west end of town. Why not put another one about the same size in the old Sears building on 6th Street, which used to be a grocery store before City Market built its downtown big box that now sits vacant and decaying?

This would answer a lot of concerns I heard expressed at the Town Council’s public forum on Wal-Mart. Townspeople want a grocery outlet downtown, near where they live, that supplies affordable basic groceries and household items. With a Dollar General Store downtown and another uptown, a Family Dollar and an Alco, why do we need a Wal-Mart?

Muriel Eason

St. Patrick

Dear Editor:

For most people, St. Patrick’s Day is a day of parades, parties, leprechauns and green beer. But just as Christmas is about more than commercialized fun, so too does St. Patrick’s Day have a deeper meaning.

St. Patrick’s Day began as a religious holiday honoring St. Patrick — a holy bishop sent to Ireland in 433 A.D. by Pope Celestine I to draw its people into the fold of Christ’s universal church. Upon his arrival at Ireland’s shores, St. Patrick encountered many setbacks and persecutions by the superstitious Druids who had employed magicians to maintain their sway over the Irish race. Despite severe trials, St. Patrick was able to convert all of Ireland and conquer paganism. He is thus credited with driving the Celtic “snakes” out of Ireland.

St. Patrick is credited with many miracles and is responsible for the building of several Catholic schools, monasteries and churches throughout Ireland. He is known for his powerful expositions of the principles of the Catholic faith. He even employed the ordinary, little, three-leaved shamrock plant to teach people about the Blessed Trinity. He was called to his heavenly reward on March 17, 461.

St. Patrick was a humble, pious, gentle man, whose total love, devotion and trust in God should be a shining example to each of us.

With respectful and cordial best wishes, I remain,

Sincerely yours,

Paul Kokoski

Hamilton, Ont.


Dear Editor:

“Neither rain nor sleet nor snow nor bad press …”

In response to the letter by Kaitkyn McIntosh in the February 23, 2012, issue I would like to bring to light some of my experiences with our postal staff.

There have been times when I have had to wait in line to mail items especially during the holidays, times when I received mail put in the wrong box and times when I expected mail that did not arrive on time due to inclement weather. I do not consider this a reason for bashing our postal employees. These folks handle thousands of pieces of mail and parcels a day six days a week and unlike many services in this community get the job done. I have personally witnessed postal employees pooling their money together for some extra postage on items due at tax time for customers and being able to deliver mail to people that have moved several times without forwarding addresses, wrong addresses or to the “little old lady that lives in the red house by the river.” The contract workers that deliver mail in rural Archuleta County are out in all kinds of weather getting the job done.

Personally I admire and respect these people for the great job they do.

Guiseppe Margiotta


Dear Editor:

Ron Paul seems to say it all.

He speaks with honesty. He is supported by many who have served. He campaigns with honest money. He addresses the needs of this nation and with solutions. He addresses the needs for the people, to be brought to the people, by the people.

Whether one is Republican, Democrat, independent or other, if we bring Ron Paul to the lead, we will succeed.

Thank you,

Pam Morrow

RV park

Dear Editor:

Will the new Wal-Mart parking lot become the new Pagosa RV park?

I’m not sure if it has been addressed, but if the Wal-Mart is built, will the town prohibit overnight parking/RV camping in the parking lot?

Will it be enforced, or will it be just some “No overnight parking allowed” signs posted but never enforced, like the situation in the Durango Wal-Mart parking lot?

Something for local camp owners to consider. If it’s allowed and free, be sure they will use it, and maybe stop by your park/camp for one night to empty their waste tanks, fill up on water, plug in to recharge their batteries, and then return to the free site at the Wal-Mart parking lot to finish out their vacation.

I can’t imagine more of an eyesore than seeing 50 RVs parked at Wal-Mart, while driving up/down U.S. 160.

Kelly Ralston


Dear Editor:

Looks like its time to hand over the keys and step away from the car. Forever!

Like some psycho driver in a bad movie, our pathetic man-child president put the national engine in reverse in January 2009 and has been wildly backing up ever since, unwinding decades of American progress and wealth. Since pursuing his Marxist map with some on-loan Bob Dungan prehistoric cavern “quills,” Obama has hijacked our nation away from the bedrock principles of American exceptionalism that made our country the envy of the world; freedom and prosperity.

It’s been a disaster. There have been untold casualties. Millions of jobs have been lost — perhaps permanently. Millions of people are on the dole because they can’t find jobs. Obama has jacked up our national debt by $5 trillion since his Immaculation — and the unemployment rate is higher than when he took office.

Democrats try to blame his predecessor. In early January, Nancy Pelosi complained about, “the highly unusual circumstance that we are in because the Republican failed policies, of President George Bush took us to a financial meltdown, took us into near-depression, took us into deep deficits that we still have to deal with.” But nobody’s buying this load of garbage anymore. Obama owns the economy, lock, stock, and (empty) barrel, and the entire planet knows it.

There have been so many brutal markers along the way; it is difficult to process it all. We’ve moved beyond the Misery Index of the Carter years to the Agony Index. In early January, USA Today reported that our soaring national debt had reached a “symbolic tipping point: Its now as big as the entire U.S. economy.”

That’s right, at 15.23 trillion — up from 10.7 trillion in December 2008—the national debt now equals our entire GDP, or the total value of the goods and services the U.S. economy produces in one year. Among advanced economies only a handful — Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, and Portugal — have debt larger than their economies, and they’re circling the drain.

But the most massive losses have come on the job front. So, let’s jist examine the recent U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) figures showing that unemployment dropped from 8.7 to 8.5 percent. We supposedly gained 200,000 jobs over the Christmas holidays, a report that Reuters called “heartening.” Not so fast, I call those numbers terribly misleading. According to BLS figures, over 8.6 million jobs have been shed since February 2008. With only 2.5 million jobs added since then, that’s over 6 million jobs that are gone. Kaput.

Yet, the media is still crowing about the about-to-be-adjusted downward December job numbers. AP glosses over the fact that more than half the jobs added in December were by retailers, restaurants, and bars, a sign that holiday hiring has kicked in. As in, temporary. This is smoke and mirrors, folks, nothing else. Perhaps the “L” needs to be dropped from “BLS.”

Obama can’t run on his record inasmuch as two things are infinite, the universe and Democrat stupidity; and I’m not sure about the universe.

Jim Sawicki


Dear Editor:

I stand on the side of not wanting Wal-Mart to set up shop in Pagosa. Here is how we can deal with the situation, even if they build the store. If the majority of Pagosans don’t want Wal-Mart, let’s join together, in solidarity, and not shop at Wal-Mart-Pagosa. Ever. We won’t buy a darn thing from them. If some of us feel that we must buy a Wal-mart item, then let’s car pool to Durango to get it. When we join efforts in this way Wal-Mart will not survive in Pagosa. They will be compelled to shut down the Pagosa store. Then we will have this huge building lying empty on U.S. 160. What to do, what to do? Wal-Mart, who promotes themselves as a benevolent corporation, will give us their now empty land and building for $1. Wouldn’t that prove to us that they are indeed generous by giving us such a gift? So now there is no more Wal-Mart and we have an enormous empty building, then what?

Well, now our Pagosan visionaries will transform the vacant Wal-Mart store into an incredible recreation center like the one in Durango. Something for everyone, especially for our young people. We will install pools, rock climbing walls, and racquetball courts. Which will improve the quality of life for our citizens and neighbors whom we love. Thank you Wal-Mart for your gift!! If anyone reading this letter thinks that I am joking, I am not. When we stand united together and never shop at the Pagosa Wal-Mart this scenario will happen! There is huge power in numbers and Wal-Mart will not survive without our patronage.

Here are a few other visions that we have for Pagosa Springs. Visions that will bring our town back stronger and more alive than ever. We already have a new recreation center thanks to Wal-Mart. How about putting more money behind the grow-dome project? And we will capitalize on the human healing powers that we have. We are very blessed with a large number of incredible healers living in Pagosa. They will start a co-op and draw in tourists from around the world for healing. These tourists will use our restaurants and hotels for their needs won’t they? We will pump more money into making this a green town in every way. How about expanding the geothermal energy here to include nearly everyone? Eco-tourism makes lots of money for other towns and it helps Mother Earth. And can’t we support the arts in a broader way? What if the town sponsored mural projects all over the downtown buildings? The new beautiful public artwork would have a positive impact on tourism. With all the flat-roofed buildings downtown, we will build rooftop gardens and cafes to delight everyone. Tourists would flock here for the healing, the arts, the cafes, the self-sustaining public grow-domes, and the incredible use of geothermal energies. Now that sounds like a vision from heaven doesn’t it? Sure beats Wal-Mart in every way.

Kathy Steventon


Dear Editor:

I wanted to say I was appalled at the way the Wal-Mart rep Josh Phair was treated at the meeting that was held at the community center.

You can oppose things without having such hate towards a person. He just works for Wal-Mart, doing his job like the rest of us.

I thought Pagosans had more respect than that. That treatment added fuel to my fire. I mean, I was absolutely shocked at the way some people directed their comments, like the rep has the final choice.

April Unger


Dear Editor:

I would like to address the community of Pagosa Springs and Archuleta County concerning the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life event, held each summer at the high school.

Many of us have been affected by this disease. We have survived it or have friends who have been diagnosed, or family members who are fighting it every day hoping for a cure.

The Relay for Life event really needs the support of our entire community. You can volunteer as a committee member, by being a team captain or joining a team.

I know our community has a passion for helping one another, and money earned from this event helps provide many great benefits for patients, survivors and caregivers.

For more information, please visit our website, or call me at (970) 406-1355.

Thank you for your support.

Debbie and Terry Waddell


Dear Editor:

Congress currently has only a 10 percent approval rating. Among the many reasons for the 90-percent disapproval is legislation introduced by Rep. Jared Polis. The bill is entitled the “Student Non-Discrimination Act,” also known as the “Homosexual Classroom Act” (HR 998 and S 555). The chief components of the bills are:

1. To require schools to teach homosexual acts so homosexual children do not feel singled out.

2. To pressure experimentation, freedom of sexual expression and sexual assault, without any kind of punishment;

3. To force private and religious schools to teach a pro-homosexual curriculum and purge any reference to religion.

Furthermore, in California, lawmakers want to, “require schools to portray lesbians, homosexuals, transsexuals … as positive role models.” Also, Obama’s Safe Schools Czar, Jennings, states, “Every school, public, private or parochial, has an obligation to teach a pro-homosexual curriculum” with every grade infused with a pro-homosexual slant.

Of course, those who favor these efforts are entitled to do so and have the freedom of speech right to express their reasons. Those who are opposed exercise their freedom of speech right to do so for the following reasons:

1. The First Amendment to the Constitution states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” The proposed legislation would certainly violate this basic American law.

2. The phrase, “Separation of Church and State” is not in the Constitution. It was first used by Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black, an anti-religionist (1937-1971). Thomas Jefferson was the first to apply the principle by invoking the First Amendment in a letter to a Congregation of Baptists to reassure them that the government would not interfere in the free practice of their religious convictions, an assurance much needed today.

3. The government should not legislate morality, which is the prerogative of the churches.

4. The proposed legislation would violate the Natural Law and the Divine Law (Gen. 19:4-7; Lev. 18:22&29-30; I Cor. 6:9-10; Rom. 1:24-27; I Tim. 1:8-11), which supersede civil government laws especially concerning moral issues (Declaration of Independence: “The Laws of Nature and Nature’s God … with firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence”). Obama and his cronies place themselves above God and the Constitution.

5. The proposed legislation is another example of our government moving toward “Ameritopia” according to which the government assumes power over the people in all matters. The homosexual lobby even wants Bert and Ernie of Sesame Street to “marry.”

If a SUN reader wishes more information or is among the 90 percent who disapprove of Congress and its proposed legislation, the reader may contact Mathew Staver (Liberty Council) or Eugene Delgaudio, the United States Public Advocate, who his sponsoring the “Stop the Homosexual Classroom Act” which may be located at, phone (703) 845-1808. You should also keep this issue in mind when voting in future elections.

Eugene Witkowski

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