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Letters to the Editor - page 13

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 Personal attacks, libel, ax-grinding, muckraking, and profanity will not be published.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 of December 22, 2016

Sangre de Cristo Volunteers for Community (VFC) thanks you

Once again, now at the close of our 8th year of volunteering together, as president of Sangre de Cristo Volunteers for Community (VFC) I want to thank all of the wonderfully generous Southern Colorado residents, businesses, churches, and organizations who gave so much to make life in our communities even better and more.

Thanks to you we were able to provide huge bags of gifts for 205 children in need this year in Huerfano, Pueblo, and Custer Counties. We continue our volunteer projects in Huerfano County such as monthly food collections at First Choice and at Charlie’s Market for Dorcas Circle, knitting and crocheting for children and vets, highway cleanup, purchase of supplies for local school programs, and all the other projects we’ve been doing in Southern Colorado for years, and invite you to participate with us as we look forward to exciting new opportunities in 2017. We have a great time together, and we could not do it without you. You do not need to be a VFC member to volunteer with us. I wish you all a lovely holiday and a new year full of joy and happiness. Thank you, as always, for all the wonderful things you do. If you’d like to know more about VFC, please call me at 719-250-6097, or find us on Facebook. Our website is www.volunteersforcommunity.org. We are a 501(c)(3), and gratefully accept your volunteer or financial help. ~Susan Kalman Colorado City

From the Edmund-sons: Thanks to everyone

Dear editor,

Hats off to our wonderful community! Due to strong winds, dry conditions, and an unfortunate mishap on Interstate 25, a grass fire broke out south of Walsenburg last Thursday night. Our Huerfano County Sheriff’s Department, Huerfano County firefighters and neighboring firefighters were quickly on the scene as well as ranchers from all directions. Some arrived with hand shovels and hoes and others with backhoes and a grader.

By the grace of God, and the efforts of so many good people, the wind died down and the fire was contained. Approximately 2,000 acres burned, but no cattle were injured.

Thank you all for your effort. We are blessed to live in Huerfano County and have such wonderful neighbors. ~The Edmundson Family Walsenburg

Trinidad Area Arts Council update

Many of you have been asking, “What’s happening with TAAC?” The intent of this letter is to address some questions you may have.

Yes, TAAC is experiencing some recent and unexpected challenges, but please be assured that your Board is diligently addressing these challenges. We expect Trinidad Area Art Center to continue providing excellent programs for all ages, a quality art gallery, and coordination with other organizations to provide community-wide events. We appreciate your continued support as we work to engage with our bustling arts community.

These are the challenges TAAC is facing:

1) Due to fiduciary irresponsibility, the Board dismissed its Executive Director. This was a very difficult decision and disappointing situation—an investigation is ongoing.

2) TAAC is currently displaced. Gallery Main was bought and the new tenant is willing to pay a higher rent than TAAC can afford. So far, and for various reasons, other locations the Board has considered are not suitable.

What the Board is doing:

1) Continuing an investigation of TAAC’s financial records.

2) Liquidating as much of TAAC’s belongings as possible without losing important assets.

3) We are temporarily storing TAAC items until they are sold or a new space is found as well as actively researching potential business space in which TAAC can maintain a gallery and its art programs.

4) Staying in touch with our grant funders.

5) Going forward with the Holiday Art Market currently set up in the former Fish Pond store space.

6) Planning future fundraisers.

How can you help?

1) Shop at the Holiday Art Market located at 121 E. Main! We have a number of local, talented artists with highly creative, original, non-commercial wares for sale. The Market will be open through Christmas Eve.

2) Notify the Board of any potential space you are aware of that might be suitable for TAAC to rent in the future. We will consider all options, and we need a place to store our stuff! Until we find a more permanent residence, please let us know of any space that would be suitable to continue art classes.

3) Let us know of anyone who might be interested in becoming a member of TAAC. TAAC continues to be a unique organization: it is the only art program between Raton, NM and Pueblo, offering free children’s art programs, as well as a number of paid adult classes, such as our popular Wine, Women, and Watercolor (which is open to men as well!).

4) Renew your own memberships, buy an art program scholarship for a child, or make a general contribution to the organization. Your financial and social support is greatly appreciated!

TAAC is not a viable organization without you—its friends, members, and supporters. As a board, we owe it to you to keep you in the loop of our projects, our successes, and our challenges. TAAC has dealt with difficulties before and survived them. This is not the first time TAAC has been without walls or struggled financially and with all of you working together with us, we will thrive through this transition.

Thank you and Happy Holidays,
Sheigla Hartman, Board President

Mallory Pillard, Board Treasurer

Lisa Ward, Board Secretary

Lucy Dunigan, TAAC Assistant

Roberta Lutgens, Board Member

Dewayne Eakins, Board Member

Paloma Nishenko, Board Member

Jay Obrecht, Board Member

Letters to the editor of December 15, 2016

Christmas activities in Cuchara

To the Editor and the Community,

Well, the tree is up and the lights are lit – time to come on up to magical Cuchara Village to experience Christmas in Cuchara. With the exception of Christmas day when we encourage folks to be home enjoying family and friends, there is something going on in the Village everyday from December 23rd to the 31st! Shopping? Check. At the Country Store, Dakota Dukes and Pieces of my Heart. Eating. Check. Good food at the Dog Bar and the Timbers.

Parties and entertainment? Why not! Wine tasting, dinner variety show, and New Year’s Eve parties through out the week. Check the Timbers and the Dog Bar for details.

How about good old fashioned community spirit? You bet. We have it! Join us for caroling in the newly remodeled charming Cuchara Inn and meet Inn owners, Dani and Scot Lynch who will have cookies and beverages for the carolers. Singing will be led by Peggy Hoobler and accompanied in sign language by Lisa Dasenbrock. We’ll gather on Friday, Dec. 23rd at 5 o’clock in the lobby of the Cuchara Inn. Stick around afterwards to see and hear what the Inn is doing next. And then, of course, there is dinner being served at the Timbers and the Dog Bar.

Then on Christmas Eve there is the special candle light service in the Cuchara Chapel at 6 p.m. Do plan to come early if you want a seat, as this is a popular place to celebrate the birth of Jesus.

One other special free community event is the annual “make a gingerbread house” class taught by Pieces of My Heart owner and very talented lady, Lisa Dasenbrock. She’ll host this at the Country Store-Pieces of My Heart shop at 11 a.m. on December 27th, This is always a popular class and good for all ages! You’ll go home with your own hand made treasure.

New Year’s Eve we have the annual Pine Cone drop on Main street at 10 p.m. It’s a short but sweet gather to sing and wish your friends and neighbors a Happy New Year. Folks come out of the Timbers and the Dog Bar and from their other parties for this gathering in the Village.

And one last thing, not necessarily a holiday event, but a timely one nonetheless – an opportunity to learn about the new county community park, to ask questions and to provide input. We invite you to the first community conversation about the park on Tuesday, December 27th at 4 pm at the Timbers. Representatives from the county and the Cuchara Foundation will be there. Snacks and a cash bar, too!

Hope you will take the opportunity to Discover the Magic in Cuchara Village this holiday season. We’ll be waiting for you! ~The Cuchara Merchants and the Cuchara Foundation

Card of Thanks for spreading joy this Christmas Season

Dear Editor,

I am writing to thank and celebrate Raton and surrounding residents for spreading joy to children around the world this Christmas season. The generosity of Raton volunteers, families and groups paved the way for us to meet our goal of collecting 177 shoebox gifts for the Samaritan’s Purse project Operation Christmas Child—the world’s largest Christmas project of its kind.

The greatest joy was seeing local kid’s groups from Young Marines, Youth Alive, AWANA, Des Moines FCA, and 5th Graders along with local churches; kids helping kids throughout the world.

The gift-filled shoeboxes are tangible expressions of God’s love for children around the world suffering from poverty, natural disaster, war, disease, and famine. These children, many of whom have never received a gift before, learn they are loved and not forgotten. Since 1993, Operation Christmas Child has collected and delivered more than 135 million gift-filled shoeboxes to children in more than 150 countries and territories.

It’s not too late for people to make a difference. Though the Raton drop-off location is closed until November 2017, filled shoeboxes are collected year-round at the Samaritan’s Purse headquarters in Boone, North Carolina. Additionally, anyone can conveniently pack a personalized Operation Christmas Child shoebox gift at samaritanspurse.org/occ. Information about year-round volunteer opportunities can also be found on the website or by calling Josie Kelly at (575) 445-3996.

Thank you again to everyone who participated in this project and for those who do so year after year. These simple gifts, packed with love, send a message of hope and continue to transform the lives of children. Sincerely, ~Josie Kelly Relay Center Coordinator NE New Mexico Team Operation Christmas Child, Raton

Poor pitbulls left out in the cold

To Editor-

Due to an accident August 2015, I’ve been limited as far as helping the animals as much as I want.

However I’ve recently received four calls for help.  The address is [redacted] in Walsenburg. What I saw is much worse than I could have imagined.

A very skinny mama pit bull and her pups, if the are alive. Another dog chained, laying in the dirt. NO food out.  There are more pit bulls, I’m told, but I couldn’t see them.

These dogs have no shelter. Forecasted temperatures tonight (12/5) 11-14o, wind gusts to 40 mph Tues. pm 30% chance snow, 12-16o. Wed. pm 10% chance of snow, 0-2o.

Can these poor dogs live?  Or would they want to? Can anything be done? Does anyone care?

While in your warm home tonight think of these suffering animals. Perhaps try to help them, if it is not too late. P.S. Pitbulls are sweet, good natured dogs- I know. I’ve had several… but they need love and care. ~M. Durrum Walsenburg Editor’s note: we redacted the address provided as we at the paper feel it is not our place to call out the person(s) living at the address. We have recommended to Ms. Durrum that she contact local authorities.

Bring Christian hip hop to Walsenburg

To Whom It May Concern:

Derek Zeman is a member of our church as is very concerned for the welfare of the youth of Walsenburg. In his effort to help and guide our yourth he has come up with a plan to bring a popular “Hip Hop” singing group to Walsenburg.

The reason for this letter is to let you know that this is a legitimate and worthwhile cause. The church is behind him and his effort. Please help in his desire to help the youth of our community.

As with all things in our time, it costs money. Our church is small and has very limited resources but we too are contributing to this cause, trusting God to bless the effort and use this group to encourage our young people to live a worthy life.

The influences in our community are not all good and our hgope is to influence those who come to the concert for the good.  We need good honest and upright citizens and Derek is trying to do his part for our youth to become godly, honest and honorable men and women. Please consider helping with this effort.

This is not an effort to bring more members into our church or to teach denominated doctrine. It is an honest effort to rescue our youth fromt he streets, crime, drugs and misery.

There will be no one from our church speaking to those who come, except Derek who is promoting the concert. If you know me, you know I have never asked you for anything or to come to this church. I am asking you now to join this worthy cause for the sake of our children and youth.

Thank you, and may God Bless you.   ~Don Rehling, pastor of First Baptist Church in Walsenburg

Letter to the editor regarding lease of Rio Cuchara Condo #1

Months ago when your contracted workers were trying to fix the roof, there was damage to my property, 1) roof of a 6×12 black enclosed trailer, and concrete spatter on same trailer, also on red Santa Fe and Bronco, but not all.

Roof leaks also ruined food supplies, east side, documented.

Roof leaks in the 2nd bedroom, damage to HP Pavilion laptop screen.

And, while roof was leaking, this year just like last year, said would not pay rent – noted.

So, when I ask to speak to the owner for a second time to discuss damages & lost moneys to household, you said he would come and talk with me.

But thus far that has not happened, just like the conversation that the owner would fix the roof properly when the insurance company paid him. Well it’s been months and coming into winter, I don’t believe its going to be fixed this year, so same problems with melting snow will be problems again.

This will undoubtedly cause me to lose money when I could be teaching.

Just like it did last year’s.

So, when you ask me to pay rent for Dec. 5th thru Jan. 5th, I made a check out, #1065, and you wouldn’t accept it.

That’s on you Rawleigh Salazar, General Manager of the Rio Cucharas Inn & Condos.

I will send check #1065 for rent via certified mail, although you are not real good at responding to certified mail in the past from my arttorney to management of Rio Cucharas @77 Taylor Boulevard, Walsenburg, CO 81089 (Re Rocko’s dog bite, July 13, 2014 on motel property)

Two certified letters from Mintz Law Firm, and no response. ~Steven Shepherd Walsenburg

Thank you to the sheriff’s department

To the World Journal, Our many thanks to the Huerfano Sherriff’s department for their due dilagence on working along side of Darrel and myself to demonstrate the true meaning of “Serve and Protect.” Again mena bigha Thank You. Merry Christmas from the ‘Rio Cucharas Inn’. ~Rawleigh Le Roy Salazar & Darrel Lee Fisher Walsenburg

Warning for lead-foots between Walsenburg and La Veta

Thursday December 1st I was going home from Walsenburg ( I live in La Veta). I admit to being somewhat of a lead-foot so I religiously use my cruise control when on any highway.

Going west when the road widens to two lanes westbound I carefully set my cruise on 65, yes, I know, fudging just a bit.

As I was going up the hill I passed a vehicle pulling a trailer. I immediately moved back into the right lane. As I approached the medical center I met a state trooper. Cruise set on 65, no sweat, right?

Wrong!! The trooper turned around and stopped me about the motel. He came to my truck and asked if I knew why he stopped me, told him I assumed it was for my speed. He said “right, I got you at 73 in a 60 zone.

“WHOA, WAIT A MINUTE HERE, 65-66, I’m guilty, 73, no way. He said he’d cut me a break and charge for 69, which was a 98.50 fine instead of the 170.00 fine for 73.

As you might guess, I’m not a happy camper. The truck has been driven more than 100K miles with nary a whimper as to the speed. He suggested I have my speedometer calibrated.

The next day I was at a dealership and asked about calibration. I was told it wasn’t possible.

So, on my way home I got out my trusty stop watch and timed how long it took from one mile marker to the next on I-25. I don’t have any idea how precisely the mile markers are spaced, but it took me one minute and 6 seconds to cover that distance.

Now this leads me to several conclusions; perhaps trooper Miller needs to have his speed decting device calibrated, perhaps trooper Miller was just trying to get a head start on this months quota, or, perhaps trooper Miller is dishonest ~Howard Hewett La Veta

What goes around comes around

Wow I’m not the only person in town to get their wish. Yes I did vote yes on 300. I had my reasons as well as enough others. Life really is like a merry go round. Sooner or later it will come back around to bit you in the butt.

You brought this upon yourselves. When you mistreat, disrespect and have no consideration for others you will get what you deserve. I have heard Bruce is going to put on more deputies.  I hope and pray he has sense enough not to hire anyone wearing a blue uniform. I do not believe changing the color of ones’ uniform will in any way change your work ethics or habits. Now as of January 1st at least we will get a response to our calls. If you have any sense at all you will use this as a wake up call. I doubt it. ~George Walker Walsenburg

In response to Stephen Miller’s outlook on Walsenburg

Dear Editor:

This is in response to Stephen Miller’s outlook on Walsenburg.

You talk about “our cities name being drug through the Gutter and Trashed”, that is what happened when Drugs and Welfare became the source of income in HUerfano county. Word spread like “WILDFIRE”, Come to Walsenburg have all the babies you want and you will receive Food Stamps, Free Rent, Leap, and of course Disability.

You talk about this town being trashed, I agree, the Yards (Yard GUY) in this community are a disgrace. I know utilities are high in such a small town but it doesn’t cost a dime to bend over and pick the weeds and dispose of them.

You talk about the stigma we need to dispose of in this town has nothign to do with the Police Department. The hard working TAXPAYERS need to dispose of the “YOU OWE ME’s & FREE HAND OUTS”. This community is running out of the people that made this community what it used to be (Farmers, Ranchers, Indpenedent Store Owners, Miners).

In years past the people of Walsenburg were proud “feeling deep pleasure or satisfaction as a result of one’s achievements or qualities.” One was proud to drive down the streets of Walsenburg, things were taken care of by the property owners and look at it now.

Our world should be taking care of the elerly that made this world what it was not the YOU OWE ME’s. Instead, the elderly are taking care of their Grandchildren and Great Grandchildren from the YOU OWE ME Generation.

I believe you have forgotten about the Stigma that is in everyone’s mind about hte Sheriff Dept.  This change is not going to be free for the taxpayers, just the YOU OWE ME’s.

Every time we have someone (Big City Transplants) that have no clue about this community and what it used to be they think they know what this town needs and act without thinking! The sad thign is all of them didn’t have to make a dime here; they came with their retirmeents or turst funds.

You talk about no taxes staying in this community, that’s because what few people work whether it is here or not, are stretched thin paying for the “YOU OWE ME Generation” in Huerfano County. And most of hte people don’t have to own anything, or pay taxes, because it is given to them. You just have to know the system! Sincerely, ~Jill Sudar Walsenburg

Letters to editor of November 30, 2016

Thank you from Dorcas Circle for fantastic Thanks-giving dinner

The Free Thanksgiving Community Dinner held at the Fiesta Park Community Center was a fun success with 199 hungry guests attending. A huge thank you goes out for the many volunteers, contributors, and donations, including volunteers who helped cook, serve, and clean-up; Yvette Vialpando for her professional organizing and cooking; Charlie’s Market, First Choice Market, Safeway, and Dollar General for generous donations; the Spanish Peaks Regional Health Center for delicious pies; the Huerfano County Commissioners and staff for use of the Community Center and bringing donations of food; and all those community folks who donated food and time. The Thanksgiving Dinner was wonderful and Happy Holidays to all!

A reminder: Dorcas Circle Food Pantry andClothing Bank is open Tuesday and Thursday, 10 am to 4 pm, at 911 S Main, Walsenburg, 738-2291. ~Sincerely, MaryAnn Chamberlain Acting for the Free Thanksgiving Community Dinner Committee Director of Dorcas Circle Food Pantry and Clothing Bank

Facebook thoughts on the election

The World Journal, with the intent of promoting understanding among our citizenry is asking our readers and Facebook friends to thoughtfully, and respectfully share their thoughts regarding the 2016 election results, whether on the national or local levels, Trump and Clinton supporters, pro or con Walsenburg’s police/sheriff question, school funding issues, term limits funding for city or county governments… your choice. The following are from this week’s Facebook invitation to comment.

More on Walsenburg’s Initiative 300

Heartbroken and terrified

As voters, we were put in charge of making some very important decisions, not only for our Country, but for our State and local community as well. These decisions will effect people’s lives and the lives of their family’s. I have to say that I felt a decent amount of anxiety when making a choice on the state’s assisted death proposition. That was a difficult one. Locally, I am pleased with the 3A outcome and openly disappointed with the passing of Initiative 300. 3A will benefit our kids greatly. Will it solve all of our financial problems? No, but it will get us to a better, more productive and stable place than we are now. As for 300, I feel it was an easy and immediate solution for those who had personal issues. I don’t believe it was a logical solution, I don’t believe it will be a beneficial outcome for our community, and I do believe our city and county have some very troubling times ahead of them. Not only was all of the important collection of community data disregarded, but there were no details about this initiative provided to the people before it went to a vote. We’re going in blind. We know nothing. There is a TREMENDOUS amount of work to be done, and not nearly enough time to get it complete. Ready or not, 12:00 am on January 1st is fast approaching, and crime doesn’t wait for anyone. One agency has lost it all and this community is about to lose some very dedicated, and all around good people. The other agency has an enormous task of providing protection for over 1600 sq. miles of land and approximately 3,000 people. The impending death of the Walsenburg Police Department has me both heartbroken and terrified all at once. ~Heather Gonzales Walsenburg

Was the vote on 300 valid?

I read with interest Virgilia Goodwin’s letter to the editor questioning the validity of the close vote to abolish the Walsenburg police department and replace it with the county sheriff dept.

Virgilia has a very good point and I suspect the vote was illegitimate.

This proposition is indeed a county wide issue and not just Walsenburg’s. To limit the vote to only those who reside in Walsenburg is a travesty of justice.

It is a county wide sheriff department and this obviously effects the whole county. I have a business in Walsenburg that I work every day and yet because I live just outside the city limit I have no say in how my business is protected. There is something quite wrong with this picture.

If Walsenburg’s legal council is not up to the task of recommending a legitimate vote then I think the state attorney general’s office should intervene. Sincerely, ~Brendt Berger Walsenburg

Happy for nation and hopeful for Walsenburg

I’m happy for our nation and I’m hopeful, even more so than I have ever been about Walsenburg. It seems like now, the topic is community conversation, “How do you feel and why?” I dare say, this is a new sentiment I’ve not seen in quite a while and I believe our communicating with one another is exactly what is going to keep us within the standards of civil unity and progressive motion.

I believe this is ultimately for and about our community’s opinions on 300, more than it is, about other ballot issues.

I am more aware personally of people losing friendship over the one local initiative than over the president elect… especially those locally, the fact may generate an effect of social division amongst our community and a place to discuss our viewpoints under mediation is a fine place to start.

Hoping we’ll all be accepting of one anothers viewpoint, although admirable, is also I’m afraid, pointless.

As it concerns 300 I feel like the majority of its opposing voters did so willing to ignore and disinclude our city’s name being dragged through the gutter and trashed. The things that have happened, what has taken place in this community’s history… The opposition ignores those stigmas, they’ll only do the same during a discussion focussed on allowing the citizens to see each others opinion more clearly.

The pro 300 side will, in theory, present their negative experience in negative slanderous form and half of this population, will continue hating the other half until well beyond January first of next year.

I doubt if we’ll be seeing eye to eye anytime soon.

I am willing to offer my opinion on 300 specifically one last time, now that it has been passed, this Yard Guy has concerns elsewhere.

I feel like the yes on 300 was only one step our town will need to take in order to rid her of her stigmas.

I am saying, out of the Town’s stigmas needing to be cleaned up, Walsenburg Police history nearly tops that list.

I’m not saying we’ll never need a police department ever again… I’m saying, I’m glad we’re getting a break from the police department for as long as Sheriff Newman will have it and or those who fill his shoes someday.

We have at least five city departments including the police department our new administrators have to juggle with the others. I’ll name them:

• The mayor’s office and his immediate staff and or income alone.

• the utilities department.

• the city work crews… Their few departments… the mowers, the water guys, the gas fellows., mechanics, etc…

• The Police …and all their equipment and weapons and vehicles… The radios the lights, the car decals, computers,…

• the administrators office, the admin staff, …

Maybe even another, the city courts…  Tech computer operations … utilities… taxes… The city juggles a lot…

There is $600,000 easy, in the police department, perhaps more.

Half of those payroll dollars never make it back to Walsenburg. Those officers do not live here, do not pay taxes here and do not understand our community from the sidewalk itself.

In the community those police are from, they call the earth our homes are built on, “Dirty Burg,” and guess who else does not live here?

Since the year 2000, 1,080 of our population. Almost half of our town doesn’t even live here anymore. What’s more? Only half of our town pay the taxes, utilities and fines to live here. Our city operates on half of her strength and I know bringing at least one third of the police department budget back to Walsenburg, or keeping two thirds of it here in our sheriffs office, is a lot better than watching it go to a struggling finance display of juggling departments, some of which, keeping the stigmas our town faces, steadily over our heads.

I felt like 300 needed to happen, it was only one step in ridding our town of her stigmas and almost the half of this community who did vote. Almost half want to disinclude these facts pretending like ‘Burg has not got this problem. ~Stephen Miller Walsenburg

Bad behavior after Electoral College outcome

This is the fourth time in America’s history that a candidate has won based on the electoral college. This is the first time (that I know of) when people acted so badly about it. It is almost like the cryers and protesters have forgotten or don’t care, that those other votes counted too!! It is what it is, it is time to move on America!!! I am afraid we have a generation of people who cannot cope with losing. How will they cope with a real crisis, a cancer diagnosis or any of the other truly horrible things that can happen!!! ~Jana Floersheim Raton

Letters to the editor & Cards of thanks of November 22, 2016

Trinidad City Manager Gabriel Engeland responds to bogus letter

I am disappointed in the decision of the newspaper editor to print a letter from J.J. Lopez in last week’s “Letters to Editor” section.

The city received the same letter from Mr. Lopez. In the version he sent to us, he provided an address. I tried to go to the address listed on the letter by Mr. Lopez, to ask him personally about his falsehoods, but the address doesn’t exist. It appears the paper has printed a fake letter, covering fictitious events, from a person who doesn’t exist– or has simply forgotten where he lives.

I have never uttered the words ungrateful bastards in my life and I certainly didn’t say it as “Mr. Lopez” alleges. The meeting in question was attended by the Union President and the Union Vice President and the words were simply never spoken. Further, The City Council voted unanimously to provide all city employees $500 bonuses in December of this year at the last Council Meeting. The bonuses were recommended to the City Council by me due to the exceptional work of the employees this year. I am grateful for the city employees and I appreciate the hard work they do–often with little recognition. I was proud to recommend the bonuses to Council, just as I was last year when Council also approved bonuses for all employees.

To address the comments on insurance the letter writer raises, the city buys insurance on the open market like most businesses in America. The insurance companies raised rates this year, not the city. Insurance rates have been steadily increasing for Americans for several years. The city pays nearly 80% of the insurance cost for each employee, meaning when the insurance goes up for individual employees, it also goes up for the city, but at a much more substantial rate. We do our best to work with our insurance agents to keep costs affordable, but we do not have the power to control costs in a free market.

If “Mr. Lopez” or any Trinidad citizen would like to talk about the direction of the city, or any other topic, I have an open door policy at my office at City Hall. I have never turned away a citizen or employee wishing to speak. The address is 135 N. Animas in Trinidad and my office is on the 3rd floor. I would appreciate the opportunity to hear your concerns, questions, or compliments and I can assure you the address I provided isn’t fake! Thanks, ~Gabe City Manager City of Trinidad, CO

World Journal apology to Gabe

The World Journal apologizes to Trinidad City Manager Gabe Engeland, for allowing a bogus letter defaming Mr. Engeland into last week’s newspaper.

This is only the second time in nine years we have been duped into running a false letter. The first time was the spark for us requiring an address from letter writers, which “Lopez” provided.

The address that was given for the bogus letter does indeed show up when searched for on Google Maps, but we had our Trinidad reporter go by the location, only to find an empty lot. He also checked at the assessors office, and they confirmed it is a bogus address.

This incident illustrates we also need to require a phone number, so we can call and verify the letter writer’s identity. That policy is now in place to help prevent similar problems in the future. ~Gretchen & Brian Orr Publishers, World Journal

Card of Thanks

Spanish Peaks communities care deeply about their elder citizens

The Board of Directors at La Veta Village would like to thank area residents who came out on Friday night to support our Senior Assisted Living Community fundraiser at the Walsenburg Golf Club. We are also extremely thankful to Sharon Riley, who single-handedly organized a really nice event.

Community gatherings like Friday night remind us that the “caring gene” runs deep. We are finding residents across Huerfano and Las Animas Counties who care deeply for their elder citizens and who want to see Assisted Living options that allow seniors to remain in their community, as healthy and active as possible, for as long as they desire to do so.

This fundraiser was our first of many to come. We are on an ambitious path to raise $150,000 over the next few months. This money will enable us to solicit matching grant funds and show community support towards this project. La Veta Village will not only be revitalizing the old Cheese Factory, but will bring a $3 million dollar project into our town that will create economic benefits and future jobs. We will eventually be hiring 10 employees. We encourage all residents of Huerfano and Las Animas Counties to give generously to this project.

Please go online at www.lavetavillage.org, mail your contribution to La Veta Village, Inc., P.O. Box 143, La Veta, CO 81055 or call us at 303-885-1214. Your generous contributions will help us “Prepare for Our Tomorrows, Today”. Our plan is to be open in 2018. ~Leslie Lord, Board of Directors La Veta Village Inc.

letters to the editor of November 16, 2016

Upset with Trinidad city manager

To the Trinidad City Council,

The city manager recently offered the city union employees a stipend of $500 per employee but at the same time he was raising their insurance premium by the same amount. So what did the employees stand to gain?

The union employees held a meeting where they voted to reject his offer of the stipend. His response to their rejection was, “Why those ungrateful bastards”. This was said in the presence of two union city employees who can probably testify that this took place.

What gives this city manager the right or authority to abuse and disrespect our city employees in this manner? Did he have the authority to offer the stipend in the first place?

How would you council members feel if your sons or daughters were refered to as “ungrateful bastards”? Not very good, I don’t suspect. You must do something about this man.

You were elected to represent all citizens of Trinidad including city employees. Some response is expected from you. You must look into this issue. ~J.J. Lopez Trinidad

pedestrians concern

It has taken me over 10 years to write this about the concerns I have for pedestrian safety. I have driven up and down North Hendren and 90% of people walking on this street walk with their backs to traffic! This is very dangerous and back in my school days we were taught to always walk facing traffic.

I personally had an encounter where a 15 year old girl was “horseplaying” with friends and stepped off the curb as I was driving by and was sruck with my side mirror. It knocked her “head over heels” and was lucky to be only bruised! She could have been killed!’

Another time I was driving west in the afternoon sun on West 3rd Street, I was taking a chance with blinding sun when the shade of a tree gave me a glimpse of 3 girls walking out from the curb with their backs to me. I avoided them, but they never knew how close I came to hitting them with my car.

I always try to tell my family how they have to watch traffic and assume they have a chance to jump out of danger if needed. I read a book called A Walk Across America where the author did just that, and one time in Texas 100 degree heat, he walked with his back to traffic to enjoy shade. Well, he got hit by a car!. He survived but spent much time in the hospital. ~Charles Grandbush Walsenburg

Good job, La Veta Schools

Once again, Max and I would like to commend La Veta Schools for their patriotism. The program today was a display of American pride and honor. To involve all students in this experience is a rarity in schools across our country. Honoring veterans of all branches of the military was the focus of the day. Elementary classes performed individual songs under the direction of music teacher, Cheryl Shultz. It was evident that school staff contributed time and effort creating a memorable experience for the students and community in attendance. The Preamble was recited by eighth grade students.

Thank you to the administration and staff for contributing so much to ensure that La Veta students are learning to become great American citizens! ~Max and Sharon Vezzani Walsenburg

Stop Dumping your trash on Bear Creek!

Dear Editor,

I would appreciate it if you got the word out that BEAR CREEK ROAD IS NOT FOR DUMPING TRASH. I know the irresponsible parties probably won’t or can’t read this message, but maybe their friends, family, and children will see it and pass it on.

Bear Creek Road is County Road 340.  it is our neighborhood.  Please don’t dump your trash on our property! Someone has to remove the trash, and I am getting tired of doing it. I am not your mother and you are no longer six years old, so please pick up after yourself! ~Kathy Carpenter, Property Owner on Bear Creek Road

Facebook thoughts on the election

The World Journal, with the intent of promoting understanding among our citizenry is asking our readers and Facebook friends to thoughtfully, and respectfully share their thoughts regarding the 2016 lelection results, whether on the national or local levels, Trump and Clinton supporters, pro or con Walsenburg’s police/sheriff question, school funding issues, term limits funding for city or county governments… your choice. The following are from this week’s Facebook invitation to comment.

Why didn’t county citizens get to vote on the sheriff taking over police protection for Walsenburg?

I’m disappointed that the sheriff/police question 300 was offered to city dwellers only. Those of us that live in Unincorporated Huerfano County are dependent upon the sheriff’s office for protection/coverage and we are certainly affected by this ballot issue but weren’t allowed to vote on it! Very unfair! ~Virgilia Goodwin Huerfano County

Talk and get involved!   Democracy is participatory

Regardless of party, for too many years, we have let the government run itself. We sit in our little bubble and let things happen. We delegate, because we ‘know’ that our local, state, and federally elected officials will do the ‘right’ thing, because they are of party “X”, and that party always does the right thing.

Wrong.

They are human just like us, and if we don’t talk to them, tell them what we think, and make our views known, we can’t expect them to do what we want, represent what we want, or behave in a manner that will make us happy/comfortable, etc.

It also means that we have to talk to each other. That means attending meetings, or becoming informed on issues as well as having opinions other than “Well, he/she said it was a good idea.” We have City, County, School Board, and other meetings every month that have little to no attendance or commentary. The most interaction might be reading an article in the newspaper or listing to the gossip at coffee.

Democracy is participatory. We have to be involved. If you don’t vote, don’t complain is often spouted by people. I’d like to add a further set. If you aren’t informed, if you don’t give opinions, write/call/email your governmental representatives you aren’t participating in your country.

I’m not perfect. I could be more involved. Yet, I’m a publicly elected official. I am on a number of boards. I write/call/email our representatives. And… I will chat with anyone who wants to talk about how to improve our government on the local, state and Federal level. ~Jaye Sudar Walsenburg

Letters to the editor November 9, 2016

November 9, 2016

Stolen political yard signs

For the second time the signs to vote No on 300, have been stolen from our yard! When we noticed the signs missing, we immediately went to the provider, who originally give us the signs to post, only to discover that other replaced signs had been stolen.

This just goes to show what the opponents of 300 are made of, they are nothing more than thieves in the night.

Stealing the signs might be only a misdemeanor but since they came into our yard to get them, we can add criminal trespass to the charge when they get caught. ~David Roesch Walsenburg

Christian music brings peace and joy

Salvation is an opportunity to spend Eternity after death in Heaven with Your Creator. This opportunity is a free gift offered to all, only by faith in Christ Jesus, without surrendering our lives to Christ before passing in this life, the opposite comes true, Eternal separation from God your Father. Let’s come out and make a change together. The record label God Over Money is a rap/hip hop group dedicated to spreading the life changing Gospel of Christ. This event will be sponsored to make it free to the entire community. Come out share Christ’s peace and joy as we enjoy some wonderful worship music. If anyone would like more information, would like to donate, or become a sponsor, please call Derek and Jamie Zeman. He hears our prayers, thanks and may God Bless us all. 719-281-9927 ~Derek and Jamie Zeman Walsenburg

Letter to the Editor and Winter Sports Enthusiasts:

Spanish Peaks Alpine Alliance (SPAA) is hosting our first winter event on Saturday, November 19, 2016, at 6:00 p.m. at the La Veta Inn, which is a meet-and-greet social hour and free film, as well as give-away prizes. All are invited to attend, and we hope to bring together people who are interested in alpine sports, such as cross country skiing, snowshoeing and backcountry touring.

SPAA is a non-profit organization newly formed to promote, monitor and encourage participation in alpine recreation activities in Huerfano County. Our organization is working with Huerfano County through their newly established recreation advisory committee to help identify, maintain and promote usage of designated trails throughout the county. Not only will our efforts create recreational opportunities, but also will promote tourism to the area and stimulate our local businesses.

As part of this effort, the county purchased a snowmobile and groomer to maintain the identified trails. Our volunteer members will perform the grooming, report on snow conditions and conduct various events to promote alpine activities. The pilot trail will be on Cordova Pass Road and will be open to the public for snowshoe and cross country enthusiasts. There will be a sign-in box at the trailhead, which will help us monitor usage.

Please come to our event on November 19 to support our efforts and like/follow us at https://facebook.com/spanishpeaksalpinealliance. It will be a great time and an excellent way to meet people who share a love for outdoor activities. Put it on your calendars! ~Janet Richards, President Spanish Peaks Alpine Alliance Cuchara

Letters to the editor of November 2, 2016

Children abusing Library privileges

Our library is a nice place to use computers, read or research whenever one wants, including our youths.

Sadly, there have been some children and teens acting up at the library for a long time now.

Some kids are respectful and sit at a computer and are quiet, then some are coming in to socialize, talking loudly and using bad language (curse words), and when told to be quiet and behave appropriately, they talk back to the librarians.

Recently a fellow patron mentioned that she had overheard a child say “f” you” to a librarian when told to behave.

This behavior is putting a heavy burden on the librarians and frustration on the patrons who are there to do their work and enjoy the library, and have the quiet they need to concentrate.

The library has become a sort of baby sitter for some kids that have nothing better to do. Their parents are not there and the kids don’t understand or care about the rules of the library or how to conduct themselves in a public setting.

They may lose their privileges to use the library due to their bad manners and irreverence to adults and their authority.

Unlike behavior of kids (child actors) in movies, who talk back and use bad language to feel “cool” or tough by disobeying adults and parents – life is NOT that way and cannot be tolerated. Real life is something to be understood and respected by any age in public places and around other people, be it family or anyone else. We learn every day of our lives, not just in school, work, home or many other places as to how to conduct ourselves.

Let’s be considerate and respectful to all, it makes life and any relationship so much better. ~Marie Whitmarsh Walsenburg

Huerfano County 4-H Fair is in danger – needs help or may disappear Dear Concerned Citizens, Ag Community, and Huerfano County Fair Supporters,

Did you know that our Huerfano County Fair is in danger of soon becoming non- existent??

Well it is and we need your help.

Huerfano County Fair Board is recruiting and is in need of 5-6 people who wish to help encourage and support kids to learn and grow through 4-H and FFA by working closely together with the existing board members.

Our annual election time is coming up at our November meeting and we need people like you to help ensure that we can keep moving forward, growing our fair and supporting our local kids in their educational endeavors.

The sad and scary truth is that if we don’t have a fair board and don’t fill these seats we won’t be able to have a county fair. Just the very thought of this possibility makes the existing fair board members very sad. We can’t do this without you.

There are some responsibilities that come with committing time to the fair board that we would like to make you aware of.

As previously stated there are 5-6 positions coming up in November that we HAVE to fill. These seats are filled with volunteers who live in the county. The positions vary from 2-3 year terms that rotate. There are public meetings once a month on the last Tuesday at 6 pm at the fairgrounds, except for the month of December.

Members are expected to attend meetings, help with fairground maintenance and clean ups, help plan and organize events such as the annual Mud Bog, barn clean ups, barn rentals, and county fair, work closely with kids, parents, buyers etc. and basically fill in where ever your talents make possible, we are also open to new ideas that may help our fair grow or be more successful.

It is no small task but with more people we can get more done, and that is where you come in.

If you are looking for a way that you can contribute to our kids, community or if you just don’t want to see our county fair disappear come to our November meeting, Tuesday, 11/29/2016 at 6 pm. We will be at the fairgrounds in La Veta and look forward to working with you.

Sincerely, ~Huerfano County Fair Board Members Huerfano County

Coroners office training info for residents of Huerfano County Dear Editor

Over the last four months Vonnie Valdez R.N., Coroner and her three deputy/medicolegal death investigators, David Mower N.R.P, Norma Mower P.A and Marc Biggins N.R P. attended and successfully completed the CBI (Colorado Bureau of Investigation’s) Forensic Crime Scene Investigation courses held both in Grand Junction and Denver.

The course was provided for free by the CBI forensic division.

Interestingly there were at least 35 detectives and Investigators from law enforcement agencies around the state. The only coroners investigators present at both courses were from Huerfano County.

One of the primary goals in addition to providing the coroners services mandated by state and federal law to the community is to improve training and education so we can embrace some of the many new resources available to our investigators.

The coroner’s office provides ultimate jurisdiction, protection and an independent unbiased voice for those who have died and an avenue of assistance to those left behind.

While most deaths we investigate are ‘routine’ and natural some are not and some are the result of a crime or accident or other manner.

When these cases arise, the coroner’s office always conducts its own independent and thorough detailed investigation to determine the manner and cause of death.

Autopsy information provided by a forensic pathologist or medical examiner at the request of the coroner in certain cases may also be requested to determine the medical cause of death. Investigations are conducted often in conjunction with law enforcement and information may be mutually shared.

In the event of a suspicious death or homicide for example, CBI may be called in to conduct a detailed forensic crime scene evaluation directly at the request of the coroner and or sheriff.

The purpose of us attending the CSI course was so that we at the coroner’s office, when investigating a suspicious death, can quickly examine the deceased and carefully collect vital time sensitive evidence while preserving the scene for the experts at CBI to process if needed.

Probably the most valuable aspect of this training from the coroners point of view is that we now have an intimate concept of what the CBI folks are able to test and look for.

Among the many topics covered in the course, our investigators learned how to manage, protect and document a crime scene. Detailed photography, evidence collection, DNA collection and latent finger print techniques were also taught. Firearms, ballistics and blood splatter pattern interpretation was also addressed, although these subjects in their own right are highly complex sciences that require many hours of additional training.

Much emphasis was directed at the importance of a respectful, open constructive team approach especially when multiple agencies are involved in the same investigation as we are all trying to achieve the same goal.

This new information and training will surely give us, the death investigators, another tool which we can use to speak for those in our community who are no longer able to. ~Huerfano County Coroner’s Office. Vonnie Valdez R.N. Huerfano Coroner

Clearing up some misconceptions about Aguilar School

*Editor’s note: The article referred to in this letter was published in the Trinidad Chronicle.

My name is Elizabeth Jameson, and I am the principal of Aguilar Jr/Sr High School. I would like to clarify some misconceptions of previous articles published about Aguilar School District*.

As the state dictates, one test, PARCC, is used to measure academic successes within a school. Since they are the Colorado Department of Education, it must be followed. Based on PARCC scores, schools are placed into categories reflecting their testing results.

Aguilar School District has improved from “Turnaround Status” (2014) to Priority Improvement(2016); an important fact that was omitted from the previous articles.

Since 2012, our district enrollment has increased 60 percent. Our students are fluid, meaning not all students who are present in the elementary school, continue through to the high school. Some students leave for other districts, and some students enter our school at different grade levels for various reasons.

Aguilar School District administration, staff, and board of education have been actively collaborating with Generation Schools (2016-2018) to improve classroom instruction and student achievement.

Since 2012, secondary student achievement levels have dramatically improved in Reading and Math.

In addition to emphasis on student achievement, Aguilar School District has initiated numerous programs/ classes: Auto, Welding, AG/FFA, Accounting, and Varsity sports for both girls and boys in the following areas: football, basketball, and volleyball.

It is general knowledge throughout the state of Colorado that the ACT benchmark scores demonstrate students’ readiness for college level courses. The following are benchmarks or minimum scores required to indicate chances of success in corresponding credit-bearing college courses. English Composition: 18 on ACT English Test College Algebra: 22 on ACT Mathematics Test Social Science: 22 on ACT Reading Test

Aguilar School District administers the state required ACT test. The ACT is a test that all students in the state of Colorado take. This test is a good indicator of achievement levels as students take it seriously, because it is important to them when applying to colleges and for scholarship applications. The following trends are noted in regard to the students in Aguilar:

In 2012, on the ACT English test, Aguilar students scored an average of 12.7 with the state average 19.9. In 2016, on the ACT English test, students in Aguilar scored 18.0 with a state average of 20.0.

Although the Aguilar scores in 2016 are relatively close to the state average, the State of Colorado has implied that learning is not taking place is Aguilar, and improvement in academic achievement is not taking place. And since they are the state department, it must be true.

In 2012, on the ACT Mathematics, Aguilar scored 15.3 with the state average of 20.5. In 2016, on the ACT Mathematics, Aguilar students scored 18.0 with the state average of 20.3. Although the Aguilar scores are again close to the state averag (in 2016), the State of Colorado Department of Education has implied that learning is not taking place in Aguilar, and improvement in academic achievement is not taking place. And…since they are the state department, it must be true.

In 2012, on the ACT Reading test, Aguilar scored 15.8 with the state average of 20.7. In 2016, on the ACT Reading test Aguilar students scored 18.2 with the state average of 20.9. Once again Aguilar students demonstrated the ability to score relatively close to the state average (2016). The State of Colorado Department of Education has implied that learning is not taking place in Aguilar, and improvement in academic achievement is not taking place. And…since they are the state department, it must be true.

The culture and learning atmosphere of Aguilar School District is one of positive trends toward achievement. While understanding that it takes many factors to make a district healthy, Aguilar has implemented many positive programs to affect culture and overall achievement.

Turning a school around is about getting off the road to perdition and on the road to precision. “The road to precision is not one of prescription. It is a matter of being best equipped with capacities that increase the chances of being dynamically precise in the face of problems that are unpredictable in their timing and nature, largely because they arise from human motivation and interaction.”(Fullan 2006) Fullan, M. (2006). Turnaround Leadership. San Francisco, CA:Jossey-Bass. — Elizabeth Jameson Principal – Aguilar Jr/Sr High School, 719-941-4188

And now, for the political letters…

Stop taking down my political signs

Dear Editor,

Just a quick note to ask why outspoken supporters of the Constitution and the First Amendment think it is OK to take down political signs on my property. I support their right to voice their opinions and don’t understand why I don’t have that same right if I disagree with their opinions. Thanks for the opportunity to voice my frustration. Sincerely, ~Monica Birrer Walsenburg

Why you need to vote

There is less than a week left for those of you who have not cast your ballot. Some of you think that your vote doesn’t count yet many local elections are determined by 100 votes or less. You hear a national candidate declare that the voting process is rigged or you wonder what is in all of the e-mails you keep hearing about. You don’t like either presidential candidate so you wonder why you should vote at all.

The answer is that many of your friends and neighbors are counting on you. In small towns and counties like ours, one vote on local issues makes a big difference.

In Huerfano County there are issues that are really important to many people. Walsenburg police officers are wondering if they will have a job come the first of the year. The RE-1 school district is asking for your help and you will decide whether to give it to them or not. The Walsenburg City Clerk wants to keep her job but you must decide whether she is to be term limited. The City is asking for money to be used to provide services. La Veta has two issues that are important for their small community. Whether you vote or not will often determine the outcome of these important issues that many of your family, friends and neighbors are working hard for or against.

Sitting back and letting the chips fall where they may is not good citizenship. Respect your family, friends and neighbors who are voting by going out and casting your vote too. Be part of the solution not part of the problem. It’s not too late to register to vote or drop off your ballot and believe it or not, a sense of pride will come over you for doing so. ~Larry Patrick Walsenburg

In support of Ray Garcia

I am writing in support of Ray Garcia for County Commissioner for several reasons.

1. Ray has worked tirelessly with the other Commissioners to improve our county roads and put more money into maintenance.

2. Ray has worked to improve our fire mitigation in this county and we all know how important that is when we look at what has happened in our neighboring counties this year.

3. Ray has worked to improve our tourism and be a part of bringing jobs to our county. It is always hard in a rural county to create jobs but it is imperative that our county commissioners make it a priority and be open to new and innovative solutions to job creation.

4. Ray has his heart and soul in this County and has the experience, connections and energy to continue making our County better.

For these reasons and others, now is not the time to change a working team so I am supporting forward progress in our County and supporting Ray Garcia. I hope you will too as we need strong competent leadership in Huerfano County, ~Lola Spradley Former Speaker of the Colorado House Huerfano County Resident

CHOICES; vote no on 300 and yes on 2B; OR vote yes on 300 and no on 2B

Most of you have received your ballots, and may have already turned them in. For the remainder of you, consider this:

As it is, the Walsenburg police Dept. is a wholly ineffective unit. In recent years they have employed a murderer, a major drug dealer, and have had numerous assault charges successfully filed against them. We are told that this atmosphere has changed, and maybe it has, but it does not address the “wholly ineffective” issue.

In their defense, they are an underfunded agency that simply cannot meet the expectations of the people. Robberies are dismissed out of hand, paperwork is misplaced, and the lack of response has led many citizens to call the Sheriff instead. All of these complaints are due to either the lack of interest, or the lack of personnel/organization, on the part of the WPD.

We are faced with a dual decision: either we vote to increase the sales tax (2B) to adequately fund the WPD, and satisfy our expectations of them. Or if you don’t want the sales tax increase, vote “No” on 2B, but “Yes” on initiative 300 to rid yourself of the currently ineffective WPD “without raising taxes.”

Either support the WPD (no on 300), AND vote yes for 2B, or vote no on 2B, AND put the lame horse down (yes on 300). ~Doug Doolittle Walsenburg

Huerfano Sheriffs deputy comments on the 300 issue

Dear Editor,

I am a Deputy with the Huerfano County SO.  Before you read any further, know that this is not an attempt to sway your vote on the “300 issue” in the coming election.  This letter is to inform the community on some specific concerns that the “300 issue” raises in my opinion.

Earlier this week, I was approached by reporters from both local newspapers for a comment regarding the status of numerous criminal cases in which I was the investigating officer.

Both newspapers were approached by a very vocal “no on 300” supporter and former mayor, Larry Patrick.  According to both reporters, Larry Patrick approached the newspapers with false information stating that all of my “recent drug cases” were “dismissed because of bad warrants.”

This information is inaccurate and false.

To have a more complete report on one of my cases, after reading in the paper that a “ten day investigation” took place on the same residence on which a Sheriff’s Department search warrant was executed, Lt. Craig Lessar and I went and personally spoke with Chief McLallen to request a copy of their report.

On that September day we were told that the “report wasn’t finished” but would be in the next “24-48 hours.” Lt. Lessar informed me that he received an email from Captain Suarez on October 27th stating that there was no case report done on this investigation.

I find this incredibly disturbing that they would not have a case report available for this specific case, given the fact that Chief McLallen himself said a “ten day investigation” was conducted in which “several people connected to the residence were contacted.”

Why on such a serious case was a case report not done? Maybe there was no “ten day investigation?” Chief McLallen has stood by the fact that he has done no wrong by naming someone on social media as an informant regarding that case. There were also comments made by a WPD officer on social media backing McLallen’s statement saying that “no city official can be a confidential informant.” I believe that if any person has sworn to protect the rights of the citizens they should do exactly that and protect the same rights for ALL citizens. Chief McLallen either does not realize that there are consequences for his actions, or simply does not care. Personally, as a law enforcement officer of Walsenburg for over seven years and a member of the community for twenty, I find it disgusting that any member of any law enforcement department would hand pick which citizens are afforded certain civil liberties or which crimes are going to be deemed as a “real crime.” No matter what your standing is in the community, you should be governed by the same set of rules and afforded the same rights as any other citizen. Unlike any WPD Officer, my children attend Walsenburg school and participate in Walsenburg sports. Anyone that has any questions regarding the statements I have made, is encouraged to contact me by phone at: (719) 738-1600 Sincerely, ~Corey Daniels Deputy HCSO

Vote for Larry Crowder – he works across the aisle to support our area

I am supporting Republican Larry Crowder for re-election to Senate District 35. Senator Crowder has crossed party lines and faught to keep Spanish Peaks Hospital open. This is a very important issue to all of Huerfano County. Larry is a strong advocate of gun rights and has been hard at work getting broadband to rural areas. ~B. Manning Silver Spurs Huerfano County

Bob Mattive for HD 62

I am writing in support of Bob Mattive for House District 62. I have had the pleasure of hearing Bob speak many times throughout the district. Bob understands rural Colorado and will fight for us against special interest in Denver. When it comes to water rights, local control of education and our way of life, Bob thinks like on of us. Be assured a vote for Bob Mattive is a vote for our way of life. ~J. Keffeler La Veta

Vote Tipton for 3rd district

Dear Editor and Firends, Scott Tipton has now received endorsements from both of the largest newspapers in Colorado. First the Denver Post and now the Colorado Springs Gazette have said Tipton “deserves” his fourth term for his work balancing the diverse interests of the massive 3rd congressional district. Additionally the Pueblo Chieftain has recently endorsed Scott. These endorsements don’t come easily.

Both articles rightly commend Tipton for his work on public lands. Gail Schwartz can keep pushing the myth that Scott Tipton wants to sell public lands, but multiple newspapers in Colorado have now debunked that fable and both of these endorsements recognize Tipton for his adept ability at balancing recreational public land use with natural resource development.

As the Gazette points out, Gail Schwartz’s renewable energy policy devastated many parts of her state senate district and caused utility rates to soar.

Scott Tipton has a proven record of dedication to job-creation and protecting our public lands. Gail Schwartz has a highly controversial record which many blame for killing jobs in her district. Scott is an independent businessman from the Western slope and not an Aspen elitist. He deserves our support. ~Dick Chenault Huerfano County resident

Vote for Darryl Glenn

I am writing to let everyone know I am voting for Darryl Glenn for US Senate. Darryl has spent time here in Huerfano County on numerous occasions. He values not only our vote, but our person as well. He knows that regulations handed down from Washington DC hinder growth in places like Huerfano County. Darryl knows how to fight ISIS. He is a proven US Air Force Veteran. Darryl is the right man at the right time. Join me in voting for the one person that not only knows Huerfano County, but also how to get here. Vote Darryl Glenn for US Senate. ~Marcy Freeburg Lascar Road, Huerfano County

Letters to the editor of October 27, 2016

YES ON 3A FOR OUR KIDS

John Mall High School principal says – it is time for a change, take control of local education and vote YES on 3A

Dear Community,

Mail in ballots have arrived, and it is time. November 8th is just around the corner, and it will be time. Time for what? Time for a change.

Ballot measure 3A allows for just that. Where does positive change begin? In the educational system.

What has been the largest contributing factor to educational negatives such as lost programs, declining facilities, high teacher turnover, and lack of materials?

The short and simple answer: loss of funding from the state (the negative factor) coupled with an unfortunate downturn in the economy. Neither of which the community had any control over, and both of which were not fair to the children of our community.

The state of Colorado has shorted our district over four million dollars in just the past five years. No question, a small rural district like ours, already low in funding, has been hit the hardest.

What are the options for additional funding? Very limited.

How can the taxpayers of Huerfano School District Re-1 take control of the situation adding funding of over $320,000 per year for each of the next five years?

By voting YES on 3A!!

Of course, there is a tax increase that comes with the “yes” vote. For a property owner of a $100,000 property, the increase would be $25.64 per YEAR. For a $50,000 property – a mere $12.82 per year. A very, very small increase in proportion to the payoff to OUR kids, OUR community, and OUR FUTURE.

Please consider assisting our schools and our community. Together, we can cause change for the better!

Most Appreciatively, ~Gunnison M. Pagnotta Proud to be… Principal, John Mall High School Walsenburg

Thank you to the Huerfano Commissioners and Huerfano County Coalition for support of Ballot Measure 3A for our kids.

Dear Editor,

I offer a BIG thank you to the Huerfano County Commissionerss and the Huerfano County Coalition members for their vocal support for Ballot Measure 3A.

I am a senior citizen and property owner living on a fixed income so I understand the concerns regarding a mill levy override. The measure is for a limited time, five years, and the cost to property owners is a 3.5 mill increase, about the price of one, two, or three pizzas a year. The new revenue will secure quality art, music, technology, and vocational programs, support competitive hiring and teacher retention, and target the districts ability to stay current with text books and materials.

Our elected officials work together to grow our community. Our children are the future. Let us continue to work together to support our unique and vibrant community.

Vote yes on 3A. Sincerely, —Ellie Linke, proud Huefano County resident.

YES ON 300 WPD NOT DOING GOOD JOB

Vote YES on 300. Sheriff supports citizens, WPD not trusted, endangers informant

Dear Editor:

I, like any other citizen, deserve to have protection and have any law enforcement agency handle a situation. None of us are safe, if we are to only rely upon the City Police. Citizens like myself, are tired of serious crimes in our community not being addressed.

I am not alone when I say we need the Sheriff’s Office to continue to support the citizens of Walsenburg. Initiative 300 will allow this to happen without the interference of two departments.

In a very short amount of time, we collected over 175 signatures for our petition to get the initiative on the ballot. If we had more time, we easily would have had many more. Not many other communities actually get to vote on a citizen initiated ballot question because they often fail to get the proper number of signatures to back it. There are many reasons that people agreed to sign the petition, mostly being boiled down to “We don’t trust our Police Department to do their jobs.”

Furthermore, our police chief disclosed to the public, a confidential informant of a drug case, for no other reason other than intimidation, putting the life of the informant and his family in serious danger of retaliation.

The opposition is using scare tactics to tell people that it will cost more or we will not have code enforcement, or that jobs will be lost and so much more. Simply put, they do not know any of these facts because there has not been an agreement in place. The ballot question simply asks for an agreement to be made.

Since this initiative became a real thing, all of a sudden, the WPD has been much more visible in our community, yet more break-ins and burglaries are happening.

Sheriff Newman stated, “We would still be doing what the Police do now including municipal and code enforcement, there will be no changes in services.” He continued on to state that he would obviously merge the departments because firing good, local and experienced officers would be just plain stupid.

I would like to know why the officers are afraid of losing their job. Perhaps their record speaks for itself and they should not be in law enforcement.

Vote Yes on 300, ~Manuel R. Lujan Walsenburg

Vote for Ballot Question 300- don’t be intimidated.

Citizens, don’t be intimidated. Intimidation has been a fear that the citizens of Walsen burg have always believed would happen to them if they complained to our Police Dept. and/or City Administration.

This is a tactic that has kept the community from reporting a crime, speaking out against an inactive police department and an administration and council.

These should be the most important concerns of our city leaders. Instead, the Mayor has tried to confuse us by spewing naive and unreal comments… like leaving the town with no police protection during this transformation.

Well, Mayor Eccher, that is what you and the city administrator are to do as our city leaders. There should be a plan addressing this in the works now, not later.

No police protection? Mayor Eccher, how naive do you believe we the citizens are?

Nonsense.

Under the current police command, city administration, mayor and some council members, we have a department that ALLOWS more than half the police officers to live in Pueblo or outside the city and county.

I have addressed this concern to the mayor and council to only fall upon deaf ears and concern.

The mayor has even allowd the police upper command to take the city police cars home on a daily basis, while the taxpayers foot the bill for gas and repairs.

Voting for Ballot Question 300 would give the citizens of Walsenburg the protection, safety, and peace of mind we deserve.

Under the Sheriff, we would have a department that we could be proud of and know we will be safe and free from the constant thefts, break-ins, robberies, drug abusers and drug dealers.

Accountability should be our leaders’ responsibility. I ask, under our current police and city leaders, do you honestly believe we have this?

These transformations have been done across the country with great success and results.

Mayor Eccher, are you indicating that you and the city administrator are not capable of accomplishing this transformation?

They are asking for a 1 cent tax increase to 8.99% to help fund the police department.  They have done this several times, only to be defeated by the citizens.

When can we expect our city leaders to be accountable and quit relying on the citizens to pay for their inefficiencies and inabilities?

Citizens of Walsenburg, 300 would make Walsenburg a community we can be proud to say we live in.

Currently we have the reputation throughout the area as the town where you can get away with anything.

I support Question 300 and am asking all to vote in favor of 300.

This is a change that is very much needed to move the city forward.

One last comment, Mayor Eccher, why have you changed your position on this? In the past you promoted this same plan, stating it’s a good idea.

~James Baca

Walsenburg

NOT ENOUGH FACTS YET ON 300 

Do we have enough info to vote on 300?

Dear Editor ,

The whole “Yes or NO on 300” issue saddens us as Walsenburg residents. While each and every voter has the right and duty to vote for issues that affect their quality of life and what is best for their families, we sincerely hope that each voter makes a very informed decision on the matter. There is no “cure all” for the cited issues among the two agendas with the two principal law enforcement agencies in our local area. Both agencies work within a budget plain and simple. There is a huge amount of verifiable logistical/financial data that has not been presented by EITHER agenda to effectively make an informed decision. If the COMPLETE data DOES exist WHERE could a voter find it posted to make a decision?

Staff for both agencies work and put their safety on the line daily. It bothers us that there is some type of perception of “us vs. them” within the ranks of the officers and deputies themselves. These men and women of both agencies assist each other frequently and without hesitation and make professional and personal sacrifices daily. There is a true bond between law enforcement officers that the general public will never comprehend.

We are not taking EITHER side.

Our only question is: “Are we ready to make an informed decision”? Mailings were received at our home citing various topics reference the issue at hand. We scoured both sides of the yellow flyer looking for contact info to ask more questions about the cited issues and maybe where to view documentation of stated “facts” but could not locate any contact information? If we believe in something we sign at the bottom right? Are there hardcopies posted in a central location (or online) that shows the cost increases OR reductions by either agenda? Are there hardcopies posted (or online) somewhere of what services would be lost OR gained?

Ourselves, we don’t deal well with answers such as “maybe” –or- “hopefully” -or-,”gonna try” or ““hope-so” and “we will see” when it comes to matters that affect the health and safety of our little family.

How can a voter be expected to make a truly informed decision? Transition may be the answer, transition may not be the answer, but without hard numbers and ALL information totally complete, how are citizens to make such a decision?

Sadly, the only ones that will suffer the consequences of a decision that does not work out (however it may turn out) are the citizens.

We can only hope that each voter takes the time to obtain the facts prior to making their decision. If the facts and hard numbers are not ready…….then neither are we…..

~Partee Family Walsenburg

NO ON 300 KEEP THE WPD

NO on 300, a case for officers living outside Walsenburg

To keep control over your local Law Enforcement and keep the system independent, transparent, accountable and balanced Vote No on 300.

As most of you are aware there was an issue brought up regarding the officers and the fact that some of them live outside of city limits.

A few years ago, the citizens brought forward a concern that all officers live in the city and were showing favoritism to certain individuals. It was also a concern that there was not a large enough pool of qualified applicants for officer positions.

Administration did its best to listen to these concerns and when the time came a new chief was hired and officers were permitted to live outside of city limits. With this the city has officers who live within the city, and outside of the city, creating a balance for the citizens to prevent any bias/favoritism.

This was the result of the citizens and their ability to voice concern and request changes. Unfortunately, if this initiative passes and the citizens of Walsenburg are unhappy, the only chance for change must wait until an election year.

Also, with this initiative there are talks that this is a merger of departments which is not the case. A merger would mean that the county would absorb all financial responsibility and not charge the city for Law Enforcement services.

In fact, initially the city will be obligated to pay as much or more as they currently do to run law enforcement and throughout the years possibly be responsible for paying even more.

It is unknown what services will be offered, what the cost will be or what will be included.

Any terms would have to be negotiated in an extremely short amount of time leaving less than two months to complete all negotiations for a contract, something that usually takes well over a year.

Officers and support staff will also be required to re-apply for a position with no guarantee to be hired. Financially there is no benefit to the people of Walsenburg. This contract is with the county commissioners and not the sheriff directly. The sheriff is not obligated to follow a contract and can decide how he wants to run the department which may affect your services.

Walsenburg is my home town and I am extremely fortunate to serve its citizens. I look forward to the growth and development and know that we need to keep our Police Department which has served this community for over 100 years.

I care deeply for this community, its businesses, schools, and people. I am looking forward to its growth and I am asking you to believe in what I believe in. I am asking you to keep your police department and come together with us to make this city what we want it to be, what we believe it can be. No on 300

~John Salazar II Walsenburg

No on 300 in Walsenburg

1. It will cost the county more than the city to run our city law enforcement.

2. Walsenburg citizens will lose important local control.

3. Important services will immediately be lost to Walsenburg residents.

4. The county will have a “blank check” with the city having no bargaining power.

5. People with personal agendas are behind this.

6. It will cost Walsenburg voters more than $1 million to restore city police. It may or may not be a tax increase today, but look out for tomorrow.

7. Current and past mayors and city administrators believe it is a bad choice for city residents.

8. Walsenburg citizens can’t control what current or future sheriffs, county administrators, or county commissioners will do.

9. Walsenburg has a “full time” police department. Why pay more and get less?

10. Local officers and their families would lose their jobs. The school district would lose their children, and future school funding they create.

11. Over 98% of cities in Colorado and the U.S. have their own police department separate from the sheriff’s department.

12. Law enforcement in Huerfano County would become totally political. That is a bad future for us.

13. This is not a popularity contest. You can have both departments separately to keep us safe and strong.

14. We don’t need a monopoly in law enforcement. That means higher costs and less accountability.

15. Walsenburg has had their police force for over 100 years. Why get rid of it now and lose important control for the future?

~Jim Moore Walsenburg

NO on 300, nothing against Bruce Newman

Dear Editor:

What happens Nov. 9th?

If Walsenburg’s citizens vote to keep their police department, two more police officers can be hired to protect citizens and fight crime. If voters choose to disband the Walsenburg Police Department (WPD), then the police chief and all other officers begin looking for new jobs.

In the latter case, the city and county would have four weeks to reconcile their budgets, which must be finished by mid-December. Voters’ preferences will force the city to buy law enforcement from the county that will cost approximately $130,000 more for the same level of law enforcement provided by the WPD, according to the preliminary budget from the county.

During the holiday season, the sheriff must hire ten officers to replace the WPD. For numerous reasons, most current WPD officers will not be employed in the sheriff’s department. New recruits must find affordable housing, which is hard to find in Walsenburg.

City and county residents and businesses might face slower response times for a while because fewer officers are available. The transition might be rough. Apparently, some people are promoting this inconvenience and extra expense for unknown or self-serving reasons.

Some county departments might benefit at Walsenburg’s expense. Their institutional leaders and other county officials might favor this change, but the county, as a whole, might have to pay more if Walsenburg can’t afford the price. Or, law-enforcement services could simply be reduced. County residents can’t even vote on this ballot initiative.

You can avoid all of this by voting “NO/ AGAINST” on Initiated Question 300.

None of this is to suggest any deficiency in Sheriff Newman. He has been highly recommended by county residents where his services are appreciated. I have always voted for Sheriff Newman and probably always will.

~Larry Bullock Walsenburg

From a WPD officer, no on 300 in Walsenburg

To the Citizens of Walsenburg,

Some of you may know me and some may not. I was not born here, I was not raised here, but I am a resident here.

I came to this city with the sole purpose of working and building my resume for a better life somewhere else but in the almost five years since, I have come to love this city and call it my home.

It saddens me to think that due to personal agendas I may be forced to leave. I have watched as the city has worked towards pulling itself out of a horrible period of recession and moved towards the growth that it is capable of. I have interacted with some of you and sadly it is usually during one of the most trying and difficult moments in your life. Some I have comforted and some I have arrested but I have always treated those who I’ve encountered with dignity and respect.

During the course of the last year, I have watched as a small group of individuals have tried to dissolve the police department with no factual reason. Every argument given was vague and when disproved would be cast aside for a new argument. When the motion failed in council, two council members proceeded to a petition as citizens to continue with their steps to eliminate the police department.

The Walsenburg Police Department has had its issues in the past, as have other agencies, but the department has learned and grown from its mistakes. Chief McLallen has implemented several programs and procedures that have greatly improved the department and that benefit the citizens. Under his leadership I have chosen to stay.

It frustrates me at times when I read the false accusations and lies that are used as attacks against him but I admire him for keeping calm and collected only to say that he is okay with the attacks as long as they do not attack his officers. Chief McLallen does not pass off the burden of what a true leader is and leads from the front. As a Marine I learned to tell the difference between a supervisor and a leader.

Some have made comments that those who truly love this community will continue their work under the supervision of the Huerfano County Sheriff’s Office.

As an officer in this city i am privy to more than the public is allowed to see and know. I am not writing this to mud sling, insult, or slander any person or agency. I began my career with Walsenburg and after the nearly five years I have been here I have become more experienced and knowledgeable in several aspects of law enforcement, one of those areas is in what I want and expect from an agency I would want to work for, and I do not feel that based on what I have witnessed and experienced, that those requirements would be met should the police department be disbanded.

This city has had its fair share of struggles and difficulties but we must work together to make the improvements necessary. The citizens of this town are directly in control of the Walsenburg Police Department and can make the changes needed with active participation and cooperation.

I can speak for every officer in the Walsenburg Police Department when I say that every officer is dedicated to this city and its citizens. I work every case as thoroughly as possible and get frustrated when I cannot reach a conclusion and it’s because I care about the citizens.

Some have criticized that those that work for Walsenburg are not local and have no ties to the city. I think it speaks volumes that those of us who fall in that category have chosen to serve and protect the citizens of Walsenburg with dedication. We believe in Walsenburg and I only ask that you believe in us.

I know that there are those out there who will twist my words to negatively impact the perception of the community towards the police department. I cannot stop you nor would I as it is your right to speak your mind but I only ask that you do it with the respect you would ask of others.

This coming election vote NO on 300. The citizens deserve more, not less.

~Joshua Berzanji

Walsenburg

NO on 300

Dear Editor and Citizens of the Community,

The national trend is to spend time after a debate fact finding and clarifying to make sure what voters are basing their decisions on is accurate. We feel the same needs to occur after the political forum held Thursday, October 13th.

Initiative 300 calls for the elimination of the Walsenburg Police Department and requires that the Sheriff’s department assume law enforcement responsibility for the City of Walsenburg. There were several questions that arose from the small crowd in attendance that were directed specifically to Sheriff Newman.

The question was asked how the Sheriff was responding to the loss of department certification due to officers not maintaining POST (Peace Officers Standards and Training) certification requirements. Sheriff Newman said he did not realize the certification pertained to reserve officers. He did not indicate how or when that would be corrected so that the department would be re- certified and then potentially eligible for grant funding from POST.

FACT: The Walsenburg Police Department and all of its officers met and continue to meet all POST certification requirements. They are and will continue to receive grant funding for additional officer training opportunities as well as programs such as the school resource officer that is provided to RE-1. Superintendent Mike Moore stated in a public meeting that he was not in favor of disbanding the city police department as the district would stand to lose that resource officer.

Question to Sheriff Newman. Why is it that when an accident occurs in the county, victims are required to wait extended lengths of time for the Colorado State Patrol to arrive on scene despite a county officer on site? Sheriff Newman’s response was that the department had an MOU in place where CSP had agreed to provide this service. He did not indicate that he would be requesting this same practice would be extended to accidents in the city if the sheriff’s department were to assume law enforcement.

FACT: The Walsenburg Police Department responds to all traffic violations within the city including responding to traffic accidents. Every officer has been trained for accident investigations and two officers are trained to reconstruct accident scenes, which is a Level One certification. This means that accident investigations are conducted and paperwork completed by a Walsenburg Police Department Officer. No extensive wait is necessary.

Sheriff Newman made the comment that it was reported that his department could not do DUIs. He stated that his department can and does do DUIs however, it is unclear and unknown how many deputies are trained to do field sobriety tests.

FACT: The Walsenburg Police Department has eight officers who are trained to do field sobriety tests. Six of those eight officers are also trained to administer the intoxilyzer.

FACT: The Walsenburg Police Department has responded to 5,379 calls from January 1, to October 1st of 2016. The Huerfano County Sheriff’s Department has responded to 3,123 calls an a review of calls in 2015 indicate the department responded to 3,485 calls while the Walsenburg Police Department responded to 4,608 calls.

FACT: The public calls and demands on both departments is extensive and increasing with each passing month.

FACT: The City of Walsenburg is anticipating substantial growth in the community from business and housing development in 2017. This growth will place continued pressure on all community services including law enforcement.

As citizens and residents of Walsenburg we are not questioning the ability of the Sheriff’s Department to enforce the law in the unincorporated county. It is their responsibility and mission. However we are being asked by a few to eliminate a city focused police department that can clearly demonstrate it is professional, well trained and responsive to the citizens they are charged to serve and protect. At a time when the City of Walsenburg is on the cusp of growth and positive change, why would we want to take a step backwards and make a make a decision that weakens the community with politics and personal agendas? Please vote NO on 300. It is truly what is best for the City of Walsenburg.

Sincerely, ~Gaye Davis, Jim Eccher, Larry Bullock, Heather Gonzales, Terri Patrick, John Salazar, Joe Deatherage, Larry Patrick, Jim Moore, Jim Hillaker II, Barb Johnson and the Committee for Walsenburg Prosperity Walsenburg

VOTE FOR GAIL SCHWARTZ

In support of Gail Schwartz for 3rd Congressional District: She gets things done by working across the aisle and finding common ground.

Dear Editor —

I want to thank Gail Schwartz for taking the time to visit with locals in Walsenburg and at the Huerfano County Health Fair this past Saturday.

In my opinion, I believe, more than ever, we need Gail Schwartz representing Colorado in the US House of Representatives and acting on our behalf in D.C.

Our government, the government that Washington and Lincoln and Truman built, has been dipped in cement. Ground to a halt. It’s frozen and does nearly nothing.

To break this gridlock in government it will take a skillful person to unite both parties. And “there is no one better to lead this effort in the US House of Representatives than Gail Schwartz.” Gail believes in rural Colorado and gets things done! Not Scott Tipton.

When Gail was in Colorado’s Senate, she got over 190 bills, which she sponsored, passed into law, with 95% bi-partisanship. That is a formidable accomplishment. Plus, Gail was asked to ‘Chair’ multiple committees – such as the Economic Recovery Committee after the 2008 crash. This committee passed 18 bills in a single year and launched Colorado as a ‘leader’ in the wind and solar industries.

But not stopping there, Gail went on to make sure Coloradans were ‘prepared’ to fill the newly created jobs – by offering new college courses and new adult training to Coloradans. She doesn’t go halfway. She gets the job done.

Which is why the Grand Junction Sentinel said they were no longer backing Tipton and instead were “endorsing Gail Schwartz” because “she is the better alternative.”

Unlike Tipton who blames the U.S. Senate (a Republican Senate) for only getting four bills passed in six years, Gail Schwartz says, “that’s when you go to work. That’s when you talk and work with friends in the Senate, in the House, on both sides of the aisle and find common ground. Government only works in the middle.” It doesn’t work if you cause gridlock by voting 95% with the Tea Party, like Tipton has done.

This nation’s problems are solvable. “We can move forward.” But this will require a working government which is staffed with outstanding people. Gail Schwartz is outstanding! So no matter what your party affiliation, a vote for Gail Schwartz is the best support you can give your County and Colorado at this time.

Sincerely, ~Sam Law La Veta

YES ON T ON SLAVERY

Vote YES on Amendment T and remove slavery from the state constitution

Did you know that in the state of Colorado slavery is still allowed as a punishment for a crime (Colorado Constitution, Article II, Section 26)? Really!

Hence, Amendment T is on the ballot this fall. Please vote YES on Amendment T, and remove from our constitution this last vestige allowing slavery. Thank you.

~Rod House La Veta

NO ON 109 SUICIDE

Vote NO on assisted suicide Proposition 106

One of the most complex questions facing voters is that of assisted suicide.

Proposition 106 opens up countless moral issues but there also is a long list of secular policy concerns as well.

For many people, this is a hard issue to discuss. We all want to provide solace and relief to those who are in pain. But consider that in Oregon – the only state with any real experience with assisted suicide – pain is not the reason usually cited by patients when they ask for the lethal drugs. The Oregon Health Department reports that pain is one of the least frequent reasons given. The most common reason is being less able to engage in enjoyable activities.

Something else we have learned from Oregon: For those who are in pain – even those who are not asking for assisted suicide – it has become more difficult to obtain needed pain medications that would be covered by insurance.

This is one of the main worries of those in our disabled community. A disabled mother here in Colorado writes, “In a profit driven healthcare system, people will die needlessly when insurance companies refuse to pay for necessary medications and equipment, and instead offer to pay for a much cheaper lethal prescription.”

And writes a doctor in Oregon who has seen the impacts firsthand, “Supporters claim physician-assisted suicide gives patients choice, but what sort of choice is it when life is expensive but death is free?”

For those who may support this idea of assisted suicide – and I do not – there are serious questions that should give you pause before you vote. There simply are not enough safeguards in this proposition to protect the most vulnerable in our society – the elderly, the disabled, and acute depression.

Consider that in Oregon (and it would be the same in Colorado) there is no required mental health evaluation. Last year in Oregon, only three percent of all patients requesting lethal drugs received such an evaluation. Those who would benefit from psychological counseling do not receive it. Instead they receive a deadly prescription.

The proponents of this measure would like you to believe that assisted suicide laws are spreading throughout the nation. The reality is that voters in only two states have approved it. And only two state legislatures have adopted it. Thirty states have rejected the idea. And so should Colorado.

Instead, let us work together to improve our hospice care, to provide needed counseling, to provide comfort for the afflicted. That should be our priority as a society.

~ Most Reverend Stephen J. Berg Bishop of the Diocese of Pueblo

Letters to the editor of October 20, 2016

Wake up Walsenburg

You are being asked to get rid of your INDEPENDENT police department and create a monopoly in law enforcement. Monopolies always create more cost and less accountability. Special interests are asking you to vote to disband your police department without you knowing the costs up front. You vote to disband your police department and then write a blank check to county officials now and in the future. Is that really smart? Remember, our current, likable Sheriff and county officials won’t always be in office. This ties your hands to unknown sheriffs and county elected officials for many years to come. The real reason you are being asked to get rid of your police department now is because some with personal agendas can’t get what they want so they want to be able to control law enforcement politically. Don’t fall for this trap.

Well over 98% of cities our size in Colorado and the country have their own independent police department for good reason. Too much power in the hands of a well-meaning or a power hungry sheriff is not good. Combining law enforcement may make sense in small communities of a few hundred people but not cities like Walsenburg.

I was on city council years ago when this issue was brought up. It made NO sense then it makes NO sense now. Your current mayor and past and present city administrators all believe this is a BAD idea. We have a good and growing Walsenburg Police Department that is professional and getting better each day. Walsenburg has had its own police department for over 100 years and there is no financial benefit or other good reason to disband it.

Those wanting to get rid of the police department paint a rosy picture that looks enticing. But it is a trap that will tie the hands of your city government. Don’t give the county a blank check every year for law enforcement costs and don’t give the special interests people hiding in the background, the political clout they want and need to coerce city and county government in the future. Vote NO on 300 or pay the consequences. ~Larry Patrick Walsenburg

Thanks to the Huerfano County FPD, City of Walsenburg and Walsenburg PD

A couple of weeks ago, around 10:30 pm, we had a non-emergency event at our house involving the Walsenburg PD who arrived first, Huerfano County FPD and Derrick, a city employee. They all arrived in a very short amount of time and went to work trying to find an incredibly horrible odor coming from the house.

We would just like to thank these fine gentlemen who came out late at night, stayed past midnight, and worked so hard to find the problem. We appreciate knowing we can count on you, night or day! Sincerely, —Karl and Debi Sporleder Walsenburg

Huerfano County Republicans rock!

As we approach the election, I didn’t want another day to go by without thanking the Huerfano County Republicans for their tremendous support! The number of volunteers for various activities and manning our fantastic headquarters downtown Walsenburg, the amazing financial support to help us support local candidates, the incredible attendance and participation at our monthly meetings and all the fun you bring to the table, my hat goes off to you and THANK YOU for being a part of an awesome team.

As we get ready for our upcoming watch party at headquarters at 511 Main Street in Walsenburg on Tuesday, Nov 8 at 5 pm, put on your red shirts and let’s watch history be made. —Huerfano County Republican Committee Chair, Debu Sporleder

Letters to editor: October 12, 2016

Huerfano Sheriff Bruce Newman speaks on advantages to having all law enforcement under one agency: More officers on the street

Over the last couple of weeks, I have seen and heard a lot of things about what would happen if the sheriff’s department took over the police department that are untrue. The intention of this letter is to give people the facts so they can make the proper decision.

There would be two divisions: the county patrol deputies for the county and the city patrol deputies assigned to the city.

Right now there are 12 employees in the city police department budget, eight officers, three secretaries/ evidence clerks and one in animal control.

Under my department, there would be at least ten officers assigned to the city with two offiers per shift, a secretary and animal control.

I can have more officers on the street where they are needed and still save the city money.

Having only one officer on per shift is a safety issue both for the officer and for the citizens.

It is not fair to the county residents when I have to have a deputy stay close to town to back up that single city officer, and it happens more than people realize.

One concern was the cost to the city going up every year. All budgets go up every year. The city police department’s budget from 2014 to 2016, in salary alone, went up $120,000. They are asking for more money for next year. It’s public record that you can check for yourself. Keeping the police department in the city is no guarantee to save money.

We would still be doing what the police do now, including municipal and code enforcement. There will be no change in services. We have always been active in the schools and most of the programs were started by the sheriff’s department.

We have taught students anti-bullying techniques and the consequences of sexting. We’ve also been involved in the Drive Smart program and other school activities, and we have no intentions of stopping.

The other [untrue] story is all the city police officers would be fired.

That would be stupid on my part. You do not come into an agency and fire your experienced officers.  There are some good officers that I would love to see stay, but that is their choice.  Eventually, we would have all new hired officers live in the county, as my deputies do now.

The advantages to having all the law enforcement under one agency:

More officers on the street working together to solve crimes, dealing with drug activity, being community active and having better response times.

This would benefit not only the city, but the county as well. That is why I am in favor of this merger.

If you have any questions about what is being said about this merger, please come to me to discuss the facts. ~Sheriff Bruce Newman Walsenburg

Vote to keep our police force!

The recent police academy seminars held every Monday and Wednesday are very informative. They show not only how much the police force is doing but how they are doing it.

For example, the prior handbook was about 50 pages long but the City Council, on the recommendation of the Chief of Police, funded a program, (Lexipol) that provides, on an ongoing basis, a number of services to assist the police department which includes a code of ethics, updates in policy and procedures that bring the police force into state and federal compliance. The few pages has expanded to a living document that fills a binder and is now greater than 700 pages.

All police officers are required to become familiar with this material as well as the updates. It is going to take time, but Police Chief, Tommie McLallen is doing all the right things to bring this force into the 21st century.

The county sheriff’s department has a huge territory to cover and are already overloaded, so Walsenburg would be only another on their list. Also, there is no guarantee that Walsenburg would have a priority over the county. For those that think we would save thousands of dollars, better think again. We have to pay for county protection and with no guarantee of better service.

If you have issues with the Walsenburg police department, let’s fix them rather than throwing the baby out with the bath water! —David Roesch Walsenburg

Do not dissolve the Walsenburg PD Editor,

I am disheartened and very much offended by the fact that I, as a citizen and voter of this city am being asked to vote on and pass an initiative that shows NO evidence of financial benefit for our city and has no Intergovernmental Agreement of services that will be provided. This initiative, if passed, will completely DISSOLVE our local police department and turn over all control to the county sheriff’s office, but the city will still have to pay for those services.

I, for one, would like to know what exactly I’m voting for BEFORE I make such an important decision. I attended several city council meetings since this issue was brought up and it was obvious from the start that personal animosity, and hidden agendas were behind getting this initiative on the ballot.

One city councilman (who has ties to the Sheriff’s office) first stated this was to be a financial benefit to the city, then a couple statements later he said it was because citizens were unhappy with the PD. When asked the real reason behind wanting to dissolve the PD, he couldn’t give a straight answer.

One county commissioner has stated they have no horse in this race and don’t care how this vote turns out. The sheriff himself said he already has enough on his plate and enough to deal with now, that contracting would only add to his problems and headaches. (It’s in council meeting transcripts.)

Why would we give more responsibility to a man who has enough on his plate and doesn’t want the extra headaches? When the city administrator asked the county administrator to submit a proposal for services and a budget, the only service included was law enforcement.

Based off those numbers, the city would pay MORE to contract out services than they currently pay. That doesn’t include services such as code enforcement, animal control, school resource, K-9,etc.

Councilman Dennis Hoyt made a comment on another city issue involving money; he said, Why would I buy a Ferrari without knowing what I’m getting or how much I have to pay? (He is one who initiated this issue.) Yet, that’s exactly what he’s asking the rest of us to do.

In a time when municipal law enforcement agencies are fighting to keep local control, why in the world are we being asked to dissolve a whole municipal agency?

I refuse to be taken advantage of for the personal gain of a few individuals with hidden agendas and personal issues. This contract will initially be for only two years (sheriff’s remaining term); it’s not a definite contract.

If a new sheriff takes office, he can decide to not renew or honor it. As an elected official, the sheriff is not bound by contracts made by the county.

The BOCC stated in the paper a few weeks ago, they’re not sure if THEY are bound by this initiative. What if they choose NOT to accept it? Then where will our city be?

To establish a new police department, it could cost upward of 1.3 Million dollars. Our little town is getting ready to grow, the stakes are too high to dissolve a whole agency, and I am not willing to gamble that away because of some personal issues. NO on 300!!

Loyal WPD Supporter, ~Heather Gonzales Walsenburg

Vote No on Increased Taxes Dear Editor

We simply cannot afford to have our property taxes increased for any reason!

Some senior citizens live, solely, on Social Security. The raises in Social Security received in the past years have only amounted to a few dollars. The expected increase in Part B Medicare, taken directly out of our Social Security will offset any increases made. Additionally, property taxes are still too high compared to what homes sell for.

With enrollment what it is, one way the schools could save money, is to cut one Superintendent of Schools. We now have a Superintendent at both Walsenburg and La Veta. Huerfano County should have one for both schools. I don’t know how much this would save but it is a start.

We know the importance of education and the importance of the La Veta library and we are sorry that the state has cut the funding but everyone has to live within their budget and asking for money in the form of increasing property tax, penalizes those who do not have children in school nor live in La Veta.

Vote No on Prop 3A. Vote No on Mill Levy increase for La Veta Regional Library. ~David Roesch Walsenburg

Editor’s note: You propose having a single superintendent to administrate for both La Veta and Walsenburg schools.  I would like to point out that Huerfano RE-1 and La Veta RE-2 are two separate school districts, encompassing two separate portions of the county and funded by property taxes from their respective districts. Your proposal to simply do away with one of the superintendents would imply a complete consolidation of the two districts into one district.  That is not a feasible option at this time and is not being discussed.

Statewide ballot issue recommendations from former Colorado Speaker of the House

This year we have nine statewide ballot issues to vote on and I have been studying them for months. I would like to submit the following recommendations for voters to consider as they go to the ballot box.

The first four will change the State Constitution and put wages, some prices and benefits in the Constitution. That in itself is enough reason to vote against all of them, but below is the detail.

Amendment 69 will at least triple the state income tax rate and put your medical care under a 21 member self- elected board and potentially devastate the availability of doctors to provide medical care to you, especially in rural areas. It is likely that no private health care options will be available and if you are on Medicare, you will still pay the increased tax and your social security will be taxed. Please Vote NO.

Amendment 70 will increase the minimum wage from $8.31 to $12.00 with no consideration of impact on rural areas and jobs available. It will likely further reduce the number of jobs and cause severe impact on small business. Where would we be without small business in rural Colorado, please Vote NO.

Amendment 71 will make it harder for Constitutional changes to be made by requiring that a certain number of signatures be gathered in each State Senate district and any issues be passed by a 55% vote. This effectively means that only wealthy groups and individuals will be able to propose changes to the Constitution. For that reason, I urge a NO vote.

Amendment 72 increases in the Constitution the taxes paid on cigarettes and other tobacco products. The state tax on a pack of cigarettes will go from $.84 to $2.59 which when added to the federal tax will increase the taxes on a pack of cigarettes from $1.01 to $3.60. The tax on other smoking products will increase from 40% to 60%. The money raised from this increase will fund new and existing programs and these funds will not be used for education or roads. Please Vote NO.

The next four ballot issues change Colorado Statutes.

Proposition 106 will allow a terminally ill person with a prognosis of 6 months or less to request and receive assistance to die. It suggests that we know the value of human life and allows a family member to request the medication for a dying person. It does not prevent coercion or under influence on the dying person and does not indicate how to store the medication or what to do with unused medication. Please Vote NO.

Proposition 107 will establish a presidential primary in Colorado that allows unaffiliated voters to vote in a party election. I encourage a NO vote because in Colorado it is very easy to register with a party and the party should determine their candidates not outside groups. It is my understanding that both parties urge a NO vote on Proposition 107 and 108.

Proposition 108 is essentially the same as Proposition 107 in that it allows unaffiliated voters to influence a state parties candidate selection. Both 107 and 108 deserve a NO vote. In this state, there is an exhaustive registration effort and it is very easy to register to vote at any time, there is no need to introduce mischief into already complicated candidate selections. The last two issues are measures referred to the voters by the State Legislature.

Amendment T removes outdated language regarding “slavery and involuntary servitude” which primarily impacts the correctional industries or prisons in the State. I recommend a Yes vote.

Amendment U changes the Constitution and eliminates private property tax on government used property when the benefit is less than $6000. This eliminates the taxes charged to 4-H clubs, churches, etc. when they hold events on public property. I urge a Yes vote.

Hopefully, this will help clarify the issues on the ballot as they are extremely important. I hope this is helpful as these issues will change lives in our county. ~Lola Spradley Huerfano County resident and Former Speaker of the Colorado House

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