Category Archives: 2017

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

Bobcat Gridders Close 2017 Season with Another Win

November 3, 2017

by CCSD staff
The 2017 football season came to a close last Saturday with the Bobcats defeating Simla 40-28. The victory would give the Bobcats sole possession of third place in the Southern League conference. The day started out with seniors Aaron Anderson, Jack Bowker, David Kinsey, Kobe Lewsader, and Dylan Schoch getting honored for their time in Bobcat Football. “It was a great senior class,” noted head coach Troy Bomgardner. “They all provided leadership for our underclassmen, they will be missed!”
The game started out with the Bobcats rolling down the field and scoring on a 30-yard strike from Chad Lewenkamp to Billy Berry. Lewenkamp would add the 2-point conversion and the Bobcats would lead 8-0. The Cubs would come back with a 10-play scoring drive and convert the 2-point play to make it 8-8. The Bobcats would put together another scoring drive with David Kinsey and Ray Perez carrying the load behind the strong blocking of Adam Sapp, Jake Morris, Jack Bowker, Billy Berry, and Dylan Schoch. Lewenkamp would cap the drive off with a beautifully executed screen pass to Kinsey for a 28-yard touchdown. “Our offense really began to come together the last two games,” exclaimed Bomgardner. “I never doubted that we could score at any time and that is a good feeling.” An errant snap on the 2-point play left the Bobcats ahead 14-6 early in the second quarter.
The Bobcat defense battled to stop Simla but would finally allow a score after a 10-play drive again. The 2 points made it 16-14. “It was like we were living Kiowa all over again,” said Bomgardner, referring to the see-saw overtime victory last week. Jumping into their no-huddle offense, the Cats quickly put another score on the board with Kinsey playing QB and scampering 28 yards into the end zone. Misfiring on the 2-point conversion left it 20-16 for the Bobcats at the half.
Coming out of the half, Simla received the kick and began to march down the field again. Dylan Schoch would make a great play on an interception only to fumble it back to the Cubs on the return. Simla would drive again and it would come down to a fourth and goal on the two-foot line. And the Bobcats made the stop! However, on the ensuing play and mishandled pitch would give the Cubs an easy score but the Cats would rise up to stop the 2-point play which made it 22-20. “What I really love about high school sports are these moments,” beamed Bomgardner. “The interception and then the fumble and the fourth down stop was huge and we were pumped and then our fumble and you could just see the air go out of us. But we rose up on the 2 point with Ray making a great play and then Aaron Anderson recovering the onside kick and I knew we had the fight in us. What a moment of teaching that when you get knocked down, you have two choices, stay down or fight back!”
Kinsey would add another score off of the no-huddle offense to move CCHS up 26-22. A break came that the Bobcats were looking for when Kinsey jarred the ball loose from the Cub QB and Perez bounced on it. It would only take two plays and Kinsey would have another 28-yard touchdown run. A Lewnkamp to Berry 2-point conversion would take the lead to 34-22. But Simla again rose up and drove down to convert a fourth down play to score. However, Schoch made a great play to stop the 2-point conversion to make it 34-28.
The Bobcats could not convert a crucial first down on the ensuing drive and Simla had a chance to tie the game but the Bobcat defense rose up and stopped them on a big fourth down play. “Our defensive backs played so much better this game,” said Bomgardner. “And it came down to two consecutive plays to defend the pass and we got the job done!”
Taking over on their own 45, Lewenkamp would master the clock on a time-consuming 7-play drive that ended with Perez battling his way for a 12-yard score. Failing the 2-point conversion left it 40-28 with under four minutes left. The Bobcat JV defense came in and held the Simla varsity for a few plays and then the varsity D was called back to finish the game.
“What a way for the seniors to wrap up their careers,” said Bomgardner. “I couldn’t have been prouder of how we played the last two games of the season. We didn’t really have a chance for any post season play, so we were just playing for the thrill of victory and doing our best. And our team worked hard in practice simply for the chance to play and bring home another Bobcat victory. It was a sweet ending!”
The victory moved the Cats to 4-5 on the season and secured sole possession of third place in the Southern League. The season ending banquet will take place on Sunday, November 19th.


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

BOCC: Heated Discussion on Wetmore Center Building

Board of County
Commissioners (BOCC)
—October 18, 2017
by Jackie Bubis
The meeting started at 9 a.m. with the Pledge of Allegiance and Roll Call. County Attorney Smith was not in attendance. Introductions of the public in attendance followed.
Commissioner Items
Commissioner Hood reported that the Tourism Board will be hosting local organizations who want to get events on the calendar. That meeting will be at Tony’s Pizza on November 14th. She also emailed Bill Nobles and reported that the application deadline for the Custer County agent position is December 7th. She spoke about the four-day budget hearing process and stated that the Board did a really good job trying to approve all the budgets. She did mention that one elected official was a no-show. (Note: that elected official that she was chastising was Kit Shy, who only had one mandatory thing on his budget – his roughly $2K/year salary. Continue reading BOCC: Heated Discussion on Wetmore Center Building