Acknowledging Stephanie Gaines

Letter to the Editor:
This fall Crestone-End-Of-Life-Project has been celebrating its 10 year anniversary.
Stephanie Gaines, our founder and director, has been busy acknowledging everybody and anybody that has ever helped and supported us, while she herself has slipped unnoticed into the background.
This illustrates two marked characteristics of Stephanie. 
Number one, an immense capacity to remember detail. She can tell you the date of every single cremation, the names of the loved ones attending and specific detail on the deceased of every single death we have assisted.
Number two, a humble, deeply devoted spiritual nature working hard but never taking credit.
Throughout the years Stephanie has held the vision for the project and maintained an attitude of service. She has met resistance with an attitude of compassion and never force. As a result CEOLP has earned the trust and respect of our beloved community.
And while Stephanie is looking to step down as a director, she still has a trick or two up her sleeve. This will be revealed in near future.
Personally I have come to view Stephanie as a dear friend, mentor and confident.
On behalf of CEOLP, our community and all the people she has served, I give gratitude and congratulations for a job well done.
Anna Louise Stewart, 
Founding member of CEOLP

A time for thanks

Dear Community,
As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches, I have been reflecting on what I am thankful for this year. I continue to be grateful for my supportive husband and energetic daughter, but this year I am also thankful for the opportunity to make a difference in the community that I call home. 
Over the last five years, I have lived in the San Luis Valley working as a telecommuter supporting at-risk college students throughout the country. While I enjoyed this job, I find my current position as the Pk-12 Principal at the Moffat School to be far more grounding, and I am thankful for this. Before I began working full-time as a telecommuter, I worked with children in the communities where I resided. Making a difference in my community has been something that has been missing from my life for the past five years, and I am so grateful to have the opportunity to get to work with and make a difference in the lives of our youngest citizens. 
Thank you for sharing your kids with me and all of the marvelous educators at the Moffat Pk-12 School.
During October, I asked Zach Schwartz, our technology director, to attend training on cyberbullying prevention. Over the next few weeks, Zach will be working to put the Safe2Tell application on the iPads of all students at the Moffat Pk-12 school. This application allows students to quickly and anonymously report anything that concerns or threatens students, their friends, their families, or their community. Reports go to law enforcement and school administration. 
Until next month, I hope you will take a moment to think about what you are thankful for and enjoy the beautiful community we all call home.
Jillian Sciacca, Principal
Moffat School

A close call, giving thanks

To the readership:
Tis the season, and this year I have a special reason to give thanks. I am alive. Yay! Thanks to Kizzen.
I was “kind of sick” for a day and a half, couldn’t eat or drink, had some stomach pain, but didn’t feel really bad and didn’t have a fever. Kizzen told me I was dehydrated and to drink electrolytes, and when I did, I became feverish and very weak. She whisked me up and took me to the emergency room.
I had a ruptured appendix and if I’d waited a few more hours . . . well, I probably wouldn’t be writing this now.
I was in the hospital for five days and it took me two months to recover completely. During that time I received so much love and support it brings tears to my eyes.
A special thanks goes to my dear friend and neighbor, Chris Botz. He was there daily, bringing me food, taking me places, making sure I had everything I needed and just “being there” for me. I am eternally grateful.
Kizzen continued her support with visits and supplements. Dr. Philip Incao gave me remedies, talked to me daily on the phone, and even took me to Elephant Cloud to make sure I bought the right food.
Janet Woodman, Jennifer Thomson and Sam Pace brought me food and support. Allyson Ransom and Gwynn Busby took care of my cats while I was in the hospital and supported me in numerous ways. 
Sam Pace and Jim Hollmer visited me in the hospital. Jim bundled me up into his truck and took me to see the fall colors while I was still recuperating.
Seems like hundreds of people wished me well on Facebook.
For these special friends and for our loving and generous community, I give thanks beyond measure.
Diane Bairstow
A cautionary addendum
Kizzen, who was an EMT-I medic for many years, said patients will often tell you what’s the matter with them even when they “don’t know”. The body somehow communicates it to the brain. 
I had said to her during our first conversation, “I wonder if it’s appendicitis.” But my symptoms didn’t agree with what I read on the internet, therefore I didn’t really believe it. But she had heard me.
So, if you’re feeling sick and begin wondering if it’s something specific, something serious, something you never thought before, it might very well be. Listen to your body and your intuition, and don’t wait like I did.

Library thanks

Much thanks and gratitude for all the community-spirited folks who came out and lent a hand at the library during the week of October 9-13.  The library closed for refurbishing the front room, and many hands were needed to remove books, book shelves, plants, etc., since the carpet would be changed and the front desk would be replaced.  A state correctional facility built, donated and helped install a newly designed front desk that looks really great and is more efficient.
Hopefully no names are forgotten, and those who helped are:  Pat Tullos, Suzanne McGregor, Ann Marie Scauzilla, Dick Donovan, Sarah Koehn Frey, Barb Lehner, Sandia Belgrade, Carol Lee, David Lee, Jeanie Krogh, Nan Dudek, Kathy Kennedy, Ira Scherr, Chris Negenta, Paula Hudson, Barry M. Bobst, John Galladere, Elizabeth Michael, Thom Ontko, Ann Scauzillo, and Barry Monroe, and Ben on Monday.
On Friday those that helped put everything back together were:  John, Anne, Suzanne, Barry, Sandia, Nan, Barb, Jan, Noona, Pat, Ira, Carol, Swaha, Karen, Amber, Lisa, Amber, Grant and Ken.
Many thanks to all who took time from their individual lives to help keep our library healthy and strong.  The Friends of the Library were please to provide lunch to all who came.
Thom Ontko, 
Chair, Friends of the Baca Grande Library

Letter to my brothers

Dear Editor,
I’m writing to remind everyone in our beloved community, and especially the men, to treat others with respect and courtesy when discussing community issues.  Recently on repeated occasions I have personally witnessed men speaking and behaving disrespectfully, scornfully, and abusively towards women around community issues.  Often these men have been new to our community and unaware of the esteem with which we hold leading women and all women of our community. 
Such conduct is not acceptable and as a man I’m asking my brothers to be more aware and to take responsibility for each other if they see such conduct occurring.  Our actions need not be confrontative, but hopefully incisive in cutting through and reminding our fellows that the women in our community have played a vital ongoing and nourishing role in defining and creating our Crestone/Baca subculture.  Examples of women leading in our community are bountiful from business to art to spiritual centers, to government to community service to family builders to child raisers and much more. 
We are most fortunate to have such outstanding women in our community and as men we benefit enormously from their contributions.  So my brothers, if you see something occurring please muster your courage and wisdom to speak up in helpful and confident manner as an older brother might to a younger one. 
John Loll, 
with Kofi & John Luke signing in support

Crestone cancer support circles

Dear Editor,
In a recent conversation with an acquaintance, I learned that there are several folks here in the Crestone/Baca area who are dealing with a cancer diagnosis. I am wondering if any of you wish to explore the possibilities of convening a local cancer support circle? I know from experience that an illness such as cancer can be terribly isolating and that it need not be so.
I envision these circles as a place for sharing wisdom and offering each other emotional and social support. And, if there is interest, we might also explore topics such as nutrition, exercise, meditation skills, insurance and financial matters, available resources etc. Your ideas are most welcome.  
Why travel to Salida or Alamosa for yet another appointment?  Let’s gather here. 
All are welcome including “survivors” who would like to give support and encouragement to those currently in treatment.  
Join us on Tuesday, November 7 at 2pm for our first gathering.  
Please RSVP at and I will send you directions. If you are interested in participating but cannot make the first organizational meeting, please zip me an email or call me  at 719-480-2002.  
 Cheryl Waschenko

POA dues & our essential services

Dear Editor,
A petition has been presented to Baca property owners to disband the POA. There is a fundamental problem with this—the disappearance of our basic services. Living where we do, facing fire danger and far from hospitals, it’s essential to have: 
• ambulance service
• woodland firefighters and structure protection during a fire
• road maintenance, snow clearing and other land management activities 
For each of us, the provision of these basic services was understood to be part of our buy-in to the Baca Grande subdivision and that our dues would pay for the services. Such services never come free to anyone. We’re no different from any other POA—we all need to pay dues to receive our services, just as those who live in municipalities need to pay taxes for theirs. 
As of now there’s no entity other than the POA, including Saguache County or the Town of Crestone, ready to provide, insure, and maintain these services. And even if the County or town were ready and willing, we would be swapping dues for taxes and/or fees-for-services. 
For lot owners who wish to sell their undeveloped lots, it’s important to assure buyers that basic services will be intact for the foreseeable future. If the essential services aren’t operational, it’s highly unlikely any buyer would be interested in such a subdivision. 
We as Baca property owners need to know: 1. What is being proposed to provide necessary services if there is no POA and therefore no dues, or potentially no consensus among Baca owners to pay taxes and/or fees-for-services. 2. What is being proposed to pay for the training of firefighters and EMTs, insurance, and maintenance of the buildings and equipment for the basic services if there is no POA and therefore no dues.
John Day, Jean Day, Christine Dupre, Gussie Fauntleroy, Sandra Hammond, Patrick Hammond, Jane Lee Austin Harris, Susannah Ortego, Martin Macauley, M.L. Harrison Mackie, Vince Palermo, Kate Steichen, Natasha Torres, Paki Wright.

A community commons in Crestone?

Dear Editor,
This piece aims to continue a dialogue towards creating a community center, like what the Grange has proposed near Crestone, a land held in commons with a large multi-use building based on a co-op structure.  Ongoing surveys about peoples’ interests would be needed to guide the project.  
A few questions I feel are important to ask: Did we have a commons once before? If so, when did we lose it?  
The Town of Crestone has proposed that a community center could be part of the plans for its Tract 1 property. The word “community commons” was used in last month’s article by Burt Wadman.
Regardless of who builds such a project, asking questions about how its governance would operate is a good starting place.         
Would it have a system to support earth/people caring fair share values? Have off grid and working educational models of how to live more simply? Would it have an open door policy to welcome all people, regardless of monetary or cultural status? Compassion and empathy to guide policy? Would it practice the 7th Generation philosophy and ethics of indigenous peoples, i.e. meet the needs of the present without compromising the future generations of all life, their ability to meet their own health and happiness?        
The commons could host educational symposiums and eco/spirtual-commerce, which could help sustain it. Designed to enrich people/land and animals and create fair on-site jobs with additional exchange opportunities for all. It could also be the festival grounds of our community. With a pot luck/farm share-style barn raising, this can happen as soon as we want to start! 
It could use permaculture design and whole living systems to integrate collective ideas, energy and celebration from and for our old community as well as newcomers.   
With less time travelling into cities for money, we will have food from all types of gardens, animals, solar powered shelters, transportation etc.  Food, family and safety.  This means more time for art, music and dancing.
Nathan Good 

Slower is faster, less is more

Dear Editor,
I think Crestone is ready to blossom into its greatest good—this land feels to me like it is asking us to let go of our fears and hesitation, and to move toward fulfilling our wildest dreams of native health, happiness, and prosperity.  All we need to do this, I think, is to build and protect the foundations of our basic needs right here, becoming thoroughly self-sufficient and sustainable as a community.  We would then have such a level of integrity that we would be able to let go of the story the rest of America is telling itself—that we are ill-suited to this world, that we are numb to subtleties that direct the more intuitive species . . . we can truly become that which we have always aimed to be—at peace. 
 I for one value free time, free people, access to both privacy and collaborative outlets . . . I value a land and its people appreciated, not exploited.  I value the knowledge of my elders, the insights of my teachers, and the experience of my leaders.  I wish to pour all of my talents into the future of my family and community, to work at growing my food, building my shelter, and trading for my whatnot rather than working for money to buy food, shelter and whatnot . . . But I still feel like an oddity in this practice.  
I would like to invite others who feel a calling, any calling, to follow it.  These deep feelings of what you are here on earth to do is coming from The Source.  The momentum behind your calling is ancient and true, and often we cannot see why it is the best path, and just have to have faith.  I am following my calling (raising dairy goats)—and I know I am but one piece in the puzzle.  What is a puzzle piece without the rest of them?  
We have everything we need right here—I would like us to agree to take the time to do inventory, and stop wasting our resources on redundancy.  Buy local.  Use the barter system.  Sleep lots.  Eat and drink locally as well.  Feel great because of it, then get out there and salvage & restore.  Slower is faster.  Less is more.
Heather D’Alessio

Community Resources Inventory

Dear Editor,
Just wanted to remind everyone that we will be beginning our Community Resources for Survival Inventory (a Crestone-Baca Resiliency project) this month (November).  You may see us at the Cloud or the Post Office on various days—you’ll definitely see us at the big Community Thanksgiving Potluck at the Charter School, and at Winterfest.  Participation in the survey is voluntary and data will be kept confidential to the maximum extent possible.  Feel free to share any concerns you might have, and we’ll do out very best to accommodate them.
We’d like this to be primarily a neighborhood exercise, so please let us know if you’re willing to help by holding a pot luck or meet and greet in your neighborhood, and we will provide the surveys and someone to speak about this initiative at the event.  Surveys will also be available at the Crestone Town Hall, Eagle office, and POA office, by email, or one can be mailed to you.  We will specify places, people and times for dropping them off, mailing them back, or submitting them electronically.  Be ready to help us as a community to be well prepared!   
For more information: or 719-745-7045; or personal message me on Facebook.