Readers debate the future for wolves and ranchers in Colorado

The future for wolves in Colorado

Re: “A chance to manage the Colo. gray wolf,” Feb. 6 editorial

Congratulations on your well-written Sunday article on gray wolf attacks near Walden. For full disclosure, I am not a rancher or a hunter, but since the 1970s, I camped all thru the Southwest in some of the most isolated areas the Forest Service has campsites (check Pine Creek, Nevada).

Protection against wildlife has always been part of my planning. When Proposition 114 came out in 2020 I voted against it. I felt it was a bad idea that would be poorly executed. Your report proved my point.

When it passed, I recognized what Alexis de Tocqueville wrote in 1831. Even in the 21st century, the tyranny of the majority is alive and well. People who would never see a gray wolf, who could not recognize one if they saw one and that would never live with the consequences of wolf activities, forced their introduction on those who would. The loss of cattle must be devastating to a rancher that makes their livelihood by raising them, even if reimbursed by the government. The government is quite indifferent about pets. I wonder how those who voted for Proposition 114 feel if a wolf consumed their pet. It is easy to claim that attack on children is rare until it is your child. The arrogance and lack of compassion of that statement are abhorrent. There is only one way out of this unnecessary mess: Allow ranchers to defend their cattle, pets, and families by any means.

José M. López, Centennial

“It’s like we’re their grocery store,” Kim Gittleson, rancher

Most ranchers graze their cattle on public land under grazing leases administered by the Bureau of Land Management or the U.S. Forest Service. If ranchers are concerned about wolf predation on public land, they have a choice — either accept the risk of some predator losses or graze their cattle elsewhere. Currently in Colorado, there is a fund of $1.2 million to reimburse ranchers for documented cattle losses due to wolf predation, so there is no financial hit to ranchers if wolves do kill one of their cows.

People have little to fear from wolves. There have been only two documented human fatalities due to wild wolves in North America, one in 2005 in Ontario and one in Alaska in 2010. In contrast, there have been 126 human fatalities from mountain lions. Let’s dispense with the wolf hysteria. Wolves have a right to live too; let them be.

John A. Cleveland, Littleton

It’s happening again! Wolves are being maligned for trying to exist in their native habitat. The editorial should read “A chance to kill the Colorado gray wolf.” Who has heard of a rancher “accidentally injuring or killing a wolf?” Is that what happened in 1945? The wolf was “accidentally” committed to extinction.

This editorial is backward, stating, “If wildlife managers are truly concerned that ranchers will injure or kill too many wolves then, they should be out on this land managing the packs themselves.”

What did the ranchers of Walden do to prepare for coexistence? Did they install noise-makers, hire perimeter range riders, purchase a mechanical monster, invest in Vence collars, keep the herd compact and rotated, employ a guard dog, etc.? They complain now and expect to get reimbursed without taking any precautions. Protecting their herd is a business expense they should have incurred from the beginning.

Some ranchers want to eliminate wolves for self-serving interests rather than take responsibility for deterrence methods. It is time to learn to coexist and not equate “manage” with “kill.”

Katherine Webster, Littleton

Fracking using PFAS is unacceptable and dangerous

Re: “Hazardous “forever chemicals” used in state for fracking,” Feb. 7 news story

A recent article reporting that oil and gas companies have been utilizing “forever chemicals” in Colorado wells presents alarming details on how such toxic PFAS severely contaminate soils, groundwaters, and the environment. Released last week by the Physicians for Social Responsibility, the report outlined in addition the disturbing fact that, between 2011 and 2021, the industry withheld fracking chemical identities by claiming them as a “trade secret” in more than 12,000 wells across 31 Colorado counties.

How frightening those statistics are in themselves pales in comparison to another horrifying fact mentioned in the report, but not in the article, namely that just one cup of these potent and toxic PFAS could contaminate almost eight billion gallons of water — six times the 1.3 billion gallons of water used each day in New York City.

The report suggests actions that can be taken to ameliorate this existential situation. First of all, the EPA and Colorado should prohibit PFAS from being used, manufactured, or imported for oils and gas extraction. Secondly, the state should, like California, ban the use of trade secret claims for fracking chemicals. Thirdly, the state and the EPA should test nearby well areas for water, soil, flora, and fauna contamination. Fourthly, the COGCC should establish stringent rules for the oil industry to fund the cleanup of wells, rather than the state’s taxpayers. And finally, drilling and fracking should be limited or banned from henceforward.

Those five steps provide ample opportunity for individuals to take actions themselves to assist in alleviating this potentially fatal crisis.

Tom Stumpf, Longmont

The decline of DougCo schools has been tragic

Re: “Don’t attack the teachers when they speak out,” Feb. 6 commentary

I concur with Ian Silverri’s potent editorial. My grandchildren have attended Douglas County School District since kindergarten and are now in middle and high schools there. It is difficult to witness what has been happening to amazing educators, not only in Douglas County but across the nation. Over the last few years, I have observed constant turmoil and outrageous bureaucratic tactics that have adversely impacted teachers teaching and kids learning. This not only affects teachers but administrators, paras, bus drivers, office staff, nurses, custodial staff, cafeteria employees and techs. If anyone wonders why we can’t find quality educators to fill positions, just take a close look at what’s happening in your own backyards.

Lori Maddox, Centennial

Re: “Questioning decisions inside Douglas County education,” Feb. 8 letter to the editor

Apparently the Douglas County school board members who met with their former superintendent without notifying the rest of the board members did not “come to the table ready to discuss” their disagreements, as the letter writer suggests the teachers should have done.

In her letter regarding the Feb. 6 column by Ian Silverii, her description of immature kicking and screaming to “get what they want” reminds me of a flag-waving demonstration in downtown Castle Rock at the height of the pandemic in 2020 by an unmasked group of protesters (including children) shouting “Open the schools!” It appears that parents, who are also in charge of forming young minds, can also throw temper tantrums, in the letter writer’s words.

Teachers have put their own health and their families’ welfare at risk throughout the last two years to continue their already challenging work educating young people. The scathing tone in this letter is unjust.

Lois Kellenbenz, Erie

I’d suggest the “insane communist world,” the author feels aggrieved about and the solutions she espouses are more in line with the insane communist world in China and Russia. Want to protest the shutdown of a free press in Hong Kong? Not going to happen. Can Alexei Navalny expose corruption and secrecy in the former Soviet Union? Nah, he gets poisoned and thrown in prison.

Throwing tantrums like 3-year olds, gee, reminds me of adolescent insults I remember in grade school. And I’m thinking that so many people have recently left the workforce because of the draconian actions adopted by overbearing supervisors. Teaching is difficult enough without giving them more reason to leave the profession.

Perhaps a class in civics might help the letter writer understand our rights and obligations as citizens. Our Constitution allows for the peaceful right of assembly. I applaud the educators and students in Douglas County for exercising their rights to protest the speed and alleged secrecy used to fire a trusted colleague. The put-up-or-shut-up views the letter writer embraces worry me and should give everyone pause.

Robert Nyboer, Longmont

Litter is a real problem

Re: “The nanny state comes for ketchup and sporks,” Feb. 6 commentary

I don’t know about Krista Kafer, but I live on a street fairly close to many fast-food restaurants. Each week, I pick up the litter around my property thrown from cars, including food, cups, bags, lids, straws, plastic ware, and ketchup packets. Kafer is concerned about fast food establishments asking a simple question. Or, gasp, the patron having to ask for what they need.

Instead of bemoaning something that could help our environment and reduce litter, Kafer might consider this a great opportunity. We’re so fortunate in this country that we think nothing of throwing unwanted food, napkins, utensils and condiment packets out of the car window. Maybe it’s time we all give it some thought and teach our children as well.

Kirstie Nixon, Lakewood

Not “middle of nowhere”

Re: “Norvell’s top recruit Super Bowl bound,” Feb. 3 sports story

Kyle Fredrickson’s story refers to Coach Ja y Novell’s find of a top recruit for Nebraska’s football team “in the middle of nowhere,” at the Butler County Community College in El Dorado, Kan. This is a slur on the great state of Kansas and the El Dorado community, with a population of 13,000 folks.

The Butler County Community College belongs to a league whose members are renowned for the development of Division 1 players. Hardly surprising that Coach Norvell would make the trek from corn country to the heartland of Kansas in search of football talent.

David S. Knudson, Loveland

Parents interest in school

If parents spent as much interest in their child’s English, math and science schoolwork as they do about their child wearing a mask at school, what great things would come.

Alan Aldrich, Thornton

Big funding, little change

Re: “City Council approves $3.9 million more for ‘Safe Outdoor Spaces’ tent sites for homeless,” Feb. 8 news story

According to a report to Common Sense Institute, the amount of funding that goes to homeless issues in the
Denver area annual is $481.2 million. That is nearly half a billion dollars. The Denver City Council voted Feb. 7 to spend $3.9 million to take care of the homeless.

The report goes on to say, “for a population ranging from 4,171 to 10,428, these expenditures equate to a range of $41,679 per person to $104,201 per individual experiencing homelessness in the City of Denver.”

How can so much money be spent on so few people without any signs of appreciable change?

Where is the money going? As a homeowner and citizen living in central Denver, I object to this obvious waste of money.

Elaine Little, Denver

Other epic skiing issues

Re: “Vail Resort’s epic fail is a lesson for how Colorado must grow,” Feb. 6 commentary

The astronomical ticket prices and heavy traffic are the reason this Denverite hasn’t skied since 2003.

For all the analysis that I’m hearing from the media about the causes of the problems, what I’m not hearing is any scrutiny of these significant issues:

• Corporate greed — shareholder dividends, executive salaries, sales and marketing salaries, etc.

• The largely overlooked value of regular rail and bus service in order to alleviate pollution, resource waste and congestion.

These ski areas, as you mentioned, are on federal or state lands, and as such need to be publicly owned entities.

Unless or until that happens, I don’t see myself returning to the slopes anytime soon.

Mike Lombard, Denver

Disheartening numbers on oil and gas plans

The newly released “Report on the Evaluation o f Cumulative Impacts” — issued by the Colorado Oil & Gas Conservation Commission on the seven approved Oil and Gas Development Plan approvals — reports that water usage in the Denver-Julesburg Basin is 14,641,452 gallons per well. Furthermore, all of this 14.6 million gallons per well is supposed to come from surface water and groundwater in an area that the U.S. Drought Monitor identifies primarily as in either extreme or severe drought. How is it that these figures aren’t highlighted to indicate that they are alarming impacts?

And then the average distance from a well to a wetland is only 457 feet, just one and a half football fields. Again, how is it not an alarming impact that all of the reported oil and gas development plan locations were within a half of a mile of a natural or subsurface water source.”

These statements in the report are just laid out like “that’s life” without any real emphasis on the severity of the impacts.

In Colorado, wetland ecosystems occupy a small percentage of the landscape, but they provide essential ecological functions for people, plants and wildlife.

If the COGCC isn’t ready now to recognize the significant cumulative impacts of oil and gas production on Colorado water resources, then of what use is this report or even the commission itself to Coloradans? Water is life; oil and gas are not, despite how some people may act.

John Bryant, Fort Collins

Cheer athletes, regardless

Re: “U.S.-born freeskier Gu wins Olympic big air gold for China,” Feb. 8 story

Do I care if American-born Eileen Gu won a medal competing for China? Nope. Nor do I care how many medals the United States wins, ROC (whatever that is) wins, or any other country. I am interested in athletes, not the clodpole countries they represent who constantly bicker, hack one another, posture, threaten, undermine women, repress their own people, and do nothing about the monstrous numbers of gun-related deaths or global warming.

One of these days, there won’t be any snow for them to ski on anyhow.

Craig Marshall Smith, Highlands Ranch

Wasted money

Re: “Yacht reportedly built for Bezos too big for Dutch bridge,” Feb. 5 news story

So, Jeff Bezos’ yacht is too big to pass under bridges? Is this the same guy who traveled to space, gaining a revelation of the Earth as a gift? Jeff, with all our perils down below, you can’t find a better use for your money? That is a titanic shame.

Bruce Allen, Louisville

Your cognitive test first

My beloved congressman, Douglas Lamborn, has sent me a newsletter informing me that he and his colleagues are urging President Joe Biden to take a cognitive test. I have let him know that I am in favor of this idea, with one stipulation, that he and his election-denying colleagues take the same test.

Beth Heinrich, Colorado Springs

Prices should go up along with wages

Re: “Why I’m suing the federal government over minimum wage,” Feb. 2 commentary

Sorry, Duke Bradford. Your business is being unfairly subsidized right now by your low-wage workers. Sure they get tips, but there is no guarantee.

As a frequent adventure traveler, I much prefer to know my guides are fairly paid and will select an outfitter for that. Especially if operating on federal land that belongs to all of us.

If your prices go up, that’s fair because the burden should fall on me to pay the “true cost” of my trip. If your business shrinks due to higher prices, that’s due to a fairer economic outcome for all parties.

The best analogy I can think of is the low-wage fast-food worker: My hamburger should cost more in order to fairly pay the workers. My hamburger should not cost less on the backs of the restaurant workers.

Economic “efficiency” ensures all parties come out OK. Bet employee churn would lessen, too. If all your guides rise up and say no, they would prefer things as they are, I’ll change my mind.

Robbie Monsma, Denver

Capitol assault was not “legitimate political discourse”

Re: “Republicans censure Cheney, Kinzinger,” Feb. 5 news story

Just when did attempting to overthrow the results of a valid presidential election, attacking and causing the death of United States Capitol Police, breaking into and trashing United States legislators’ offices, and defecating in the halls of the U.S. Capitol become “legitimate political discourse?”

Daniel Chilcoat, Lakewood

Regarding the Republican National Committee’s censure of Reps. Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger: I suggest the members of the RNC committee watch footage from Jan. 6 again. It is so troubling that they consider this “legitimate political discourse.” Evidently they were not among those hiding under their desks during the siege of the Capitol.

The peaceful transfer of power is a hallmark of our democracy.

Kudos to Cheney and Kinzinger for their willingness to participate in a bipartisan effort to investigate the events of Jan. 6, 2021, and save and heal this democracy.

Nancy Litwack-Strong, Lakewood

Kudos to young librarian

Re: “ ‘My only option is to speak out’,” Feb. 7 news story

Thank you for shedding light on the shamefully anti-intellectual and undemocratic actions of the High Plains Library District by creating policies to cancel any programming that some might consider “inflammatory or polarizing.”

According to the story, this recently adopted policy led directly to the termination of valued librarian Brooky Parks for organizing teen programs focused on LGBTQ and racial justice issues.

Let’s ignore, just for a moment, that the core mission of libraries is to furnish the public with timely information and programming about current affairs in an impartial manner, regardless of whether it is controversial or not.

In the case of the High Plains Library District, precisely who determines what is “inflammatory or polarizing?” A vote of the library district board? A comment by someone — anyone — in the community? Some dark money organization that wants to squelch ideas that their donors want to suppress?

Good for Parks for suing the Library District for its overt, callous, and reckless actions to erase LGBTQ visibility and awareness of racial justice.

May she prevail, and may the High Plains Library District reform itself to be relevant to its 21st-century constituents.

Phil Nash, Denver

Thank you, Brooky Parks, for standing up for all teens in Weld County. Although I’ve never visited the Erie Library, I’m the mother of a public librarian who offers the same kind of programs for teens because that’s what they are asking for in her community. It’s encouraging to live in a state where people stand up for their convictions and their constituents — despite those who think they know what’s best for all.

Jan LaVille, Littleton

Concern about miseducation

Re: “District’s leader is issued an ultimatum,” Feb. 1 news story

Retired after almost thirty years teaching in Douglas County School District, I’m alarmed by the school board members who voted against an equity and inclusion curriculum. Conservatives on the board risk harming the very students they profess to protect — not only miseducating but de-educating.

Discouraged to think critically about topics that may cause white students “discomfort,” graduates from Douglas County schools will be unready to face the society they’re about to join. Schooled in a white suburban fantasia of false “comfort” about racism and homophobia, Douglas County school graduates are more likely to be ignorant and naive.

How will they interact among more sophisticated peers with flexible, adaptive minds? At best, Douglas Count grads will be less competitive candidates for positions in a diverse society. At worst, they’ll be laughingstocks.

Lee Patton, Denver

Pence was a loyal saint

Re: “Pence: Trump is “wrong” on overturning election,” Feb. 5 news story

Donald Trump’s criticism of Mike Pence is grossly unfair. Trump could not have asked for a more loyal and competent vice president than Mike Pence. To survive four years as Trump’s vice president, Pence should be elevated to sainthood, rather than besmirched as someone who failed to save the republic by failing to decertify an election that he felt he had no constitutional authority to decertify.

I was a strong supporter of Trump’s policies, not his personality. I voted for him twice and have no regrets regarding my votes. I think it was a mistake to elect Joe Biden, and I hope the Republicans will select someone worthy to replace him.

Pence and Nikki Haley are my two favorites. In the event of electing either of them, or both as a team, sound judgment and dignity would replace the deceit and bad manners that have become hallmarks of the White House under both Trump and Biden. Pence and Haley both have extensive governmental experience that qualifies them to be president. Trump had no governmental experience and Biden spent so long in the Senate that he can’t make a sound decision without messing it up by trying to appeal to factions within his political party.

John Dellinger, Aurora

Women’s bodies, women’s choice

Re: “Minority women most affected by bans, limits,” Feb. 2 news story

Regarding the article on abortion, remember all unwanted pregnancies are caused by men. Women need all the options possible and until men can carry the child, they have no business dictating what happens to a woman’s body. The support for the child disappears as soon as it is born.

Linda Dillon, Wheat Ridge

Questioning decisions inside Douglas County education

Re: “Board fires superintendent,” Feb. 5 news story

I find the recent “without cause” firing of Superintendent Corey Wise by the conservative Douglas County School Board extremely distressing.

It appears the conservative members of the school board simply did not like that Wise disagreed with them regarding their revised equity policy or the lifting of mask mandates, among other things.

These four new board members made clear that they intended to take the district in a new direction — and it appears now — whether the people they were elected to serve like it or
not. It also seems that everyone knew the new board members’ intentions before electing them. Voters in Douglas County fairly elected the four conservative members in November. I would guess that many who voted for them did not expect they would conduct their duties without regard for diverse opinions.

The lesson I earnestly hope we can learn from what is happening in Douglas County is the importance of our active participation in national and local elections. We must exercise our civic duties to be aware of local issues and concerns, inform ourselves about them and then vote. School boards, city councils and local government officials wield tremendous power. And yet I fear it is only a small percentage of voters who actually grant them that power with their votes. Do those few really represent their communities’ wishes accurately?

In Douglas County, it appears not.

Don’t waste your votes. It is the bedrock of returning to a sense of stability, normalcy and democracy.

Angie Panos, Denver

Re: “Don’t attack the teachers when they speak out,” Feb. 6 commentary

What insane communist world do we live in where teachers can walk out of their jobs solely because they disagree with the school board?

They can skip work, make thousands of kids’ educations collateral damage, and have zero repercussions — am I right?

In most other jobs, you skip work, you don’t work anymore, which is as it should be. But the people in charge of forming young minds can throw temper tantrums and no big deal, eh? What is being taught here? That people don’t have to mentally grow up past the age of 3 and will get what they want because they kicked and screamed? That’s exactly what’s going on, and it’s wrong.

It’s ridiculous.

The school board is there to be checks and balances to each district’s set of schools. Who cares if you disagree on politics? Solve it like an adult, talk it through (yes, I’m spelling this out), and come to the table ready to discuss. Enough of these unchecked temper tantrums!

Sarah Brown, Colorado Springs

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Readers debate the future for wolves and ranchers in Colorado