Our letters section and your opportunity to weigh in and be heard. Send us your thoughts and profundities. You can contact us here.

Keep the coverage coming

Dear Editors,

I want to thank you for your continuing coverage of environmental and cultural issues within the Navajo Nation. Down in Farmington, where it hits much closer to home, the media is silent. The local paper does a disservice to the entire Four Corners by either ignoring the issues or acting as a giddy cheerleader for the power and gas industries’ expansion into the area. If I never picked up the Telegraph or Alibi (Albuquerque), I would likely have no idea that there could be a downside to dirty power plants and leaky uranium sites, or that a movement exists within the tribe to protest the proposed new plant near Sanostee. What about the Dine? Nearly 30 percent of them don’t have electricity, but they breathe dirty air every day, like everyone else in the Four Corners. I would bet the percentage of Dine with asthma is comparable to that without electricity – neither one will be helped by a new plant. The power and the profits go somewhere far away, but the pollution and its impact stay here. What a Great Deal for the Dine and anyone in the Four Corners with lungs or a conscience. Please keep these stories coming. Maybe responsible journalism will catch on.

– Peter Nez, via e-mail

Dozens of impeachable offenses

Dear Editors:

There were no “Miss-steps.” Bush and Cheney must be held accountable for calculated, colossal lies, abuses of power and crimes of the highest offices. Clearly, “violation(s) of the public trust” compel impeachment, in order to protect the integrity of our Constitution and ensure abuses stop. Presidents and cabinets must know that power, party, office or wealth will not provide protection from criminal acts.

Reasons for impeachment begin with the most heinous – their pre-9-11 plans, fabrications and lies that propelled us to war, resulting in the deaths and suffering of thousands of Americans and Iraqis, illegal torture, and a huge escalation and spread of terrorism.

To promote its own Iraq war agenda, the White House used intimidation and manipulation of the CIA and the media – showing blatant disregard for a free press, the truth and the public. Then, incredibly, the force of our military went not to locate those responsible for 9-11, but to Iraq, which was not. White House conceit, deceit and incompetence merged to create an immense tragedy.

More impeachable offenses include manipulations of government documents. Scientific reports concerning the environment and health issues were altered, most notably the grave threat to our planet – global climate change. Another is the mysterious disappearance of White House e-mails, including those regarding political firings of U.S. attorneys. These e-mails are required to be preserved and archived by federal law. To the detriment of the public, many other government appointments were based on political and religious merits, not experience and good qualifications. Habeas corpus was greatly weakened. Illegal wiretapping and spying were denied, of course, upon discovery. Energy companies wrote laws to their liking, and the White House protected oil companies from paying tens of millions in royalties owed to taxpayers. The handling of Katrina was unforgivable. Our deficit skyrocketed, our infrastructure and our credibility as a country, crashed. On and on.

And yet, the White House remains unscathed. Millions are incarcerated for lesser crimes, while the White House gets away with the big ones. Save your country. Support the troops. Ask your senators and representatives to begin impeachment now. It’s time to acknowledge the elephant in our living rooms.

– Sincerely, Jan Holt, via e-mail 

Completely bogus

Dear Editors,

The below excerpt from your May 17 issue is completely bogus.

Quote: LAKE CITY – Want to get away from it all? If remoteness is defined by the absence of roads, then Hinsdale County, located in Colorado’s San Juan Mountains, is the most remote place in the lower 48 states.

In reality, if you read the study, Hinsdale County has the least amount of roads per capita of any county. It is however not a fair comparison because the county is really tiny by Western Standards. Here’s a comparison: The entire Hinsdale County is 1,123 square miles. The Frank Church/River of No Return Wilderness (Idaho), for example is 3,600 square miles and with the adjacent to the Gospel Hump Wilderness making a wilderness complex (completely roadless) of well 5,200 square miles. The wilderness complex alone is almost five times bigger than the entire Hinsdale County and is completely roadless.

The only reason Hinsdale County made the list of the county with the least amount of roads per capita is because of it’s tiny size. The article completely misrepresented what the study meant.

– Scott C. Patterson, Lake City

Editor’s note: The story Mr. Patterson references appeared in the “Mountain Exchange,” a syndicated weekly news column.

A veteran’s look at Memorial Day

Dear Editors,

Twenty years ago, I was an Army Specialist stationed in Germany, not too far from the Czech border. We were still engaged in the Cold War then. Quite a lot has happened since then. Now I’m married with a teen-ager, an owner of a business and the proud husband of an Army Sergeant who’s serving in Baghdad.

Folks, no one wants the troops home more than I do. No one. But we should all understand the big picture of what must happen so our loved ones can come back home. And we need to see the world for what it is versus what we imagine it to be.

America is a most unique place in this world mostly due to the freedoms, the opportunities and prosperity available to us 24 hours a day. Freedom is also the back story on this national holiday, which is supposed to mean more to us than just BBQs, picnics and getting out of town for a few days.

It was freedom to worship God the way they wanted to that led a band of pilgrims on a costly voyage to America from Europe. Later, a young America sought freedom from Great Britain. Great Britain responded with heavy warships and highly trained soldiers. The colonies mustered a ragtag band of farmers, militia, blacksmiths, preachers, young boys, old men and courageous women to defend what they had poured their hearts into. Several years and thousands of lives later, a free America emerged from the bloody days of the Revolutionary War.

America’s resolve to be free has been tested repeatedly down through our history. And the test of that resolve comes the same way to us, as it has to every other nation and people on the face of the Earth since the beginning of time: war. Whether it’s been with rocks and sticks, swords and arrows, cannons and cavalry, or planes and missiles, some people just want to conquer others.

Freedom isn’t something picked up at the store or ordered online with the click of a mouse. It’s something earned. It’s something fought for. And though the fight for our freedom has taken place in different generations and in different places, the currency is still the same: blood. The price for a people to live free will usually cost the lives of some of those people. That’s the going rate for freedom. Incidentally, tyranny exacts the same price. Just ask the folks in China, Iran or Korea who simply said something their government didn’t like.

Some people say war is not the answer. I wish our enemies felt that way. The sad thing is that war is the only language some people understand. And not defending ourselves will only encourage more attacks. This current war is with people who’ve been intensely taught from birth to hate and destroy anyone who doesn’t believe the way they do. They cannot be negotiated or compromised with. They don’t like our way of life and want to crush us with their ideology of death.

So, if they cannot be detoured from their quest, what are we to do? What does our own history tell us? Well, if we did nothing in the 1700s there would be no sovereign United States of America. If we did nothing in 1812, in WW I or WW II there would eventually be no America. And since history tends to repeat itself, we can conclude that if we do nothing now, in the not-to-distant future, there will be no America.

I want the troops to come home, but I also want there to be an America worth coming home to. A defeatist attitude toward this global war on terrorism will lead to bombs going off in the malls we love to shop in, the theaters we’re entertained in and the schools we send our children to. But winning this war means that their agenda of death and domination won’t prevail. It means our freedoms are intact and our troops can come home and be with their families again.

I miss my wife. I miss her smile, our walks together and what she brings to our house that makes it a home. I’m looking forward to the day she returns and we can once again build our lives together in peace. But all that will just be a silly notion if we as a nation don’t realize that freedom isn’t a given. It is purchased with the blood, sweat and tears of the willing and the brave, and all too often for the ungrateful.

So before you attach a “No More War” bumper sticker to your Subaru, consider the price someone else paid so you could voice your opinion. That freedom was purchased and is maintained by people you’ve probably never met. By the way, on behalf of many military families including my own: you’re welcome.

It’s a great honor for me to pass along my thanks to those brave and selfless men and women who have been, or are now, in harm’s way so we can enjoy this great freedom. Without them there is no freedom and no purpose in a Memorial Day.

– Pat Sipperly, Bayfield


The farthest tongues of water

Washed across the dreams of these men,

Those that had waited anxiously near the back-pull of sands.

These men,

Their thirsts never quenched.

Salts of their dream

Dissolved and dissipated

Among the drifts of dunes

While overhead, seabirds in erratic flight

Glided the coastal margins,

A laughing mockery.

Sails golden, in the edge of  horizon light

Moved quietly in leeward turns

Tacking the softer blue.

Mesmerized and seduced by

Turquoise-mirrored shallows,

Those seafarers

Thought of their youth

And the smiles of Benghazi.

An accordion sang

And the chorus like

An offering to Saint Clare,

Rhymed the breakers,

While the old women carried dried fish to market.

Children frolicked

Like fettered kites amongst the hurried émigrés.

Stone-white benches,

Lone sentinels facing the sea,

Where the whisperers of legend

While an old anchor annulled

The mellowed brandy

Of memory over tramp steamers

And long ago storms.

– Burt Baldwin, Ignacio



In this week's issue...

January 25, 2024
Bagging it

State plastic bag ban is in full effect, but enforcement varies

January 26, 2024
Paper chase

The Sneer is back – and no we’re not talking about Billy Idol’s comeback tour.

January 11, 2024
High and dry

New state climate report projects continued warming, declining streamflows