by Eric Mullens
WALSENBURG — With temperatures expected to hit the 90 degree mark this week, the Huerfano County Commissioners had winter outdoor recreation on their minds as they approved a purchase of Nordic equipment and the creation of a winter outdoor recreation advisory group.
The presentation was made to the commissioners at their Tuesday session by the Spanish Peaks Alpine Association, represented by Lois Adams, Bill Coppola and Janet Richards. The group advocates for human powered snow sports such as cross country skiing and snow-shoeing and sought a $5,000 equipment purchase of used gear from the Telluride Nordic Association to include a snowmobile to be used for grooming trails. “We, as a county, have been interested in promoting winter activities,” said commissioner Max Vezzani, and after looking at the list of equipment available added, “this is a tremendous buy and we should jump on it.”
The group hopes to have at least one trail in operation this coming winter, either in the Blue Lake/ Bear Lake area or Cordova Pass.
The commissioners approved the expenditure, and, in a second motion, approved the creation of an outdoor winter recreation advisory group. The advisory group will work with staff in contacting CDOT, the U.S. Forest Service and Colorado Parks and Wildlife for assistance and the county hopes the group will have full membership and a mission statement completed by July.
Those interested may contact the Spanish Peaks Alpine Association or the county administration office.
Recognitions: High school athletes Garrett Quintana and Andrew Vigil were recognized by the board of commissioners for their outstanding performances both in the classroom and the arena of track and field. June 18th was proclaimed Garrett Quintana Day in Huerfano County in recognition of his 2016 2A-State Shot Put Champion and the 2014, 2015 and 2016 2A- State Discus Champion; and, for taking the 2A All-Time Best Discus Record of 180 feet and 3 inches.
The commissioners passed a resolution recognizing Andrew Vigil’s accomplishments on and off the field; both as second place finisher in the 2A Discus competition at State and as Valedictorian of the 2016 graduating class at John Mall High School.
The commissioners proclaimed June 17th as USMC and U.S. Army veteran Dan Cruz Day in Huerfano County. Cruz served in Japan and received the Korean Citation and the United Nations Citation. Cruz was a corporal in the USMC and an E-6 Sergeant in the U.S. Army.
Marijuana issues: Manuel and Wilma Martinez spoke during the public comment segment of the meeting, thanking the commissioners, the sheriff’s office, and the planning office for continued vigilance regarding illegal marijuana growing and squatter issues in the Rio Cucharas subdivision area. They thanked the commissioners for the planning and zoning code changes that address both areas of concern. The commissioners commented Steve Channel of the Land Use Office currently has a five-page document with about 100 locations he will be checking in the future, as soon as a sheriff’s deputy is available to accompany him on his inspections. “Since we were here last,” Manual Martinez said, “ the amount of trailers and greenhouses seem to have doubled.” “It’s happening all over the state,” commissioner Vezzani said.
Category One Botanicals, the operator of the NuGrow marijuana growing facilities in the Buffalo Ranch area received approval on a secondary Conditional Use Permit (CUP 16-008) on a unanimous vote. Representatives of the two businesses said they are currently on track to begin initial growing operations, hopefully, by July 2016.
The CUP was approved with a waiver of the county imposed five-year water lease agreement as the businesses were only able to obtain year-to-year augmentation leases via Huerfano County Water Conservancy District. The county planning and zoning board gave their approve to the CUP at their regular meeting last week. The planning office approved the plan with additional conditions that a trip generation study was completed, all insurance requirements are met (by the time the certificate of occupancy is issued), that all outstanding bills had been paid to local vendors and said there will be staff review of operations in the first year and after that reviews will be made only if there are complaints.
Other business: • Commissioners approved payment of $28,000 for the Phase I study by Economic Planning Systems, a move made in time to take advantage of the current grant financing schedule; additional grants for the balance of the study’s cost are being planned for the post-June grant cycle. County administrator John Galusha said the local traffic study should be completed by the end of next month.
• Approved purchase of a motor and soft start component for the county stone crusher at approximately $8,500.
• Approved the hiring of Joshua Segura as an EMT-1 for the ambulance service effective June 16 at a salary of $30,240; hiring of Brian Madden as a deputy sheriff subject to passage of drug screening at a salary of $27,500; and, the hiring of Carol Maldonado as a detention officer at the county jail subject to applicant meeting all county personnel office pre-employment requirements at a salary of $20,800.