Printed letters, January 9, 2014

In response to Sen. Steve King’s Dec. 31 letter to the editor regarding Gov. John Hickenlooper’s continuing efforts to address our wildfire threats, as executive director of the Department of Public Safety, I would like to relay the following:

First, the governor’s recommendation to train “ranchers and farmers to be first responders in remote areas to fight fires” makes sense and is based on a successful program implemented in the state of Idaho. Hickenlooper has tasked the Department of Public Safety to research Idaho’s Rangeland Fire Protection Association program to determine if it should be considered for replication in Colorado.

Second, the governor did not suggest that we must make a choice between purchasing an air tanker firefighting fleet or training more local volunteers. In fact, the governor is aggressively pursuing both. He has supported efforts to determine how the state — either alone or with other Western states — can secure, at low cost, aerial resources.

As King is aware, this department has been working on this issue since the governor signed his legislation directing that it study the options.

As the costs are not insignificant, the governor has been engaging his gubernatorial colleagues in other Western states to pool resources and have a fleet that could be cost-effective and deployable in a way that works. The Department of Public Safety also has been examining cost-effective ways of pooling regional firefighting resources.

Hickenlooper has been a leader in addressing wildfire threats, both in Colorado and across the West. He continues to identify new ways to mitigate the threat and enhance response. To say that the governor has lacked courage and leadership in addressing wildfires ignores the evidence of all his efforts.

The governor and the Department of Public Safety are committed to doing all we can to address Colorado’s wildfire threats. We would encourage King to continue to work with us to address the obstacles and find the resources we need to make this work.


Executive Director

Colorado Department of Public Safety




FBI probe, civil suits uncover 
good-old-boy system at airport

It’s not the airport that is in crisis. The crisis is with the previous airport management. The active FBI investigation and civil lawsuit have exposed an arcane, good-old-boy system of alleged patronage, intimidation, corruption and fraud. People, not airports, engage in those acts.

The airport, like any across the country, will survive and prosper in spite of its management. I doubt air travelers will avoid Grand Junction airport because of this scandal.

The Daily Sentinel’s Jan. 5 editorial misses the point. The county commissioners have shown their understanding of the problem by taking appropriate action: removing those who are incapable of leading through this crisis.

The commissioners should be commended for their courage and leadership. By their action, they have laid down the gauntlet. For the public good, you might consider a similar position.




Removing Granum right step in fixing airport’s problems

I disagree with The Daily Sentinel’s editorial of Jan. 5, in which county commissioners were criticized for their handling of Airport Authority Chairman Denny Granum’s removal. Our focus should be on taking effective community action to fix the airport, not on protecting individuals from hurt feelings or perceptions.

The commissioners undoubtedly recognized that Granum failed to call a special board meeting after the FBI raid, ignoring a crisis for two weeks, failed to immediately place Tippetts on paid leave and recused himself from voting on Tippetts’ removal. The commissioners should be commended for acting.

Whatever contributions Granum has made to this community, and I am sure there are many, his removal was in the public’s best interest. Let us put our time, energy and attention back on the core issue — fixing a broken airport and restoring public trust and confidence.


Grand Junction Airport Users 
and Tenants Association

Grand Junction


Five American Legion posts 
in valley here to help vets

I would like to clarify some things about the American Legion in the Grand Valley. Some folks don’t know of the legion in the valley, or they think there is only one post here. The truth is, there are five active posts. These are Grand Junction Post 37, Palisade 50, Clifton Post 200, Fruita Post 2006 and Grand Junction Post 2009. At this time Post 2700 in Whitewater is inactive.

There are 14 districts within the American Legion Department of Colorado, and within District 13 there are 14 posts. District 13 is from Aspen to the Utah border. These posts vary in size from 10 to almost 100 members. Some have a Ladies Auxiliary, and some have a Sons of Legion squadron. But no matter the size, all posts help all veterans in their own way.

Anyone wishing more information or to contact the American Legion in this area may contact me by calling 970/462-3623 or emailing The post’s address is 307 S. 12 Street, and its website is

Thank you to all and welcome home.


Commander, District 13

American Legion

Grand Junction


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