Letters to the Editor

A global shift towards a vegan diet is vital to save the world (letter)

April 17, 2015 — 

Just in time for the 45th anniversary of Earth Day this Wednesday, the U.S. Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee has made it official: U.S. consumption of animal products is not environmentally sustainable at current levels. Their conclusion matches those of a comprehensive 2010 United Nations finding that a global shift towards a vegan diet is vital to save the world from hunger, fuel poverty and climate change.

Carbon dioxide, the chief greenhouse gas, is emitted by burning forests to create animal pastures and by combustion of fossil fuels to operate farm machinery, trucks, refrigeration equipment, factory farms and slaughterhouses. The much more damaging methane and nitrous oxide are released from digestive tracts of cattle and from animal waste cesspools.

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Utah offers example on religious freedom law (letter)

April 16, 2015 — 

There are so many people on the bandwagon trying to ensure that the LGBT community is never discriminated against that no one seems to notice that other people’s rights are being run over!

David Sirota joined that crowd and called the Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act law discriminatory (“Companies’ pro-equality rhetoric belied by their campaign donations,” April 13). That is wrong! It was a law that allowed an individual or a business that felt overly burdened by the government and unable to practice their religion as they saw fit to be able to take their case to court. That is if the government did not have a more compelling argument and with no guarantees that the individual or business would win their case. Indiana caved and is changing the law to suit those who objected to the way it was written. So about that law, I think there is a much better way to handle differing interests and beliefs. We can look to our Utah neighbors, who have included the religious community and the LGBT community to put together an RFRA that is inclusive to both.

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Dispelling myths about sexual assault in Summit County (letter)

April 15, 2015 — 

There are many myths surrounding the issue of sexual assault, all of which assist in keeping this issue hidden and displace the responsibility for the assault from the perpetrator to the victim. With April being Sexual Assault Awareness month, ask yourself if you believe the following:

➢ Sexual assault does not happen in Summit County.

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Considering the third way in American politics (letter)

April 14, 2015 — 

Regarding the recent editorial on Rand Paul by Dick Polman, the author clearly illuminates the concern by the mainstream political parties over the rise of libertarianism in our country. The two major political parties are prepared to do almost anything to continue their power and the promotion of the oligarchy that has replaced our republican form of government. This editorial falls into that category.

What is missing from this editorial is the acknowledgement that libertarianism enjoys a ground swell of support from younger voters. They are not fooled by myopic governments that can’t see beyond the next election; financial markets that can’t see beyond the next trade; and an educational system that can’t see beyond the next round of standardized tests.

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Common sense is overrated (letter)

April 14, 2015 — 

I see a lot of people talking about the importance of common sense. When people talk about commons sense, they mean intuition. Intuition is a technique that we humans have evolved over eons. When our ancestors roamed the plains of Africa hunting and gathering, intuition helped keep us alive by allowing us to quickly draw conclusions without having to analyze all the facts. Unfortunately, it can often lead to the wrong conclusions on everything from climate change to the safety of GMO foods. Our intuitions and common sense often tell us something that contradicts the evidence.

I was thinking about this the other day, when considering the Monty Hall Problem, a thought experiment in probability named after the host of the 1980’s game show. The premise is pretty simple. A contestant chooses between three doors; one of which contains a valuable prize, and the other two contain worthless prizes such as a goat. What makes the problem interesting is that after the contestant chooses a door, the host will open one of the remaining two doors to reveal a goat, and then offer the contestant the chance to switch. The question is, should the contestant switch, and does it matter?

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Morgan Liddick's views on Iran negotiations lack civility (letter)

April 10, 2015 — 

I have been following the Iranian nuclear deal closely, so the headline of Morgan Liddick’s column caught my eye on Tuesday (“Iran deal lacks trust from all sides”). I am generally sympathetic to Mr. Liddick’s views about individual responsibility and the size of government, but I regret that he has recently fallen into the same trap that most pundits, both right and left, have fallen into: the abandonment of civility in disagreement.

Mr. Liddick’s main point is the lack of trust in the agreement with Iran. “Should the West, especially the United States, trust Iran?” This is in the best tradition of American arrogance. It blithely ignores the question, should Iran trust the United States? How difficult was it for the Iranian negotiators to sit at a table with a country that engineered an overthrow of their democratically elected government in 1953 and then forced a puppet Shah on them until 1979? How much do the Iranians trust America’s closest ally Israel with their nuclear weapons?

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Clearing the climate of doubt (letter)

April 3, 2015 — 

We love Colorado, but this month’s Men’s Journal is telling people to flee climate change to ski in Alaska. Of course Alaska is warming too, but the Journal says that skiers will find the deep snow in the Chugach Mountains near Anchorage.

The Summit Daily has reported on increased fire danger with climate change. Resorts are adding year round attractions. It’s great to adapt, but let’s cut down on the source of the problem.

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What future are we leaving for our children (letter)

April 2, 2015 — 

Jetting up US 25, north, 89 mph on the instrument cluster. Gillette, Wyoming for business. Never been here. Never seen such lonely country. The Rockies peel away to my left as I continue on, replaced by railroad tracks. Five-mile-long trains full of coal chug south to feed the beast as empty ones return north. Belching smoke in the distance. Two open coal mines just to my east. A green line of overburden caps the line of fossil fuel awaiting the Tonka Toy of a young boy’s dreams, scooping, hauling, expelling yellow diesel dump trucks the size of a city block. Never stopping, never quitting, 24 hours a day, scooping, coughinh, hauling. Water trucks abound around me as my only companion on this desolate road. Tires splayed under the weight of the resource tucked away within the tank. Water. Gas fires released from valves from the wells which dot the countryside like cancer cells presented in a microscope slide. Everywhere. And I mean EVERYWHERE. Halliburton trucks scurrying from one frack pad to another. Evidence of two huge gas/oil pipelines which must have recently been buried next to the road. Mile upon mile. Extraction is what Wyoming’s up to. And lots of it. Those folks who push strollers around and busy at reproduction of the human race, what are we leaving those kids as a legacy? Why me, as an environmental advocate with no children care so much about this planet’s future and most people who deny our criminal involvement of its pillaging care so little. I have no one to leave anything to upon my deliverance to the unknown, but you folk with your children. What will your epitaph say to your beloveds who visit after your death? What advice will it hold? I know mine……”Learn to swim”.

Scott C. Mathews

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'We have chosen to move into the forest where the fire lives'

April 2, 2015 — 

For about the last four years as a Summit County resident and a member of the Frisco Town Council, I have been following the wildfire conversation. Not as a student but as someone who does occasionally attend Wildfire Council and Forest Health Task Force meetings. I do pay attention to what I hear and especially to briefings given to the town council by the U.S. Forest Service. I read with interest the column “More Forest Service Obfuscation” (by Howard Brown, March 27) and concluded we need to understand a few things before we make a judgment about why the Forest Service is clear-cutting 277 acres on Gold Hill.

First is a paraphrasing of a statement made by Dan Schroeder, a gentleman from the Colorado State University Forestry Extension Service who thinks and talks a lot about wildfire. I think he said it like this: “The fire lives in the forest and we have chosen to move into the forest where the fire lives.” Because we chose not to harvest the trees in Summit County in the 1980s, Mother Nature is harvesting them for us. She seems to do it in a two-step fashion: Beetles kill the trees and fire reduces them to carbon. Mother Nature has been prepping Summit County for over five years for a massive fire. Dead lodgepole pines have shed their needles and fallen over. Sun has reached the forest floor and grass and brush have thrived, providing kindling for the dead trees lying in a crossed fashion and creating the constituents for a perfect camp fire. I think I got that right.

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What's the emergency with Ruby Placer, Blue River? (letter)

April 1, 2015 — 

I would like to respond to the recent Blue River/Ruby Placer Annexation letter to the Summit Daily from Rich Holcroft.

The group of Blue River residents that have been challenging the Ruby Placer Annexation do not oppose the Ruby Place project. We ask that the project comply with current density/zoning guidelines and that the trustees act in good faith, recuse themselves when conflicts of interest exist and that they attempt to show a degree of interest in the community feedback received. If the trustees would respond to legitimate inquiries and engage in a productive discussion we can find a mutually acceptable middle ground.

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Littwin's POV on GOP divorced form reality and truth (letter)

April 1, 2015 — 

Please let me tell you where I sit before where I stand... This Littwin writer has no point and no relevance. His comparison of the GOP to the Conservative Ted Cruz, in the article, “Ted Cruz for president, because he seems just like a GOP primary voter” has no point. My belief is that the GOP is lost and also has no relevance to the Conservative Tea Party movement. I ask for Mr. Littwin to please clarify how far Mr. Cruz is right of the Constitution? Ol’ Mr. Littwin may not be able to answer this because his only perspective is that he believes he is dead-center on the Constitution. In other words, there is no meaning in the Constitution. In any event, I was board after his second paragraph and once again discounted him as some idiot with no truth or reality to his thinking. I will be the first to write ol’ Littwin in two years and re-confirm that, after the election, he is still an idiot!

Tom Stechschulte

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In defense of Gold Hill clear-cutting (letter)

March 31, 2015 — 

With deference to Mr. Brown, (More Forest Service Obfuscation 3/27/15) I will say that, as a resident of the Gold Hill area, I personally have felt tremendous relief for the safety of my family and my neighbors as a result of the clear cutting that has occurred over the past few years in Summit County, particularly on Gold Hill. In spite of what some may want you to believe, I know personally, from living on Gold Hill and being out on the Gold Hill Trail and the Colorado Trail countless times, that Gold Hill was an absolute tinder box that could have literally exploded like a bomb had a wildfire reached it. There was no counting all the dead trees. There were none left alive! Now, new trees can grow! Already the forest floor is alive with grasses and wildflowers. Just look at the Gold Hill trailhead that was clear cut in 2008. Already, there is a burgeoning stand of young aspen trees! What would be nice is if the Forest Service worked on the new stand, instead of just letting it repopulate in the same unhealthy way the last stand did. Thin out the stand while is still young and growing! Work on having a truly healthy stand on an ongoing basis. I would not contest Mr. Brown’s opinion on the possible missteps by the local forest service office. Obfuscation? Maybe. Transparency and honesty in government (is there such a thing?) throughout the federal and state government offices starts at the top.

Ron Shelton

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Shock for some members of Summit Historical Society (letter)

March 31, 2015 — 

Like a double shot of espresso, the article, “Cash-Strapped Summit Historical Society sells three historic properties in Breckenridge,” certainly was an eye-opener for us. Not only did we learn for the first time that the SHS president and board had sold its prime properties, Washington Mine, Lomax Placer Gulch, and the Briggle home for a minimal sum, but that they had included all the furnishings, equipment, artifacts, documents and photographs as well.

As long-time volunteer archivists and guardians of the society’s artifacts and archival materials, we were stunned. Like other society members, we knew nothing of the pending and secret transaction. And had we known, we certainly would have warned board members that selling/giving away the contents of each property is highly irregular. Within most historical institutions, staff and members respect the wishes of their donors and accept the responsibility for the materials entrusted to them.

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Postal system a shadow of its former self (letter)

March 28, 2015 — 

Like many Summit homeowners, we divide time between here and our original home, considering both “home.” Routinely, before moving to/from here for months, we request our mail be forwarded. Simple enough: just type in old/new addresses and forwarding dates online, and your mail is forwarded where/when you want.

If only. Instead, both post offices routinely forward too early, too late, or not at all. Both hold mail instead, then send to the other when we’re not there, or even “return to sender.”

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Blue River votes on Ruby Place skirt democratic process (letter)

March 28, 2015 — 

More back and forth about Blue River

I read Rich Holcroft’s article in the Summit Daily (March 25) about the Ruby Placer development, and now I understand why the town of Blue River has attempted to sidestep the democratic process clearly outlined in the Colorado municipal statutes, which allow the petition and referendum process on enacted ordinances. I must be one of those residents from another town (unincorporated Summit County 300 feet from the project), who is trying to start a referendum petition, and who claims there has been no public process. This is patently false. I have attended four of the five public hearings on the matter since last year, and am shameful to have missed the fourth meeting. The referendum process is not new. Blue River rejected three petitions for a referendum vote on the matter last year, which is anything but recent. The temporary and permanent injunctions granted by Judge Thompson against the town’s annexation of the property covered the rejection of the petitions, Public Case # 14CV030217. It is Blue River that has made a farce of the public process by declaring an emergency ordinance after three meetings last year, and again after two meetings this year. The developer’s attorney revealed at the meeting on March 17 that the town has employed emergency ordinances often, and gave several examples. Obviously, they have learned from Mr. Holcroft’s tenure as a board member and mayor pro tem from 2006 to April 2014 that such civil liberties detailed in the law should be ignored and suppressed.

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Taking the Summit out of Summit Historical Society (letter)

March 27, 2015 — 

As a former president of the Summit Historical Society, I am incensed over the giveaway of society properties and artifacts to the Town of Breckenridge. SHS was robbed — of its properties and countless artifacts and of its mission.

SHS stands for Summit Historical Society. Since Frisco has its own historical society and the Breckenridge properties are now under town control, SHS doesn’t represent the county any longer; its name and mission should be changed to reflect what it does cover — Dillon and Montezuma. Perhaps better handling of those properties would be achieved if SHS disbanded and either the Towns of Dillon and Montezuma took over their management or interested/concerned parties established a new historical society.

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Colorado bill funding contraception would save state money (letter)

March 27, 2015 — 

As a long time local resident and one who is committed to sensible state budget and finance, I fully support the passage of HB 1194 to fund access to long-acting reversible contraception in Colorado as a part of family planning. For the past six years Colorado has provided this type of funding. It has been shown that for every $1 spent by the state in birth control we have saved almost $6 in Medicaid funding. That can only be a benefit to every one of us.

Another huge benefit is keeping young women in high school and college, and the avoidance of unintended pregnancies does just that. This not only reduces Medicaid payments, but also welfare cases and additionally puts more self-sufficient educated women into the workforce which aids their families across the state.

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Vail Resorts ski instructors should make more money (letter)

March 24, 2015 — 

I am hearing from young, 10-year and 20-year instructors who are saying they no longer can afford to teach skiing and snowboarding because of the low pay. The low pay has a profound effect on the longevity of the professional instructors. Living in the Vail Valley today, for example, the costs have gone up considerably — rent, food, gas and anything else you buy. Many instructors are living downvalley, where the affordable housing is better, but the transportation costs are much higher. The last time instructors caught up on pay, many years ago, was when Adam Aron was the Vail Resorts CEO.

Instructors, like a lot of other employees at the resort, are very important people. Instructors are front-line people who deal directly with guests. At any given time there are probably 300 instructors on the mountain with at least 500 guests. A lot of direct contact with guests, and they also ride up the lift with other guests as well. This year guests are well aware of the low pay that instructors receive. As one guest said, “ I am paying huge dollars for a professional, not a servant’s wage.” It is impossible to be a No. 1 resort, a No. 1 snow-sport school, when the wages are so low.

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Big dogs, little dogs unleash the same stink (letter)

March 20, 2015 — 

To echo “Dog dos and don’ts”, the recent letter from Rick Galgas, my thoughts exactly, and I simply just don’t get why the owners of small dogs rarely ever, mostly never pick up after their little yappers? Some do, and I thank you, but you are a vast minority, from the sights and smells on the rec path. And not all little dogs are yappers, but all of them are poopers, after all. At mentally cringeing (and cursing a bit) when seeing their little but no less offensive dumps left behind, If I have an extra bag I will pick up theirs too, along with that of my 62 pound dog. Every time I always wonder why these particular dog owners think their little dog’s poop is just fine to leave? Do they think it’s too small to matter? It does. Do they think it doesn’t stink as much? It does. Are they really brain-dead about the effects of leaving dog poop behind? I really don’t get it. It would be good to see Professor Joanne Stolen’s great column on this problem printed again for the benefit of those who don’t pick up their dog’s poop, but it’s doubtful they would read it.

Nancy Morey

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Summit Historical Society sale kept a secret (letter)

March 20, 2015 — 

I was dismayed by the story in the SDN about the recent sale to the Town of Breckenridge of the three properties owned by the Summit Historical Society (SHS).

First, because of the secrecy connected to the sale. As a former Treasurer and Vice President until last August, I and most other members of the Society were not notified of any negotiations. I can only assume that those who might oppose the sale were deliberately kept from knowledge of the negotiations. According to the story, the sale was not presented to the board until last November and the confidentiality agreement they all signed kept them from speaking out at that time. Also, the notice to “valued members” was not communicated until it was too late to oppose the sale. Certain members were not sent the notice at all. This should not happen in a volunteer organization.

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Summit County dog owners aren't doing their part with poop (letter)

March 16, 2015 — 

Does it take Quandary the Goat to knock some common sense into Summit dog owners? As a Breckenridge Heritage Alliance Tour Guide and daily hiker who also is a dog owner, I am puzzled by the high percentage of residents who fail to pick up after their dogs. At the beginning of every tour, especially in popular French Gulch, I feel it necessary to advise guests to be careful where they step due to dog waste on trails. This is not a great introduction to hiking in Summit County. Probably less than half of the dog hikers I encounter “carry out” and most, no doubt, are locals. This problem is rampant on all of the popular hiking trails in the area particularly Boreas Pass, Sapphire Point, McCullough Gulch, etc..and yes, even in town. I simply just don’t get it.

Dog owners, please reconsider your decision not to pick up after your dog and doing your part to keep Summit County beautiful. If you don’t you should be ashamed of yourself and, dare I say, would consider you not the good and responsible dog owner you probably think you are.

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Summit Daily publicizes awful atrocities (letter)

March 14, 2015 — 

I was so saddened for the victims of Sky Wodraska to have their recent events so graphically publicized in the Summit Daily in a March 13 story. These kids are so so young and innocent and vulnerable. I’m sure some students in the community are well-aware of these victims’ names and the identity of the poor girls. Aren’t those juveniles involved suffering enough right now? Can’t they get the help they need now without your publicizing the awful attrocities of what they so very recently endured?

Elizabeth S. Anderson

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Mike Littwin is unbalanced indeed (letter)

March 14, 2015 — 

Re: Mike Littwin’s diatribe against “Bumbling Republican Senators,” published on March 12. As your tagline clearly states, Mr. Littwin, you are “unbalanced.” You start with an idealogical position, then fashion an argument to support it. I would offer this perspective. I’d call the Senators “clever.” They are stating that two can play the “bully card.” You seem to start with the premise that Iran is trustworthy. I believe the people of that country are; however, the clique that runs the place are thugs. Kind of like the thugs who run North Korea, Mike. We tried trusting them; how’d that work out? Four nuclear weapons, that’s how. The difference is, North Korea is isolated. Iran has been stirring up viscousness in its neighborhood for 30 years. This “go it alone” president is simply over his head. He’s the bumbler, Mike. Just look at how he has handled deteriorating race relations in this country. He has been anything but presidential. He had a historic chance, and he blew it. How sad.

David Gray

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Don't believe what you've heard about millennials (letter)

March 12, 2015 — 

I want to share a great day in Breckenridge my wife and I just enjoyed. We have lived here nearly 40 years and love the outdoors and recreation but sometimes forget what a great community we live in. We travel a lot and experience many places where doing the minimum is considered service; human interaction and caring is not required.

We walked around Main St. doing our window shopping and stopped in the French Bakery for a latte and a beignet. The young lady there was a joy with a smile and a kind word. As we headed home we stopped at City Market for a few items. Naturally we shopped for the club card specials. At the checkout we got chatting with the nice young gentleman working the register and I forgot to input my club card. He could have thought “what a dumb old man forgetting to input his card,” or perhaps “just a tourist without a card”. Instead it was, “do you have a club card sir? You saved $8 with your club card, thanks for shopping with us.” I felt he genuinely cared.

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Remember to responsibly dispose of pharmaceuticals (letter)

March 11, 2015 — 

Most Summit Daily News readers are likely aware of Summit County’s upcoming electronics recycling and pharmaceuticals drop-off event taking place on March 14. And you’ve probably heard about the important water quality benefits of keeping medications out of our landfill and wastewater systems.

What you may not know is how impactful these collection events can be in the prevention of prescription drug abuse – a problem that is particularly acute here in Colorado. In 2012-13, Colorado ranked 12th in the nation in self-reported nonmedical use of opioid painkillers, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. And painkiller overdoses are responsible for 300 Colorado deaths per year; nationally, more people die from prescription drug overdoses than from car accidents or overdoses of street drugs.

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Maryland Creek development goes against Silverthorne grain (letter)

March 10, 2015 — 

In response to the front page article in the March 5 edition of the paper, I would like to ask the Silverthorne Town Council how the Town of Silverthorne and its citizens will benefit from the increased density proposed by Tom Everist, because all I see are disadvantages. I don’t know what you all do for a living, so what do you personally have to gain from this increase? Please be honest here because as stated “rural residential allows a maximum density of 1 unit per 20 acres or 1 unit per 17.5 acres if subdivided through county rural land use subdivision regulations.” The Silverthorne Town Council declined to participate in a free transfer of density program supplied by the county commissioners and thus seem to have their own agenda. Who do you represent? This also goes against the town master plan of a “feathered transition” to rural lands. Let alone the identifications from the Colorado Parks and Wildlife and the Colorado Hunting Atlas who propose the project site as a “high moose and mule deer area.” Imagine the traffic problems increasing, especially during bad weather and peak times of which we constantly hear about on the radio daily.

I encourage all Town of Silverthorne citizens, Summit Daily News reporters and 9 News to come on Wednesday and express your wishes to hold the town council to their democratic duties for what will likely be a lively discussion.

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Hillary Clinton's secret email a threat to national security (letter)

March 10, 2015 — 

The issue that is not being discussed regarding Hillary Clinton’s use of a private system during her time as Secretary of State is the issue of the handling of sensitive classified information. There is no way that a Secretary of State could use a private system and be in compliance with established government regulations regarding the handling of classified information. Most of any Secretary’s communications regarding ongoing diplomatic negotiations and a host of other issues would be highly classified. Not only that but the computers in the classified system must be armored to prevent electronic leakage. We are replete with examples of careers of senior personnel in government who have been disgraced and have faced criminal charges for the mishandling of sensitive classified information. At issue here is the extreme lack of judgement that permitted a Secretary of State to ignore the rules for several years. However popular Clinton may be as the likely female candidate for President, her arrogance, secrecy and lack of judgement cannot be dismissed. Further, because the numbers of emails are unknown and Clinton aides have already conducted triage we may never know the full extent of what sensitive classified information may have been at risk. Clinton, like any other government official that totally ignores the rules should face the established criminal charges. What of a presidential race if she is a convicted felon?

Bob Phillipson

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Evil at center of debate over war with the Islamic State (letter)

March 4, 2015 — 

Re: “Time for a real conversation about war,” by Jason Stanford (Feb. 25).

I, like Jason Stanford, would like to have the next presidential candidates, as well as our current president and Congress, have a real conversation with the American electorate. However, instead of just talking about war, let’s expand it to a conversation about evil, a word the media rarely uses. The word, I understand, is controversial. For the sake of brevity, I would hope that anyone who is aware of the ISIS activity in the Middle East these days would have no problem classifying their activities as evil.

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Michael Reagan's worldview lacks empathy (letter)

March 3, 2015 — 

I am responding to the Michael Reagan column calling anyone who doesn’t think like he does as dumb and dumber. So what is wrong with looking for reasons for problems such as Islamic extremism instead of shooting first and asking questions later. I think it’s forward thinking to try and help people who are living such a terrible life that they would risk it to be a part of something, anything. I don’t believe our president wants to put away all our military actions to find jobs for people who obviously need them, but it’s another way of approaching a problem and we need more thinking outside the box. For instance, I believe the war on drugs we fight putting users in jail and running around the world trying to abolish drugs does not work and we should spend our money on helping people find ways to live a good life that doesn’t want or need drugs, such as good job training, and good rehabilitation for all not just the rich. Just calling people dumb makes you sound dumber Michael Reagan.

Rose Wentzell

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Munoz: No to Keystone XL and unwarranted slur (letter)

February 26, 2015 — 

Re. Lorenzo Del Toro’s letter to the editor, Feb. 19:

Despite Mr. Del Toro’s ability to calculate figures into the billions, in reality he has added 2 + 2 and gotten 5, a simple but not surprising error considering he was probably “seeing red” (maybe brown) and could not think straight.

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