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Letters to the editor

editor@vaildaily.com

In the Aug. 12 issue of the Vaily Daily, Eagle County Republican chair Henri Stone claims that I have “consistently voted against forest thinning, as well as other steps that lead to wildfires.”Ms. Stone has a partisan job to do, and I wouldn’t expect her to be on the stump singing my virtues, but I would caution against making statements that are patently false.I have not voted against forest thinning and in fact have been an outspoken supporter of thinning projects, like the Winiger Ridge project in the Arapahoe-Roosevelt National Forest.My support goes back to 1999 and predates the horrendous fire season we have experienced in Colorado this year. Moreover, in 2000 I introduced a bill – co-sponsored by Rep. Joel Hefley (R-CO) – to set up a fuel thinning program for the more than 6 million acres in Colorado’s “red zones” where homes adjoin or intermingle with forest lands. Much of our bill was included in the National Fire Plan enacted that year.Concerned about the Forest Service’s slow progress, this year Rep. Hefley and I followed up with a bill requiring better coordination and more focus on reducing the risks to “red zone” communities. And I have consistently supported funding for thinning projects as well as for firefighting.Fire is a natural part of our forests. Our goal should be to restore our “red zone” forests so fires present fewer risks to lives and property. We should resist temptation to exploit forest fires for political purposes.Instead of playing the blame game, we should all start working together to thin overgrown forests, using both controlled burns and selective cutting in the areas of highest risk to our communities.Mark UdallMember of CongressRummage saleMany thanks to all those who donated goods, volunteer hours and came to shop at the 38th annual Eagle Valley Community Fund Auction and Rummage Sale.Nearly $175,000 was generated during the four-day sale that spanned two weekends.It truly takes a village to put on an event of this magnitude, so it’s impossible to personally acknowledge all those who were personally involved with its success. But know that more than 60 local non-profit organizations will benefit from your labors and donations.Following the sale, representatives from several groups gather items like bedding, warm coats and clothing to be donated to other charitable organizations throughout Colorado and nearby states.The remainder is picked up by Goodwill, to allow those goods to be recycled onto those in need.Many thanks to the Vail Daily for its sponsorship of this event. The continued coverage, stories, photos and ads helped bring a huge number of donations, workers and shoppers to the sale. We appreciate your continued assistance.Byron Brown is already busy picking up furniture and large items for next year’s event, set for Aug. 16-17 and 23-24, 2003. Donations of clean, useable items are now being collected for it.For more information call 476-5701 or 476-5822.Vi BrownEagle Valley Community Fund board of directorsGreat raceThe town of Avon would like to thank everyone who came out to Nottingham Park to support the seventh annual High Country Triathlon and Duathlon on Sunday, Sept. 8.Participants from all around Colorado came to Avon to race in this year’s event. Despite the chilly morning, the sun did come out and 200 triathletes and 100 duathletes joined in the most scenic multi-sporting event in the state.The triathletes started the morning with an 800-yard swim, then joined the duathletes for a challenging bike ride through Bachelor’s Gulch and Beaver Creek and finished with a five-mile run along the river on the bike path to Arrowhead and back to the finish line in Nottingham Park.While the participants enjoyed a great pasta lunch catered by Cuisine Catering, there were great prizes raffled off. Awards were given out to the first, second and third place finishers in nine age groups. It was great to see the participants reach their goals.We would also like to thank Beaver Creek Resort, Bachelor Gulch, High Country Shirtworks, Timberland, KVBA-TV8, The Eagle, KSKI, Vail Daily, Event Marketing Group, Christie Lodge, Schneider-Maurer Foot and Ankle Associates, Mountain Pedaler of Vail, Alpine Vending & Video, Bakers Breakfast Cookie, Eagle County Ambulance District, Eagle River Fire District and all the volunteers for their support of this community event.Julie KessenichRace Director


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