Carbondale's community connector

Letters, 8/1/13

Locations: Letters Published

Mountain Fair thanks

Dear Editor:

Another great Mountain Fair has come and gone but the memories of all the wonderful folks who came together to make it happen will remain with us for a long time.

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We feel so lucky at CCAH to live in a community where people care about each other and have no problem volunteering countless hours to good causes. There are no words to express the gratitude we feel. Once again so many folks rallied that it would be hard to name them all. We do hope all of you put your name in the New Belgium bike raffle. We won’t pull a name until our volunteer party in September so do stop by CCAH if you have not done so.

We want to give some special shout-outs to the friends who were there every step of the way, giving countless hours of time and energy to bringing us a fabulous fair: First and foremost, Mark Taylor and his crew, Kevin Lundy, Mike Shunk, Alejo Dominguez, Aubrey Hood, Attaboy, Pete Rich, Quinn and his wonderful woman, Jason Cooper, Garrett DelCastillo, Colin Tugwell, Eric Chacos and Jeff Britt.

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Our electricians, especially Bill Laemmel of Carbondale Light and Power, and Lance Dement.

Our wonderful backstage volunteers like Kristen Levy and Katrina Byars. Our front line teams like Jen Roeser, Leslie Johnson, Kat Rich and Lis Ensminger. Cantina crew led by Hans Lindbloom and our amazing Green Team supervised by Jason White and Mark Weinhold.

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Of course there are lots of folks who worked really hard like our photographers and Oasis Team (thanks Katie and Andrea) and raffle and T-shirts and KDNK and the volunteer coordinators and locals art gallery and … the list goes on and on. We just wish we could put our arms around you all and hug you.

The town of Carbondale is a wonderful partner in all of this so give Gene Schilling, our town trustees, and the parks and recreation staff lots of love when you see them. They really step up when it counts!

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Also, huge love to Joe Scofield for his wisdom and financial expertise, and The Sopris Sun for the programs.

We hope to see ya’ll at our thank-you party in the fall. Stay tuned at and our CCAH Facebook page for pictures, videos and thank-you party dates! Remember, “Humankind did not weave the web of life, we are but one thread within it”

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Much Love,

The CCAH staff

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Amy Kimberly

Deb Colley

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Laura Stover, Pam Taylor

Marianne Ackerman

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A fair adventure

Dear Editor:

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Early Monday afternoon, an acquaintance of mine (let’s call him “Ichabod”) told me an astounding story that I will briefly recount in this letter.

Ichabod had received a call from a gentleman who introduced himself as Nicola Tesla Jr.  In a thick accent, Mr. Tesla said he needed to hire a driver to transport a device from Denver to Sopris Park, install and activate the device by July 26 (this past Friday), and then deactivate the same device late Sunday night. He offered Ichabod a handsome sum of money for his services and an agreement was quickly reached.

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Naturally, I asked Ichobod what kind of device he was to install, thinking that it was some sort of equipment needed for successfully staging Carbondale’s Mountain Fair. Reluctantly, and with an audible groan, Ichabod told me the following unbelievable tale.

It seems that a group of concerned Carbondale citizens who were acutely sensitive to loud noises (i.e. music, laughter, singing, gaiety, etc.) had pooled a large sum of money and purchased one of Mr. Tesla’s recent inventions. The invention was called “The Cone of Silence.” Ichabod was supposed to install this device and let it run uninterrupted through Mountain Fair weekend. The instructions that accompanied the device said that it would prevent any sounds whatsoever from leaving the confines of Sopris Park, thereby preserving the sanity of the residents that lived nearby.

Unfortunately, Ichabod lacked the knowledge and skills necessary to plug in an electric fan, let alone activate the mysterious “Cone of Silence.” It’s no wonder that things went terribly wrong. Although the details were unclear, perhaps due to Ichabod’s consumption of micro brewery products, it became clear to me that he had inadvertently reversed the polarity on the device, which produced the opposite of the intended effect: The neighbors could hear every note of music, every laugh, giggle and chortle, and every song that was sung all weekend, but the fair-goers were oblivious to the loud complaints of the park’s neighbors.  

As Ichabod finished his story, my skin sprouted goose bumps, doubtless in reaction to the possibility of impending litigation. I wondered: Would this be the end of Mountain Fair? Would Mr. Tesla give up his scientific pursuits in favor of some mundane profession? Would the park’s neighbors get a refund? Would festivals, fairs and celebrations be forever banned from our community by over-cautious officials, thereby instituting an even more brutal “Cone of Silence?” Only time, and votes, will tell.

Tom Mercer


Lovin’ the burlesque

Dear Editor:

This letter is in response to Gina Shaw’s complaints against the 2013 Burlesque Show at the PAC 3 in Carbondale.

I have attended the show every year and this year I attended both nights. The second night I ran the box office and Shaw’s disapproval of the show was the one and only negative comment I received. Everybody else had glowing reports both nights.

It is unfortunate that Shaw did not stay for the show. She missed so many fun, quirky, wildly creative acts. Personally, I think the show is a fabulous example of the talent, confidence and unbridled passion of Roaring Fork Valley women. To perform the skits they do on stage in front of a packed audience requires a unique ability to be both uninhibited and poised. They may toy with the boundaries of decorum, but what audience wants to attend a burlesque show that fails to be daring and provocative?

Burlesque forever!

Jessi Rochel


Oven turning two

Dear Editor:

The Carbondale Community Oven is almost two years old. That’s a lot of pizzas, bread and pastries! Carbondale’s wood-fired masonry oven, open to everyone and located behind the Third Street Center, has inspired communities all over to build their own community baking places.

This year for the first time, we will be baking with local Carbondale wheat. We would like to extend our thanks to the following individuals and organizations for contributing to the wheat program and assisting in the purchase of a commercial-grade grinder for making flour: BKS Charitable Foundation, The Crossland Foundation, Donie Hubbard, Tom Baker, Frosty and Carly Merriott and Russ and Linda Criswell.

And a hearty thank you to John Nieslanik for pioneering this exciting project!

Members of the Carbondale Community Oven

Remembering Randy Udall

Dear Editor:

Congratulations to all in Carbondale for the designation as a “Solar Town.”  I want to share a step that led to public and private solar installations here.

In 2004 I began to work at CORE, the non-profit Randy Udall founded. Joani Matranga and Randy had worked together to develop the Green Building Code with Pitkin County and to found the Renewable Energy Mitigation Fund program that received funding from the people building houses in Pitkin County who did not wish to comply with the building codes energy-efficient guidelines. They now pay fees if they don’t meet the code, which includes required solar installation on homes over 6,000 square feet. The fund is used to provide rebates to permanent residents in the Roaring Fork Valley (not just Pitkin county) for installing photovolatics and/or solar hot water systems on their homes as well as rebates for energy efficient appliances.

Part of my job at CORE was to track the solar installations and manage the rebate program. A lot of solar installations happened because of this Green Building Code, the first in Colorado that Randy and Joani nursed into being.

The one thing Randy asked me to do that winter was to write a grant to Xcel energy to ask for $25,000 to put PV on Carbondale’s town hall. When he asked me to do this, I was dubious we could get the money because only non-profits could apply (not government entities) and CORE is a non-profit, but we wanted to install the PV on a town building as an example to the community. I wrote the grant and included an educational piece to make scholarships available to people who wanted to learn PV solar installation techniques via a Solar Energy International class.

We got the grant and the SEI class climbed on the Carbondale Town Hall roof, and did the first solar installation on a town hall in the state.

As far as we could discover, Carbondale holds the distinction as the first municipality to generate renewable energy on a town building. Thanks in part to Randy’s vision, we are a Solar Town. The many solar installations that grace the Recreation Center, picnic pavilion and Third Street Center all follow that renewable energy vision that Randy, with many others, helped to create.

I am grateful for the period I worked at CORE because I learned a lot about how a few committed people can transform a community. Randy was a great boss because he never bossed me, but he led me in a fruitful direction.

Illène Pevec


Divide thanks

(Editor’s note: This letter was originally sent to Sen. Mike Bennett).

Dear Editor:

I wanted to thank you for introducing the Thompson Divide Protection and Withdrawal Act. As you well know there are amazing places that are worth far more than the dollar value of the minerals underneath. Thank you for having the courage to take the first step in protecting this land.

Heather Pratt


Bait and switch

Dear Editor:

I understand everybody wants the new health care. Unfortunately, not everybody can afford Obama Care. Employers are going to put everybody to half time until they are making enough money to afford the health care for employees. The is going to make more people out of work, or unable to afford their health care.

Obama has tapped out the Social Security and Medicare as far as making us pay for more.

So how is he financing Obama Care? This is “bait and switch.” He baited you into voting for him with the promise of health care and now he doesn’t see any way of paying for it.

Jane Spaulding


Elizabeth Warren rocks

Dear Editor:

“Who do you love?” asked the great blues man Bo Diddley — a man that wore “a cobra snake for a neck tie.” Let’s not go that far, but who do you like for Democratic candidate for president in 2016? I think it just might be time for a woman president but I don’t mean Hilary. The new senator from Massachusetts, in Ted Kennedy’s old seat, is former Harvard Professor Elizabeth Warren. She rocks!

Warren was the driving force behind the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.  Currently she is on a rampage to stop senate Republicans from jacking up interest rates on college students.

It seems to have escaped the attention of most Americans, but the right-wing billionaires (America’s ruling elite) are waging all-out war on the American people. Right-wing politicians are both in hock and in fear of the “Billies.” So, senate Republicans phoned in a filibuster on the college interest rate and tried to push it from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent.  A so-called compromise could wind up with some rates ballooning to over 10 percent.  Warren is fighting them tooth and nail.

Part of the “War on America” includes the destruction of both universal and university education. In the “Billies” dream of a “feudal” (and you could add: fascist) America, ordinary Americans are reduced to “serfs.” The lot of the average citizen becomes so miserable they are incapable of resistance. All wealth flows to the top. This is, of course, ongoing; the number of serfs is growing by the day. That’s the ulterior motive behind the off-shoring of industry, the attacks on unions, the reductions on taxes on the wealthy and their corporations, the rising costs of education, the attacks on teachers, the destruction of pensions, etc.  

Senator Warren gets this in a big way. She, unlike most, can raise campaign money from ordinary Americans. She’ll work for us. Hilary, unfortunately, like Bill (and like Obama), is a tool of the elite. It’s made them very wealthy, and it’s made the “Billies” even wealthier. It’s time for a “real” change you can “count on.”

Patrick Hunter


Take a hike

Dear Editor:

I’d like to invite and encourage members of the community to partake in the Summer Hike Series offered by the Wilderness Workshop. It’s been an absolute pleasure to act as one of the hike leaders for this program as we have had the opportunity to get into some of the most beautiful places in our backyard and explore.

This is a great time not only hike with friends, new and old, but a wonderful chance to learn about some of the political activity in these very special areas. We have chosen hike locations immersed in either the Thompson Divide or places that are being considered for potential Wilderness designation. This is a fantastic program and is absolutely free! Spots are limited so register online at

Happy trails!

Annie Henderson

Glenwood Springs

Get engaged on Highway 82

Dear Editor:

Recently, a local newspaper published my letter to the editor urging the citizens of Glenwood Springs, if they want a Highway 82 bypass, to get up off the couch, circulate a petition to schedule a vote on the issue, and then stir up the voters to get out and vote.

Similarly, in this letter I am addressing the citizens of all the communities surrounding Glenwood Springs to get engaged with the question of whether or not to build a Highway 82 bypass around Glenwood Springs.

Not long ago I measured the length of Highway 82 through Snowmass Canyon. It is about five miles in length. If the Colorado Department of Transportation has been able to afford this sort of solution in a relatively uninhabited portion of Pitkin County, then surely it can afford the same sort of solution to bypass the city of Glenwood Springs. An elevated highway along the lower slopes of Lookout Mountain from Buffalo Valley to I-70, or a tunnel from just south of Walmart to I-70, are both entirely feasible.

It is time to call a halt to all planning for the building of an unnecessary new Highway 82 bridge over the Colorado River as has been proposed by the Colorado Department of Transportation. The money may have been allocated and authorized, but that does not mean that it should be spent on this foolhardy scheme. Citizens trying to get home to Rifle and Gypsum or home to Carbondale, Basalt and Aspen should not have to drive through the heart of downtown Glenwood Springs.

James Breasted


Pour House thanks

Dear Editor:

I would like to take a moment and express my appreciation to the staff at The Pour House for the ridiculously great job they did during Mountain Fair.

The crowds were great and mostly peaceful, but really demanding. We served amazing amounts of food and liquid refreshments to a very appreciative and happy throng of fair-goers.

Thanks to everyone who helped make this year’s fair a roaring success. Again, thanks to my great staff and the fine folks of Carbondale and beyond.

Skip Bell, manager

The Pour House restaurant


Remembering Drew

(Editor’s note: This letter was submitted in July).

Dear Editor:

Everyone at Aspen Valley Ski & Snowboard Club is so sorry to hear about the passing of Drew Sakson. He was a tremendous volunteer for AVSC and affected everyone with his enthusiasm, his welcoming nature and his love and support of his kids. You were never bored when Drew was in the room; he wouldn’t let you stand alone.

The AVSC community involves lots of training, support, traveling and volunteering. These aren’t always easy, but with Drew around you knew it would be fun. In recent years, the pride that he had in his daughter Andra’s achievements made it all worthwhile. Drew was a great member of our community and will be missed.

On behalf of Mark Cole and The Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club,

Beth Hansen

Administrative manager