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Letters to the Editor - page 3

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 Personal attacks, libel, ax-grinding, muckraking, and profanity will not be published.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 – February 14, 2019

Walsenburg City Administrator Issue

Following last week’s story in the World Journal concerning the fate of the city administrator, I talked with several city councilmen about their concerns. Each voiced some of the same issues about Mr. Toth. As a former Walsenburg mayor, I feel there are avenues, short of replacing him that they could and should consider first. I say that because with potential flooding hitting Walsenburg this spring, now is not a good time to be replacing a city administrator.

Mr. Toth last week touched on many meetings he and David Harriman have attended about possible flooding in Walsenburg. Most of the city councilmen have not attended any of these meetings. It’s important for Walsenburg citizens to have people who are informed and prepared to assist with any potential flood dangers. Toth & Harriman appear to be the best prepared.

The City Municipal League (CML) has many training programs that could assist Mr. Toth and the city council. I would strongly urge both to look into these training avenues. I would prefer the city administrator have advanced training and keep his job than to see him replaced at the most crucial time the citizens of Walsenburg need him.

The city council also needs to understand that replacing Mr. Toth would make a new administrator the 4th hire in four years. That reflects poorly on the city council and limits the number of good candidates that would want to apply for the job. The city councilmen I talked with say they were unaware of plans by Mayor Hoyt to replace Toth. If true, that is not the way a mayor or city council should go about it. The council needs to proceed in a manner that is done correctly so they don’t get involved in a legal matter for which they created.

Both the city council and city administrator need to take a step back and regroup. Mr. Toth, knowing his job is in jeopardy, should be willing to take steps to improve on the concerns the city council has with him. The city council needs to have city attorney Dan Hyatt conduct one of his training programs. Some council members haven’t taken one and others may need a refresher course on dealing with their responsibilities. In doing so, both parties will be benefitting the citizens of Walsenburg, especially at a time when we could be facing a crisis of severe flooding over half of our city, including all of downtown. I hope both sides will take these suggestions seriously for the good of all in Walsenburg.

~Larry Patrick

Walsenburg, CO

Wonderful service

The very first week of January my husband Jack needed to take me to our local SPRH Center to the ER. Not only did I go that evening, but 2 other times. The second time I was admitted overnight and all day Saturday. I had a very dangerous infection. My PA-Jerriann Vigil, Dr. Dutton and the ER doctor, Dr. Dan worked together as a team to get me on the right treatment and right prescriptions. I was asked some serious questions that made me do some homework about my care when I got home and felt good enough to do!

I cannot say enough about the wonderful care I received from teh doctors, nurses, the EMT’s, the gentleman Bob in ex-ray to the lab technicians who worked so gingerly to find my veins to collect blood that just didn’t seem to be there. Also the two nurses on the first floor for their great care.

Some people have asked me why I didn’t go to Pueblo and I tell them if you had a past incident there, put that behind you. The care was impeccable! I would go back again any day. I know slightly the CEO of the hospital, Kay Whitley from my job. She even took the time to call me and tell me if I needed anything I could call on her. Now that’s great service!

Five plus stars to our local hospital. The service and care was wonderful. Thank you also to all our neighbors and friends who called, sent cards, and made sure Jack was taken care of.

Sincerely,

~ Mary Fischer

Walsenburg, CO

 

Murder plain and simple

How is it that we have come to the point in our society that state representatives co-sponsor bills they have not read even when they affect a baby who has survived a botched abortion? Why are we not enraged that this baby can be aborted up to the moment of delivery? This is not a woman’s right to choose. This is murder, plain and simple.

Ultrasounds, amniocentesis or sonograms show if a developing embryo is “damaged goods” in a woman’s mind; something she cannot mentally or emotionally handle. NO ONE ever needs to wait until the third trimester of pregnancy to make that decision when the baby, yes, baby, could survive outside the womb. Within 12 hours of conception the embryo has its own emerging DNA. By day 18 there is a heartbeat and at 20 weeks the baby can feel pain.

Perhaps we should read the abortion laws in our respective states to know what is legal. We might be shocked that murder on demand is available in more places than we’d like to admit.

When a society remains silent regarding the life and liberty of its most vulnerable members, I’m afraid we are lost in a cultural and moral wasteland with no turning back. I hope I am wrong.

It brings to mind Martin Niemoller’s quote at the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C., “They came for the socialists, and I did not speak out, because I was not a socialist. Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out, because I was not a Trade Unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out, because I was not a Jew. And then they came for me ~ and there was no one left to speak for me.”

~Margie Yurtinus

La Veta, CO

Letters to the Editor – January 31, 2019

Craddock’s article should be required reading for high school students

I wanted to commend you on the hard hitting article from several weeks ago, “A Tragedy Next Door”. What a difficult to read, but very important piece of journalism! I think that it should be required reading for high school students…..and everyone who thinks that it couldn’t happen here, because it is happening here! I appreciate that you don’t shy away from difficult topics and it really feel like something like that might actually make a difference! Good job!

~ Mitzi Keairns

La Veta, CO

 

LVFPD Member Survey

Dear Editor,

While I commend Mark Craddock for his accurate article reporting on the LVFPD January 10, 2019 Board of Director’s meeting, his subsequent article (WJ January 24, 2019) on the member survey needs some clarification. As I have always believed, be careful of surveys and polls. In summary, the on-line survey was taken by a combination of employees, volunteers, present and former board members, and possibly others slightly involved with the District. I am not sure as those of us who were invited to participate never saw the final list.

A total of 30 invitees responded to the survey, which incidentally was channeled thru a board member’s corporate account with Survey Monkey. This was an improper way to conduct a survey. Of the 30 that responded, five of these were board members. There were at least two former board members invited to the survey but for my clarification I will assume only five responded.

I will use the survey question dealing with board transparency, the second survey question. Realizing that most all volunteers, 83% of the survey response, have never attended a board meeting nor have familiarity regarding LVFPD Board transparency, I find little value in the survey result. Looking at the total response for this survey question, less than half (47%) were on the agree side, the remainder no opinion or disagree side. If I remove board members from the response data, assuming they would agree, the agree data drops to 36%. In my opinion, neither of these percentages is a passing grade. Most would agree 36% is a failing grade. The five questions allowing board members to evaluate themselves, totally invalidates the results.

In addition, the LVFPD board was caught holding an unannounced board meeting on December 18, 2018. This was clearly in violation of Colorado Special District open meeting requirements. If this blatant violation of the Colorado Sunshine Law had been known to volunteers at the time of the survey, I would have expected a much poorer transparency grade.

I have been a LVFPD volunteer for over seven years and over the last few years I have attended more board meetings than several of the present board members. The survey questions were poorly written and if, in fact, this survey was “gestated”, as stated by the Board President, this was a very poor method of dealing with an important personnel issue. The District residents, volunteers, and employees deserve better than this.

I appreciate the World Journal’s continued coverage of an ongoing situation with the LVFPD and encourage citizens to attend the next Board meeting on February 14, 2019, at 4 pm at the La Veta Fire Station.

~Jim Berg

Cuchara, CO

Letters to the Editor – January 24, 2019

Craddock feature story

Gretchen and crew,

I hope you have nominated (or will do so) Mark Craddock’s story on the young drug addict and her father/ family for a state-wide journalism award. I cannot believe that it would not win “best feature story” for a weekly paper in your category. It was quite compelling and well-written and well-organized. Superb! Very impressive.

~ Roger Castle

Denver, CO

 

We will miss DeTray

Dear Editor,

We will miss David DeTray as our fire chief. We have always been so well taken care of by the whole La Veta fire department, but Dave was always especially kind and caring. Even in his busiest times at work, he’d return our calls for a burn permit or a fire question concerning Uptop. And during the Spring Fire, his reassurance and concern meant the world to us. He’s been a delight to work with.

~Sam Law and Deb Lathrop,

La Veta, CO

Open Letter from David DeTray

As most of you know, I recently resigned as Chief under protest from the La Veta Fire Protection District along with multiple other members as a result of the behavior of a dysfunctional and dishonest Board of Directors. I along with the members who resigned and many members who remain, are ashamed of the board’s indiscretions and lack of credibility. They have stained the district’s reputation.

However, I would like to thank the residents, ranchers, businesses, visitors and surrounding agencies for all of their incredible support since I was appointed Chief in 2006. I have made many new friends over the years and forged relationships and alliances that have benefited both the department and the district. For that I am profoundly grateful.

We have come a long way since 2006 with significant upgrades in the district’s ISO ratings directly having a positive impact on homeowner insurance rates. Approximately 95% of the district’s fire fighting apparatus and equipment has been upgraded albeit recently with significant resistance from the board of directors who would rather use donation funds to pay a “District Manager” $60,000 per year to basically do the board’s job.

We have all come through two massive and historical, major wildfires together and have forged excellent relationships and avenues of communication with relevant Federal, State and Local agencies such as USFS, BLM, NOAH, CBI, CSP, Colorado State OEM and Huerfano County Sheriff’s Office and Fire District.

Not to forget the amazing efforts of the LVFPD Auxiliary an independent charitable organization which raises money for our district. Yes, you can donate and ‘earmark’ to any particular area you would like your donations to be applied to, such as equipment or training and that and has to be honored by the district. The board of directors would have it otherwise.

In my position as a part-time Fire Chief I basically had the responsibility of a full time Fire Chief overseeing 30 firefighter members, 14 fire apparatus, as well as my budget which incidentally I did not exceed during my tenure, unlike the board of directors’ current budget fiasco. Many additional administrative tasks were also required, not to mention many years of responding to EMS calls as an EMT and later Paramedic in addition to my fire duties.

My pay was around $950 per month with no benefits, less pay than the EMS Director and District Secretary who did most of the board of directors administrative work. A fulltime Fire Chief would be paid around $65,000 per year plus benefits and a vehicle. Clearly, I did not do this job for the money I did it because it needed to be done.

Contrary to the usual misinformation that the board of directors’ spin, I was only out of the district for 10 days per month at my fulltime job as a senior paramedic at Trinidad Ambulance. An easily checkable fact!

You may ask why I resigned? Consumed with micro-mismanagement, the board of directors rampantly broke the cardinal rule of interfering deeply into the operational structure of the department without any qualifications to do so. They have created a hostile totalitarian environment that no manager with any self-respect would tolerate. Additionally, their credibility and honesty are also seriously in question.

Would come I back to the department and continue as Fire Chief? I would in a heartbeat when the LVFPD board of directors were made up of honest men and women.

~Dave DeTray

La Veta, CO

Letters to the Editor – January 17, 2019

Open letter to Walsenburg City Council

Dear Members,

On Wednesday, January 9th at 12:50 pm, I came out of the main door of The Museum of Friends. I turned right and started to walk east on the sidewalk of 6th Street. I had gone a few yards when suddenly to my horror, I found I had tripped on something and was heading face first to the concrete sidewalk. The blow I received on the left side of my forehead was tremendous, the worst experience of my life.

I lay there for an unknown amount of time, but I could see what had tripped me. One side of a section of the sidewalk was at least 2 inches out of alignment with its neighbor. My face was bleeding, paper towel was produced and an ambulance was called. A deputy sheriff also attended.

In the emergency room, I was attended by Dr. Dunnam-Smith. My head was given a cat-scan, but was pronounced as having no break. I was kept lying down for recovery time. Eventually, two friends arrived to get me and my car home. This whole episode took five hours before I was home again.

My questions to you are firstly, is it not reasonable to assume that when sidewalks are provided, then these sidewalks should be fit to walk on safely, and secondly, sidewalks should be regularly checked for defects and while waiting for necessary repairs, should be marked in a clear bright color as a warning of danger to pedestrians.

Lastly, if you are now aware of the bad state of Walsenburg sidewalks, why is it that you were not previously aware of these dangers to the public? If I can fall, anybody can.

~ Jack Yule, Gardner, CO

 

Spring Fire

Two interesting articles appear in the January 10, 2019 edition of the World Journal regarding work since the “Spring Fire.” Both writers (Mark Craddock and Eric Mullens) refer to the fire as “Spring Creek,” a name that cropped up prominently in the more urban-area, Front-Range media outlets of Colorado. I suspect that “spring” is more normally used as an adjective and not a noun, especially when referring to something other than a season or part for a car. As far as I know, there are no Spring Creeks in the burn area; Spring Creek occurs south of Cuchara. This opinion may seem nit-picking, but I think it best to use the name that the local officials and fire manager in Huerfano and Costillo counties named the fire in June.

~Loren Hettinger Littleton, CO

Letters to the Editor – January 10, 2019

Mark Craddock

The article you wrote about Quanisha is beautifully written, poignant and well crafted. I didn’t know her, but you made me see a different side of addiction. Stunning really, what good journalism can do. Thank you so much. I’ll become a subscriber today because outstanding journalism can come in small rural packages.

~Carol Bazanele

Trinidad, CO

 

Mark Craddock’s A Tragedy Next Door

Hope the January 3, 2019 World Journal article by Mark Craddock titled “A Tragedy Next Door” gets the recognition it deserves. Could save lives and scare others “straight”. Best writing in memory. Does AP or Reuters pick up stories this good?

~Joe Edes

La Veta, CO

 

Where your tax $$ were Spent?

The Spring Fire burned 69 homes in Huerfano County with floods following. Residents were informed on July 20th that properties were to be cleaned up of hazardous waste within 60 days.

In August the NRCS assessed any remaining structures and produced a Damage Survey Report (DSR) recommending emergency projects. A decision was made by the County to rent equipment for the month of October; (2) excavators, mini excavator, skidsteer and dumpsters, to clean up the private roads and properties in Paradise Acres. Metal was removed from 20 homes and transported to the dump in County trucks, ash was removed and treated as hazardous waste. This was reported in the paper as ‘ash out.’ None of this work was recommended in the DSR. Our County Administrator stated they had spent $30,000 on the clean up and were working on grants to cover the cost. As of this letter none has been received.

County personnel contacted two out of state owners in Middle Creek and offered the same service but wasn’t completed. Around 40 homes were lost there and South Middle Creek but not all were contacted.

Homeowners with Insurance are covered for the cost of debris removal so why is our county paying for this? This has also taken away from our local contractors.

When asked if all homeowners were already done with their cleanup would be reimbursed their costs, NO was the answer. Will the County’s costs for cleaning up private property be billed back to the owners, NO. Will the cost of repair to a private road be paid by the HOA, NO. Why not?

This is the second poorest county in the state and believe the money should be reimbursed to our County, what do you think?

~Tim & Marge Thomsen

La Veta, CO

Letters to the Editor – November 29, 2018

Regarding Airbnb in La Veta

I just want to note that the Airbnb photos accompanying Mark Craddock’s Nov. 15 article are commercial businesses that are licensed, collect all taxes, and meet all regulations. Although these businesses advertise on the Airbnb website, it is not my intention to include these commercial businesses in my proposal for Airbnb regulations and I did not provide the photos. I am requesting regulation and licensing of private homes, etc., who rent out a room or an entire home for less than a month, ie. short-term rentals. There are short-term rental homes scattered throughout La Veta, which do not have a license or a special-use permit. Most are not located in a commercial district, but in residentiual neighborhoods. I believe such rentals should be regulated, have to be licensed in the Town of La Veta, collect all applicable sales and lodging taxes as well as meeting all health and safety codes.

~Pam Pemberton

La Veta, CO

 

Regarding ballots in Las Animas County

Now this is fake news!

The front page World Journal November 15, 2018

“The ballots were put in the vault in a sealed box, but were not counted on Tuesday until the Republican candidate for the clerk and recorder’s office, H.L. Bowman, said something to the current clerk and recorder, Patricia Vigil, after the polls closed and ballot counts were concluding.” The numbers didn’t look right,” said Bowman”

Mr. Knowles reported the ballots were not counted on Tuesday until H.L. Bowman said “the numbers didn’t look right” This seems to infer some action was taken because of Mr. Bowman’s comment. This is not true.

Nothing against Mr. Bowman, Mr. Knowles slanted it. Also the ballots were not counted on Tuesday.

Who were the several individuals with the secretary of state’s office who told the World Journal they were looking into the complaints?

Frank Zele not Zete is a Republican.

“When the short ballot count was notice” No truth in this statement whatsoever.

“a search for the missing ballots began” There was no search.

Also Mr. Knowles has no clue when the ballots were found.

Such sensational reporting too bad. It was largely not factual.

Respectfully submitted,

~Stan White

Aguilar,

Colorado Editor’s note:  The World Journal ran the following correction in last week’s paper.

“ CORRECTION “

The Las Animas County election judges were the ones, not H.L. Bowman, who discovered that a box of ballots had not yet been counted. There was no “search” for the ballots, it was immediately apparent where they were, as they were still in the vault where ballots are stored before counting. County clerk and recorder Peach Vigil takes 100% responsibility and accountability for the error that was made, on behalf of her bi-partisan team of judges and staff.”

Letters to the Editor – November 15, 2018

Native American Pride

I enjoyed the article in the November 8th edition of the World Journal about the murals that have been painted in Walsenburg depicting Native American and Hispanic culture of the area. As a Native American I appreciate the sentiment and pride that is depicted by these various murals in town.

Unfortunately, later in this same edition there are several articles about the La Veta Redskins. I was offended by having to see the word Redskin on the same pages that discuss the importance of the Native American culture to this region.

I can’t believe the good people of La Veta do not understand that the word Redskin to Native Americans is comparable to the “N” word to the black community.

Maybe someday La Veta will do the right thing and change their high school mascot name to something more reflective of Native American pride.

The La Veta Warriors has a nice ring to it.

~Victor and Grace Lucero

Walsenburg, CO

 

More on Terry Dear Editor;

I read with interest the story on Mr. Mark Terry in the November 8th edition of the World Journal (Page 20). Brian Manning did an excellent job of describing Mr. Terry’s issues as he was kidnapped in Virginia and his journey to Walsenburg so his captors could visit their brother. This all came about as the Spring Creek Fire was ravaging Huerfano County in early July 2018.

The American Legion was notified by the Red Cross that Mr. Terry was at the Community Center and is a Veteran. The Legion responded immediately. The Red Cross did an excellent job of getting Mr. Terry on the road to recovery. He was extremely dehydrated and had not had any food or water for several days. The County Veteran’s Service Officer and The Legion transported him to the Spanish Peaks Regional Hospital Emergency Room for treatment and subsequent entry into the Veterans Community Living Center thorough the hard and diligent work of the Admissions and Veterans Hospital Director. The American Legion would like to locate the Good Samaritan that rescued Mr. Terry on or about the first week of July 2018, at the 7-11 Store at 235 W. 7th St., as Mr. Terry was being assaulted and attacked by his captors. The Legion has a humanitarian award for this person who went above and beyond to stop the assault and rescue Mr. Terry, thus ending his hellish experience.

All Mr. Terry can remember of the person is that he drove a silver or white, possibly a Dodge, pickup truck and wore a cowboy hat. He is possibly a Vietnam Veteran. If anyone knows of this recent hero, please have him contact: The American Legion, PO Box 104, Walsenburg, CO 81089, so he can be recognized and thanked.

It is extremely sad that even though all four suspects are known and lived locally in Walsenburg, no arrests or prosecution for the crimes against Mr. Terry has been done. According to Mr. Terry, “I hope they don’t do to someone else what they did to me”.

~David Rogers, Adjutant American Legion,

Post 16 Walsenburg, CO

 

SPRHC is wonderful

Folks,

I recently had a couple of lab tests at Spanish Peaks Regional Health Center.  I wqas sao impressed with the employees, the equipment, the whole atmosphere of the hospital. The professional attitude and courtesy of all was so calming.

We are truly lucky to have such a wonderful facility close by. They are so willing to be of service to all of us. I was so happy that we voted for wehatever we needed financially to keep it all together. And a Veterans home right next door to boot!

Next time you are there, please apreciate all of the above.

Sincerely, ~Dorothy Mihanovich

an appreciated person,

Walsenburg, CO

 

San Isabel Electric

My late husband and I owned a home in Cuchara, CO for about 15 years. I sold my Colorado home this past August and I am still trying to redeem my Unretired Capital Credits (worth over $900) that were accumulated by San Isabel Electric (SIEA) over the years.

Over the past year I have phoned and written to San Isabel asking that they return my total capital credits, which we understood to be a deposit, as in other states. We paid our electric bill to San Isabel every month on time.

Management has responded that their Board changed accounting systems some time ago and enacted their current policy of repayment as a “planned, but not guaranteed, retirement cycle [of] between 25 and 30 years.”

I now live in Arkansas. I am an 89 year old partially disabled widow.  I am trying to get my affairs in order. My husband served this country in the Army during 3 wars: WWII, Korean and Vietnam. So SIEA’s policy dictates that I wait until I am 114-120 years old to receive my own money? Remember this is not a law or even a regulation, just SIEA’s policy, passed by their Board of Directors. I say their Board can and should amend that policy in the name of decency.

~Patty MacDonald

Hot Springs Village, Arkansas

 

Letters to the Editor – November 8, 2018

Paying the pastor

The pastor at the Presbyterian church in Raton is paid full time with a congregation of five. I asked him if he deserved this salary as opposed to part time, and he said that he did. As far as I can find out, the pastor does little more than preach on Sunday.

With five in the congregation, his salary is paid from the endowments of people no longer with us. They must be turning over in their graves.

Some time ago, I shared this information with the Presbyterian headquarters in Santa Fe. They said this pastor was supposed to be on half time. I have heard nothing since. Think of how this ill-gotten money could be used for missions to help people in need.

~George Whitman, Raton, NM 

 

The Villagio responds to last week’s letter

Dear Editor:

I object to the claims in last week’s letter to the editor written by Judy Pierce. There were no bedbugs, mites, or fleas in Ms. Pierce’s apartment. Also, one would need to sleep for a very long time for maggots to be everywhere upon awakening.

I was summoned to Ms. Pierce’s apartment a half dozen times to see the bugs that were biting her. I observed collections of random debris, such as tiny pieces of wood, stone, rolled up paper, and a bread crumb. In the few months that she rented the apartment, we failed to find even one specimen of any kind of bug, living or dead. In my apartment next to hers, there were no maggots, bedbugs, mites, or fleas. In the apartment on the other side of hers, there were no complaints.

She wrote about two bricks (which wobbled terribly) as a step. But, they weren’t bricks. They were foot-square pavers, and they were sturdy.

What is Ms. Pierce’s motive for publishing these scurrilous falsehoods?

~Larry D. Bullock Property Manager

The Villagio

Walsenburg, CO

 

La Veta Senior Meals

Dear Editor:

It has been almost six months that the South Central Council of Governments Area Agency on Aging has been providing meals once a week to La Veta residents. We are honored to bring this community into our service area. At this time, it is under discussion to bring in one more meal a week for a total of two weekly hot nutritious meals. I would like to recognize Patty Burns and the team of La Veta volunteers who pick up meals at our Walsenburg kitchen and deliver to each eligible senior. I would also like to applaud the AAA staff in Walsenburg including Yvette and Nancy who prepare and pack meals for these folks to pick up and Carol who does her administrative magic keeping track of all the paperwork. It is an absolute team effort that makes it all possible!

If you are over 60 years of age, a resident of La Veta, and would like to sign up to receive these lunch meals, please contact Patty Burns at 742-0260 or Carol Reynolds at 719-738-2205 to sign up and get complete details about the program. Funding for meals is provided by both State and Federal funding under the Older Americans Act and supplemented by suggested donations from recipients. We appreciate the generous donations received.

I will be in the La Veta soon to conduct a public meeting. Please watch this newspaper for details. I would like to give everyone the opportunity to express your comments, suggestions, or ideas about how we can continue to serve seniors in the coming years. I can be reached at (719) 845-1133 ext. 225.

~Veronica Maes

SCCOG, Huerfano & Las Animas Counties

AAA Director

Walsenburg, CO

Letters to the Editor – November 1, 2018

La Veta, be careful about location for new school – is it safe?

I am a parent of a La Veta student, am in favor of a new school, but have concerns about the proposed building site near the Cucharas River on the north side of La Veta.

I have experience in flood recovery on the Hayman Fire and Waldo Canyon burn scars, and am educated in river morphology and fluvial geomorphology.

I want to share thoughts about the NRCS flood predictions for La Veta.

Last week’s WJ article on the new school’s location referred to the predictions as a “blessing in disguise,” because we have studies for how much flooding we might see with the burn scar.

The study shows the north side of La Veta is at most risk, with total cubic feet per second (cfs) in a 100-year event predicted to be up to 61,166 cfs. Put into perspective, that would be 61 feet deep and 1,000 feet wide.

The south side (Garland St campus) is predicted to see up to 28,253 cfs in a 100-year event.

In a one-year event, the Garland street campus would have no flooding, and the north location would see two inches of water.

According to the study, the football field/ proposed location would be covered in water in all 1-100-year events.

I am unclear how, at the new location, the football field to the west and railroad tracks to the south, can be considered “existing flood protection.” The confluence of three severely burned drainages- Indian Creek, Middle Creek, and South Abeyta Creek- reaches the Cucharas River north of the tracks.

In the event of a flood, students and teachers would have to be bused to higher ground from the proposed location.

If the school is left on Garland, they could walk to higher ground.

Again, I am in favor of a new school, but don’t feel the north end of town is the best location. We don’t know for sure what will happen during a flood, but we should consider the predictions before putting children and teachers in danger.

~Justin Jameson,

La Veta, CO

 

Vote No on Prop 112

During Las Animas County’s Board of County Commissioners’ special meeting held October 25, 2018, the Commissioners voiced their firm opposition to Colorado Proposition 112, the mandate that requires any new oil and gas development and the reentering of old oil and gas wells meet a minimum distance “set back” of 2,500’ from occupied buildings and vulnerable areas. Common-Sense Policy Roundtable estimates over 147,000 workers will lose their jobs over the next 10 years and state and local tax revenues will decrease by $230,850,000 in the first year alone if Prop 112 passes.

Commissioner Moltrer stated that he represents Las Animas County and if this becomes law, it will “kill, if you will, Las Animas County as an energy county as we know it”. Commissioner Louden agreed with Moltrer and said he wants to see this proposition defeated since many of the jobs that will be lost are “good paying jobs” that will “leave Colorado”. Commissioner Lopez agreed with both commissioners and added that it will create “financial devastation” for communities involved in gas and oil including local school districts. Others opposing the Proposition include Gubernatorial candidates Democrat Jared Polis and Republican Walker Stapleton.

~Phil Dorenkamp County Administrator for LAC

Trinidad, CO

 

SCCOG helps out area seniors

On Wednesday, October 24, 2018 South Central Council of Governments (SCCOG) distributed Care and Share to Las Animas County residents. SCCOG distributes monthly over $5000 worth of food for low-income seniors and families in Las Animas County. SCCOG has done the senior box and cheese for some years but recently took over the TEFAP part of the program from the Department of Human Services.

We have had many challenges as we bring these programs together. We continue to distribute food to residents from Aguilar, Trinidad, Kim and Branson. This is an agency collaboration as we have SCCOG employees from all programs. These valued employees and volunteers are key to our success.

We have some volunteers but could always use more. It is a 1-2 day commitment monthly. We were fortunate to receive some special volunteers in the form of Las Animas County Commissioners Dean Moltrer and Luis Lopez. This is a commitment they are making to keep this program going here for its residents. We were all grateful for their help.

It has been a partnership with Las Animas County that makes this program work. The county provides the facilities for distribution as well as support. We will continue to make changes to improve our delivery of service. As always, we appreciate any constructive input and volunteers.

Please contact Veronica Maes at 719-845-1133 extension 225 with comments, suggestions, or to sign up to help.

Thank you for your continued patience as we work out the kinks and get the food out to those in need.

~Veronica Maes SCCOG Huerfano & Las Animas Counties AAA Director

Walsenburg

 

Terrible Living Conditions

Dear Editor, I moved in to the Villagio Living Facility.

Before I moved in I asked for my apartment to be painted. After two months waiting for it to be done (which was very thinly half painted) I moved in.

I brought in all my stuff and put every thing away. Was very tired and so laid down on the clean white sheet on the bed. When I awoke, there were maggots everywhere on me including in my mouth (don’t snore) and nose. I pulled them out and jumped up, pulled the sheet off and the mattress was just covered with blood and maggots (probably from a accident which happened about two years before).

There were also bed bugs, mites, and fleas. I worked at the history center and was told I could not come back because of the mites.

There was a very big step up to get in. They put two bricks on top of each other (which wobbled terribly) and I fell- cutting my arm and the other shoulder was sore for some time (another tenant had the same problem and they build a couple ramps for him).

I have been sick and to the emergency room two times and the doctor several times for stomach and kidney infections, dehydration, and anemia.

I hope this lets you know what low income citizens are up against.

Hope you had a nice Halloween. I have for the last six months and now live in a very clean, warm, and peaceful place.

~Judy Pierce

Walsenburg, CO

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