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Letters to the editor

Sheika Gramshammer

To Pepi’s and my friends: In the 43 years that Pepi and I have called this valley our home, we have been witness to many occasions when our community has come together to support one another in difficult times. Over the last month we have experienced this fellowship first hand and I want to thank all of you for your overwhelming care and encouragement during Pepi’s recent illness. We have received so many phone calls, wonderful cards and beautiful flowers and I honestly believe that each and every prayer and all the words of encouragement are contributing to Pepi’s ongoing and successful recovery.My words may be inadequate to express our thanks to the wonderful medical professionals who provided Pepi with such exceptional care. From the paramedics who responded to my 911 call (and this time it wasn’t a guest’s misdialing), to the phenomenal doctors and nurses in the emergency room and ICU, we thank you for your dedication, your talent and your care. Pepi and I knew that he was in the best hands possible, and that gave us both the added strength we needed to get through this troubling time. Dr. Schorr, Dr. Gaul and, of course, our friend Dr. Eck, you have our unwavering gratitude and we thank you so much for the incredible service you provide to us and to all who live here.Pepi is home and working hard each day to get his strength back. He is doing physical therapy for his knee and has had a defibrillator put in to help his heart beat the way it should. Given the severity of all that he went through, Pepi is doing unbelievably well and we feel incredibly blessed by the progress he is making.Sometimes it seems as though the growth in our valley has changed the character of our community, but that is far from what our family has just experienced. Your outpouring of care and concern for Pepi cannot be surpassed and we thank you, and thank you again for your support, your love and your generous spirit.Sheika GramshammerGreat moveAs a resident of Edwards, I want to commend the Edwards Metro District for their bold leadership effort in supporting the purchase of the Eaton Ranch. It is refreshing to see a group that can clearly identify the future of this parcel and the values it will bring to us as residents of this county, and the impacts it will create if not purchased.We have seen throughout this process that there are those with vision, the Vail Valley Foundation, our county commissioners and numerous homeowners associations. Without the efforts and the hope that these visionary groups provide, we would become a very different, and much less appealing, community to reside in and to visit. Thank you in advance to all of those groups who have the vision and chutzpa to step out front and lead the way. I am sure you will hear about it from the Vail Daily for different reasons, but as a resident in your district I applaud you and hope others will follow in your footsteps!David RossEdwardsLog PineyI used to be a logger. I miss working in the woods. The ogger and rancher live closer to nature every day, in a way that environmentalists can only dream of. I know the love of nature. A couple of years ago I started getting involved in forest management issues in my own Black Hills of South Dakota.. Recently I read in the Vail Daily about the Forest Services proposed Piney River project. I got on the Internet and analyzed the environmental assessment for the project. I also looked at the revised forest plan for the White River National Forest. I’d like to share with you some insights I have about your forest. I believe that the public can’t weigh the pro and con of a forest project without the perspective of percentage-based proportional thinking. I also believe that the logger’s point of view has been shouted down by the environmental establishment in this country. No one can accuse the greens of being objective. Propaganda doesn’t lend itself to being objective. Now you can tell where I stand.The dirty little secret that no one seems to want to tell the public is that logging on the White River forest has plummeted. Its gone from 22 million board feet cut ten years ago to 6 million board feet today. That’s a decrease of 75 percent. Did you know that 120 million board feet of timber grows on the forest every year, yet the Forest Service proposes to harvest only 12 million board feet a year in their new plan? Only 3 percent of the forested acres have been harvested in the past 60 years. Did anyone ever tell you that only 0.5 percent was ever clear cut? The Forest Service estimates that because of pine encroachment, only half the aspen acreage(vital to elk) exists today compared to 100 years ago. After seeing these numbers, how can you believe the enviro propaganda that logging isnít sustainable?It’s not the Forest Service’s fault the cut has dropped so much. The greens have used and abused the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) to bog the Forest Service down into an analysis paralysis. It’s another tactic to reduce the cut by soaking up man hours so the Forest Service can’t accomplish as much on the ground under the current budget as they used to. The cost to prepare a timber sale has doubled in 10 years.A federal judge didn’t stop logging because it was causing the decline of the spotted owl, but because he felt the Forest Service hadn’t adequately analyzed the potential effects of logging on the owl. This created a nasty court precedent.The Forest Service now analyzes and documents things to death in order to lawsuit-proof their plans. It really has no benefit to the environment. All the timber sales have a finding of no significant impact. But when a judge asks if they have counted the woodpeckers, they can say, “Yes sir, we did.”On state-owned forests in the West, who don’t have to analyze things to death, they receive $2 in revenue for every $1 spent in timber sale preparation. The Forest Service is lucky to get back a buck for every dollar spent. The states use half the man hours the Forest Service does. The greens have a lot of nerve to whine about below-cost timber sales when their litigation is the cause. I want to emphasize that this isn’t just a logger’s problem. The elimination of forest management is everybody’s problem. Now let’s take a look at the Piney River timber sale. The Forest Service proposes to thin (no clear cuts) 2,000 acres of lodgepole pine in Piney Creek to reduce fire danger. They are going to leave 80-160 trees per acre. I would be happy to direct anyone to a Web site that has pictures of such a stand. You’re going to have a nice-looking forest that’s going to be practically fire proof. Because the Forest Service treats so little of the forest it’s inevitable that you’re going to be looking at burned forest outside your picture window someday, but at least youíll have the managed forests to go to and see green trees. When the Piney Creek sale is done combined, with past logging (only 8 percent was clear cut in the past 50 years), 20 percent of the area will have been managed. (Did you know that young lodgepole in old clear cuts are very fire resistant?) The greens have destroyed the saw-milling infrastructure in Colorado. Let’s hope there’s someone left to log this. Over 80 percent of the lodgepole pine in Piney Creek is 80-120 years old. Only 2 percent is older. Do you know what this means? A hundred and some years ago, this valley suffered a high intensity, stand-replacing wildfire clear cut. A hundred years ago, Piney Creek looked like the Hayman Fire does today. Think about that the next time you’re outraged by the sight of a clear cut. The dirty little secret that ecologists don’t like to tell the public is that the biggest missing ecosystem component in the forest is grass and forbs. The Forest Service estimates that fires from 1850-90 burned over much of the White River National forest An early explorer wrote that 20-40 percent of the spruce forests were dead. It’s time to take back the future of your forests, people! Do you want the professionals at the Forest Service to manage them, or do you want the environmentalists to manage them through court precedent? Write your politicians and tell them to introduce legislation that reforms NEPA. Locally, the comment period for the Piney Creek timber sale ends June 8. Write the Forest Service and tell them you support their project. Question the environmental establishment! Derek WeidenseeRapid City, S.D.College adviceI am writing in regards to Charlie Wick’s column “Tips on paying for college.”The past three years I’ve interviewed over 350 quarterlifers – people in their late teens and 20s – about how they’ve made the transition from academics into the real world.It is a transition that does not come easy as evidenced by the fact that:– Four out of 10 students entering college drop out their freshman year.– The average college graduate had more than eight jobs from the age of 22 to the age of 32.– Four-year college degrees are taking students five, six, and even seven years to complete.– Parents spend on average $38,000 on their children between the ages of 18 and 34 – considerably more than in the past.While all of Mr. Wick’s financial advice was beneficial, I believe the biggest factor was not discussed.One of the discoveries of my research was that the No. 1 way to save money on your child’s college education is to only spend money on the education they need and want. Before finalizing the finances of your child’s education, it’s crucial that you take steps to ensure that he or she doesn’t switch degrees every semester or drop out of class after class when it isn’t a “good fit.” No amount of financial savvy will cover the cost of a student spending $30,000 a year trying to “discover” him or herself.Jason C. SteinleVote your valuesThis is in response to the letter you published … by Thomas Anderson: Mr. Anderson the values you outline in your letter do not accurately reflect the values of today’s Republican Party. Perhaps it’s time to take a good hard look at your values and see if they actually coincide with the type of policy that is being legislated by the people you are supporting and electing. There has definitely been a paradigm shift in American politics in recent years and today’s Republican Party has moved far to the right and represents more and more the values of the very conservative Christian right. If you just keep voting Republican, you’ll eventually see that you’ve been duped. Just about every one of the things you mention in your letter that you hold dear and value is under attack now by this administration and the current Republican leaders in American politics. Don’t get hung up on labels and vote your values.Scott CramerGypsumGreat serviceHow many places can you live where you can get a car mechanic appointment within two days, drop your car off, ride your bike home, and ride back to pick up your repaired car before noon? I should think not many! I just want to say kudos to Jeff and his crew at Performance Automotive in Eagle! They are reliable, extremely convenient, and reasonable! And kudos to our awesome small town of Eagle that is able to support wonderful businesses like Performance Automotive! Just think what will happen to these great small town businesses if you allow the big boxes to come in here! Gone will be quick appointments, reliable services, and the ability to ride your bike to town without being slaughtered by big box traffic! Again, thank you to people like Jeff Sterkel for running such a great business in our town! Ashley Dawkins Vail, Colorado


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