LETTERS

THINK ABOUT ITOne armed kid in a room full of defenseless kids is like a coyote loose in a band of sheep.

This may counter "Politically Correct," but the shooting would never start if every kid in the room was armed!

At least think about it.

Oley Kohlman

WALDEN

QUALITY (ICE) TIMEAs a parent of two squirt traveling team players, I would like to share what a positive experience our family and team had this season.

First, I would like to thank the hockey board for giving us the chance to choose the type of team we wanted to try out for. We were not bullied into trying out for this team. We chose as a family to try out and join the team fully aware of the obligations it would entail.

Second, the traveling was the best part. We were only gone five weekends as we had 10 games (five weekends) at home. We used that travel time in the car to talk to and enjoy our children. It was quality time.

Third, as for chalking up victories, that was never our purpose. What we were after was developing hockey skills and skating against lots of different teams. We only had 13 players, so they all got lots of ice time and learned to work together as a team and respect each other.

So let's hear it for having great kids whose parents care enough about them to prepare them for college and life beyond hockey and not worry about endorsements.

Poogie Dawes

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS

DON'T DO ITDear Andy Cadenhead of the U.S. Forest Service:

There is no way that you can claim to control your proposed broadcast burn anywhere, much less at Stagecoach in south Routt County. The evidence is quite compelling and simple:

1. In May 2000, loss of control of so-called (broadcast burn) at edge of Horseback subdivision at Stagecoach.

2. Los Alamos, N.M., 2000, catastrophic devastation from a so-called controlled (burn) by (Park Service).

In our opinion, your plan is both ill-conceived and insensitive to the more obvious alternatives available besides burning, especially around Stagecoach.

I have been an active and responsible property owner and stakeholder in Stagecoach since 1973, having paid enough taxes and worked with enough good people in Routt County planning, commissioners, assessors, etc., to know that this plan of yours is just another genie in the bottle.

I served on the board of the Stagecoach Property Owners Association throughout the 1980s, and have been responsible for promoting the effective win-win policy of leased cattle grazing on our open common areas for more than 25 years to successfully keep in check the very fire hazard we all are constantly aware of in the arid West. Grazing, kind of like natural mowing, is an excellent management tool to use for maintaining an ecological handle on any fire potential of areas at risk for an accidental fire.

In more than 30 years to my knowledge there has never been a lightning-induced fire started in or around Stagecoach in south Routt County. And just because this hasn't occurred does not imply by your particular line of reasoning that it's bound to happen eventually, given the ecological balance now in place. This probability is a numbers game brought on solely by your own assumptions, not general truth. I don't deny that some risk exists, but it does not warrant a (broadcast burn) to low it further below the present balance. A broadcast burn around Stagecoach is strictly a lose-lose game by those who have nothing to lose, the U.S. Forest Service.

We, the large stakeholders/owners of significant property in Black Horse, Horseback and South Shore, and others do not believe you have a very good solution to a so-called "problem" you perceive as a fire hazard in this area. We strongly believe that you, the Forest Service, are the fire hazards, Mr. Cadenhead. Your narrow laser-like vision is fully capable of unleashing the genie from the bottle as in Los Alamos, wreaking havoc beyond your wildest expectations. We will not stand for such a plan when many alternate methods as I've described already exist.

We, therefore, strongly urge you to consider immediately abandoning the portion of your Stagecoach plan calling for burning the so-called "rich fuel" you perceive as a fire hazard around Stagecoach. Non-broadcast burn alternatives exist and should be substituted for burning to achieve the same result sought. The risk in your burning is far greater than the existing fire hazard now feared. You risk catastrophic devastation of age-old valuable beautiful livable property (not ready for prime burning).

Should you ignore our alternative measures of land management and fail to acknowledge or actively collaborate with us on the many nonflammable alternatives that exist such as prevention, mitigation and education, and should you fail to realize the wisdom of these alternatives in your zeal to keep our land "safe" from fire everywhere, we will be forced to resist any such plan devised that includes a broadcast burn within 10 miles of any Stagecoach border in both state and federal courts, seeking class action if necessary to prevent such utter insane burning of south Routt County in the name of safety.

Mr. Cadenhead, there has been more than enough "smoke" and inflammatory notions hanging over Stagecoach these past 28 years, and we do not need a fire to solve the so-called "problem."

Russell N. Dashow

STAGECOACH OWNER

FROM THE CITY...Your recent articles and editorial about the wildland fire controversy ("Get to Work") were well-intentioned but seriously off the mark. I thought you should know some facts:

The city of Steamboat Springs has not asked the county for any fire engines or firefighters, contrary to your statement that "the city wants another truck and a few more firefighters." The fact is that it was the Wildland Fire Council, composed of firefighting professionals from all of the Routt County fire districts, that asked for engines, personnel and equipment to be used wherever needed to fight wildland fires.

It was hardly "stupid pride" that led the Wildland Fire Council to the conclusion, stated in its Nov. 16, 2000, Report of Finding and Recommendations For the Routt County Board of County Commissioners, that "fire departments in Routt County have serious staffing problems. Two fire departments do not have enough firefighters available to meet requirements of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) or Insurance Services Office (ISO) standards for structural firefighting. The remaining three departments barely meet these standards. It is apparent there are no additional firefighters for mutual aid or wildland fire suppression extended attack." That's not pride; that's cold, hard reality.

Neither the Wildland Fire Council nor the city has asked the county to bear the entire burden. The report states: "This report recommends the county and the Fire Protection Districts put forth a substantial budget contribution in fiscal years 2001-2005." So far, the city of Steamboat Springs and the Steamboat Springs Rural Fire Protection District have held up our end of the bargain. In 2001, the combined city-district will buy a $900,000 fire engine; in 2002, we will hire 10 full-time cross-trained firefighters/EMS personnel. In 2003 and beyond, we will expand buildings and buy more engines and equipment some $6 million worth all without county assistance.

A reimbursement check from the county simply won't do it anymore. Those checks don't begin to repay the city-district for its investment in personnel, equipment and vehicles. And the checks won't cover downtown Steamboat Springs when most of our resources are fighting a two-day wildland fire near Milner. All we ask is some help with the tools we need to do a tough job. So we're definitely getting to work, but it's awfully lonely doing it by ourselves.

Paul Hughes

CITY MANAGER, STEAMBOAT SPRINGS

SERVE IT UPHow wonderful that the Boulder paper re-printed your article about Michael Lewis and his style of waiting tables at the Old West Steak House. I think it is great that people that can stick it out for extended periods in food service get recognition. But, it ruffles my feathers when waiters of style use the "call party" excuse to give better service to certain people. If Michael is as good as you claim, then he would be giving that excellent "go the extra mile to make them feel special" service to everyone. What happens if I get stuck with Michael when I didn't request him? Do I get second-class service? I don't think so, at least I hope not. I like this article much better when he quotes Michael about approaching every table the same. Some sage advice repeated, thinking how much money he will make only distracts him from doing the proper work at the table.

Just some loose cannon thoughts from Boulder's oldest waiter, started in the biz in 1962 and still going strong. Stop by and visit the European Cafe in Boulder, I know I'll be having a steak this summer at the Old West Steak House after fishing the Stagecoach tailwaters. Hopefully Michael will be working that night.

Alfred Schock

BOULDER

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