Thank you CCC

Dear Editor,

Much has been said about our community’s troubled youth. However, we’ve had a different experience and are here to praise the kids in the youth work program of Crestone Creative Council (CCC) and Lisa Bodey who tirelessly coordinates their activities. CCC is unique, for the group generates their activities based on their interests and vision of what they believe will be of benefit. We have frequently hired CCC folks to help with yard work, house painting, moving, home projects and more. We recommend them to anyone in the community who needs some assistance. We’re grateful to Lisa and CCC for providing our community with this win-win program!

We are also enthusiastic about “Sponsor A Month”. It invites community members to donate $100 to pay CCC’s rent & utilities at the community building for a month, as well as purchase basic items like toilet paper and trash bags. They already have three anonymous donors for May, June & July. Maybe you and a few friends could show your faith in our hard working youth and “purchase” a month. There’s no better way of encouraging our youth than supporting CCC!

Sandra and Patrick Hammond, Lori Nagel, Lee Temple and Carol DeAntoni, Deana and Josh Wilfong, Kathy Grant


Response to Lonnie Nichols commentary

Dear Editor,

It will be impossible for me to address all of the points in the astoundingly inaccurate, exaggerated, and disingenuous “two-and-a-half full-page article” this paper published by Lonnie Nichols in just the few hundred words that I’m limited to.  If time allows, I will write a more detailed rebuttal and post it on the BGCAN web site:

Lonnie states the article is just “his opinions” but proceeds as if he is a uniquely qualified “expert” on everybody and everything that has been going on here for four decades after just a few months on the job.   And I assume this month’s issue will contain the much-anticipated “Part II”.

All I can say about my direct experience with Lonnie during his brief tenure at the POA was his endless complaining about how hard the job was—pretty much what is seen in his article.   Doesn’t seem like the amazing (according to Lonnie) five-week Hammersmith training prepared him very well for anything.

I have attended virtually every POA Board meeting in the last year and I’ve asked A LOT of questions during that time.  I can tell you that discerning the truth about what has been going on around here is not something anyone could grasp in just a few months no matter how amazingly skilled and insightful they are.

Now let me give you an example of what I mean by Lonnie being disingenuous.  He mentions and misrepresents the lawsuit filed against Russell Schreiber, Treat Suomi and William Folk   The suit WAS NOT filed against the entire Board or the entire Association as Lonnie stated.

Lonnie said the case was dismissed but failed to mention it was “dismissed without prejudice.”  This means that it was dismissed on a technicality and that it can be re-filed when the deficiency is corrected.  The case is not over by any stretch of the imagination.  But that’s what is being told to everyone around here.

The judge simply ruled that we failed to request and attend a required “Dispute Resolution Hearing” prior to filing the lawsuit.  We have challenged this because we did have a Hearing on November 29, 2012.  It was well attended and reported on by this paper.  A LOT of POA members voiced concerns about the way the Board Election was conducted at that Hearing.

But perhaps the most egregious omission by Lonnie was that he was one of the people who voiced concerns (the night of the Annual Meeting). He failed to mention that he met with me and others at his house on several occasions to discuss what could be done about the botched election.  Lonnie failed to mention that HE drafted the written request for that November 29 Special Hearing.  And Lonnie failed to mention that he asked us not to disclose this fact because he had just applied to Hammersmith for the position of POA Manager.

Lonnie attempts to explain his change of opinion because of “legal opinions” although Russell Schreiber said those legal opinions invited a lawsuit.  Let me tell you . . . I have dealt with bank attorneys now for over four years who routinely distort and misrepresent the meaning of laws in order to defend indefensible clients.  This is exactly what led to the necessity of us asking a judge to declare the correct meaning of statutes, rules, and procedures so that Board Members can no longer just make up whatever meaning suits them.

So from my perspective, this is the truth of things.  You decide how much stock to put in my words or those of Lonnie Nichols.

Bruce McDonald


In search of common ground

Dear Editor,

Thank you, Lonnie, for such a balanced and informative perspective on the scope and depth of our current POA.  You honored what works, and for what we might have gratitude, as well as elucidating the toxicity that keeps many residents away from active participation in our POA, whether as board members, staff, volunteers, or simple respectful participation in the POA’s decision-making process.  Though we’ve never met, I hope you stay in our community.

As a 23 yr, full time resident, I can remember when POA board meetings were a bore.  No one brought lawsuits when they didn’t agree with a decision, and C&R violations were mostly handled in a low key, handshake manner.

Having been co-founder and president for 5 years of the Open Space Alliance, which successfully saved our valley and community from being under an MOA (Military Operations Unit) of the Air National Guard, and involved to greater or lesser degrees in our community’s other successful attempts to protect this sacred place, I agree that we tend to band together when fighting an outside foe, e.g., various attempts to export our valley’s water, our grandmothers staging a sit-in to fend off drilling for gold on what is now Shumei land, as well as the more recent attempts at drilling for gas and oil within and adjacent to the Baca.

I’ve watched our community grow, become more varied, and more sophisticated.  Yet that growth seems to have brought with it the kind of toxicity that Lonnie described.  Are personal slander and/or lawsuits our only options when we disagree?

Given that we are each unique human beings, and come here from uniquely different backgrounds and belief systems, it would seem only natural that we disagree with each other at least some of the time.  So wouldn’t it behoove us to find ways to process our disagreements without slander, innuendo, and lawsuits?  Might we instead incorporate mediation and/or arbitration into our community life?

When our emotions are triggered, might we take the time it takes to calm down before projecting out our righteous indignation onto another?  Whatever happened to common decency and respect?

It pains me to read that at least one board member uses threats and intimidation on the staff.  And it also pains me when members of our community use threats and intimidation on each other.

As to the POA’s difficulty in enforcing its C&As, I’m reminded of the movie, Manon of the Spring, in which a life was lost due to town members not speaking up for justice because of an attitude that “it’s not my business.”  Perhaps we might create a new community ethos that makes official violations as well as abrasive, toxic comments a part of everyone’s business to correct and improve?

Rather than unconsciously, automatically taking sides to an issue that polarizes our community, how might we come together in search of common ground?

Respectfully submitted,

Kate Steichen


Respectfully & rationally

Dear Editor,

As a full-time Baca resident for twenty-nine years, I have of course experienced my frustrations with the Baca Grande Property Owner’s Association.   I want to thank you for publishing the highly informative explanation of  some of  its workings from the former P.O.A. manager  Lonnie Nichols.   I learned some things and was happy to see him champion personal accountability since the POA’s rules are pretty toothless.

It is in acting responsibly (paying our “what a deal!” dues and working courteously with others would be a good start) that an understanding of the POA’s limitations can be used to solve problems respectfully and rationally.  I am grateful for the information which Mr. Nichols provided with remarkable objectivity considering the abuse to which he and others have apparently been subjected while attempting to perform the POA manager’s job.   How can we get good people to serve on the board if in so doing they will subject themselves to the disrespect, rage and harassment from a few who are probably venting more than frustration with the institution. Litigiousness and discourtesy bring discredit to whatever their  assertions of the moment happen to be.   Moreover, it is a law of shadow psychology that  accusers are probably pointing out in others what they cannot or refuse to see about themselves!

It is my hope that a civil (i.e. well-mannered) majority  become informed and support the thankless work of the POA Board of Directors so that our community no longer be held hostage by a hapless few.  May election to the POA board be simply a way to selflessly serve our community instead of a crucifixion or a power trip.  May we all be given the personal accountability, patience and persistence to address together the institutionalized fallibility of the POA  and the potential for error in all human beings without incurring the expense to the property owners of legal action.

I do not know Mr. Nichols personally, but would like to thank him for his considerable effort to inform us and wish him well in his new endeavors. I am sorry the POA cannot benefit from his management skills.

Anne Silver


Thank you firefighters

Dear firefighters

Please know we are carrying you in our hearts with prayers and gratitude. The heat and intensity of those flames is more than most can imagine and when I think of the courage it takes to be willing to put your life on the line for days at a time, saving not only people but creatures who are frightened, thank you is too small a word

I honor you

Sandia Belgrade & Pavita Decorah


What will we choose to pass on to our following generations?


by Nathan Good

Together with a countless number of other organisms, we are at a major crossroads.  We may want to retire the story we were told/born into.  This is an unprecedented situation; ‘til now a decline or even a disappearance of any creature’s existence concerned only the educated and/or the rich.  How about now?   The question is, can we adapt like the archaea bacteria, evolving, surviving danger for billions of years? Their ancestors still reside in our cells today.  Will we reach maturation like they have, or are we one and the same?  Below is a look at living systems humans have used new and old.

1. “Money-driven paradigm”

Typically competitive, with the assumption that egoistic behavior of any individual, and competition with others, are beneficial. Perhaps capitalism wasn’t intended to be predatory or exploitive regarding our planet, but it thinks it found a bottomless resource of materials and a “playground”.  Continued use of energy to get its “fix” while emitting dangerous wastes hazardous to its own health.  It’s hard to quit and still growing.

2. “Odd collectivism”

Interests of the individual or group become subordinated to goals  controlled by a small group or single person.  The loss of rights and freedoms become oppressive.  Disguised hierarchies, tribal dynasties and/or follower or “cult like” power structures can distract its people with traditions of hidden self harm. Its society’s interdependency with nature may become derelict.   A “collective irresponsibility” may result. I call this the “Lord of the Flies” effect

3. “Whole-life emphasis”

Individuals and communities have understanding (or could be educated) that they are actually already in a collective with all life on the planet. That the next 7 generations of life depend on their pro-bio relations. These cultures/tribes/families pass on these values to each generation, the old wisdom ways of civility towards all creation.  A foundation supporting each other to really learn from what isn’t in concert with the health of life in general.  Cooperative with self, family, community, nation, and planetary inhabitants, value a loving prospective with respect to interconnectivity to all life.  A “whole life emphasis”

Rebuilding the story.  A small group of folks committed to civility and simple living.  The Farm in Tennessee is an example. Resources and energy follow to improve the models they build. Education is contagious.  Recognition that we are a keystone species is crucial.  Solidarity is found.  When we find out, it’s only us on a mission to wake up and live!  Together we can do it!