Vail Daily letters to the editor
May 13, 2012
Holy Cross board
My friends are asking, “Why are you running for the Holy Cross Energy Board of Directors?” Here’s why:
(1) I fully support the Holy Cross Energy vision of supplying reliable, economical electric power to its 44,000 members consistent with sound business and environmental practices.
(2) I have related experience in electric power generation. As a graduate engineer from Cornell, I was employed in the power industry for 10 years, designing and building large central generating stations. Also, as project engineer for the Beaver Creek development, I was responsible for the design and construction of roads and utilities, which included the electric distribution
(3) Having lived in Eagle County for 40 years, I have experience serving on numerous boards, including the Board of County Commissioners, county Planning Commission, school board, Upper Eagle Valley Sanitation District and the Colorado River Water Conservation District. Setting policy and solving problems cooperatively to serve the public interest has been fulfilling.
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Holy Cross Energy has been a conscientious steward of natural resources, addressing efficiency, conservation, renewable res-ources and local power generation. In our world of increased competition for energy and environmental concerns, Holy Cross Energy faces continuing challenges to meet the electrical needs of their members while reducing environmental impacts.
Members will be receiving mail-in ballots soon after May 17. Please take the time to elect three directors to serve for the next three years.
In a few days, you’ll be receiving your Holy Cross Energy Board of Director ballot. Rather than tossing it, I’m asking you to take a couple minutes to vote in this important election where three board seats are open and members will determine the future direction and leadership of our local member-owned cooperative utility.
Holy Cross has been an anomaly among utility companies, able to provide low, stable rates to its customers through sound ethical business practices and support innovative renewable energy and energy-efficiency initiatives to its members. And since Holy Cross is a nonprofit organization, all margins are returned to you, our members.
Over the past three years, it’s been an honor to serve on the Holy Cross Board of Directors to provide dependable, environmentally friendly, low-cost power to our customers. Specifically, I’ve worked to increase renewable-energy supply to meet and exceed our voluntary goal of 15 percent by 2015, develop and launch our energy-efficiency plan, improve transparency, maintain a high level of dependability and customer service and volunteer on the Holy Cross Round Up Foundation Board to assist local individuals and organizations in need.
I’ve been able to utilize my experience as environmental policy planner for Eagle County, program manager for Energy Smart Colorado, former director of the Eagle Valley Alliance for Sustainability, former environmental coordinator at Vail Resorts and service on numerous boards to develop a diversified energy portfolio to meet and exceed our renewable-energy goals, help homeowners and businesses save money and create local jobs while keeping costs low.
Investment in energy efficiency is generally the lowest cost of energy available, which also provides regional economic retention and recruitment. As a nonprofit, we’ll continue to empower our members to realize such savings.
In addition, I will work for you to:
Launch an on-bill financing program that will allow members to pay for energy-saving improvements over time on your electric bill (where you’ll be realizing the savings).
Run the organization efficiently and responsibly, with the highest level of professionalism, safety, ethics and customer service.
Continue to provide customer information, convenient bill-paying options and money-saving options.
Expand our renewable-energy portfolio to meet and exceed our goal, which includes solar, wind, hydro, and soon coal-mine methane and biomass from Gypsum utilizing wood waste and beetle-kill pine.
I humbly ask for your vote to continue to work toward meeting and exceeding goals and expectations from your member-owned utility, Holy Cross Energy. Please contact me at apalmer@holy
cross.com with any thoughts or feedback you might have.
Not the answer
I would like to address the issue of economics in Eagle. Many people have their opinions on Eagle River Station and what it might mean for the town.
I do not believe the town is in dire straits. I also do not believe Eagle River Station is the answer to economic growth in Eagle. Economic growth, to me, means growing our community to be self-sustainable. A shopping center does not create this scenario.
If we look at the town position of several successful towns-cities, we can see a common theme. They have put together an economic-development team. They have decided as a town what type of jobs and industry they would like there. Towns like Carbondale; Ogden, Utah; San Diego – they all had town initiatives that went after certain industry across America and brought those companies to their town.
Eagle needs a plan, not just a place to spend money.
The jobs that will be created by Eagle River Station will not support buying real estate in our town. Salaries will not be high enough to purchase the majority of vacant houses in Eagle Ranch, The Bluffs and other places around town.
Many people talk about lost jobs and the growing number of people leaving Eagle for other places. I believe that is because the housing boom is over. Our industry in the valley is no longer construction and real estate.
It is time to face those facts. Our area is changing, and we need to bring in new sources of jobs and sustainability.
Eagle River Station may be a good project for our town 10 years from now, when our population recovers and the job market has recovered. It is not the right project for now.
I believe our efforts would be better used if we developed an economic-development team and went after industries that can survive in our valley. Industry that can take advantage of I-70. Industry that can work over the Internet and whose people would like to live in our beautiful valley. Real jobs with salaries that are on par with living in this valley.
I have been a resident of Eagle for six years now. I love this town and hope to stay here forever.
When I no longer had a job that could support living here, I created one. There are many other people in our town who have the same spirit. Let’s help those people create new opportunities here and also look far and wide for others who would like to come here and help grow our community.
I am voting “no” on Eagle River Station. It is bad timing, and as a business owner, the most important part of my business is ownership in that business. Leasing space for eternity and having that money go out of state is not my idea of sustainability.
‘Yes’ to ERS is clear
Say, neighbor, do you know something I don’t know?
I am asking this question to contribute to the public discussion about the vote on Eagle River Station.
I have read my neighbor’s comentary published May 7, “ERS lacks sense,” and strongly
Later, I read an Eagle Town Board member’s letter published May 10, “I’m tired,” and I agree with him.
It has been said, ” to know that you do not know is the beginning of wisdom.”
I do not know anything about the knowledge base and qualifications of the “Lacks sense” author except what is written.
I do know that Scott Turnipseed has years of service on the Town Board and as a Planning and Zoning member. I have talked directly to him and most of the experienced members of the Town Board and find clear and rational suport for voting “yes.”
Now, may I tell you what I know and what my opinions are based on?
First, I have lived in Eagle since 2006. Previously, I lived in Gypsum from 2001-06.
Next, I have practiced consulting engineering continuously in the public water utility field since 1969. My projects have been in the Southwest, including Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Cailfornia, Utah and Colorado.
I have served more than 50 water-utility clients, performing over 200 planning studies, water-system evaluations, capital-improvement programs, bond issues, water and wastewater treatment plant designs, transmission, pumping, storage tank and related public water utility projects from inception through construction, including renovations. I am a nationally board-certified environmental engineer.
I do not currently and never have worked for the town of Eagle or RED Development, and I do not intend to do so in the future.
Here are my opinions:
1. Trustees Turnipseed, Dean, Kinney, Kerst, Webster, former Mayor Woodland and the vast majority of past and present trustees are among the most knowledgeable elected officials I have encountered. I value their knowledge and expertise highly.
2. The public officials embraced by the “Lacks sense” author are inexperienced and do not inspire my confidence. Their opposition to the financial benefits of the current Eagle River Station project has grave consequences to the public assets (water, wastewater, streets and all town of Eagle
3. Water, wastewater roads, drainage and all public infrastructure require continuous maintenance and replacements. Yes, water and wastewater improvements have a useful life and much of the original Eagle system requires immediate attention.
Rejecting millions of dollars accompanying Eagle River Station will postpone much-needed maintenance and reconstruction and accelerate the deterioration of Eagle’s public assets. It will also decrease the value of all real estate, single family and
4. Eagle lacks the revenue to properly maintain our public assets.
5. Neighbors, you and I, as “rate payers,” are the only practical source of the funds, millions of dollars, that must be made up by the shortfall. Federal grants, state grants and gifts, “angel” donors are simply wishful thinking.
6. My opinions are honestly offered but, like all curbstone professional advice, are not
7. If you know something I don’t know, please speak up. I am listening.
John H. Cook