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Letters to Editor
Friday, November 12, 2010

Appalled

Dear Editor:

Every week, I read the Letters to the Editor section in The SUN as it is a great source of amusement and also useful information. This week was different though.

This is in reference to the letter written by Holly Bergon, Tony Bergon, Miriam Horn, Charles Sabel and Francesca Sabel.

The Red Ryder Rodeo is a yearly event in Pagosa Springs, and I certainly will never attend one! I am a veteran in the U.S. Army, serving 16 years both inactive and active Army. I am appalled that on the Fourth of July — our Independence day — we have individuals who find it funny to dress up like Sambo with white gloves, and state, “You don’t recognize this dummy? He’s our President.”And then the clown kicking three Muslims to their death.

That sets a great example for the tourists who are visiting from different states, and, oh, by the way, different countries. I am glad I was not there to see that. I would have walked out. Who was the clown? Covered his face in white paint, I’ll bet. Reminds me of the days when they covered their faces with white sheets!

And who allowed that to continue?

I am appalled that someone would think that they represented the population of Pagosa with those racist antics. Oh, I’m sure we’ll hear the same old line, it was a joke. Well, the joke wasn’t funny. It lacked class! .

Sharon Book

Is this 2009

Dear Editor:

Re: Letter to the Editor “Dismay” June 9, 2009. If even half of what was written is true, I am saddened beyond words. Isn’t this 2009? Are there still that many people without an understanding of what is civil, proper, patriotic and respectful?

As an American combat veteran, Republican, and retired Christian minister (having German heritage), I find what took place as nothing less than shocking. Those responsible should be held accountable for their myopic actions. And if such thoughtlessness did occur The SUN should do an article exposing those who choose the Fourth of July to do harm to what America is all about; loving thy neighbor as thyself.

Rev. Stan F. Counsell (Ret.)

Manly Ryder

Dear Editor,

I turn first every Thursday to Red Ryder and Little Beaver to see how my favorite chiaroscuro cowboy is doing. Ever since I was a little kid in Denver following this strip I was confident there was nothing unusual about Ryder beyond his devotion to goodness. I admire goodness.

The strip run on July 9 gave me pause, however. As a pretty young woman gives Red a big fat kiss of gratitude for services rendered, he responds with obvious dismay while Little Beaver laughs cruelly. In the next panel the young woman turns her embrace to Little Beaver, who clearly wants to escape.

So, is this strip an early, cloaked version of Brokeback Mountain Is Ryder a much manlier Michael Jackson, but one who couldn’t moonwalk, even if his life depended on it.

Jim Milstein

Don’t lift

Dear Editor:

A change need not take place with regard to lifting impact fees. Let the decision that is in place remain.

This community continues to make policy and then change, change, change.

Thank you,

Pam Morrow

Tribute

Dear Editor:

Before the advent of the computer era the word icon had a very different meaning than it does today. Instead of the little caricatures and graphics we see on our computer screens, an icon was a symbol for something hugely important, often with sacred and religious connotations. In rare instances the word was used to describe an extraordinary individual. Bill Mashaw was such an individual.

Bill was involved in numerous area non-profits, each of which made our community a better place to live. There are few people in southwest Colorado that Bill didn’t touch somehow, whether directly or indirectly. In many instances they might not have even known it. He worked tirelessly on behalf of the under-privileged, the under-represented, and the children of our community. He reached out to help those who, for whatever reason, could not help themselves. If there was a need Bill called upon his tremendous networking and organizational skills to see the need was met. He did so without thought of personal benefit or acknowledgment. When Bill’s efforts were acknowledged, as they inevitably were, he deflected praise away from himself by saying that he was accepting the honor on behalf of one of the groups he represented.

Bill was one of the founding board members of the local Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) Program. While many others have carried the torch since, I believe it safe to say that without Bill’s involvement there might not be a local BBBS agency. Because Bill cared, many hundreds of lives have been enriched. On behalf of the board of directors of BBBS and all the little brothers and little sisters, study buddies, and volunteers whose lives are made better because of Bill’s involvement, I would like to invite everyone to a tribute honoring Bill Mashaw, organized by BBBS of Southwest Colorado and Bill’s many friends. The tribute will be held at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 23, 2009 at Folsom Field in Durango immediately following the annual BBBS picnic. Please save the date, bring a lawn chair and a favorite Bill Mashaw story, and plan to attend to honor the man who did so much for our community.

For information, call 247-3720

Keith Newbold

Photo ID

Dear Editor:

The livery barn pictured in “Looking Back” of the July 9 issue is not properly located. It was on the west side of the creek, west from the location that was formerly a Chevrolet agency.

There was a time when it was operated by Grant Seavy (not Sealy). There was a time when it was painted red. This building had a long life and the last occupant I remember was Mr. Speelman, long after there was a need for support of horse and wagon/buggy travel. He had a small apartment in the northwest corner of the building.

It is sad the picture was not dated. I know it was built long before my time. I do not recall any signs on the building. I worked at the Chevrolet agency. I now own the house in which I was born in 1921. I will soon be 88 in August.

Genevieve Phelps

Library

Dear Editor,

I would like to share my gratitude for Pagosa’s Public Library in this letter.

“Hip-Hip-Hurray for Library Day!” This is now a common expression in the Rose household when Wednesday morning rolls around and my two girls gather their books with anticipation as to what they will learn next in “Super Story Hour.” It’s not just the books that they look forward to each week. It’s the adventure in the book and the experience of learning that Stephanie Graveson, librarian extroidanire, so creatively presents from week to week through songs, book, crafts and snacks; a toddler’s dream!

This year’s Summer Reading Program featured creativity in the library. The first week, my three year old came home reciting snatches of jazz, “Zee-zop-a-roni!” after listening to jazz musicians and reading a book about a jazzy fly. The next week she danced to clogging music with professional dancer/folk performers and learned how to party “Appalachian-style” just like the characters in a book. The consecutive weeks she learned about drama, dance, and writing while picking out fun books featured on the shelves and keeping track with her reading log.

The Summer Reading Program culminated in a wonderful celebration in the Town Park featuring the magician, Ann Lincoln, a bouncy castle, cotton candy and other fun snacks. When my two year old saw Ann Lincoln make a bunny appear she was officially awed along with the rest of the crowd. Then after all the fun, they took home a bag of books and other goodies to help them stay creative as a reward for keeping up with their reading goals. I was touched to see how well our librarian knew our girls and their interests with books to match.

I am writing this as a grateful mom and former educator who is quite impressed with the caliber of education being offered through our Public Library. I’m grateful to come to a place where learning is fun, creativity is fostered, and reading is seen as a gateway to adventure. Thank you Stephanie, for being an outstanding librarian, and for all the work that you and Kristine MacNeil do to make Story Hour a special time for my little ones and me. Thanks to you, the library will continue to be a source of life and love of learning.

Sincerely,

Heather Rose

Roller skates

Dear Editor:

Here before us is the most far-out radical liberal president and Democrat party in any of our lifetimes with the opportunity to make some contrasts between liberals and conservatives. Actually, it’s simple — and it’s profound. Freedom versus tyranny. The Constitution versus Chicagoland thuggery. The rule of law versus whims of the powerful. Individual rights versus group grievances. Free markets versus central planning. Limited government versus unfettered state control. Low taxes versus wealth confiscation.

No wonder they want to keep the citizen quiet. If this contrast is ever articulated, there is absolutely no doubt which the American will choose.

The country is going to hell on roller skates under the current ObamaSpeak leadership. And then, we have Jay Davison, who might want to wake up and start paying attention before he gets his knickers in a knot.

I don’t care what your cause is. I don’t care what your mission is. I don’t care what the issue is. I don’t care what your beliefs are. It is every American citizen’s constitutional right to speak freely, without repercussion. If the First Amendment is not there to protect anyone’s offensive speech, then just what type of speech is it protecting?

It’s simply un-American and emphatically unconstitutional to impede, harass, threaten or persecute anyone who is guilty of nothing more than sharing his opinion. When free speech is restricted or punished, we can be certain that we’ve drifted from our roots. Isn’t it about time we returned to our Constitution and that genius document our founding fathers gave us?

We are at war with an entity never faced before. In time-critical situations, when thousands of human lives are at stake, make the “rat finks” talk, so we can preserve the lives of the pious. Why be afraid to go out on a limb? Isn’t that where the fruit is? Besides, if you handle a nettle tenderly, you will be the soonest stung.

It’s time fer Davison ta cut the flowering psychobabble, feebly attempt to “thwart my subversion,” and embrace this Aussie outlook on a butchering terrorist, and allegations of torture of suspected subversives.

This is City Councilor T.B. Bechtel’s statement from Newcastle, Australia: “If hooking up one rag head terrorist prisoner’s testicles to a car battery to get the truth out of the lying camelshagger will save just one Australian life, then I have only three things to say, ‘Red is positive, black is negative, and make sure his n___ are wet.’”

Jim Sawicki

Whole picture

Dear Editor:

I could not believe what I read in the front page of The SUN last week — that the BoCC had approved this “economic developement plan” — without really considering the whole picture.

I have lived in this county for almost 25 years, sold real estate, had several businesses and worked with many groups and volunteer clubs. I am presently serving on the County Tourism Board. Never in all the years have I seen this county in such gloomy circumstances! Businesses closing, many empty stores and offices, people losing jobs, moving away, pages and pages of foreclosures, etc. There are many causes for the situation, some local, some state, national and the world of economics that we all live in.

Everyone wants to see it improve, but giving tax breaks and other incenatives to new developement is certainly not the answer. Just imagine someone building a new shopping center! The local merchants are having a tough enough time now — they don’t need more competition! Think about a new condo or apartment building or a new tract of homes; how is that going affect the almost 600 homes now on the market, and all the condos and rentals now vacant? I’m not talking about buildings, I am talking about people’s lives, who live here, and pay taxes and are suffering because of the current glut. Now you are going to encourage more growth and more competition for them?

Just take a ride around Aspen Village. Most of these commercial offices and retail spaces have been available for more than two years. (more than half are still vacant). The townhouses and villas have been on the market for several years, and it looks like only two are occupied. Do we need more of this?

Hopefully you will rethink this plan before it is too late, and concentrate on methods to help the people who are already here, as residents, business folks, and property owners who have been paying taxes and contributing to the community for many years.

Pagosa is a wonderful place to live, has great people and a perfect location. Our main industry for many years has been tourism. We are all in this together and need to come up with some answers to aid the folks who are here and trying to make it work. Give them a hand!

Sincerely,

Joan Slavinski

Mistaken identity

Dear Editor:

Let’s set things straight in regard to the letter last week called “Dismay.”

I am known in town as “Wildfire.” I am the rodeo clown for the every-Thursday-night rodeo here in Pagosa. I am in no way involved with the Red Ryder Roundup Rodeo.

I also live here in Pagosa. I love Pagosa and the people here, also the way of life. I in no way ever say jokes to hurt races, ethnicities or religions. I’ve worked too hard to make my name positive here in the town of Pagosa. When you see me perform, the only thing that matters to me is seeing smiling people enjoying the weekly rodeo here in Pagosa. I try my hardest to make all the kids at the rodeo have a wonderful time and an experience that they will always remember.

You see, every Thursday morning I start my day by putting on my makeup and going to all the businesses in town and letting them know about the rodeo going on every Thursday night. The kids at the rodeo mean everything to me and the name I’ve made for myself means a lot, too, but that letter last week called “Dismay” has already given me bad press. Let’s set things straight — I was not the rodeo clown at the Red Ryder Roundup Rodeo.

Thank you and let’s keep rodeoing.

Richy “Wildfire” Tavenner

Little to lose

Dear Editor:

The article appearing last week entitled “County says yes to rebates and waivers” concerning development fee waivers and sales tax rebates adopted by the BoCC and Town Council, begs a response.

While at the same time implying that the drafters of the plan have thoughtlessly promoted this as “the solution” to all of our economic woes, the executive director of AEDA is then quoted as saying “This is not the economic development plan for 2009. This is a very small first step.” In meetings with both the BoCC and Town Council, that same point was made repeatedly. Are there other areas of our economy that need to be addressed? Of course. Do we need to widen our economic base to insure long term economic stability? Absolutely. A lot of work and planning remains to be done.

Those who have promoted this plan are accused of failing to “directly address the economic woes of existing businesses outside the building and real estate sectors, the glut of vacant commercial property listings and a real estate market saturated with single-family and vacant land inventory.” This statement is predicated upon the incorrect assumption that these issues have been overlooked, or simply ignored. When asked to take ten steps, one is not normally criticized for taking the first. I am amazed at the negativity, and just when we need it the most. It is apparently unclear to the writer “... how the plan will stimulate the real estate market by promoting new construction and adding more inventory to an already saturated market.” To carry this line of thought to its logical conclusion we must believe that placing a building moratorium on the town and county will put us on the road to prosperity.

The recent closures of Circle T Lumber and Ferguson’s Plumbing, not to mention the hundreds who have already left, have resulted in adding more inventory to “an already saturated market;” not only the commercial spaces they occupied, but also the homes in which the former employees resided. As for those “existing businesses outside the building and real estate sectors,” these former residents will no longer require the goods and services offered in our community. Do you think an increase in building may have helped them? Just a thought.

Building means jobs, from the real estate agent, to the lender, the title company, the architect, the lumber yard, the plumbing supplier, the hardware store, the building contractor and subs, the carpet and tile store, the paint store, the furniture store, and so on. It means money circulating in our community. When people have jobs, they require commercial spaces in which to perform those jobs, houses in which to live, restaurants in which to eat and shops in which to shop.

The saturated and stagnant market is due to people, businesses, and the money they generate and spend leaving our community for lack of work, or choosing another community with a friendlier business climate. To date, in 2009 Archuleta County has issued nine residential building permits; the Town has issued one. PAWSD has garnered a grand total of six water taps for the same period. And we are concerned about an increase in building activity.

The economic downturn in this community began two years before the national economy tanked, precisely at the time impact fees were adopted by the Town and the infamous Water Resource Fee was imposed by PAWSD. Which industries would you imagine might be affected the most? I wonder if there is a connection?

One definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result. It’s past time we tried something new and bold. I applaud the vision, courage and leadership of the BoCC and Town Council in adopting these measures and strongly encourage PAWSD to follow suit. At this point, they have little or nothing to lose.

Steve Van Horn