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Letters to Editor

Church/state

Dear Editor:

I’m wondering, which term do you like best: reactionary liberal or contortionist group think?

My choice is contortionist group think. So, what’s a great example of this term? Combining church and state, of course. Ever wonder why this is sheer lunacy that no sane, rational and logical person should advocate?

The story of Saul and the Amalekites is a case in point. It’s not a pretty story. In the book of 1 Samuel (15:3), God said to Saul, “Now go, attack the Amalekites, and totally destroy all that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys” (it’s worse in Deuteronomy 29:16-18).

The parable of Saul is but one of many biblical teachings involving murder, genocide and sexual deviancy taught by the bible. And for the faithful that believe the world began 6,000 years ago, marriage preceded Christianity. So why pursue an illogic self-destructive position: “... the driving forces behind biases — the root causes of our irrationality — are largely unconscious, which means they remain invisible to self-analysis and impermeable to intelligence.” — Kahneman.

And then there is the ultimate reason for or against combining church and state: “We’ll never understand God’s will.” So why have any form of representative government since God’s already decided the outcome? Why bother? The only reason is to be an actor in God’s will, presuming you choose the right god. Otherwise, you’re a vigilante.

Let’s look at our founding documents, so often misquoted by religious ideologues. The First Amendment bars all laws, “respecting an establishment of religion” and protects “the free exercise thereof.” And the Declaration of Independence, also fails, as its reference is to “the Creator” which is deistic (anyone’s god) not Christian specific.

Need another reason that separation of church and state makes so much common sense? Let’s look at economics. The virtue of the free market is supposed to be efficiency. The most basic dictum of economics is that demand relates to supply. So, what does this have to do with mixology of church/state? The same folks who want to combine government and “their” church also want the government out of everything. Now there’s a real disconnect. Let’s see, is it get government out of the market or is the question, who makes the market — god, government or the entrepreneur? What is the purpose of risk/reward? Share holders have always come in second to executive personal reward. And what is the meaning of freedom?

So, the essential question becomes if neither logic, pursuit of freedom, or our founding American documents matter, plus you “really believe” god determines all, why participate in a democracy? Wouldn’t you be better off in a theocracy?

Regardless of the term you choose, remember what Churchill said: “The Americans will always do the right thing — after they’ve tried everything else.” Definitely no way to run a railroad.

Dave Blake

Animal safety

Dear Editor:

Don’t forget your pets and horses during an evacuation.

With the threat of wildfires all around us, please don’t forget about the pets.

Have your plan of action in place. Have your pet carriers ready to go, pets’ vaccinations taped to the crates. Directions to go to a safe kennel or location attached also. If the pets get rescued from your home and you are not present, they will go to an evacuation location, so please list your wishes on the carriers.

Have your stock trailer ready to hitch up and throw some hay in the trailer with instructions taped onto the trailer also.

Leave a note on the front door if you have pets inside to be rescued, so the authorities will know.

If nothing happens, you have nothing to lose, if the terrible misfortune of a fire near your home happens, you could lose your fuzzy loved ones.

Patti Buck

Ignacio

Positive

Dear Editor:

I’m positive on Pagosa!

Everywhere I go these days, I meet new people or renew old acquaintances and hear that they love the pieces that I write. They may not always agree with me, but say that they find them thoughtful and educational. Many say “thank you for all you are doing.” And, of course, a few see it as “negative” that I might not share their views on a pet issue.

It makes me feel good that they at least know I love this community and want us to come together to work on a bright future. That reflects the spirit in which they are written.

I want a future where there are meaningful jobs for young parents and other local workers, as well as affordable childcare and good education. I want affordable groceries downtown. I want to see the vacancies downtown filled with lots of small, vibrant businesses. I want to see tourists and locals walking the streets to shop, visiting local restaurants and enjoying the Riverwalk. I want to see integrity and transparency in our political processes and see the community included in decisions that affect us all. I want to see us harnessing our wealth of geothermal resources and building a reputation as a sustainable community recognized worldwide — a place that attracts alternative energy and sustainability conferences. I want us to create a real community that we all can embrace by focusing on what unites us, not what divides us.

We should hold our heads high and know that this future is attainable. We deserve the best. We are not Telluride, Montrose or Durango. We are unique and the collective vision for our future should reflect that.

As a new Pagosa Springs Community Development Corporation Board member, rest assured that I will do my best and work hard to attain that future. I believe my fellow board members also have the right expertise and skills and embrace a bright future, too. Together we will work very hard for you to make that happen. I’m very excited to be a part of that organization.

Being positive about the future of our community does not, however, mean turning a blind eye to the things that may hold us back. So join me in speaking out on those things.

But also join me in focusing on the positive, thinking big and helping to create the future we deserve!

Muriel Eason

Wetlands

Dear Editor:

Re. Wetlands and Pinon Lake:

I am writing with concern about area-wide impacts of the intended Wal-Mart plan to reconfigure the wetlands on the site where they propose to build a 93,000-square-foot big box store in Pagosa Springs across U.S. 160 from Pinon Lake.

Such a build-out proposes to decrease dedicated wetlands by 1.25 acres. This is a travesty!

The mitigation of 1.25 acres of wetlands could have deleterious cumulative impact on groundwater, overall water quality and our Pagosa Springs environment in general, especially the Pagosa Lakes area, to say nothing of the esthetic detraction of a 24/7 operation, which disregards the community’s appreciation and protection of the dark night sky.

Does the town plan an Environmental Impact Study and Report to be made and circulated to the community? So far, we have heard of no such plan. Why not?

According to Gary Williams, Pagosa Springs property owner and environmental specialist, NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act) practitioner for 35 years and instructor at Duke University’s Nicholas School of Environmental Leadership Program, Pinon Lake is owned by PAWSD, because Fairfield signed a Quit Claim Deed in 2005 conveying its ownership rights to PAWSD. Pinon Lake is designated for water storage and recreation. Water from the wetlands, contiguous to where Wal-Mart wants to build their big box store, travels under U.S. 160 into Pinon Lake. Pinon Lake needs to be protected. PAWSD has a duty to protect Pinon Lake.

The sustainability of the Pagosa Lakes area, which mostly consists of county land, depends on maintaining the healthy integration of its system of lakes. In other words, all the lakes in this area are interdependent with each other. For example, if Pinon Lake is polluted by runoff from fertilizer stored outside in Wal-Mart’s parking lot area, then it could have impact on water everywhere in the Pagosa Lakes area. Recently, as I drove across Pinon Causeway, I observed increased algae growth in Pinon Lake, probably due to drought conditions, prolonged heat without rain, and the fire. This is having an impact not only on the environment, but the health of humans and wildlife. We do not need added pollutants and we certainly do not need our wetlands to be decreased in any way.

Susan Junta

Free speech

Dear Editor:

“I expect you not to use any language that can be construed as abusive, belittling, humiliating, or insulting to any students in the future, intentionally or unintentionally.” Translation: shut up.

No, the quote is not satire. It’s an official disciplinary warning from a dean at NY’s Westchester Community Collage to Carol Leitner. Her crime Leitner, a speech professor at the school since 1981, according to The Journal News, had admonished a poor-performing student: “If you speak like that, you are never going to get a job.” Unfortunately, her department chair deemed her opinion “offensive.” Zap! Terminated.

Shutting people up is the whole point of political correctness — since any lib, any time, under any pretext, can “construe” anything as “insulting.” And they do, early and often. In fact, lib-designated “hate speech” is whatever a lefty claims makes him or her “uncomfortable.” Which routinely occurs when a liberal is losing an argument to a conservative.

“Higher” education is a hotbed of this kind of thing, where deviation from liberal dogma will summon an academic mob of totalitarian minds. In Liberalville, there is no such thing as free inquiry, consensus is enforced, heretics shunned.

At Emory University last month, some 500 professors, students and alumni signed a letter of protest after world-renowned Johns Hopkins pediatric neurosurgeon Ben Carson was invited to give the commencement address. Why? His skepticism of evolution, based on his Christian beliefs. On May 14, Dr. Carson gave his wonderfully inspiring keynote address anyway, rightly observing that political correctness, “threatens the prosperity and the vitality of our nation.” And he said this: “Many people came to this nation when they were trying to escape from societies that tried to tell them what they could say and what they could think, and here we come introducing it thru the back door … There was a time in the history of the world when there was great intolerance for anybody who thought differently than the mainstream. It was called the Dark Ages.” Dr. Carson can give his speech at my grandkid’s commencement anytime; I applaud his guts in exercising his First Amendment Constitutional right.

Many folks fear we are headed in this direction. Americans are afraid, right now, to be overheard saying certain things, afraid it will be reported, or afraid they’ll be condemned. You run into the speech police wherever you turn. They’re in the media, in the grocery store, at the bar, they’re everywhere. They want to punish people for the words they say. Indeed, the left has started to compile enemies lists based on political contributions or associations. The intimidation is becoming increasingly menacing, even threatening businesses and families. Pushback is essential. Just make sure you don’t push with anything factual, or Jay Davison will attempt to belittle your opinion and attach his liberal “fear mongering” tag. But I doubt that a conservative will give any merit to his nonsense.

BTW … the very best way to protect freedom of speech is to exercise it. After all, it is the Fourth of July. So make yer voice “loud and clear”and Happy Birthday America!

Jim Sawicki

Relay

Dear Editor:

As chair of this year’s American Cancer Society Relay For Life committee, I would like to thank residents of Pagosa Springs for their incredible generosity and support. A total of 21 teams participated in this year’s event and raised more than $50,000 to help the Society’s fight for every birthday threatened by every cancer, here and throughout the world.

This outstanding show of support proves that the people of Pagosa Springs and Archuleta County stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the American Cancer Society to achieve its mission of saving lives by helping people stay well, by helping people get well, by finding cures, and fighting back.

We were honored to be joined by 47 survivors who walked the opening Survivors Lap, officially kicking off this year’s event. These survivors are the reason we continue the fight. Their participation inspires hope in those currently battling cancer.

A special thanks to the many Relay For Life volunteers who worked to make this event a success — celebrating the lives of those who have battled cancer, remembering loved ones lost, and pledging to fight back against the disease. The Relay For Life committee did an outstanding job of putting the event together. Committee members are Karen Norris, Carol Otis, RD Whittington, Michelle Huck, Jim Haliday, Rod Proffitt, Stan Zuege, Cory Dysinger, Jeff Dysinger, Sam Conti, Debbie Waddell, Luke Hansen and Inez Winter.

We also appreciate the generosity of 28 local businesses who served as this year’s corporate sponsors. Relay For Life would not be possible without them.

Our Cancer Support Group continues to meet the last Monday each month, and the ABATE Poker Run will take place on July 14.

You can get involved with Relay For Life or donate at any time. Check out ArchuletaRelay.org or contact Susan Williams at susan.williams@cancer.org or 247-1667 for more information.

Susan Williams

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