LA VETA — With three applicants expressing interest in serving on the board, the La Veta Town Board chose recent transplant Marilyn Russell to replace outgoing trustee Kathy Manzanares. Another relative new comer, Mark White received no votes, while former Re-1 school counselor Jonathan James garnered two votes. All three applicants provided heartfelt statements about their willingness to work hard on the board and their love of the town. Russell moved to La Veta from Maine 16 months ago, after retiring from the University of Southern Maine. Russell noted her experience with budgeting, grant writing, and knowledge of public policy. As evidence of her commitment to La Veta, Russell stated she had adopted two local cats and two feral cats. Under Old Business – a request from Grandote Peaks Golf Course owner Randy Briggs to meet with the board “confidentially” to discuss water issues. Trustee Dale Davis read a portion of the state open meeting laws explaining the need to meet in private. Trustees Al Coffey and Chip Kraynyk stated that this process was moving too quickly asking for clarification as to why an executive session was
LA JUNTA — One week ago today, former Rocky Ford and Walsenburg police officer James Adam Ashby, 31, was bound over for trial on charges that include second degree murder stemming from an on-duty shooting that happened in the early morning hours of October 12, 2014 in Rocky Ford. Arraignment on charges which include second-degree murder, criminally negligent homicide and a violent crime resulting in death or injury are set for 11:30 am Thursday, February 12. Ashby remains free on a $150,000 bond. The day long preliminary hearing featured testimony of Kyle Moore, a recent graduate of the Otero Community College’s criminal justice program, who was doing a ‘ride-along’ with Ashby on the night of the shooting, as well as Otero County Coroner Robert Fowler, and a Colorado Bureau of Investigation agent. Fowler testified the entrance wound was found on 27-year old Jack Jacquez’s back. He said the bullet went through three of the four chambers of Jacquez’s heart and stopped behind his left breast. Fowler further testified the shot
WALSENBURG — The Walsenburg City Council unanimously passed two ordinances dealing with electric service provider San Isabel Electric Association Tuesday night at their regular meeting. The franchise agreement is only in its first stage however, with second reading of the ordinances scheduled for early February and then final approval from the SIEA board expected sometime after that. SIEA will pay the city an amount equal to three percent of gross receipts the electric co-op receives from the sale, distribution, or generation of electricity delivered within the city limits. That amount will not be seen on consumer’s SIEA statements until later in the spring. The text of both associated ordinances appear on the legal pages in this edition of the Huerfano World Journal. In other business, the full eight member city council unanimously approved the purchase of a new digital color Canon copier for $31,588.34 from Gobin’s Inc. The copier will be financed through the city’s Internal Service Fund, which means the funds that would be
WALSENBURG — The Huerfano County Commissioners, meeting for the last time with Art Bobian as chairman, started 2015 off by signing an intergovernmental agreement (IGA) between the county, the City of Walsenburg, and Spanish Peaks Library, to share in-common Information Technology services. Getting and keeping reliable IT service in Huerfano County has been a challenge, both for private industry and local governments. The Huerfano County Commissioners feel they have that stable platform in Jeffrey Byland, who has been with the county for several years. His time will now be spread between the county, the City of Walsenburg, and to a lesser extent, the library. The county and city have similar systems, and the library less so. Monica Birrer, director of Spanish Peaks Library, said she has budgeted $15,000 for IT services this year. The cost to the city has yet to be determined, depending on how much needs to be done, but would cost approximately $67.50 an hour, broken into quarter hour segments. If the workload continues as projected,
LA VETA — At their Tuesday regular meeting Tuesday night the La Veta town board accepted an interest free loan in the amount of $120,000 from the Colorado Water Resources & Power Development Authority. The board then unanimously approved Resolution No. SE-2015-1, which sets forth the process for utilizing said funds.“This puts us closer to completing the project.” said Mayor Doug Brgoch. However, a recent underground camera survey of the town’s manholes, water and sewer lines revealed the system is in much worse shape than originally thought. Although the $120K loan was initially seen as a loan that would cover 50% of the costs, that is no longer the case. Brgoch added, “Funding, thus far, only covers about 25% of all that is needed for this project.”
Under old business, the town had recently received two bids from Pueblo firms to address asbestos abatement work at the old marshal’s office on Main Street. Both bids, however, needed clarification. Although additional clarification was received, both bids still leave questions unanswered. The board agreed to table the issue until the next meeting and after the needed information is available.
Slick conditions not limited to streets
WALSENBURG— At approximately 3:15 am Tuesday, Dec. 30 an eastbound Burlington-Northern Santa Fe freight train suffered a minor six car derailment just west of the Main Street crossing in downtown Walsenburg. WPD Chief Tommie McLallen said slick railroad track conditions are being cited as the cause of the incident. BNSF crews were able to uncouple the train and move the unaffected portion of the mixed car freight train down the tracks eastbound so no traffic was blocked at the Main Street crossing. Officials say none of the cars tipped over and there were no breaches of any containers. No injuries were reported and BNSF officials on-scene estimate the derailment should be fully cleared by early afternoon Tuesday.
WALSENBURG — The Huerfano County Hospital District Board of Directors last Thursday passed their $2,696,133 budget and approved an unchanged 3.499 mil levy on general property taxes. There will only be a slight .04 percent change in the amount of money collected through the mil levy with the 2014 amount calculated at $424,000 and next year’s collections estimated at $425,500. The board members present, Chairman Bill Hix, Al Tucker, Dr. Paul Coe, and Ron Nielsen all voted in favor of the 2015 budget. The board also passed a resolution dealing with out of state Medicaid patients seeking services at Spanish Peaks Regional Health Center. One current request seeks an agreement that would allow Spanish Peaks Regional Health Center to treat Texas Medicaid clients. SPRHC CEO Todd Oberheu told the board there currently is some legislative discussions, concerning possible streamlining of this sort of request with states bordering Colorado. The resolution passed unanimously. In other business, board members and physician representative Dr. Mike Moll, discussed the continuing issue of the Healthland Electronic Medical Records system
LA VETA– On December 16, the La Veta Town Board decided to advertise for letters of interest from local La Veta citizens who want to serve on the town board in the vacancy created by the recent resignation of Catherine Manzanares. Mayor Doug Brgoch said the appointment of a replacement will need to be made at the January 20 meeting because it needs to be done within 60 days of the resignation. Trustee Chip Kraynyk said, “If somebody’s interested, I think they would know that within a month.” Letters of interest are due at town hall by the end of business on January 12, 2015. On behalf of Two Peaks Fitness, Kerrie Meyler requested permission to install and pay for wi-fi Internet access at the La Veta Community Center. Two Peaks uses the community center seven hours per week for classes that require more space than the Two Peaks facility can comfortably accommodate. The wi-fi capability would make possible the participation of Two Peaks in the SilverSneakers program. SilverSneakers pays a host gym, in this case Two Peaks, through Medicare Advantage health plans, and the participating seniors need to sign in
WALSENBURG — In light of a recent Walsenburg City Council Citizens’ Forum incident in which two city employee’s performance of their duties were addressed by a dissatisfied citizen and business owner, Mayor Jim Eccher Tuesday night announced a new disclaimer that will be read into the record prior to future Citizen Forum segments. Eccher read the statement at the end of this week’s meeting. The disclaimer reads in part: “We welcome comments on public policy issues that may come before city council. Personnel issues, including employee performance, involve rights of the employee, the city and the citizen involved. To protect everyone’s rights, complains involving employees and their performance may not be made during open city council meetings. If you have a complaint involving the performance or actions of a city employee, make an appointment with the city administrator to meet in his office to file your complaint. The administrator will assure everyone’s rights are protected and will investigate your important complaint. The city council has delegated its authority over personnel to the city administrator. The city
WALSENBURG — At the December 15 meeting of the Huerfano County Water Conservancy District, board chair Sandy White announced that the Malachite Spring account is paid up. Malachite was billed $12,000 by HCWCD for augmentation water in 2014, but spring owner Kent Mace never was able to come up with more than $2,500 to pay on the invoice, with some of that contributed by users of the spring. Historical estimates were that up to 100 people used the spring for domestic water. Several months ago, HCWCD was informed by Amos Mace that the spring was shut off in June, so the district’s water engineering firm, TZA, calculated the water that was actually consumed and required to be augmented. That total worked out to be much less than the three acre-feet the spring was billed for, so a credit of $8,444 was due to Malachite, leaving a balance of $1,056. White told the board that an anonymous donor offered to pay off the balance due, leaving the account paid in full. Director Sandy White reported on the marijuana grow applications and said that there have been four applications so far. TZA Water Engineers is checking to see if the operations will be able to fit into the district’s augmentation plan, and White said TZA thinks water