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Letters to Editor

Creative destruction

Dear Editor:

Another disappointing end-of-the-world disaster: the Mayan calendar goes well beyond 2012. First, the millennium wasn’t a global implosion, then that comet came and went, next the Rapture flopped (great bumper stickers), Social Security just recorded a 95 billion surplus and now Obama is threatening to get reelected. Is there no reliable end-of-the-world scenario?

Well, take heart, disaster may yet lurk. The Darwinian Republican economists tell us that saving our auto industry was a violation of God’s natural economic law of creative destruction. Oops, on second thought, Mitt just claimed credit.

I’ll tell you what “creative destruction” is all about: it’s the current Republican Party. Romney just “accepted” resignation of his key foreign policy advisor for being gay. OK to direct foreign policy, but marriage is a no-no. Regulation of the financial industry is unnecessary says Republican CEO Dimon at JP Morgan, just before he reported $2 billion in related “egregious investment decisions.” John Kerrey was smeared for serving in Vietnam while George Bush hid in the Air National Guard. Mitt’s hideout was a religious posting in France. And the Republicans are outraged Obama claimed credit for bin Laden. I guess they forgot about “Mission Accomplished” George. The Affordable Health Care Act (“Obama Care”) is a plan devised by a Republican conservative think tank as an alternative to Clinton’s proposal. And let’s not forget Mitt’s comment:”Of course, corporations are citizens.”

Ya think there’s any consistency — any other than power and contributions at all costs?

Ben Franklin was dead set against giving up freedom for security; he considered it treason as did many other founding fathers. Currently Republicans love the Patriot and National Defense Acts, which both demolish, do away with, as in destroy, our freedoms and aspiration. Yup, that’s God’s creative destructionism for sure.

Al Qaeda is nearly defunct, but NSA is building a “super” digital storage site in Utah. Soon, every time you touch the Internet, or any phone, everything related to that communication will be filed for analysis. A recently retired NSA planner for that facility said, ”we’re as close to a turn-key dictatorship as possible.” It will just depend on who’s in congressional/presidential power.

So, voting is pretty important. Hey, I got it: If you’re eligible to vote and you don’t, let’s place a fine or require public service.. Why not, the Aussies do. We could do it locally. Imagine the’“disaster” of high voter turnout!

Dave Blake

Half full

Dear Editor:

It is with a bit of sadness that I notice some self-appointed town criers warning us that “our adorable little town” is going to be ruined with the coming of a smaller sized Wal-Mart. Their heralds leave me wondering; what about the horrible eyesores seen entering/exiting Pagosa Springs from the east and west? Don’t these and other trashed locations blight our little town and embarrass the locals?

I rate my feelings about the arrival of Wal-Mart at about 6.5 on a scale of 10 ... 1 being Chicken Little’s rant of, “The sky is falling” to a 10 being, “I’m so beyond myself happy!” Our town was supposed to be ruined by the coming of traffic lights and fast-food eateries; didn’t happen. The lack of jobs, deep potholes, insufficient tax revenue and ugly visual “dump-blights” concern me far more.

Revitalize downtown? I’m all for it! But revitalization won’t produce 150 new jobs providing livable-wages with benefits either.

The other day, while waiting to see my doctor, I picked up a magazine …”Colorado Springs STYLE.” In passing the time, I came upon an article titled, “The Wal-Mart Effect.” I’d like to quote it.

“A major turning point in Woodland Park’s transformation was the introduction of their first big-box retailer, often considered THE big-box retailer: Wal-Mart. ‘There was kind of an ongoing joke that you couldn’t even buy underwear in this town,’ says resident and development consultant Bob Harvey. While he was in favor of a place to buy such underthings, he describes the schism created between pro- and anti-growth groups.

“When we talk about the convergence of philosophies, that was the time when they became most obvious. We still have a segment of the population that would prefer two-lane roads through town and the rest of the roads unpaved.’

“According to Debbie Miller, president of the Woodland Park Chamber of Commerce, the dire predictions about Wal-Mart’s negative effects proved unfounded.

“‘It has not put any business in our community out of business,’ she says, calling Wal-Mart a phenomenal neighbor. “In fact, it has been an entity that we’ve been very fortunate to have in the recession years that has helped our community stay stable and continue to provide services like police and road maintenance.”

The magazine even included a picture of the new store. It appears to be a good fit to the area; not too big, colored in forested earth tones and beautifully landscaped.

Tragically, some of our town criers even insinuate that Wal-Mart’s involvement in local charitable organizations is nothing but a bribe. Gee, I guess just about every local business donation is also tainted. Maybe I better stop donating my time to Loaves and Fishes or sending financial assistance to missionaries reaching long-neglected peoples with food, clean water and medical assistance. After all, according to some, I might be an unscrupulous person seeking to bribe someone.

Come on, this is Pagosa Country! Regardless of where we are on the “Wal-Mart Scale,” the town needs jobs of every kind, fixed roads, assisted charities and much needed tax revenue.

The sky isn’t falling. It didn’t fall with traffic lights and fast foods; it won’t fall now.

Stan F. Counsell


Dear Editor:

To The People of Pagosa Springs:

I can no longer remain silent. As a licensed professional counselor who has been in practice over 25 years, I must comment on the letters that are being sent concerning Chris.

I don’t know how long the various people who are lodging complaints against Chris have been here in Pagosa. I do know that over the years, Pagosa Springs has been home to a collection of similar characters.

I would like to make a few points about folks like Chris. Do you seriously believe that someone who demonstrates the behavior you have noted in your letters could successfully hold down a job? Do you have any knowledge of the real reason Chris and millions of other homeless like him are in their current predicament? Perhaps I can inform you.

In the late 1980s, our government chose to begin withdrawing funding for various medical services to the disabled and indigent community. First to go were sheltered communities, such as workshops and supervised communal housing. Then the real axe fell. State mental health facilities began to lose the federal grants that made it possible for services to people such as Chris to be safely and ethically supported. I was a part of the community mental health system at that time and was both saddened and appalled as more and more services had to be discontinued due to lack of funds. Yes, it was taxpayer’s money that supported these programs. Yes, taxpayers screamed and yelled that they were paying too much. So, programs died due to lack of funding. No one in the “private sector” made a move to step in and support as tax-based funding was withdrawn.

So, now you have Chris on your sidewalk because, quite honestly, there is no place for him to go. I am grateful that he can be safe here in Pagosa. I am grateful to those who tolerate his anti-social behavior. I am hopeful that more of you will now realize that due to his illness, he doesn’t have the same choices as those of us who are relatively mentally healthy. I am also hopeful that at some point, Chris will be able to find a place of peace in his mind and soul. I dare say, if any of you critical of his behavior had to carry the burden he does, would you not hope that there were those who showed compassion and understanding?

Sam Conti

Do it all

Dear Editor:

I believe my continuing the debate on global warming would be counter-productive and boring to the readers of The SUN. As my English-speaking Hindu friend says, “It is pointless to read the Bhagavad-Gita to a Buffalo.” I am perfectly comfortable with leaving the final decision on global warming to Mother Nature. I just finished reading the novel “2084: An oral history of the great warming,” by James Powell. A book so disturbing that I ran the numbers myself and concluded that Powell is overly pessimistic. I don’t think the catastrophes he describes will occur until well into the next century.

I enjoyed reading Mr. Jim McQuiggin’s shuffle into the hospital for a procedure. I was disappointed Jim didn’t have his genome sequenced while he was there. A decade ago, hundreds of microbiologists unraveled the first humane genome at a cost of billions of dollars. Three years ago, the genome of seven humans had been sequenced. Today, this has been accomplished for about 30,000 humans. Presently, the cost of sequencing a human’s genome is about a $1,000 — about the same as an MRI. The technology is similar to that of making computer chips and the cost is projected to drop so low that it may be a cost benefit to the insurance companies or it may be a fairly inexpensive option at the health fair.

Of course, knowing the result of medical diagnostic test is useless unless a medical provider can interpret the results and prescribe an effective treatment. Quite likely, this chore will exceed the capacity of the human brain and artificial intelligence algorithms and super computers will be assigned the task. Presently, this technology is not available. However, Watson, the IBM super computer and Jeopardy champ, is being reprogrammed for medical research. Quite likely, Watson’s grandson will have sufficient computing power to merge one’’s genome with one’s lifestyle records, gleaned from the Wal-Mart and City Market super computers, which will enable the insurance company’s super computers to calculate your insurance premiums and prescribe the optimum medical treatment.

The treatment will likely be computer designed quantum dots (drugs) delivered by nano tech robots to the diseased organ in exactly the right dosage. Soon super computers will reduce your entire being to a128 gigabit thumb-size flash drive. As Dr. Strangelove (Peter Sellers) said in the movie, the computer will do it all.

Bob Dungan



Dear Editor:

Well, they did it again and I hope most of you went to see “Grease.” It is amazing to see the stage in the high school full of students signing and dancing. “Grease” had a big cast and they worked so hard for many months to present a spectacular production. It is sad for some of us who have had the privilege of getting to know many of these young people well that they will be taking their glorious talents with them as they move on. I told them I would be in withdrawal for awhile, but happy for them as they make many discoveries of what the future holds for them.

Cindy Gustafson


Dear Editor:

Random thoughts and other curious things.

• I know one thing for sure: If we recognize and celebrate our oneness we can have our differences in peace. On the larger sale, it’s one planet, with one humanity.

• Corporations are still not people.

• How about some aluminum can recycling bins in town and in our wonderful parks system. This would be a positive move for ourselves and a signal to tourists that we are a progressive community. (Note: It takes 27 tons of excavated earth to manufacture one ton of aluminum.)

• Reservoir Hill: The good ideas: enhancement of the trails system, amphitheater and restrooms. The bad ideas: “the carnival” (i.e., zip lines, alpine coaster, chair lift, balloon rides, cotton candy, etc.)

Truthfully, all ideas are valid and I am not against people, even if their views are diametrically opposed to mine.

• Our town’s and, more specifically, this bio-region’s greatest assets are the vast primal beauty of our natural world and solar energy. Sadly, we have not embraced the latter in our architectural thinking. However, I can easily envision, in time, becoming exemplars in this free and sustainable resource. Let us be wise stewards of our bio-region’s gifts.

• It seems prudent that whatever our political/economic impulses are that we consider them to benefit the locals first and the valuable tourists second.

• Simply, I would much rather support local people — my neighbors — in their local businesses. Wal-Mart — yikes! — bad idea.

It seems reasonable and appropriate for all county residents to have a vote on this issue, particularly when they own and operate businesses in town. I am sensitive to our neighbors with limited funds who see Wal-Mart as a savior, however, it is way too high of a price to pay for our community.

• “May peace prevail on earth” on plaques and placed on poles; this laudable phrase comes in over 100 languages. Can you imagine a series of “peace poles” placed throughout town and in our parks. Now that would attract quality tourists while uplifting our lives (

• Lately, it occurs to me that it would be advantageous to consider an “across the board” upgrade, as individuals (including myself), as educational systems, as political arenas, as economic/business activities, etc. These times seem to suggest it — seems to suggest development of a culture of life. Remember, life is very different compared to when we were half our age.

• Also of late, a line from a Bobby Dylan tune has been floating through my mind … “strengthen the things that remain.” Actually, he got it from the Bible.

• There’s a temporary cretin-style seven-circuit labyrinth in the town park near the hot springs. Walk and enjoy.

Jai Roger Klarl


Dear Editor:

I am surprised to see how many local people and businesses supported and promoted the recent Carson & Barnes Circus that came to our town.

Carson & Barnes Circus has a notorious reputation for cruelty to animals and many times they have failed to meet even the minimum federal standards for the care of animals used in exhibition, as established by the Animal Welfare Act. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has cited Carson & Barnes Circus numerous times for animal neglect and cruelty. Of course, Carson & Barnes denies this, stating that these claims are made up by animal rights groups. However, a simple Internet search allows you to pull up the actual USDA citations. In my search, I was able to find 46 charges of animal cruelty against them, many of them resulting in the death of the animal. There are too many reports of animal abuse by Carson & Barnes to list in this letter.

Carson & Barnes has been cited by the USDA for dangerous barns and fencing, and for failure to provide the animals with adequate shelter from the elements. The USDA has charged Carson & Barnes Circus with “failure to meet minimum space requirements” for the animals and to maintain their cages. The report discusses their rusty cages, and cages that are so small the animals can not stand up or turn around in them. The report also mentions some of the cages being “filthy” and without proper drainage of waste. The USDA charged Carson & Barnes Circus with transporting animals in dangerous trailers. There were several instances in the reports of elephants and giraffe being killed in these trailers.

There are numerous videos available online in which undercover investigators have caught Carson & Barnes Circus animal trainers, handlers and animal care directors viciously attacking the elephants with bull hooks, shocking the elephants with electric prods and burning the elephants hair off with a blowtorch. In one video, an animal care director instructs the trainers on how to embed sharp metal hooks into the elephant’s skin. A U.S. District Court Judge that viewed this video footage of Carson & Barnes cruelty described it as “troubling” and noted that the video depicts conduct that violates the federal Animal Welfare Act.

As if all of this weren’t enough, the cost to the United States government to confiscate exotic animals from negligent traveling show companies has been staggering. The USDA inspected Carson & Barnes Circus 42 times between 2007 and 2010. The average cost per inspection was $1,363, for a total cost of $57,246 to taxpayers.

Many countries, including Austria, Bolivia, Costa Rica, Finland, Singapore and Sweden have already banned wild animals from traveling shows.

The Bellevue, Neb., city council voted against allowing the Carson & Barnes Circus to perform in their town. Led by Councilwoman Carol Blood, who said she had researched the circus and believed it was guilty of repeated animal welfare violations. “One violation is enough for me,” Blood said. “I found 72 just over the past year.”

I wish Pagosa Springs had done a little research before welcoming Carson & Barnes Circus with open arms. I am afraid ignorance is no longer a valid excuse.

Dina Lininger


Dear Editor:

I find it disturbing to see this continual lineup of Tea Party semi-literate drivel passing itself off as reasonable dialog in The SUN’s opinion section.

The Tea Party has diluted the economy down to the simplistic notion that this president, personally, has spent the country into bankruptcy, and any rhyme, reason, or fact, that doesn’t fit this narrow minded myopic view is discounted out of hand.

They seem to have no use for the actual history of the past decade. They ignore a massive tax cut in the middle of two unfunded wars, an unpaid for give away to the drug lobby, the rape of the economy by investors that left pensions depleted and states on the verge of bankruptcy, rising medical costs while insurance companies make historic profits, the wholesale shipping of jobs (and revenue) overseas, and a massive “defense” budget that is higher than the next seventeen countries combined.

Oh no, none of that matters; we have a deficit because Obama and the Democrats like to spend too much.

You would think that people this upset about overspending would take the time to find out where the money is actually spent … but I suppose it’s easier to blame Obama, then pat themselves on the back for standing up for America. How many of these “patriots” even noticed the trillion dollars in spending last December, mostly on defense (or more accurately, defense contractors) and special interests while our elected representatives railed against the “debt crisis?” How many wonder that we can spend billions on roads and schools and police in Afghanistan but cannot afford to invest in this country … how many bother to pay attention to anything outside their narrow little anti-Obama rhetoric?

You know, we all have the right to be ignorant, but we do not have the right to bang away at the same ice that the rest of civilization is standing on.

If we keep capitulating to this trend in our politics, keep giving way to the loudest common denominator, then we will all sink. In the meantime, the Bachmans and Limbaughs and Becks will all be standing on higher ground, still blaming the government, and the American people, for their own demise.

F. John Lozen


Dear Editor:

Chimney Rock — just another government heist of our property.

It is bad enough that we are all being ripped off by the government through the IRS, the Federal Reserve, the foreclosure fraud and other government “services,” but the issue regarding Chimney Rock becoming “national” is just the tip of the iceberg. What we need to realize is that it is unconstitutional for the federal government to own anything that is not ceded to it, period. This means that the federal government cannot just make believe it owns “federal” lands. These lands are our lands, not the governments, and we, the People, through the state, must simply take them back and tell the government to quit stealing. We have people qualified to take care of our lands for public use. The government is slowly strangling the use of these lands they are sucking up, and Chimney Rock is just one more step toward controlling what is ours. Let’s take back what is rightfully ours, and not give it to the federal government.

Jeff Maehr


Dear Editor:

In the spring of 2009, The Town of Pagosa Springs was contacted by Wal-Mart representatives regarding their concerns about the town’s land use codes relating to big box development. As a result, the town began the process of eliminating the land use codes that would regulate and protect residents from big box abuses. In the spring of 2010, 251 town residents made a decision that will affect Archuleta County for generations to come. Sadly, the majority of the negative impacts resulting from a big box store will be borne by the county residents that have had no say in the courting of Wal-Mart.

The design review board and the town planning commission will hold a “Major Design Review” hearing at the Ross Aragon Community Center on May 22 at 5 p.m. Topics to be addressed include vacation of Aspen Circle Drive to accommodate Wal-Mart. The design review includes a 70-plus page document regarding drainage, this should be an obvious concern to all. Drainage from the Wal-Mart in this location will likely contain pollutants from fertilizers and other chemicals stored outside, impacting existing wetlands and Pinon Lake, not to mention flooding issues.

The impacts on the larger community (Archuleta County) are extensive and include, but are not limited to: noise and air pollution from nighttime deliveries, light pollution, trash (plastic Wal-Mart bags), increased crime, water pollution, abandoned Wal-Mart buildings (currently, 152 “ghost buildings” nationwide) and traffic issues.

Therefore, the town should be asking for assurances in the form of a Community Benefits agreement to insure that the building if abandoned will be turned over to the community for a beneficial purpose. We already have an abandoned City Market to deal with. The town has the ability to use discretion in asking for assurances in these areas and should be encouraged by all county and town residents to do so. Everyone should be concerned about the fact that the big box regulations were eliminated in order to bring Wal-Mart in. If they are going to be a good neighbor, they should have to answer to the people that will have their night skies violated, not just the 251 people who rescinded the land use codes! Please show up on the 22nd and make your opinions known!

Juanalee Park


Dear Editor:

What if we could personally participate in research that might help determine factors that cause or prevent cancer?

What if our involvement, and that research, ultimately leads to the elimination of cancer as a major health problem for this and future generations?

What if we could make it so just one family never has to hear the words “you have cancer?”

Residents of our community have an unprecedented opportunity to participate in cancer research this year. Enrollment for the American Cancer Society’s third Cancer Prevention Study will be taking place at the La Plata County Relay For Life in Durango, at Ray Dennison Field on the campus of Fort Lewis College from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. on Friday, July 13.

Individuals between the ages of 30 and 65 who have never been diagnosed with cancer and are willing to make a long-term commitment to the study are encouraged to sign up. Those who choose to enroll will complete a brief initial questionnaire and provide a waist measurement and a small blood sample. Participants will periodically be sent a follow-up questionnaire for the next 20 to 30 years.

If you aren’t eligible to participate, you can still make a difference by telling everyone you know about Cancer Prevention Study-3.

For more national information, visit, email cps3@cancer.orgor call toll-free, (888) 604-5888. For more local information, visit or email

Remember: Research today for a cancer-free tomorrow.

Nicole Pinkerton


Dear Editor:

The POTUS says we need pond scum. He’s hit upon the solution — so let’s decipher.

“You’ve got a bunch of algae out here, right?” Obama called out to his Miami audience. “If we can figure out how to make energy out of that, we’ll be doing all right.” Yes, the leader with the highest IQ ever solves it!

In a series of energy speeches, Obama has been laying out his multitudinous excuses for the spiking costs at the pump. Actually, drilling for oil, he said, is, “not a plan … that’s a bumper sticker.” Because “we can’t just drill our way to lower gas prices.” But apparently we can ooze our way.

Yes indeed, Obummer’s answer is algae, “this fuel that we can grow right here in the United States. And that means greater energy security. That means lower costs. It means more jobs. It means a stronger economy.” And the lowering of the seas.

Because oil is filthy, rotten, dirty, while algae is clean and pure and filled with potential. Pond scum in every tank! Obama bragged about “making new investments in the development of gasoline and diesel and jet fuel that’s actually made from (this) plant-like substance.”

However, whenever he uses the word investments, prepare to be slimed. And sure enough, after the speech, reports Forbes, the Regime announced a $14 million grant to develop algae as a vehicle fuel. In the spirit of Solyndra, O’s “new investments” include $25 million of stimulus money to Algenol Biofuels, Obama’s favorite algae company. The Florida outfit is building an algae bio-refinery … that promises to streamline the process of extracting ethanol directly from algae. Taxpayer subsidies. Promises. Ethanol. Algae. What could possibly go wrong?

Sapphire Energy, another algae-based biofuels developer, has absorbed $105 million in stimulus funds and loan guarantees. Some $25 million in stimulus grants and contracts also went to San Francisco-based Solazyme. And it goes without saying; Solazyme officials have contributed at least $360,000 to Democrats since 2007. Solazyme. Sounds like what you’d call radioactive ectoplasm in a sc-fi movie. Or a government front operation trafficking in sludge. They must have acquired Bob Dungan’s fifty-cubit quantum computer that he tucked away on Noah’s Ark ta git the correct highly active plasma formula.

Needless ta say, the company lost $16.3 million in 2010 and has now started to focus on its line of beauty products and nutritional supplements. Solazyme isn’t likely to become in the foreseeable future a fuel-centered business. Also known as the Obama energy plan for America. After all, ya can’t burn coal, it’s gonna warm the globe; and that’s a “mortal sin,” if yer a “troglodyte.” God’s gonna git ya.

Question: I wonder if the “troglodyte” in Arboles is gonna grow a little sea slag in his caverns pond? Ya gotta keep one’s pre-historic lair at a livable temp somehow.

Jim Sawicki


Dear Editor:

The results are in from the La Plata Electric Association Board of Directors Election. Bob Formwalt edged me (Kirsten Skeehan) by 50 votes out of 1,900. District 1 should be proud of the great turnout: 1,900 members voting is almost double from last year.

Many thanks to all the folks who supported my campaign this year. We had folks walking neighborhoods, creating flyers, making calls, creating videos, raising money, donating money and talking to anyone who would listen. I was pleased with the tone of our campaign and that our folks never went down the personal attacks and denigration path. I learned so much from the folks who worked so hard in this election. I am grateful for all the help and humbled by their skills, enthusiasm, passion and generosity.

I encourage people to stay involved this year as LPEA deals with higher, restructured rates from their main electric vendor, Tri-State. Those of you who attended the annual meeting learned that Tri-State is raising the price of electricity to LPEA and LPEA has to in turn figure out how to best structure rates. It won’t be an easy job, and we as members need to make sure our voices are heard as the structure is determined. The other issues this year will be continued implementation of smart meters. This is a contentious issue for many. The board of directors meets in Durango every 3rd Wednesday of the month. On the La Plata website,, you can find contact information for each director. Please attend meetings, contact directors, and respond to surveys. Make sure the directors know what your desires and questions are.

I am staying involved with LPEA — as a member-owner it is my right and my responsibility. Congratulations to Bob and thanks again to District 1 for a great turnout in the election.

Kirsten Skeehan


Dear Editor:

The United States of the Bible?

I was raised as a citizen of the United States of America, a country of equal rights, equal freedoms, etc. At what point did this change to become the “United States of the Bible?”

This has become dangerous territory for all of our citizens. For those of you who believe that the Bible dictates our constitutional rights and thus must be obeyed, I ask you to consider such as this: Just what part of the Bible do you choose to obey/follow? For instance, the Bible clearly states that a man who divorces his wife should not marry another as that would be an adulterous act. Also, there are negative comments regarding the mixing of races. There is no legal opposition to either of these to marry whom they love. While the Bible speaks of wives and husbands and marriage, where is it clearly stated that marriage is between one man and one woman, the oft-used quote?

Hopefully, those who use the Bible as their guide for life can find it in their hearts to follow Christ’s greatest commandment: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your mind, with all your soul and your neighbor as yourself” (no ifs, ands or buts) — that is what He expects of us and as Americans; we are expected to honor equal rights for all citizens of the United States of America. Know you are loved.

Patty Patton Tillerson


Dear Editor:

The meeting last week concerning national monument status for Chimney Rock was informative and thought provoking. In this time when all politicians are looking to do something positive, monument status looks to become a reality. At least, both Democrats and Republicans have come out for it. It’s a miracle.

There is no question that monument status increases visitors to the area involved. Google it; it is universal across the country. The question is, “What are we going to do about it?”

There has been a lot of discussion and debate recently regarding how to bring and hold visitors to our area. A big load of tourism draw is being handed to us on a silver platter. Is there a committee? Is anyone thinking about it? Are we going to wait and let Durango or Ignacio jump on it?

We are the closest town to Chimney Rock and the town most associated with it, but any one of our neighbors spending some energy on infrastructure and promotion could change that “most associated” part. We need to start developing a plan and poking around for grants. Monument status is a big positive in the grant world.

I can see a Chimney Rock exhibit and information center as something that would draw monument and other tourists and get them to spend more time and money here.

Here is a truth: Chimney Rock is not a big place, as national monuments go. Even with infrastructure improvements, there will still be a limit on the number of people allowed in. Time allowed to tour the site will be relatively short because of its diminutive size. Tourists with a specific interest in the Anasazi/Ancestral Puebloans will be looking for something else here associated with that interest. Cortez is a perfect example; they have a facility and evening native music and dancing. If we ignore this possibility, the tourists will be on their way west to spend that time and money.

Pagosa has virtually nothing to show a rich Native American past that goes back 10,000 years. Why, I do not know, but the right time to start would certainly be now.

Norm Vance


Dear Editor:

Economic crisis and Chris.

The economic crisis caused by the failure of financial institutions is creating havoc on the international scene. Protests and violent demonstrations have been triggered in many European countries against the imposition of austerity upon people.

The effects of the crisis are also visible in Pagosa: empty stores and restaurants, less customers, an increase in consumption of alcohol and drugs, crime and domestic violence.

Before the recession, seeing Chris sitting on the sidewalk was not perceived as a problem for businesses. Unfortunately, times are much harder now. But each human being deserves respect. Due to the fact that each of us has her/his own backpack of experiences, it is sometimes extremely difficult to understand another person.

Is, by any chance, Chris being made a scapegoat for the recession?

Diana Von der Muhll

Scrap it

Dear Editor:

Pagosa’s town manager and council members commissioned a study to determine the impact, positive or negative, of bringing Wal-Mart to our community. When the study was anything but positive, in their wisdom, the manager, council members and Mayor Aargon chose to move forward anyway.

Now enter Bob Hart and his crew with their ill-advised plan to destroy the Jewel of Pagosa, Reservoir Hill. Mr. Hart and his TTC have convinced the manager, council and Mayor Aragon that this is a great project and would be financially beneficial to Pagosa.

This same group called in Davey Pitcher for his expert advice on whether or not to purchase a used chair lift for their proposed Reservoir Hill project, and if, in his opinion, was the project financially feasible. Mr. Pitcher’s advice: “Don’t buy the chair lift,” and he essentially said, “scrap the entire project.” As with Wal-Mart, the “group” chose to ignore Davey Pitcher’s advice and major citizen disapproval, purchased the used chair lift, and continues on with their plans. If this group of city politicians and members of TTC have so much expertise in these matters, why commission studies and ask for expert advice they don’t follow?

So far, Bob Hart is the only one to make any money out of this deal. Mr. Hart fell into a $7,000 windfall to haul the used, “not up to code” chair lift to Pagosa and throw in a heap to rust. I wonder, as the major proponent of the Reservoir Hill project, if Mr. Hart awarded this lucrative hauling job to himself, or was it put out to bid? Just wondering.

Also, I find it very interesting that Mr. Hart’s friends from Fort Lewis College seemed to mimic Mr. Hart and the TTC findings regarding the feasibility of this project. Hmm.

Actually, I believe it’s long past due that these elected and unelected politicians, along with TTC begin listening to the experts and citizens they supposedly represent and scrap the Reservoir Hill project.

Gary Waples

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