Prudent replacement plan for Drake
I concur with the letter to the editor two weeks ago asking the question: what facts have changed since we made a decision - based on research and public input, to close the Drake plant in 2035? That letter provided a good look back on the deliberative process that got us to this decision.
Looking forward, I think our community is being very naive to believe that we can replace our coal plants with cleaner electricity by 2025. That is only seven years away. California made the decision to increase their percentage of electricity with wind and solar. They built massive wind farms that sat idle for 10 years because they did not have the infrastructure to connect the new clean energy source to the population centers. Why 10 years? NIMBY: not in my backyard. Building the transmission lines was held up in litigation for years. To have replacement energy in place in 2025 we would need to have new plants in progress now.
A strong argument is made throughout our state for increased use of renewable energy such a solar and wind. We have an abundance of both in Colorado. While I love zero emissions sources (I drive an electric car, "fueled" by solar panels in Fountain) my experience has shown there are periods of the year where it cannot provide a reliable source of energy. Without storage, you must build twice as much power production to provide for those zero-production days.
The decision to close the plant in 2035 has been made. Let's move forward with community involvement in the prudent replacement for Drake, rather that second-guessing the closure date. Our uninformed populace, fueled by the media and Hollywood, threw out our cleanest source of electricity in the 1980s-nuclear. In the same time frame, Congress passed legislation denying the use of natural gas for electricity because of its scarcity! Let's learn from our mistakes and focus on a well-informed decision for our energy future.
Expand I-25 to four lanes
Steve Warner makes some excellent points in his Jan. 2 letter titled "Back with hat in hand in five years", but I would like to elaborate on his thoughts to recommend an expansion of I-25 that might be acceptable to everyone. Warner points out "we are already past the need for one extra lane - we need four". I highly recommend that I-25 be expanded to four lanes; one lane be added to the present two lanes and a toll (express) lane also be added.
Adding two lanes instead of one at this time will increase the cost, but not nearly twice as much as adding another lane five-plus years from now (I agree with Warner that an extra lane will be necessary in another five years, but I doubt that it will be constructed in an additional five or more years).
Of course, the cost of two road beds and two road surfaces will be about twice the cost of just one, but the cost of management overhead, acquiring additional land, security, additional road equipment, etc., associated with the construction of two lanes will only be slightly more than the cost of constructing just one lane.
This recommendation should make the CDOT (Colorado Department of Transportation) happy because they will have an express lane. In fact, the express lane could be added all the way from Colorado Springs to Denver. The people who drive to Denver should be happy because they will have three lanes of congestion-free traffic for at least the next for 10 to 20 years because many people will prefer to use the toll express lane during periods of high traffic and thus relieve the congestion in the other three lanes.
I believe everyone will be happy because there will no longer be a need to endure the arguments, cost and hassle of constructing an additional lane in a few years. Who knows, by the time the four lanes become congested there may be a high-speed train system to relieve traffic congestion.
Let's not be short-sighted
Changing the Banning Lewis agreement to lessen the cost burden to developers and future property owners is a bad idea.
Sure, our City Council members could amend the agreement to allow for a potential of $49 million in new city revenues, but let's not be short sighted. That $49 million will erode quickly as we face the need for increased infrastructure repairs, increased public safety resources, increased municipal administrative costs, and expanded utility infrastructure. Before you know it, a new mayor and City Council will be screaming for increased taxes and fees to cover the costs.
Do not amend the agreement to cater to the quick profits of the development community. The original agreement was put in place to protect our existing community residents from covering the costs of development. Let's not go back to what we have experienced and what we are experiencing now with increased fees, taxes and utility rates to cover our growth.
Article didn't accomplish much
In regards to "Ambush shooter was lawyer, Iraq war vet," published on Tuesday, Jan. 2:
Just looking at the three pictures of this article, I would assume it's going to talk about the loss of and memorial service for Douglas County deputy Zack Parrish. Instead, the article is actually about shooter Matthew Riehl, and how both schools and law enforcement failed to get him the help he needed before he shot seven people on Dec. 31. The memorial and death of Deputy Parrish just gets a mention at the end of the article.
The combination of text and pictures here just comes across wrong. The article cannot both pay tribute to Deputy Parrish and point out the ways Riehl could have been stopped earlier - and do either subject justice.
I understand that this article wasn't written by Gazette staff, but it seems dishonorable to Deputy Parrish to publish so many pictures of him and his memorial with an article that's actually about his shooter, Riehl.