Category Archives: Archives

Sign the Petition

Letter to the Editor;
Just returned from signing the recall petitions on all three county commissioners.
Where are these people think their coming from? We voted for Republicans, who are by name, very conservative people. However they all turned out to be liberal Democommies. Everyone of you need to sign this petition.
Why do we live in Custer County? Most people live here because it is out of the way, sort of a one horse town, so to speak. We like it that way, but we have a few that would change that. Lets put it bluntly.
We most definitely do NOT want more people moving in here, we have too many now. We don’t want, building codes, dark skies, a Main Street manager or any other Progressive big city ideas. If you have ANY ideas of changing our living habits, you are not welcome here in our little corner of paradise.
Seems our Commissioners think we need this stupidity. Well let them go back to the Big city and leave us alone. Vote them OUT.
Chris Ueberroth,
Rosita, Colorado

RE: “This is Diligence”

To the Editor;
Re: “This is Diligence” July 14, 2017
I believe I am for more personal liberty than TL Davis claims. I have chosen to live in this community, which TL Davis does not, because of the freedoms it affords. He does not seem to understand there are two domains in exercising freedoms. If he or I do not infringe upon his or my domain, then freedom lives on.
I am a physics professor, the manager of the CSUP Observatory, the technical consult to enact the dark sky ordinances in Pueblo County and a life-long amateur astronomer. I believe in the aesthetic and financial value in preserving the night sky. This domain belongs to all of us. Is it not an infringement if others obscure the beauty and wonder of all that is above and about us? If uncontrolled light is allowed to squander our nightly heritage, is this not an intrusion on my and other’s freedoms? If someone perpetrates some noxious activity on his property or domain, with such things as excessive noise or odor or excessive light, that intrudes upon my domain, should I not have the right to seek relief? A night sky ordinance is our only possible way to preserve freedom in our domain.
The problem we and the county commissioners now face is a result of their lack of seeking out others who might provide a tiny bit [of ] technical expertise. To preserve the night sky or to prevent light pollution, which TL Davis so scathingly refers to, the commissioners should know that regulating the wattage of light bulbs on private property is entirely the wrong way to go. It is truly absurd it to think of passing laws or ordinances that would do so. To do this is to infringe on the privacy and freedoms of individuals, which we all want to avoid.
The simple win-win solution is to limit the direction of the light produced on private properties. The Pueblo ordinances grandfathered in all existing lighting fixtures. The only limitation sought was to require lighting and fixtures to prevent light from shinning in directions above the horizontal. Light directed upwards is scattered by several mechanisms in all directions. With this restriction on direction, private citizens are allowed to exercise all other freedoms in their own private domains. As a result the rest of us then are free to appreciate and to study the universe above unhindered by the noxious intrusion of stray light.
William Brown, Ph.D.
Pueblo and Rural Custer County

A Light Bulb Saved A LIFE

Dark Skies Fiasco

To the Editor:
The new “law” the County Commissioners are attempting to force on the citizens of Custer County regarding county wide lighting restrictions with fines and imprisonment is the most INSANE regulation I’ve ever heard of!
Ranchers of the county have livestock to be protected from predators i.e. bear, mountain lions, coyotes, wild dogs etc. and tended to for injuries or illnesses. These do not occur only during the daylight hours (usually in the middle of the night, has been my experience).
My exterior lights actually saved the life of Robert Powers during the time he and his wife, Virginia “Ginny”, lived in Aspen Ridge at the west end of Junkins Park.
He was on his way to orchestra practice in Cañon City one very cold winter evening when his car slid off the road in Puma Canyon and ended in the creek bed. He (carrying his bassoon) then walked two miles down to McKenzie Junction for help. Finding no one home there except a young dog (that should not have been out in that cold either). He then had no choice but to start back up the canyon toward home. He was almost “done in” when he saw my lights on. (My house was about 1/2 mile off the county road).
He had now walked approximately 10 miles mostly uphill in the dark sub-zero temps. He headed for the light! By the time he got to my place it was about 10:30 p.m. and he knocked on the door and called my name and identified himself. I opened the door a crack and when satisfied as to who he was (he was unrecognizable because of his ice/snow crusted face and beard) and said you can come in but your dog has to stay outside, (because I had cats and a dog and didn’t want a fracas). He uttered the famous Peter Sellers line “But it’s not my dog,” in all sincerity and I chuckled and said, “Come on in and I’ll get a coat and the Jeep.”
So off we went to Aspen Ridge — Bob, the dog and me. Had it not been for those lights, he would have surely frozen to death before he reached his home. That was another four plus miles uphill from my place, extremely cold temperatures (well below zero) and a very dark night. Ever since, I have been considered Bob’s and Ginny’s hero. Unfortunately, they’ve had to move back east due to Ginny’s health and to be closer to their children, but we do still keep in touch during the holidays.
Bottom Line – Yes, good exterior lighting is very necessary in Custer County!
I suggest the current county commissioners perhaps would be better suited to someplace like Boulder, or Chicago, or New York City and try their Dark Skies experiments where they might be appreciated. Or better yet, consider going out to an isolated area in Custer County on a cold dark night, alone with only a 40-watt light, and see how well they like it.

Lorene B. Cushman
Rural Custer County and Niwot, Colorado

Recall: It Does Not Matter…

07/12/2017
To the Editors of the Sentinel and the Tribune:

I’ve only lived here for a little over five years but wish that it had been much longer. The Cliffs are a dying type of refuge from the big cities and their lax ethics and morals. Not that the ‘Cliffs don’t have their share of problems.
I am writing regarding the current effort to recall our three County Commissioners. So, right to the point.
It does NOT matter if you liked Robin Young or not. By all rights she was mischievously removed by shady back door dealings for questionable, possibly even personal reasons. And MAKE NO MISTAKE, elected officials that behave in that manner have little regard for those who elected them, any of them. They will eventually get around to something or someone near and dear to you and you’ll be powerless to defend your friend or ideal. And to mention, apparently little to no consideration for the devastation of losing the 4-H program for our kids.
It does NOT matter if you are in favor of dark skies or not. “To criminalize outdoor lighting choices in an already dark county in order to increase the Dark-Skies certified footprint that will not bring any more eco-tourism to the county than the existing ‘Cliff’s certification has, is inflicting a small group’s opinion/agenda on all of us.”
Not to mention the blatantly obvious good/light versus dark/evil subtext involved. But that does not matter. What matters is that those elected officials that so chose to inflict their opinion on the rest of us will eventually get around to inflicting an opinion on you that you do not care for. And, you’ll be powerless to defend yourself against it.
It does NOT matter if you ever want to buy a new home in Custer County or not. But those elected officials that immediately, upon entering office, find it necessary to institute more government via a building code, clearly had this in mind but did not mention it in their campaigns (or for that matter any of their other questionable acts). On the surface, this appears sound and good and is certainly packaged as such and of little financial impact. But has anyone considered the effects on the cost of a house? Let’s face it, few of us can afford the home we would like and they are about to get more expensive. And as is typical of governmental creep (or creepiness), this is just the beginning of regulations, codes, restrictions and more government intrusion into your life and your wallet. They’ll eventually institute a rule, code or regulation that does significantly affect you.
It does NOT matter if you agree or disagree with closed door meetings. The State appears TO DISAGREE, but so what if our local elected officials ignore a higher power, the State or otherwise, and choose to discuss and make plans that affect your future behind closed doors. Eventually they will hatch a plan behind closed doors that you do disagree with.
The bottom line is that these particular elected officials have only been in office for a little over six months and have already proposed so many vast and sweeping changes; it clearly appears that they had a plan to do so before they were elected and neglected to inform those that elected them of their plans. It appears that they clearly have no plan to stop doing so. AND, they will eventually negatively affect your life and pocket book. Make no mistake about it. You are witnessing the tip of the iceberg and after only six months, the part that is revealed or above the water line is massive. Just imagine what’s lurking beneath the surface.
So, right to the point. Like the County Commissioners or not, they do NOT appear to be representing the values of this community, following state law or public opinion or adhering in any fashion to what they campaigned on and the citizenry should have the opportunity to vote to remove them from office. Now that you know the true agenda, decide for yourself, and SIGN THE RECALL PETITION before your refuge is no longer.
Sincerely,
Frank L. Oberlin
Custer County

July 5th BOCC Meeting

More Bulls Bullying, Landfill Made More $’s,
Public Health/Clinic Relationship Ended?

Board of County
Commissioners (BOCC)

-July 5, 2017

WESTCLIFFE, Colorado

by Jackie Bubis,
Reporter

The meeting started at 9 a.m. with the Pledge of Allegiance and Roll Call.  Introductions of the public in attendance followed.

The public comment time was extensive with citizens living in the vicinity of CR 390 and 391 coming to discuss their feelings about the cattle guards requested by Dr. Hamilton on CR 390.   The discussion was passionate, especially with Dr. Hamilton being unresponsive to calls that two of his mean bulls are running the neighborhood.  Apparently even before the BOCC meeting in Wetmore was finished, fences were being taken down on Hamilton’s property.  Calls to the Sheriff, to Chairman Kattnig and to the brand inspector only resulted in frustration as these bulls ran amok.

There were neighbors of Hamilton’s that stressed repeatedly that Hamilton is not a good neighbor, does not properly keep up his fences and has bought up properties when owners became exasperated with his bullying behavior.

Continue reading July 5th BOCC Meeting

The New Custer County: Change an Outdoor Light Fixture, Go To Jail

Commissioners Proposed “Dark Skies” Ordinance
Criminalizes Light

June 30, 2017 issue- Sangre de Cristo Sentinel

by George Gramlich,
News and Commentary

At a public meeting last week, the three Custer County Commissioners, Bob Kattnig, Jay Printz and Donna Hood, finally revealed their proposed “Dark Skies” or “light pollution” ordinance they have been talking about since the two new Commissioners (Printz and Hood) were sworn in this January. Note that there was barely a mention of it during the campaign last year.

The Commissioners’ proposal wants to amend the Custer County Zoning Regulation of 2016 to regulate outdoor lighting throughout the county (The Towns of Westcliffe and Silver Cliff have their own zoning laws.) They want to change the current non-enforceable, zoning law definition of “Light Pollution” to “Light Pollution defined as any adverse effect of the use of artificial outdoor lighting at night. See Section 8.2.G and Appendix D.3(p) for further information.”

The new Section 8.2.G reads like this:

“8.2.G: In order to minimize light pollution, all outdoor lighting shall be rated correlated color temperature of 3000 Kelvins or less, and any light source exceeding 500 initial lumens must be fully shielded. A “lumen” is measurement of the brightness of a particular light bulb or lamp. The following is a “lumens to watts” table:”

No need to print the whole table. (See Ordinance Proposal.) The first line is all you need to know. It says a light source of 600 lumens is equivalent to a 40-watt incandescent light (old school light bulb), a 10-watt florescent light and a 5 – 9 LED light. If my math is correct, any incandescent light bulb over 33.3 watts is subject to this ordinance.

Continue reading The New Custer County: Change an Outdoor Light Fixture, Go To Jail

July 6th BOCC Meeting: “Running of the Bulls”

Wetmore:”Running of the Bulls”,
Shipping Container Complaint

Board of County
Commissioners (BOCC)

-July 6, 2017

WESTCLIFFE, Colorado

by Jackie Bubis,
Reporter

The meeting started at 9 a.m. with the Pledge of Allegiance and Roll Call.  Introductions of the public in attendance followed.

During public comments, one citizen asked about the statutes cited by the recall committee.  Attorney Smith stated that he was attorney for the Board and would not answer the question.  He also asked if the Board would consider putting the county in the air ambulance program formerly Eagle Med (Now React.)  The Board said they will consider it as a public item.

Commissioner Items

Commissioner Hood reported that Jeffrey Wood and the architecture students would be there later in the afternoon to finish their courthouse assessment.  She also requested that the Board have another evening meeting.  The meeting was set for Tuesday, July 25th at 7 p.m. in the Courtroom. [Now canceled]

Commissioner Kattnig reported a conversation with the brand inspector regarding Mr. Hamilton’s bulls (see article for July 5th meeting). The inspector said that his office will only check a brand if the stray is corralled and if the owner is unknown.

Continue reading July 6th BOCC Meeting: “Running of the Bulls”

LTE: You Got Elected Because YOU SAID You Were REPUBLICANS!

June 27, 2017

To the Editor;

The recent actions, attitude and behavior from our REPUBLICAN Commissioners raised serious questions regarding their real motivation, intent, integrity and honesty. You know, integrity is defined as doing the right thing when there is no one there to challenge your actions.

All three of the current Commissioners ran as Republicans. They attended Republican events, proclaimed Republican platform values, and indicated if elected they would emulate those values into their governing.

Dr. Kattnig was so bold as to admit he came from a Democratic family and he was the only one who became a staunch Republican. After all, he told us again and again during the campaign, “People, I am a professional and son of Custer County. I know what this county wants!

The people want low taxes, less government, more liberty and less intrusion from government. So do I.”

Donna Hood ran as the champion of the people. Someone who would in her benevolent heart said she would (she even said she would give her salary back to the County) reach those in need and make the county better. After all, as a business woman of great achievement here in the valley she had a plan. Her plan, if you recall, did involve the word “progressive”. You have to watch those words! They slip them in there just like another guy who said, “if you like your Doctor you can keep your Doctor.” There was another gal who talked a lot about, “our values”. Nice sounding, soft, comforting but those values involved abortion, more government control, less liberty and a socialist America.

Jay Printz was a little more slippery in his campaign. He was one of those politicians and good lawyers who could talk all day and when he finished you had no idea where he really stood on anything. He claimed to be a Republican.

Somewhere between the election and the day these three were sworn into office, a polarizing shift in attitude, intent and behavior took place. Suddenly, the people who voted for them are the people they intend to control. The dynamic shift in attitude became immediately evident. Dr. Kattnig starts talking down to people in meetings. The incident where Robin Young was not being fired by the Commissioners but replaced at their insistence became public. (A really gutless way to go about a problem). A tape recorder placed on the Commissioners desk for years becomes an object of frustration and concern for these learned elected people. His Honorarium Printz declares, “we don’t want that here. Remove, it please.” At least he said “please.”

Since being elected, not one Commissioner has attended any Republican Central Committee meeting including the recent Lincoln Day Dinner. When asked about his absence, Mr. Printz replied, “I don’t think I would be welcome there.” Why would he make such a statement as a staunch, died in the wool, red county, conservative Republican?

Dr. Kattnig missed the Lincoln Day Dinner but found time to give a speech at the Democratic Party dinner. Are you curious why he would do that being a conservative Republican? This is a man who gave up the Democrat tradition against the wishes of his family. Maybe he has a reason as pure as the driven snow for his actions, maybe not.

Dark Skies is proposed for Custer County and Printz declares, “there’s been no decision on Dark Skies but it is inevitable. We are going to have it.” He didn’t say we may have it, or might have it but we are going to have it. If you think this is some silly little measure to keep the light from shining up instead of down, please get informed. This code has some real teeth. All those teeth are snarling right at you the property owner.

The International Building Code is being considered and once again Printz makes the case for a “compelling interest” to deprive us of our liberty. The Government has used the “compelling interest” argument many times to intrude on personal liberty. Most often liberty is deprived in the name of security or safety, exactly the argument Prince would use in forcing the IBC Code. (It sounds more like Karl Marx than Ronald Reagan.)

These three Republicans are proposing landfill fee increases, hikes in other fees and a tax levy for road improvement. Sounds like Democrats at the Golden Dome, not conservative Republicans in Custer County.

There’s an old colloquial expression I heard a lot as a boy from my mother, “your actions always speak louder than your words.”

The expression is truly appropriate regarding these three Commissioners. They are not acting as Republicans! They are acting as though once elected they were given a mandate to do whatever they pleased in regard to County Government.  It is obvious they do not know the limits of their Office. What is even more disturbing is their “we don’t care attitude” coupled with “were going to do it like it or not insensitivity” regarding the people who put them in office. Sooner, rather than later, the Commissioners are going to get themselves and ultimately Custer County into a Criminal Investigation or Civil Law suit. “We the people” are not required to bend to these Commissioners whims and belligerence. They were elected they can be removed! This is not the old Soviet Union. They are not the commissariat and the voter is not the peasant masses.

I’ve only lived in Custer County for ten years. Yet, I know the vast majority of people who vote here did not intend for this kind of Commissioner hegemony. It is no consolation to say, “well I didn’t vote for them.” The gratification from that statement lasts about as long as it took to say it. Instead, we should all be asking, “how do we fix this problem, other than waiting till the next election?” Asking for the Commissioner’s resignations would be a start although getting them to agree would be like asking a zebra to give up its stripes. However, doing nothing is no longer one of them. The old conservative “get along and go along” to keep peace died in Custer County about three minutes after these three decided to ruin the liberty we enjoy. If they won’t go quietly into the night of their liberalism then we should remove them through a County recall vote.

Larry Luikart
Rural Custer County.

 

Take Back Custer County Recall Committee Kick-off Meeting

Take Back Custer County
Recall Committee Kick-off Meeting

–July 6, 2017

by George Gramlich

The Take Back Custer County Recall Committee, chaired by Ann Barthrop, Ann Willson and Mike Haga, held their first general meeting last Thursday, July 6th, at Tony’s Pizza in the events room. Ms. Barthrop and Mrs. Willson hosted the meeting. Over 40 concerned citizens attended. The purpose of the meeting was to review the status of the campaign, outline the timeline for the recall and to train the attendees in the rules and etiquette of gathering recall petition signatures for each member of the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC).

In addition, three potential replacement candidates to replace the current BOCC, running as a slate, were introduced at the end of the meeting.

The meeting opened with the Pledge of Allegiance and prayer led by county resident, Bill Canda. Ms. Barthrop then proceeded to review how the recall petition process works and how once a successful recall is accomplished, the election process works. (If a recall petition is successful, an election occurs where, for each recalled Commissioner, a question is placed on the ballot asking essentially “Do you want to recall this Commissioner? If you check yes, then you may vote for a replacement candidate that is on the ballot. If the majority of people at the election, select “recall” then the current Commissioner is fired. The new Commissioners elected would take office immediately after the election results are certified (sometime in November.)

Ms. Barthrop pointed out that the Recall Committee has set up the recall timeline so the recall election would be on the normal November election ballot thereby eliminating any extra cost for the county.

The meeting then proceeded on how to gather signatures, what is a proper signature (what your voter registration signature is), legal address required (no PO Boxes), areas to be canvassed and etiquette.

An extensive question and answer period then ensued. Many thoughtful technicalities were addressed by Ms. Barthrop who had clearly done her homework with the help of Mr. Haga.

Finally, a slate of potential replacement candidates was introduced: Bill Canda, Kit Shy and Sandra Attebery. One for each Commissioner. The candidates each gave a brief speech with a common theme of restoring traditional American values to our county government including: rebuilding the trust between the BOCC and the county’s citizens; respecting all citizens; that there will be no hidden agendas; that they will govern (not rule) with honesty and integrity always; that they will be transparent and approachable; that they will at all times use due process; and will govern with compassion.

Just before the meeting was closed with a rousing prayer by Bill Canda, the attendees gave Ms. Barthrop and Ms. Wilson a tremendous standing ovation for their work in attempting to restore traditional American values, integrity, honesty and compassion to our county government.

 

BOCC on Proposed Building Code May 17, 2017

If There’s a Compelling Reason…You Can
Restrict or Take Away Someone’s Personal Rights”

Board of County
Commissioners (BOCC)

-May 17, 2017

WESTCLIFFE, Colo.

by Jackie Bubis

The meeting was held in the Wetmore Community Center despite the ongoing work.  The meeting started at 9 a.m. with the Pledge of Allegiance and Roll Call. Introductions of the public in attendance followed.

Public comments: One citizen brought a report to the Commissioners of the perceptions out in the public.  While he personally had nothing against them, he did say that the community was in turmoil about the Board insisting that CSU fire Robin Young.  He also stated that there was a firestorm in the blue collar and construction arena about the decision to require insurance for the perc-test techs and suggested that the Board, especially Commissioner Kattnig, would suffer the repercussions at the ballot box.   Commissioner Printz told him that the insurance requirement would be addressed later in the meeting.  All three Commissioners continued their “we didn’t fire her” story and again stated that they didn’t insist on her removal.  Mr. Kattnig also, again stated that they had already talked to Young’s supervisors (a “fact” still in question) before driving to Ft. Collins.

Continue reading BOCC on Proposed Building Code May 17, 2017