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Letters to the Editor - page 7

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Letters to the Editor of November 16, 2017

“Good ole’ boy” article

I thought a reporter reported “the story.” They didn’t pick sides, but reported all sides. Eric Mullens seems to be taking sides.

This is what I recall from the last city council meeting. Mayor Eccher did give temporary permission to R.A.I. to dump limbs from trees at the “tree dump” site. He may have made a “unilateral” decision, but he did this with the best of intentions. This was during the destructive snowstorms we had in March. Remember all the broken tree branches; downed electric poles; people with no power, some for very long periods of time? Carol Dunn remembers! See her article on page 8 (in last week’s paper.)

We did find out that some decisions require the city administrator to access the situation and make a determination. People do not always know there are rules for certain things but when your city is in crisis mode you make decisions with good intent as Mayor Eccher did.

I wonder why Officer Craig Lessar, who followed this company into the site, never said anything to them? Officer Lessar said there were other things besides tree limbs there, but he did not see R.A.I. dump them! I often wonder how something that seems so simple can be turned into a major issue! I see that clarification is needed on this. So, could we get the clarification and move on (and maybe change the lock at the “tree dump” site)!?

We have no city police force, Leslie Klusmire was fired, Indiana will become a one way (same direction as Pennsylvania), all initiated by one or more city council members – for the city or themselves?

People of Walsenburg, come to city council meetings and see what is going on!

CONGRATULATIONS MAYOR ECCHER ON RETAINING YOUR MAYORIAL SEAT!!! ~Carmen J. Lara Walsenburg, CO

Voter turnout was disappointing

To the Editor; The recent election DID take place and when I looked at the results of how many took advantage of said election… well… I was a little more than upset that this county could not even turn out a 50% ballot return- on a mail-in election! The results of the election may or may not agree with my beliefs, but that is not the point. The POINT is that less than half of the ballots sent out were returned, and yet 100% of the people were willing to give an opinion that I am supposed to value. NOT ANYMORE! The first question I will ask when anyone starts to give me their personal rant or opinion will be to say, “Did you vote in the last election?” If they chose not to vote, it should either embarass them, or they should shut up. But they probably won’t.

Yes, I realize that it is your right not to vote. My suggestion then would be that you remove your name from the voter registration, put on your blinders and go back to your snug troll hole and above all, keep your opinions to yourself. As for myself, I will ask, “Did you vote?” ~John Carlson Walsenburg, CO

Congrats to La Veta school for veterans program

Congratulations to the La Veta School facility and students who worked so hard to give a beautiful program to honor veterans for their service to our country.

The outstanding performances included presentations by the pre-school and kindergarten singing “America the Beautiful”; kindergarten through fifth grade singing and signing “My Country ‘Tis of Thee”; first through third graders reciting the preamble; second graders performing a skit while a recording of Johnny Cash singing “Ragged Old Flag and the third graders “What Heroes Gave”; all were excellent and inspiring.

Our honored veterans were: Fred Falk and Gary Bridges.

The “All Veteran Color Guard” included the following:

David Rogers, Donna Adams, Brian Chiquette, Justin McCay, Tucker Shrout, Gary Baldwin, Courtney Graham and Bill Shepard.

Thank you, one and all, for participating and showing all veterans what they mean to us. We are forever in their debt.

Sincerely, ~Donna Adams La Veta, CO

Kudos to Cindy Campbell!

Cindy Campbell recently completed two terms of service on the La Veta RE2 Board of Education. She deserves our community’s thanks for her generous service to Huerfano County children. As a parent of two La Veta students, as a volunteer in the classroom, as a creative member of the school’s Wellness Committee and as an energetic contributor to development and sustenance of the LV School, the students, parents, teachers, staff and administration all express their gratitude for all that Cindy has done for the La Veta school.

Not the least of Cindy’s contributions has been her service as a member of the Board of Education. We are grateful for the great work that Cindy and others did to review and update the school’s many, many policies. Importantly, Cindy helped keep the Board focused on its primary purposes.

Cindy, thank you for your many contributions to the school and to our mission that “all La Veta students graduate as lifelong learners and productive citizens”. ~Ed Donovan, President, Board of Education, La Veta RE2 School District

Kudos to Eleanor Foley!

Eleanor Foley recently completed yet another term of service on the La Veta RE2 Board of Education. At its most recent meeting, the Board of Education found it difficult to find the time to acknowledge Eleanor’s countless contributions to the La Veta school. Everywhere in our community you will meet people who know Eleanor, know of her tireless work for the school and are grateful for Eleanor as a citizen, a teacher and a school Board member. As a teacher, as a substitute teacher, as a member of our VocAg Committee and a tireless advocate for strong vocational and agricultural programs at our school, as a vocal advocate for a stronger focus on science, technology, engineering and math, Eleanor is an articulate and forceful reminder that our students can only succeed if we support our teachers. It is hard to imagine where our school might be were it not for Eleanor’s multiple terms of service on the Board of Education and for her many other hours of volunteer service to the school. Our school, its students, families, teachers, staff, administrators and fellow Board members truly cannot thank Eleanor enough for what she has done and will continue to do for our school.

At the heart of Eleanor’s service is that she cares. The almost daily hugs that she receives from students and teachers is a testament to her love of our school and her dedication to public education.

It is not a cliché to say that we are nearer our vision of “becoming a model for rural education in Colorado” because of Eleanor’s service to the school. We are grateful. Thank you. ~Ed Donovan, President, Board of Education, La Veta RE2 School District

Volunteers for Community (VFC) Needs Volunteers from Huerfano County

Since its founding in 2009, Sangre de Cristo Volunteers for Community (VFC) has provided numerous services to Huerfano, South Pueblo and Custer Counties. Past and/or current projects include financing and supporting the Community Garden in Walsenberg, collecting food for the needy for the Dorcas Circle food bank, roadside litter pickup in all three counties and, just in Huerfano County, classroom help to teachers at Peakview, visiting vets and knitting lap blankets for them, and giving warm clothing and backpacks to RE-1 students, as well as support of other RE-1 projects, the John Mall High School prom, the Los Huerfanos Animal Welfare Association, the Museum of Friends, Mission:Wolf, the Walsenburg SK8 Park, and, the biggest project, every year buying and wrapping Christmas presents in Huerfano, Custer, and South Pueblo County for children who might otherwise not have expected any presents at all. In 2016 VFC spent over $4,000 on more than 100 Huerfano County children.

However, as volunteer support has increased in South Pueblo County and Custer County, it has decreased to almost no volunteer support in Huerfano County. As a result, the Board of Volunteers for Community is considering not providing any services to or implementing projects in Huerfano County, including providing Christmas presents to children in need in Huerfano County. This would be a tragic decision, because it is so preventable. All Huerfano County needs to do is have a few individuals volunteer a couple of hours a month to Volunteer for Community activities, including a few hours to help with the VFC major fundraiser, a huge yard sale, which is both productive and fun. The other volunteers are friendly, fun and motivated to help each other. They work on the yard sale all year long. Volunteers’ efforts benefit Huerfano County.

Almost all of us have a few hours each month to give to being a volunteer for something. Why not consider Volunteers for Community? If you think you can do it, you can. To learn more about Volunteers for Community and what volunteer opportunities there are, please call Susan Kalman at (719) 250-6097. We guarantee that you will find that being a Volunteer for Community will be one of the most rewarding things you can do. Signed, ~Stirling Lathrop, Bonnie Rose, John Carlson, and Susan Kalman

Moose Alert

by Baxter Black, DVM

Many of the animals rights groups give awards to citizens who perform good deeds on behalf of animals. These deeds are usually along the line of rescuing mistreated horses, homeless cats or HBC dogs (hit by car). Rarely do any cowboys receive an award. I would like to nominate Andy for his daring moose rescue last fall.

Andy was still trainin’ on Gracie as they rode across the high mountain pasture in the Uintas. He had named her Gracie with the same inversely convoluted reasoning with which U.S. senators refer to each other as “My distinguished colleague…”

They made their way along a big ditch that diverted water off the Black Fork River. Beaver dams and dead fall had made the ditch wide in spots and the black mud would suck the socks off a frog!

Andy’s herd of dogs scouted into a stand of willers and quakies where the ditch neared the river. They spooked a cow moose and her four-day old calf! The pair ran down the ditch bank. Andy called off his dogs and followed Mama Moose and baby at an easy walk, just watchin’. Gracie snorted and pranced, unsure about the moose.

Mrs. Moose crossed the ditch above a beaver dam but when baby followed he tangled himself in a fallen tree and got stuck. Seeing Baby Moose’s dangerous predicament, Andy coaxed the nervous Gracie into the stirrup high water. Since Andy was also checkin’ the irrigation, he was wearin’ his genuine Cowboy Issue Cabela’s Thigh-High Waders. Andy eased up to the calf, reached down and pulled the stranded moosling out by the ears. Gracie lurched, caught our daring hero off balance and dumped him over his head!

Unbeknownst to the rescue team, Mother Moose had crossed the ditch, circled back and snuck up on the scene of the accident. Gracie turned to free herself from the mud, looked Mrs. Moose in the eye and fell over backwards! Square on top of Andy! He went down under the thrashing mare, fighting for his breath and pushing against Gracie.

In the next few tumultuous seconds Andy swallowed ten gallons of water, Gracie backstroked to the bank like a sand crab and Mama Moose gathered baby and lit out for the high ground.

Andy rose periscopically from the sea spewing like a breaching porpoise! He caught sight of Gracie in full gallop, stirrups flapping, headed up the valley.

Andy slogged to the bank in his high waders full of water and collapsed.

So, whatya think? Is this story of heroism worthy of a Humane Society valor award? Or is it just another day in the life of one of us who spend our lives watchin’ after God’s creatures? I can’t say but I’d like to have been a magpie in the cottonwoods watchin’.

www.baxterblack.com

Understandably confused

by David High

If there is anything that I am sure I’ve made clear in this column over the eight years or so of its existence is that I am easily confused and not very good at understanding even the most basic things in life.

I’m embarrassed to admit it wasn’t all that long ago that I learned what I had for years been calling “duck tape” is actually “duct tape.”

It seems to me that in most cases like this, you either know these things instinctively or you don’t. So when I say I don’t understand most things, I am not just bumping my gums.

I shouldn’t admit this, but years ago when I bought this powerful new car I was asked how big the engine was. “Well,” I answered confidently as I spread my hands apart to the proper dimensions, “It’s about this big.”  It was the first indication that nearly every technological marvel of our age is a source of mystery and wonderment to me.

I don’t know what a proton or an enzyme is. I don’t understand things like chemistry, internet cloud storage, anatomy and, for that matter, television weather maps. I have little knowledge of my own body, aside from where food goes in and where it comes out. I couldn’t begin to tell you what my parathyroid gland does or where you would find it. I wouldn’t know my own duodenum if it jumped out and gave me a good goosing. I’m sure I’m not alone in my lack of understanding and confused state. Here are some other things I have never been able to get a grip on: Why is it that buses, trains and planes are on time when I am late and late when I am on time? How is it that no matter how carefully I examine potted plants before I buy them, I always choose the one that is on the verge of committing suicide?

How can my computer know when the clocks change between normal time and daylight saving time every spring and fall and yet can’t figure out that the next letter after a period should automatically be capitalized?

Also, why is it that every time I switch it on, it is as if it has never been turned on before? And, when I try to switch it off, why does it put up a little window that asks: “Are you sure you want to switch off?”

Since the Beatles, I always wondered why I can’t hear a singer’s accent in a song.

When the phone rings, why does someone inevitably say; “Is that the phone? Why is it that the more hair I lose off the top of my head, the more it grows in my nostrils?

Why does it seem Dan Fouts, a well-known Bronco hater, always announces the Bronco games on Sunday?

Finally, and most importantly, the most puzzling thing to me is why on earth would anybody in a free society choose to become a proctologist?

Letters to the Editor of November 9, 2017

ACA enrollment is now open but premiums are up

The Affordable Care Act open enrollment season for 2018 marketplace plans is November 1 to Dec 15. Millions of Americans can still find affordable health insurance plans, but be aware:

The Trump administration has taken steps to make signing up more difficult by cutting the enrollment period in half.

Efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act [ACA] by President Trump and Republicans in Congress have caused premiums to increase across the country.

President Trump cancelled cost-sharing reduction payments which will raise premiums for “silver-level” plans by 20%, on average, in 2018 and by 25% in 2020.

So get going and enroll. Go to healthcare.gov, getamericacovered.org or to a local insurance broker.

Sign up NOW!!! As you are investing in your healthcare plan, keep in mind the reason premiums have escalated. Next November use your vote to elect people that will reflect your ideals and your vision for our State and nation. Be engaged to give rise to the country you want to live in. ~Dale Lyons Huerfano County Democratic Party Chair

Fence laws and right away on public roads

I am deeply appalled how fence laws are only enforced by the road and bridge department to people they do not like but friends and relatives are totally ignored. I had my fence built in February 1996. My neighbor who has much power and friends in high places is upset about a land grab so he contacted the supervisor of road and bridge department and they come out to harass me the same day! I see fences of all kinds and some are right on the county road including my neighbors electric fence yet every after noon for two days now the supervisor of roads and bridges visits and takes pictures of my fence. IS THIS WHAT TAX PAID GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS DO? They enforce laws on people they do not like while totally ignoring the violations of there friends and family?

In the same canyon in which I live folks blocked off a NON maintained county road yet the same supervisor of roads and bridges ignored such actions. ~Charlene Port Trinidad, CO

MOF’s 10th Anniversary Celebration

The Museum of Friends would like to thank everyone who participated in making our 10th anniversary such a memorable occasion. We would especially like to thank John Mall Music Director Ben Pollack and the Walsenburg Panther Brigade Drum Corps for the fantastic performance in front of the museum, and a shout-out thank you to superintendent Michael Moore for his help in seeing it happen. Also to Alys Romer and Dale for the great cookies, brownies, and lemon bars, they were terrific; and MOF’s great staff and volunteers without them it would not have happened. ~Maria Cocchiarelli Walsenburg, CO

Cannabis caregivers deserve a break

Colorado’s cannabis Caregivers, individuals who provide medicine for designated patients, and even patients themselves, face home invasion by their local law enforcement, even a felony charge for possession of more than 12 plants per patient, the result of a new law limiting how many plants “caregivers” can grow for “patients.”

Six million was dumped into the general fund on July 1 as a “grant” to enforce this new law.  Since the people voted for medical marijuana in 2000, the Colorado Health department has always kept the registry of patients and their caregivers and the registry has always been available to law enforcement.  So, most agencies may already know where the caregivers are or it will only take a few clicks for them to find out, make a list and get ready for inspections when HB17-1220 goes into effect January 1.

This “grant” scheme is a money grab by law enforcement. It is really an appropriation.

Many of our vulnerable caregivers and patients, who have self-reported their activity to the state, reside in jurisdictions that voted no to legalization and will not license stores, recreational or medical. The rural patients are without access and are allowed to let another grow an unspecified amount of cannabis for them. These people have been in your community for years, quietly providing medicine for their patients, minding their own business.

Coloradans, stand up now for these local healers. Ask your officials to make a law that would grant a waiver in your community for enforcing the limiting plant counts, unfairly and deceptively placed on silent caregivers. ~Michelle LaMay La Veta, CO

Letters to the Editor of November 2, 2017

A puzzling problem

Dear Ms. Gretchen Sporleder Orr,

Perhaps one of your readers can help me solve a problem.  As you know, Walsenburg used to be a coal mining area so its underground support system is honeycombed with abandoned mines, pits and diggings.

The town also seems to be located in a natural amphitheaer surrounded by hills and moutnains which amplify sound, especially diesel trian horns, sirens of emergency vehicles, and church bell carillons.

Recently weird things have been happening in my small apartment that are puzzlements.

Floor tiles are pulling away from the south wall with stranger “rattles” coming from a wall hanging that moves sideways.

Several times the sensor light on my washing machine has turned red and the lid locks. Water in the toilet “swishes” back and forth like waves without being flushed and my cell phone seems to have a mind of its own resting in its cradle on the nightstand.

I’ve noticed huge cracks on the walls of older buildings and churches, with uneven sidwalks and bulges in the sphalt of streets and parking lots.

Not long ago the Journal newspaper showed a photo of a garbage truck whose backend had fallen into a ‘sink hole’.

My question is this: Are these happenings a natural phenomenon or Halloween workings of evil spirits, spooks, and ghosts?

~LaVona Heide Walsenburg, CO

Trinidad is tired of politics in schools

The community of Trinidad are tired of politics at the school district and the board members who support it.

The board members claim to be on the board for the kids. The kids are important but do not deserve to have transportation. It’s clear the leader of the board is leading the board straight to hell.

Paul Montero fought for the scandalous coaches fired in 2013 because HIS DAUGHTER KRISTINA VEZANNI AND SON IN LAW GARY VEZANNI were part of the scandal. That was Paul’s fight for the kids. What can the public expect from a self serving man with his own agenda? His wife sat on the board for 20 years and now it’s his turn to ensure their families and friends are taken care of.

Paul continued to fight for his kid Kristina when he convinced superintendent Scott Mader to hire his unqualified daughter for the middle school counselor position instead of another candidate who was qualified. Scott removed the other candidate from the application, claiming the application was recieved after the deadline. The board members voted her in knowing she was not qualified to counsel the kids.

Gary Vezanni is running for a seat on the school board. If he wins, he will bring back the coaches. Why is this allowed? How can this be ethical and why are the bobble heads on the board allowing this? Is it possible to get a recount on every single board member?

Where is CDE? Does it matter to CDE that Trinidad School District is being run to the ground by Scott? Is anyone paying attention to how our tax dollars are being wasted? What will it take for CDE to step in and run this district?

~Kristy Bozarth Trinidad, CO 

What’s the Trinidad School District board hiding?

Dear all,

I demand to know why this was not handled by Principal Bachicha or by Superintendent Mader. My source revealed Superintendent Mader left during the investigation and was not aware allegations of “child assault” (his words as reported to KKTV) would be a criminal investigation. Superintendent Mader delegated the criminal investigation to the accounting department and went home.

As a grandmother of children currently attending TSD I am worried for my babies and 1,000 children these administrators are responsible for.

Sincerely,

~Donna Vigil Trinidad, CO

Shame Shame Shame Trinidad School Board

Shame on you for forgetting why you are on the board. Stop saying it’s the kids when some don’t have no buses to ride. No working phones or cameras but plenty of money for Scott’s salary to bleed the district dry. The tapes of the last two meetings show something is wrong. What is so important that you had to vote on an flow chart? Dani don’t care for no power. She only wants to do her job right. Why did the special session happen on Friday the 13th? Whats more important than the seniors parading in front of the crowd and parents night and the last home game? You all should have been out there cheering them on. The board meeting proved something is wrong and you all are covering it up. Why are you all not worried that budget is the problem and there is fraud? Lori spoke and she is trying to be heard. You think firing Dani will solve the problem when she is not the problem. There is fraud you all are covering up and that is why Dani and Lori have got to go. You all want to get rid of the two that you don’t want to hear. The guys before her gave you all bad budgets. Step down Paul because you got your daughter the job and she dont deserve nothing more. Listen to the recordings out there. Scott says he don’t know how the budget got so bad. Open up your eyes. The community is not buying it. Maybe you all don’t understand that you are running the district to the ground too. Maybe he is the one that should be investigated not Tom. Tom ain’t done nothing wrong. If you all care about the kids give up your seats.

~Tom Bartalotta Trinidad, CO

Rebuttal to last week’s letter from Patrick Sandoval Re. Trinidad SD#1

A key value in my life is working hard for what I desire. I have instilled this value in my children and many students whom I have taught/coached. I’m concerned, Pat, that you place importance on morals/ethics yet you write a public letter mocking my financial hardship. This is unprofessional and reckless. My two children are in an embarrassing and potentially harmful situation at school because you attempted to taint my campaign. As VP of TSD #1 board, is it ethically/ morally correct to put two students through this? Home foreclosures are public but as per the City of Trinidad, utility shut offs are not. I have endured hard times and I am also the person to find the solutions.

You state I have a history of cussing at students during school. There was one incident, one student. I reported it. It was handled by the administrator. I apologized to the student. Pat, I recall that you too, admitted to cussing at a student, apologized and discussed this during an open board meeting last year.

You allege my bid for election is to bring back certain coaches. Why are the “Coaches” still an issue? They are gone. They would never return. During your re-election, you said TSD1 should focus on education: The student-athlete not the athlete-student. Why did you put so much effort to athletics last year? I think the “Coaches” are your agenda, not mine. I am running for our current students who I have taught and coached, staff and community – period!

Thank you, everyone for the support received after Pat Sandoval’s letter was printed. Our students and the desire bring our district and community together is MY agenda. My actions and character are a testament to my words, who I am and what I represent.

~Gary R. Vezzani Trinidad, CO

Thanks for the memories

by Dave High

I don’t really need to ask this question, but have you ever really embarrassed yourself?

Sure you have: You’re only human. We’ve all made silly blunders that have resulted in embarrassing moments. Even Queen Elizabeth has had a Royal bird take a Royal dump on her Royal hat on Derby Day. The real problem is that if you’ve ever put yourself in a humiliating situation, you’ve probably noticed that your brain never lets you forget it. This is the same brain that can’t remember important things, like your blood type or checking account and license plate numbers.

But if someone asked you to tell them who was at your cousin’s wedding reception, where you walked around with drink in hand and trailing a three-foot-long piece of toilet paper you unknowingly had attached to the heel of your shoe, you could name every one of these people, in alphabetical order, no less.

Or that time you got up to accept the ‘Most Likely to Succeed’ award at your high school graduation with your fly open? You could tell anyone the exact time of day, the precise temperature and humidity and the color of your tie.

Your brain relishes these moments so much it takes them out and plays with them at the weirdest times decades later.

Luckily, I never had the toilet-paper or open-fly experience, but I remember one time when eating at a very expensive restaurant in San Francisco. I, of course, spilled pepper from a fancy combination salt and pepper shaker over the nice white tablecloth directly in front of me. In a moment of utter brilliance, as I tried to brush it away, I knocked my glass with the side of my hand and slopped beer across the table.

By the time I had finished, much of the tablecloth was a series of grey smudges outlined in a large patch of yellow that looked distressingly like the newspapers on which a new puppy was housebroken.

I casually tried to hide this with my elbow and upper body when the waitress brought my dinner, but she saw instantly what a mess I had made. Instead of giving me a look of contempt, as I had expected, she did something even worse. She gave me a look of utter sympathy. It was a look you might give a stroke victim who has lost control of the muscles in his mouth but is still gamely trying to feed himself. It was a look that said, ‘Poor thing, bless his heart.’

For one horrible moment I thought she might wrap a napkin around my neck and cut up my food for me. Instead she retreated to her station near the bar, close enough though so she could keep an eye on me throughout the meal, ready to spring forward if any pieces of cutlery should clatter from my grasp and stick in my forehead or if a sudden spasm should cause me to tip over backwards or fall face first into the main course.

I got through the rest of the meal in fine shape, but my brain never fails to remind me of it, especially when I eat over a white tablecloth.

Oh, and my apologies for the memories this column will bring back to you.

Letters to the Editor & Card of thanks of October 26, 2017

Letters to the Editor

Be engaged, call your legislators to task

As engaged citizens we have the responsibility to be informed of the bills our elected officials are voting on. This is what has been revealed about the current tax reform bill being discussed in our Congress.

For the GOP to be able to use the reconciliation process [bill can be passed with 51 votes] the bill has to be “revenue neutral” (not causing a rise in the deficit at the end of a decade). To make up the possible 7 trillion dollars over the next decade drop in tax revenue it will require cutting spending on programs that benefit working-class families, such as Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security, health care, education and infrastructure work.

30% of middle-class ratepayers will see an increase in their taxes, while the super-rich get away with huge tax savings — the average savings for those earning more than $750,000 would be approximately $200K.

This plan will depend on the trickle-down approach that has not and will not produce economic gains for people who work for a living. Been there, done that!

This tax plan would cut the corporate tax rate from 35% to 15%.

This tax plan also proposes to eliminate the estate tax, a tax that only applies to the wealthiest 0.2% of American families with combined gross assets of $5,490,000 in 2017.

You can demand our elected legislators to work on a bipartisan tax plan that does not cut taxes for the top 1% or cut spending on vital social safety net programs. We need an economy that works for everyone – not just those at the top, one that rewards hard work instead of inherited wealth.

As citizens, we must hold our elected legislative officials accountable. Call, write, e mail, or fax your concerns to your representative. Be engaged to have the country you want to live in. ~Dale Lyons, Huerfano County Democratic Party Chair. Gardner, CO

Nepotism/Ethics/ Candidates

It is evident that Trinidad school district has a Nepotism problem and has had it for some time.  Now with the upcoming election I would like to address my concerns. We now have a candidate, Gary Vezzani, seeking a seat on the school board.

We currently have his father-in-law Paul Montera serving on the school board. Having more than one family member on a board would seem to be unethical. Some of us on the board when voting on issues that are perceived as conflicts of interest state the conflict of interest and recuse our selves from the discussion and the vote. However Paul will state the conflict but will participate on the discussion and will vote on it as well. Now with Gary wanting to sit in the board it begs to question that he will follow his father in law’s actions to vote on issues of conflicts of interest.

However it may not be against the law it is perceived to be against ethics and morals.  Voting on employment or discipline on family members is wrong.

“I don’t know how many times I’ve heard people say, ‘well I didn’t do anything illegal.’ All that means is to me is that they now are offering the lowest level of qualification that society allows.  The lowest level of acceptance. “Ethics is a much higher standard and I think that we should all strive for that.”

Mr. Montera still votes on conflict of interest involoving family.

Now in regard to candidate Gary Vezzani. At meet the candidates Gary said he wanted to help with the budget. Can he really help? He has had some difficulty with his own budget with recent foreclosure notices andmost recently having his utilities shut off for lack of payment.  Do we want to entrust the public funds for education with a candidate that has financial instability?

He also has a history of cussing at students while school is in session.

We all know what this is about. This is a feeble attempt to bring back certain coaches.

Please vote for two of the three Qualified candidates, Joe Terry, Dean Duran, and Jennie Guarduno. ~Patrick Sandoval, Trinidad, CO

Money isn’t the issue, character is

Again and again we are being asked to paymore taxes. This time the powers that be, that we the people have elected, want more taxes to do the job that they asked for. I worked law enforcement in New Mexico with two different state agencies and know how badly underpaid our peace officers are.

However, I knew what it paid when I asked for the job. I am all for much better pay for all who serve in the law encorcement community, but the amount one is paid is NEVER the criteria for doing the job. It cost me no more or less to issue citations, arrest, book into jail or witness against those who endanger us.

It does not cost more for judges, district attorneys nor their assistants to do their jobs that they too swore on oath to do. They need to quit finding reasons not to do their jobs and do what they are already being paid to do. That does not take more money, that requires honesty, integrity, and honor!

I for one want us to elect and hire men and women who have those traits, and pay them well, but hteir pay will NEVER be the issue, it will always be their own character.

Respectfully, ~Donald Rehling Walsenburg, CO

CARD OF THANKS

Kudos to the Firefighters

A heartfelt thank you to the La Veta, Cuchara, and Huerfano County fire departments for their efforts in subduing the wildfire on my property this past Friday and Saturday. Their prompt repsonse and decisive actions prevented a major disaster and kept damage to a minimum – – in spite of the high winds.

Special thanks to Ron Jameson of Chaparral Construction for coming with his dozer and cutting the fire line and to Cory Fassiotto of the Dog Bar for providing pizzas to feed the crew. Also, to commissioners Max Vezzani and Gerald Cisneros for taking the time to come and check on things. You are all greatly appreciated!

Sincerely, ~Loren Albright La Veta, CO

Letters to the Editor of October 19, 2017

Cuchara Santiation and Water Board meeting was eye-opening

Dear Editor,

Friday was my first experience at a CSWD board meeting. Not only was it an eye-opener into the qualifications (or lack thereof) of those who represent us, but a lesson in what public serice should not be. I grew up in an atmosphere where words were decent and appropriate, not condescending and hateful.

Only three board members were present (until they voted to fill the two positions vacated by those who resigned). This vote was scheduled at the end of the agenda, after all other business was to be conducted and input from community members recognized.

But at the whim of the chairperson, it was hastily redrawn the day before.  Plus, it was evident to everyone in the toom that no one but the two new board members would even be considered for the positions.

As a retired educator and member of the water district, the behavior of Mr. Van Nort was appalling. To have him shout down comments from his constituents and attempt to impede free speech with what he deemed “blabbering” is unconscionable. At least he didn’t refer to any members of the audience as “Fascist liars” as one of the former board members did.

I guess when one does not have a grip on the facts, it is easy to descend into name-calling. At one point Mr. Van Nort even adjourned the meeting so as not to deal with dissent from those in attendance. His favorite phrase when challenged on proper protocol and procedure seemed to be, “we don’t have to.”

A gem in this otherwise act of vitriol is Jim Berg, the only member knowledgeable in all areas of the board’s business. He spoke succinctly, knew the facts, and shared them with the audience and other board members. Mr. Harnley, on the other hand, had nothing to say except to agree with Mr. VanNort on occasion.

It would be to the benefit of all water district members if Mr. Van Nort would immediately offer his resignation to the board rather than subject himself to an inevitable recall by the citizens of CSWD. Respectfully submitted, ~Margie Yurtinus Cuchara, CO 

An important name left out of the Celtic festival thank yous

Dear Editor,

In the October 12th edition of the WJ Debbie Channel wrote a gracious and comprehensive “thank you” to all of the “…many wonderful people that made the Thirteenth Annual Celtic Festival a success.” There were indeed many people responsible, and this wonderful event would not happen without all of their many contributions.

However, she neglected to mention one very important person who not only served as the Festival board president, did numerous anticipated and surprise tasks, and worked the Festival office, but did all this while also serving as the Clinic Manager of the Spanish Peaks Regional Health Center.

Thank you Debbie Channel for all that you have given the Festival of both your time and energy. Sincerely, ~Jonathan James La Veta, CO 

Great Places don’t just happen

What makes Great Places, and why do so many communities wish they had just one more chance? How can we harness an oil boom? Make a great downtown and know that growth will be a good thing? There is only one way!!

The Aspen’s, Austin’s, Boulder’s and Sedona’s don’t just happen. What makes great places is their vision! The Houston’s, Farmington’s and Gillette’s fell victim to the oft-quoted Ed McMann’s (ULI) saying “If your community doesn’t control development, then development controls your community”.

Great places have a great vision, and vision-keepers that persistently pursue their intentional future. Without that vision, persistent pursuit of community desires is undermined from the get/go. Zoning authority, police powers and funding streams enable critical pieces of this intentional future to be realized. Piece by piece these great places are proactively pursued. Without a vivid community plan none of this is possible. It is this expressed community desires that legitimizes all local public expenditures.

Even in those declining communities, doing nothing is a mistake. The most basic plans need to express local desires for education and safety, thus legitimizing local expenditures for schools, police and fire, water and sewer. Standing still, is in reality, losing ground.

These visions need to be vivid enough that each land use application can be held up and compared against that aspirational future plan to assure it is compliant or not. The mistakes we make we usually have to live with forever, and without a clear view of what we want, it is impossible to recognize those good or bad choices when they presents themselves.

There are no magic pots of money that will materialize critical pieces of the plan. So desires such as an enchanted main streets, convention centers, airports, waterslide pools and spectacular park systems require both persistence and time.

Those communities blessed with growth, progress is so much easier! Communities that have developed a vivid vision are now ‘shovel ready’. As growth occurs, the intentional future is actualized.

Regardless if your community is large or small, rich or poor, the only way to achieve community needs and desires is with an up to date, vivid comprehensive plan. That is how great places happen.

Huerfano County is projected to grow over 2,500 people in the next 13 years, now is the time to get plans updated in order to harness the benefits and minimize the negative consequences. ~Steve Mullen, Land Use Planner Walsenburg CO

La Veta Oktober fest Says thanks

It’s hard to believe that another year and another Oktoberfest has passed, but here with are again with nothing but gratitude for all of those that made or 31st Oktoberfest a huge success!

We were blessed with fantastic weather, many wonderful folks who came out to celebrate , vendors who traveled here from far and wide to sell their wares and our fine merchants who donated prizes and purchased our banners. We would like to thank the Signature and World Journal for covering the event and for the wonderful advertising and Annalee and Russell Hickey for donated their back page in the Signature.

As always, we need to thank San Isabel electric for providing the power and also for the very generous donation of $1000 to help us with our insurance expenses for the event! The Town Marshall and Deputy were on hand to make sure everything went smoothly and the Town of La Veta granted us the use of the old Marshall’s office as our headquarters. Lonnie and Phyllis Bolin provided us with the trailer for the band, the Huerfano County Fair Board allowed us to use their tables and chairs, and the members of The Old, Fat and Ugly Club donated their time to act as our bouncers. Our talented local belly dancers, Frieda and Ellen, delighted the crowd and Jane Altman put on a genuine German fashion show.

We must also thank our EMTs, John Mayfield and Mark Worgan, Sammie’s for providing our meeting space and for putting up with us all year long, and our great crew of volunteers (you know who you are) who worked in the raffle booth, beer garden and helped to set up and take down. We could not do it without you! We cannot forget our color guards who presented us with a moving opening ceremony and Emma Torres and the La Veta elementary choir for the lovely patriotic songs.

We were delighted to be able to crown our deserving King, Dave Hamilton, and Queen, Debbie Channel and we thank them for their community spirit. We also wish to acknowledge our special veterans, Colton Taylor and Ruben Ortiz and thank them for their service to our country.

It takes a village to make Oktoberfest happen and we are truly blessed to have such a fine “village”and caring people who allow us to continue this wonderful tradition! See you next year!! ~The Oktoberfest Committee, La Veta, CO

Letters to the Editor of October 12, 2017

Fiesta Committee thanks you

Thank You – Thank You –

Thank You!

The Fiesta Committee and I, Aaron Sena, would like to thank everyone who donated, everyone who worked, and everyone who came out to enjoy the day and evening. It was wonderful to see whole families enjoying our parish hall and event. There was so much happiness that it truly warmed everyone’s heart.

Following is a listing of the businesses and individuals who donated prizes or cash for the Fiesta winners. El Matador, Doggie Style, Dynamic Fitness, Solano’s Western Wear, Zellers, A Cut Above, Subway, Denny’s, El Raton, Lyn’s Hair Design, Patchwork Phoenix, NRA, Johanna’s, Alpine Lumber, Kenny Cruz, Casa Lemus, Bruno’s, Sara Trujillo, Helen’s Gift Shop, Elvira Estrada, Realty One, Mesa Pharmacy and Anonymous. Again, thank you! ~Aaron Sena, Fiesta Chairman, Raton, NM

No free community Thanksgiving dinner this year; unless new organizer comes forward

On Thanksgiving, November 23, there will be NO “Free Community Thanksgiving Dinner”.

Perhaps someone will come forward to be a new organizer for such an event.

The Director of Dorcas Circle Food Pantry and Clothing Bank regrets to announce the end of participation as has happened in the past.

A big hug and thank you to all the volunteers who have helped in the past!  We hope someone will take up this event for the Huerfano community. Sincerely, ~Maryann Chamberlain, Director Dorcas Circle Food Pantry and Clothing Bank Walsenburg, CO

Oktoberfest thanks

Dear Editor:

Another Oktoberfest has come and gone and I am compelled to compliment everyone that was involved in making this such a great event for our town. I don’t know if everyone was aware that this was the 31st annual event. I feel almost sure that other than the Oktoberfest Board, there are few that have any idea of how much work goes into making this extraordinary day happen. I am not a board member; I only cheer from the sidelines. However, it is an “up close and personal” sidelines as many of my best buds work tirelessly on the committees.

Not only do these great people meet all year long in planning the event, they are the ones out in the early morning’s first light getting everything set up and then working into the dark making sure that our Main Street is once again a clean thoroughfare through town. There are hundreds of details to make Oktoberfest work. The hard-working board makes it happen.

One of the fun things every year is choosing a King and Queen of Oktoberfest. There is a great deal of thought and deliberation that goes into making a choice that reflects the goodness that the royalty gives back to our communities. As always, this year’s choices are such fine examples. Congratulations Dave Hamilton and Debbie Channel. You both give so generously and graciously of your time that it is wonderful to see you honored.

I also am not sure that everyone realizes that the dedication to this project comes from the goal every year to help those in our communities through both scholarships and small monetary awards to help those in need. I feel the philanthropic goal of raising money to give back is often overshadowed by only seeing the beer and the vendors. The vision of the greater good is the driving force behind Oktoberfest.

Please, if you have the opportunity, thank the Oktoberfest board for another great festival. Or maybe you would want to serve with this great group of people and volunteer your time? What a worthwhile way to give back to our communities!

As a business person that benefits greatly from the event, I offer the Oktoberfest committees as well as the many people who supported the event by either being a vendor or being a participant huge thanks. It takes each of these components to make it happen! ~Sincerely, Sandy Dolak La Veta, CO

letters to the editor of October 4, 2017

Let us see the plan before we open our wallets

This letter isn’t grinding an ax or putting anybody down. I am just a citizen with a question that I think deserves an answer: Do our local government leaders have a long-term plan that we voters and taxpayers can consider before voting for higher taxes?

The judge wants a new courthouse. And, goodness, we need it. But we know how those cost estimates end up exploding when the bill comes due. The current jail is ending its useful lifespan, but not part of any replacement plan of which I am aware. The new, enthusiastic District Attorney wants a tax to put more people in prison. But I’m not seeing any data that a mere lack of funding is the answer to our crime problem or that money there is more effective than money for real economic development, or for our struggling schools. The county has put about 1.2 million new dollars just this year under the control of the Sheriff’s Department (city contract plus the funds from the existing tax to finance emergency dispatch and services), and we simply don’t know if better staffing and training of our officers (God bless them!) is an answer to the low conviction, high plea bargain rates in the DA’s office. The city is interested in having the deputies write more violations into the municipal court. Is this for increasing public safety? No, it’s to fill the coffers left empty from no city law officers citing city ordinance violations.

The empty prison, the missing truck stops, the missing marijuana millions, the missing tiny home development, the missing bike trails, are all symptoms of the other thing missing: a cohesive, realistic, long-term, intergovernmental plan. I will gladly open my wallet when I see it. ~Joel F. Shults Walsenburg, CO

More from Lewis re Cuchara Sanitation and Water rates

I don’t think I can continue on the board of directors but do want to ensure my obligation to the community until such time as the transition is viable. My recovery now looks continue through March. I may wish to run for Henry Harnly’s seat in May if my recovery is successful.

As I have expressed to multiple board and citizen members of our community, I continue to believe we need to consult with all our rate payers concerning; (1) their representation on the question of commercial subsidies, specifically do they want to subsidize? (2) I also believe the process of addressing our rate structure must be addressed by February 2018, requiring current data about necessary updates to insure continued operation of infrastructure, mandated improvements to current system, state results of residential and upcoming commercial rates (3) The future improvements of the system mandated by wear and tear by operation of the system, (4) The creation and implementation of a citizens advisory committee that has a representative citizen from Commercial entities, Pine Haven, Cuchara Village, Spanish Peaks, part time seasonal residents, and the Resort residents along with a board member.

This committee should convene in January 2018 and ensure the data is ready for the committee to oversee a rate study so needed with the intent of the development of a seven-year plan through 2025. ~T.R. Lewis, BSW Cuchara, CO

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