Garcia to chair Huerfano Commissioners in 2018

by Eric Mullens
WALSENBURG —  The Huerfano County Commissioners’ meeting this week was a prime example of non-partisan politics with one Democrat commissioner and one Republican commissioner nominating and voting to install the missing commissioner as their chairman in 2018.
Commissioner Edward R. (Ray) Garcia was elected chairman by the commissioners in attendance, Gerald Cisneros and Max Vezzani.
A number of resolutions were dealt with by the pair of commissioners Tuesday, many being housekeeping items such as the election of a chairman; approval of commercial propane credit applications for the county road and bridge department and the community center in Gardner with San Isabel Services Propane, and the reappointment  of Dale Davis and Lewis Edmundson to the planning commission board.
The commissioners also approved Resolution 18-13 which authorizes South Central Council of Governments to conduct a bicycle and pedestrian trail study for a proposed trail along Hwy. 12 from Trinidad to La Veta and then on to Walsenburg.  The continuing study in 2018 will deal with planning and engineering, the linkage study and any potential environmental impacts.  The work has been paid for by a grant.
In other business:
• The commissioners approved a fee waiver request for the county Democratic party for use of the community center in Walsenburg for upcoming caucuses.
• The commissioners also approved a material purchase for ceiling tiles for the community center in Walsenburg for $2,251;  a  $4,925 expenditure with Common Construction for ADA compliance work on a restroom at the community center in Walsenburg; purchase and installation of an ETS heater from Sage Electric for the west end of the Train Depot building which is being done under the guidelines of the rental agreement for the building the county has with the City of Walsenburg
. • The commissioners approved a special event permit for Spanish Peaks Regional Health Center allowing them to serve wine at a tasting event at the Spanish Peaks Veterans Community Living Center.
• The commissioners approved a total $1,175 expenditure for advertising in two World Journal publications; the 2018 Fast Facts, and the Summer Guide previously published by the La Veta Signature, which was acquired by the World Journal in late 2017.
• Vezzani and Cisneros approved the county’s 2018 annual operating plan for wild fire and other natural disasters.  Vezzani said the commissioners met last week with representatives from local fire districts along with state and federal emergency management representatives from agencies such as the U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, U.S. and Colorado Homeland Security and the Colorado State Forest Service.
• In the public comment segment of the meeting the commissioners heard from local veteran Eugene Debs Kelly, who asked the board if they might sponsor, in part, the purchase of 100 baseball style caps to give to the veterans the board honors on a weekly basis.  Kelly wore a prototype of the hat to the meeting and the commissioners and representatives from the American Legion were impressed.  The hat was initially designed by Kelly, who admitted Illustrated Apparel, 819 Main St., Walsenburg came up with the final design and can provide the caps at a cost of $9 each.  The hat denotes the wearer as a U.S. military veteran of Huerfano County.  Commissioner Cisneros suggested one of the two flags on the hat (one being the U.S. Stars and Stripes) be changed to the Colorado State flag.
The commissioners approved a $450 contribution to the project and the American Legion representatives said they would pay the other half of the costs.
• And in keeping with that weekly tradition of veteran recognition, the commissioners approved Resolution 18-11 honoring Louis Ornelas’ service in the U.S.N. where he served as a Gunners’ Mate 3rd Class Petty Officer on board the USS Blanco and in Vietnam.
The resolution proclaims Feb. 4, 2018 as Louis Ornelas Day in Huerfano County.  During his service to his country, Ornelas won the Vietnam Service Medal with three Bronze Stars, the National Defense Service Medal, a Meritorious Unit Commendation, and the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal.

Huerfano Commissioners Gerald Cisneros (left) and Max Vezzani (right) congratulate Louis Ornelas for his U.S. Navy Service during the meeting Tuesday. Resolution 18-11 proclaims Feb. 4, 2018 as a day of recognition for Vietnam veteran Ornelas.
Photos by Eric Mullens


• The commissioners approved Conditional Use Permit 18-002 for Rangeland Resources, which will allow for excavation and use of a private, non-commercial gravel pit for the newly acquired southern portion of the former Wolf Springs Ranch.  The owners, David and Crystal Watts of Boerne, TX plan to improve the private roads on the large property, and, according to county planner Vicki Koepsel, have construction applications pending in her office for construction of a main home, an employee bunkhouse and other auxillary buildings.  The CUP application was presented by Dean Bacon of Rangeland Resources.  The northern half of the large ranch, known for its buffalo herds, was purchased in 2017 by the Navajo Nation.