HUERFANO COUNTY — A standoff at a home that began on Friday ended early Saturday morning with the apparent suicide of the barricaded subject.
Just before 1 pm today, Sat., Dec. 20, Walsenburg Police Captain Vince Suarez released this official statement; “On 12/20/2014 at about 12:30 a.m. James Stetler was found deceased at his home in Huerfano County. His home is about 8 miles south of the City of Walsenburg. On Thursday, Dec. 18, at about 4:00 p.m. James Stetler confronted Huerfano County Sheriff Bruce Newman at his Walsenburg home. Sheriff Newman chased Stetler off his property, who then fired four to five shots in the air. Law enforcement officers searched the area for Stetler but were unsuccessful. An arrest warrant was obtained by the Walsenburg Police for menacing and other charges.”
Suarez said in the press release Saturday, “Mr. Stetler had sent a letter to the Huerfano County Sheriff’s office stating he was anti-government and did not believe in our branch of government.”
The situation escalated on Friday, according to Suarez, “Walsenburg officers observed Mr. Stetler come out of his home. Stetler got into his vehicle and came at the officers at a high rate of speed. The officers were able to get out of their vehicle, safely, before a crash. Mr. Stetler drove past the officers while yelling at them. Mr. Stetler continued driving back to his residence where he remained. After several attempts by phone to get Mr. Stetler to come out of his home, he refused.”
Later Friday afternoon Suarez contacted a special tactical team from the Pueblo County Sheriff’s Office to assist local authorities, when it was learned Stetler had barricaded himself in his home on Ideal Road, HCR 330. “At about 4:00 p m. the Pueblo County Sheriff SWAT team was called into assist with executing the arrest warrant. Mr. Stetler refused to communicate with negotiators, several hours later the SWAT team entered the residence where they found Mr. Stetler deceased,” Suarez said today.
“It appears Mr. Stetler’s death was suicide. The Huerfano County Coroner’s office will be conducting an autopsy.” Suarez added.
TRINIDAD– Phil Long Toyota, a long-standing auto dealership at 3109 Toupal Drive, will lose its lease and have to relocate, after the landlord decided to open a marijuana business there instead. Jay Cimino, head of the Phil Long Family of Dealerships, will temporarily relocate the dealership to the old Valcom Motorsports on Colorado 350, while work is done on a permanant new home in downtown Trinidad between North Commercial and Chestnut Streets. According to Cimino, the new facility (which has yet to be approved by Toyota Corporation) will have a two-story, 18,598 square foot space, and five more full time employees will be hired, bringing the employee number up to 28.
HUERFANO— David and Renee Rinehart, the owners of The La Veta Signature newspaper of La Veta have announced they are ceasing publication for two weeks at the end of this year, and are thus forfeiting their status as a legal paper of record. The Rineharts have said they will resume publishing on January 8. According to Jerry Raehal, president of the Colorado Press Association, this is an unusual action for any newspaper to take, and he is confused as to why they would do it. To be considered a legal paper of record, a newspaper must continously publish their newspaper 52 weeks a year. Any legally required notices or publications that might be published in the Signature would no longer have legal validity. With this move, the earliest the Signature will again be eligible to run legals will be in the year 2017.
WALSENBURG– The Huerfano County commissioners met Wednesday morning, after skipping a week to attend a commissioner’s conference. From their meeting two weeks ago, there had been discussion about renovations to the Huerfano County courthouse in 2015, if a $1.8 million grant from the Department of Local Affairs come through. The entire renovation project is expected to cost upwards of $3.6 million, with more grants hoped for in the future, but still leaving a financial shortfall. The county would be required to commit to $200,000 a year for three years. The renovations would include changing out the basement bathrooms for A.D.A. compliant facilities, replacing the elevator, reconfiguring the central hallway, and a block-by-block evaluation of the exterior stonework. The commissioners signed a contract with San Isabel Electric Association to provide a security light at the new bulk water station by Gardner. A security camera will also be installed in the near future as well. Malea Schmidt of the La Veta ambulance service asked the
WALSENBURG — Walsenburg Police were kept busy during the recent holiday period beginning with a reported stabbing that happened well before the sun rose on Thanksgiving Day. At 4:43 am Nov. 25, police were called to a location in the 200 block of Walsen on a report of a man having been stabbed. When officers arrived they spoke with the 36-year old male victim who said he had been in a verbal altercation with two other men in the 100 block of West Spruce Street. He told police the incident turned physical and he was unaware until after the fight that he had been stabbed. Police are investigating the case and have identified the two suspects, but no arrests have been made. The victim was transported to Spanish Peaks Regional Health Center and treated for non-life threatening injuries that included cuts to his left eye area, right arm and lower lip. Police officials say alcohol use is suspected as being a factor in the case. Sgt. John Salazar is conducting the investigation. Juvenile arrested and charged At 3:49 pm Thanksgiving Day, police were called to a location in the 100 block of W. First St., on a report of a juvenile male who allegedly threatened his mother with death. Captain Vince Suarez told the Huerfano World Journal the 13-year old boy allegedly threw his younger brother out of the front door to the home and threatened to assault his mother. The juvenile also allegedly told his mother he
TRINIDAD – A 42-year old Trinidad man was arrested on drug charges the day after Thanksgiving after officers on foot patrol observed the man and contacted three people sitting in a car in the parking lot of the Western Apartments. Eddie Sandoval was arrested and charged with unlawful possession of various controlled substances. A press release issued by the Trinidad Police Department said while officers were on foot patrol of the Western Apartments at about 6:15 pm Friday, Nov. 28, they saw Sandoval in a vehicle with Johnny Trujillo, 26, and Shelby Brown, 22, both of Trinidad. Officers approached the vehicle to speak with Sandoval and Trujillo and noted that Sandoval had two plastic bags in his hands, one containing a white powder. Officers made contact with Sandoval and asked to see the bags. Sandoval denied that there were any bags in the vehicle. Officers then asked all those in the vehicle to step out. When Sandoval got out of the vehicle, the officers located the two bags they had already seen along with another black bag near the
WALSENBURG — Two-thirds of the Walsenburg City Council, sitting as council members and as the Board of Directors of the Downtown and Northlands General Improvement Districts, unanimously approved all three budgets for next year Tuesday night. Newly appointed Ward III councilman Troy Reeves, Mayor James Eccher, and councilmen Charles Montoya, Nick Vigil, Clint Boehler, and Mayor Pro Tem Craig Lessar were in attendance. Veteran councilmembers Cathy Pineda, Rick Jennings and Silvana Lind were absent. In unanimous votes, the six approved the 2015 Walsenburg Downtown General Improvement District (GID) budget of $3,387; the Northlands GID budget of $6,310,500 and the City of Walsenburg budget of $13,346,257. The group also unanimously approved accompanying resolutions concerning the budgets, including Resolution 2014 R-15 that approves the city property tax of 11.756 mils on each dollar’s worth of property assessed by the county assessor in 2014. In addition, sitting as the Downtown GID Board of Directors, the six council members unanimously approved Resolution 2014 R-4, that grants consent for downtown property owners within the district to maintain, trim or remove trees within the
LA VETA — Although the La Veta Town Board and staff have put extra hours into preparing the 2015 town budget, there was little attention paid by the public. Prior to the regular meeting on Tuesday night, the board held a public hearing on next year’s budget. Only two citizens attended that session and the board received no comments from the public. The only item under Old Business was the afore mentioned hearing, thus the board moved right into New Business. Topping that list was the resignation of trustee Cathy Manzanares, who is relocating to Denver. Mayor Doug Brgoch informed the board they had 60 days to fill Manzanares’ seat. Next, under new business were four budget related resolutions. Resolution #16-14-Summarizing Expenditures & Revenue passed unanimously, as did the following: Resolution #17-14-Appropriating Sums of Money, Resolution#18-14-Set Mill Levy, and resolution#19-14-Funds held in reserve – TABOR. The last item under new business was Emergency Ordinance #280, which sets the salaries of certain town
WALSENBURG — A preliminary hearing in the first degree murder case against 51-year old Ralph Candelario was rescheduled Tuesday morning by District Judge Claude Appel on a motion by defense attorney Dariel Weaver. Judge Appel set the date for the show cause hearing for January 30, 2015 for a full day and for February 17th, if additional time is necessary. The defendant, in response to the judge’s question asking if he was waiving his right to the preliminary hearing beyond the 35-day statutory time limit, said “yes I am.” Weaver also addressed a pair of defense motions concerning evidence testing and extrajudicial remarks she believes have been made. “Someone is talking to the press,” Weaver said. She asked the court to clarify what is, and what is not ok to tell the press. She said regarding press inquiries, “It’s concerning to me, and it’s persistant. I’m asking, essentially, for a gag order.” Judge Appel asked special prosecutor Matthew Durkin, Deputy Attorney General, what his feelings were on the issue and he answered, “We don’t see a need for an order.” Judge Appel advised both the defense and prosecution get together and work out either a combined motion or separate ones to address the concern. “I’m just not going to make something up,” Appel said. The motion, if made, will be heard during a
HUERFANO — At the November 24 meeting of the Huerfano County Water Conservancy District, County Commissioner Max Vezzani reported that the Gardner Water Station is in operation. He said several people have set up accounts and are taking water. The station has already put out 18,000 gallons of water so far. The Gardner Water Station is not part of the district’s substitute water supply plan, so discussions were held with division engineer Steve Witte about it. Water attorney Steve Monson confirmed that it appears Witte will allow its use in place of Malachite Spring, which was included in the SWSP. Board member Kent Mace said the pipe has been pulled from Malachite Spring, and it is not in use, but people like to fill their canteens there when they’re heading to the mountains, and that use will continue. Director Sandy White announced that the ditch user’s agreement has been signed with Steve and Carolyn Wardell, and he thanked Monson for coordinating that. A 1041 permit was required for the district to build its Red Wing augmentation facility. Board member Beaver Edmundson reported that the 1041 permit application has been approved, Continue reading