Category Archives: Archives

Core of Chaplains Receive Top-Class Police Training

by Fred Hernandez

Colorado Springs, Colorado

It was an extensive training program that covered two weekends of class room and hands-on exercises. Two consecutive Friday evenings and two consecutive Saturdays for a total of 19 hours. All training was held at the Colorado Springs Police Training Academy. Offered by the top-level law enforcement officers and Police Chaplains with decades of experience; members of the Rocky Mountain Police Chaplains (RMPC), the overall goal is to build trusting relationships with all members of the agency, or agencies, they serve.
Here in our county, a resident of Silver Cliff who is a retired first responder with over thirty years experience in a mega-city of multi millions in population, felt a calling to establish a chaplaincy to support those who work for the various agencies that daily serve and protect our communities. After extensive training, Eric Foster formed what is now the Custer County Core of Chaplains. Through his tireless efforts, the group of chaplains received world class training in Crisis Response offered by K-Love, a national Christian radio network with almost one thousand stations throughout the country.
The twenty-eight-hour training over a period of three days in August this year gained for the attendees a certification in Critical Incident Stress Intervention.
Once again, through his persistence and tireless efforts, Head Chaplain Foster succeeded in receiving an invitation to a professional training session offered through the RMPC by the Colorado Springs Police Department at their Training Academy in Colorado Springs. With the invaluable knowledge acquired during this training period the Custer County Core of Chaplains joins the ranks of qualified chaplains who render service and support to their communities nationwide. For Custer County’s first responders including the Sheriff’s Office, the fire district, EMS, Search and Rescue and others (even the general public) who may need and want the professional intervention the Chaplains can provide all that is needed is to ask. Call Chaplains Office 719-783-2270 or email:

Award Ceremony: Three Eagle Scouts

Press Release

Westcliffe, Colorado

Last Sunday afternoon, on the 12th of November, Boy Scout Troop #114 held an Eagle Scout Court of Honor for Michael Batson, Tyler Ferron and Scott Freeburg. The ceremony was held at the Alpine Lodge followed by a dinner attended by family and friends. The Master of ceremony was Ron Torgerson. The American Legion Post #170 Honor Guard posted the Colors and is also the Troop’s charter organization. The scouts received their Eagle awards from Kevin O’Keefe, the District Director of the Rocky Mountain Boy Scout council.
Michael received his Eagle badge and is the son of Carl and Lorie Batson. Michael is a senior at Custer County High School. His Eagle Scout project was to rebuild the decks at the Methodist Church in Westcliffe.
Tyler is a third generation Eagle Scout and received his bronze and gold palm also. His parents are Eric and Kristin Ferron. He is a junior at Custer County High School. Tyler’s Eagle Scout project was to build a fence at the Mission Wolf Ranch.
Scott is the son of Dave and Janet Freeburg and he received his bronze palm along with his Eagle rank. He is a senior at Custer County High School. Scott’s Eagle Scout project was to finish the interior of the Silver Spurs 4-H Club’s concession stand at the Custer County Fair Grounds.
All three scouts officially became Eagle Scouts on August 24, 2017, after their Board of Reviews at the Boy Scout Council’s office in Pueblo.
The three Eagle scouts were also awarded American Flags flown over the nation’s capital through the office of U.S. Representative Scott Tipton. As well as the American Legion’s Eagle Scout certificate from Post Commander Carol Kennedy and Jessica Carter, the post’s Boy Scout liaison officer.
The Eagle Scout Rank is the highest rank a scout can earn in the Boy Scouts of America.

Cotopaxi Kids Wrap up Giving Project

by Randi Dotter,
Cotopaxi, Colorado

On Thursday, November 9th, the Cotopaxi Middle School Leadership and Kindergarten classes, along with their teachers, Randi Dotter and Jennifer Lang, gathered together for an annual tradition – decorating the turkey boxes that will hold food for several of our Cotopaxi families. The Kindergarten students work together with a middle school partner to cut out the body, beak, eyes, feathers and “gobbler” beard for the turkey decorations and then glue them onto the cardboard boxes which will soon be full of food. The annual school project is aimed at helping families who may not otherwise have a turkey and all the fixings to enjoy a very happy Thanksgiving holiday.
In addition to creating the turkey boxes, Middle School Leadership students work to raise the money needed to fill the boxes with food items. This year, MS leaders ran a 50-50 game at a volleyball match, collecting $73, and then joined with Student Council to organize a “Spare Change Challenge” for student body and staff which ran through Thursday, November 16th. All proceeds will be donated towards the purchase of food items for turkey boxes. In addition, Cotopaxi Parent-Teacher Council donates funds to purchase a turkey for each food box, and this year the Pleasant Valley Club is also making a donation towards purchase of food for the boxes. Amber Canterbury, school secretary, will do the shopping and MS leaders will stuff the boxes with goods. Any remaining funds will be donated to Salida’s Granary to help feed the hungry in our community this holiday season.

BOCC Meeting Report November 1st

Board of County
Commissioners (BOCC)
—November 1, 2017
Westcliffe, CO
by Jackie Bubis

The meeting started at 9 a.m. with the Pledge of Allegiance and Roll Call. Introductions of the public in attendance followed.
Commissioner Items
Commissioner Printz had an email report from Ruth Spaar on the Wetmore Community Center. Instead of reading it to them, Commissioner Kattnig asked him to hold it until the “reports” time.
Commissioner Hood is looking into a failure of one of the panic buttons in the building not working and suggested that all of them need to be checked on a regular basis. Per an email from Clerk Camper, the lights installed in the back parking lot are not working. These lights were installed by Dark Skies but since none are working, it is suspected that there is an electrical issue. The maintenance man will look into it and call an electrician if needed.
Mr. Kattnig spoke about the “negativity” present at the Wetmore meeting and while he did state that “Jack” Spaar was not polite, he also stated that Spaar, a former master sergeant, did apologize afterwards. Kattnig stated that he was not taking sides. He also reported on a meeting he had with the Forest Service. The Forest Service has two primary objectives: mitigation and harvesting.

Continue reading BOCC Meeting Report November 1st

Outside Influence and Mysterious Groups Threaten Custer County?

No one likes being grouped and labeled with those who do not hold to the same principles. Likewise, having a point of agreement doesn’t connect two individuals at the hip. But the trend in left-leaning media is to do exactly that and draw sloppy conclusions. Trump, becomes racist because some KKK group told its voter base to vote for him…If you support Trump you’re a fascist because… you agree that patriotism is important, and patriotism sounds like it might be like nationalism… and it goes on. It’s a bait and switch technique dependent on Americans not doing the research themselves. Such is the trend in America, and I guess now locally, by Gary Ziegler, Amy Finger and others, to do just that, (in a letter to the Editor that Gary sent to the Tribune, but not, of course, to the Sentinel, the paper he was attacking). Gary has determined that the Sentinel and it’s editor have “bad” connections from the “outside” that are “influencing” county residents. The Editor, George Gramlich, who believes in small government and Second Amendment rights and opposes wealth redistribution and economic interventionism, collectivism, totalitarianism, anarchism and communism must be connected and influenced by any longstanding group that has similar beliefs. (Amy has tried to draw deep mysterious outside force connections as well in her Facebook rants.) Last time I checked, these are all things that the bulk of today’s Republican and Libertarian party members espouse. God forbid Gary take a look at the voter registration for Custer County and find the bulk of the registrants to also (because of similar values and beliefs) be ‘invaders’ who want to ‘take over’.

Continue reading Outside Influence and Mysterious Groups Threaten Custer County?

Custer County Ballot Results: The People Have Spoken

The People Have Spoken:
RECALL: Two Out of Three Commissioners RECALLED
Third Barely Hangs On
Ballot: No to Building Codes, Yes to School Bond

by George Gramlich,
News and Commentary

An an astonishing display of voter revolt, the citizens of Custer County have successfully recalled two out of the three current County Commissioners with the third barely hanging on to his office by a mere 122 votes. Commissioners Bob Kattnig and Donna Hood were both successfully recalled by substantial margins.

Kattnig, who had only two years to go on his four-year term was recalled by a vote of 1,354 to 1,174, or 54% to 46%. Hood, who was just elected last year, was recalled by an even greater margin, 1406 to 1,130, or 55% to 45%. Commissioner Printz, who also was elected last year barely managed to survive the recall effort with a vote of 1,323 (52%) against his recall and 1,201 (48%) for his recall, or by a razor slim margin of only 122 votes.

Continue reading Custer County Ballot Results: The People Have Spoken

Art & Soul Rocks Hold Memorial





October 30, 2017

Silver Cliff, Colorado

by Sentinel Staff
A  local group in Westcliffe, Art & Soul Rocks, (the same group that has delighted adults and children alike with painted rocks hidden in plain sight around the Towns of Westcliffe and Silver Cliff,) held a short commemoration for those who died in the October 1st Las Vegas massacre.
The group created a Rock Garden Memorial and held a short service on a chilly Monday,
October 30th at the Hwy 96 Roadhouse Bar and Grill.
Vicki Doxzon, the organizer for the event, said she felt we should remember them. The group memorialized each person with a rock, placing these around a larger memorial rock painted by Linda Bittick, who also closed with prayer. The rocks for the Rock Garden Memorial were painted by Vickie, Linda, Peggi Collins, Kylee Morrell, Isabella Rodgers, Brittany Gibbs, Jamie Fluke and Tracy Wheeler. They have gathered a rock for each person who lost their life in this tragedy and recorded their name and date of birth on these.
It was a small gathering, but the Rock Garden Memorial will remain as gift to the community. There is a very personal connection in this compassionate act of remembering the dead by name.

Photos by Danny Fyffe

BOCC: Wetmore Sink, New Health Insurance, CCEDC Grants, Live Streaming Issues

Board of County
Commissioners (BOCC)

—October 31, 2017
Westcliffe, CO
by Jackie Bubis
The meeting started at 9 a.m. with the Pledge of Allegiance and Roll Call. Mr. Kattnig was present via phone. County Attorney Smith was not in attendance. State Senator Crowder was visiting. Introductions of the public in attendance followed.
The Board approved the minutes from the October 18th meeting.
Commissioner Items
Commissioner Printz is working on the replacement for the sink at the Wetmore Community Center – after saying in the previous meeting that the Wetmore citizens were just stuck with it. The new one should arrive on Thursday.
Commissioner Hood commented that she has spoken with Centurlink and the phone lines that are in the tree at the Wetmore Community Center will be fixed no later than November 10th. She reported on attending the VSO workshop and commended Tim Swartz on the quality of the workshop.
Commissioner Kattnig had no items but welcomed Senator Crowder and also spoke of the success of the VSO.
Administrative Assistant Items
Mrs. Gaide reported that the grant for the Hermit Bridge project was received and that there needed to be a discussion with Road and Bridge Supervisor Hyde about what comes next. She stated that the live streaming test run last week revealed that the sound could not be heard. The work is ongoing to get that running. The contract with CTSI for health insurance was signed and meetings are set up with departments to get the applications completed. The savings to the county are in the range of $50K and she reported that the employees are pleased with the change.

Continue reading BOCC: Wetmore Sink, New Health Insurance, CCEDC Grants, Live Streaming Issues

Colorado’s New Pot Law and Custer County

by Custer County Sheriff Shannon Byerly
(Editor/GG: The Sentinel recently asked Custer County Sheriff Byerly the question below as the new Colorado pot law, House Bill 1220, dramatically changed the rules for growing pot in our state. We felt it would be informative for our readers, especially in light of the many, huge illegal grows busted this summer in our county.)

Could you give us an overview of the new marijuana HB 17-1220, “Concerning Measures to Stop Diversion of Legal Marijuana to the Illegal Market” and how this bill would affect law enforcement in Custer County?

House Bill 1220 is a new law passed by the legislature, at the behest of the Governor’s office and in cooperation with the Medical Marijuana industry, to assist in curtailing the large black and gray marijuana markets that have developed since the
adoption of legalized marijuana in Colorado. This new law was specifically designed to target the illegal cultivation operations in residential properties as well as close the caregiver loophole in existing law. So, what does this new law mean, and how will it affect those who are growing marijuana in Custer County? Here is how HB 17-1220 works in a nutshell;
The law limits the number of plants that can be grown on, or in, a residential property to 12 plants. This means no matter where a person lives, in an apartment or a 40-acre property, they are only allowed to have 12 plants on the property at any one time. The law also does not specify if the plants are mature or in the seedling stage, the limit is 12 plants period.  Continue reading Colorado’s New Pot Law and Custer County