A big thank you to first respondersWe are so blessed to live in this community! I wish to convey my heartfelt thanks to the law officers and the firemen of our county, some who helped us some time ago and some who helped us recently.

Some time ago, when we were out of town, a man decided he would “camp” on our property. We called the Albany County Detention Center to report it. They advised us not to go over there. An officer came to investigate and took him to the center. The man had fashioned a “sort of” tent out of black plastic. And he had cut 79 branches off our Colorado Blue Spruce Trees (which we had planted when they were 5-7 inches tall). He hung metal cans all around his tent, apparently so he could hear if anyone approached. The inside of the tent was a real mess. We were not in a position (I was in a wheelchair) to clean things up. Subsequently, a law officer came with plastic bags and had the man clean up. This kind officer got the man a ticket and put him on a bus so he could go to a destination he wanted.

And our wonderful firemen! Heartfelt thanks go to them, also! They were/are so vital in our lives! Our 911 calls were answered in minutes! At a crucial time in my life, they came. The law officer remained with me until he knew I was alright. I believe we owe all these wonderful people a debt of gratitude for their service to all the people of Albany County.

Lydia Kercher

Laramie

LPD acted inappropriately in arresting protestersTo the Editor:

I am writing to express my extreme displeasure with the recent strong-arm tactics committed by the Laramie Police Department against peaceful protesters.

First and foremost, the police force was mask-free, and some were not wearing gloves. Yet they were literally in the face of protesters as they grabbed arms and made arrests. No law enforcement officer has a right to potentially expose anyone to COVID-19 or any other disease. The police department must set a good example for the rest of the community and cover their faces any time they interact with the public. It’s the only way we’re going to get a handle on this pandemic.

Furthermore, any short-term inconvenience to people in Laramie driving Grand Avenue is nothing compared to the 400+ years of genocide and racism against non-white people in our nation. We can give these peaceful demonstrators more than a little leeway in expressing their desire to change abusive police forces into the public safety forces they need to become in these times.

Randy Shaw

Cheyenne

Downtown regs would have negative impact on downtownDear Editor:

Many thanks to the Boomerang’s Daniel Bendtsen for reporting on the proposed zoning changes — ones that could seriously impact downtown Laramie — which were forwarded to council by the Planning and Zoning Commission this week. Had he not done so, downtown residents, businesses and property owners might not have been informed before it was too late to oppose them.

These changes would have severe negative impacts on downtown. They would make the façades of a substantial percentage of downtown buildings “nonconforming,” meaning they’d have to undergo needless, costly changes if a new business moved in. They would prohibit, among other things, walls that were suitable for murals, such as the one on the 100 block of Grand. They would force buildings and storefronts to be drab, making our downtown look rundown and uninteresting.

They would not only fail to require adequate parking — in an area with a critical parking shortage — but actually outlaw it. They’d allow developers to scrape off existing structures to build incongruous “skyscrapers” taller than any existing building — depriving neighbors of sunlight, leaving solar collectors in shadow, and blocking line-of-sight wireless Internet connections.

They would even micromanage buildings’ percentage of window space, hobbling many uses. All this during the COVID-19 pandemic, when businesses can ill afford to be burdened with new regulations.

The process by which the changes were adopted is also suspect. They were tabled earlier this year, then stealthily resurrected — in a manner reminiscent of the opening chapter of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy — at a meeting where the Chairman was absent. No affected member of the public was sent a notice warning that this was happening.

The fact that this proposal has come this far — “flying beneath the radar” without proper public notice or input — demonstrates that Laramie’s city government must be more open and transparent.

Fortunately, in this case, there is still time to set things right.

All those who support a vibrant, prosperous downtown should show up at the July 7 meeting of the Laramie City Council to oppose these harmful changes to downtown zoning.

Brett Glass

Laramie

County should be careful in considering wind energy developmentLike all counties in Wyoming, Albany County has a comprehensive plan which guides policymakers where growth and various land uses should take place, consistent with the vision and values defined with extensive input from the public and stakeholders. The overarching theme that emerged from this process is that county residents want to keep the county rural, conserving its traditions and character, supporting agriculture, wildlife, habitat, and scenic vistas.

The plan mentions over and over the importance of assuring agricultural and rural identities remain intact by preserving and protecting open landscapes. It declares Albany County’s natural beauty and landscape are its prized assets and claims its rich physical landscapes with their visual amenities and natural resources as highly valued by both residents and visitors. It acknowledges degradation of these resources as a leading negative consequence of development, potentially dissuading the location of new businesses. It recognizes the increasingly rare and unique amenity of dark night skies and the importance of preserving the county’s cultural resources. The county’s observatories and recognized cultural resources are located in the southern part of the county, along with 80% to 90% of the county’s rural population. It mentions the threat to existing scenic vistas on highway corridors, particularly mentioning those “front door” corridors in southern Albany County as being encroached.

The plan also specifically acknowledges the challenges to growth in the southern part of the county, and the need to pay particular attention to development there. Indeed, it is different from the north half where three industrial wind farms will occupy over 100,000 acres, on single ranches as large as 55,000 acres.

The introduction to the plan presents the huge challenge for policymakers in assuring development is in accordance with the wishes of its residents when it states, “…each person’s decision on how to use their property potentially affects the properties and quality of life of others, and sometimes many others…..thus the pattern of development you approve influences quality of life, health, safety and welfare, and cost to the public in the present and in the future.” Please guide us prudently during deliberations on wind siting.

Ruth Sommers

Tie Siding

Commissioners should reject wind development in countyThe city and county commissioners are enamored by the proposed wind turbine project. We could solve all of these wind turbine issues by building the turbines in the city and/or within a two-mile range. We can put them along the river walk trail, in city parks, university property, Ninth Street, etc. It’s a win for everyone.

I just read in the editorial the other day, people in the city don’t expect to have a view and are happy without one and that wind turbines are benign. Locating these turbines in the city and surrounding area will save the 287 corridor from carnage; the wind turbines will no longer intrude and harm our local ecosystem. Being within arm’s reach of the city limits would go a long way to save insects, birds and animals the turbines cause harm and death . If I kill an eagle, I get a big fine along with other severe consequences’, wind turbine can kill eagles all day long (our national symbol) and nothing happens to them. It’s “so bad” that the government had to give wind turbines special exemptions on environmental laws. Altamont Pass Ca. turbine killed 2,900 golden eagles. “BUT”- before you erect these monsters, be aware that these wind turbines create more of a carbon foot print then existing energy sources, much more. Wind turbines create more carbon dioxide emissions in their manufacture, installation and operational life, than their operational life can ever recover.

These hideous land tumors will create at a minimum 242 tons of CO2 each. Ask yourself, what am I getting out of this? Absolutely nothing! The county is sniveling about not having enough money. Welcome to the real world. Do what the rest of us do. Learn to manage your money better. The good news is that its election time and we can vote in people that care about community and our ecosystem more than lining their own pockets. The commissioners are by law supposed to be unbiased. Clearly, they are not.

Carson Aanenson

Laramie

People of hospice express gratitudeWe would like to take this opportunity to recognize the generosity and resilience of this Laramie Community. Hospice of Laramie recently hosted the Annual Community Memorial Service for those whose loved ones passed away over the course of the past year. It is Hospice of Laramie’s intention to support and nurture those in mourning through the grief process. This memorial service and the generosity expressed toward it, serve as a foundation of hope, meaning, and community.

This service would not have been possible without the generosity of Killian Florist, Altitude Chophouse and Brewery, Caleb and Adam from Whitewater Christian Church and the many volunteers that gave their time to this important event.

We are very grateful for the depth of support from this beautiful community as we strive to serve it.

Thank you,

Hospice of Laramie

Wearing a mask is the right thing to doThis is the Cowboy State. The cowboy could be recognized by his boots, chaps, hat and bandanna. None of these were fashion statements--they were all functional. He wore the bandanna to keep from breathing in trail dust.

A lot of people don’t believe in wearing functional protective gear these days. “No Shirt, No Shoes, No Service” is fine but they go ballistic if asked to wear a facial mask to slow the spread of coronavirus--to protect their own health, that of others.

This is a public health issue. We are all in this together, and working together will get us out of this quicker than the current chaotic response. If our water was contaminated, we’d boil it. If there were a large fire, we’d wear masks to protect our breathing. Why is this different? The only difference is that Trump has politicized it--to him, wearing a mask means someone is not loyal to him, not that they are taking the response recommended by medical and public health experts. Face it, to Trump, everything is about him, not the good of the American people. Nero had his fiddle; Trump has his golf clubs.

Some people don’t want to believe the science or common sense in this situation. They believe in science when it gives them goodies like electricity, indoor plumbing, vehicles, devices, etc. but not when it comes to protecting health. I’d bet you dollars to donuts they’ll become believers if they contract the virus and are sucking for air; they’ll want those scientifically developed ventilators and medical treatments in a heartbeat. They’ll lose that defiant bravo.

Start using common sense. Believe science. Do your part to stop this disease as soon as possible. Cowboy up and wear your bandanna or mask and do social distancing.

Carol Smith

Laramie

Senate candidate responds to letterWyoming faces a potential $2.8 billion budget deficit fueled by the COVID-19 crisis and significant revenue shortfall from oil and gas royalties on public lands. As your state senator for District 10, let me be clear: I will not cut education spending and will not raise taxes in Wyoming because it’s not possible to tax the state out of debt. Wyomingites need legislators that are not looking to that the position, volunteer for a budget cutting committee and be served lunch in the process because this is nothing more than adult daycare.

Wyoming needs a candidate with two decades of experience working in the global private sector for a $416 billion technology company that all Wyomingites use and is known as a Visa card. I retired from Visa at age 50, received my pension and their investment in over $3 million in global business training. There are companies out there in our nation that cannot currently run at their full potential because of the unrest in the location of their company headquarters and need to be offered a solution to move here.

Fifteen minutes after I take the oath of office as your state senator, I will be on a plan to Seattle to speak to the CEOs in person with delegates from the Laramie hotel and real estate segments. I will offer CEOs of Seattle-based companies a way forward to join the Wyoming economy.

My goal as your senator is to bring new jobs to all segments of the Wyoming economy. In closing, I would just like to respond to Mr. Buchanan and my opponents by saying that you all forgot Cowboy Code principle no. 1: “Live each day with courage.”

Craig Malmstrom

Laramie

It’s time for Albany County to update wind energy regsSeveral letters to this paper regarding industrial wind regulations recently have mentioned that no one is entitled to preserve “the view” at another’s expense. This is generally true (some states require wind farms to avoid despoiling the view, using setbacks and other tools). Since “the view” is a way of expressing how beautiful a community is, the “view” is something we all should have an interest in protecting.

But although the degradation of the “view” is a problem it is not the issue here. Not at present, anyway. What is at issue is that Albany County should adopt regulations appropriate to protect residents against the impact of a modern industrial wind facility that may be placed in their neighborhoods. Wind technology has changed a great deal in the more than 10 years since Albany County’s regulations were written, and a great deal more is known about the damage these facilities do to those unfortunate enough to live near them. It is important to remember that developers are not the only people with property rights that need protecting.

Regulations – (zoning) – are used to separate uses that are incompatible. Zoning also is used to prevent new development from interfering with existing uses and/or to preserve the “character” of a community. Albany County’s outdated wind zoning needs to reflect these goals.

It’s not hard to be taken in by inflated promises of free money, jobs, and future tax revenues, so it’s important to be aware of the problems brought on by modern industrial wind developments before decisions are made about where and how they should be sited. A brief Internet search will acquaint you with these problems and the various remedies that other places have used to deal with them. Albany County’s zoning is in sore need of an update if the homeowners and businesses in the county are to be protected from the many known adverse impacts resulting from these developments.

Sincerely,

Mary F. Moore

Tie Siding

Quick shout out

to all the great

tenants in LaramieA few days ago I found myself in a tight spot. Forget the uncertainty brought about by the COVID-19 disruption. Forget some of the tenants leasing my properties fell ill but were not sick enough nor old enough to get a test. Forget their job losses and the subsequent drop in revenue for my family.

Do mind this: in November (2019) a young man approached me about leasing a property this summer. He reached out, was proactive, a true gentleman. I don’t know much about him personally, but his actions speak louder than words. If you are a landlord in Laramie you no doubt appreciate a situation like this: tenant approaches you with time to build a rapport helping coordinate the smooth exit of an existing tenant (whom also possesses the same integrity as this young man who approached me last November).

Fast forward to now.

I had to tell the young gentleman who reached out early that we had to cancel his take over of the lease because the current resident is stuck with nowhere else to go. Incidentally that tenant is slated to join the Marine Corps, but even the Marines aren’t moving too fast in this COVID-19 Disruption.

And you know what? The young gentleman accepted my decision to cancel our plans with utmost respect and understanding-even though he was getting the short end of the stick, and believe you me, I am working with this young gentleman to find a good spot in the great Laramie community.

So, thank you. Thank you to all the great tenants in Laramie (especially all you students out there bettering yourself through education so you may better the world). #GOWYO!

Marko Ruble

Cody

Kudos to council for work on policingEditor:

I write to applaud the thoughtful commitment of the Laramie City Council as they grapple with the community policing issues highlighted by recent events in Minneapolis and too many other cities across the country.

Yes, we must demand a better response to our concerns than, “Thank you very much for your comments; we’ll get back to you in 50 years.” And that takes sustained pressure.

At the same time, “What?, We’ve been protesting for three weeks now and you still haven’t rolled back 400 years of systemic racism!” is a pretty tall order.

We can all see that policing should be more about community service than a show of brute force. Where improvement is necessary, let us identify and vigorously pursue opportunities for better police recruitment, training and accountability (and find the money to make that happen).

Citizens of Laramie should appreciate that this is as progressive a council as we’ve had in decades. The opportunity for constructive engagement has rarely been better. Let us cultivate that opportunity rather than venting our indignation.

And as we celebrate the birth of our country this Fourth of July, let us embrace the political activism that got us here. Thank goodness the Founders recognized that protest is patriotic. We honor their legacy by holding ourselves and our representatives to high standards.

Strive on,

Bern Hinckley

Laramie

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