Letters to the Editor: June 11, 2020

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Support for Gates campaign

Dear Editor:
I am writing to express my support for Ty Gates for Rio Blanco County Commissioner. I have known Ty for nearly 30 years. He grew up in Meeker and worked in the family businesses of ranching and guiding and outfitting. He continues to be involved in agriculture and is active with 4-H. He is an avid outdoorsman. He knows and understands our culture as well as anyone and will fight to preserve our culture for our kids and future generations.
In addition to excelling at his current job as the Rio Blanco County Emergency Manager, Ty has extensive background in finance. believe this experience positions him to reliably keep the Rio Blanco County financial house in order.
I have discussed with him the many issues facing Rio Blanco County, including the loss of jobs resulting from the shutdown of Colowyo, the potential forced reintroduction of wolves and the threats to our water supplies from downstream users. We have also discussed ways to diversify our economy to ensure Rio Blanco County citizens have access to good paying jobs. Each time, I have been impressed with his knowledge and common-sense approach to solving problems.
In all the time I have known him, Ty has always demonstrated strong character and integrity, traits necessary for commissioners who will be determining county policy and spending county funds. We can count on Ty to do the right thing.
Finally, I believe that Ty will be an independent voice on the Board of County Commissioners. His only agenda is to preserve Rio Blanco County as a fantastic place to live, work and raise our families. I believe he will work hard to be a great commissioner for all the citizens of Rio Blanco County.

Thank you,
Kevin Borchard

Gates for Commissioner

Dear Editor:
I’m writing in support of Ty Gates for county commissioner.  I had the pleasure of working with Ty for six years; two years when he worked in the jail and then three years after he accepted the job as emergency manager.
I rarely had the privilege of working with someone of Ty’s character.  It didn’t take me long to be relieved that Ty was in charge of emergencies, such as wildfires. I worked closely with Ty during the fire season of 2018 when we had numerous fires burning throughout the county. The paperwork and regulations Ty had to complete or follow for each fire were mind-boggling. He kept it all straight, met every deadline and was always able to get me the paperwork I needed for my financial tracking of the fires. It did not matter how many fires he was putting out, literally, he always had time to answer my questions; and with a smile.
Ty not only took care of wildfires, but worked closely with other county and state departments to plan for various types of emergencies — such as pandemics.  He understands how to work with all branches of government and undoubtedly has contacts throughout the state. If our precious county ever finds itself in an emergency or even in dealing with the day to day duties of a commissioner, I would be glad to know Ty is part of our leadership.
Kristine Hicken

Question about mayor’s request

Dear Editor:
I have a question you might not be able to answer, but I saw in the Herald Times last week a report on the Town of Meeker meeting that Mayor Borchard asked if there was office space available at town hall. My question is: Is attorney Borchard setting up his private practice in an office at town hall at the expense of the taxpayers?
Cathie Dolan

EDITOR’S NOTE: The discussion and approval at the last town board meeting to set aside space at Town Hall for the mayor was limited to mayoral responsibilities. Our apologies if that was not made clear in the article. 

Clearing the record

Dear Editor:
On May 7, in an article summarizing the May 5 Meeker Board of Trustees board meeting, my name was referenced in regard to the town’s commercial use of aerial pesticides for the control of mosquitos. I was cited for collecting 10 years of research corroborating claims that aerial pesticides are more detrimental to beneficial species, specifically honeybees, than they are at controlling mosquitoes. I would like to provide context to this statement. Yes, I completed a project aimed to identify what, if any, species other than targeted pest species were impacted by summer spraying operations in Meeker. However, it is very important to note that this was a 4-H entomology project that I did in 2003 at the age of 14. My data collection spanned one spray cycle of one summer — certainly not the 10-years’ worth of data stated in the article. I also did not single out honeybees and, after reviewing my findings (yes, my mom graciously dug through boxes of grade school mementos to find it), not a single honeybee was identified in my sample collections. 
The statements made in the May 7 article were done without my consent or knowledge, and I was only made aware of the claims after printing. I have not lived in Meeker for 13 years, so I have little background knowledge on current mosquito control plans and I have no intention of weighing in on them now. While I respect both the environmental and socioeconomic considerations of this issue, I trust that the Meeker community is capable of finding a solution without leaning on data that I collected as a middle school student 17 years ago.
Beth Madison 
(formerly Hollowed)
Palmer, Alaska

EDITOR’S NOTE: Ms. Hollowed-Madison’s 4-H project has come up in public meetings more than once as a source of information. We appreciate her efforts to set the record straight now and hope this opens a door to seek relevant and recent data about mosquito control methodology.

SB20-2017 needs your attention now

Dear Editor:
I’m sure many of you have been wondering why I have not posted a press release on SB20-217 earlier; it is because of how fast this bill is moving and the changes that have been made to it. A premature statement would be erroneous and hinder the progress between lawmakers and law enforcement.
Last Monday, June 1, SB20-217 was introduced. There were many issues law enforcement had with the bill. Your sheriff, both chiefs of our towns along with the Colorado County Sheriff’s Association, the Colorado Association of Chiefs of Police and the Fraternal Order of Police literally began working day and night with legislators on the bill. Many other organizations such as the Colorado Municipal League, Colorado Counties Incorporated, and others worked together on coming up with a working solution that would help bring reform to law enforcement and keep our citizens safe.
There were many conversations that bill sponsors and lawmakers have had with law enforcement regarding SB20-217. Steps were taken forward, yesterday evening, with changes in the Senate. Law enforcement still has some concerns, but we look forward to continuing to work with Democrat and Republican lawmakers to achieve the shared goals of increasing accountability and transparency while maintaining public safety.
Earlier this month, Colorado law enforcement organizations called for changes to the current Duty to Report Use of Force outlined in CRS 18-8-802, including directing officers to intercede to prevent the use of unreasonable force, when possible, and then to report such use of unreasonable force to the officer’s immediate supervisor.
As this bill moves forward I would ask you to contact your local legislators and let them know how you feel about your local law enforcement here in Rio Blanco.
I have received many comments from our citizens of support and encouragement, which has meant so much to myself and the staff here at the Sheriff’s Office.
Thank you for your support!
Sheriff Anthony Mazzola
Rio Blanco County