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    El Fandango dancer performing for Dia de los Muertos
  • website-WH-bull
    Western Heritage Days parade in Walsenburg
  • website-muertos-1
    El Fandango dancers performing La Bruha for Dia de los Muertos
  • website-bra-bombing
    Main St. in Walsenburg was 'bra bombed' to raise awareness of October being Breast Cancer month.
  • website-breast-cancer-bra
    Main St. in Walsenburg was 'bra bombed' to raise awareness of October being Breast Cancer month.
  • website-slide-rule-salute
    Former math teacher Don Kynion gets a 'slide rule salute' as comes up to the podium to receive his Spanish Peaks Legends award.
  • website-Don-Kynion-group
    Don Kynion and part of his fan club at the Black Tie Gala on Saturday, Oct. 18
  • website-aspen-leaves
    A terrific year for aspens around the Spanish peaks region
  • website-celtic-players
    The Colorado Celtic Connection, a one-night-only band at the Spanish Peaks International Celtic Music Festival
  • website-celtic-concert
    Celtic concert with a latin flair at the Fox Theater during the Celtic Music Festival
  • website-Barb-Tonya
    Barbara Yule and Tonya Perkins at the end of Yule's one-woman play, "For tomorrow we may die" , performed by Perkins at the end of the Celtic Music Festival.
  • website-ski-resort
    The aspens are glorious up around the old Cuchara Ski Resort.
  • website-artocade-dragon-2013
    Spike, the Big Red Dragon, from Trinidad's ArtoCade
  • website-artocade-rolly
    Another cool conveyance at the Artocade in Trinidad
  • website-suspect-arrest
  • website-carlos-nunez
    Carlos Nunez performing at Uptop
  • website-cowboys-riding-hard
  • website-Annie-Sporleder
    2014 Senior 4-H Queen Annie Sporleder in the arena
  • website-cowboys-sunset
  • website-cowboys-herding
  • Smokey-4-mile-canyon
    Emergency crews on the road of Four Mile Canyon in Blackhawk
  • website-tree-planting
  • house-fire-web
    An early Tuesday morning house fire at 520 Colorado in Walsenburg.
  • active-shooter-drill-in-La-Veta
    Law enforcement take part in an active shooter drill in La Veta schools on March 20, 2014

Drugs, weapon and cash taken in local drug raid

 Additional arrests expected 

WALSENBURG — No matter the outcome of the Nov. 4 election, Huerfano County Sheriff Bruce Newman had plans for the following day, and they had nothing to do with politics. Instead, Newman and four members of his agency executed search and arrest warrants at a residence in Walsenburg in an effort to stem the tide of hard drug use in the community. When HCSO Sgt. Craig Lessar knocked on the door at 109 Tyler in Walsenburg at about 8 am, a sleepy person answered and admonished him with a “shush”, but the quiet of the morning was over as sheriff’s personnel made arrests and began a search of the home. The homeowner, Barbara Gutierrez, 50, and Thomas Harrington, 35, were arrested and charged with possession of a schedule II controlled substance and unlawful manufacturing and distribution of drugs. Gutierrez was also charged with possession of a weapon by a prior offender. Both were being held at the county jail; Gutierrez on a $40,000 cash only bond and a $500 c/s bond on warrant #14M02070, and Harrington on a $30,000 cash only bond. “Heroin is getting to be the new thing around here,” said Sheriff Newman, “we’ve been looking for a way to break this open, and our initial investigation into a reckless endangerment case led us to these arrests.” Seized during the search warrant were approximately $10,000 worth of heroin, methamphetamine, and suspected cocaine. In addition, drug paraphernalia, including scales and at least one ‘loaded’ syringe, $2,600 in cash, and a .380 semi automatic handgun were bagged as evidence. Vanessa Montez, 38,

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Sparq CNG fueling site coming to Trinidad

TRINIDAD — On October 30, state and local officials came together to break ground on southern Colorado’s first Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) fill station, to be located at Duran Oil’s Goddard Shell station, just off I-25. Ray Duran of Duran Oil Co. and owner of JR’s Fuel Stops, commented on the partnership with Sparq Natural Gas of Oklahoma City, OK, welcoming the use of the abundant resources of southern Colorado. He noted that CNG is a good long-term fuel and fits the model for price stability. Additionally, the Trinidad station is perfectly located, nearly equidistant between Denver, Albuquerque, and Amarillo. He stated it is only through co-operation with Pioneer Natural Resources that such a venture could be possible and this fill station will put Trinidad on the map for CNG users. Mack Louden, Las Animas County Commissioner noted that, back in November of 2011, a CNG powered car ran out of fuel in Trinidad. A resident towed them up to Pioneer Natural Resources’ site on Highway 12 where they provided him with enough CNG to get to the next station. That event put into motion the cooperative efforts leading to Thursday’s groundbreaking. Pete Fraser with South Central Council of Governments noted that some

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Cokedale: The little town with a stinky problem

COKEDALE — State Senator Larry Crowder visited Cokedale on October 23 to discuss the continuing saga of what is apparently the sewer lagoon from hell. Crowder listened to the plight of the citizens of this small hamlet just up Highway 12 from Trinidad who are in the eighth year of a project to create a municipal sewer system which will satisfy the EPA, the state, and their pocketbooks. In 1975, Cokedale saw the installation of a clay-lined two-lagoon sewage treatment system. The first pond collected settled solid waste; the second was designed for the aeration and evaporation of liquids. The residents went about their business, assuming the system worked as designed. In 2006, the town received a grant of $825,000 to update their water system, sewer lines, and sewer lagoon. The water system was completed in 2008 and the sewer lines were nearly done in 2010 when the citizens were informed that, for decades, both clay-lined ponds had been losing liquid effluent not by evaporation but by seepage into the ground. In 2007, the town council had hired

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Election results

HUERFANO— In a sea of Republican victories across the state and nation, Huerfano County stood out as an island of blue, with Demo-crats winning every elected seat in the county, and voting for democratic candidates on the state level. For the open Huerfano County Commissioner seat, Democrat Gerald Cisneros beat his three opponents, with 1,261 votes. His nearest challenger was Republican Keith Varner with 1,024 votes, followed by Independent candidates Fred Rodriguez with 596 votes, and Oress DeHerrera with 321 votes. For Huerfano County Sheriff, Democratic incumbent Bruce Newman defeated his challenger, Republican Jim Chamberlain, 2,018 votes to 1,192. For County Clerk and Recorder, Democrat Nancy Cruz easily defeated her Independent opponent Scott King by 2,434 votes to 737. For County Assessor, Democratic incumbent Louise ‘Chuky’ Sandoval retained her seat with 1,915 votes, while her republican challenger Wilma Martinez netted 1,237 votes. For County Coroner, Democrat Vonnie Maier-Valdez won with 1,758 votes, while Republican Rebecca Mitchell got 1,359 votes. County Treasurer Debra Reynolds ran unopposed, and received 2,575 votes. For state seats, Democratic senator Mark Udall lost his seat to Republican Cory Gardner, 50% to 45%, though Udall won here in Huerfano

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Candelario preliminary hearing set for Nov. 25

WALSENBURG — Ralph Candelario made his first court appearance here on Friday, Oct. 31 and was advised of the charges against him, first degree murder and tampering with physical evidence, in connection with the death of his wife, Pamela, in January 2014. The advisement hearing was held in district court with Judge Claude Appel presiding. Candelario appeared in custody of the Huerfano County Sheriff’s Office and is being represented by Dariel Weaver and Patrick McCarville of the State Public Defender’s Office. The people are being represented by Ryan Brackley, First Assistant District Attorney in the First Judicial District of Colorado (Boulder), and by Matthew Durkin, Colorado Deputy Attorney General. Both men have been sworn in as special prosecutors by Third Judicial District Attorney Frank Ruybalid. Ruybalid did not appear in court for the Friday morning hearing. Judge Appel advised the defendant of rights and the charges against him. “This is a Capital case and may carry life imprisonment or the death penalty,” Appel said. Prosecutors haven’t made any statements regarding whether or not the death penalty

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La Veta Marshal reports string of unsual break-ins

LA VETA — After reporting that Halloween was absent of any tricks, La Veta Marshal Harold Willburn stated that was not the case on Monday night in La Veta. Willburn explained that someone had broken into the front door of the Ft. Francisco Museum Monday night. Additionally, break-ins were reported at the La Veta Public Library and the school cafeteria. The Marshal stated that, oddly, nothing was stolen in these break-ins except for the library door handle, which was broken off during that burglary. Although nothing was stolen during this crime spree, several items were “moved.” In the museum event, a flat screen TV had been removed from a wall and placed on a counter. Other items were moved as well. Apparently at the library a north outside entrance was left unlocked, allowing the burglar to enter a foyer, where a handle was broken off of a locked interior door and then stolen. A large picture in the foyer had been taken off of a wall and placed on the floor leaning against a wall. La Veta Schools Superintendent, Bree Lessar notified the Marshal Tuesday

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Baca quits council (again), city takes long term SIEA payment plan

WALSENBURG — The last item on the Tuesday night Walsenburg City Council agenda was a vote to unanimously accept the resignation of Ward III Councilman James Baca. This marks the second time in three years Baca has quit the city council. The letter of resignation sent to City Administrator David Johnston by Baca came in via email late Tuesday afternoon. The letter said, “I James Baca withdraw/resign my position as council member Ward III effective today November 4, 2014.” The letter went on to say, “I have lost all interest to fight a losing battle with an administrator who has no interest in what the citizens of Walsenburg think would be best for them. An administrator who believes that the budget is only a tool and not something that should be taken seriously or at least try to follow. Funny how the county can do this but not the city. Spend, spend, spend. Oh well it’s not his money. The city has never looked this bad or been this much in the red, as it has in the last three years. Excuse after excuse. Never a plan or directive to clean up this city. I ask that the city use the $600 it saves by my resignation toward the Christmas lights for the citizens of Walsenburg who ultimately are deserving of this simple task.” The city council has 60 days to appoint a qualified elector from Ward III to fill the position or a special election must be called. Council members decided to advertise the vacancy for two weeks. Information concerning requirements for the council position may be obtained through the City Clerk’s office. In other business the council voted 6-1 to take the long term (25 to 40 years) Capital Credit option offered by San Isabel Electric Association. The long term plan is worth $223,943.52, as opposed to the immediate payout that would have brought $55,987.83 into the city’s coffers. Councilman Charles Montoya voted for the immediate payment with council members Rick Jennings, Silvana Lind, Nick Vigil, Mayor James Eccher, Craig Lessar and Clint Boehler voting for the long term payout. The city reported over the past 14 years it has received approximately $5,000 from SIEA in Capital Credits.

Gloria Suazo arrested for alleged drug sale

Former cop free only one day after guilty plea in heroin possession case

PUEBLO — One day after pleading guilty to heroin possession charges in federal court, former short-time Walsenburg police officer Gloria E. Suazo, was arrested by Pueblo authorities on a new allegation of selling crack cocaine. US District Court Judge Raymond Moore accepted Suazo’s guilty plea on Wednesday, Oct. 29 and allowed the suspect to remain free on bond until her sentencing hearing in January so she could care for her two small children. Suazo pleaded guilty to helping her ex-husband Jeromy Suazo possess heroin for distribution. Jeromy Suazo has also pleaded guilty to drug charges. Judge Moore allowed Suazo to remain free on bond saying she was not a flight risk, nor was she a danger to the community. Suazo reportedly had bowed her head during the proceedings and told the court she was sorry for her crime. That contrition didn’t last long however, as Pueblo police arrested her the very next night, Thursday, Oct. 30, for allegedly selling crack cocaine from her vehicle to a woman at the Stagecoach Trailer Park, 1901 Constitution Blvd. On Friday, Oct. 31, Suazo was charged in Pueblo District Court with felony distribution of a controlled substance and misdemeanor child abuse. Pueblo Detective Greg Egan’s affidavit for arrest said the suspect had her children with her in her car when the drug transaction was made. The affidavit said the buyer of the drugs, Lisa Martinez, told police she had brought candy for Suazo’s children because she “usually had her kids with her” when Martinez had bought drugs from her in the past. Martinez told police she had bought crack cocaine from Suazo “about 100 times” over the past four years and she had bought drugs from her just two weeks prior to the Thursday transaction that led to Suazo’s arrest. Assistant United States Attorney Kurt Bohn, last Friday asked the federal court judge to revoke Suazo’s bond and set a hearing for the defendant for allegedly violating bond conditions. Pueblo detectives said based on intelligence from patrol officers who suspected Suazo continued to be active in the drug trade, they began covert surveillance of her last week and had followed her from her home to the trailer park location and witnessed what appeared to be a drug transaction between Suazo and Martinez. When questioned by authorities shortly after the suspicious meeting at the trailer park, Martinez admitted she had purchased two packages of crack cocaine from Suazo. Suazo was taken into custody without incident and police called a friend of hers to pick up her children from the scene of the traffic stop and arrest.

Police seek info on man soliciting sex from juvenile

WALSENBURG — Walsenburg Police are still seeking information regarding a suspicious incident that occurred Saturday, November 1 at approximately 10:30 pm near the Spanish Peaks Public Library on Walsen Ave. WPD Captain Vince Suarez said a juvenile male was walking near the library when a black male, approximately 20 years old, 5’6” to 5’8” tall, and wearing a red colored hoodie with white letters, approached him soliciting sex. The juvenile ran and said he was chased for a short distance by the man. The boy ran to the Walsenburg Police Department where he made a report of the incident. The youth was sheltered at the police department until a guardian was notified and came to pick him up. On Tuesday, November 4, Captain Suarez said no information regarding the suspect had come in over the weekend from a social media announcement made on the Huerfano World Journal Facebook page. Police officers on duty did not locate anyone Saturday night who fit the suspect’s description. If you have any information regarding this incident, please contact the WPD at 719-738-1056 or Huerfano County Emergency Dispatch Center at 719-738-1044 (the non-emergency number).

Huerfano County election results

HUERFANO— In a sea of Republican victories across the state and nation, Huerfano County stood out as an island of blue, with Democrats winning every elected seat in the county, and voting for democratic candidates on the state level.

For the open Huerfano County Commissioner seat, Democrat Gerald Cisneros beat his three opponents, with 1,261 votes. His nearest challenger was Republican Keith Varner with 1,024 votes, followed by Independent candidates Fred Rodriguez with 596 votes, and Oress DeHerrera with 321 votes.

For Huerfano County Sheriff, Democratic incumbent Bruce Newman defeated his challenger, Republican Jim Chamberlain, 2,018 votes to 1,192.

For County Clerk and Recorder, Democrat Nancy Cruz easily defeated her Independent opponent Scott King by 2,434 votes to 737.

For County Assessor, Democratic incumbent Louise ‘Chuky’ Sandoval retained her seat with 1,915 votes, while her republican challenger Wilma Martinez netted 1,237 votes.

For County Coroner, Democrat Vonnie Maier-Valdez won with 1,758 votes, while Republican Rebecca Mitchell got 1,359 votes. County Treasurer Debra Reynolds ran unopposed, and received 2,575 votes.

For state seats, Democratic senator Mark Udall lost his seat to Republican Cory Gardner, 50% to 45%, though Udall won here in Huerfano County. Governor John Hickenlooper narrowly kept his seat away from Republican Bob Beauprez, winning 48.3% to 47.1% In Congressional District 3, incumbent Scott Tipton retained his seat, beating off Democratic challenger Abel Tapia, 59% to 35%. In State House District 62, Democratic incumbent Ed Vigil hung on to his seat against Republican challenger Marcy Freeburg, 59% to 41%. On the Board of Education, District 3, Republican Marcia Neal defeated Democrat Henry Roman, 57% to 43%. On local ballot issues, ballot issue 1A, the imposition of an excise tax on commercial marijuana won big, with 2,445 votes for, versus 711 votes against. The Walsenburg city sales tax Ballot issue 2A, however, went down, 512 votes for, and 669 votes against. On statewide ballot issues, Amendment 67, which would have defined ‘personhood’, failed 64% to 36%. Amendment 68, which would have allowed expanded gaming at horse racetracks, lost, 71% to 29%. In Huerfano County, Amendment 68 went down to similar numbers, with no getting 2,173 votes, and yes only 989 votes. Proposition 104, which allows for open negotiation between school boards and teacher’s reps, passed, 69% to 31%. Proposition 105, which would have labeled genetically modified food, failed, at 66% to 34%.