12th Book Bus season thanks
After our 12th Book Bus season — the best ever! — we want to thank the community for supporting grants, special events and the hundreds of eager readers. Our grantors include: Gunnison Watershed School District, Community Foundation of the Gunnison Valley, Gunnison Rotary, Gunnison Car Club, Gunnison Valley PTA, Friends of the Library and so many businesses and individuals who donated cash and books. You know who you are.
Thanks to the PTA for school supplies. Special thanks to the Book Bus crew: Cecilia, Jackie, Maria and Trudy. This wouldn’t happen without you.
I Bar clarification
I would like to clear up any possible confusion about the ownership of I Bar Ranch because of the Sept. 7 I Bar drug bust story. It refers to Bryan Wickenhauser as the I Bar owner. Bryan owns the I Bar operating business, but Gunnison Valley Properties, LLC owns the property, including improvements, which are leased to Bryan.
Cancer fundraiser thanks
I want to send out a huge thank you to everyone that put on, helped out and donated to the F**k Cancer Love Camo, On the Hunt for a Cure Fundraiser that was set up for me on Aug. 19. I’m so incredibly humbled by the generosity and love of this community.
A special thank you to Danny and Kerri LeFevre of The Dive and Marios, Bryan Wickenhauser of the I Bar Ranch, Mikaela Turner and my wife Leasy, all of whom planned this event and set it up. Thank you to the DJs, Ron Earl for emceeing and everyone who showed up to run the 5k, play volleyball and bid on the awesome auction items donated by so many amazing businesses here in Gunnison.
For those who were unable to attend the event and inquired how they might donate or help out, Mikaela set up a gofundme at gofund.me/cdc190b3. Cancer sucks, but it’s a little less daunting to face it when an amazing community has your back.
WOTUS concern and hope
Wetlands and our high mountain streams store and move water throughout our valley for the benefit of all of us. Cwelich and Nania, quoted in the Sept. 7 Gunnison Country Times article about the waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) and the SCOTUS decision, are rightly concerned about the loss of protection of these wetlands in our valley. I would like to add a few points to the discussion.
Since at least 1988, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has actively regulated impacts to WOTUS and wetlands in this valley. However, over time, regulation of types of wetlands and drainages, and connections to navigable waters has changed based on Supreme Court cases and appeals by the states. Having worked in wetlands since 1988 in the valley, I’ve had to adapt to the permutations of regulatory changes. Colorado has not typically regulated wetlands without a surface water connection (“isolated” wetlands or ephemeral streams) to WOTUS.
However, for the most part I have found a surface water connection between wetlands and WOTUS in our high mountain valleys. For example, in Irwin, one can find wetlands and streams with water and a bed, bank and scour line that flow to Coal Creek, which flow to the Slate River, on to the Gunnison River and then to Colorado River, which is considered a navigable water and regulated under the Clean Water Act.
Though the concern that “isolated” wetlands and ephemeral drainages will not be protected with the recent Supreme Court decision is real, there is hope. Gunnison County supports protection of wetlands and waterways through the Land Use Resolution and the Onsite Wastewater Treatment System regs with established buffers from construction and wastewater treatment systems.
In addition, it appears the CDPHE will be formulating dredge and fill state policies. I practiced in Indiana where they implemented a very strong state program protecting isolated wetlands and streams with a watershed of a certain size. Coordination between state agencies and the Corps was difficult, but doable. This is possible for Colorado, but will take time and money and people in the field.
In the meantime, we should continue to educate ourselves about the importance of all wetlands and streams in our mountain valleys — how they store water and how they move water downstream. Those who wish to build in a wetland or in a high mountain stream must think about what they are doing to the quantity and quality of the water in those wetlands and high mountain streams.
In addition, we have acres and acres of irrigated meadows, which act to store water and produce high quality hay, and if you ever have had the chance to walk through one, you will note that they act in the best of ways as a wet meadow benefiting wildlife, plants and us.
Danger to school diversity
Here’s an interesting phenomenon relating to our school board candidates: From observing the political signage in town, the Republicans are running independently of each other, and the Democrats are running as one big melded block, like in “vote Democrat only, because they’re all Democrats.”
Here’s another winner created by our mainstream media (meant to cover anything considered “right wing” by them). I’m using it because I believe that political parties have no business being in our schools. That media winner is: “It’s a danger to our democracy.”
And not only that, it’s also a danger to the diversity in the administration of those schools.
Not a good example
It was sad to see that the candidates running a slate chose not to show up to the school board candidate forum on Tuesday, Aug. 29. Hopefully they see how the community wants to hear from them and will show up to the next one on Sept. 14 at the Fred Field Center. Members of a group of concerned Gunnison County citizens scheduled three forums for the school board candidates, and the first one was held at the W Cafe. It was also broadcast on 98.3 KEJJ.
Only Lisa Henry, Greg Kruthaupt and Cori Dobson were present to respond to questions. The group then asked the community to submit questions for the next forums. The other three candidates decided that it’s not important to share their responses and plans for the school board positions they are running for. This slate of candidates stated in a letter submitted to the concerned citizens group that they would not be participating in the forum because they claimed it to be partisan. The fact that the slate candidates decided not to attend this forum to show the public their involvement with the community and their concern for the community’s choices in this election is concerning. The slate decided that the W Cafe is a partisan location, however it was chosen because the radio station sits fairly close to the W Cafe and this was a place of convenience for all involved to hold this event.
Are they assuming Gunnison County as a whole is a partisan group? Mr. Dix stating in last week’s letter to the editor that the fact Mr.Stu Asay was at the forum makes him the organizer is a far reach. Mr. Dix was in attendance and the same could be said about him.
I personally am disgusted with the attacks and the arrogant manner of the letters to the editor and also outside of the paper. This is not a good example for our children.
Who’s treading on whom?
I’m going to go out on a limb and speculate that the woman who was observed throwing rocks onto the dirt road that cyclists in last weekend’s Gunni Grinder event were traveling is the same one who essentially flipped the bird to my wife and I as we were coming back from a quick camping trip along a nearby public roadway. She had accomplices who removed and disturbed course markings, drove aggressively in big trucks and otherwise attempted to hijack the third year event which brought more than 170 enthusiasts to our community to enjoy our abundant and scenic gravel grinding terrain.
The sentiment seems to be this: I live here. You don’t. Stay out.
If I had to guess, these were nearby residents who proudly fly the Gadsden Flag on their private property. Whatever.
I have a reminder for you, whoever you and your cohorts are: Public land doesn’t just belong to you. It belongs to all of us. I have just as much right to legally and responsibly enjoy it as you, as does a weekend visitor from Austin or Albuquerque.
And continue enjoying it we will. Because this land is our land, too.