Our EMTs save lives

Dear Editor,

I know this is true because a few weeks ago, they saved mine.  How do I thank people for actually keeping me alive until we reached the Alamosa ER.  I’d need a new language to express such deep gratitude.  Although I couldn’t see, I could hear the EMT’s quiet, calm voices and feel their loving and firm intention to make me comfortable and keep me conscious.  When Treat lifted me into the ambulance, I could “feel the love”—not just for me but for anyone in dire need.  Pam Gripp and the driver were soothing and confident and so competent, their low murmurs in the ambulance felt friendly and stress-free.  My everlasting thanks go to Chris Botz, who sat beside me.  I learned later that I could have just drifted away, but Chris commanded my attention absolutely.  He made me keep my eyes open, kept talking to me so warmly, so kindly in a way that doesn’t take no for an answer, I had no choice but to look at him and stay conscious until we got to the hospital.  Chris is my all-time hero.

Thank you with all my heart, Treat and Pam and Pattison and Chris—may this community give our EMTs all the respect and support they deserve.  When I was in the back of the ambulance, I learned how profoundly their commitment affects our lives.

Our EMTs have the reputation of being highly professional.  I have heard this from people outside Crestone.  Now I know it’s true.  How fortunate we are to live among people who offer their time, whatever they might wish to be doing, giving up a night’s sleep, a delicious dinner, to rush out at all hours, just to help us keep the most precious thing of all—our lives.


Pavita Decorah


Time to return the favor, Yes to a new school

Dear fellow Crestone-Baca community members,

There are many reasons to support the Moffat School District’s mill levy request to fund a new school and take advantage of the incredible BEST grant opportunity. Here’s another one—it’s about returning the favor the school district did for the Crestone Charter School when CCS went to the voters with a similar request in 2009.

At that time, the district could easily have done what every other school district in Colorado has done when a charter school has placed a tax increase before voters—let the charter school go out there on its own. Moffat School District is the only school district to have had its charter school’s tax increase placed on the ballot as a district vote, thereby letting voters know that the district supported the educational opportunities for all of its students.

It’s time for the Crestone-Baca citizens to remember that not all of our community’s students attend school in Crestone. About ½ of our children choose to go to the Moffat School, alongside the students who live in Moffat or other areas other than Crestone-Baca. The district supported CCS when its new school vote was needed. Now the district is asking for our community’s support for the Moffat School. It’s time to return the favor.

Eli Dokson

Retired Superintendent of the Moffat School District


Vote yes for the BEST

Dear Editor,

It was pointed out to me long ago that someone I didn’t even know paid for my grade school and high school education.  The school that I went to was about 30-40 years old at the time.  I really didn’t think much about it then, but now I can look back and say thank God someone had the foresight to invest in my/our future.  I am now pushing 50 years old and like all others in my generation and older we are no longer the future.  We are the past, but we can still contribute to the future.  Our children are our future, they will shape the world to come, and if given a chance can soar to new heights of awareness, education, and ideal thinking if given the right tools to do so.  So look at your past and remember that there was someone there for you, a blank and nameless face.  An unsung taxpaying hero that championed your education.  The fan at the sporting event that cheered you on, that you never knew. New schools will attract more families to the area, increase revenues for local businesses, add to our diverse cultural base, and generally support the local economy.  So please put your politics aside for the kids and vote yes for the BEST—vote YES for 3A, and be that unsung hero who pays it forward.

Bob Prather, resident, land-owner, graduate, and parent of a Moffat student


KFM fire mitigation appreciation

Dear Editor,

I would like to publicly thank Kundalini Fire Management’s Frederick Dunets and Peter May for their excellent work in fire mitigation for the spiritual centers. White Jewel Mountain, downslope from two other centers and the national forest, runs on a shoestring and could not afford to clean up extensive downed wood, 1950s logging debris, and low branches from its land grant. In 2010, Peter and Frederick administered federal Title III fire mitigation funds for reducing fire hazards in areas adjacent to national forests and did mitigation for several retreat centers. White Jewel Mountain got about 4 acres mitigated around its buildings and along the unmaintained section of Camino Baca Grande. Generally we like this road rocky and nasty enough to reduce traffic, but as the longest and widest fire break in the forested part of Chalet II, it has to stay open for fire safety. Last year KFM was back with Colorado College students on a service project to do erosion control on a sandy arroyo that had washed out Camino Baca Grande in the past. Their rock and straw bale placement performed admirably in early September’s heavy rains with all the water slowed enough to settle in a basin and not even reaching the road. Their work on the west side of the road caught water flowing across the road from the next arroyo north, which had historically not been a problem. Thank you, Frederick and Peter.

Leanna Bradbury

White Jewel Mountain Land Manager


Vote for the valley, yes on 3A

Dear Editor,

I’m sitting here registering folks to vote at the Shambala Café.  I’ve been asked why we need a new school when there is already a school in Crestone.  The answers are several, but here are a few.

1.  Crestone Charter School was built for forty students and is now full with a healthy waiting list.  That is a wonderful thing—it is doing marvelously well and there is great demand for the education it is providing.   But there are another forty or so students from the Crestone area who need an equally wonderful school.  We now have the means to do that with great community support.  The present school building is failing and we have secured a $12M grant from the state.  For the same amount we could pay to patch up the old school, if that were an option, but instead we can get a new school with modern opportunities.

2.  Kids learn in different ways at different times of their lives.  The Moffat School is a traditionally structured school that is getting accolades for its high standard of achievement for the kids who learn best in that environment.  The Crestone Charter School provides a less structured, “outside-the-box” type of education in which other kids thrive.  Sometimes a child thrives in one school and then as he or she matures, a change is in order.  Having both options is a gift that is at our fingertips.

3.  Perhaps the most important reason was made by my friend Mark:  Our parents’ parents found a way to build schools for our parents and our parents found a way to build schools for us.  Now we have the responsibility to find a way for our kids and their kids.  We have that opportunity now.

Please vote for the future of our valley and of our children!

Suzanne Ewy


Creating educated citizens

To the Editor,

When we first moved to Crestone we observed the Crestone/Moffat area to be the most diverse community we’d ever seen. It was so creative, dynamic, and accepting. There were so many opportunities to express yourself and be an individual.

The reality of this observation became clear when we started teaching at Moffat School back in 1996. The student population was amazing, opening their arms to all others. There were all kinds of kids from places and cultures near and far.

We believe Moffat School has played a huge part in and had a positive effect on community-building and fulfilling the psychological and emotional needs of children, as well as providing a safe environment to nurture close, supportive relationships and a sense of connectedness. We have proudly felt that we are a part of a community that strives to meet the needs of all of our population, and the education of our children is no exception. Not all children learn in the same way, and as parents we should have a choice. Public education, as in Moffat School, can provide an alternative that some students respond to and the same can be said for the Charter School. We absolutely feel that this community is about diversity of choice.

This being said, they also have the right to a building that is safe and nurturing. With equity and quality in education our students should not be forced to attend school in a substandard building. With leaking ceilings, inadequate facilities, toilets overflowing, and pipes breaking, we send a clear message to those students that they don’t matter.

We know this is not true; our students do matter. The way we show them that they matter is to invest in their future. This investment includes making a new school facility a reality.  With a new Moffat School we can continue to build a future with positive educational experiences, for these kids, which will meet the diverse needs of our community, by creating educated citizens that will be proud contributors to the local economy of this area. Everything grows from a safe, comfortable, uninterrupted educational experience.

Patte Reaves-Smith

Dale Smith


We can do better

Dear Editor,

As a current POA board member, I wish to express my concern about the actions that some members of the POA are taking.

For most of my year on the board, certain members of BGCAN have had a lawsuit filed against former and current members of the board, Bill Folk, Treat Suomi, and Russell Schreiber, for perceived irregularities with the 2012 POA election. In July, the District Judge dismissed the lawsuit, without prejudice, because the plaintiffs did not first pursue a Dispute Resolution Hearing. That hearing took place on July 24, with no agreement between the BGCAN plaintiffs and the current board of directors. The plaintiffs insist that the 2012 election be re-done, even though an investigation found that no major errors were made in the election count, and the result, after two recounts, was the same. Now plaintiffs Bruce McDonald, Nigel Fuller, Diane Dunlap and Janie Thomas have refiled the lawsuit.

Although I do not share the political views of the group, I support their right to run for election and to be the dominant faction on the POA board, as will be the case after the next election, as Bruce McDonald and Nigel Fuller are the only candidates. What I am saddened about is the use of lawsuits to solve what should be political issues. I am extremely saddened that they want to disallow the indemnification of directors.

At present, the POA maintains directors and officers insurance to cover lawsuits, as required by our bylaws. However, former BGCAN board member and POA director Bob Garnett, as well as Diana Motz, POA director, are trying to push through a vote to deny indemnification, and make the three pay for their own legal defense and “reparations and restitution”.

I consider it morally reprehensible to put a volunteer director who was doing their best to run an organization on a shoestring budget in such a position. It’s hard for any member to run for the POA board if they might be sued over a decision that some other member doesn’t like.

We can do better than this.

Matie Belle Lakish


Public radio frustration

Dear Editor,

Impatient after nearly a year of not being able to receive KRZA on my table radio because the station is operating on 40% power, I sent the following letter to the manager of KRCC in Colorado Springs:

“Dear Mr. (Delaney) Utterback:

“A friend who lives in the flats of the San Luis Valley tells how a woman in a pickup truck parked on the side of his dirt road for an hour or so every Saturday. Finally he went out and asked what on earth she was doing. ‘Listening to ‘Wait Wait, Don’t Tell Me,’ she said.

“Not every member of KRCC’s unrecognized audience here in the Crestone-Baca Grande community goes to that much trouble to hear you. Some of us do the computer drill to get streaming of “Blue Plate Special” or “Radio Lab” or BBC news. Some keep the car radio tuned for when we are driving out of the FM shadow of the Sangre de Cristos.

“For ordinary home listeners only one public radio station (KRZA) is accessible here. It signal is not clear and its programming is limited. We like KRCC, for several reasons. Besides the greater variety in national and international news feeds, your station broadcasts comprehensive coverage of Colorado news not otherwise available here on radio (and those without satellite dishes get Albuquerque not Denver TV).

“A perhaps more compelling reason for interest here in the public radio station connected with Colorado College is that the college has a satellite campus at the heart of the 800-home Baca Grande subdivision. We are part of the CC community. We are used to seeing its students here for special seminars and orientations. Many of our gatherings are at the CC auditorium.

“Therefore:  Would you be willing to entertain the idea of extending your broadcast signal to the Crestone-Baca area? And if so, how could the community be of assistance?”

I wrote and mailed the letter on July 13. Since then KRZA in Alamosa has has begun subscribing to ‘Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me.’ But the station has made no progress in improving its signal. An official there, replying to my email sent about three months earlier, explained the long delay in fixing the power supply to the antenna on San Antonio mountain, which is in New Mexico, has been due to trouble in finding a New Mexico electrician willing to go up the mountain and do the work. She said one who was hired failed twice to show up.

KRCC has not yet responded to my letter of nearly three months ago. I sincerely hope they are not waiting until they can hire a New Mexico electrician to do the work.

Larry Calloway


Camino de Crestone

Dear Editor,

Pilgrimages usually go from point A to point B, and the pilgrim aspires to gain or release something. Yet here I am offering so much gratitude to our community, where I have just made the inaugural walk on the Camino de Crestone, sponsored by Sanctuary House, and birthed from the Camino de Santiago, that Brahmi & William Howell walked in Oct 2012.

Ours is the first-ever non-denominational pilgrimage, visiting many of our beautiful spiritual centers and individual practitioners. How a propos for Crestone that our Camino is circular, for we all come back to ourselves, although certainly changed. While I’ve known for the last 13 years that I live in an amazing place, and have had many pleasant interactions with just about all of our spiritual communities, I now have a deeper, integral experience of them.

Now after this pilgrimage, I feel the journey philosophically in my head, experientially in my heart and physically in my back, knees and lungs. I don’t know why I was drawn to walk our Camino, but I just knew I wanted to support this inaugural event and its sponsor, Sanctuary House. Now that I have been home for a week, I notice I am walking taller having carried my 13 lb. backpack for upwards of 35 miles, over a 7-day period. I feel so much closer to my fellow spiritual centers. I’ve made new friends. I’ve felt the common passion that all our centers share, and this unites them, and me with them. How refreshing and joyful to know there does exist a commonality in our community, and blessedly in our larger world community as well.

I feel I have spent the week being loaded with thousands of years of tradition; and in so doing have paved the way for the morphogenetic field of the Camino de Crestone to continue to flourish. This pilgrimage unites Crestone with all other sites of pilgrimage world wide, and will bring walking pilgrims from all over the world to our little village.

As just a small taste of my journey, I experienced mindfulness practices at the Zen centers and the heart-opening whirling of Sufi zhiker.  Seva at the Haidakhandi ashram, to feeling the energy of Mother Earth thru stone seats, and the energy of fire thru sweat lodge. Private practitioners Signa, Kate, Frederick, and Annie took us from sacred dance, to sacred yoga, thru a Windhorse botanical journey.

I will always treasure the look of excitement, concern, admiration

and pride that all of our hosts seem to share, in regards to their participation in joining our sojourn.

My graditude to all who shared their passion open heartedly, who supported us on the road, and to my fellow pilgrims. Special gratitude to William Howell, and Sanctuary House, for the vision to introduce the fine art of pilgrimage, to complement the amazing array of practices already in our community. Also to the mind-boggling amount of hard work that must be involved in organizing, designing, negotiating, and creating this event, not to mention marking the trails and paths.

Wow I just walked the Camino de Crestone!



Unifying community through the school

Dear Editor,

I am so grateful to have experienced a moment where so many of our diverse community members came together to support one cause. Really. It happened in the Baca Park, on Aug. 30 at the Best Fest Fundraiser. We raised enough money to cover our campaign expenses. Plus, we received a $1000 Grant from the Colorado Education Association, which was give to the MACBEST committee through the CEA Membership in Moffat.

So, thank you Crestone, Moffat, and our community! Say no to cold, poorly ventilated, distracted children. Let’s build ‘em a new school! Say YES to 3A.

—Erin Lakai


Many thanks to food bank supporters

Dear Editor,

Like so many others, I’m using this space to say a heart-felt thank you to the Crestone community.  My gratitude goes to everyone who supported our food bank this summer.

Summer was extremely busy—we served an average of 75 households, totaling 125 individuals, every month. As a member of the Food Bank Network of the San Luis Valley, we source food from their Alamosa warehouse, but in the last year or so they have had little to offer. Therefore, our goal is to rely less on this warehouse and more on local resources. Thanks to a Saguache County Sales Tax Grant, we have been able to buy food locally which is a tremendous blessing.

Fresh produce is always a sought-after item at the food bank, and we have been thrilled and grateful for weekly donations from the gardeners at Chokurei and Atalanta. We’ve received huge amounts of salad greens, kale, chard and other garden vegetables from these generous local farms.

Our food bank users are big fans of the prepared food donated by Dharma Ocean. The chefs and staff at Dharma Ocean are extremely kind to offer us high quality, organic food left over at the end of their retreats.

And to end the summer on a high note, our thanks go to Elaine and Steve and the staff at the Mercantile who hosted an unbelievably well attended fundraiser over Labor Day weekend. All proceeds from hot dog sales went to the food bank and the total—way exceeding our wildest expectations—will be a huge blessing as we head towards the winter months.

Finally, my personal thanks go to loyal volunteers, who include, among others, Tom Whitehead, Grace Morrisette, Zana Hart, Carmin Teeple and Peter Taylor.


Denise Peine