Letters to the Editor
Thank you for publishing Summit County historian Mary Ellen Gilliland’s thoughtful article on the need for change to the planned Ophir Mountain clear-cuts.
John Maynard Keynes famously replied to criticism that he had changed his views on monetary policy by saying, “When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do?”Learn more »
As a resident of Summit County for over 20 years, I care immensely about how this community is faring, and what we can do to make it better. As CEO of the Summit Community Care Clinic, I also care immensely about the health of the community and what we can do to improve our health care system.
I am proud to be a part of a community that has made a commitment to both these things, and is approaching change in a collaborative, committed way. The health of our community is a top priority, and the community as a whole has been leading the way in health reform.Learn more »
Wow, what a sad state of affairs we evidently live in when a corporation like Vail Resorts feels it has to flex its muscles by blowing up some shacks that are hidden and well off the beaten path of any of the tourists on any given mountain on any given day. The reality is that Vail Resorts has probably known about these “smoke shacks” for a much longer time then they are admitting to. I say this as an avid border who has ridden on every Vail Resort mountain in Colorado, and one who has ridden “sober” and “high” hundreds of times on those mountains with out any incidents or accidents ever. I say this because I have been in many smoke shacks and they are not easy to find unless you are a local and unless you have the inside knowledge that only locals have.
The infamous “Leo’s” was obviously not built in days, or even weeks. The reality is, it took multiple seasons to build. I say this because I was witness to its multi tiered evolutions over several seasons. Hence the Ski Patrol had to have been aware of it, given the thousands of “sweeps” they make each season.Learn more »
Re: J.S. Melton’s recent letter, ‘Summit Daily News descends into marijuana madness.’
Melton writers: “I think I speak for a lot of people…each time [I open] up your rag…I don’t wonder at questions I am asked over here in the United Kingdom…none of you care what type of image you are projecting…I read your paper for entertainment, for something mindless that makes no matter.”Learn more »
The U.S. Postal Service in Breckenridge appears to be a shambles. We arrived on vacation to Grand Timber Lodge on Saturday and discovered our U.S. cell phone was no longer valid because we had not used it for just over 12 months. T Mobile customer services bent over backwards and agreed to send us a new SIM card. It was shipped out overnight from Seattle and we were notified it was delivered to the Breckenridge PO at 12:50 p.m. on Monday, addressed to the GTL PO Box number. Someone at the PO would have signed for it but it has now apparently disappeared and despite attempts by GTL and ourselves to find it we are now leaving three days later with no SIM card. During our investigations we were told parcels had taken up to a month to be delivered and many other horror stories like items simply being returned to the sender for no apparent reason. We would never use the service again, but we wonder why the people of Breckenridge don’t demand a root and branch overhaul of their postal service.
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I am a former resident of Breckenridge and Frisco. I currently reside in Golden. I brought my girlfriend to Breckenridge for dinner on Sunday evening. We parked at the parking structure near Lincoln and Main and walked south to Main Street Station for dinner. So many times we had our heads down looking where we were going instead of looking at the stores or restaurants we were passing. There was so much snow and ice built up that many times we had to wait while groups of people passed so we could proceed walking single file. As I write this I wonder how many businesses we passed without giving a thought. How many other people of the thousands to hundreds of thousands of vacationers pass these businesses in the same manner. Heads down, looking for traction and hoping not to slip onto their butts. That is a lot of money these businesses are not receiving as a return on their investment. This also translates to lost tax revenue for the town of Breckenridge.
Where is the enforcement of snow removal from sidewalks? Is there an ordinance? The following is a copy from Golden’s city ordinance:Learn more »
Enough weed in our rag
I think I speak for a lot of people, and not just in the states of Colorado or Washington, who are terribly dismayed and angry that each time one opens up your “rag” (and that is exactly what it is), there are pages filled with pot adverts and pot articles that are rammed down the reading public’s throat.Learn more »
The recent flurry of letters to the Summit Daily News on the impending Frisco to Breckenridge timber clear-cuts makes a clear case for the concern of outdoor lovers. That these cuts take place along the so-popular Peaks Trail causes angst for many. The eyebrow-high slash piles slated to burn and acres of stumps remaining to devastate the beauty of this backcountry forest path has already occurred on heavily-scarred, clear-cut Gold Hill. This makes many shake their heads and ask “What’s happening to my beautiful Summit County?”
As the author of “The Summit Hiker” and “The Vail Hiker,” I enjoy a close connection to the alpine splendor of our beautiful pocket of paradise. Like many residents and visitors, I consider our mountain backyard as a treasure to be cherished, honored and cared for with an attitude of stewardship.Learn more »
Congratulations and thank you to the Town of Breckenridge road crew for their more than two weeks of sustained effort in clearing the roads after back-to-back-to-back heavy snows.
Your 24/7 efforts (with a little help from Mother Nature) have transformed Main St. and most all other roads from 1.5 - 2 lane passageways to full curb-to-curb byways.Learn more »
I’ve just read a column about Summit County Deputy’s rendering a highly intoxicated man under arrest using the “Double Chicken Wing” technique. Could SDN elaborate on this using diagrams, direct unedited quotes from the arrestee, or even a YouTube video of the dreaded “Double Chicken Wing”?
Personally, when I’ve been arrested, I have experienced the “Makin’ Bacon” Taser-technique, the “Tears in Heaven” high-powered, pepper-spray-technique, the “Yo, Quiero Taco-Bell” technique when being tossed out of fast restaurants after midnight, and even the “Phi-Slama-Jamma” arrest/search technique in years back when marijuana was still illegal.Learn more »
A long time ago the public partnered with telecommunications companies, mostly AT&T’s Bell Systems, and granted them service monopolies for large chunks of the US. This meant that only one company would provide your telecommunications needs and in exchange that company would be required to service rural areas such as Summit County. The larger populations payed all of the cost to wire the smaller populations. The US, by the late 1930s, was the most connected country in the world and that was saying something since we were also one of the most sparsely populated industrialized nations.
The return on investment, protected by monopoly status, allowed AT&T to prosper. Their research facilities, Bell Labs, were the best in the world and along with contracts from the department of defense created powerful patents, the transistor in 1947 for example. While the Bell System had the ability to project digital data across it’s networks, there was not an economic reason to do so. They did not invent the internet.Learn more »
The mountains are chock-full of colloquialisms that often draw blank looks from those unfamiliar with “High Country culture.” That said, numerous members of the Keystone Lodge and Spa staff collaborated on a handy encyclopedia of terms that are thrown around in daily conversation. Enjoy!
• Backcountry booter: a handmade jump that is found outside of ski area boundariesLearn more »
Re: Tanya Kanning’s Feb. 12 letter to the editor, “ Consider sending your child to a neighborhood school.”
Discrimination: “the unjust or prejudicial treatment of different categories of people or things”.Learn more »
Time to get off the sidelines
I’ve recently received dozens of condolences from my out-of-state family, friends and colleagues who know the extent of my Broncos fantasia! Interestingly, the stunning emptiness that I felt reminded me of a much more significant loss, when I realized that Mitt Romney really wasn’t going to be our 46th president. Having attended a rally for Romney in Denver just days before the election, I was completely taken back as I watched the election results in a Chicago hotel room around the corner from an Obamania Jumbotron. At least with the Broncos loss, the silver lining is the enjoyment and pride of the 15-4 season, Manning’s MVP and the real possibility of returning even stronger next year and taking the Lombardi trophy home from Phoenix. These days I feel like I’m watching our country have a losing season, hoping that we can get some good draft picks and stop the bleeding! Obama’s intent to “transform America” is hitting home here in Summit County. We read in SDN how our mountain communities are paying the highest health-care premiums in the nation. Obamacare is only one of the failures of leadership we must address at a national level. Meanwhile, the country watches as Colorado navigates through the marijuana mayhem and grapples with gun control and hot issues like HB-13-1081, comprehensive human sexuality education for K-12. Now is our chance Summit County to emulate the Seahawks’ 12th man, get off the sidelines, get informed and take our state and country back! Right now, potential candidates are vying for the opportunity to challenge our incumbent governor, senator and representatives and even town council members. Next month caucuses will be held across the state to continue vetting the candidates and these issues. Watch for the notices in the SDN of candidate visits so you can meet and greet them face to face and make informed choices. Go to their websites, email them, ask them questions. This is not the off-season! Pay attention Summit County and maybe we can take our county, state and country back! Loss is painful, but it can trigger inspiration, commitment and energy. The Broncos aren’t losers and neither are we.Learn more »
“You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone...”
These wise words from an old Joni Mitchell song ring so true today with respect to what we’re doing to our forests in Summit County.Learn more »
Consider sending your child to a neighborhood school
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Howie Wolke’s opinion piece “Mountain Bikes, Wilderness Don’t Mix” is an excellent example of the presentation of prejudice as fact. While Mr. Wolke laments the damage allegedly done to the wilderness by mountain bikers, he smoothly glosses over the much greater damage done by equestrian use. In fact, any human intrusion into the forest causes impact, the hiking groups guided by Mr. Wolke included. There are a number of studies which show that mountain bikers are not more damaging to the environment than other non-motorized trail users. If you are interested in learning the facts, please visit https://www.imba.com/resources/research/trail-science/natural-resource-impacts-mountain-biking for more information. I would suggest Mr. Wolke review this material as well before using his personal bias to lobby for the exclusion of a group of trail users that he clearly doesn’t understand.
Dick BryantLearn more »
Forest Service should live up to its motto
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I recently had to do something I’ve never wanted to do... dial 911. I was on a hut trip at Shrine Mountain Inn with my 7th grade class when the other trip leaders and I realized that one of the students was showing symptoms of High Altitude Pulmonary Edema — an affliction that can be fatal if not treated quickly. We were dispatched to the Summit County Search and Rescue, and within one hour of the initial phone call the good volunteers of the Summit County Rescue Group (SCRG) were at the hut and treating the boy. The boy and his teacher were quickly transported out of the back country and to the hospital. An hour later, the Summit County Sheriff and another SCRG volunteer graciously returned to retrieve the 2 backpacks that were left behind. Because of the prompt response and professionalism of the SCRG, the boy was able to make a full recovery, and we at the Waldorf School are forever grateful. SCRG is composed of highly trained volunteers, and all of their services are FREE. They would not be able to do what they do without your help. We urge you to join us in showing your gratitude to SCRG for all that they do by going to their website, www.scrg.org, and making a generous donation. Thank you, SCRG!
Soozie LindbloomLearn more »
A tale of two trails
Two of the premier trails in Summit County for hiking, mountain biking and cross-country skiing are, or were, the Peaks Trail and the Gold Hill Trail. Ask any biker or skier about favorite trails, and they will probably name the Peaks Trail as one of them. Gold Hill was also a marvelous trail, a key section of the Colorado Trail and a great place to ski on a windy day. In its former deep woods, you wouldn’t even know that there was a breeze. Now it’s the last place you’d want to go on a windy day. As part of the “Ophir Mountain Forest Health and Fuels project,” contractors went in last winter and clearcut all the trees along the lower part of the trail. Both of the groups I ski with canceled their scheduled trips when they realized the windblown wasteland of denuded forest they would be going through.Learn more »
Don’t repeat the Gold Hill hack job
The U.S. Forest Service is beginning their proposed fuels reduction/clear-cut operation in the IronSprings/Peaks Trail/Miners Creek Trail shortly. As a long-time resident of the Gold Hill area where this same process was conducted during the winter months of 2012-2013, I am sorry to see the clear cutting of another heavily used recreation area in Summit County. Summit County’s reputation is based on its beauty and recreation. At this time, the Colorado/Gold Hill Trail, a heavily used recreation trail, no longer fits that description. The remaining slash teepees and un-walkable forest floor make the many acres of clear-cut difficult for the hikers, bikers, cross country skiers to maneuver through. The few intermittent patches of 6-8-10 trees that were left standing blew down with the first wind gusts leaving the recreational users to remove them from the trail. Logging roads were left with large muddy ruts, equipment staging areas were swimming in diesel fuel during spring run-off.Learn more »
Your January 16 front page headline, “Logging projects renew clear-cut debate,” seemed to suggest the possibility of reconsidering the project, but then the article itself made the reiteration of the previous US Forest Service news release about planned clearcutting projects sound like a fait accompli. The debate about clearcutting Summit County’s beautiful forests must be renewed. Yes, the Ophir Mountain and other “fuels reduction and forest health” projects did go through an official bureaucratic process and that process did allow for public comment. But that process took place during hysteria over fire danger from beetle-killed lodgepole pines – hysteria that turns out to be totally unwarranted. Because dead needles are drier than live ones, dead trees are indeed more flammable for the first 2-3 years. But once those dead needles fall off, as they all have here in Summit County, a dead lodgepole is actually far less of a fire hazard than a live tree. It now has little to burn and no crown for crown fires. Additonally, the big, disastrous, Front Range foothill fires were all in lower, drier areas and were largely in ponderosa rather than lodgepole forests and all happened in the spring, when Summit County was still snow-covered.
Many Summit County residents, either did not hear about these logging projects when they were decided upon or did not realize the terrible destruction they held for our forests and trails. With the sad exception of places like Gold Hill, however, it is not too late to correct this. Plans can always be revised and updated. Now is the time to rethink these projects and keep Summit County the wonderful wooded place that it is.Learn more »
Regarding the Jan. 16 Summit Daily News article about proposed logging in the Miners Creek drainage.
There is widespread concern about this type of clear-cutting. It has destroyed outdoor experience in several areas already (Frisco Peninsula, Gold Hill). Since Summit County’s economy is all about aesthetics and tourism, shouldn’t this be thought out a bit? The areas designated have lots of live timber in them that provide wildlife habitat. Must they all be clear-cut? In many parts, the wildfire mitigation is questionable, as there are no residences nearby or clear-cutting has already been done. At the very least, couldn’t a hiking, biking, skiing corridor be left along the Peaks Trail? Could we please have a work session on this?Learn more »
In regards to Mike Dudick’s passionate letter to the editor I must say that the country going “purple” would be a great thing. Where the letter strays is that it has been 5 years of obstruction by the right that has perpetuated this problem, not a failing administration. This inequality has been with us for some time now. Beginning with the policies of the dark overlord of conservatism Ronald Reagan attacking unions we have slowly worked harder yet are paid the same for that labor while inflation keeps climbing. The pressures of stock holders getting a bigger return on their investment have forced companies to inflate profits by suppressing wages and layoffs. That is easily achieved in this day and age of technology and globalization. More money in the hands of few enables a flood of cash into politics as we have never seen like the passing of Citizens United. Thus the rich dictate our politics while the middle class losses its voice in congress. Then come tax breaks for the “job creators”. The most prosperity this country has ever seen has been when the wealthy paid their fair share. Warren Buffett paid a tax rate of 16% last year while his secretary paid 36%. The social utility of the wealthy paying back into the system would stabilize state and federal budgets. Those funds can invest in education and infrastructure that is in dire need. The wealthy in this country spends about the same as any middle class family. They require no more pairs of jeans or groceries than the rest of us. Making a million dollars in a year does not antiquate to a million dollars spent back into the economy. That money is invested in the market and shipped somewhere else. We are the creators, not them.
Scott MathewsLearn more »
Regarding Tina Dupuy’s editorial of Jan. 13, I completely agree with the conclusion that all Americans should have a living, sustainable wage for work. Where I think she comes completely off the rails is to lay current level poverty wages at the foot of the Republican Party.
We have had five years of Democratic governance and what has changed to raise poverty level wages under their watch? Nothing. Raising taxes on wealthy Americans doesn’t change the wage levels for those on the bottom. It might make Robin Hood proud, “take from the rich and give to the poor,” but giving to the poor doesn’t change their hourly wages. There may be more money to assist those in need but it does absolutely nothing to change wage levels. I do not know of any policy of the current administration or Senate leadership that has been put forth to have any significant, positive impact on poverty level wages.Learn more »
To Susan Stamper Brown: My comments on your recent article titled ‘Suggestions for Liberals in 2014’ printed in the Summit Daily News on Jan. 4
1) Touch a gun. Last year, there were more gun related murders in Colorado than in all of Canada and Japan. Why? Could it be that those progressive societies have a safety net of economic and health care, which our “desperate” poor do not?Learn more »
Re: Dec. 28 letter to the editor,”Cathrall: Obamacare and the Summit County conundrum”
St. Anthony Summit Medical Center would like to respond to an editorial written by Ms. Cathrall in the Summit Daily on December 28, 2013, in which inaccurate information was shared regarding St. Anthony Summit Medical Center’s participation in Anthem exchange products in Summit County. We have confirmed with Anthem Health Plans that St. Anthony Summit Medical Center is contracted with the new exchange plans effective Jan. 1 and this information is currently being loaded into the Anthem system.Learn more »
Re: ‘The race of Jesus: Unknown, yet powerful’ by Jesse Washington, SDN Dec. 28
“Multitudes look to him each day…yet nobody really knows the face of Jesus…there are no references to Jesus’ earthly appearance in the Bible…I find it fascinating that what people really want to know [is] what race was Jesus.”Learn more »
During the first century an astronomer, Ptolemy, offered the theory that earth was at the center of the solar system, and the sun and planets revolved around it. This theory was accepted until Galileo came along several centuries later and averred the sun was actually the center of our solar system, and the earth and planets revolved around it.
This created a controversy that upset every body. The Catholic Church even sentenced Galileo to death if he persisted in publishing such heresy.Learn more »
In response to Judee Cathrall’s letter to the editor – I think I missed something. Obamacare is a good thing? It is my understanding that the intent of Obamacare is to make sure that everyone has health insurance. What about all of the people that have lost their health insurance? What about the people that cannot sign up on the Obamacare exchange. What about the “large deductibles and out-of-pocket expenses” you quote.
It would seem to me that Obamacare is not a good thing if everyone has “insurance” but can’t use it, has “insurance” but can’t afford it, has “insurance” but everyone living in Summit county has to drive to a different county to receive hospital care that is non-emergency; has “insurance” but you need to drive to a different county to have a baby; has “insurance” but you need to drive to a different county to have out-patient-surgery and testing done. Where is the good thing? If you had insurance before, St. Anthony’s accepted the insurance as payment. People without insurance paid cash. What has changed is that people with insurance now can’t get medical service. Maybe the hospital can’t afford the large deductibles and the out-of-pocket expenses.Learn more »