Thank you, PUC

Dear Editor,

As a result of the recent PUC decision, the valley will be spared the atrocious specter of the “Twin Towers” proposed by Solar Reserve.

To the point, the grid is obsolete; it is old and fragile, considerable energy is lost in long distance transmission, and it is ugly.

Distributed solar is the future; a solar array and/or wind turbines for every home, farm, warehouse, ranch and business.

Personal energy is personal freedom.

Take responsibility for your future and save the Earth from further environmental insult; is nothing sacred? Begin the transition, one panel at a time.

Small is beautiful.

As for jobs; for those who are not afraid to get your hands dirty, there are good opportunities in organic food and hemp production.

Press on,

Bruce Sheldon

 

A big thank you from Moffat School

Dear Editor,

Moffat Schools would like to thank all the community members, along with Elaine Johnson, Marsha Gardner and the Crestone Mercantile for their generous holiday donations that were received by the youth in the community. It takes a lot of time and effort to put together a drive such as the Giving Tree at the Crestone Mercantile. It is these acts of kindness that help make the holidays even more special, not only for those who have received something but also knowing that we belong to a community that is more like a family. Know that your donations are blessings in themselves and brought smiles to many faces. Again thank you from the bottom of our hearts for showing us the true meaning of the holiday season.

Sincerely,

Elise Lovato, Moffat Schools

 

Members object to POA board action

To the Editor,

We are aware that, in a written directive dated December 13, 2013 the Board of Directors instructed the POA insurance company’s attorney to withdraw an appeal in which he was trying to recover money that the POA’s insurance company spent on attorney’s fees to defend POA directors Russell Schreiber, Treat Suomi and Bill Folk from a lawsuit filed by current POA board members Bruce McDonald and Nigel Fuller and their co-plaintiffs Janie Thomas and Diane Dunlap.  The POA itself was liable for $5,000 (our deductible) of the more than $18,000 it cost the insurance company to defend that case, which was dismissed on a technicality. (The Plaintiffs have since refiled their lawsuit and forced the POA further into the case as a consequence).

We strongly believe that the vote taken at the POA board meeting on December 12, which we believe authorized that letter to be sent, was inappropriate, appearing to have served two individual board members’ financial interest at the expense of the POA membership and representing a clear conflict of interest.

We therefore have requested that the Board of Directors either send a letter to Bill Short at Hindman-Sanchez (the POA’s insurance company’s attorney) reversing their demand that the appeal be withdrawn, take another vote without the participation of Nigel Fuller and Bruce McDonald, or answer to the membership at their Feb. 13 meeting, where our request to be heard is supposed to be on the agenda.

Alison and Bob McClure

Andrew Campagnola

Ann Bunting

Anna Louise Stewart

Armand & Therese Peloquin

Bruce and Elinor Nygren

Burt Wadman

Carol J. DeAntoni

Chris Canaly

Cristina Cabeza-Kinney

David Hillman & Vicki Matthews

David Vermont and Aaron Juchau

Deborah Easley and Steve Haines

Donna Peizer

Doug and Amulya Beechwood

Eileen Reed (“Tilly”)

Emmy Savage

Esteban & Treffa Hollander

Hamilton Brannan

Janet Martinez

Janet Woodman

Jeff and Myan Sorensen

Jerry and Vonda Jones

Jo Anne Kiser

Joanna Theriault

John and Cheryl Rowe

John R. M. Day, & Jean A. Day

Judith DeLuca

Judy Gilbert

Julia Voss

Kathleen Rainbow Adler & Robert B Adler

Ken Nelson

Larain Appelbaum-Matheson

Lee B. Temple

Loretta and Lionnell Covert

Lynda Kucin

Margret & Clay Bridgeford

Marika Popovitz

Martin Macaulay

Mary Katherine Steichen

Mary Michael Onewing

Seymour and Audrey Topping

Shahna Lax

Nathan Scarritt & Sharon Landrith

Pamela Ramadei

Parvin & Patricia Johnson

Patrick Lee & Sandra Hammond

Phil Madonna

Philip and Mikela Tarlow

Rich Jewett

Richard Lind & Leslie Holloway

Robert Demko & Findley West

Robin and Vickie Helm

Sarah Hoenninger

Susan M. Pierce

Stacey A McCulloch

Stephanie Gaines

Steven K. Carter

Sue Turner

Sugandha Jane Brooks

Susan Fey

Susannah Ortego & Harun Magnuson

Suzanne Foote, director for Manitou Institute and Conservancy, Manitou Fdn

Suzanne McGregor

W.C. Dobson & Moira Forsythe

 

Heavy heart

Dear community, POA members and POA board,

I feel that the current state of affairs at the Baca Grande POA, and specifically their fire department, continues to illustrate that a property owners’ association is an inappropriate organization for providing emergency fire services. Specifically, I don’t trust the Baca POA to adequately protect my safety and potential liabilities as an officer on the fire department.  I believe this situation has resulted in a tragic loss of volunteers with decades of experience and training. Therefore, I regret to inform you that I resign from the Baca Fire Department as a fire fighter, communications officer, and lieutenant after over eleven years, and countless hours, of dedicated service to the department. I urge the community to consider now as the time to look for alternatives to a POA-run fire department. Maybe it is time to hire another organization to provide our much needed emergency services?

With heavy heart,

Treat Suomi

 

Concerned about Baca Fire Department

Dear community,

I’m very concerned about our Baca Grande Volunteer Fire Department and its members’ well-being.  I propose that the property owners’ association implement the use of www.theweave.info (a website that outlines a method to reach an equitable, fair process) or some other system to resolve the situation with the fire department ASAP . . . before we don’t have one any more.

As a 17-yr. community member, 7-yr. veteran/retired EMT-IV, 11-year fire department member; also as a fire chief and assistant chief with Northern Saguache County Fire Protection District, I feel this is an emergency.

It is my opinion that the current fire department issue is a lot more than a budget problem.  The polarized environment dividing part of the Baca Grande Property Owners Association board from cooperation with the BGVFD is a lack of knowledge of the fire profession in part; however it’s also turned absurd and personal of late.  A blast zone wiped out 7/8 of our volunteers and has compromised the community’s safety.

It is clear to me that without community participation in the process of steering our future, it’s left to the POA board to either continue business as usual (which is obviously creating animosity amongst us), or call an emergency roundtable discussion to return us to civility.  We have a saying in the fire service . . . 200 years of tradition unimpeded by progress. It’s up to us now to create what we want to see tomorrow.  I suggest an inquiry, a priority analysis that isn’t the agenda of the current personal conflict.

It is my belief that challenges are opportunities and become ripe when we grow from them. However, left alone they may grow so large that the famous line applies “Necessity is the mother of all invention.” Will this be our default method?  I ask you this, do you believe our POA board is making decisions consistent with the guidance of our constituents and fire fighters who could be in harm’s way?

If we don’t make a change we can expect more of the same.

I am because we are!

Best to you all,

Nathan Good

Response to Suomi’s letter in Dec. Eagle

Dear Editor,

It is a distinct disadvantage to be consigned to responding—an entire month later—to a damning inflammatory letter to the editor such as the one Treat Suomi wrote about myself and others in last month’s Eagle. I should have been notified and permitted space in the same issue (as is routinely offered to others) except when it concerns people and issues that this paper supports.

Treat presents his tale as if it is a genuine effort to honestly inform the community about what has been occurring with the lawsuit. The problem is: Treat’s letter to the editor was not accurate and was a deliberate effort to simply stir up anger towards myself and others in hopes that enough public pressure would ensue to force the plaintiffs to drop the lawsuit. Treat routinely chose this type of approach while serving on the POA board. And, this is one of the main reasons that Treat has become a defendant in a lawsuit.

I could address each inaccurate point that Treat made, but it is fairly common knowledge that it is “not appropriate” to be discussing ongoing litigation in public.

What I will say at this point is: Perhaps it is time to consider that Treat and the other defendants may not have been entirely candid with this community. Perhaps it is time to consider that there are very good reasons that they find themselves defendants in a lawsuit. Perhaps it is time to consider how many requests and opportunities for sensible solutions were selfishly and carelessly discarded by Treat and the other defendants. And, perhaps it is time to consider that there was no other way to resolve the very serious issues raised in the lawsuit due to the defendants’ refusal at every turn, to take any of it seriously. They simply want this lawsuit to go away.

Of course, Treat and the other defendants would want that because, finally after an entire year of stonewalling, they now have to actually answer the allegations and finally . . . the truth is on the verge of being revealed.

In fact, the truth is about to come out about a great many things in our community. And, it is time for everyone to wake up to the possibility that exposing the truth is precisely what is going to really create lasting peace and harmony around here.

Bruce McDonald

[Ed note: To see the letter to which Mr. McDonald refers, go to crestoneeagle.com/january-2014- letters-to-the-editor]

 

Freeloaders & fire protection

Dear Baca Grande property owners,

I would like to point out to all of you, that your fellow community members, who own property in the town of Crestone and surrounding county land, pay taxes to support the Northern Saguache Fire Protection District. I myself pay over $100 a year to support a fire department. I would therefore, in the spirit of fairness and pulling your own weight, invite you to pay your share for these services. Do not be freeloaders who expect your neighbors to shoulder the expense of responding to your fire emergencies.

In the spirit of community and fairness,

Maia Dercum

 

Seven flipping dollars, really?

Dear Editor,

I didn’t think you could put a price on people’s lives but apparently for this Baca Grande Property Owners’ Association Board of Directors it’s seven dollars a member less per year. I ask all of you what you think it takes to run into a burning building or to a burning car to save the life of someone. Well, I will tell you that it is not being brave or a hero. It is about training, awareness and practice but what it really is about is being in a group that trains together and knowing that your brother, with the same training, is there to have your back. I never understood why the naysayers, now part of our POA board, or anyone would fight and destroy a fire department full of people who voluntarily train and give their own time to protect people they don’t even know.

As one of the last members of the BGVFD, I have no more trained brothers left to have my back. It’s true that some of us are on the limited Crestone department but the truth is that we have been broken. The strong group of firefighters that was created by all of you POA members has been broken by these naysayers, and select POA board members. I now follow all my brothers and resign from the POA.  I can’t believe they took a critically needed fire house job away from Jim Vanderpool and his family.  The BGVFD gave so much to me, I will never forget and I want to personally thank all you members for the years that we had a fire department.

We are broken but we are still around. Please help us get our group back together. Send your seven dollars or more to Crestone Emergency Services District, tell the POA board you want the district to use the unmanned POA fire equipment and together we can get back to the level of protection we once had.

Craig Tomaski

 

Three victories

Dear Editor,

I am writing this letter in response to last month’s article “Meth in Crestone?”.  Crestone has had three wonderful victories.  The town park was a gathering place to party, sometimes to excess. This made many people uncomfortable, especially mothers with babies and parents with children.  We took back our park and we were victorious.  Next, the local watering hole became non-existent.  Many residents see that as a victory and a statement about our priorities as a community.  Finally, one very troublesome man who referred to himself as the “Meth Messiah” is gone from this community.

Is Crestone a safe place to live?  Honestly I have heard more stories of bears doing damage than  humans.

In the past couple of years the Crestone Charter School has had experts come in and discuss the effects of drugs and alcohol on the human brain.  Parents can become more aware and informed through their children.

The hardest hit and most vulnerable to alcohol and drug “abuse” are our older teens and young adults.  The Crestone Creative Council helps channel our young adults towards work experience, projects and many other constructive things. We are an amazing community that has shown much love and will continue to do so but we have also proven that enough is enough and when love is continually abused, then accountability through punishment and change through fear become the only recourse.  As a community we have been dealing with alcohol and drug problems for upwards of two years or more mostly with a few troublesome characters.

The worst is behind us and as a community we can move on and let it be.  There is a saying “What you focus on expands.”  It would be nice to focus on something positive and let that expand.

Respectfully,

Jodi Price

 

Read contract carefully

Greetings,

I have been an in-home caregiver and certified nurses aide in this community the better part of the fifteen years I have lived here. I have found that helping my community and neighbors has been very rewarding. In addition to the service aspect I have learned much about the area’s history and the people who have resided here for years. I have referred many people in an attempt to connect caregivers with folks in need.

The purpose of this letter is to make people aware of some “questionable” caregiver service contracts that may be presented to you by the caregiver prior to employment. Certain “suspicious” requirements in the contract such as initial deposits, or requiring a ten-day notice prior to termination (or you lose your deposit), extra pay for weekends or holidays or services which may or may not be desired. These things should be considered carefully before signing any service contract.

As a caregiver there is a certain trust that develops when providing care for the homebound. I believe that contracts may be necessary in some instances, but a poorly devised contract can breach that trust. The bottom line is . . . read carefully and/or seek legal counsel to review a contract or have someone go over the service contract with you before you sign it.

Thank You.

Kris Boberek

 

Peterson to run for county assessor

Dear Editor,

I am formally announcing my candidacy for Saguache County Assessor in the November 2014 election.

First, a little background leading to this decision: I was hired by the Saguache County Assessor’s Office (SCAO) two years ago to provide fieldwork identifying rural properties in Saguache County and quickly became fascinated by the assessor’s work in general, especially considering the notion of property tax for education and public services is such an age-old concept. Furthering this interest, as the mandated county reappraisal began last January, I was fortunate to be asked to assist the Colorado Division of Property Taxation (DPT), as a local, to help their employees perform their fieldwork for the next 5 months. This “on the job training” has proven invaluable and, consequently, I have formed many close working and personal relationships with DPT employees providing me with a continuing education and insights into the job. These same employees teach the classes I have been taking to obtain my appraiser’s license later this spring.

Briefly, the assessor is charged with discovering, listing, classifying and valuing all taxable real property in the county. The assessor’s duties are mandated by Colorado Revised Statutes and the office is audited annually by an independent firm. To this end I promise a fair, unprejudiced and transparent office with easy access to all public records.

Some history:

The highlight of my life, raising three beautiful children with my former wife, Penny.

University of Colorado at Boulder, Biology major (un-degreed)

6 years United States Marine Corps

8 years Mountain Valley School BOE, 6 as chairman

6 years Vice Chair Saguache County Democratic Party

Commercial crab fisherman, Alaska; ranch manager, Gunnison; hardrock miner,Jamestown, CO; Forest management, Boulder; Log home construction and chinking, Crested Butte and locally.

I live off the grid and stay in excellent physical shape (that fieldwork!) by hiking, backpacking, snowshoeing, mountain biking and gardening.

I would greatly appreciate your support throughout this endeavor!

Thank you,

Be well,

Peter Peterson

 

Liza Marron announces county commissioner candidacy

Dear community members of Saguache County,

I would like to represent you as county commissioner in 2014.

I moved here in 1987 to work on the High Meadows Buffalo Ranch. In the fall of 1989 I was hired as an income maintenance technician with Saguache County Department of Human Services and was part of welfare reform. That year I bought a home in Saguache, and began a new grant-based youth mentoring program “Pilots for Prevention” serving students of all school districts in the county with after-school tutoring, mentoring and monthly adventures. I spent summers with my children working Green Earth Organic Farm, taking vegetables to farmers’ markets and helping to grow amazing vegetables. In 2002 I earned a BA in Spanish from ASU and my masters in 2009. In 2006 we secured an eight-year grant from LiveWell Colorado to facilitate healthy eating and active living here. We are continuing this work as the SLV Local Foods Coalition; a new non-profit dedicated to creating a regenerative local foods system.

My community service record includes serving as a foster mother, being a founding member of ScSEED (Saguache County Sustainable Environment and Economic Development) and serving on the Mountain Valley School Board. I also serve on the board of the Valley Food Cooperative and the Rocky Mountain Prevention Research Center.

Some accomplishments include supporting a youth-led effort to build a skatepark in Saguache, helping Colorado pass the Cottage Foods Bill, the Crestone Music Festival Pancake Breakfast, the ScSEED Ranching Celebration, the placement of solar panels at MVS and the creation of a community/school garden.

There was a moment when I sat in the Saguache County Commissioners’ meeting months ago during a Secure Rural Schools funding discussion. Several entities hoped to get a share, as did Mountain Valley School. I listened to the sheriff and school teachers’ testimony about how deputies and young teachers do not earn a living wage. As I listened I confirmed to myself that I wanted to run for county commissioner to embrace a culture of abundance here. We live in one of the most beautiful spots on this planet. We have abundant resources: open space, mountains, meadows, clean air, wildlife, self-sufficient people, agriculture and beautiful views. My father visited from Chicago once and remarked on the “holy silence” here.

I believe that everyone does better when everyone does better. I would like to see that Saguache County is lifted from the list of the top three poorest counties in Colorado. I would like to see that businesses thrive and that every person has an equal chance to have water, nourishment, clothes, shelter and education.

I don’t pretend to be an expert, but I do believe that the public interest is best served when complex and controversial issues receive careful review by elected representatives who have the time, commitment, and expertise to hold meetings and hearings, take community input, examine the evidence, debate their differences and work out necessary compromises.

I thank you for your consideration of my candidacy.

Elizabeth (Liza) Marron

 

Celebrating more than a newspaper

Dear Editor,

It’s The Crestone Eagle’s 25th anniversary and I realized  how  it’s more than a newspaper. For a quarter of a century it’s reported news in a balanced way, events, politics and the culture of a small western town. It’s supported a rotating group of writers. Provided a platform for advertisers and businesses.  But it has also held our memories and history, just like our family and friends do. That makes it more valuable than just a paper.

Congratulations to Kizzen, Janet, present and past staff, and all of us for keeping the tradition going.

—Sandia Belgrade

 

Info from Northern Saguache County Fire Protection District

Dear Editor,

I would like to take this opportunity to provide some clarification with regard to fire protection in the Crestone/Baca subdivision area. My hope is to alleviate some of the community’s concerns during this transitional time while more permanent solution can be found.

While it is true that several members of the Baca Grande VFD have resigned recently, for a variety of reasons, many of those also serve as volunteer firefighters with the Crestone VFD, which is part of the Northern Saguache County Fire Protection District (NSCFPD). Most were members of both departments because of their desire to serve the entire community and to make fire responses as efficient as possible no matter where they happened within the community. They assure me that they will still respond to any emergency in the entire Crestone/Baca community when called.

It is also true that the Baca Grande (POA) VFD was not included in the San Luis Valley Intergovernmental Agreement for Mutual Aid between Fire Protection Districts and Municipalities. That said the NSCFPD did enter into an Interagency Agreement for Mutual Aid between Fire Departments and a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for Automatic Mutual Aid Response within the Crestone/Baca area. These agreements were signed and became effective March 1, 2012. These agreements are still valid as neither the NSCFPD or the Baca Grande POA boards have terminated the agreement. Both of these agreements will be used during this trying time. I also want to stress that other fire departments in the San Luis Valley assure us that they will respond to calls for mutual aid in the Baca subdivision if command has been passed or assumed by an officer of the NSCFPD and that request came from them. In the event of a large emergency event (wildfire, etc.) which cannot be suppressed by the resources of the Baca Grande VFD and NSCFPD personnel, command is passed to the county sheriff who can then use the county’s Annual Operating Plan and subsequent agreements to coordinate and receive help from our state and federal partners.

With respect to response times to the Baca Grande area there should be no change as both Baca Grande VFD and NSCFPD dispatch centers already automatically notify the other dispatch center of the call per the above agreement. If there is a delay it should be limited to the time for dispatch centers to notify each other and the extra time it may take some firefighters to drive by one fire station to get to the other.

Please be assured that both the NSCFPD and Baca Grande POA are working diligently to assure that services are not negatively impacted by recent events and will continue to work with all involved agencies in order to find long term solutions to all issues currently being faced.

Please feel free to contact me with your questions at wmoores@wildblue.net or by calling 719-539-6516

Wesley Moores,

NSCFPD District Chief

 

Response to POA letter of Dec. 12, 2013 & open letter to the Crestone/Baca community

Dear POA board of directors:

The district is in receipt of your letter, which chronicles the position of the majority of the current directors of the POA.   Your letter is quoted in its entirety:

“This letter is a formal response from the POA Board of Directors to the issue of making POA emergency services assets available to the CrESD.  The POA will not under any circumstances transfer its emergency services assets to the CrESD by any means including by lease.  In addition, the POA Board will no longer support the existence of the CrESD.  We find that is not in the best interest of the POA membership.”

The district was preparing a revised proposal to the Baca Grande POA and the Northern Saguache Fire Protection District, namely:

The CFPD plans to reduce its budget/mill levy request through:

•Ambulance Service will not be included in the Services Plan (50% reduction in proposed budget).

•Two full-time-equivalent positions for Administrator, Fire Chief, and Equipment Manager.

•Reduction of budget expenditures wherever possible while maintaining high levels of services, equipment and training  (comparable to 2013 POA Fire Department budget, but including firefighter pension provisions, and a reserve).

•Mill levy set at 8.02 mills reflecting Northern Saguache Fire Protection District rate.  Within the District boundaries, the assessed valuation is $21,530,000 with a yield of $172,241 for the first year.

•Possible agreement with the POA:

•Gifting or lease of equipment and vehicles for a token amount.

•Renting of the firehouse for $450.00 per month.

•District to pay for liability insurance with same company, VFIS.

•Researching the issue of indemnifying POA, as equipment owners/lessors, from liability, including the district acquiring additional insurance if required.

•Pledge from POA board that dues will be lowered by the actual reduction of expenses related to the removal of the fire department and fire protection services from the POA budget

•Service Plan:  The plan will have to be substantially revised to reflect a fire department with a narrower mission, a lower mill levy, and new agreements.

This proposal is negated by:  “The POA will not under any circumstances transfer its emergency services assets to the CrESD by any means including by lease.”  The district cannot possibly prepare a viable Service Plan without the POA’s emergency equipment.

The district hopes that the current majority of the POA board will re-evaluate their position, and consider the following:

•Voters supported the district by a 2 to 1 margin in the Dissolution Election.

•The current proposal consolidates and coordinates services, and helps to retain continuity of service at a modest increase in property taxes.

•Provides governmental immunity for firefighters and the jurisdiction.

•Assures a dedicated committed to emergency services.

•Remedies the current situation with the alienation of and the resignation by the most experienced volunteers and employees, leaving the POA membership at greater risk to life and property.

We are still maintaining the coordinated emergency services can only be achieved through a regional public district.  If a locally controlled district eventually becomes unfeasible, we would support the consideration of area annexation by the Northern Saguache Fire Protection District.  Even without funding, the Crestone Fire Protection District remains committed to the principles of its inception, and will support any improvement in emergency services.

Respectfully submitted,

The Crestone Fire Protection District Board of Directors

Frederick J. Dunets, Chair

David Hillman, Secretary

Eli Dokson, Treasurer

Peter Taylor, Director

Bill Sutherland, Director