Letters to the Editor for Aug. 17, 2003

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Can't get it right

Major Dave Kleiber is right when he says his pay dispute with the city of Steamboat Springs is over principle.

The city's position, even if it was legally correct, is morally insupportable.

One wonders if the city has ever had to deal with this in the past. Is Major Kleiber the only person in the city's employ that is serving or has served his country?

Applying the facts of an inapposite case to deny him rights he has never bargained away should be a warning to all city employees that arbitrary pecuniary punishment for public service outside the community is the norm.

The county gets it right. Why not Steamboat Springs?

Lance Eldridge,

retired Lieutenant Colonel

Steamboat Springs

Kudos to program

Hats off to Currie Meyer and Alison Lambart. They did an outstanding job organizing and implementing the "Don't Bug Me I'm Reading" summer program at Bud Werner Memorial Library.

It exceeded all of my expectations. There were ongoing trivia contests, lots of prizes and reading buddies. My son, Peter, 6, was matched with a wonderful reading buddy, Alex Bennett, 11. Even Walt Disney could not have created a nicer character. Alex was polite, punctual and patient.

He read longer than the required 40 minutes, giving me a chance to sink into one of the library's comfy chairs and catch up on my own reading. At the end of our four reading sessions he suggested we keep going. I've never seen my son so excited about books and reading before.

Our library is a true community treasure, and Currie and Alison are to be commended for a job well done. Thanks for providing such a wonderful program. I can't wait for next year.

Joanne Palmer

Steamboat Springs

Pay resolution

Editor's note: The following is a resolution regarding pay for military reservists and National Guard personnel that was adopted by the Routt County Republican Central Committee. The resolution came in response to Steamboat Springs police Detective Dave Kleiber's dispute with the city over the pay and benefits he receives from the city during his service to the National Guard. The resolution was adopted Aug. 6.

Whereas, the soldiers, sailors, airmen, airwomen and other military personnel of the United States Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force Reserves, members of the Colorado National Guard and others called to active military service are an important and integral part of our national defense; and

Whereas, reservists, guardsmen and guardswomen are committed to serve and do serve at the call of our nation; and

Whereas, when called and serving on active duty, reservists, guardsmen and guardswomen are subject to separation from employment and are severely affected by those separations from employment, loved ones and community, as a result of their service to our nation;

Now, therefore it is unanimously resolved, that all public bodies, including, but not limited to, the county of Routt, city of Steamboat Springs, all area school districts and institutions of higher education, shall "take the high road" in establishing and executing employment policies and practices for soldiers, sailors, airmen, airwomen and others in the military service of our nation, during periods when reservists, guardsmen and guardswomen are on active duty or are called up for active duty, such policies and practices to include all of the following employment benefits and opportunities:

To compensate any deficit in pay while an employee is serving on active military duty (not including subsistence or allowances), if the active duty pay is less than the employee's civilian pay;

To allow employees, who are serving on active military duty, to retain, in full, their military pay, allowances and/or subsistence;

To facilitate unlimited time off from work, as required by the reservists' or guardsmen's duty commitments and/or calls;

To continue contributions to pension and/or retirement plans, during such periods of annual or called-up service;

To continue providing the same level of health care insurance for the benefit of spouse, children or other dependents, during such periods of annual or called-up service;

To reinstate employment at the conclusion of such annual or called-up service, as if there had been no interruption in employment; and

To comply with or exceed all State and Federal laws, rules, regulations and requirements regarding employment of reservists, guardsmen and guardswomen.

In summary, the Routt County Republican Central Committee respectfully requests that all public bodies named above demonstrate their support for our military personnel during their time of service by adopting the policies outlined in this resolution.

Harmon Buckland, chairman

Jennifer Schubert-Akin, secretary

Routt County Republican Committee

Unwelcome pit

I am writing in response to the editorial in the Steamboat Pilot & Today concerning Ed MacArthur's potential plans to develop a gravel pit operation on his ski lake property.

I applaud MacArthur for his generosity in donating time, material and labor to our community. The ski jump is welcomed as a creative alternative to the standing gravel piles at his site. But, by no means, should this be a free pass to construct a gravel pit at the worst site proposed in Routt County history.

The editorial mentioned that three mounds of gravel are an eyesore on the gateway to the community. Can you imagine what a full-blown gravel pit would be? Mr. MacArthur, after knowing he couldn't sell the gravel, went ahead and dug the lake anyway and constructed the existing piles. This is his problem and not that of the community.

He is now discussing affordable housing, trail systems and city parks as a solution to his problem. In this case, I feel the end cannot justify the means. He could build houses and give them away but that would never justify this site as an acceptable place to mine gravel.

As a member of the Gravel Matrix Committee, we have spent years working on a document that would facilitate a just decision-making process for gravel pit sites. If this site was approved as an acceptable site, we might as well throw all of our planning documents out the window.

The statement that issues at the property have been put to rest or can be mitigated is a mistake. MacArthur has been before the Planning Commission twice and both times has been unanimously opposed. The Planning staff has informed the applicant that based on the planning documents, the proposed location is not appropriate for gravel mining at any scale.

The three major areas where the proposal conflicts with the Master Plan and Zoning Resolutions are visual impacts, land-use compatibility, and flood plain impacts.

There are also wildlife concerns. Because of the location of the proposed site these negative impacts are impossible to mitigate. The site is in close proximity to substantial residential and recreational uses. There are more than five times as many residences, motels, etc., than at any other existing or proposed gravel pit in Routt County.

The site is within 1.5 miles of the base of the ski area and adjoins the Legacy Ranch open space parcel owned by the city.

The west side adjoins the State Wildlife Area.

Noise from the crusher, wash plant, and backup alarms on trucks likely would be audible within nearby neighborhoods. On the gravel matrix score, it scored the worst possible score of all existing or proposed pits in visual impacts.

It scored poorly on air and water quality and land use compatibility.

What kind of message are we sending to other gravel pit operators, who are faced with all these regulations, by saying we should turn our head and approve this, since it will clean up somebody's eyesore?

Gravel pit operators will see this as a precedent and start digging up piles of gravel all over the county. The proposed Werner gravel pit, was denied due to the same issues that denied MacArthur's pit. The proposed More pit also has these same issues.

Anyone citing these same planning documents pleading for a denial of these pits would be hypocritical supporting MacArthur's proposal just because it would generate affordable housing, trails and a city park.

What are we doing? Selling our souls and our integrity? Constructing a gravel pit at the MacArthur site actually was presented as a creative alternative to denying the More pit site. Yet, these same issues were being used by the opposition.. If you oppose the More Pit because of visual impacts, land use compatibility, air and water quality issues, you cannot in good conscience support this proposal.

This brings us back to the issue of what do we do with this eyesore that has plagued the entrance to our community for so many years.

On many occasions, the County has asked Mr. MacArthur to discuss with them any reasonable solution to this problem.

If Mr. MacArthur is truly an altruistic individual and wants to clean up his act, he has the option of donating the existing gravel piles to the community. I am sure there are all kinds of creative ideas that don't involve huge profits from a gravel pit. Why should he profit from a mistake that left the community with this eyesore? Mr. MacArthur can still do the right thing without making a profit by selling gravel.

We should not compromise our planning documents to justify the end result of cleaning up this site. As you stated we need to come up with a solution that is a true benefit to the community.

What do you say, Mr. MacArthur?

Vickie Rosenzweig

Steamboat Springs

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