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Letters to the editor

editor@vaildaily.com

Just checking

My intention for writing a letter to the editor in regards to the RV park in Minturn was to generate some conversation and awareness of the issue.

As I see from Earl Bidez’s response, the letter was certainly effective in that manner.

I continue to encourage Earl to keep us aware of the issues at hand such as financing, the geological survey, the possible involvement of KOA, etc., but have you yet answered the question of do the people of Minturn really want an RV park? And also, Earl, I am pretty sure in my letter that I did not state anyone owns an RV within the town government, but since you mentioned it in your commentary, I have been slightly confused, because at the last town meeting you invited Alan Lanning and his RV back anytime since he would now have a place to park it. Maybe that was a joke I didn’t get. Just checking.

Jill Koellhoffer

Minturn

The evil root

I’ve been listening to the Senate meetings on the testimony by David Kay relative to his resigning as chief inspector for the U.S. to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. It’s incredible to me that everyone, both Republican and Democratic, is so polite in avoiding telling the American public where these weapons came from in the first place.

They came from us! Everyone needs to know this. They were given to Iraq during the Cold War, under that immoral U.S. doctrine of “my enemy’s enemy is my friend.” It started with Reagan, and Cheney, and Rumsfeld, and others of this and earlier Republican administrations. Bechtel Corp. (the other company with Halliburton to get those no-bid contracts to rebuild Iraq) was the company that supplied chemical weapons know-how to the Iraqis back in the 1980s.

These obscene chemical weapons, mustard gas, anthrax, and the know-how to make them, were given to Hussein to use in his war with Iran. And then, as we know, he later used them against his own people.

More recently, of course, the presence of these same weapons in Iraq was the reason given to go to war against Hussein. But how and why those weapons were there in the first place never gets mentioned. During the current hearings in Washington, I listened to committee chairman Rep. Warner, Va., pussy-foot around this truth underlying the whole issue. It seems no one wants to bring it up, because it will embarrass some important people. As well it should.

This wretched, opportunistic practice that led to giving these weapons to barbarians like Hussein must never again be a part of our foreign policy. We will not correct this kind of wrongheaded decision making by our elected leaders unless we make it absolutely clear they will be held accountable.

Isn’t it ironic, that these same people now in our government’s highest positions used the weapons they gave to Iraq as the reason to go to war. How many people, our soldiers, sailors and Marines, along with the Iraqi people, have died because of their flawed decisions?

Do we have the courage to face this issue squarely and deal with it for the good of our country?

J.R. Bottomley

Avon

Vail’s healing touch

Last week, over two dozen members of the Middlebury College community traveled to Vail to mourn the sudden death of Middlebury graduate Jason Fleishman. We came from across the world, from the East Coast to eastern Europe. The generosity and grace with which we were received in Vail speak not only to the nature of Jason’s family and friends, but to Vail, the place he called home.

Vail Pass was clouded the afternoon we drove up from Denver. There was snow on the road and the mountains were no more than stooped shoulders, snow-shrouded, slouching in and out of view. Nothing was clear. We came into Vail in the dusk, consumed by our loss.

By dark, my mind was still clouded by exhaustion and grief, my heart still shuddering unformed prayers. I could only perceive the small things: the

crunch and squeak of snow beneath my feet, the pinching of my mutely pounding heart, the cold so dry it made my tight skin tighter. Then suddenly, there was the moon, hanging huge and fully round between two peaks. It was not comforting, but it was beautiful and real and made me feel painfully, painfully alive.

Friday morning as we walked through Vail Village on the way to Jason’s memorial service, I could not bring myself to appreciate the warmth of the sun on my face. The mountains that morning were sharp and clear, waking us to reality with their surreal perfection. Each pine tree was evenly dusted with snow, each peak was capped, each ridge cut white against a bright span of sky. It was almost too perfect, its beauty too much to take in.

I came to Vail to support Jason’s family and friends, but I came still bewildered by my own selfish grief. I came for Jason, but I didn’t expect anyone in the greater community to take note. I didn’t expect that I could make a difference – after all, nothing could bring him back. I didn’t expect, in the midst of all this, to be welcomed so warmly or loved so well.

The past few days, my fellow Middlebury friends and I have been constantly approached with open arms from members of the Vail community. I’ve been struck dumb by their words of comfort and gratitude. We may have come to show our support of them, but it was they who have supported us.

Vail is known as a ski town, a picturesque place of adventure and leisure, world renown for its slopes and setting. What the world tends to forget is that for some, Vail is not just a weekend getaway but a home. What cannot appear in any travel guide or ski brochure is complete testimony to the character of Vail’s inhabitants. While tourists come and go, the community remains. It is this sense of community – from the open doors to the open arms – that makes me believe Vail to be a truly remarkable place.

I would like to thank the Vail community for their outpouring of hospitality and support during this difficult time. Jason was a testament to his home: sincere, generous, clear-sighted and rare. Like Vail, he was never pretentious. He let his actions speak louder than words, modest even when he had good reason to boast. Like Vail, he lived in beauty, no matter what storm clouds obscured the sun.

I would like to especially thank Rob LeVine as well as John Garnsey for their generous donations and hospitality. Thanks to these businesses, our untimely visit to Vail was as comfortable and enjoyable as possible.

On Saturday, Feb. 7, after spending two nights at the Antlers, Jason’s friends hit the slopes to pay tribute to him the best way we knew how: by feeling the cold slip of air in our lungs, the rhythm of life in each carving turn, and joy – sheer joy – of being alive to the moment.

Compared to Vermont, Colorado’s peaks are staggering, clear-cut and sharp. Yet the curves on the slopes are soft and graceful, smooth as the lines of a skier’s sleek body. I believe that this week we were able to share some of the small things that Jason, too, used to know: the squeak of a chairlift, the rush of cut snow, the sun setting slowly over friends and family and the town he called home. For that, and for him – whatever part each of you played in his life – on behalf of all of J’s Middlebury friends, I thank you.

Harmony Button

Rochester, N.Y.


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