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I would like to officially respond to the articles, comments and letters that have been appearing over the recent days regarding our separation from the Eagle Valley Humane Society. I want to assure you that Eagle County has one of the most caring and competent animal services departments that I have ever encountered.

Undoubtedly, the dedication of the staff here makes it such a great place.

Eagle County Animal Services is solely a government entity. We perform two major functions. We are responsible for animal control for all areas of incorporated and unincorporated Eagle County, except for the town of Basalt. This includes picking up stray animals, maintaining lost and found information and responding to resident complaints. Our other primary function is the operation of the animal shelter. The county staff operates (as we always have) the animal shelter located on Fairgrounds Road. We are 100 percent responsible for the daily care and socialization of the animals as well as all of the adoption. Last year, Eagle County Animal Services found new homes for almost 350 animals, and we also returned almost 300 lost animals to their owners. That is the best part of our job!

Every animal that is brought into the shelter is treated with nothing but kindness and compassion. We all work here, first and foremost, because we care about animals and their relationships with people, both animal owners and non-owners. On a daily basis we care for the animals that no one else wants and that makes our jobs very emotionally challenging. It breaks my heart every time I walk through the building because all of these animals deserve a loving home. We challenge ourselves to make their stay with us comfortable until another kind-hearted animal lover gives them a second chance.

In the past, the county has provided free office space to the Humane Society and the county has attempted to work cooperatively with the Humane Society. There is not and never has been any official connection between Eagle County Animal Services and the Humane Society, but there has been considerable public confusion as to the relationship between the two organizations. The confusion should be eliminated by the Humane Society relocating its office, a move that will have no impact on the Humane Society’s ability to fulfill its legitimate separate role, nor will it impact the ability of the county employees to continue to care for and adopt out animals.

I want to personally invite every member of the community to visit the animal shelter. Come and see what we are all about. Ask the staff about their favorite animals, take a tour of the shelter, volunteer to walk a dog or play with a cat. Every single day we have visitors who tell us how wonderfully clean and nice it is here. We have people visit from other communities who are building shelters and want to see how we do things here. Eagle County is lucky to have such a nice facility that is staffed by kind and caring individuals. As always, we will continue accepting stray animals as well as animals that need to find new homes.

I truly appreciate those of you have e-mailed, called and visited. Without a doubt, the animal care we provide will continue to be stellar. We will continue to care for the shelter animals 365 days a year, as we have for the past 10 years. I look forward to visiting with you at the shelter.

Natalie Duck, Animal Services Director

Western Slope Laundry Company would like to take this opportunity to express our heartfelt appreciation and gratitude for those reaching out to us after the loss of our processing facility due to a devastating fire early Thursday morning.

We are extremely grateful to the Eagle Fire Department, Gypsum Fire District, Eagle River Fire Protection District and Vail Fire Department for their quick response, determination and diligence in extinguishing this fire and performing the investigation. We would like to thank the Eagle Police Department for their compassion and maintaining constant order and safety throughout the process.

There is no doubt that without our customers who have stood by us, suppliers who rearranged their routes to accommodate our needs, friends that continuously expressed their concerns and the local government entities that are committed to helping us rebuild so that we may remain a vital part of this community we may not have had the strength to persevere.

We would also like to thank our comrades in the laundry industry and the local in-house facilities who have provided interim service to our customers while we reestablish our operations.

As a result, within 24 hours of this tragic and highly emotional situation, we have developed a plan to operate our business from a remote site to pursue the reconstruction of our processing facility in its current location.

Again, we thank you for believing in us. With your support we were able to turn what seemed hopeless and impossible into possible. It has undoubtedly strengthened and reaffirmed our love for this community and we look forward to many more years of our continued opportunity to serve you.

The Matthews family and the entire Western Slope Laundry Company staff

Really good news ” that is unless you’re one of the unfortunate wives or parents! Only 19 servicemen were killed during the month of May.

And more good news! Mr. McCain has announced that we should remain in Iraq for five more years in order to accomplish who knows what. His estimate of a 2013 departure from Iraq must have just thrilled our servicemen. It meant that they might return home after they served (and hopefully survived) two or three more tours in Iraq.

What a lovely forecast!

And now tell me why our war-loving president and his fellow Republicans have never had the guts to recommend a “draft” in order to remove at least some of the burden from our existing servicemen. And tell me why they haven’t proposed raising taxes so that the financial burden of this stupid war didn’t become the responsibility of our kids and their kids. Then tell me that they really are patriotic and are willing to assume their share of the sacrifices. (That would be in addition to Mr. Bush’s claim that because of his patriotism, he is not playing golf.)

This war be damned! From the time Mr. Bush ordered the invasion of Iraq, our participation has been a huge mistake. There never were any weapons of mass destruction; there was no al-Qaida presence, and we’ve accomplished nothing except to strengthen Iranian influence throughout the region. Our fellow Americans are still being killed and our nation’s debt is still exploding. End it now!

David Le Vine

Re: Vail Trail poll question: Do you think it’s important for the next president to have military/war experience?

We are already deep within a war. … We MUST have someone with military experience to lead our country and to make the decisions that will affect our troops’ safety, our nation’s future and, lastly, world security and economic stability. Whether you agree with how the war started or not, it’s pretty obvious that world peace and global economics are going to be greatly improved if we can get a stable, more modern type of government established in Iraq and in all the Middle Eastern countries that still practice 7th-century oppression and violence.

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