Category Archives: 2017

Wet Mountain Fire Announces New Training Officer

WMFPD Fire Fighter Lieutenant Jonathan Rafferty.


Press Release
Teri Munson, District Clerk, WMFPD
At their November Board Meeting, the Board of Directors voted unanimously to accept the application of Fire Fighter Lieutenant Jonathan Rafferty.
Rafferty had been the Assistant Trainer to Captain Scott Virden, who previously held the position for the past three years.
“In the fire service, training is recognized as the most important part of any department, in that it hones the ability to respond efficiently and most importantly, safely,” said Chief Dave Tonsing. “We take it very seriously, because people’s lives depend on it,” he added.
The Board and Command Staff felt that Lt. Rafferty would be the logical choice because of his prior experience as Assistant Training Officer and because of his shown natural teaching skills during previous years Fire Safety Days for Custer County School in October. Lt. Rafferty will be assuming the position immediately.



LTE: The Trails Initiative

From Paul Parsons
The Trails Initiative is an unfunded group of citizen volunteers that came into being just over a year ago at the invitation of the Custer County Economic Development Corporation. This group seeks to represent the interests and hopes of all trail users (those who ride ATVs, horses, motorbikes, mountain bikes, road bikes, snowmobiles, and those who go on foot). Their purposes are to inventory all usable trails in Custer County; to take part in helping maintain those trails wherever appropriate; to create an up-to-date plan for trails in the county; to develop any new trails that are needed; and to promote these trails both to people within and also to people from outside our area. Continue reading LTE: The Trails Initiative

LTE: Hiding Behind Antiquated Gun Laws?

To the Editor;
A  while back there was a letter to the editor from James Gearhart and I wanted to respond right away but got busy.
To me it seems like the ultimate chutzpah to equate oneself to Martin Luther. But I guess it’s easier on one’s conscience to see themselves as a reformer rather than an apostate.
Several weeks ago (10/27/2017 Sentinel) Mr. Gearhart’s Letter to the Editor was published. While I could shred the entire letter, space constraints won’t allow that. I would like to take particular exception to his statement “Hiding behind antiquated gun laws while mass murders happen on an almost daily basis is antithetical to everything Christ stood for.” Since I believe Mr. Gearhart is ignorant of facts, history and human nature, I’d like to help him see the errors of his views. Continue reading LTE: Hiding Behind Antiquated Gun Laws?

The New BOCC: November 30 Meeting

The New BOCC:
Old Court House Hours Restored,
Committee Formed to Review
New Personnel Policy,
CCEDC Grant Questioned Hard

Board of County
Commissioners (BOCC)
—November 30, 2017

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
All three commissioners reported on the CCI (Colorado Counties Inc) conference. The new commissioners commented on the quality of the training. Mr. Printz spoke with DOLA manager Christy Doon regarding broadband, Dark Skies and building issues. There were discussions with Representative Crowder about losing the Underfunded Courthouse grant. They were encouraged to apply again at the next opportunity.
Chairman Flower stressed the importance of making sure that the voters know how each commissioner votes on each issue. Kelley Camper stated that she lists these details in the minutes.
Attorney Items
Mr. Smith reported on the Planning Commission workshop. The Dark Skies issue was postponed until the December 11th meeting (1:30 in the court room.) He also reported on two airport billing issues that he’s working to resolve. Continue reading The New BOCC: November 30 Meeting

Holiday Activities December 1 -2

Thursday, November 30, 3 p.m. – 6 p.m.
Friday, December 1, 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Saturday, December 2, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Friends of the Library Arts & Crafts Show
Hope Lutheran Fellowship Hall
312 3rd St, Westcliffe $$

Friday, December 1 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Saturday, December 2 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Annual Festival of Trees & Holiday Boutique
At Grandma’s House
118 Main St, Westcliffe

Friday, December 1, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Saturday, December 2, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Lighthouse Pregnancy Resources
bi-annual yard sale
417 Cliff St, Silver Cliff

Saturday, December 2, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Craft Sale and Kids Make your own Tree bells
St Luke’s Episcopal Church
201 S. 3rd St, Westcliffe

Saturday, December 2, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m
Falling into Christmas Fest
Craft Vendors, children’s activities, bake sale,
silent auction, live music
United Methodist Church 202 S. 6th St, Westcliffe

Saturday, December 2, 1 – 4 p.m.
Christmas in the Park with Santa
COME SEE SANTA at the Silver Cliff Town Park—get a HOT DOG, HOT CHOCOLATE and PLAY AT THE PARK
1099 4th St, Silver Cliff

Saturday, December 2, 1 p.m. – 6 p.m.
KLZR Winter Open House
with live entertainment 103 S 2nd St, Westcliffe

Saturday December 2, 3 p.m.
Pet Costume Contest
Sangrita’s heated/covered patio at 212 Main St, Westcliffe
Prizes awarded!

Saturday, December 2, 5 p.m.
Christmas Parade on Main Street
Silver Cliff and Westcliffe “Light up the Town” after parade

Saturday, December 2, 4 p.m. – 6 p.m.
Sangres Art Guild – Winter/Holiday Show Reception
3rd Street Gallery, 59000 CO-69, Westcliffe

The New BOCC: November 22 Meeting

Commissioners Bill Canda, Tom Flower and Jay Printz.
Photo by Jackie Bubis

The New BOCC: Action Started
on Personnel Policy and Courthouse Hours – Printz in Opposition
CCEDC Getting $1 Million DOLA Grant


Board of County Commissioners (BOCC)
—November 22, 2017
by Jackie Bubis
The meeting started at 10 a.m, after Tom Flower and Bill Canda were sworn in, with the Pledge of Allegiance and Roll Call. Due to the size of the crowd, the meeting was held in the courtroom.
Attorney Clint Smith and Clerk Kelley Camper drew lots for a temporary chairman to open the meeting. Commissioner Printz won the draw. He opened the meeting. All three commissioners wanted the chairman position and reported why they would make a good chairman. The men then voted in a chairman (Tom Flower) and vice-chairman (Bill Canda) to serve until the first meeting in January.
Commissioner Canda and Commissioner Flower then took an opportunity to express their thanks and their priorities for the job of commissioner. Both expressed that the citizens are their boss.
Commissioner Items
Commissioner Printz reported on a meeting with the Wetmore Community Center board. He stated that the Board accepted the idea that, with the future online streaming of meetings, the frequency of meeting in Wetmore might change. He also reported on the E911 meeting. Continue reading The New BOCC: November 22 Meeting

New County Commissioner Recall Victors Sworn Into Office









Bill Canda sworn in by County Clerk Kelley Camper

New Commissioner Tom Flowerand County Clerk Kelley Camper

by George Gramlich
After two intense campaigns – the initial effort to place the three Custer County Commissioners on the November ballot for a recall vote, and the second phase of campaigning by the potential successor candidates to replace the three Commissioners – the two new Commissioners, Tom Flower and Bill Canda, were sworn into office today by County Clerk, Kelley Camper. (The third Commissioner, Jay Printz, retained his office by a razor slim margin.)
The ceremony took place in the Custer County Court Room with a packed audience of recall supporters and interested citizens. Recalled Commissioner Bob Kattnig was present but the other recalled Commissioner, Donna Hood, was absent. Commissioner Printz opened the meeting with a short speech about working as a team going forward which was well received.
The Sentinel welcomes our two new Commissioners to the vibrant arena of Custer County politics, hopefully pointing towards a much more citizen aware new administration. God Bless America.

Custer County School Board Installs New Board Members

by Larry Luikart
President Davis called the meeting to order leading the assembled group in the Pledge of Allegiance. Roll Call was taken with Director Jolley absent. The agenda was approved. There were no Public Comments for either session on the agenda.
The administration did provide an answer to the Homecoming Dance location requested by Mr. Rodriquez at the previous session. The students responsible for the activity reported it was their decision to have the dance in the location used.
President Davis and Superintendant Payler presented a Bobcat Pride certificate to every member of the Save Our Schools committee in appreciation for their work in promoting the BEST Grant passage. Continue reading Custer County School Board Installs New Board Members

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.