Vail Daily letters to the editor |

Vail Daily letters to the editor

Vail Daily staff
Vail, CO, Colorado

Re-elect Stavney

I believe that partnerships and collaborations get things done. And the partnerships and collaborative efforts of Eagle County Commissioner Jon Stavney have benefited our community. I have seen Jon bring people together to address projects that are good for the people of our county. During his time in office, Jon has been a tireless advocate for our land and our water. He has worked in partnership with numerous agencies, organizations and individuals to accomplish much for Eagle County.

Whether it is bringing together the river community to create new publicly accessible boat launches on the Colorado River; or bringing together neighbors, homeowners associations and metro districts in Edwards to conserve local land and create new public trail systems and outdoor recreational opportunities, Jon has been working hard for us. Please join me in supporting Jon Stavney for re-election as county commissioner. Thank you.

Jason Denhart


Protection at risk

In response to Neil Barham’s Aug. 23 letter to the editor, “Keeping us from fun,” I would be happy to answer his questions as to who the coalition is and who is this Matt Sauer?

The town of Eagle open space Protection Coalition is a nonprofit corporation organized in Colorado for the purpose of protecting and maintaining the open space in and around the town of Eagle. The coalition represents a collective of property owners and other interested persons who have banned together with the common interests of protecting open space for our future generations.

As for myself, I’m a longstanding valley and Eagle Ranch resident whose home will be directly impacted by this trail.

Since you clearly haven’t studied the issue, let me give you some background on the current debate. As Eagle Ranch was being planned, and after many months of research and input from various wildlife experts and town residents, the town, Eagle Ranch developers, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, federal Bureau of Land Management and town residents agreed that Hernage Gulch should be maintained in “pristine condition” and that travel in Hernage Gulch would be restricted to “pedestrian-only use” to protect the special wildlife that calls Hernage Creek home.

These groups all collectively agreed to set aside and protect the Hernage Gulch as “a valuable, diverse and natural wildlife habitat.”

This agreement has been written in the town’s open space travel management plan since 2004, wherein it specifically states: “No bicycles (nor horses) will be allowed in Hernage Gulch.” That agreement was ratified in the 2009 travel management plan, as well.

The town has acted in accordance with that agreement for eight years and now, for the fourth time, is considering the Hardscrabble Trails Coalition’s application for a 2.7-mile bike trail to cut right through the Hernage Gulch all so you, Neil, can have some fun!

You obviously don’t appreciate that residential lots and homes on Hernage Creek Road and upper Harrier Circle have always sold for a premium because of the protected nature of the gulch to the south of the homes.

Residents dating back to 2004 were given specific promises by Slifer Smith and Frampton Real Estate regarding the protected nature of the Hernage Creek open space and assurances that it would be left untouched and undeveloped in “pristine condition” to protect the wildlife.

As for “being a self-absorbed dweeb trying to control your life,” as you stated in your uninformed letter, I think most would agree quite the contrary.

How are we trying to control your life when it was Eagle Ranch residents who bought homes in the Hernage Gulch area, relying on facts and representations provided by the real estate brokers, the town of Eagle and the developer that Hernage Gulch would be maintained as unaltered, pristine open space with pedestrian-only access? Is it really appropriate that longstanding agreements be changed so that you are not kept from your mountain-biking fun?

There are over 132 miles of trail loops in Eagle today. Is it appropriate that you, the current town staff and boards and Hardscrabble Trails Coalition now have blatant disregard for the formal agreements that were made when Eagle Ranch was developed and built regarding the need to protect wildlife in Hernage Gulch?

When motorized routes were put in 2nd Gulch, 3rd Gulch and Abrams Gulch, so that bikes, horses and ATVs could have fun, the town, Eagle Ranch developers, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, federal Bureau of Land Management and town residents (which you are not even one) agreed our wildlife needed some corridor to escape. Really? Now you want to violate that? All in the name of fun?

Instead of lobbing insults at me and a coalition that stands up for the wildlife based on letters, agreements and years of correspondence between wildlife officials, the town and its residents, you might want to become informed by doing a little research of your own.

A visit to the town of Eagle website and a search for Hernage Trail will give you plenty of material to get informed. Unfortunately, Neil, the effort to get informed is not fun but should be a requirement before you rant in the Vail Daily.

I can be reached by email if you would like to discuss your issues or would like a personal copy of the coalition’s mission statement and position regarding the Hernage Trail Proposal at matthew_sauer@

Matt Sauer


Mushroom fest was the best

The fifth Eagle Mushroom Festival was a great success.

The festival introduced the excitement of hunting and cooking choice edible mushrooms growing wild in our mountains to beginners and added to the knowledge of other more experienced mushroom gatherers.

This year, I was pleased to see people from throughout the Eagle Valley, as well as from Aspen, Glenwood Springs, Colorado Springs, Golden and Durango.

The continued success of the festival could not happen without the support of several businesses in Eagle that have encouraged me over the years and have been extremely generous of their time, facilities and products. Thanks to the generous donations of Craig Colby of Broadway Liquors, Nate and Tom Mc Mullen of Paradigms Restaurant, John Shipp of Luigi’s Pasta House, Chef Ryan Murray of Red Canyon Cafe and Lonnie Leto of the AmericInn Lodge, we were able to host the event. I want to also extend thanks to the town of Eagle for its support and a particular personal thank-you to Marsha and Sig Bjornson, who organized and cooked at the Saturday afternoon cook-off in the park. Thanks also to Sig’s friends Harold Fricker and Victor Galko, who assisted Sig at the grill.

The willingness of people to help out makes a difference in this festival and our sense of community.

My personal experience organizing the festival over the years has helped me understand and be grateful for the wonderful community of Eagle that we all share.

Tom Boni

As I say goodbye

As I look back on the 40 years I have lived in Eagle County, I find myself with many things to say about and to people. This seems like a good place to start.

To the town of Gypsum: Stop forgetting this is Gypsum, not Vail or Boulder. Most here are simple working people. You seem bent to change what used to make this town great.

To Eagle County: Keith Montag, first I wish to thank you. You took the time to listen. That is what earned you my respect. I do hope you will look at the folks in the work force and see what is going on right, but also wrong.

When I started with Eagle County, my father told me I would never regret it. What saddens me is how much things changed. So many outsiders were hired that we lost touch. Things need to go backward at times, not always forward.

To Eagle County Road and Bridge: Gordon Adams, thank you. You gave me that chance so many years ago, and I hope I did you proud. Best wishes for you and yours.

Tom Johnson, first I owe you an apology. When you first arrived, I saw you as an outsider, but I found you do care about those who work around you. And with the common bond we have with our kids serving America, I wish you the best.

Tom Harris, wow! Thank again for taking a chance on me, teaching me and having faith in me when I had none. I grew so much with your help. You are truly a one-of-a-kind supervisor, and my hats off to you!

As for the crew of Road and Bridge, each of you offered me something that will stay with me forever. I hope the people of Eagle County know and understand that you each take such great pride in a job well done and give you all a break. (No one deserves to be yelled at by someone waked up by a snowplow.) You guys keep on keeping on! You all do a great job.

Paul Moses, thank you for not only standing up for me when it was needed, but teaching me how to stand up for myself, too. Best to you, my friend.

Nicole, thank you for helping me with paperwork and all the other things you did.

To the mechanics back in fleet, thank you.

Eagle County, I hope you all get how lucky you are to be in this area and to have the people who keep your roads safe for you. Give them a break. They deserve your thanks. Best of luck to you all. I will miss living here.

Theresa Ladenburger


Neil Armstrong memory

In 1981 my son Jon was a freshman at Stanford University. A dorm friend was Mark Armstrong, Neil Armstrong’s son.

That winter son Jon and Mark came to Vail to ski, Mark to also ski with his parents. Jon asked if my wife, Nan, and I would ski a few runs with the Armstrongs, provided we did not penetrate Neil’s celebrity status and ask embarrassing questions. We agreed and met the Armstrongs for breakfast at the current Cascade Manor. Neil was an honorary board member of United Airlines, who at that time I believe owned the hotel.

That morning was a perfect Vail morning with blue sky and new snow. As we topped the Mid-Vail lift, in my Vail enthusiasm, I turned to Neil and said (I will never forget), “Isn’t this the most beautiful site you have ever seen?”

Being a perfect gentleman, he replied, “Yes, it certainly is beautiful.”

Immediately, my embarrassment was apparent, as I had just told a man who had seen Earth from the moon that Vail’s beauty was the best to be seen. Incidentally, he was a pretty good skier.

Conrad Christensen


Van Ens misses point

The Rev. Mr. Van Ens’ thesis that the application of the Affordable Care Act is devoid of religious ramifications for those whose faiths prohibit contraception and abortion is just not accurate.

Catholic organizations have been given an exemption for a period of time precisely because the administration realized that this act would require major change in the religious principles underlying the operations of these entities, not for any other reason.

Also, Van Ens has cherry-picked liberal Catholic commentators who agree with him in blithe disregard of the fact that it is the bishops who are the teachers of the Catholic faith for the believers, not random dissenting clerics, popular as they may be.

Van Ens’ flippant approach to Catholicism appears either disingenuous or bigoted. In any case, he needs to brush up on his facts before airing seemingly definitive statements about a faith he seems to know so little about.

Furthermore, he should ask a practicing Catholic businessman if the act has not required him to go contrary to his religion’s beliefs and provide insurance coverage in these areas for his employees or face daily fines for failing to do so.

Get real, Rev. Van Ens. The matter pertains to the free exercise of religion and to not allowing the government to force us into a state-imposed creeping atheism clothed in civic liberty with concomitant confusion regarding health issues as these pertain to personal choices rather than true health care.

Patricia Lynch


Freedom of sex in Constitution?

The Affordable Care Act, as construed by Rev. Van Ens, requires that secular and non-secular employers pay for the contraceptive measures utilized by their employees and parishioners to control unplanned or inadvertent births.

Put another way, an employer is required to pay for his employee’s sex life, so to speak. The Catholic Church is required to pay for the sex lives of its clergy and/or parishioners, notwithstanding the religious canons to the contrary.

Van Ens seemingly implies that freedom of sex has some connection to the Constitution. Maybe he is thinking of the “equal protection” clause.

My question is why are Obama and Van Ens so adamant in imposing this religious mandate upon a Christian denomination (the Catholic Church) when another religious organization (Islam) is given a pass or exemption from the mandate to purchase health insurance altogether because of its dogma against “insurance” in general?

Are Obama and Van Ens endeavoring to establish a national church in their deference to the Muslims? To afford equal protection and apply the law consistently, should not the Catholics be given a pass because of their beliefs against artificial birth control?

Fred Butler


Not quite, Richard

I’m sure Richard Carnes feels that he made such a compelling case on the issue of how the upcoming presidential election is a simple choice, since he says the Republicans favor “an absolute ban on all abortions, even in the case of rape or incest.”

The only problem with what Carnes is saying is that it’s not true!

In an interview with CBS News just last week, Romney reiterated that “I’m in favor of abortion being legal in the case of rape and incest, and the health and life of the mother.”

How much clearer can he make his position?

And to tie Mitt Romney with Todd Akin and imply that Romney feels the same way about abortion is dishonest.

Romney and Ryan and the rest of the Republican Party have repudiated Akin’s comments on abortion, and have been putting tremendous pressure on him to drop out of the race. What more would you expect them to do about a loose-cannon type of individual like this?

Is Carnes one of those extremists who feel that people shouldn’t be allowed to express their opinions when they disagree with his?

And is it truly surprising or unreasonable that not everyone supports Obama’s opinion that abortion should be available on demand for any reason or no reason, and paid for by the taxpayers?

And what about his extreme position on late-term abortions? In the past, Obama has been so supportive of late-term abortions that he resisted efforts to protect unborn children born alive after failed abortion procedures. I think the public should know whether this is still Obama’s opinion since so many of them would likely find this position surprising, and not in line with their own.

Talk about “twisting it however you will”! Carnes’ assertions are a perfect example of twisting things around to assist in his apparent support of Obama. Come on, Vail Daily, shouldn’t you insist that your columnists at least approach truthful statements when they write for your paper? How about some fact checking, Mr. Editor?

There are certainly very clear choices between the parties we can debate without resorting to this kind of disingenuous nonsense. The real debate is whether we as taxpayers should be paying for birth control, abortions and thousands of other things when our country is on the verge of bankruptcy.

Steve Spessard


Reaching across fairway

Wow! Mr. Gene Henry has asked me publicly two days in a row in the Vail Daily to play golf with him. I’m honored. Are you picking up the tab? How about for nine holes?

Gene, if you are serious about getting together for golf, I’m in. Like reaching across the aisle, we could reach across the fairway, so to speak. I just want to have a place in the center of the fairway for my golf ball.

Actually Gene, we don’t have much disagreement on the crises facing our country. A paragraph in my letter to the Vail Daily commended Peter Bergh’s prior letter (“America’s place”) in which he thoughtfully catalogued the many challenges we have and the lack of demonstrated leadership to solve those challenges. That paragraph was edited out. And the title (“Sins of the GOP”) wasn’t my choice, either. I stopped suggesting subject headings for my letters a long time ago.

Where you and I part company is that you believe that one party has a solution. My view is that neither does. One wants to go farther down the path of a social welfare state and the other wishes to further its cause in establishing a plutocracy. Strangely enough, we are following both paths simultaneously, which partly explains our highly polarized and divided country.

I must ramble on for just a few sentences longer. I greatly admire good letter writers – individuals who can combine relevant facts, logic, variety in the choice of words and sentence structure, and the gift of guiding a reader through a story which has a natural flow from beginning to end.

Two sets of letter writers, Cynthia Lepthien (“About that Constitution”) and Stephanie and Lance Kelly (“Concerned about school site”) in the Sept. 1 publication of the Vail Daily wrote excellent letters on two very different topics. I had the pleasure of reading, enjoying and learning from both.

Jim Cameron

Case for the stocks

From the perspective of a former New Zealand policeman, to see the carnage currently on display in Chicago rattles me, as it should the assailants’ and victims’ parents – especially MIA dads. The crisis speaks more to accountability, I feel, than National Rifle Association or rap music blame games.

A question I ask myself often, after the Denver lady police officer shooting and the Chicago summer epidemic (within a Trayvon Martin context) is where are Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson?

I truly believe that their appearance at a march for hope, or visible east-side door-to-door campaign exhorting neighborhood crackdowns would help exponentially, pleading for Dad to be more involved, community activism, church advocacy, mentorism. Dammit, I would help, if asked.

Conservative as I am, I always favored visible punishment like the English. The stocks worked well: Imagine Channel 9 News at 5 p.m. showing convicted drive-by shooters, Jerry Sandusky types, rapists and such in the stocks with passers-by hurling rotten fruit and veggies at them. The loss of street cred alone for these repeat offenders would be enough to discourage bad behavior.

In colonial 1890s New Zealand (like the United States prior to ACLU over-zealousness) similar offenders after conviction were excommunicated from society as we know it, banished. They were disallowed from public bars, events, shops and scorned. Such isolationism discouraged recidivism brilliantly, and encouraged civility sans prison.

I recall some time back Arnold Schwartzenegger was appointed by a president here as the “fitness czar,” well-intended but mismanaged. Perhaps the time is ripe for a well-respected, contemporary public figure – Magic Johnson, LL CoolJay or Herman Cain – to enter the fray, literally, as “behavior czar” with donor campaign funding to turn the tide in these neighborhoods. Couldn’t hurt either campaign right now!

Pat Mitchell


Bike path is fine now

I’m an avid cyclist. I commute on my bike, participate in local bike events, loved the Pro Cycling Challenge, and I ride Vail Pass several times a week. I’d like to think I’d be in favor of anything that would encourage and improve cycling in our state.

Recently, on one of those rides up the pass, while thinking about the upcoming construction project about to begin, I’ve been wondering why this project is even necessary. The bike path is in fine shape.

The notices in the paper detail the closures, time frame and the work to be done: paving, culvert replacements, shouldering, striping and the installation of permanent signs.


Outside of culvert replacement (which may be necessary in a way that is not easily apparent to a cyclist riding on the pass), why does any of this need to be done?

Is the installation of permanent signage necessary to educate, spoon-feed and otherwise remind cyclists of rules and etiquette that we should already know (but an alarming number of cyclists don’t know or ignore)?

Has some lawyer working for CDOT decided that the placement of permanent signs will reduce the liability of the state somehow should someone injure themselves on the pass? (Frequently, the reason for posting a lot of signs if you think about it: “See? See? There was a sign posted. You can’t sue us, you should have known.”)

Admittedly, I haven’t done all the due diligence about budgets and cost, etc., to even justify writing this. I just ride the pass and wonder why it needs fixing.

What I should do is look into how much money is being spent on this project versus the cost of a project that seems much more like a real need instead of a want: building an on/off ramp from I-70 to the Eagle County Regional Airport or managing everything about Dowd Junction into the ground until it’s finally a safe stretch of freeway.

Comparatively, it may be a drop in the bucket, but wouldn’t the money devoted to this project be better deployed toward something we actually need?

Tim Moffet


Don’t let ’em back

Thank you, Mr. Bornstein, for the Valley Voices column Aug. 29, especially for what you say in paragraph two: “balanced by serious oversight and regulation.” I would say it should be “self regulation.”

If only the financial leaders themselves had put a stop to the free-wheeling traders and greedy bankers during the end of the Bush administration, then we might not been in this terrible financial situation.

The financial industry has itself to blame if the government now comes in to regulate. The 99 percent are the ones that got screwed.

The Supreme Court should consist of politically free individuals who view all cases in an unbiased manner, if that’s possible.

As far as Citizens United and Karl Rove are concerned, I think we have a big problem there. Wasn’t he involved in the last administration with Rumsfeld, et al., pushing the administration to go to war and perhaps create other dubious shenanigans? Rumsfeld, Cheney, Rove and others ran the Bush administration.

I suppose they can’t wait to get their hands on Romney. He’s a wuss.

Fletcher MacNeill


How about some solutions?

If all the thought process and energy that goes into the letters to the Vail Daily vilifying one political party or the other were to go into a search for a real economic solution that both sides could stomach, we would already be on our way out of this.

If our politicians won’t talk to each other, let’s not make the same mistake.

Let’s hear some ideas from you vociferous Democrats and Republicans, instead of just pointing the finger of blame at each other. That is a colossal waste of precious time, which we have little of!

Be part of the solution instead of part of the problem. Let’s construct and not obstruct! We’re not getting out of this unless we do it together.

Suggestions for starters: On the revenue side, list tax loopholes that you think need closing. On the expenditure side, if you don’t agree to increase the age at which full Social Security begins, and introduce means testing, how would you trim back entitlements? OK, who goes first?

Marshall Turley


Can’t walk this plank

How can any woman vote for the Romney-Ryan ticket? At the Republican National Convention, Republicans were nominating Romney and Ryan and have as their platform the plan to take away the rights of women to make our own decisions about our bodies.

Kudos to Richard Carnes, who in his Aug. 28 commentary said, “This plank in the GOP platform cannot be one than any woman wants to walk.”

Betsy Hendrickson


Time to get real

Prosperity through debt has never worked. It will not work now. We need to get real, folks.

Bill McCarthy


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