Thank you

Crestone Eagle

Dear Editor,

I am so proud to be a Crestonian when I read about extraordinary events such as the one that occurred on October 14 at the Crestone Natural Burial Ground in Crestone. Thank you, Crestone Eagle, for your coverage of that event.

The sacredness that is these mountains and way of life has been handed down to us. Caring for humanity in this way is what makes our town great. The Curator of Anthropology at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science and a core group of Museum representatives brought the remains of some twenty individuals from the shelves of the museum for a simple, non-denominational burial in our natural burial ground.

I feel privileged that we are the first and still only certified natural, or green, burial ground in the State of Colorado. Crestone was honored to have been selected to collaborate in this event, so much in keeping with the earth-to-earth life cycle to which our natural burial ground is committed. This makes us lineage holders because in our magnificent sacred land, revered by many over aeons of time, our burial ground was able to offer a unique return to tradition and sustainability for the final passage of those brought here.

This is where our human ancestors can find rest. Just like there is the “Tomb of the Unknown Soldier” I imagine that the simple but poignant ceremony as these remains were at long last placed to rest was deeply moving to those present because as the Eagle stated, “Many museums have the problem with what to do with unidentifiable remain.”

I would like to take this opportunity to recognize and thank the vision and hard work of our Mayor Kairina Danforth.  Inspired by William Howell’s talk at a Town Board meeting in 2006 describing the work of the newly established Crestone End of Life Project and the associated potential of a natural burial ground, Kairina championed the creation and ultimate certification of the Crestone Natural Burial Ground to support environmental restoration in an age-old process which allows survivors to create their own funeral tradition in a less expensive and far more meaningful way than its contemporary counterparts.

The Crestone Cemetery and Natural Burial Ground is a part of a 40-acre parcel of land deeded by President Taft to the Town of Crestone in 1911, years after the mining boom had passed.  Why a United States patent was issued to our tiny town under the provisions of enabling legislation passed 21 years earlier remains still an unsolved mystery, enshrouded in the sands of time.

Craig Tomaski

A letter of thanks to the community

To the Crestone Community,

There was such a wonderful outpouring of support for the funeral expenses for Venerable Tenzin Yeshe/Mary Teal Coleman.

A heartfelt thanks to each and every one of you who so generously paid for the entire expense (which was considerable) of fulfilling Yeshe’s lastwishes.  We wish we could thank each one of you personally, but so many of you gave in kind anonymity.

In gratitude and love,

Elaine Johnson, Steve McDowell and Zoe de Bray

Akia, thank you

Dear Crestone Board of Trustees & residents,

Having lived in 15+ towns and cities during my 70 years, I want to express my respect and gratitude for the work Akia Tanara accomplished  for the town of Crestone during her years of service.

It is remarkable that a town this size has been so effectively managed. The amount of money from grants obtained thorough Akia’s skillful work is a remarkable accomplishment on its own. The town has been stable under her care during a time when many other towns of this size are failing in a number of ways.

Town managers have the difficult task of enforcing regulations the Board of Trustees passes, As enforcers, managers often get the blame for decisions the Trustees made.  In the years I have lived here, I have often heard Akia bad-mouthed for carrying out her legal responsibility to enforce the Board’s decisions. I personally do not understand why the Board itself, along with the Mayor, have not been held more responsible. Passing the blame to a scapegoat is an immature way of handling the public’s trust.

Of course, everyone has shortcomings. Do you know a public (or private) official without them? Akia has shortcomings and personality quirks like all of us.  But: it is essential to assess an employee’s overall competence by performance measures and evidentiary standards rather than nit-pick about things one might not like, on a personal basis.

In that sense, I want to thank Akia formally and publicly for her 10+ years of skillful and devoted service to the town of Crestone.   She is a powerful, intelligent, disciplined, and articulate woman of integrity. Those who have their own agendas and became aggressively hostile to her, attacking with innuendo, gossip, backbiting, and emotion-based (rather than fact-based) attempts to discredit her will now have to deal with the consequences of losing her.  Unfortunately, so will residents of the town of Crestone.

Back to the main point: Akia, thank you.  You did well. The town of Crestone is better off because of you.


Tenzin Lhamo

Feeling the Bern!

Dear Editor,

Bernie Sanders is a once-in-a-lifetime candidate.  I am increasingly realizing the power of his call for a political revolution.

Bernie has always stood for income equality, free pre-K,  free college, living wages, universal health care, fair pay for women, true equality for all in marriage, employment and justice.  He supported these issues long before they were cool.   Most important, he says the environment is the number one issue we all face.

I would love a woman President, but just being a woman is not enough.  Hillary has begun to sound just like Sanders, adopting many of his positions.  But, she has not walked the talk.  She has continually supported military escalation, voted for Wall Street, supported DOMA and on and on.  She has rarely led on progressive issues.  She adopts progressive issues once public opinion shifts in their favor.

Sanders can win. He is ahead of where Obama was in the polls at this point in Obama’s first run.  Hillary was considered inevitable at this same time in 2007 and yet Obama surged ahead.  Polls also show that Bernie may be even more electable in the national election than Hillary, since he is also attracting independents and Republicans and she is not.

Colorado is a Super Tuesday state and could be pivotal in choosing our Democratic candidate.  If you are registered to vote as an independent, you can not vote in the Colorado primary caucus.  You have to switch your registration to Democrat by Dec. 31 in order to vote in the  primary.  You can do this online.  You can switch back to independent right after the primary if you want. If you are not registered to vote, you have until Feb. 1 to register, but you must register as a Democrat in order to vote in the Democratic caucus.

If you can, please send a donation to Sanders, before Dec. 31. The primary could be decided by the end of March.  The money you send now will have the most impact in how this election turns out.  His average donation is about $30.

Mikela Tarlow

Thanks for the support

Dear Editor,

I will be leaving as the Baca Grande POA Manager at the end of this year.  I would like to thank the staff at the POA for their support and hard work throughout the year.  With such a wonderful and diligent staff, they made my job as Manager less stressful.  I would like to also thank the volunteers, be it committee members or emergency services volunteers, your commitment to the community is forever inspiring.  I would like to thank the current Board of Directors.  It’s been a pleasure to work with you as a board and as individuals.  I would like to thank Hammersmith Management, Inc.  The team behind me creates my success, from Client Services, to my Director, to Executives, to Accounting, to Information Technology.  The team shines!   I want to thank the community and POA members for your kind words of support, laughter, and thoughtfulness.  I have truly enjoyed engaging with each of you.  And last, but not least, I would like to thank my husband.  Without his support and cheerleading I would not be where I am today, thanks darlin’.  As the POA transitions with new staff, and a new management company, it is my hope that the community will support these transitions as you supported me.  Have the happiest of holidays and may the new year bring you peace and joy.

Thanks again,

Alison McClure

Thank you all

Dear friends and community members,

As many of you know, I’ve been away at Paramedic School for the past several months. I would like to let everybody know that I’ve almost completed the classroom portion and will begin my field internship portion in December. The field internship will consist of another 700 hours of practical application of skills. This will also take place in Denver.

I would like to thank everybody very much for their support through this process. Since 2007, I’ve been serving as an EMT for the ambulance and if things go as planned, I should be returning to the Crestone area in late March or April to serve as a Paramedic on the Baca Crestone Ambulance Service.

All of the community financial support has been invaluable, and I would not be able to accomplish this journey without your help. At this time I still have four more months of internships to go before I’m able to complete the task and return home. Your continued support is greatly appreciated. Contributions can be made to Ivan Lakish at Aventa Credit Union.

Thanks again,

Ivan Lakish, EMT I99

Universal health care for Coloradans

Dear Editor,

“ColoradoCare” will appear on the November 2016 ballot and will tentatively be numbered “Amendment 69.” On Nov. 9, the Colorado Secretary of State announced that this proposed ballot measure was deemed sufficient as required by statute.

With passage of this amendment in 2016, government and multinational corporate control of our health and our health care money will be replaced with user-friendly, bureaucracy-lite, fiscally responsible financing, operated by a board of trustees representing 7 districts elected by Colorado’s residents. Our health care money will stay in the Colorado economy to support local communities. Every resident will be covered with comprehensive health care with no deductibles. ColoradoCare YES is a cooperative business model, made in Colorado, and locally controlled. It will decrease Colorado’s spending on health care by $4.5 billion annually.

“The U.S. health care system is broken beyond words—spending over twice as much as other developed countries, getting poorer results, and paying for an incredible swarm of bureaucrats in the space between patients and providers,” stated Ivan Miller, Executive Dir. of ColoradoCare YES. For details about other developed nations’ universal health care systems that operate more efficiently and less expensively than the U.S. health care system, check out, The Healing of America by T. R. Reid, Spokesperson for ColoradoCare YES and former Washington Post reporter, commentator on NPR, author and documentary filmmaker.

Help us launch the ColoradoCare YES campaign: Join us! at  to donate or volunteer to continue to move this forward. We are building a Campaign Launch Fund and organizing to campaign smart and use people power to overcome the financial edge and misleading advertising of insurance companies and other big corporate interests. The time is now. For more info., contact Barbara Tidd  at 719-221-8434 or go to

—Barbara Tidd

Remembering Kay Spiecher


Kaybelle (as I always called her) was an integral part of the Baca Grande community in the 1980s and beyond, until she relocated to California.

We’ll remember her love of the Party . . . she was all about Party . . . the Baca Penny Players, the Fourth of July, the Halloween balls, the Post Office, Curt’s Store, the BGPOA & VFD, trips to the Creede Theatre, weddings, passings, the Thanksgiving dinners at the Old Schoolhouse in Crestone, the Ski Swaps, the times we played Uno at her house, Scrabble game nights at the POA, Elections, dancin’ and shootin’ pool at the Inn at the Baca, parties at the Bistro, Wagon Wheel, that place in Hooper and the Holiday Inn in Alamosa. We even went bowling in Alamosa! Her absolute love, however, was golf!  When golfing friends—The Elks—came to town each September, Kay would “host” them, golfing all day and partying all night at the Bistro & Townhouses. It was always a wild four days. Oh, those memories.  Kay knew, almost more than anyone I know, how to make good memories.

While gathering memories of Kay from others, i.e. Suzanne Fraizer, John Menken, Kizzen Laki, Curt & Bernadette Ward, Elli Mueller, Lorraine & David Davis, Jill Enslow, Fred Lipscomb, Pam Gripp, Pat Wischmann and Shawn Hollmer, the common thoughts about Kay were always  about her loyalty, kindness, generosity, humor, humility and humanity, her spirit of cooperation and constant willingness to help others.  Personally, my memory of Kay is that she was always with a kind, generous and forgiving heart, pure motivation, clarity of thought, integrity, dignity, respect and fairness to all!  Now that it’s been so long since she passed and I’ve had the opportunity to go down Memory Lane, I realize what Kay Spiecher meant to me and I’m reminded of how much I miss her and her red hat!

I’m grateful to Kay’s brother, Bob, and his wife for giving us the opportunity to gather in remembrance of Kay and to share in the spreading of Kay’s ashes on the golf course at the Baca Grande on September 29, 2015.

Whitney Strong

Maurice Strong passes

Dear Community,

Maurice F. Strong, born April 29, 1929, husband of Hanne Strong of Crestone, passed from his body with his wife at his side at 1pm on Friday November 27 near his home in Toronto Canada at age 86.  His daughter, my friend, Suzanne Foote, contacted me just 10 minutes after his death to ask that the Spiritual Centers around Crestone and around the world offer prayers for the peaceful and successful transition from this world to the spiritual realm for her father Maurice Strong.  Maurice had been struggling with pneumonia at his home in Toronto, Canada. His heart was no longer able to sustain his body.

At times like this I profoundly sense the interconnectedness of life, of lives. We are all connected. Were it not for Maurice Strong I do not believe I would be living in this extraordinary place at this time in my life, would not have the relationships with so many people in this community that I have, would not have the beautiful life that I have.  I find myself filled with emotion at this moment—sadness, love and gratitude, but especially gratitude.  Gratitude to Maurice without whom perhaps so many of us would not be gathered together in this extraordinary and beautiful place. The Strongs, Maurice and Hanne, following their paths have made of this remote and beautiful place something unique in all the world, something which has the capacity to change the world.

Please hold Maurice’s spirit and his family in your thoughts, hearts and prayers at this time.

Brilliant blessings upon the spirit of Maurice Strong,

Matthew Crowley