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Bipartisan effort needed to find ways to reduce gun violence
I read the article “Nicholson talks with Evergreen Dems …” in the Feb. 27 edition of the Courier. In this article, state Sen. Jeanne Nicholson was reported as telling a gathering of fellow Democrats that she is having fun as a majority member of the state legislature. I was saddened, however, when I could find no coverage of Nicholson’s town hall meeting at the Evergreen Public Library on the same day. At this meeting she was definitely NOT surrounded by fellow Democrats.
At the town hall meeting Nicholson listened to and interacted with a beyond-capacity crowd of citizens whom I would categorize as frustrated, afraid and angry over a “package of gun control bills” at the legislature.
During the town hall, Nicholson repeatedly stated that she had not made up her mind on how she would vote on the package of bills … and I trusted she would not lie about something so important. She also, when asked by those in attendance at the meeting, admitted that the bills sent by the House for consideration (and passage) by the Senate, were largely unenforceable and in some cases made no sense. I was there … that is what I heard.
In The Courier, however, she is reported as saying to her Democrat friends (on the same day) that she is “supporting a package of gun control bills, which she called ‘very reasonable.’ ” In your article she is quoted as saying, “the majority of people want responsible (gun) legislation.” At the town hall meeting I attended, the majority of the people, her constituents, did not want this legislation to pass.
So somebody is not being honest. Either the senator was misquoted and/or misspoke to a group of friendly Democrats regarding her support of the gun control legislation or she was less than forthcoming with a group of concerned citizens who do not agree with the current “knee-jerk” legislative package — a package that everyone agreed would do nothing to make it harder for a criminal or a mentally disturbed person to initiate the kind of tragedy we experienced at the Aurora theater or the Sandy Hook school.
We asked the senator if she would, please, rather than vote to pass these misguided bills, to work to put together a bipartisan commission to consult with subject-matter experts on a well-thought-out, multi-pronged approach to reducing gun violence. Rather than pass the currently proposed flawed legislation, the senator should lead the way in researching meaningful ways to integrate mental health, fix the flaws in the existing background check system, and look for ways to keep firearms out of the hands of criminals while not adversely affecting the 99.9 percent of legal, responsible gun owners.
Raymond “Buddy” Knox,
retired colonel, USAF

Fire district board has also fallen short in reporting on response times
Response times? Wasn’t the recall about the burn building at Station 2? Yes, the recall was initiated after the board decided to proceed with putting up an industrial class A burn building at Station 2 overruling and disrespecting outraged neighbors and concerned community members. When researching other aspects of EFPD leadership, Evergreen Fire/Rescue’s response times stood out as an example for how the board’s responsibilities are not exercised. The recall committee released a report on EFR’s response times, how these metrics compare to external standards and internal goals, and what the district does to monitor and report these important metrics.
The main conclusions this report makes are that the current response times do not meet the referenced benchmarks and that these metrics are not monitored and/or not reported to the public by the district.
The main concern is the lack of a process by which these important metrics would be monitored and reported to the public. The responsibility for this is with the district board. Not exercising this oversight function results in a situation where the voter is not empowered to make his/her opinion if the service provided meets his/her expectations. Unfortunately, the main message of this discussion has been lost on many people, and the focus is on questioning the produced reports.
Instead of focusing on how the reports may not reflect every single scenario correctly, we should focus on the conclusion that stands regardless of these statistics debates: The current district board has failed in its responsibility to monitor key metrics of the district’s fire operations and has put the community in a situation where we’re not only flying off course, but flying blind.
The volunteer firefighters have perceived this report as intent to discredit their organization and to start building the case for a paid department. As the recall committee has communicated many times, it does not advocate replacing the volunteer department with a paid department. The goal of the recall committee is to establish transparency on the organization’s performance and to work with the volunteer fire department and the community when expectations are not met. Being able to improve is based on a setting that allows for questions being asked and possible issues being discovered.
 So, is the recall still about the burn building at Station 2? Yes, the irresponsible decision to place an industrial class-A burn building at Station 2 is still a main issue that the recall is based on. The neglected monitoring of our fire department’s response times is another example of how the current board members fail in their main function, to look out for the community.
Daniel Koller
candidate for EFPD board

Recall proponents lack understanding of Evergreen fire district
The recall proponents pose the following rhetorical questions on their website, intended to make the reader think they come from Evergreen volunteer firefighters:
• “We can’t save your life if we are ‘out of district’ training in Denver.”
• “We can’t save your life if our trucks are ‘out of district.’ ”
• “We can’t save your life if we don’t get this training.”
• “We need this training locally or we can’t save you; think about wildfire.”
The Evergreen Volunteer Fire Department has been saving lives in Evergreen for 65 years — unconditionally. These distasteful remarks represent the level of understanding the candidates who propose to take control of this district possess. These individuals continue to make broad statements that our professionally trained firefighters are lazy and lack proper supervision.
Most recent was the statement that, while Evergreen is proud to have 30 firefighters show up on a structure fire, they really only need 10 to 12 — it is simply a matter of better scheduling. There is no scheduling … they are VOLUNTEERS who give freely of their time to save our lives.
The opposition’s candidates have one candidate with six years of firefighting experience on a paid urban department. The current Evergreen Fire Protection District board has more than 60 years of combined fire service experience, with a majority of that experience gained as volunteers here in our mountainous area.
The opposition’s lack of understanding of what it takes to run a fire district is not only naïve, it’s dangerous.
Michelle Parker
Committee to Save the Evergreen
Fire Rescue District — No Recall

Confusion exists on definition of an assault weapon
Mr. Salter’s letter in the Feb. 20 edition of the Canyon Courier illustrates the misconception that those wanting to ban guns have about military assault weapons. Military-style assault weapons were banned by the Gun Control Act of 1986. The guns that are proposed to be banned by the current legislation are modern hunting/sporting rifles that happen to look like the banned military-style assault rifles, but are not.
Henry Woodruff