Letters to the editor

Margaret Bathgate

Suppose, just suppose that Terri Schaivo never told her husband that she didn’t want to be kept alive by “tubes.” There is no proof that she said any such thing. Suppose he just wants to get rid of her because she is inconvenient to him. After all, he has lived with another woman for 10 years and has tow children with her. He won’t divorce Terri because he hates her parents and wants them to suffer, too. Consider that he didn’t “remember” that she had said she didn’t want to be kept alive until seven years after she collapsed.If the above scenario is true, then the judiciary has been complicit with Michael Schiavo in the murder of his wife, yes the murder. She is not on life support. In order to kill her, he had to have her starved to death. He even got Judge Greer to rule that feeding her by mouth constituted “an experimental procedure” and was therefore not allowed. …Who will be next? Can’t you see the terrible precedent this sets? What if someone decides that Granny told them once that she didn’t want to be kept alive in a nursing home? Sounds pretty easy to me. Relatives are tired of paying for her care. They want their inheritance. Starve her to death.Are you also saying that the mentally retarded and autistic children don’t have much of a life, so should also be starved?If we can’t protect those in our society that cannot protect themselves, then we are a sorry lot.You know, the Nazis did away with the mentally ill that were in hospitals in Germany. They didn’t fit into the view of the “perfect society,” so they had them killed. Right now, we are no better.Margaret Bathgate1 county, 1 wholeAs a frequent visitor to Eagle County since 1960 and a permanent resident of Singletree since 1998, I have observed a great many changes in the landscape now shared and enjoyed by some 45,000 men, women and children who call this home, as well as the hundreds of thousands of vacation home owners and tourists who like to spend time here each year. Having served as a member of the Berry Creek Metro District, as a current member of the Eagle Valley Land Trust and having been retained by the county to do some consulting work in my field of landscape architecture, I have had the good fortune to meet many of the men and women who are the leaders in Eagle County. Good people, all, and dedicated to making a positive difference in the lives of all those around them in their own communities. Sadly, what I have found lacking thus far (despite the efforts of a few), is the realization and awareness that all the organized towns, the metro districts and the county itself are integral components of the whole and that it would be wise and mutually beneficial to work more closely together for what happens in one bailiwick effects all the other bailiwicks in numerous and often unsuspected ways. Making Eagle County work is a challenge that all who live here must shoulder if the quality of life that we cherish is to be preserved and enhanced. It is my hope that all those who choose to assume leadership positions in local and county government will soon put partisan politics behind them, stop their inter-governmental squabbling and recognize the many benefits (and the social imperative) of working cooperatively to solve common problems.Peter Bergh EdwardsArmed Forces WeekThe date for the second Vail Armed Forces Week has been set for Jan. 29 to Feb. 3, 2006.”They gave their life fighting for our country…now it is our turn to take care of their children” With the ongoing global war against terrorism and the continuing war in Iraq and Afghanistan, I am working with Vail Resorts and seeking support from the Vail community to establish two programs to support the sons and daughters of our nation’s fighting men and women.The goal of the first program is to raise funds to help support the dream of higher education for those children whose parent has lost his or her life or was seriously wounded while serving their country. To accomplish this goal, Vail Resorts, will donate 3 percent of reservations made against the lodging-ski packages for the event to two recognized military charities who provide educational scholarships. In addition I am seeking participating businesses in and around Vail that are interested in particpating in the program. The charities involved are the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation and the Naval Special Warfare Foundation. “America’s most precious resource is its children, and their development as responsible citizens and civic leaders requires an education.”The Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation provides scholarships to children of Marines (active duty, retired, veteran, deceased, etc.) and to children of Navy corpsmen serving with the Marines. Emphasis is placed on those children whose parent has lost his or her life in the war on terrorism. Those youngsters are guaranteed to receive scholarship awards up to $10,000 per child.The Naval Special Warfare Foundation provides scholarships to active duty SEALs or Special Warfare Combatant Crewmen, as well as to their children and spouses and to other active duty military personnel currently serving in special operations commands through the Special Operations WarriorFoundation.The goal of the second program is to provide an affordable, fun-filled ski week in Vail for all those who currently serve or have served for the Department of Defense, Army, Air Force, Marine Corps, Navy, Coast Guard, Reserve, National Guard, Defense Contractors, Defense Civilians, Public Health Service, law enforcement, plus family and friends of the military. In addition to the two programs, a third goal is to seek sponsorship money to bring four families enrolled in the programs (two from both foundations) to the Vail armed forces ski week event. Those members of the Vail community interested in participating and providing sponsorship monies, please contact Paul Donen, event organizer,,, 376-3249.Paul DonenEdwardsContributionKudos to D.R. for his comments regarding the long-term contributions of immigrants – legal and illegal.Though we must continue to set regulations regarding immigration, and enforce them, we must balance that with the realities of our economy and society. These people are only doing what they feel is best for their families and themselves, which is what the rest of us do every day. Moreover, they, and many of their children and grandchildren, will make significant contributions in the future. Let’s be supportive, and sensitive to their situations, and also recognize that they perform jobs that are critically important to our economy here in this valley.Steven CoyerAvonFend them offPlease take heed to our gentle warning. We are genuine retailers with 70 years of expertise behind us, and we know all too well the concept of “Big Box” selling in small communities and surroundings areas. THINGS WILL NEVER BE THE SAME, and many of the smaller personal stores that you have been loyally enjoying all these years will cease to be. It happens so fast that you are hardly aware of it until the door of your favorite boutique or drug store is closed for good. Sometimes generations of family businesses are shut down within months. So sad.Many small towns just like Eagle have experienced this type of “growth” and indeed the promises of lower prices and ample merchandise is intriguing to us all. But there is always a catch. In the end, the big box simply gobbles up the stunning landscape “where the deer and the buffalo roam” and you have lost your Western lifestyle and your Eagle Valley soul!FIGHT THIS INVADER. Keep your exquisite views and exciting wildlife santuary for your children and grandchildren and keep your glorious ideals of the good life in balance. After all, those are probably the reasons you stayed here or came here. Truly, if you think outside the big box, you will stay outside the big box! GOOD LUCK IN YOUR COURAGEOUS STAND. WE ADMIRE YOUR PASSIONJune W. ErdrichRipe for picking?Mayor Jon Stavney’s analysis of Eagle’s big box dilemma contained an interesting sentence: “We are beginning to understand that residential growth does not pay its own way.” Hmmm.It’s broadly agreed that Avon made a bum deal with the developers of the Village at Avon.Double hmmm.Let’s hope Vail and Minturn pay attention.Before I moved here in 1974, I was a developer, so I know how this game is played, and it hasn’t changed. The developer is always better prepared than the governing authorities, because the developer’s livelihood is at stake. The developer wants an increase in density, and makes persuasive arguments that the increase will provide great benefits to the governing body. As the Eagle and Avon examples show, the governing body usually buys the arguments, only to find out years later that they were, I have to say it, snookered.The other part of these negotiations is that the developers always reduce the density of their initial request to the point where they say they simply can’t give up any more and make a profit. The governing authority has no way to assess the veracity of such claims, and eventually they give in.There is a solution to this dilemma, and it’s based on a simple principle. In the rare cases when government proposes to down zone property, developers and property owners complain that down-zoning is a “taking.” They’re right, but if that’s true, it’s equally true that up-zoning, which is what the developers want, is a gift.Since Mr. Knobel and Mr. Ginn are clearly asking Vail and Minturn for such a gift, each government should ask the respective developers to pay for the services of a genuine expert, mutually selected by the parties, to assess both the long-term economic benefits to the two towns, and the density that is required for them to make a reasonable profit.If they want to gain great credibility, to get their projects approved quickly, and to put many, though not all, public concerns to rest, these two gentlemen should promptly agree to this proposal.Pete FeistmannVailGive peace a chanceA recent letter by Arthur Kittay described the new Palestinian Arab leader Abbas as a terrorist, as indeed he might be. Unfortunately Kittay’s memory must be very short or clouded by hatred. He conveniently forgets that Menachem Begin, the Israeli prime minister who made peace with Egyptian President Sadat in 1979, was a commander in the Irgun, a radical Jewish group that committed many acts of terrorism in Palestine prior to the creation of Israel in 1948. The Irgun, along with the more radical Stern Gang, killed hundreds of Arabs, British soldiers and even Jews who were too friendly with their enemies. The most infamous Irgun terrorist act was the blowing up of a wing of the King David Hotel in Jerusalem that housed British headquarters and that left 91 British, Arab, and Jewish dead and 45 wounded. Leon Uris, who wrote the best-selling novel “Exodus” about the creation of the Jewish state of Israel, wrote in “Trinity,” a novel about the IRA struggle against the British in Northern Ireland, that “Terrorism is the war of the poor. War is the terrorism of the rich.” Sometimes terrorism is the only weapon an oppressed people have to fight back. It served the Irgun, as it has served the Arabs, but it never justifies the killing of innocent people.In the late 1970s, Israeli forces invaded Lebanon to attack Arabs belonging to Yasser Arafat’s Palestinian Liberation Organization, and I recall watching on TV American built jets of the Israeli Air Force dropping bombs on PLO areas of Beirut. These attacks also included bombardment of PLO camps by the U.S. 6th Fleet. How many thousands of people lost their lives in these attacks I do not know, but it made an impression on me and many others.One was Osama Bin Laden. In his taped speech before the last presidential election, Bin Laden said that “The events that affected my soul … started in 1982 when America permitted the Israelis to invade Lebanon and the American 6th Fleet helped them in that. This bombardment began and many were killed and injured … I couldn’t forget those moving scenes, blood and severed limbs, women and children sprawled everywhere. Houses destroyed along with their occupants and high rises destroyed over their residents, rockets raining down on our homes without mercy.”If my memory serves me better than Kittay’s, I recall that Ariel Sharon, the current Israeli prime minister, ordered these attacks when he was minister of defense. In a way he created the evil that led to the 9/11 attacks that killed 3,000 Americans. Does it matter whether innocent people are killed by smart bombs or suicidal terrorists? Does the dropping of a bomb from an official air force fighter give any legitimacy to killing people?President Carter, who brought Begin and Sadat together to create a peace treaty, wrote that “War may sometimes be a necessary evil. But no matter how necessary, it is always an evil, never a good. We will not learn to live together in peace by killing each others children.”I might close with some words from Gandhi: “What does it matter to the dead, the orphans, and the homeless, whether the mad destruction is wrought in the name of totalitarianism or in the holy name of liberty or democracy.” “An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.”Open your eyes, Arthur, and give peace a chance.Bob FiskeVail Minturn, bewareThe Trail recently reported the following: “Ginn to foot bill for larger Minturn staff.””While no dirt will be moved for at least two years, the groundwork is already laid for Bobby Ginn’s 5,400-acre resort community at Battle Mountain south of Minturn. Ginn is fronting $50,000 so the town can prepare to deal with the complex annexation agreement with the town by hiring another planner and contracting with engineering and other consultants.”This sounds a lot like the deals made by large American drug companies in the 1990s, in which they funded their own “FDA studies.” Studies that, big surprise, produced VIOXX, BEXTRA and the rest of these firms’ recently controversial and often lethal products.People of Minturn, beware strangers bearing gifts!Bill SepmeierEdwards Vail, Colorado

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