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Letters to the Editor

Guidelines for Letters to the Editor submissions: We believe that our letters section is an important forum for open discussion of opinions from all walks of life. The views expressed in this forum are not necessarily the opinions of the newspaper. We strive to be an unbiased paper, with a diverse readership. Our letters section will reflect that. We accept letters that are up to 300 words in length. We reserve the right to edit letters to fit into that space if they are too long, though we will try to give you the option to edit your own first. We will occasionally, and at the editors’ discretion, agree to publish a letter in multiple parts over several weeks, but it is not a guarantee for any letter or letter writer. Personal attacks, slander, ax-grinding, muckraking, and profanity will not be published. No matter the issue, it is possible to convey an opinion in a civilized manner and we will accept nothing less. Self-serving advocacy pieces are not letters. This is especially true during political seasons- candidates and their families cannot write in to ask people to vote for them (or the family member). All letters should be exclusive to the World Journal. If your letter was also submitted to other papers, it decreases the chance of your letter making it into ours. Preference will be given to letters related to local issues. All letters must be signed first and last name, and include your street address and city. We will publish only your name and the city. Letters are due by Tuesday at noon the week you want it published. We reserve the right to not publish a letter at the editor’s discretion, for any reason, at any time. For reference, this set of guidelines is 300 words long.

Letters to the editor, October 11, 2018

Regarding Mr. Baros’ statements

Part 2 of 2

Editor’s note: This is part two of a letter responding to letters written by Jose Baros concerning the death of his daughter Quanisha.

I do agree with Mr. Baros in the fact that the relationship with the DA is imperative in successfully prosecuting cases, which has been happening at an astounding rate since the Sheriff’s Office has been the sole law enforcement agency in the County.

It saddens me to see that our community has been plagued with the same problem the remainder of the country faces at this time, which is the largest drug epidemic I have seen or heard of in my lifetime.

It is even harder for me to hear a grieving father who lost a daughter to years of drug abuse blame everyone involved in the attempt to render aid to his daughter, for her unfortunate outcome, making it what appears to be a political agenda.

The Huerfano County Sheriff’s Office has always taken every imaginable step to ensure we follow up on every citizen complaint or tip relating to any drug distribution.  At this time, the Sheriff’s Office has been granted over 80 search warrants this year to date alone, the majority of which were drug-related search warrants.

Most of those search warrants were granted because of information received from concerned citizens who cared enough about our community to provide information to our department.

This year, while being understaffed, constant changing prosecutors, and constantly training new deputies, the sheriff’s office has made more drug arrests than this community has ever seen, not to mention our jail. It has seen a consistent capacity of 35 or more inmates, where we used to average approximately 23.

I feel I speak for our entire department when I say that nothing will deter us from continuing our mission to make this a safe community.

Anyone who has any questions about my statements or the facts based therein, is encouraged to reach out to the sheriff’s office for records regarding my statements.


~Craig Lessar Captain,

Huerfano  Sheriff’s Office,

Walsenburg, CO 


Why I’m Voting YES on 1 A

It will come as some surprise to those that know me that I am supporting a sales tax hike. But anyone who’s done any business at all in our historic courthouse knows we can’t continue the way things are. The courthouse won’t sustain any more expansion and sadly, our courts are over-full these days. Lawsuits and court cases tossed out are the future of the county unless we update.

Right now, we have the opportunity to obtain a $3 million grant to offset the cost of the new justice center. But we lose that money if we don’t vote ‘yes’.

The choice is really between building the justice center now and saving big bucks, or building later, under court order, and footing the bill all by ourselves.

I urge all readers to review the facts, get answers to your questions, but by all means, consider voting ‘YES’ on 1A.

~John Freeburg

Rye, CO 


Carnivores in cattle country

As a young cattle producer and a mother of six, I testified at the state capitol in Denver in the early nineties about predators killing our livestock. I displayed many pictures showing dead calves from coyotes and mountain lions in southeast Colorado.

Pat Craig, Boulder, CO, of the Wild Animal Sanctuary in Keenesburg, CO has decided to bring carnivores into cattle country. The ranch where I live is an investment that makes the majority of my income and my way of life. This ranch has been in my family 60 years. As a young girl, my three sisters and I worked this ranch and worked hard, just like men.

After going to a Southern Colorado Livestock Association meeting in Branson, Colorado and hearing Mr. Craig’s reasons for coming to southeast Colorado, it is apparent to me that he doesn’t understand the impact the new “Refuge” will have on the cattle producers and how difficult it will be to keep these carnivores in their enclosures. It is a foregone conclusion that upon a severe weather event there is no way that the “Refuge” will be able to keep those carnivores and predators within their fences. This country’s terrain is drastically different than Keenesburg in Weld County.

No one should be surprised that livestock producers would oppose such a needless burden on our private property. I pray that the people who are pushing this will not bring their carnivores and predators such as wolves, bears, tigers, lions and mountain lions here into our historic region. We have enough predators here as I lost three calves to mountain lions last spring, we don’t need more. I say NO to carnivores in cattle country.

~Kimmi Clark Lewis,

HD 64 State Representative

Kim, CO

Card of Thanks

Oktoberfest ceremony

Dear Editor,

This letter is to the folks who planned the Oktoberfest veterans’ presentations.

Thank you so much for all of the considerations and tributes that were bestowed on Fred Falk. He truly appreciates the thoughtfulness of the committee members. It was quite an honor, and he and his family very much appreciate all of you that made this all possible.


~The Fred Falk family,

La Veta, CO


Thanks from Doc Leonetti

Editor, The World Journal (Trinidad, Walsenburg, La Veta, Raton NM, Aguilar, Hoehne, Kim, Branson, and surrounding areas

My belated thanks to all the individuals involved in the process of recommending me for induction into the Trinidad State Jr. College Educational Foundation Hall of Fame in April of this year. I am somewhat aware of numerous people who worked on this project, but not really sure of whom they all are. It seems to me to be, maybe, a top secret phenomenon. I do know that my brother Dan was actively involved, as well as my son Brian, the “Fat Kid,” Dick Compton, Coach Toupal, and others yet unknown, all of whom truly care for the education of students in need. I’m blessed that my sisters Connie and Donna, and my daughter Dawn and Brian were there for me too. My youngest daughter Amos had to work and could not attend. And a special thanks to Toni DeAngeles, a conscientious woman of extreme patience and dedication. I know of no one who can manage a job like this as she can. Thank you Toni for all you do for TSJC and the entire Trinidad community. And thank you too, Jon Barclay, for your impressive (but somewhat fabricated) rendition of my contribution to the TSJC community.

It is such an honor, not only for me, but for all the people of Trinidad, and numerous caring individuals from out-of-town who were there that evening to support and contribute to TSJC for the distinct purpose of assisting students in their pursuit of their dreams of furthering their college education. This induction was not only for me and George Leone, but for the students of TSJC. No doubt, the College Foundation does not receive enough recognition for all they do for the benefit of our college community, our state, and our nation.

I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to work with and meet so many wonderful students, young and old alike, during my lengthy tenure at TSJC. I truly loved my work in the classroom, and I hope I did my best to make all of us just a little bit better.

I can not thank you all enough.

~Doc Leonetti

TSJC Professor of Psychology (Retired)

Trinidad, CO

Cards of Thanks

Sometimes I forget

Sept. 5th, I fell in my home, bruised up my left leg, foot, arm and broke the little toe on my right foot. Before that in July was having a lot of pain in my abdomen. Sept. 12th from SPRHC Emergency room, I was on a “flight for life” helicopter ride to Colo. Springs for emergency surgery for a strangulated hernia. It was my life on the line. Sept. 13th I was released to go home with restrictions. I was also given medication for a blood clot which may have happened when I fell. I received home health care from Mountain Creek Home Health, Meals on Wheels, from SCOG. All excellent service and care plus communication with my Doctor Moll and Dr. McCann the surgeon in Colo. Springs. Sometimes I forget how our medical facilities are taken for granted and I complain plus think “no one cares.” Friends came to help and I thank Helen, Renee, Dee, Nancy, Wayde, Dr’s. Moll, McCann, Staff at St. Anthony’s Penrose hospital, Flight for Life personnel. Many cards and well wishes from friends in State and out of State.

Sometimes I forget how precious friends are, the power of prayer, and the wonderful services we have here. Sometimes I forget to really appreciate all I really have and am grateful for. Thanks to my recovery “family” for helping me on the road to “wellness'” “May God Bless Everyone” (as Tiny Tim said) and it’s good to be here and alive!

~ Yvonne Headrick, Walsenburg, CO


Spanish Peaks Harp Retreat… the ‘nearly invisible guests’

This event draws students from across the country, to gather and learn from the best harp performers and teachers in the world! We huddle together for 7 hours a day, concentrating, practicing new skills and learning from the amazing talent brought to our doorstep. In the evenings we gather for small events, comparing notes and camaraderie. So other than the toting of large cases across Main Street, you might not have even noticed it was happening in Walsenburg! Anytime world class anything comes to town, it is cause for celebration! These visitors spend time within the neighborhood, spend money at the shops, motels, eateries and gas stations! The attendance and support of the community at the culminating concert at the Fox was extraordinary! So many people make it successful, but at the top is Nancy and Jaimee Joroff. Their vision is contagious and this retreat rivals any in the harping world. A wonderful board of directors who bring a sense of calm, peaceful cooperation and joy, adds to the inner workings of a smooth and successful endeavor. Large amounts of gratitude and warm fuzzies to Mike and Evan at the Fox Theater, Gaye at Serendipity Coffeehouse, Karen and staff at La Plaza, Maria at Museum of Friends, Deb Smith for the lovely stage decor, youth volunteers, donors who are stepping up with financial and harp donations for the educational programming, and of course the fabulous turn out of local support for the final concert! Thanks to all!

~Willson and McKee Walsenburg, CO

Letters to the editor, October 4, 2018

Regarding Mr. Baros’ statements Part 1 of 2

In response to some of the letters provided to you the past two weeks, I would like the opportunity to address and clarify some inconsistencies with the statements made by Mr. Jose Baros. I believe the community has the right to hear both sides of the issues that were raised in the two-part letter titled, “Change” which was published on September 6 and 13 in the World Journal.

The first issue that concerns me in the letters addresses the issue of the use of body-worn cameras on the day of the medical call regarding Mr. Baros’ daughter. During the time of this incident, numerous members of our department, me included, were (and still are) having issues with charging and downloading the cameras, making some cameras inoperable.

With that being said, the accusation that the body camera footage provided to Mr. Baros was “edited” is horribly inaccurate. The system we use does not allow anyone on the Huerfano Sheriff’s Office access to edit any footage recorded on body-worn cameras. Mr. Baros has been provided with every piece of information that the Sheriff’s Office has to offer as soon as it has been available.

The second issue raised by Mr. Baros is the working relationship between the Sheriff’s Office and the Office of the District Attorney. I will admit that it has been challenging changing prosecutors so frequently (mostly with Deputy DAs) the past few years, not to mention an entirely new reporting system being put in place that affects the DA office, Sheriff’s Department and Dispatch.

With that in mind, it is my personal opinion that the Sheriff’s Office has a great working relationship with Mr. Solano and his office, regardless of both offices being under-staffed for the majority of the time he has been in office.


~Craig Lessar Captain, Huerfano  Sheriff’s Office, Walsenburg, CO 

Part 2 will run in next week’s World Journal

Letters to the editor, September 20, 2018

Thanks to agencies and individuals

The Spring Creek Fire is the 3rd largest fire in Colorado’s history. The amount of work and time that goes into an incident like this is unbelieveable and involves so many different agencies and groups. There were a lot of individuals who also volunteered their time and resources. it also makes me very proud to see how the people of this community came together to help each other. I am also very proud that as large and severe as this incident was, there were no injuries or death.

I would like to take this time to try and thank these people and agencies that helped during this incident and were a huge help to myself, the Huerfano County Sheriff’s Dept. and the citizens of Huerfano County.

Team Black, Team Blue, the National Guard, the Colorado State Patrol and Capt. Lyons, Pueblo County Sheriff’s deputies and Sheriff Taylor, Custer County Sheriff’s deputies and Sheriff Byerly, Las Animas County deputies and Sheriff Navarette, Huerfano County Commissioners and John Galusha, Harold Willburn and Jim Chamberlain of the La Veta Marshal’s Office, Colorado Parks and Wildlife officers, Colorado Division of Parole, all three Huerfano County fire district fire fighters, Red Cross, Southern Baptist Church, DOLA, Huerfano County Road and Bridge, Colorado Department of Transportation, Sheila Machieto, Gay Davis, Billy Carruth, and all the volunteers that fed everyone in Gardner.

If I have missed anyone I apologize as you are just as important as everyone else who helped.

And last but not least of all, my deputies who worked long and stressful hours on top of their normal duties.

~Sheriff Bruce Newman, Huerfano County


Kudos to youth in Walsenburg

The Museum of Friends had an incredible opportunity to work with the 7th and 8th grade Peakview, RE1 students at MOF on September 14 all day.

The theme of the “School-Tour” Program was Huerfano County Pride.

The exhibit on view in the changing gallery is “Libre’s 50th and Friends.” An example of the new Geodesic Buildings at Amazon headquarters in Seattle was shown along with images from Drop City in Trinidad that illustrated how influential this style of architecture is, and how it may have begun right here.

The Drop City artist community inspired Dean and Linda Fleming to start their own in Huerfano 50 years ago. A half-dozen or so of the children were related to artists in the exhibit and were amazed at magazine articles we shared putting Walsenburg on the National Art History Map with such notoriety of these artists and MoF’s collections.

We would like to thank Deb Nott who organized the full-day program with Julie Repka, Patricia Johnson and Annette Lamberson. Maria Cocchiarelli and Cindy Fleury led the groups throughout the museum for the students to get a taste of the collections.

There was so much excitement expressed by the students to get to know the collections and what programs are available for youth at MoF.

The pride of Huerfano County’s Cultural Arts Center and the Museum of Friends was palpable and a majority of the students’ evaluations stated a need for more art programming at MoF and in the schools that they could participate in.

As of yet we have not heard back from Gardner or RE2 regarding “School-Tour” trips to see this exhibit.

Libre 50th and Friends remains on view through September 30. Pplease go to: for schedules, and also call 719-738-2858 to book a tour. ~Maria Cocchiarelli-Berger Walsenburg, CO

Letters to the editor, September 13, 2018

Change, part 2

Editor’s note: This is a continuation of a letter in last week’s World Journal, where Jose R. Baros discusses EMS, sheriff’s and emergency room response to his daughter’s death.

In a situation like this one, where they are called to a home that was reportedly “under investigation and not safe” by a party reporting a person “was detoxing from drugs and not breathing,” one wouold think the sheriff’s department would have body cams on and be vigilant in their response. The video showed nothing of this sort, and the focus was only on the bystanders as opposed to the victim. It was painfully clear after reviewing all reports and interviewing everyone I was able to meet with, that my daughter’s case was “just another overdose.”

Whether our first responders and sheriffs department realize it or not, the community looks to them as the first line of defense against our heroin and opiate epidemic. As the first people on the scene, they may not save a life, however every effort should be made to investigate the situation and try to eliminate the drugs and dealers which are killing our own people.

In my quest for the truth surrounding my daughter’s death, my eyes have been opened to the lack of support the sheriff’s office offers its local citizens. I feel strongly that the sheriff needs to resign.

In all honesty and fairness to our county, if that does not happen, it is election year and there is a young qualified citizen running for sheriff who is a lifelong resident of this community who has the ambition and desire to serve this community with the utmost integrity. It’s time for a change in the way things are done, and how our community is served by its sheriff and its officers. I would encourage each and every citizen who has had enough of how we are served to get out and vote this election year for change.

God Bless our community,

Sincerely, Jose R. Baros. Walsenburg, CO


Post Fire Need for Aging in Place Options for area Seniors

As a result of the devastating Spring Fire, the need for a Senior Living Community Facility for Spanish Peaks residents of all income levels is increasing, as are the construction costs. I have observed that many of the residents displaced by the fire are retired and now need to make an unplanned decision to remain in the county and rebuild their home, or move elsewhere.

The availability of aging-in-place options will very likely factor into their decision to stay or move away. Even prior to the fire, I saw an outflow among County residents who needed assisted living and skilled nursing care because they could no longer live independently.

A recent survey of the five county clinics, our local home health agency, and the personal knowledge of our Board members indicates that, over the past two years, 55 adults have needed to leave their familiar home area and in many cases their family and friends, to access assisted living services at least 50-70 miles away.

The result is often a stressful move for both seniors and their family/friends, loss of commerce for local businesses and area service providers, and a premature loss of oral history for the community.

I know that we are a community that cares about their elders. The fire has only highlighted the need for senior living options for our aging population. Now more than ever, we need to raise funds through public and private support for La Veta Village, Inc.which plans to repurpose the Old Cheese Factory structure in La Veta into an non-profit Assisted Living Community open to 18 seniors of all income levels.

I encourage you to support La Veta Village’s mission to help seniors in the Spanish Peaks area live as independently as possible and remain in their community safely and comfortably.

~Jeanne Schwarz Founder and Board Member,

La Veta Village, Inc. La Veta, CO


Thank you for your support

On behalf of the Snowy Range 4-H Club, parents and members we would like to thank Big R of La Veta for allowing us to sell snow cones and hotdogs at their store location all summer and for supporting us like you have. We would also like to thank Cliff Brice of La Veta for their donation and for helping make our snow cones sales such a huge success. Also we would like to thank the people of La Veta and surrounding areas for supporting us each weekend as we sold snow cones and hotdogs throughout the summer, and a huge thank you to all the parents and members who took part in this event each weekend. Sincerely,

~The Snowy Range 4-H Club leaders, parents, and members,

La Veta, CO

Letters to the editor part 2, September 6, 2018

Change, part 1

On June 17, 2018 my world changed forever.  My youngest daughter, Quanisha Nicole Baros, became one of thousands lost to the heroin problem sweeping our country.

Stopping this plague is widely discussed by not only people in our community, but nationwide.

In our small community it is fairly obvious who our dealers are, yet getting law enforcement to pursue getting them off the streets is nearly impossible..

If I, a citizen, can follow these people around and make them nervous, why can’t our sheriff’s officers? They could make arrests based upon information given to them by people like myself who are quite aware of what is going on in our city, however, they don’t.

After speaking to our sheriff numerous times, I’m tired of hearing, “We don’t have the funds, the manpower, and the time.”  The sheriff himself stated, “The DA plea bargains all of his cases out.” The DA says, “I can’t prosecute the cases due to inadequate performances on the sheriff’s department’s part, and also the county commissioners transferred a portion of my funding to the sheriff’s department which leaves me short.”

It has become painfully clear to me that the sheriff does not have a working relationship with the DA, which is a great disservice to Huerfano County.

What upsets me the most is the total lack of integrity on the part of our EMS, sheriff’s department, and emergency room staff in handling of cases like my daughter’s.

I have spoken to all of them, and fought to gather all the reports possible, and found the sheriff’s department to be very unwilling to work with me.

After many attempts, I was able to get a portion of the body camera videos, unfortunately, the one I was given was quite obviously edited, and the other one was missing due to the captain “forgetting” to turn his on when he arrived on the scene.

God Bless our community,


~Jose R. Baros Walsenburg, CO

Editor’s note: Part two of Baros’ letter will run in next week’s World Journal


Always buy Walsenburg

This is in response to Shannon Johnson’s letter in the August 30 issue of the WJ. You should be thankful to the local restaurant owners who are buying local and are supporting the local economy.

If you are upset you can’t get hamburger logs when you shop, then perhaps change the time you go into the store? Both markets in town have enough inventories to mostly keep the shelves stocked. Ask the butcher to get some out of the back. Problem solved!

I would rather go and support those businesses that support the local economy and have a fresh hamburger than a frozen burger which has been cryofrozen for who knows how long. Remember, the owners who buy here ARE LOCAL.

If you haven’t gotten my point- SHOP LOCAL.

~David Tesitor Walsenburg

Card of Thanks – September 6, 2018

Thanks For Active Living Articles

When I retired here there was much said about what we don’t have as a community in Walsenburg. I was thrilled with the newly constructed track west of John Mall High School, but the lack of gym facilities and other related opportunities were undeniable.

Now, four years later, things have changed considerably. Thanks in large measure to the nonprofit, LiveWell Huerfano, under the leadership of Cindy Campbell, the gym facility is available and programs and activities too numerous to outline here likewise have reduced some of the disincentives that one might have to settle here.

For example, my specific area of interest was a running club and local options for related recreational events. It is hard to believe that we just held our fourth annual Marathon of the Legends Team Relay that attracted 53 runners from as far away as Boulder and Alamosa and closer to home, from Colorado Springs, Pueblo, Trinidad and La Veta. And, yes, supporting Downtown Walsenburg Revitalization, those people spent money at local hotels, coffee shops and gas stations.

While it is appropriate that the race participants receive the accolades, enough can never be said for the civic minded event volunteers that devote their time and energy and sometimes money and in kind contributions to prove that, “Yes, Walsenburg can!” – put on a Marathon or a Duathlon, for instance.

So – in the case of the Marathon of the Legends event, thanks to Donna Allenbaugh, Carrie Andreatta, Susan Botelho, Tony Botelho, Bob Kennemer, Stirling Lathrop, Huerfano Deputy Sheriff Eric Medina, Donna Pennington, Keri Powers, Michael Reynolds, DaLonna Sandoval, Gary Weston, and Karen Wilson.

And finally, thanks to the World Journal for publicizing these events that make known the opportunities and enhance the image of our region as a desirable place to live. Of course we all have more work to do to build on these enhancements, but that four year difference is unmistakable.

~Ben Wiley, Walsenburg


Thanks to La Plaza and Staff

I would like to thank the La Plaza staff and Nick Agnes, for the great set up, excellent food and service that was provided for us the 18th of August for a 1965 Girls get together!

In attendance were: Virginia Benivedez, Roberta Bustos, Rita Chavez, Margaret Garcia, Sherie Huebner, Joyce Kunkendal, Vonna Matheny, Kathy Russell, Jann Vail, Sharon Vezzani, and Toni Wallace.

~Toni Wallace Loveland, CO


Letters to the Editor: August 30, 2018

There is still good in this world

Last night Maria and I were returning home from the state fair, it was dark, after 10 pm, as we passed over the 6th st.railroad tracks our tire blew out. Now what, stuck on a dark desolate street with no light I opened the trunk and fumbled with the latch to remove the spare tire. No sooner had I got the tire out when Bill and Linda Beverly pulled up to help. With little cell phone light we were just putting the spare in place when Huerfano County Sheriff Jacob Jenkins pulled up to see if he could help. With his trusty flashlight he illuminated the work area and put the finishing touches on the loosened lug nuts. Just then Bill’s mechanic friend David Stanley pulled up. We got home safely thanks to wonderful friends and our community sprit, need I say the very reason I call Huerfano County my home. Mahalo Nui Loa, good deeds are not taken for granted.

~Brendt and Maria Berger

La Veta, CO


His Honor, Mayor Rico, just doesn’t get it…(pt 1)

With extreme disappointment I read the article, “Trinidad mayor replies to ethics complaints” on page 26 of the August 23rd edition of the World Journal newspaper. Frankly, I was hard pressed to see the point of Mayor Rico’s visit to the World Journal offices to “straighten out the record”. In my opinion, the record was already crystal clear. Mayor Rico was recently called out by his city council colleagues for having acted inappropriately in his capacity as mayor. More importantly, Mayor Rico totally missed the point of charges against him and the ensuing ethics hearings. In the first complaint, filed by Councilman Goodall, it was asserted that the mayor acted tastelessly at a recent convention of the Colorado Municipal League when he chose to cast a personal and private ballot for the election of League officers (including Councilman Lopez) without the prescribed input of the other councilmen (Goodall and Lopez) who were in attendance at the convention. At the time of his recent ethics hearing, Mayor Rico, contended that, because he has a seat on the CML policy group, he believed it was his chosen right to individually act on behalf of the city council without the prescribed input of the other council representatives in attendance. Worse yet, Mayor Rico refused to show his ballot to either Goodall or Lopez saying his vote, though cast as a representative of the Trinidad City Council, was a “private matter.” In the second ethics hearing held on August 8th, for which I served as chairman, Mayor Rico was charged by Councilman Joe Bonato with an ethics violation for having hosted, and/or facilitated, two private meetings about Ft Carson and the Piñon Canyon Maneuver Site. In each of these meetings, the only city council people aware of or included in the meetings were Mayor Rico and, by his invitation, Councilwoman Miles. Submitted with all due respect

~Councilman Anthony Mattie

Trinidad, CO

(Part 2 next week)

An open letter to the Sheriff

We moved here a little over 2 years ago, just in time to find out that the citizens had fired the police department. Evidently a reflection of deep distrust in the ability of the police to be effective any longer. A very scary position for the community to be in! It doesn’t take long for the criminals to start to feel comfortable, and soon run the show. Before long more good people get scared and stop speaking up.

In the past several months, l have had occasion to witness the effort being made by you and your deputies to correct this long neglected problem. I feel proud, honored, and heartened to watch you all help to take this town back! Please keep up this hard work. Soon the people will regain trust, start to feel safe again, and help you take back our community! Thank You.

Mike Horn, a concerned citizen, with new found faith.

~Mike Horn Walsenburg, CO


Leave some for the rest of us

To the restaurant buying up the logs of hamburger at the grocery store:

Why don’t you order your meat like other places instead of buying all the hamburger logs at the grocery and taking away from the locals?

~Shannon Johnson Walsenburg, CO


Sales Tax Increase

Let’s face the truth folks. The terrible working conditions the Huerfano County Court is currently forced to operate under on a daily basis are an embarrassment to all of Huerfano County residents. There is nothing to be proud of except the exceptional people who persevere and do their jobs under such adverse conditions. They are to be commended.

Some people are upset because we thought we were originally told there would be no taxes used to construct the new justice center building. Some people do not like the location. Some just don’t think we need a new justice center. Some want a scaled down building. An idea to continue 5th Street through the Justice Center parking lot has been offered to satisfy the majority of folks who did not want to lose 5th street.

Putting all that aside, the bottom line is this – no matter how much we talk and talk the building is going up where it is planned. We were told at the meeting on August 21st that the state of Colorado could, as a last resort, force the County to provide a safe environment for the court to operate in. If that happens and the sales tax is not approved the next step could be an increase in property taxes to provide the funding. The County would have no choice.

The enormous amount of work that has been done by Judge Appel and his associates along with our three County Commissioners and County Administrator to steer us to this point cannot be overstated. Literally years of effort have been expended to plan a court building that will meet the needs of Huerfano County for years to come.

Like it or not, sooner or later, one way or another, Huerfano County taxpayers are going to foot the bill for a new court building. A sales tax is the least painful way to do that. Vote yes for the sales tax increase and let’s take this as a giant step toward our combined goal of improving Huerfano County.

~Richard Goodwin,

Taxpayer Walsenburg, CO


Justice for all

Huerfano county residents have a unique opportunity to provide Justice For All. Whether a defendant, witness, juror, or spectator, safety and privacy are a necessity and can ONLY be accomplished with a new courthouse. And because of the hard work put forth by our law enforcement officials we can make a fair trial possible at a cost estimated to be only 30% of the cost to be paid by local residents. Check out the facts for the new Huerfano County Justice Center:

Best of multiple sites: No cost for land, Prison, Lathrop detention center, Washington school, and many other options.

Closest to jail. Closest to other county offices. Shared parking with downtown merchants and events.

Best suits down town. 1% sales tax (not property) starts January 2020. 30% of project funded by residents, 70% of project from other sources. 30% of project funded at no cost under grants available today. 40% of project funded by non-residents 1904 Court house (115 years old IF we start today)

Technology has changed since 1904. Victims, inmates, jurors share same common area. Potential future lawsuit for violence, unfair judicial facilities SAFER: Secure prisoner transfer, Secure prisoner holding. Criminals and victims have separate areas for conferences and proceedings. Jurors away from victims, criminals, and lawyers.

Current employees left in the basement in unhealthy conditions. Consolidate public access areas and security areas. Safer to pay taxes (do business) with the rest of the county officials

Please support our new justice system need for a new court house for ALL!

~JC Copeland,

Walsenburg, CO


Steve Pearce is a bad choice (pt 1)

Steve Pearce, New Mexico Representative at the US House of Representatives and candidate for New Mexico Governor spent a day in Raton campaigning. Pearce, as is usual in an election year, has made many promises to Ratonians, many of them are about undoing much of the damage wrought by the current Governor, Susana Martinez to the local economy. Since Pearce and Martinez share many of the same ultra right wing economic and social philosophies, one must wonder how their terms as governor might differ. During Martinez’ term as governor Raton has suffered several blows to its citizens and the future of the community, among them – education, medical care, mental health and tourism. Education: The Martinez’ nominees that control the New Mexico Public Education Department punished the Raton Public School District severely for shuttering two underused schools by slashing the school’s budget. This move by a party that seeks to install charter schools in place of public systems will have a negative knock on effect for years. This budgetary punishment necessitated laying off 15 essential staff members and closed 4 essential programs – the result of which is still being felt in the achievement levels of students. Already struggling, these draconian cuts to the public school system will continue to affect the young people who depend upon local schools to prepare them for the future. Pearce’s solution to our struggling schools and his promise to ‘Let teachers teach’ is a thinly veiled support of Charter Schools. Albuquerque school systems might be able to withstand the siphoning off of students and funding but the Raton School District can not. Mental Health- Governor Martinez essentially dismantled local mental health and addiction agencies all over the state at the start of her 8 year tenure and replaced them with out of state corporate providers which have proven to be unable and unwilling to service the state and Colfax County. Locally, her actions were devastating to the local, grassroots organizations and resulted in a severe crisis in Raton’s ability to assist people with mental health or addiction issues that continues to this day. Pearce promises to restore funding to local mental health agencies. This will be difficult promise to keep as he consistently votes to cut Medicaid and Medicare which are the main revenue providers in this branch of medical care.

~Gene Sisneros

~Roy Fernandez

Raton, NM

(part 2 of this letter in next week’s WJ)

Letters to the Editor: August 23, 2018

Gravel butt

Another early morning and I’m out the door for my daily fat burning walk. I always count my blessing to find any lost change.  My neighbor and I almost have a playful contest going who can find the most. This morning there isn’t even a disregarded penny, but I found a perfectly good wood screw.

Considering I do small building projects, I can use that screw. In fact, isn’t a wood screw maybe worth a few pennies? So, I’m doin’ pretty good!

Not doing too bad, and I still have some ways to go to get home. The weather is good, and the neighborhood is quiet, and the yards well kept, but… the gravel. Why is the gravel such a mess? It can and was meant to look good, as well other things, but don’t the home owners know how to keep it from spilling all over into the sidewalks and street?

My eyes tuned in to still more gravel mess most of the way home. Even the public ways are overfilled with gravel; our tax pennies. Don’t home owners care? It must be put in an area that is deeper dug out first, make a taller border, or don’t overfill. There must be a way, because of traffic, to make it more foot and tire proof…mmm… how to do that? I don’t know. It just looks bad.

Wait! How much is gravel worth? It’s in the street, so nobody must want it. I have use for a small amount in my walkway around the house. So, I slip a piece of gravel off the street in my pocket. It’s early enough and not many people out to be embarassing, so I gathered more gravel – only ones that strayed from a home, meaning it’s in the street. In most cases, it is hard to tell from which home.

The home owners obviously won’t miss it, so if they are willing to disregard those pennies, I’ll take them!

No doubt, this walk is taking longer. Instead of getting lighter from burning fat, I’m weighted down with gravel. So, I’m getting my gravel butt home, and next time I’ll bring a bucket with me.

~Lisa Low, La Veta, CO


Iconic Dental donates mouth guards to Panthers Football team

On Friday, August 10th, Dr. James Shoff and his team at Iconic Dental fitted the entire JMHS Panthers Football Team with professionally molded mouthguards. Dr. James’ staff came in on their day off to create the molds for the mouthpieces for each of the 28 football players. The Iconic Dental team worked hard to make sure that the mouthpieces were ready for pickup on the following Friday, the same day of the Panthers first scrimmage.

The John Mall High School Panthers Football Team wants to extend our sincere gratitude to Dr. James Shoff and his team at Iconic Dental! We truly appreciate the support and the generous gift to the football program.

The John Mall High School Panthers Football Team kicks off their season on Saturday, September 1st at St. Mary’s High School in Colorado Springs at 1:00 pm. GO PANTHERS!

~Ricardo Bobian Walsenburg, CO


Thanks for making the coal camp tour a success

Editor: Many thanks to the World Journal for publicizing the Historical Society’s coal camp tour last Saturday. We had twice as many people as we anticipated… from Alamosa, Colorado Springs, Pueblo, and possibly others from out of the county.

Thanks to all who helped in any way. At the Walsenburg Mining Museum: Margaret Gleisberg, John Carlson, Angela Treece, and Kay Beth Avery (absentee help). Research: Judith Pierce, Jill Tamburelli, and Pat Romero. Speakers: John Van Keuren (Hastings and Berwind), Sharon and Max Vezzani, Rosalie Vigna, Clara Quartiero (Pryor, Rouse, Lester). Added information: Gary Micheli, Will Prator and to anyone I may have omitted.

Thank you. ~Carolyn Newman, organizer Walsenburg, CO


Thank you from the Huerfano 4-H Ambassadors

On behalf of the 2018-2019 Huerfano County 4-H Ambassadors we would like to thank the following sponsors for donating to the 4-H ambassador program this year.  Thank you to Dana and Carol Kelley, Lee Soap Company, Performance Builders and Roofing, Mr. and Mrs. Frank Leone, Peak Performance Vet Clinic, Shawna Chamberlin, Mr. and Mrs. Eric Riggio-Guadagnoli and Carol Riffio and Tinker Guadagnoli. Without the help of these generous donors the 4-H Ambassador program wouldn’t be possible. Also we would like to thank Paul Richards of KSPK for allowing us to go in and record a radio spot to help us promote the Huerfano County Fair.

Thank you, ~Lexi Riggio-Guadagnoli, Sr. Ambassador; Cori Beth Topping, Intermediate Ambassador; and Mattie Bjourm, Jr. Ambassador La Veta, CO

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