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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 Personal attacks, libel, ax-grinding, muckraking, and profanity will not be published.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 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

Letters to editor: October 5, 2016

Huerfano County Communications Coalition votes YES on 3A, for the kids of RE-1 schools

The Mission of the Huerfano County Communication Coalition is to enhance the lives of the citizens of Huerfano County by increasing communication, encouraging cooperation and disseminating information to efficiently achieve common goals.

The Coalition is comprised of elected officials, business owners, community leaders and concerned citizens who have met monthly since 1999 successfully achieving our mission.

The coalition has actively campaigned for things that are in the best interest of Huerfano County. For instance we strongly supported the Spanish Peaks Library District, the lodging tax, the regional sports complex, the creation of the Huerfano County Water District and other projects that have enhanced the wonderful county we live in.

At our last meeting on September 1st, the coalition unanimously voted to support the efforts of the Huerfano Re-1 School District’s mill levy override, ballot item 3a.

Over the past six years, Huerfano RE-1, as well as other Colorado schools has seen drastic decreases in funding ($670,000 yearly average).

The mill levy will provide additional revenue to achieve their goal of improving student achievement, attracting and retaining a high quality staff, embracing innovation, and providing a safe and secure learning environment.

The Huerfano County Communication Coalition strongly encourages voters in District Re-1 to vote YES on 3A – for the children. ~Debbie Channel Chair, Huerfano County Coalition

Letter to Walsenburg Police Department Chief McLallen: You should not divulge sources

This is in response to the letter to the editor submitted by Chief of Police, Tommie McLallen. I was horrified when I discovered, that the same letter was posted on the Walsenburg Police Department Facebook actually naming the source of the complaint.

Thank goodness at least the Huerfano Journal had sense enough to omit the source, but the damage was already done.

Chief McLallen, whatever happened to, “See something, Say something”. I was always under the impression that the citizens of Walsenburg/Huerfano, had an obligation to assist law enforcement by being their eyes and ears.

I ask you now, why would any law abiding citizen jeopardize themselves, knowing that our chief of police will betray their confidentiality, and put a target on the back of their source.

There is such a big problem in our county with drug trafficking.  This year alone there have been too many deaths associated with drug overdoses. When is this going to stop, how is it going to be stopped?

Chief McLallen, if you would like the help of the community to stop these drugs coming into our county, DON’T AIR THE SOURCE IN THE PUBLIC MEDIA. Concerned citizen, ~Delphine Ortega, Walsenburg

In support of the Walsenburg Police Department

The controversy about replacing Walsenburg’s police department got me thinking about our future.

Have you ever had business or occasion to visit the Huerfano County Sheriffs Department? You approach the concrete entrance and try the door, finding it locked, you read the wall signage then push the button and announce your business, after waiting, a voice sounds from a speaker asking for more information, then you told to wait. I have waited for up to 20 minutes or told to come back later. Finally the door buzzes as if to open yet there is no one there, stepping inside I finally locate someone to whom I address my business.

The whole process is demeaning and humiliating. I feel like I’m treated like a criminal. Compare this experience with a Walsenburg Police Department visit. You got, like night and day. The question I see is one of access and accountability, I’ll take the city any day. Sincerely, ~Brendt Berger Walsenburg

I support Gail Schwartz & Colorado’s future

To the Editor: I have hunted on national forest lands around the Spanish Peaks area and elsewhere with my son and family for over 45 years. My great grandmother was born in the area in 1892. Many of the people and families have lived in these mountains well before the National Forests were established. There is no question that the hunting, outdoor recreation, wood cutting, grazing and fishing is the foundation for the lifestyle and the economy on these public lands, as well as in other parts of Colorado.

Congressman Scott Tipton has sponsored a number of bills that will transfer or sell our public federal lands to the State of Colorado or private corporations and this is unacceptable. Gail Schwartz understands what is at stake for Coloradoans and has worked with rural Colorado to improve the schools, protect our water, helped with economic programs and local jobs, secured and improved habitat for wildlife and fisheries on these lands. She has become part of the local heritage. I will vote for Gail Schwartz this fall because the future of Colorado depends on her! ~John Litherland Weston, CO

La Veta Methodist women thankful to community for support over the years

The La Veta United Methodist Women would like to thank our community for the generous support of our Bake Sales, Granny’s Attic and Bazaars throughout the years.

With the help of friends and neighbors of Huerfano County, we have been able to help the following organizations:

Local gas and electric companies for aid to the needy, Dorcus Circle, Upon the Rock Christian camp, Open Arms Pregnancy Center, Cuchara Valley Christian Community Services, Compassion International, ZOE project in Africa, Heifer International, Operation SMILE, Spanish Peaks Meals on Wheels, Relay for Life, Ronald Mc Donald House, Malawi African Women, Hometown Heroes, Hospice, Shriners, and Warren Village. We also make 50 goodie bags to the La Veta schools teachers and staff yearly, and have supported the local volunteer fire department, and provide 100 boxes of supplies for Operation Christmas Child. We are a small, but committed group of women …..without the support of our wonderful church and the community, none of this would be possible. Thank you for enabling us to meet our goals year after year! God bless you! La Veta UMW ~Terry Warlick La Veta

Handicap spaces are a blessing

A special “thank you” to Mr. Joe Jiron and the members of the Knights of Columbus for their consideration in painting the handicapped parking places by the St Mary church for myself and the other people who have disabilities.

Thanks again and God Bless you all. Sincerely, ~Jeannette Booze Walsenburg Soccer donation The La Veta soccer teams would like to thank Gabe with Gabe’s Emergency Roadside Service for his generous donation! ~La Veta Soccer

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