MARCH 4-10


THEY'RE OUR STUDENTS This letter will be short and is designed to explain the basic issue with the North Routt Charter School. Simply put, the choice is either to do what is best for the young north Routt students and educate them close to home or have them ride the school bus to Steamboat Springs for one-and-a-half hours each way which would make it easier for Dr. (Cyndy) Simms and the school board to balance the school budget. Most people would choose what is best for the children.

It is important to understand that the per-student funding follows the students. In our view, neither the money nor the students "belong" to the school district. It is inaccurate for Dr. Simms to say "that means the district will have to swallow what could amount to at least a $100,000 loss" (Steamboat Pilot & Today, March 4, 2001). The money will remain in the district, just not in the Steamboat schools. The district has already "lost" more than 20 students to home schooling in the Clark area. At least part of the reason is the bus ride.

We are very confident that the North Routt Charter School will open this fall. As an aside to Dr. Simms and the school board, this is a reality and you need to plan your budget accordingly. Your lip service and constant generation of roadblocks for the proposed school has energized some people in north Routt to make this school happen. Your actions have also sent the charter school group to the state school board where, we are sure, they will get some genuine support.

The North Routt Charter School Board is rapidly moving forward on identifying the best option for a facility and has gathered significant local financial support. They are in the process of enrolling students and developing a curriculum. In short, the school is going to happen. The remaining budget problems in the RE-2 district belong to Dr. Simms and the school board. We, in north Routt, are unwilling to be the scapegoat for these problems. We want what is best for our young students. This is to educate them in Clark, should their parents choose the option of the charter school.

Again, we personally do not have school-age students but do have an extensive background in education. We do strongly support the North Routt Charter School.

David R. Moss, Ph.D
Joni Moss, retired teacher

DON'T BE THE VIEW As a fourth-generation native, I have what's called "exposed-dirt anxiety." Every pasture or piece of land that gets dug up causes a slight heart attack complete with shortness of breath. Then I have to "adjust" to what I see as an intrusion, a mar upon the landscape. Don't even get me started on the Wal-Mart mall in its shiny new baby-butt colors; just who picked stucco as our building theme? But nothing compares to the sight of a building going up on a ridge major heart attack time. There are two two-story houses on the ridge behind our house and they caused quite a lot of rage in the neighborhood. What a way to start off with neighbors? Better hope you don't get stuck on the road or run out of sugar. If these new people had only realized the error of their ways.

It seems clear that no one wants ridge building, we just can't agree on how to stop it. Ranchers don't like it because it might affect the future value of their land. They say the county, the state and the city, are already too involved.

"No more regulation" is their mantra and I, being a past member of the ranching community, can see their point. They also say natives or longtime residents would never build on a ridge. We wouldn't disrespect this beautiful country that way.

So who's doing it? The building industry for one whoever has an interest in getting that eye-sore built and the big money made. But it's really the uninformed, the under-educated, the rich, the outsiders. They are the ones who just don't have a clue. They come here in complete ignorance, admiring the beauty, the views and the natural state of the land and then destroy what they came for.

So what's the answer? Is it regulation? Maybe. But let's not forget there are other ideas milling around. Take, for instance, an idea Mike Hogue (rancher) told me about at a Cattlewomen's event the other night. Maybe we could find a way to put those ridges into some sort of a conservation like PDR where the landowner could be compensated for the "loss" of the ridges. I thought that was clever but it may take time to put it into practice and meanwhile, the ridges are in grave danger. We also can't forget there are those who have no choice; a ridge may be the only spot on a lot where they can build.

And sure, we could have regulations but that may not happen and it's already taking too long to wrangle the issue. Part of the problem is a general lack of education.

We've gotten so good, maybe too good, at marketing Steamboat to outsiders. How about we market inside Steamboat? Couldn't we put this into practice now? What if every architect, every real estate agent, contractor, attorney, bank, mortgage company or Planning Commission representative got involved in educating those who are building? Say I'm from Alabama and I'm building my dream house. By the time I get my loan, buy my land, get my architect picked out and pulled my first permit, I have received the same information three or four times "Don't be the view. Stop ridge building." Pamphlets, brochures, bumper stickers, case studies of ridge builders forever ostracized by their community, you name it. If you're in the building industry, all it will cost you is a few pieces of paper each month and a bit of time. Wouldn't it be nice to know you contributed to the solution and not the problem?

I realize this is optimistic, there will still be that jerk who says, "I'm going to do what ever I want," despite explanations or suggestions he build into a ridge or just below it rather than right on top of it. Fine, if you're an architect or contractor, you don't have to take the job. Go design and build for someone else, because as a community, we're going to start watching you a little closer. And you have to live here, too, right?

We can all get involved. If you see a house going up on a ridge, don't be shy, get up there and give them a piece of your mind. Speak to the contractor, make a fuss. Get a bumper sticker (maybe the county ought to make them). If we all did that, folks might think twice about what they are doing. And we can do all this now.

Don't be the view. Stop ridge building.
Trenia Sanford

HAVE A HEART In the day in age where everyone is suing everyone I am pleased to know that compassion still exists in our society. To be honest, this is the first that I have heard of the brutal rapes and deaths of Ginny Kerry's daughters, but find myself completely moved by her compassion and selfless gesture to ask the governor of Missouri to stop the execution of one of their killers.

I, too, like Ginny Kerry, am in favor of the death penalty when appropriate. I am leery of imposing it on minors that have committed brutal crimes. They do need to be punished, but to say that this young person who may be easily influenced is a menace to society and is deserving of death I don't know.

It is situations like this that prove that we as adults need to lead by showing that an eye for an eye is not the best policy. The power of forgiveness and compassion will get you further than vengeance, and then possibly, just maybe, violent crimes will be less prominent among our children.

Jennifer Bergendahl


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