On Cuchara Mountain Park, the golf course, and the ski area
To the Editors and the Community,
We are writing to clear up any misunderstandings that may have arisen from recent publicity about the Cuchara Mountain Park regarding ownership and projects at the park.
Both the Cuchara Foundation, the organization that raised the funds for the land purchase, and Huerfano County who now owns it, want this park to benefit the county.
In order for that to happen there are two important aspects in planning for its development.
1. Assurance of public ownership in perpetuity to offer stability and stewardship for this special piece of land.
In addition, both entities wanted to assure those who donated to the land purchase that the park would remain a public entity.
Sharing these values, the Foundation and the BOCC signed an agreement that the property is a public park in perpetuity. Thus, no sale of the park to a private developer will happen.
2. A vision for potential public-private partnerships to provide services that the county alone could not offer.
From the beginning the BOCC has said that they would entertain concessionaire contracts for services that the county could not provide, such as running a ski venue with motorized lifts, food service and/or other operations that may be advantageous.
This is what Scot Brown, potential owner of the golf course, is interested in doing. That is why the BOCC has offered to work with Brown to develop a concessionaire contract to provide services in the future at the Park.
No specific plans are in place at this time, nor have any agreements been signed. However, the stage is set for future developments if agreements can be reached.
Thus, the best of both worlds could happen here at the Cuchara Mountain Park. Stable ownership by the county who insures the land is available for all to enjoy working with private concessionaires to provide great recreational opportunities and help our economy. We’re all hoping for the best!
But, unlike past situations, should this opportunity not come to fruition, our park will still be there for our use. In fact, already and through the winter it offers opportunity for human powered recreation!
Do come and enjoy the park in all its fall dressing – hike, stroll, picnic, sit by Baker Creek, or visit with friends on the deck. Then, get those cross-county skis and snowshoes ready for winter play, as plans are afoot for activities in the snow.
Looking forward to seeing you at the Park. ~Lois Adams, President Cuchara Foundation ~Janet Richards, Secretary, Cuchara Mountain Park Advisory Committee
Tom Lewis letter to Cuchara water rate mediator Counselor,
To say that I am upset that despicable and technically Fascist individuals can run over Gerald Van Nort and Henry Harnly, with a mediator in person, amazes me! That our rate payers are to be penalized, charged non-representative fees due entirely to the illegitimate propositions presented in open and public meeting, then again in the mediation. The Cuchara Inn, represented by Marshall Moore but owned by Scott and Dani Lynch, falsely claim they have current billing over 1.3 EQR/room when in reality it’s closer 1/3 EQR.
As discussed in your mediation, the Cuchara Inn, a 45 room, two 20+ seat restaurant Commercial Hotel that operated all summer (and has over the vast number of 25+ years), @17 EQR, that’s .3617 EQR PER room, roughly 1/3 the rate of a residential customer, not the 1.3 EQR reported by Moore and JimLittlefield. Why did you not catch this? What, if any, is the penalty for purposely misrepresenting the facts in mediation! Their failure (Cuchara Inn) was due to a failed original business plan for an alternative treatment center using cannabis and cannabis based products.
I have stated my case regarding the evidence in hand, filed with our District Attorney and with the State of Colorado Bureau of Investigation. My stipulation is, they deliberately interfered in the democratic process of a Title 32 Special District by deliberately misrepresenting facts, later publicly recanted, attempted extortion of board members evidenced in their secret recording acknowledged in public meeting recordings and used public statements as leverage to attempt to violate my first amendment rights and interfere with the due processes outlined in Title 32, and then acted in a criminal conspiracy to move their position forward.
As I see it, this was a failure at all fronts … the customers lost their rights to corporate interests without any respect for their standing. Additionally, new charges, 1/4 EQR, are now being considered for vacant lots within one-hundred feet to the District water lines to offset the decreased revenue. Is this for future confiscation for unpaid bills to add injury? That’s additional subsidies for the residential customers at the deficient of the 80% of non-resident seasonal property owners.
As if this was not enough, Gerald Van Nort was asked to resign his Presidency of the Board, a man with 17+ years of Board experience with 60+ years of professional experience and I was asked to resign for cause or they would continue their efforts at recall election while employing their brutal, schoolyard bully techniques to penalize all those they have no interest in except for their own monetary benefit. ~T.R. Lewis Board Secretary Cuchara Sanitation and Water District
Response to Tom Lewis, re Cuchara water rates
Dear Mr. Lewis:
We have not met, but I do appreciate your strong views in support of the current Cucharas District Rates; and toward some of the citizens with other opinions.
Our Mediation meeting last Saturday with two persons from each side of the issues was an honest attempt to find at least temporary middle ground; move forward in a positive manner with a thorough review of the 40 year old District Rates Equivalency Structure; and diffuse the acrimony that has disrupted recent meetings.
The persons present Saturday came to agreement that provides for a full Rates Analysis over the next few months; and for a cooling off period in which the divisive atmosphere can see relief. We all believe this approach to be in the best interests of the Cucharas Community.
Sincerely, ~Jim Collins Collins Cockrel & Cole 390 Union Blvd, Suite 400 Denver, CO 80228-1556
Another response to Tom Lewis’s letter to the editor
As both observers and participants in the last Cucharas Sanitation and Water District’s board meeting and after reading Mr. Tom Lewis’s letter to the editor in last week’s paper, we must reply.
There are two issues for our community.
First, the commercial water rates are very unfair and are causing harm to our businesses and they can be easily corrected without disturbing the district’s finances and cause no change in our residential rates. Mr. Jim Berg, the board treasurer, has agreed with these proposals privately and publicly at the board meetings.
Second, Mr. Lewis has demonstrated he is temperamentally unfit to serve on a public board such as the water district.
At any hint of disagreement, he resorts to name calling and labeling people who approach the board. At open board meetings he has publicly labeled concerned citizens as “liars” and “fascist liars” and has had to be physically restrained by the board president.
He has continued his labeling and name calling in his recent letter to the newspaper demonstrating he has nothing of substance to add to the discussion.
His social media postings have included vulgar and inappropriate language. His point of saying the board has no taxing responsibility is wrong. Any tax payer can look at their tax bill and see the mill levy issued by the district water board through the county commissioners who issue tax statements and then send the collected revenues to the “water district”.
His personal conduct and his obstruction of the proposed changes to the inequity in the water rates and possibly purposeful misrepresentations, while not warranting legal charges, and none have been suggested or proposed by any citizen, certainly do demand his recall.
Concerned Cucharas Citizens, ~Rodger Thompson and ~Bob Woerdehoff Cuchara, CO
Liz Schneider for RE-1 school board
The last week’s story about Liz Schneider and her seeking Re-1 School Board Director brings a rare personal smile and a cheer. Hurrah! for the good deeds and times with Liz Schneider and both of our service to the Spanish Peaks Library’s BOT (Board of Trustees).
I fear that the long list of Liz’s community service mixed with her modest shyness for public recognition could make for dry reading. Liz says “I worked hard to do what was best ….” That’s an understatement. Consider “work” for a minute. Look at many a post office mural or watch a 1930’s Capra movie. The artists treat the subject of work with nobility and almost ease. Look at how any ever-present DIY movie on the internet or drug commercial on the TV shows work. They make light the effort, and diminishe the value with a catchy song background. Work is … well it’s hard. It takes effort and strength; time and money; passion and daily sweat.
Liz worked every bit as hard for the Spanish Peaks Library District and we continue to benefit. She worked with a remarkable group of civic volunteers and helped bring a fresh modern library into a rebuilt high school building. And that happened before I joined the BOT.
When I started my service, the BOT didn’t know what to make of me, nor I of them. Over time we gained a respect for each other and our mutual commitment to the calling. Today I count many of the BOT as new best friends. “Calling? What’s a calling?” you may ask. John F. Kennedy defined it best, “… to bear the burden of a long twilight struggle, year in and year out, ‘rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation’ ….” Liz has it; her career in Huerfano shows it.
Memories of my service with Liz Schneider offer an introduction of her job performance as Re-1 Director. She has a capacity for detail and a close observation of the fine points of policy or agreement document. Remember her law degree? She also has the numbers concentration for budget and spending. She’ll come prepared for meetings, having done her homework, including the extra credit questions. I remember her from our BOT days. Hers was the last word on policy, on agreements, or on the budget. Nobody continued any bickering after she spoke and many an idle notion went to bed.
John Kennedy taught idealism and we-can-do-it purpose to a whole generation. “The energy, the faith, the devotion which we bring to this endeavor will light our country and all who serve it – and the glow from that fire can truly light the world.”
Hurrah for Liz Schneider! She’s set to light the world,~Stephen Savageau Walsenburg
Card of Thanks
Celtic Thank You’s
Dear Huerfano County Residents:
Another awesome Spanish Peaks International Celtic Music Festival has just concluded. As with the 12 previous festivals, this event was a huge success. Who would ever believe that such a line-up of international “stars” would come to our little corner of the world? And as I have found in working all 13 years of the festival, not only do they come, they fall in love with Huerfano County and our generous population that extends hospitality, appreciation and love! It is reciprocal.
Over and over I hear from Festival participants (both the performers as well as event attendees) that they are amazed at the organization and quality of our event; almost always followed with some version of “in such a tiny hamlet”. We do an awesome job of a monumental task with so many unsung heroes. Of course, at the top of the list are Barbara and Jack Yule who birthed this whole idea around a kitchen table; then come a cadre of workers that have given generously of their time and talents to make the festival happen for 13 years. The talented “hive” of Celtic Festival workers do everything from arranging venues, figuring out lodging and transportation (whew, what a job that is!) to designing t-shirts, banners, and programs, plus making sure there is enough water, trash bags and toilet paper! It takes ticket sales, workshop monitors, merchandise vendors, workshop hosts….and more. And this is all done by local volunteers. A huge thank you to these hard workers. This is a gift both to the image and economy of our county.
As with many things, some of the hardest jobs occur completely behind the scenes. I particularly want to draw attention (which she in no way wants!) to my friend, Debbie Channel. She has been involved in the Festival for many years and provided leadership for the most recent festivals. Leadership that has taken hours and hours of her time to attend to every detail of the Festival; all volunteer of course. Debbie’s gift of organizational skills has been the glue that holds all things together. Although the world sees all those out front that are the headliners for the Festival, it would never happen if there weren’t all the pieces that occur quietly behind the scenes. Thank you, Debbie, for all you have done. Sincerely, ~ Sandy Dolak La Veta, CO
Thanks to New Hope Church
I would like to thank New Hope Church, Pastor Joel Shults, all it’s members and volunteers for giving to the community. Most people do not know that New Hope Church has provided food to the community each month at a cost of $400 – $600 in food purchases for years. Not only did they provide money, but time and energy to ensure that people had food each month. I am sad to see them ending the program but understand that this has caused a huge drain on the church. Thank you for everything you do and have done for the community. Not only did you provide material food for the community but you continue to provide spiritual food. Thank you again, I really appreciate you! Sincerely, ~Carmen J. Lara Walsenburg, CO