Mountaineering Neptune; emergency alarms; military spending; non-vaxxed; Balfour

Melissa Hinebauch: Neptune Mountaineering: I can’t thank you enough

I cannot thank Neptune Mountaineering enough for the kindness, compassion, support and free items they provided to my family and the entire community following the devastating Marshall fire.

This business has been a source of comfort for my family during this difficult time. (My parents have lived in the same house in Boulder since 1971. My dad, a former gearhead and entrepreneur in the outdoor camping/skiing space, always liked this store, but we really like it now.)

My parents lost their entire house and all of their belongings in the Marshall fire. Also, my son who lived with them while attending culinary school, also lost everything he owned. He is a student at the Escoffier culinary school and goes to Neptune every day after class. Neptune has been so welcoming, kind, helpful and friendly to my family. This store has become their favorite place to visit during this whole tragedy. My son stopped by Neptune daily to find hiking boots for his grandfather, hiking boots and trainers for his grandmother, jackets for both and socks to keep his feet warm in our temporary and cold living situation.

So thank you, Neptune Mountaineering. You have shown our community how to help in a crisis. You have stepped up and welcomed people with extreme trauma and pain. You have given us all a place to feel cared for and be seen. You have provided my family with a safe place to land in the midst of tragedy. And above all, you graciously gave them shoes, jackets, socks, hats, mittens and hope to carry them forward to an unknown future. You have my eternal gratitude.

Melissa Hinebauch

Concord, New Hampshire

Ron Huffmeier: Marshall Fire: Why no alarms?

The sirens did not sound because why? SMS and telephone alerts are not released because why? Why did I have to hear about my sister’s fire in Seattle? My friends from Superior narrowly made it out alive. Someone has to get fired for this (expletive).

Ron Huffmeier


Tom Moore: Military spending is exaggerated

What is happening? America is not at war, not even threatened by one. At the same time, Congress authorizes record military spending – $778 billion is truly a record, more than the Pentagon had asked for! This budget exceeds all national discretionary spending – more than is planned for diplomacy, the environment, climate chaos, justice, highways, housing, agriculture, poverty, health, regulation of large banks and big pharma, oil and gas combined.

It exceeds the military expenditures of the following 11 countries, allies and adversaries. The United States maintains approximately 750 military bases in 85 countries around the world. We spend $2 trillion on the long term care of our veterans injured and permanently damaged in undeclared wars. Between a third and a half of that goes to military contractors.

Couldn’t some of all this wartime spending be used to make things better here at home or to slow down the COVID pandemic that continues to evolve around the world?

What do we have to show for the $8,000,000,000,000 that has been spent on war since 9/11?

I would say that this money brought more danger of more shooting and bombing wars, maybe with the nuclear powers of Russia and China. There are nuclear weapons in the hands of nine countries and possibly militant groups without country names. Iran is not a nuclear power on the list.

I know that sounds like an expanded version of the story. But you can check it out on Brown University’s Costs of War site. There are many other sources that are easy to find online. Ask our senators and representatives about it. United States Capitol Switchboard: 1-202-224-3121

Tom Moore


Art Hirsch: Unvaxxed: They exhaust hospital staff

I want to acknowledge and accept Martha Jones’ December 24 letter, “Forget the carrot, let’s get the stick out” about the unvaccinated taking financial responsibility for their actions. I just don’t feel sympathy for these unvaccinated people hogging vital hospital resources for long periods of time. The unvaccinated deprive the heart, cancer and other sick people of vital resources. They exhaust the hospital staff. I agree with Martha that the unvaccinated should be “put to the back of the line” and held accountable for their COVID hospitalization costs.

Art Hirsch

Boulder Colorado

Mike Burns: Balfour: Recognizing Frontline Workers

Over the past few years, my perspective on essential workers and the public value of their service has evolved significantly. As the son of two teachers, I grew up enjoying the economic benefits and community involvement gained that come with these vital community careers. Having never served, I have a strong appreciation for those who make these courageous decisions, as we and they benefit from their helpful roles in the military and as first responders.

Yet my awareness of the need and, in my view, the scant attention given to another group of essential workers has accelerated in recent years. My eyes are wide open thinking about my dad’s support system as he needed memory care. We cannot thank the Balfour staff at Cherrywood Village in Louisville enough for their care before, during and after the recent devastating fires. At the same time, I am shocked when my daughter started her career, initially as a psychiatric hospital care provider, learning how difficult it is for these essential mental health facilities to fulfill key roles and retain staff.

We are in a time that requires regenerative economic policies. I sincerely hope, as we reflect on recent events, thanking and supporting the broadest definition of first responders, that a simultaneous collective awareness emerges. Care providers and a wide range of those working in our struggling health care system are in critical non-transitional jobs. They deserve wages and benefits that allow them to live in our communities because they work and retire with integrity.

Mike Burns