Vail Daily letters to the editor |

Vail Daily letters to the editor

Vail Daily
Vail, CO, Colorado

Water quality degrading

Thanks to water board chairs Rick Sackbauer and Tom Leonhardt for their assurance of Eagle River Water and Sanitation’s quick response to the emergency caused by the recent semi-truck spill of hazardous material just above east Vail.

I now invite and encourage these leaders and their boards to be just as attentive to a less dramatic but insidious incremental threat to Gore Creek causing a very significant decline in water quality in East Vail. Measured by three recent scientific studies and annual testing, this decline is on-going, worsening and occurring only in the East Vail stream segment of Gore Creek.

Eagle River Watershed Council and Vail Town Council have paid for this testing and publicized the results in public meetings, but as yet, there seems little public concern, though it is a substantial threat to our Gold Medal fishery and general water quality.

Speculation cites tree spraying, homeowner use of fertilizers and pesticide, storm water run-off and sand and cinders spread in winter, but as yet, no definitive sources have been pinpointed.

Kudos to Town Environmental Officer Bill Carlson, who remains the voice crying in the wilderness on this issue. I am unaware of Water and Sanitation concern, alarm or leadership on this but think it imperative that it occur. This threat, too, is reaching emergency level, as anyone looking at recent and annual studies can see.

Anne Esson

From victim to survivor

I, for one, am so happy not to be living in Topeka, Kan. And happier still that in the 5th Judicial District, the Office of the District Attorney makes prosecution of domestic violence cases a priority. Thank you, Scott Turner, for sharing with the community “The cost of domestic violence” in Valley Voices on Nov. 10.

As executive director of Bright Future Foundation, I witness first hand the deleterious effects of domestic violence on families in our community.

In his 2009 proclamation in support of Domestic Violence Awareness, our president writes, “Domestic violence touches the lives of Americans of all ages, leaving a devastating impact on women, men and children of every background and circumstance. A family’s home becomes a place of fear, hopelessness and desperation when a woman is battered by her partner, a child witnesses the abuse of a loved one or a senior is victimized by family members.”

According to the National Coalition against Domestic Violence (, one in four women will experience domestic violence in their lifetime and 50 percent of marriages exhibit some form of violence or abuse. With a population in Eagle County of over 52,000, there is the potential for one-third of these families to experience domestic violence.

Mr. Turner reported there were 174 domestic-violence cases initiated in Eagle County in 2010. As with any crime, not all incidents of domestic violence are reported to law enforcement, not all incidents reported to law enforcement are forwarded to prosecutors and even fewer are prosecuted.

According to a 2009 report by the Department of Justice, only 27 percent of women and 13.5 percent of men who were physically assaulted by an intimate partner reported their assault to law enforcement and less than 20 percent of women victims reported intimate partner rapes.

In the past year, Bright Future served 579 victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. Our 24/7 crisis hotline remains the first line of defense for victims, and trained volunteers responded to over 400 crisis calls in the last 12 months.

We operate the Freedom Ranch Safehouse, offering safety and security to women and children fleeing domestic violence. Outreach services include counseling, legal advocacy and case management through our Advocates Against Assault Program.

Additionally, we can work with a limited number of families for up to two years in our Transitional Housing Program by providing reduced rent and supportive services.

With the help of our many community partners, we transition our clients from crisis to confidence – from victim to survivor.

Although the economic climate does not directly cause an increase in domestic violence, a poor economy can exacerbate factors that contribute to abuse and inhibit a victim’s ability to seek services. Currently, 73 percent of domestic-violence shelters in the United States report an increase in abuse and demand for services due to financial issues.

Locally, an unstable economy has created uncertain futures for many Eagle County families. During tough economic times, the negative effects on victims of domestic violence, child abuse and sexual assault grow tremendously. Increasingly, victims feel that they have nowhere to go and no one to turn to.

But here is Eagle County, every victim of domestic violence has a safe place to go and a compassionate community to turn to. If you or someone you know is experiencing abuse, there is help available through Bright Future Foundation. Our services are free of charge, confidential and culturally sensitive. We have numerous volunteer opportunities available. Become a partner in ending domestic violence in our community.

Crisis Hotline (24/7): 970-949-7086.

Administrative office: 970-949-7097.

Sheri Mintz

Executive Director, Bright Future Foundation

Feeling warm

On behalf of the Eagle County Law Enforcement Immigrant Advisory Committee, we’d like to thank everyone who helped make our coat drive a success! We collected over 800 coats! This coat drive was a great community collaboration.

Thank you to the agencies of the Law Enforcement Immigrant Advisory Committee, including the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office, Vail Police Department, Basalt Police Department, Minturn Police Department, Avon Police Department, Eagle Police Department, Lonestar Security, Catholic Charities, Salvation Army, Bright Future Foundation, Eagle County School District, Riverview Apartments and Eagle County Health and Human Services, as well as coat drive partners and drop off locations, including the Vail Fire Department, the Minturn Community Fund, TV8, the town of Red Cliff, the Vail Ski and Snowboard Academy, Eagle River Fire Protection District, Eagle County, the Gypsum Recreation Center, the Avon Recreation Center, Integra AutoPlex, SOS Outreach, Vail Honeywagon and National Velvet Drycleaners.

Thank you for helping to keep Eagle County warm!

Megan McGee Bonta, Catholic Charities

Dwight Henninger, Vail Police Chief

Where’s the leadership?

Last week, I noticed an article in this newspaper regarding Routt County giving its full-time employees a $1,000 bonus this year as their budget had a surplus of close to $600,000. It cost the county $390,000 of that surplus.

Where was the leadership to protect the taxpayer? In a down economy, was there any thought of using that money toward next year’s budget?

During the debt-ceiling debate, President Obama threatened Social Security and Medicare payments to recipients and also military pay if a deal wasn’t struck. Workers paid into those accounts.

Funny how he never threatened any generational welfare recipient’s check, food stamps or any other handout. Don’t worry, Sens. Bennett and Udall, your checks were never in danger.

According to President Obama’s own Treasury Department, 2.3 million illegal aliens who paid no income taxes in 2010 nevertheless received $4.2 billion in tax refunds. Do you think the Congressional Super Committee will find this money in the spending cuts?

All the above examples show a lack of leadership in our elected officials. I could go on and on. Give them money, and they see only votes.

We must demand better from our local, state and federal officials. Spending is the problem and always will be.

No tax increase will ever meet the demand of a growing government. I wonder how much of each dollar spent by our government is wasted or falls into the fraud category. Now that would be a statistic!

Leadership is the ability to assess, assign and guide. Leadership is also the ability to take responsibility for the people appointed to carry out your ideas or commands, whether they are successful or not. Did you hear that President Obama? President Obama?

Kevin Kenney


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