Letters to the editor

In response to Jeffrey R. Lawrence’s letter to the editor of Feb. 17, Vail Resorts is happy to share with our guests and the community the basis for the strong odors at the bottom of Chair 11, as well as the occasional odors at Two Elk and Eagles Nest.Sewer lines that run from the restaurants down the mountain into the Eagle River Water & Sanitation District service each of our on-mountain restaurants. None of Vail Mountain’s restaurants utilize leech fields or septic systems.During the summer of 2002, Vail Resorts spent approximately $800,000 to replace the sewer line from Two Elk to Vail Village, increasing the diameter of the sewer line from its original antiquated 4-inch pipe to an 8-inch pipe. It was our belief with the increased capacity that we would eliminate the long occurring odor issues in the Chair 11 area.To our disappointment we confirmed one of the laws of physics that while solid objects are gravity oriented (they travel downhill), gases (odor) travel to the point of least resistance. The restrooms at the bottom of Chair 11 were connected directly to the sewer line where it passes the restroom facilities at the base of Chair 11.The terrain at the bottom Chair 11 flattens to a natural bench providing enough vertical drop over the area to move flow, but the associated gases (seeking the least resistance) are venting regularly from the sewer line through the Chair 11 restroom vent system.We have tried several short-term fixes to alleviate the odor this season to no avail (back flow valves, a vent extension, etc.), and short of temporarily closing the Chair 11 restrooms by capping the Chair 11 restroom sewer line, it continues to be an on-going and unpleasant issue.Our current plan to correct the situation is to use the summer construction season to run a separate sewer line from the Chair 11 restrooms approximately 1,000 feet downhill before connecting into the Two Elk sewer line. Mechanical engineers suggest that this will eliminate or diminish the ability for the odor to run uphill to the Chair 11 restrooms and that the gases will continue downhill through the sewer line.There are no health, safety or environmental issues associated with the odor occurrences. We acknowledge that it is an unpleasant experience for our guests and remain committed to resolving the problem. Unfortunately, it is a bit of trial and error as this is an issue we have to address during the summer months when we cannot recreate the flows and volumes that are causing the problem.In addition to the Chair 11 situation, we also experience odor at Two Elk and Eagle’s Nest on a regular basis. This odor is related to our sewer vaults near Chair 14 and the top of Born Free trail that use a process called grinding to prepare waste to enhance flow down the sewer line.Due to the daily variability of utilization of our facilities (five to six hours a day of heavy demand followed by 18 hours of little or no use) gases accumulate due to inconsistent flow and release into the air from these vaults (again the point of least resistance) and depending on wind direction can impact areas within close proximity (Two Elk and Eagles Nest).We are investigating and anticipate installing special filters at these vaults in an effort to reduce the odor. Again, there are no health, safety or environmental impacts or issues associated with these odors.I am sure many of you now know more then you would care to about our sewer transport and odor release. Vail Resorts is committed to correcting the circumstances that are causing the unpleasant odor. We appreciate your patience.Bill JensenChief Operating OfficerVail ResortFrench aren’tthe bad onesI had just finished reading the commentary of Richard Carnes Feb. 3, and I was quite in shock about his perception and way of thinking of foreigners.I believe that in a valley that gets thousands of open-minded people from Australia, South Africa, Central and South America who are looking to get more culturally rich, such comments are disturbing – not to mention that he is empowered by prejudice.His comments toward the French have no real reason whatsoever. The fact that they don’t agree with our goverment’s decision to go to war doesn’t make them the bad ones. Lots of Third World countries and the majority of this country are against war.I believe that his comments are full of nonsense and he is only right to say that the strongest attribute of the weak is their hatred of the strong – indeed.Monica VillalobosThe French havethe better ideaI am writing in response to Richard Carnes’ column “No more croissants for this American,” which appeared in the Commentary section of the Vail Daily.More often that not, Richard’s articles are bursting with strong, sensible arguments. However, on this occasion itseems that he is using schoolchild banter in an attempt to convince his American readers that the peaceful plans of the French, German and Russian governments are far less superior than the USA’s “two wrongs make a right approach,” on the grounds that the French are not allowed to voice an opinion due to the stereotypical notion that they smell, do not shave their armpits, and eat snails.I could create a list far larger than this space allows, highlighting the many positive aspects of the French lifestyle and political policy that seem to be non-existent in the USA, but as that is not the key to the argument I shall only name a handful:Firstly, the French have history. Along with this comes culture which can be observed almost every French hamlet, town or city. Each of these conurbations contain a plethora of diverse, character-laden, small family-run businesses, with minimal chain-store presence.Within each of these delightful settlements, one would find small, non-polluting cars or mopeds designed for city use and not for moving your house, herd or ton of trash, all of which Americans must do on a regular basis according to the size of their vehicles.Now, taking a large step away from the somewhat childish act of comparing the lifestyle differences of France and USA, I will move onto Richard’s opening analogy: “The strongest attribute of the weak is their hatred of the strong.” Paraphrased from a Ludlum novel, this quote clearly emphasizes his narrow-minded rightwing tendencies.The reason these Second World nations, Third World countries and Islamic terrorists are “weak”and thus hate the “strong” is they have fallen to the mercy of corrupt political leaders-dictators, unfortunate political decisions and extreme, inhumane religions.To compare the recent peaceful and responsible anti-war plans of the French (and Germans and Russians) to such regimes is incredibly thoughtless.Just because previous evil dictators have been overthrown by violence does not mean that the same trigger-happy, civilian-unfriendly methods need to be deployed today.One would expect that in an age of high technology, high intelligence and abundance of information and education, that we as a developed world global community could act together and overthrow Saddam and other dictators without the barbaric force that has been the norm ever since the first caveman killed another for stealing his berries.The French, Germans and Russians understand as well as anyone else the possibility that Iraq is harboring weapons of mass destruction. But instead of shooting first and asking questions later, they are putting forward a plan to bring in more inspectors in an attempt to bring everything out in the open.Aided by a large presence of U.N. soldiers in Iraq, the country will be peacefully targeted from the inside outwards.As with any problem in life, help must be given at the very grass roots. With such a large U.N. presence, the civilians will feel safer, they can begin to rebuild their lives, better educate themselves, and with the aid of foreign knowledge, understand that they are not free but are controlled by a ruthless dictator.Eventually, with such huge U.N. presence and increased education and truth, the true perpetrator, Saddam, can be overthrown and replaced by a democratic leader, without civilian casualties.Granted, the effects of such a strategy would not be instant – it could take years to implement.But this is the key – very few positive, good things happen overnight. Just look how quickly a Wal-Mart store or McDonald’s restaurant can be constructed.Dan BromleyEnglandLucky so farin West VailIt was great to see so many concerned citizens at the recent TOV council meeting expressing their interest in a new fire station.However, it was disconcerting that they had to be there in the first place. When we elect council members, we do so with the belief that they will look after our interests. What is more important to a community than the safety and wellbeing of its citizens, employees, and in the case of Vail, its visitors?We shouldn’t have to worry that our families, workers, guests and the firefighters themselves aren’t safe because we are understaffed in the event of an emergency such as a fire.To date we have been exceedingly fortunate that no serious injury or death has occurred because of a lack of inadequate staffing and equipment. This is an important issue and one that I hope the council members of Vail will treat with great levity on March 18, when it comes to a vote.Laura BellVailSOS participant gratefulThank you to all of the instructors that did a great job of teaching us to be comfortable on a snowboard. I think that you helped to make everybody have a higher confidence level. I would like to thank Ms. Brummer for coming to ride with us and for the extra help. Last but certainly not least, I would like to say thanks to everyone that helped and tell them what a good thing they are doing for the kids of SOS.Kevin ChadwickMinturn Middle School

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