Page 1

Volume 110, Number 36

Thursday, September 8, 2011

50¢

Review of Saguache ballots not Center Schools transparent, citizens maintain host open Shorts

house Sept. 14

CENTER — Center Schools will hold an Open House Wednesday Sept. 14 beginning at 5:30 p.m. The first 50 people who arrive can participate in a tour of the new school, by ticket only. The rest of the schedule will be as follows: • 6 p.m. – 7 p.m. — Eat and visit with teachers in the old gym. The District provides hamburgers, hot dogs, drinks and paper goods. Otherwise it is pot luck. • 7 p.m.– 7:15 p.m. — Prizes will be awarded in the auditorium. • 7:15 – 8:15 Candidates forum sponsored and facilitated by Center EA and open to the public. All candidates for the school board will be invited to participate. Prizes will be drawn at the end of the forum.

HOW'S THE WEATHER?

Thursday A 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms, mainly after noon. Partly sunny, with a high near 69. North northeast wind around 5 mph becoming east southeast. New rainfall amounts of less than a tenth of an inch, except higher amounts possible in thunderstorms. Thursday night A 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms, mainly before midnight. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 42. Southeast wind around 5 mph becoming calm. New rainfall amounts between a quarter and half of an inch possible. Friday A 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Partly sunny, with a high near 67. North wind 5 to 10 mph becoming east southeast. Friday night A 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 42. East southeast wind between 5 and 10 mph becoming calm. Saturday A 10 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Partly sunny, with a high near 68. Southeast wind between 5 and 10 mph. Saturday night A 10 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Partly cloudy, with a low around 38. South southeast wind between 5 and 10 mph becoming calm. Sunday A 10 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly sunny, with a high near 76. West southwest wind around 5 mph becoming calm.

BY TERESA L. BENNS SAGUACHE — The majority of those participating in the hand count of the Saguache 2010 election Aug. 29-31are in agreement that key materials they needed to review in order to determine the cause of election irregularities were withheld from the public. The count varied little from the initial totals released by the county following the SOS review of the retabulation and the subsequent recount. Most importantly, judges were not allowed to break mail-in ballots into precincts for a close examination or to count Precinct 5 votes as a separate group. The SOS refused citizens participating as counting judges to perform the following: • A separate count of all Prec. 5 (Crestone) votes, which Saguache

County Clerk Melinda Myers and the SOS determined were overwritten on the M650 software Nov. 2. • Reconciliation of the ballot inventory (ballots printed, issued, spoiled, mailed, duplicated, etc.) • Reconciliation of the number of mail ballots to mail-in envelopes with known discrepancies. • Resolution of incorrect decisions made to exclude votes on provisional ballots. • Permission for judges to count the controversial Ambulance District race, which won by only one vote. There were numerous suspected ineligible voters who voted in this race and other questionable behavior Photo by Teresa Benns was never explained. • Production as requested by judges Judge John Baker consults with fellow judge Mike Cowan at the SOS and others of the Nov. 2 unofficial ballot review last Wednesday concerning uncounted ballots as observer Mary Eberle and judges Randal Arredondo and Ed Nielsen, joined by Please see REVIEW on Page 3A SOS representative Christy Heppard, look on.

Flash mob to 'Viva Las Vegas'

Nine new teachers hired in Center BY SUSAN BANNING

CENTER — Center School District starts the 2011-12 school year with nine new teachers and four new support staff members, as well as a new program director with the Center Virtual High School. Lee Flood Lee Flood has been hired as Center High School’s new PE/Health and Business Math Teacher. Lee earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Western State University with a double major in Business Administration and Recreation. Lee will also serve as Center High School’s head varsity football Photo by Teresa Benns coach with three years of coaching Center high school counselor Katrina Ruggles and teacher Shirley Atencio organized a flash mob event experience at Gunnison HS and for students on their lunch break to welcome them back to Center Schools. Here, teachers groove to "Viva Salida HS. In his free time, Lee Las Vegas" by Elvis. enjoys snowboarding, fly fishing, live music performances, listening to old vinyl records and playing with his Chocolate Labrador Retriever. Alexandra Gonzales DENVER — Following a three- and transparent review. I want to the abstract totals from the Nov. 2 Alexandra Gonzales will be teaching day review of Saguache County’s thank the people who volunteered to election. Steve Carlson received 1169 Kindergarten students at Haskin 2010 general election, Secretary participate in this civic process and votes versus 1187 on the abstract; Elementary School. Her educational of State Scott Gessler released the hope they continue to stay involved Linda Joseph received 1193 votes results in a press release late last in their elections.” during the review and 1204 on the Wednesday. Secretary of State staff partnered abstract; Carla Gomez’ tally came The tally confirmed the winners in with local residents in teams of three to 1155 versus the abstract count of the races for county commissioner, to tabulate the votes in the three 1166 and Melinda Myers’ count came county clerk and recorder and the races. A caller would call out the in at 1217, down 10 from the abstract At- Large University of Colorado name of the winner and the other two count of 1227. Regent though procedural differences members would record the vote. The The regent races counted during resulted in a small variance in the teams would reconcile and confirm the three-day review all remained vote count. the tally after every five ballots. The the same with Melissa Hart at 1309 “ T h i s r e v i e w p r o v i d e d results of the review compared to the versus the 1317 abstract total; Steve unprecedented access to the ballots,” results certified by the county are as Bosley at 820 votes, down six from Gessler said. “After a turbulent follows: 826 on the abstract and Jesse Wallace Alexandra Gonzales election last year, the people of The ballot count ended with totals Saguache County deserved an open lower for the races counted than Please see RESULTS on Page 5A Please see TEACHERS on Page 2A

Gessler says citizens review confirms Saguache results


Thursday, September 8, 2011

REVIEW

Continued from Page 1A results and precinct tallies. • Complete examination and verified inclusion of the overvotes, which one Nov. 2, 2010 Republican judge stated earlier this year were not counted on election night. Throughout the three-day count, several of the SOS officials who came to supervise were unavailable during much of the process. Two individuals worked supervising judges and but the days were punctuated with many long breaks and frequent phone consults with other supervisors. During the count two judges — a Republican and a Democrat — expressed disgust about the absolute “mess” they found when trying to sort through the ballots. One judge commented that it was a good indication the county needs another clerk. On Tuesday, nearly all of the judges threatened to walk out when it became clear that many of the areas of concern in the races in question would not be reviewed. “If we don’t count Prec. 5 and look at that there is no use in doing it,” Judge Ed Nielsen protested. The judges decided to stay, however, to act as witnesses to what was taking place and further document ballot irregularities. Toward the end of the review

Center Post-Dispatch Wednesday Aug, 31 their perseverance paid off when over 30 apparently uncounted ballots were discovered that could have tipped the race to commissioner’scandidateSteveCarlson. Judges said the votes were only partially included in the reported results. SOS officials appeared reluctant to allow a more in-depth investigation of what happened with the overvotes, taking the word of one Democrat judge for the Nov. 2 election that they were counted. It appears that the votes were never completely reconciled with the final totals. “I think we found the smoking gun,” judge John Baker saidWednesday when the overvotes were first examined. But later SOS elections official Wayne Munster announced that the ballots had been counted Nov. 2 and would not be added to the new count. “They could never have reconciled those ballots to the final count,” judge Lisa Cyriacks said. Some judges left early Wednesday, frustrated that no headway could be made with SOS officials who consistently refused to allow the level of transparency promised citizens prior to conducting the review. While officials were considering how to proceed with the overvotes, Saguache County Clerk Melinda Myers stormed into the review on the afternoon of Aug. 31with deputy clerk Renee Hazard waving what appeared to be a court

Page 3A

order, saying she was seizing ballots form selected precincts. SOS officials and a citizen volunteer asked to examine the contents of the envelope, but Myers refused. Later it was discovered that no new court order was ever issued. Myers arrived while SOS officials were studying the overvotes. The confusion created by her arrival sent them running to phones for consults with upper level SOS officials. During the hubbub, Myers confiscated the overvote envelopes from a judges' table. In the end when the SOS gave their final report on the count and delivered totals, the overvotes were not included. Concerned Saguache County voters object that until they are able to examine these problem areas, the “citizens review” is only just a meaningless sixth count of the election results that once again fails to address the fundamental flaws they have been protesting all along. “Where’s the transparency?” several observers wondered out loud at different times during the review. One Saguache woman called the entire process a “joke.” They continue to maintain that until the performance of the M650 voting device and its operation by Myers’office during the election is thoroughly investigated by objective, qualified experts, their doubts cannot be dispelled.

Photo by Teresa Benns

A Saguache County Sheriff's deputy watches observers as Saguache County Clerk Melinda Myers and Democrat Chair Randal Arredondo, judge during the citizens ballot review, prepare to open ballot boxes in the commissioners board room last Wednesday following the departure of the SOS. Myers demanded that about 200 ballots she deemed identifiable be excluded from the review. Marks scans ballots On Friday, Marks began her ballot scan in the commissioner’s boardroom at the Saguache County Courthouse. Myers and Democrat counting judge for the Nov. 2 election, Jessica Duboe, supervised her as she worked. Marks said the clerk was cooperative and she will be allowed to scan all but a few of the ballots. Last month, Saguache County Commissioners asked Judge Martin Gonzales whether Aspen election integrity advocate Marilyn Marks

would be allowed to view the ballots. Apparently the answer was in the affirmative. Myers held out seven overseas ballots, 11 mail-in ballots and eight polling place ballots. Later Marks discovered that Myers had mixed in early voting ballots with mail-in ballots, an act some hold as illegal. Marks will not complete her ballot scan until later this month, When she has finished the analysis of her scan, Marks said, she will make the results available to the public.

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Volume 110, Number 43

Shorts

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Judges training, testing held in Saguache BY TERESA L. BENNS

Make sure to mail your ballot SAN LUIS VALLEY — Be sure to vote and mail or take your ballots to the County Clerk & Recorder’s office by Tuesday, Nov. 1.

Join the 2011 Christmas parade ALAMOSA – Alamosa RoundUp is sponsoring its First Annual Alamosa Christmas Light Parade on Friday, Dec. 16 at 6:30 p.m. Floats are welcome to light up Main Street and bring a little Christmas cheer to the community. Floats, cars, tractors and other conveyances covered in Christmas lights are welcome. Christmas cookies will be shared at the downtown businesses, Christmas music will play over the loud speakers, Christmas carolers will sing on the corner, and coffee and hot chocolate will be served. The first place float in the parade will win a custom-made parade champion belt buckle. Application fee is $10 and includes a Christmas parade T-shirt . Applications must be returned by Nov. 15 toAlamosa Round-Up , PO Box 239, Alamosa 81101. For information contact Dawn at (602) 571-0535 or jdhoneycutt@

SAGUACHE — Saguache County Clerk Melinda Myers, supervised by Secretary of State (SOS) officials from Denver conducted election judge training in the morning and logic and accuracy testing on the M650 loaned to Myers by the SOS. Myers started out the judges’ training session by refusing admittance to Mike S. Garcia of Center as a watcher, requiring him to be selected previously by party officials for the position. A sign on the courthouse door stated that the election activities were open to the public. The sign was placed on the door a day in advance when SOS rules/statutes require seven days’ notice of the events. None of the judges chosen to count votes were among those trained by the SOS to participate in the citizen’s review. All three of the women judges were from the Crestone area. When the logic and accuracy test

began at 1 p.m., Garcia once again presented to observe the training and testing. Myers again tried to deny him admittance but SOS attorney Michael Hagihara told her the public was permitted to observe. During the testing, Myers at first set up the hand tally sheets improperly and the judges could not check the M650 totals against the final tallies. Myers sat with the judges and reconstructed the tally sheets. Judges hand-counted the ballots to check them against the M650 totals. SOS official Jerome Lovato noted that the M650 voting devices are known for their “glitches” and are really “old technology.” When asked when the M650 on loan to Myers was manufactured, Hagihara guessed that it was manufactured in the early part of the 21st century. Myers said she will be using 14 different ballot styles this year, meaning that ballots will be counted in

Photo by Teresa Benns

New judges for the 2011 Saguache Election listen as judge Jessica Duboe explains how the M650 processes ballots. smaller groups. When Myers arrived at the citizens review in August to claim ballots she believed could be identified, these ballots belonged to such groups. Watcher Lisa Cyriacks explained

Colorful Colorado in the fall

that the ballots could easily have been limited to five styles and larger voter blocks. “The smaller groups would prevent effective audits or Please see JUDGES on Page 3A

Judge in Marks case orders SOS to hear HAVA complaint BY TERESA L. BENNS

the Divine Mercy, a devotion based on the writings of Saint Faustina Kowalska. The grand dedication of the Rosary Walk, and the first public recitation of the rosary on the walk, is scheduled a year from now to coincide with the second celebration of the feast day of Blessed John Paul II and the 10th anniversary of the Luminous

DENVER —Aspen voting integrity advocate Marilyn Marks won her Denver District Court suit on Monday, filed in order to force Secretary of State Scott Gessler to grant her a hearing on her Help America Vote Act (HAVA) complaint. Gessler dismissed Marks HAVA complaint in June for lack of standing. The complaint focused on the excessive error rate of the M650 voting tabulation equipment used during the Saguache 2010 General Election, documented by Marks in paper trails of M650 printouts and audit reports. Marks’ Denver attorney, Robert Maguire asked for judicial review of Gessler’s dismissal of the complaint in Denver District Court in July, naming Gessler in his official capacity, the Colorado Dept. of State and SOS elections director Judd Choate, also in his official capacity, as defendants. HAVA requires states that accept federal funding under that act to establish administrative procedures allowing “any person” to file a complaint. Although the Secretary of State's office dismissed her complaint without a hearing, relying on a state statute, Marks argued that the federal statute must take precedence over any state laws in her case. Denver District Court Judge William Robbins agreed, ruling that, “The federal rules of HAVA and any rules promulgated thereunder shall control… While nothing in HAVA’s Title III prevents a state from establishing requirements that are stricter than

Please see CHURCH on Page 3A

Please see HAVA on Page 2A

HOW'S THE WEATHER? Thursday: Sunny, with a high near 43. Northwest wind around 5 mph becoming calm. Thursday night Mostly clear, with a low around 17. Calm wind becoming west northwest around 5 mph. Friday Sunny, with a high near 49. West northwest wind around 5 mph becoming calm. Friday night Mostly clear, with a low around 21. Calm wind becoming west around 5 mph. Saturday Sunny, with a high near 51. West wind around 5 mph becoming calm. Saturday night Mostly clear, with a low around 23. Calm wind becoming west around 5 mph. Sunday unny, with a high near 54. West northwest wind around 5 mph becoming calm.

50¢

Photo by Teresa Benns

Trees lining La Garita Creek show their golden leaves against the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and a clear blue sky.

Pathway of prayer newest addition to La Garitas Catholic church LA GARITA — What started as a church and cemetery renovation in La Garita four years ago is continuing as a major rehabilitation of St. John the Baptist Catholic Church and grounds, thanks to local Catholics and other Catholics with historical and familial ties to La Garita, though they no longer live in the San Luis Valley. The most recent addition to the modest adobe church is an 860-foot Rosary Walk dedicated to Blessed

John Paul II, who added the Luminous Mysteries to the three traditional sets of mysteries of the Rosary. Catholic calendars list October as the month dedicated to the Holy Rosary. On Saturday devoted Catholics joined local priests and deacons to celebrate Mass marking the first feast day of Blessed John Paul II. Following the liturgy, the congregation processed around the Rosary Walk to recite the Chaplet of


Thursday, October 27, 2011

Center Post-Dispatch

JUDGES

Thank You to our loyal customers, friends & neighbors!

Continued from Page 1A canvass,” Cyriacks said, noting, however, that Myers may have been instructed to create a larger number of ballot styles. Testing of the DRE touchscreen machines revealed some problems, with all three machines sidelined for repairs before the election. A few

problems also arose with the M650, but as Hagihara pointed out, the time and date on the ballots was correct. Judges also were quite pleased that their hand-counted totals matched the M650 count and that they were able to check the tallies successfully once Myers adjusted the tally sheets.

CHURCH

Continued from Page 1A Mysteries. La Garita Church Restoration Committee members Celestino Archuleta and Ed Kulp supervised the walkway project, built with private donations. The restoration committee also plans to reroof the church, install stained glass windows, and restore the belfry. The fresco art of the Archuleta’s son Anthony will eventually be added along the walkway, with a life-size crucifix of Christ and a grotto of Our Lady complementing the existing fresco of the baptism of Christ by St. John the Baptist. Artistic license was taken depicting the baptism in La Garita Creek, rather than in the River Jordan. Eventually Archuleta will paint 20 depictions of the four sets of mysteries, events from the life of Jesus. The Joyful Mysteries represent the early events in Jesus’ life, the Luminous Mysteries focus on the principal events of His public ministry, the Sorrowful Mysteries focus on the Passion of Christ, and the Glorious Mysteries celebrate the events beginning with His resurrection on Easter morning. History of the restoration As was the case with many rural Catholic churches nationwide, St. John's closed in 1968 with the decline of the Catholic community in La Garita. For the last three years, Mass

has been celebrated in La Garita on the feast day of Saint John the Baptist each June. The San Juan Fiesta continues to be celebrated in Center at the community park. Until a few years ago, the church was home to the Artes de Valle with artists displaying artistic works in the church and hosting an annual seminar. With growing interest to restore the church to a condition where Mass could once again be celebrated, the Diocese of Pueblo decided not to renew the organization’s lease. Before being transferred, Father Joseph Vigil, pastor of the San Juan Catholic Community, organized several groups of volunteers from within and outside the San Luis Valley, to begin the process of restoring and preserving the church and surrounding grounds. The current restoration committee would like to thank all those volunteers for their valuable efforts. The committee especially thanks Mr. Don Garcia for his continued efforts to renew and maintain the Carnero Creek Cemetery grounds, and Mr. Steve Abeyta for his help in the original work of restoration. With the generous help of Catholics with an interest in the historical and Catholic legacy of La Garita, Hispano Catholic history and settlement in the Valley is being lovingly preserved.

Page 3A

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Volume 110, Number 45

Shorts

Vendors needed SAGUACHE – This is a call for Vendors for Saguache’s Holiday Bazaar, Dec. 3. $10 per table– contact Wilma Lewis 655-2566 or Mary Morfitt 655-2604 for details. Saguache friends@yahoo.com

Mobile spay/neuter clinic in Alamosa ALAMOSA — A Mobile lowcost spay/neuter clinic will be held from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 16, through Friday, Nov. 18 behind the Super 8 Motel just west of Big R. Along with spay/neuter services,vaccinations, dental care and microchips will be offered. All services will be provided at a reasonable cost. Appointments, 719-845-0120 (Trinidad) or e-mail connibouchard@aol.com. Info, Alpha Humane, 852-2201.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

50¢

Garcia to receive prestigious award for improving farmworker health care CENTER — More than 150 professionals from the migrant farmworker health arena will honor Center resident Mitch Garcia Nov. 10 in Albuquerque New Mex., for his tireless advocacy, commitment to increasing access to care for farmworkers as a longstanding member of the Migrant Heatlh Movement. For over 20 years, Garcia has been a dedicated advocate promoting access to health care for the farmworker population. He successfully managed eight clinics for Valley-Wide Health Systems as a Director of Farmworker Services and also served as the Director of the Migrant Voucher Program from 2001-2010. Garcia was instrumental in the development of Valley migrants’ health program and mobile clinic, as well as implementation of other special projects. His charisma and networking ability led to successful community partnerships and establishment of linkages with

many migrant advocates and service agencies in the Colorado community. His effervescent personality and enthusiasm for education led him to be a highly sought after speaker and trainer. While working with the Caesar Chavez eye clinic in Center for 15 years, Garcia assisted hundreds of families. He also served on a committee at La Puente, helping to raise funds for the organization. “(Mitch) is very deserving and has been a champion, a cheerleader, an investigator, a staunch supporter, a caring provider and such a good friend to migrant farmworkers,” Garcia’s longtime colleague Marguerite Salazar said. Aurora Martinez, Chair of the Board of Directors at Valley Wide Health Systems added that, “The passion that Mitch has for his commitment to working in the arena of farm workers health and other aspects of cultural competency is truly emitted by the heart-felt words that he

so naturally and sincerely expresses. It is very fitting for Mitch to receive this recognition since he has dedicated so much of his life to these relevant and meaningful endeavors.” In addition to his contributions as a care provider, Garcia also is a lead trainer on Cultural Competency for the Hispanic Health Alliance and is a frequent presenter at the Migrant Health Stream Forums. He has a long standing relationship with migrant health colleagues at a national, state and regional level and continues to be active with NACHC, NCFH, and most recently as a board member of Migrant Health Promotion. Garcia also has served as a Farmworker representative in the Governors Blue Ribbon Commission on Health Care Reform – Vulnerable Populations Task Force. Through Mitch Garcia his fellowship with the Bighorn Leadership Program on Rural Health joined forces with his community he had the opportunity to learn more to pass a ballot issue authorizing about the social determinants of health. To put these skills to us, he Please see GARCIA on Page 3A

Always remember

Complaints filed with SOS following recent election BY TERESA L. BENNS

HOW'S THE WEATHER? Thursday Sunny, with a high near 43. West southwest wind around 5 mph becoming calm. Thursday night Mostly clear, with a low around 16. Calm wind becoming west southwest around 5 mph. Veterans Day Sunny, with a high near 45. Calm wind. Friday night Partly cloudy, with a low around 19. West southwest wind around 5 mph. Saturday A 10 percent chance of rain. Mostly sunny, with a high near 43. Southwest wind between 5 and 10 mph. Saturday night A slight chance of rain and snow. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 22. South southwest wind between 5 and 10 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20%. Sunday A slight chance of rain and snow. Mostly sunny, with a high near 41. Southwest wind around 5 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20%.

SAGUACHE — Several complaints were filed last week concerning Nov. 1 election activities alleging procedural and other irregularities that occurred on election day, also objections to the handling of canvass board appointments. Watcher Lisa Cyriacks filed three complaints, one concerning election counting activities and two others regarding the appointment of the canvass board. Cyriacks was appointed to the board to represent Center Schools but Saguache County Clerk Melinda Myers refused to accept her as an appointee. Center School Board president Michael Lobato said he protested Myers’ objection to Cyriacks’ appointment but received no response Photo by Teresa Benns to his complaint. As of press time, This American flag unfurls against the last of the fall colors above the veteran's monument at the La Cyriacks still wasn’t sure if she Garita cemetery. Veterans memorials have been erected in cemeteries throughout Saguache County over would be seated on the board. The the past few years with the help of Saguache Veteran's Service Officer Tom Blunt and local veteran's board is scheduled to meet sometime organizations. next week. In her complaint to the Secretary of State (SOS) concerning the events on election night, Cyriacks cited voters’ rights to expect anonymity when casting their ballots and observed Part 1, Sanitation board goes after complainants that the manner in which Clerk Myers attempted to cast ballots last Tuesday some even have been warned by the been treating the water with chlorine night would have allowed her to trace BY TERESA L. BENNS CRESTONE — Concerns about a Water and Sanitation board not to (state-mandated to kill bacteria) and votes back to voters. This, she points SeaQuest (not-state mandated), a out, amounts to voter intimidation water additive voiced by Baca Grande publicize the matter. Earlier this year, Baca resident Eric secret, propriety man-made chemical residents earlier this year have not been addressed, residents claim and Karlstrom reported that BGW&S “has Please see WATER on Page 5A Please see ELECTION on Page 3A

Baca water concerns still not addressed


Thursday, November 10, 2011

Center Post-Dispatch

ELECTION

Continued from Page 1A because if those voting believe that their vote can somehow be known, it could affect their choice. Cyriacks states in her complaint that Myers “categorized ballot styles by precinct, resulting in nine ballots that are identical except for the identified precinct and ballot style on each ballot and on each mail ballot envelope.” The ballots, on receipt, then were bundled into groups of 25 or less. “Once the signatures were verified, the envelopes were opened and bundled with a coversheet identifying the batch, number of ballots and who processed them. A duplicate sheet containing the same information was attached to the bundle of ballots removed from the envelopes. “The Saguache County Clerk and designated election official has stated her intention to count each bundle separately in batches of 25 maintaining a sequential ‘list of voters’ that could subsequently be used to associate a ballot and its voter.” Cyriacks submitted the complaint before the end of election day. As

GARCIA noted in an article last week detailing a similar complaint submitted by vote integrity advocate Al Kolwicz, SOS officials foiled Myers’ attempt to group ballots in the manner described by Cyriacks. A complaint also was filed concerning the constitutional rights of photographers to photograph government officials involved in public events held in public places. Cyriacks commented Monday that other complaints probably would be submitted over the next few weeks. Counting problems on election night According to Cyriacks and other watchers present for the election night vote count, quips flew from counting judge Jessica Duboe and Myers about how counting with the M650 was so much better than handcounting, although some commented that hand-counting might be quicker. Folds on the ballots kept getting stuck, a problem not encountered during testing because ballots were scanned flat at the testing. Cyriacks suggested that maybe the use of mail ballots should be limited

and voters encouraged to do more polling place voting (which results in unfolded ballots.) For almost every batch, Duboe had to resort to feeding the ballots through one by one, continuously adjusting the tension on the feeder. The whole process took over four hours. At the end, a discrepancy was noted. The SCORE report of returned ballots had 1,510 plus 99 property owner ballots totaling 1,609. The machine total was 1,578 plus duplicated ballots plus three UOCAVA (overseas) ballots, to equal 1,585. Accoeding to SCORE reports the ballots appeared to be scanned in on return but no one could explain why they didn’t appear to have been counted or listed on various logs kept by assistant clerk Renee Hazard. According to one watcher’s report, Myers had no idea what might have happened to the missing ballots. “The only thing she could think to do was to bring in the trash bag from the other room and start going through it, thinking that perhaps the ‘missing’ ballots had been thrown away,” the watcher remarked.

Photo by Teresa Benns

Watchers Lisa Cyriacks, Mike Garcia and Pat Jenkins pose for a photo election night, Nov. 1 with Secretary of State official Ben Schler, who helped supervise the election.

Gonzales: ES&S not in comtenmpt, but must attend depositions BY TERESA L. BENNS

Page 3A

“In Murley, the court found that contempt being Please see ES&S on Page 7A SAGUACHE — Saguache despite the prima facie case for District Judge Martin Gonzales decided Tuesday in the Marks v. Myers case that the voting device distributor Elections Systems and Software (ES&S) will not be held in contempt for failing to appear for depositions in June. Aspen vote integrity advocate Marilyn Marks filed the suit in February against Saguache County Clerk Melinda Myers in an attempt to obtain access to public records Myers refused to provide under the Colorado Open Records Act. Marks and her attorney Robert McGuire maintain that the records of Saguache County 2010 General Election results in the possession of ES&S from the M650 voting device and its software are key evidence in the case. But ES&S failed to appear for depositions in June to deliver their testimony in the case. Gonzales says the remedial contempt sanctions are not necessary to obtain ES&S' compliance with the deposition subpoena, determining that “the party's refusal to comply with the order was [not] willful… ES&S reasonably relied on its outside counsel as to the matters of procedure…as to the issue of jurisdiction/subpoena power. [The decision] Re People in the Interest of Murley, 239 P.2d 706, (Colo. 1951), is persuasive to this Court.

Continued from Page 1A a bond for a new school in center Colorado, serving many farmworker children. “I have very fond memories of working with so many of these people over the years,” Garcia said in a phone interview last week. “My favorite project was the work I did with La Puente.” Garcia said he is very grateful to friends and family who have helped with his work over the years. He noted that in receieving this award, he would like to honor the memory of his mother, Pauline Garcia, “who was a farmworker organizer and activist for many years — people here know her.” The presentation of Garcia’s achievement award will take place

during the Opening Plenary of the 21st Annual Midwest Stream Farmworker Health Forum at the Hotel Albuquerque Old Town in Albuquerque, New Mexico. About NCFH The National Center for Farmworker Health, Inc. (NCFH), established in 1975, is a private not-for-profit corporation located in Buda, Texas. The organization is dedicated to improving the health status of farmworkers and migrant families by providing training and technical assistance to a network of more than 500 Migrant Health Centers located in the US, as well as others who serve the farmworker population. For more information, please visit http://www. ncfh.org.

Log on to www.centerpostdispatch.com


Volume 110, Number 46

Shorts

Thursday, November 17, 2011

State orders Saguache Assessor to reappraise residential property BY TERESA L. BENNS

Vendors needed

MONTE VISTA — The Monte Vista Chamber of Commerce is looking for vendors for the Holiday Bazaar, Dec. 3. For more info, call 852-2731.

Christmas bazaar Saturday, Dec. 3 CENTER — The United Methodist Women of Center will hold their annual Christmas Bazaar at 10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 3, in the church basement at 4th and Broadway in Center. There will be wreaths, door hangings and centerpieces made from live greens. A buffet-style turkey dinner will be served at noon. Tickets will be $8 for adults and $3.40 for children ages 6-12. Children under age 6 will be served free. For more information, contact the church office at 754-2243.

SAGUACHE — The Colorado Division of Taxation has ordered Saguache County Assessor Jacqueline Stephens to reassess all residential property in the county following a unanimous vote by the State Board of Equalization Oct. 5. In failing to properly assess the properties, the Board found Stephens in violation of the State Constitution as well as state statutes. The decision came to light only recently because the county is six weeks behind in posting County Commissioner meeting minutes to their official website. Even when posted on time, the minutes reporting meeting activities often are written in an ambiguous manner that omits supporting information on actions

considered or taken during the meetings. This makes it difficult for Saguache County residents to inform themselves on critical issues in a timely manner. The last minutes Saguache County Clerk Melinda Myers posted for BOCC meetings on the county website, dated Sept. 13, report only that: “The State is sending Wildrose Appraisal to meet with Assessor Stephens, Sam Pace and Attorney Gibbons (on conference call), to audit the County’s Coefficient Of Disbursement on sales of residential property numbers.” In July, Saguache County officials began observing an unofficial gag order, origin unknown, forbidding them to speak with the Center PostDispatch reporter. This followed

the initial report in June that elected officials, among many others, were not paying taxes on improved land. Saguache County Attorney Ben Gibbons later denied that an official gag order had been issued through the courts. Some Saguache County residents have complained that despite the fact that commissioners, all Democrats, knew years ago of the property evaluation problem both personally and professionally, they supported fellow Democrat Stephens in her reelection run for assessor in 2010. Saguache County not in compliance According to a report from Charles S. Brown, chairman of the State Board of Equalization, Harry Fuller with Wildrose Appraisal, Inc. presented

Center cross-country runners head for nationals

Saguache Treasurer Jackie Stephens exhibits and testified at the hearing that Saguache County residential properties are out of compliance Please see STEPHENS on Page 3A

Aspen petitions State Supreme Court to rule on open records case BY TERESA L. BENNS

HOW'S THE WEATHER? Thursday Sunny, with a high near 46. Calm wind becoming south southeast around 5 mph. Thursday night Mostly clear, with a low around 18. West southwest wind around 5 mph. Friday Sunny, with a high near 48. Southwest wind between 5 and 10 mph. Friday night Partly cloudy, with a low around 20. South southwest wind between 5 and 10 mph. Saturday Mostly sunny, with a high near 44. Southwest wind between 10 and 15 mph. Saturday night Mostly cloudy, with a low around 19. South southwest wind around 10 mph. Sunday A slight chance of rain and snow showers. Partly sunny, with a high near 40. Southwest wind between 10 and 15 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20%.

50¢

Photo by Teresa Benns

Back row — Delores Estrada, Marilou Zamora; Second row — Shannon Weatherford, Mark Ledezma, Megan Torrez, Eduardo Soria, Heriberto Gonzalez and Edith Soria; Front row — Camille Ruggles. (Miriah Valera, Ashley Carter and Angel Villagomez not pictured)

BY TERESA L. BENNS CENTER — After winning regional competition in Brighton recently, Center cross country runners are headed once again to Orlando, Fla., to compete in the nationals there for the third straight year in a row. They paused briefly during practice with track Coach Dennis Schoenfelder Monday outside Center High School to talk about the trip. Besides the run, older students

were looking forward to seeing tourist attractions in Orlando they have visited before. Sonny’s Barbecue was at the top of the list for eats with one runner commenting it was “the best ever.” Others looked forward to visiting McDonalds. “We’re going to see so many places in Florida,” Edith Soria said. Shannon Weatherford predicted that runners are “going to have a fun time to remember forever.” Mark Ledezma told Center

readers he would send them “greetings from Coca Beach.” Other attractions the students plan to visit include Universal Studios and Cape Canaveral. Students placed in their respective age groups at the Brighton AU district competition as follows: Delores Estrada, 4th place, 10year-old girls; Miriah Varela, 1st place and Shannon Weatherford 3rd place, 11-year-old girls; Marilou Please see RUNNERS on Page 3A

ASPEN — Following a series of closed-door meetings, the Aspen City Council agreed Friday to file an appeal with the Colorado Supreme Court requesting a reversal of a recent appellate court decision in the Marks v. Koch case. The decision confirmed a recent Saguache District Court ruling by District Judge Martin Gonzales in Secretary of State Scott Gessler’s suit filed against Saguache County Clerk Melinda Myers in order to view voted ballots. Gonzales ruled that ballots are public records. Aspen vote integrity advocate Marilyn Marks filed a Colorado Open Records Act suit against the City of Aspen in 2009 asking to review photocopies of voted ballots following her unsuccessful bid for mayor. Eventually the case made its way to the Court of Appeals which upheld her right to review the ballots cast in the race. Aspen officials have roundly criticized the unanimous appeals court decision as violating the secrecy of the ballot and have accused Marks of overemphasizing the need for verifiability for personal reasons. Marks has consistently denied these allegations. In the petition, Aspen City Attorney John Worcester and Special Counsel Mark True highlighted four topics they would like the Supreme Court to address: • Whether article VII, §8, of the Please see ASPEN on Page 3A


Volume 110, Number 46

Shorts

Thursday, November 17, 2011

State orders Saguache Assessor to reappraise residential property BY TERESA L. BENNS

Vendors needed

MONTE VISTA — The Monte Vista Chamber of Commerce is looking for vendors for the Holiday Bazaar, Dec. 3. For more info, call 852-2731.

Christmas bazaar Saturday, Dec. 3 CENTER — The United Methodist Women of Center will hold their annual Christmas Bazaar at 10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 3, in the church basement at 4th and Broadway in Center. There will be wreaths, door hangings and centerpieces made from live greens. A buffet-style turkey dinner will be served at noon. Tickets will be $8 for adults and $3.40 for children ages 6-12. Children under age 6 will be served free. For more information, contact the church office at 754-2243.

SAGUACHE — The Colorado Division of Taxation has ordered Saguache County Assessor Jacqueline Stephens to reassess all residential property in the county following a unanimous vote by the State Board of Equalization Oct. 5. In failing to properly assess the properties, the Board found Stephens in violation of the State Constitution as well as state statutes. The decision came to light only recently because the county is six weeks behind in posting County Commissioner meeting minutes to their official website. Even when posted on time, the minutes reporting meeting activities often are written in an ambiguous manner that omits supporting information on actions

considered or taken during the meetings. This makes it difficult for Saguache County residents to inform themselves on critical issues in a timely manner. The last minutes Saguache County Clerk Melinda Myers posted for BOCC meetings on the county website, dated Sept. 13, report only that: “The State is sending Wildrose Appraisal to meet with Assessor Stephens, Sam Pace and Attorney Gibbons (on conference call), to audit the County’s Coefficient Of Disbursement on sales of residential property numbers.” In July, Saguache County officials began observing an unofficial gag order, origin unknown, forbidding them to speak with the Center PostDispatch reporter. This followed

the initial report in June that elected officials, among many others, were not paying taxes on improved land. Saguache County Attorney Ben Gibbons later denied that an official gag order had been issued through the courts. Some Saguache County residents have complained that despite the fact that commissioners, all Democrats, knew years ago of the property evaluation problem both personally and professionally, they supported fellow Democrat Stephens in her reelection run for assessor in 2010. Saguache County not in compliance According to a report from Charles S. Brown, chairman of the State Board of Equalization, Harry Fuller with Wildrose Appraisal, Inc. presented

Center cross-country runners head for nationals

Saguache Treasurer Jackie Stephens exhibits and testified at the hearing that Saguache County residential properties are out of compliance Please see STEPHENS on Page 3A

Aspen petitions State Supreme Court to rule on open records case BY TERESA L. BENNS

HOW'S THE WEATHER? Thursday Sunny, with a high near 46. Calm wind becoming south southeast around 5 mph. Thursday night Mostly clear, with a low around 18. West southwest wind around 5 mph. Friday Sunny, with a high near 48. Southwest wind between 5 and 10 mph. Friday night Partly cloudy, with a low around 20. South southwest wind between 5 and 10 mph. Saturday Mostly sunny, with a high near 44. Southwest wind between 10 and 15 mph. Saturday night Mostly cloudy, with a low around 19. South southwest wind around 10 mph. Sunday A slight chance of rain and snow showers. Partly sunny, with a high near 40. Southwest wind between 10 and 15 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20%.

50¢

Photo by Teresa Benns

Back row — Delores Estrada, Marilou Zamora; Second row — Shannon Weatherford, Mark Ledezma, Megan Torrez, Eduardo Soria, Heriberto Gonzalez and Edith Soria; Front row — Camille Ruggles. (Miriah Valera, Ashley Carter and Angel Villagomez not pictured)

BY TERESA L. BENNS CENTER — After winning regional competition in Brighton recently, Center cross country runners are headed once again to Orlando, Fla., to compete in the nationals there for the third straight year in a row. They paused briefly during practice with track Coach Dennis Schoenfelder Monday outside Center High School to talk about the trip. Besides the run, older students

were looking forward to seeing tourist attractions in Orlando they have visited before. Sonny’s Barbecue was at the top of the list for eats with one runner commenting it was “the best ever.” Others looked forward to visiting McDonalds. “We’re going to see so many places in Florida,” Edith Soria said. Shannon Weatherford predicted that runners are “going to have a fun time to remember forever.” Mark Ledezma told Center

readers he would send them “greetings from Coca Beach.” Other attractions the students plan to visit include Universal Studios and Cape Canaveral. Students placed in their respective age groups at the Brighton AU district competition as follows: Delores Estrada, 4th place, 10year-old girls; Miriah Varela, 1st place and Shannon Weatherford 3rd place, 11-year-old girls; Marilou Please see RUNNERS on Page 3A

ASPEN — Following a series of closed-door meetings, the Aspen City Council agreed Friday to file an appeal with the Colorado Supreme Court requesting a reversal of a recent appellate court decision in the Marks v. Koch case. The decision confirmed a recent Saguache District Court ruling by District Judge Martin Gonzales in Secretary of State Scott Gessler’s suit filed against Saguache County Clerk Melinda Myers in order to view voted ballots. Gonzales ruled that ballots are public records. Aspen vote integrity advocate Marilyn Marks filed a Colorado Open Records Act suit against the City of Aspen in 2009 asking to review photocopies of voted ballots following her unsuccessful bid for mayor. Eventually the case made its way to the Court of Appeals which upheld her right to review the ballots cast in the race. Aspen officials have roundly criticized the unanimous appeals court decision as violating the secrecy of the ballot and have accused Marks of overemphasizing the need for verifiability for personal reasons. Marks has consistently denied these allegations. In the petition, Aspen City Attorney John Worcester and Special Counsel Mark True highlighted four topics they would like the Supreme Court to address: • Whether article VII, §8, of the Please see ASPEN on Page 3A


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Center Post-Dispatch

STEPHENS

Continued from Page 1A with “acceptable guidelines adopted by the State Board.” Based on his findings, Fuller recommended that all residential property in Saguache County be reappraised. The State Board of Equalization agreed. Stephens testified at the hearing that she had worked with the auditor in the matter and would do everything necessary to correct the problem. Property Tax Administrator JoAnn Groff informed the State Board that the Division of Taxation “had received a taxpayer complaint for Saguache County as well as a request for assistance from the county that would be dealt with at the same time as the appraisal.” “After considering all the evidence and testimony, the state board found and concluded that the findings and recommendations of the auditor were supported by evidence, that an order of reappraisal of residential property was appropriate and that such order should be issued. “The State Board adopts the auditor’s recommendation and specifically finds that the study conducted pursuant to 39-1-105.5(1)(b)(II)(A) and (B) C.R.S., that all residential property in Saguache County be reappraised during the property tax year which commenced January 1, 2011, established that the assessor failed to value residential property consistent with the Constitution, statutes and manuals published by the Division of Property Taxation…By unanimous vote, the State Board orders all residential property in Saguache County to be reappraised during the property tax year commencing Jan. 1, 2012.” Questions about appraisals initially arose in June when several Saguache residents reported that some county

RUNNERS

Continued from Page 1A Zamora, 3rd place and Camille Ruggles 4th place, 12-year-old girls; Ashley Carter 8th place and Edith Soria 9th place, 13-year-old girls; Megan Torrez 9th place, 17-year-old

Page 3A

ASPEN

Continued from Page 1A officials’ properties were not being assessed at a rate consistent with properties that once were vacant land but later were developed. In a press release in July, Commissioners indicated they had addressed Stephens' practices following the report and stated that throughout the years, they have fully supported her office with financing to perform the duties of the office. Subsequently the state became involved and Stephens learned that state officials would determine whether or not improprieties have occurred in the county and what action, if any, would be taken. She was advised in September that she would be required to present evidence supporting the county’s position proving that the Board would not need to take action. Three additional counties received recommended orders on Aug. 15 besides Saguache. One county had neglected to submit data for a class of property. Two counties had commercial property out of compliance. All three counties made the necessary changes to bring them into compliance and avoided their hearings. Groff said that Stephens has already begun reappraising county properties and will be supervised in her efforts by state officials. The state expects the reappraisals to be completed no later than October of 2012, she said, “but we prefer it to happen sooner.” While assessors may not like to be ordered to reappraise properties, Groff explained, the supervised reassessments are intended to help them understand why the appraisals were not properly conducted in the first place and correct any errors in appraising properties in the future.

Colorado Constitution prohibits making cast election ballots available for public inspection pursuant to the Colorado Open Records Act, §§2472-200.1, et seq., C.R.S • Whether §31-10-616 of the Municipal Election Code prohibits making available for public inspection copies of cast election ballots pursuant to the Colorado Open Records Act, §§24-72-200.1, et seq., C.R.S • Whether the Court of Appeals erred in failing to remand the case to the District Court for a hearing in accordance with §§24-72-204(6)(a) and (b), C.R.S, to determine the propriety of the custodian’s refusal to make cast ballots available for public inspection on the grounds that such disclosure “would do substantial injury to the public interest.” • Whether the Court ofAppeals erred in awarding appellate attorney fees to the Respondent in the absence of a determination by the District Court pursuant to §24-72-204(6)(a), C.R.S., that “the custodian, in good faith, after exercising reasonable diligence, and after making reasonable inquiry, was unable to determine if disclosure of the public record was prohibited without a ruling by the court.” The petition basically requests that the court define the meaning of the term “secret ballot” as it appears in the Colorado Constitution. The current version of the Constitution requires all ballots to be anonymous and allows the use of “any machine or mechanical contrivance for the purpose of receiving and registering the votes cast at any election, provided that secrecy in voting is preserved.” The petition states that secrecy is basically being sacrificed to verifiability in the appeals court ruling. It notes that initially the previous requirement that ballots be numbered to allow for verification was removed to further assure voters that their ballots would forever remain a secret. During the recent Saguache 2011 girls; Heriberto Gonzalez 3rd place and Angel Villagomez 4th place, election, ballots appeared to be batched 13-year-old boys and Mark Ledezma 14th and Eduardo Soria 16th, 15-16year-old boys.

Photo by Teresa Benns

Marilyn Marks scans ballots at the Saguache Courthouse for her own personal review following the citizens ballot count in Saguache in August. Aspen officials claim that Marks' bid to examine ballots there would violate voter secrecy. for counting in such a manner that they could be linked back to the voter. The batches were reordered by the Secretary of State’s Office supervising the election to prevent this. The petition further states that, “The right to cast a secret vote is the ‘right to vote one’s conscience without fear of retaliation,’ (McIntyre v Ohio Elections Commission, 514 U.S. 334, 343, 1995). ‘The right encompasses not only the right to cast one’s vote in private, but also the right to maintain the confidentiality of one’s vote following an election,’ (Mahaffey v Barnhill, 855 P.2d 847, 850, Colo. 1993). As pointed out in the past by those favoring verifiability, a ballot cannot be connected to a voter once it is cast, since it then becomes an anonymous document. Depending on how mail-in ballots are handled, however, they could be traced to voters by election officials if the rules governing their handling are not observed. But those verifying votes would not have access to the same information, making it impossible to make this connection. Marks comments “I am undeterred but disappointed by the decision of Aspen’s City Council

to seek to overturn the Colorado Court of Appeals decision that affirmed the rights of all Colorado citizens to verify the integrity of their elections by the review of the anonymous ballots that elect those who govern,” Marks said in response to the filing. “I am especially appalled by the Council’s unanimous decision to proceed on a significant matter of public policy without required consideration of the matter in any public forum, as required by the Aspen City Code and the State of Colorado's Sunshine Law. “If Florida’s Bush/Gore ballots can be verified by the press, and Minnesota’s Franken/Coleman Senate race ballots can be posted on the Internet, surely Aspen can move into the 21st century and acknowledge that voter privacy and anonymity implemented together promote fully transparent elections where anyone may re-tabulate the election for themselves.” Marks’ attorney Robert McGuire has 10 business days to respond to the petition. Aspen then has five days to answer his response. About one in 14 appeals to the State Supreme Court are actually accepted, according to Marks.


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Center Post-Dispatch

Page 11A

Myers refuses to seat Cyriacks on canvass board BY TERESA L. BENNS CENTER — Saguache County Clerk Melinda Myers has refused to seat Center School’s designated canvass board member Lisa Cyriacks on the board, objecting that Cyriacks was responsible for exceeding her authority as a canvass board member in 2010. The Center School Board has selected an alternate, Ed Nielsen, to serve in Cyriack’s stead. As of press time, it was not known if Myers would accept Nielsen, who also served as a canvass board member in 2010. Earlier this month, Center School Board president Michael Lobato explained that Myers “wants us to pick someone else. After consultation with our lawyer and state level advisors it is our belief that she [Myers] has no right to do this.” Lobato filed a complaint with the clerk’s office protesting Myers’ objections on these grounds, but Myers never replied. On Nov. 10, Center Consolidated Schools Superintendent George Welsh sent an e-mail to Myers requesting that she make a final decision about Cyriacks. In his e-mail Welsh wrote: “My Board of Education would like a final decision status on its appointment of Lisa Cyriacks as Center Schools' Saguache County Canvass Board representative. The Board believes

the IGA it signed does not allow the Clerk the right to choose not to seat their assigned representative. “Attached is a copy of the IGA and my Board would like to draw your attention to item 3 section D which states we (the district) have the right to appoint a member to the canvass board. The Board would appreciate a quick resolution to this matter.” Myers responded to Welsh’s e-mail Nov. 12 with a copy to Saguache County Attorney Ben Gibbons. She pasted a copy of a complaint letter into the e-mail which she says she received from Sandra Hammond, co-chair of the Crestone Emergency Services District Formation Committee/ DEO and Akia Tanara, co-chair of the Crestone Emergency Services District Formation Committee. The complaint letter states: “We need a clear and timely resolution to our proposed district formation and therefore find it unacceptable to have Ms. Cyriacks canvassing our important ballot issue because of her actions in the 2010 election. The Grand Jury, in its investigation of the election found Ms. Cyriacks, as a member of the 2010 canvass board, overstepped her duties and disrupted the certification process.” Hammonds and Tanara state in their letter that it was Myers who informed them Cyriacks had been appointed to the Board.

Crestone to host art tour CRESTONE – Its time for the Annual Crestone Artists' studio tour and sale - December 3rd and 4th 1 to 6 pm. with special events prior to and during the event. Some of Crestone's talented artists open their studios for an intimate experience in art, gifts, food and conversations with the artists. The tour will feature artists who will inspire during the day and evening events to make this weekend a diverse celebration of the arts. Start off the art immersion weekend with an evening of beautiful live music from Chuck and Theano Lamb at Shumei International Institute on Friday Dec. 2nd at 7 p.m. Tickets are a $10 suggested donation. For more information visit www.shumeicrestone .org or contact Shumei at 719-256-5284 . But the fun is not over. On Saturday night, Dec. 3rd at 7 p.m, after the studios close for the day, come out and enjoy an evening of poetry in downtown

Crestone at the Laughing Buddha Lounge. "Celebrating the Spoken Word:" performance and poetry, will feature local and regional poets with a special musical guest and open mic. The platform is open, so pick stops and carpool with friends between the hours of 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. on the 3rd and 4th of December. Avariety of artwork will be displayed including oil paintings , book arts, sculptures, oil and pastel landscapes, handwovens, leatherparts, jewelry, photographs, enamels , mixed media paintings and even local wines. A big thank you goes to sponsors Shumei International Institute and the Saguache County Tourism Council who help make this event possible. Visit www.crestonestudiotour .com. There is a printable map, more information on the artists, photos, links, lodging options, and a list of our sponsors. Contact Deana Wilfong for more info: 719-256-5252 .

Cyriacks, a Baca Grande property owner, was an opponent of the fire district measure, which failed to gain funding from voters. Voters did, however, approve its creation as a district. The IGA signed with Center Schools by the county mentions no provision for objecting to any canvass board member the school district appoints. The actual grand jury statement referenced by Hammond and Tanara reads: “The Grand Jury determined that the Canvass Board attempted to overstep their appointed function,” (emphasis added). This does not single Cyriacks out nor does it state that the board actually did exceed their duties. And nowhere in the report does the grand jury state that Cyriacks

“disrupted the certification process.” “Several individuals signed the statement of non-certification, not just me,” Cyriacks objected. Current law on the process allows for non-certification of elections and the Secretary of State’s Office did issue an acceptance of the non-certification, despite the inference in the grand jury report that this is not the case. Official Secretary of State Office documents have been quoted in past articles and are available for e-mailing from Cyriacks upon request. Cyriacks says she feels that she is a victim of the ambiguous laws currently governing the canvass process in Colorado, laws Sec. of State Scott Gessler worked to clarify prior to his election in 2010. While the law admits

the legality of non-certification, it offers no provisions for what should be done in the event an election is not certified. “The Center School Board views every election as an important one,” Center School Board President Michael Lobato said. “In choosing Lisa Cyriacks to represent us on the canvass boar we simply selected a person we believe is familiar with election rules, laws and processes.” Entities such as school boards and special districts conducting elections have a right by law to appoint one or two members of their choosing to the canvass board. Myers, however, is allowed to appoint canvass board members for the Crestone fire district, according the IGA signed with the district.

The Way to Live with the Mind of Christ One of the greatest revelations of my life is: I can choose my thoughts and think things on purpose. In other words, I don’t have to just think about whatever falls into my mind. This was a life-changing revelation for me because as Proverbs 23:7 (AMP) says, “As [a man] thinks in his heart, so is he.” I like to say it like this: Where the mind goes, the man follows. Now God is concerned about the hidden man of the heart, which is our inner life. Our inner life is what we think about. And like the scripture above says, the way we think determines how we live and who we are. That’s why we need to think about what we’re thinking about. It’s so important for us to understand this because if we don’t learn how to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ (see 2 Corinthians 10:4-5), we won’t live the life Jesus died to give us – a life of peace with God, peace with ourselves, great relationships, real joy and the ability to become all God has created us to be. It comes down to choosing to believe what God says (the truth) more than we believe our feelings, what other people say or our circumstances. The Bible specifically talks about three things we must do to develop a mind that agrees with God. I want to share the benefits of each of them. 1. “Set your minds and keep them set on what is above (the higher things…” (Colossians 3:2 AMP). This is the key to resisting temptation. See, when we make up our mind ahead of time what we will and won’t do, then when temptation comes, we have laid a foundation to make right choices and are more likely to successfully overcome the

temptation. For example, before you get into social situations, decide “I am not going to gossip. I’m not going to ruin someone’s reputation and offend the Holy Spirit.” Other temptations may require you to decide things like “I’m not going to eat four candy bars today.” Or “I am not going to look at pornography on the Internet.” Or “I am not going to hang out with people who are bad influences.” My point here is, we don’t want to wait until the temptation comes and then react based on how we feel about it. 2. “Do not be conformed to this world…but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind…” (Romans 12:2 AMP). Renewing the mind is an ongoing process. Every day we need to take time to study the Word so we can purposely think according to what it says. And we can’t keep one or two “junky” areas in our thought life because it just keeps us from the best God has for us. I’m not saying we have to be perfect with this, but we need to make progress each day so we can keep our mind renewed and grow in our relationship with God. 3. “Gird up the loins of your mind…” (1 Peter 1:13 NKJV). You are probably thinking, What does that mean? It’s basically saying we need to get all the junk in our mind out of our way so we can keep running our race in Christ Jesus and have the victory God wants us to have. Then we are ready for action to follow God’s plan for our lives. One practical way we can accomplish these three directions from God is to have a think session every day. Just sit down and say, “I’m going to think about some things on purpose.” Then spend some time

thinking about scriptures that renew your mind with the truth about what God says – about His love for you, His plan for you, how He wants you to live and behave... Use a concordance to find verses that cover areas you are struggling with or need to know more about. I want to encourage you to write some of them down and put them places where you will see them every day, like the bathroom mirror or refrigerator. If you will commit to set your mind on God’s Word, renewing your mind with truth and getting stinkin’ thinkin’ out of your way, then you will experience the fullness of new life that we can all have in Christ. All it takes is a little more progress one day at a time. For more on this topic, order Joyce’s four-CD series Power Thoughts. You can also contact us to receive our free magazine, Enjoying Everyday Life, by calling (800) 727-9673 or visiting www.joycemeyer.org. Joyce Meyer is a New York Times bestselling author and founder of Joyce Meyer Ministries, Inc. She has authored more than 90 books, including Battlefield of the Mind and Living Beyond Your Feelings (Hachette). She hosts the Enjoying Everyday Life radio and TV programs, which air on hundreds of stations worldwide. For more information, visit www.joycemeyer.org. Please note: The views and opinions expressed throughout this publication and/or website are those of the respective authors and do not necessarily reflect those of Joyce Meyer Ministries.


Volume 110, Number 49

Shorts

Thursday, December 8, 2011

50¢

ES&S requests attorneys' fees in Marks CORA case BY TERESA L. BENNS

SAGUACHE — The Nebraskabased voting device firm Election Systems & Software (ES&S) filed a motion with Saguache District Judge Martin Gonzales last month, asking that he award them almost $60,000 in attorney’s fees in the Marks v. Myers case. ES&S distributes the M650 voting device used to tabulate votes during the November 2010 Saguache election. The company has been asked to testify in the Colorado Open Records Act (CORA) suit filed by Aspen election integrity advocate Marilyn Marks in February against Saguache County Clerk Melinda M O N T E V I S TA — Va l l e y Myers. Publishing’s special “Letters to The firm failed to obey a subpoena Santa” edition will be published in the to appear in Denver for depositions in weekly papers on Wed. and Thurs., Dec. 21 and 22. All letters need to be sent to Valley Publishing by Friday, Dec. 9 so we can get them typed in and forwarded onto the North Pole. Letters can be emailed to: vpadvertising@amigo.net, mailed to: Valley Publishing, P.O. Box 607, Monte Vista, CO, 81144 or dropped by our office at 835 1st Ave. in Monte Vista.

Time running out for Santa letters

June, even though it was authorized by Judge Gonzales. Marks’ attorney, Robert McGuire asked the court that they be held in contempt for failing to appear for the depositions and a hearing was held on the contempt charges in October. Following that hearing, McGuire filed a request for attorney’s fees from ES&S on Nov. 23, with an answer due from ES&S on Dec. 12. ES&S filed for attorney’s fees in a motion filed Nov. 28. McGuire’s response is due Dec. 16. Contempt hearing A host of attorneys representing ES&S appeared in Saguache District Court Oct. 28 to argue they were not guilty of contempt and should not be

Photo by Teresa Benns

Please see CORA on Page 3A ES&S attorneys prepare to leave following the first day of an October contempt of court hearing in Saguache.

Gomez promises to serve public interests if elected as clerk

Away in a manger

BY TERESA L. BENNS CENTER — After winning — then losing — the 2010 General Election to Saguache County Clerk Melinda Myers, Carla Gomez of Center has gathered the required petition signatures to face Myers once again on Jan. 24 in the recall election. Gomez is a native of Costilla County, born in Alamosa. She has lived in Saguache County since 1972, moving into Center in 1994.

Salute to our troops M O N T E V I S TA — Va l l e y Publishing will be running a special holiday salute in the papers this month to honor and thank our local active duty military personnel. Please send us names of any Valley residents currently serving our country. Names can be emailed to: valleypubs@ amigo.net, faxed to 852-3387 or mailed to Valley Publishing, P.O. Box 607, Monte Vista, CO 81144.

HOW'S THE WEATHER? Thursday Mostly sunny, with a high near 34. West wind around 5 mph becoming calm. Thursday night Partly cloudy, with a low around 1. Calm wind becoming west northwest around 5 mph. Friday Sunny, with a high near 32. West wind around 5 mph becoming calm. Friday night Mostly clear, with a low around -2. West southwest wind around 5 mph. Saturday Sunny, with a high near 32. West southwest wind around 5 mph becoming calm. Saturday night Mostly clear, with a low around -4. West southwest wind around 5 mph. Sunday Sunny, with a high near 32. West southwest wind around 5 mph becoming calm.

Photo by Teresa Benns

This Christmas display, an annual holiday treat for folks traveling Highway 285 between Center and Monte Vista, looks right at home with the recent snowfall in the area.

Trujillo looking for judges for recall election SAGUACHE — Two candidates collected enough signatures by the specified end date for signature collection last week to run on the recall ticket against Saguache County Clerk Melinda Myers. The two candidates turning in sufficient signatures were Republicans Patricia Jenkins and Carla Gomez. Democrats Christina Wilson and Tina Serna did not turn in the required signature before the deadline. Myers did not turn in her letter of justification — a 300-word statement countering the reasons why those organizing the recall election believe Myers should be recalled. Because

the deadline has passed, the clerk’s counter statement will not appear on the ballot. Designated Election Official (County Treasurer) Connie Trujillo is asking for help in securing judges for the election. "I have sent letters to both party chairs in regards to any potential lists of judges they might want to send me,” Trujillo stated in an email last week. “Since there will be three polling places — Center, Saguache, and Crestone (Villa Grove and Moffat voting in Saguache) — I will be needing four polling place judges at each site as well as three

alternates.” Trujillo noted that she also would be recruiting 10 counting judges plus at least three alternates. “Judges training will be on Jan. 12, 2012 from 11-3 p.m.,” she added. “A light lunch will be served.” Trujillo asked party chairs to appoint one canvass board member per party to help audit the election and one unaffiliated voter also will be appointed to the canvass board. Unaffiliated voters wishing to volunteer for the canvass board or those with questions can contact Trujillo at 655-2656.

Carla Gomez Her husband, Juan, passed away in 2004. She has two children, two step-grandchildren, and is anxiously awaiting the birth of her first grandchild in March. Gomez is currently employed in the District Attorney's office as the Director of the Victim Witness office and as the administrator for the 12th Judicial District Victim Assistance and Law Enforcement (VALE) Board. Her hobbies include sewing, knitting and crocheting, and her favorite pastime, she says, other than spending time with her family, is working in her yard and enjoying her front porch. “That actually is my therapy,” she says. Gomez credits here religious faith and church as “an integral part of my life and Please see GOMEZ on Page 6A


Page 6A

GOMEZ

Continued from Page 1A the source of my strength.” She also is a board member and secretary of the Tierra Nueva Farmworker Housing Project in Center, a member of the SLV Health Care Foundation and has recently been appointed to the 12th Judicial District Judicial Performance Commission. “I understand and believe in public service and look forward to serving the people of Saguache County as clerk and recorder if elected to do so.” Gomez gave the following answers to questions posed in her candidates’ questionnaire. Q. Why do you want to be the Saguache County clerk? A. As a long time resident of this county, with a belief in and commitment to responsible public service, I would like the opportunity to serve the citizens of this county in this important position. I believe I possess the skills and work ethic to perform the duties of this office. Q. What experience and personal qualities do you feel make you a good candidate for the clerk’s position? A. Almost every job I've had has been working with the public, providing customer service in one form or another, either as a bank teller, retail business owner or as for the past twelve years, an administrator in victim services in the District Attorney's office. In all of these positions, learning the procedures, legal responsibilities, and how to provide people with what they need in an efficient and respectful manner, has been my priority. I have learned to prepare budgets, policies and procedures, administrative agreements, board meeting minutes, personnel policies and other administrative functions. I believe that providing services is one of the most important qualities I have learned. In my current position, working with victims of violent crime, who, at the worst time of their lives, need to be treated with respect and dignity, and provided with facts about what can and cannot be done, requires great skill and patience. All of these experiences have taught me that honesty, respect, and humility, combined with a good work ethic are qualities I strive to achieve and make me a good candidate for this office. Q. If elected, what would you do differently in the clerk’s office than the present clerk is doing? A. I cannot fully answer this question until I am in that office. What I can say, is based on what I've heard from people around the county and what I've seen myself, I would be in the office, accessible to the people, performing the duties of that office as described in the statute, and swear to uphold. Q. How will you handle the press and Colorado Open Record Act requests? A. As required. This is a public office. The public has a right to what is available in a timely manner. Q. Do you have any experience with elections or any ideas how you would manage them given the problems over the past several years? A. The only experience I have with elections is serving as an election judge a few times and as a candidate for this office in 2010. What I learned from that experience and how I would manage them is very simple: Prepare well in advance, train all those assisting thoroughly and follow the law. Q. Do you think the county should return to hand-counting ballots and would you seek a refund for the M650 tabulation equipment? If not, how will you budget for the ongoing training and supply expenses for the device with budget cuts planned for the county? A.Ibelievethathand-countingballots can be pretty tedious, however, what we have all seen and learned in the last couple of elections is that this method is certainly less tedious, more accurate and less cumbersome than dealing with electronic tabulating machines. People do not have confidence in the M650

Center Post-Dispatch for good reason. It is imperative and a fundamental principle that people have confidence in the election and ballot counting process. There is always the possibility of mistakes; however every effort should be made to keep these to a minimum and to deal with any problems as quickly and honestly as possible. I would return the M650 and demand a refund. Q. How do you plan to deal with the SOS when it comes to conducting elections? A. I would certainly request their assistance and guidance. Q. What will be your strategy for supervising the Canvass Board? A. My strategy will be to supervise as described in suggested and accepted procedures for the clerk and Canvass Board. Q. What do you feel should be included in the minutes for the county commissioner meetings? A. As the minutes are the official record of the proceedings and decisions of the BOCC, minutes should include members present, summaries of any discussions, all motions made and a record of the vote of each motion, reports of various agencies and offices, financial and budget reports and any other pertinent information as required. Q. How would you deal with your employees and how do you expect them to interact with you? A. I would treat them with respect and support. I would expect them to do their jobs and would be available to assist them in any way. I would not expect them to do anything I would not do myself. I would strive for an atmosphere of mutual trust and respect. Q. What services do you feel should be available for Saguache County citizens in the clerk’s office? A. Certainly all the services currently available to citizens. Also, any other services deemed necessary and within the ability of the clerk. Q. How will you deal with the public? A. Everyone will be treated with respect and dignity. As clerk, I will be the one to answer to the people.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

JENKINS

Continued from Page 2A included in the minutes for the county commissioner meetings? A. All minutes should be open to the public on the website and updated every two to three weeks. Also video of the commissioners’ meetings should be on the website as well. Q. How would you deal with your employees and how do you expect

them to interact with you? A. I would expect them to work as a team along side me and respect me as their employer. I am an easygoing person, but I would want all paperwork done in a timely manner with nothing left for a later time. Q. What services do you feel should be available for Saguache County

citizens in the clerk’s office? A. All areas of service should be made available to the citizens of the county. Q. How will you deal with the public? A. I would interact with the public the way I would like to be treated when I would walk through the door.

NEWS New periodical features prize-winning stories BY PENNY BRUCE SAGUACHE — The Saguache Book Club held their monthly meeting in the Library on Tuesday, Nov. 29 and discussed “A Story Like the Wind”, Laurens van der Post’s novel about a boy growing up in Africa in the turbulent times between the World Wars. Although somewhat daunted by the length of the tale and the dense prose used to tell it, members agreed that the story was fascinating and that once again, the group had chosen a book that most would never have discovered, had it not been for Book Club. Their next meeting will be after

Vets Center sponsoring Santa's workshop HOMELAKE — The Colorado State Veterans Center will sponsor Santa’s Workshop from 9 a.m. to noon Dec. 9 and 10, as well as Dec. 16 and 17. The event will include pictures taken with Santa, Mrs. Claus and the elves, as well as goodies and crafts for the kids. For info, call Pam or Melanie at 852-5118.

the holidays, on Jan. 11 at 6 p.m., when they will meet to discuss Rebecca Stead’s Newberry Award-winning book, “When You Reach Me.” Copies will be available at the Library and anyone interested in joining the group is encouraged to do so. Staff would like to highlight a new periodical in their collection, The Colorado Review, published by Colorado State University. Each book-sized edition contains the best of contemporary writings submitted to

their editors in a variety of categories, not only fiction and non-fiction, but poetry, essays, and literary reviews as well. This month’s copy features the latest short story to win the Nelligan Prize, awarded annually for the best short fiction. We invite patrons to look for the latest copies of the Colorado Review in our New Book section and, as they say, “check them out.” They may even be inspired to submit something of their own!


Page 2A

Center Post-Dispatch

OBITUARIES MARY LOUISE PENA, 69 SAN DIEGO, CA — San Diego resident Mary Louise Peña , 69, died Dec. 3, 2011 at her sister’s home in San Diego after a hard fought battle with cancer. She was born in Monte Vista to Fred and Manuelita Peña . She attended school at Sargent and moved to San Diego as a young woman. She worked in many areas, the first being electronics when that was the thing; when that door closed, she became a nurse’s aide and eventually went to work at a casino in Escondido, Calif.. She also served as a substitute teacher during a strike at one of the local schools. Hard work was always what she felt kept a person sane. She enjoyed jigsaw puzzles the more pieces the better, and would fix them with lightning speed. She also loved word search puzzles, reading and spending time with her family. Her greatest hobby was collecting dolls and she loved large rings. She will be remembered for wearing big rings on every finger.

Both her parents; one sister, Evelyn Quintana; a niece, Roberta Ortega; nephew, Mark Lane and one great nephew, Angelo Ahumada, preceded her in death. Survivors include one son, Chris (Tiffany) Jeffers, Temecula, Calif. and grandchildren Wyatt, Creede and Cambria; siblings: Nina Suarez, San Diego, Elias “Don: (Lori) Peña, Monte Vista, Valentina Peña , Monte Vista, Ruth Peña , San Diego, Maryann Peña , Lakewood, Colo., Richard (Susan) Peña, Romeo, Colo., Veronica Peña , Phoenix, Ariz., Vivian (Manuel) Peña , Kersey, Colo. and Andrew Peña, Vail. Mary Louise also had a hand in helping to raise several nieces and nephews, babysat for many of them and helped by taking them to swim lessons or anything else she could help with. Cremation has been chosen, a memorial service will be held in San Diego and inurnment will be at a later date at the Rock Creek Cemetery near Monte Vista, where her parents are buried.

SHERIFF’S REPORT The following were provided by the Saguache Sheriff's Office for the week of Nov. 22-29. Michael Cook, 24, Lakewood, speeding 81 in a 65 MPH zone John Dudley, 24, Henryetta, Okla., speeding 89 in a 65 MPH zone

John Currie, 95, Durango, speeding 79 in a 65 MPH zone Kelly Webers, 20, Lakewood, speeding 77 in a 65 MPH zone James Elliot, 37, Englewood, speeding 83 in a 65 MPH zone Jacqueline Painter, 25, Golden speeding 84 in a 65 MPH zone

CENTER POLICE REPORT The following were provided by the Center Police Department for the weeks of Oct. 21-Nov. 12. Pavita Decorah, 74, Crestone, limits on backing Jessica Stevens, Pagosa Springs, speeding Christopher Johnson, 47, Alamosa, speeding Galen Degani, 67, Center, speeding Jorge Venzor. 36, Center, speeding Dallas Northrop, 29. Colorado Springs, speeding Jaoaquin Dominguez, 43, Center, speeding Sheldon Rockey, 36, Center, speeding Marin Mihaylov, 30, Illinois, speeding

Benigno Gardea, 48, Center, speeding Maribel Aguilar, 34, Center, disregarded stop sign Sherrie Cardenas, 28, Alamosa, speeding Alejandro Enriquez, 25, Center, speeding Tobias Romo, 50, Center, overtook vehicle on left Loretta Anderson, 43, Center, DUR Katherine Garcia, 46, La Jara, no insurance, defective vehicle Byron Archuleta, 53, Center, failed to obtain vendor’s license Vickie Eagan, 58, Alamosa, speeding Annarae Martinez, 31, Center, disregarded stop sign, no license on person

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Jenkins a team player, enthusiastic for public verification of votes BY TERESA L. BENNS SAGUACHE COUNTY — Patricia Jenkins, who helped organize recall activities earlier this year threw her hat into the recall election ring last month and intends to put her experience as a counting judge and watcher to good use if elected county clerk. Jenkins has lived in the Saguache County for 27 years and resides in Precinct 2, which is on the northwest side of the County. She is married to Bill Jenkins and has two grown children and five granddaughters. “Most of this year I have been involved with the Recall Committee and learning the statues on elections,” Jenkins said. “I love the outdoors, hunting, fishing and I am a lifetime member of the American Legion Auxiliary.” Both Jenkins and Carla Gomez gained sufficient signatures to petition on the ballot for the recall election, set for Jan. 24. Each filled out candidate questionnaires to help get their messages out to county residents who hope to change how clerk’s office affairs are handled. Answers to candidate questionnaire Q. Why do you want to be the Saguache County clerk? A. My interest in public service was generated by my volunteer work in the 2010 election, citizen oversight efforts where I gained knowledge of election laws and the importance of compliance. Q. What experience and personal qualities do you feel make you a good candidate for the clerk’s position? A. Being an election judge for the Secretary of State/Citizen Review of the 2010 election, Co-Chair of the Recall Committee, Crew Leader/

Patricia Jenkins Trainer with the 1990 Census, and poll watcher for the Nov. 1 election. I also have 20 plus years in the various fields requiring organization, supervision, budget, personal computers and procurement skills. Q. If elected, what would you do differently in the clerk’s office than the present clerk is doing? A. Everyone would be retrained to make sure the public is provided with whatever they need. My performance standards would be set high to encourage staff to achieve their best in public service. I will commit 20 percent more time in training than required. As a County Clerk and Recorder, I will work for a reliable, non-partisan, and continually improving source of information about elections; for instance, I will establish, publish and provide continued support for a publicly accessible database of facts, voting data, costs and performance metrics for election operations, and I will participate in statewide surveys on conducting elections in Colorado to enable comparative and historical analysis of elections. I will remain responsive to local and statewide demands for more election

transparency and the constant need to build voter confidence in election results. Q. How will you handle the press and Colorado Open Record Act requests? A. The press would be encouraged to observe all processes of the elections and photos taking would be encouraged. I am enthusiastically for public verification. Q. Do you have any experience with elections or any ideas how you would manage them given the problems over the past several years? A. I was an election judge for the 2010 review. The citizens of Saguache County would be encouraged to participate in all aspects of the elections. Q. Do you think the county should return to hand-counting ballots and would you seek a refund for the M650 tabulation equipment? If not, how will you budget for the ongoing training and supply expenses for the device with budget cuts planned for the county? A. I think Saguache County should go back to hand-counting ballots. I would ask for a refund of the M650 equipment. Also I would see to it that we have reusable ballot sleeves and would not order extra ballots that we do not need. Q. How do you plan to deal with the SOS when it comes to conducting elections? A. I welcome the SOS and his staff to observe our elections and I welcome any insight that would help us. Q. What will be your strategy for supervising the Canvass Board? A. I will be working side by side with them and encourage teamwork. Q. What do you feel should be Please see JENKINS on Page 6A


Page 6A

GOMEZ

Continued from Page 1A the source of my strength.” She also is a board member and secretary of the Tierra Nueva Farmworker Housing Project in Center, a member of the SLV Health Care Foundation and has recently been appointed to the 12th Judicial District Judicial Performance Commission. “I understand and believe in public service and look forward to serving the people of Saguache County as clerk and recorder if elected to do so.” Gomez gave the following answers to questions posed in her candidates’ questionnaire. Q. Why do you want to be the Saguache County clerk? A. As a long time resident of this county, with a belief in and commitment to responsible public service, I would like the opportunity to serve the citizens of this county in this important position. I believe I possess the skills and work ethic to perform the duties of this office. Q. What experience and personal qualities do you feel make you a good candidate for the clerk’s position? A. Almost every job I've had has been working with the public, providing customer service in one form or another, either as a bank teller, retail business owner or as for the past twelve years, an administrator in victim services in the District Attorney's office. In all of these positions, learning the procedures, legal responsibilities, and how to provide people with what they need in an efficient and respectful manner, has been my priority. I have learned to prepare budgets, policies and procedures, administrative agreements, board meeting minutes, personnel policies and other administrative functions. I believe that providing services is one of the most important qualities I have learned. In my current position, working with victims of violent crime, who, at the worst time of their lives, need to be treated with respect and dignity, and provided with facts about what can and cannot be done, requires great skill and patience. All of these experiences have taught me that honesty, respect, and humility, combined with a good work ethic are qualities I strive to achieve and make me a good candidate for this office. Q. If elected, what would you do differently in the clerk’s office than the present clerk is doing? A. I cannot fully answer this question until I am in that office. What I can say, is based on what I've heard from people around the county and what I've seen myself, I would be in the office, accessible to the people, performing the duties of that office as described in the statute, and swear to uphold. Q. How will you handle the press and Colorado Open Record Act requests? A. As required. This is a public office. The public has a right to what is available in a timely manner. Q. Do you have any experience with elections or any ideas how you would manage them given the problems over the past several years? A. The only experience I have with elections is serving as an election judge a few times and as a candidate for this office in 2010. What I learned from that experience and how I would manage them is very simple: Prepare well in advance, train all those assisting thoroughly and follow the law. Q. Do you think the county should return to hand-counting ballots and would you seek a refund for the M650 tabulation equipment? If not, how will you budget for the ongoing training and supply expenses for the device with budget cuts planned for the county? A.Ibelievethathand-countingballots can be pretty tedious, however, what we have all seen and learned in the last couple of elections is that this method is certainly less tedious, more accurate and less cumbersome than dealing with electronic tabulating machines. People do not have confidence in the M650

Center Post-Dispatch for good reason. It is imperative and a fundamental principle that people have confidence in the election and ballot counting process. There is always the possibility of mistakes; however every effort should be made to keep these to a minimum and to deal with any problems as quickly and honestly as possible. I would return the M650 and demand a refund. Q. How do you plan to deal with the SOS when it comes to conducting elections? A. I would certainly request their assistance and guidance. Q. What will be your strategy for supervising the Canvass Board? A. My strategy will be to supervise as described in suggested and accepted procedures for the clerk and Canvass Board. Q. What do you feel should be included in the minutes for the county commissioner meetings? A. As the minutes are the official record of the proceedings and decisions of the BOCC, minutes should include members present, summaries of any discussions, all motions made and a record of the vote of each motion, reports of various agencies and offices, financial and budget reports and any other pertinent information as required. Q. How would you deal with your employees and how do you expect them to interact with you? A. I would treat them with respect and support. I would expect them to do their jobs and would be available to assist them in any way. I would not expect them to do anything I would not do myself. I would strive for an atmosphere of mutual trust and respect. Q. What services do you feel should be available for Saguache County citizens in the clerk’s office? A. Certainly all the services currently available to citizens. Also, any other services deemed necessary and within the ability of the clerk. Q. How will you deal with the public? A. Everyone will be treated with respect and dignity. As clerk, I will be the one to answer to the people.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

JENKINS

Continued from Page 2A included in the minutes for the county commissioner meetings? A. All minutes should be open to the public on the website and updated every two to three weeks. Also video of the commissioners’ meetings should be on the website as well. Q. How would you deal with your employees and how do you expect

them to interact with you? A. I would expect them to work as a team along side me and respect me as their employer. I am an easygoing person, but I would want all paperwork done in a timely manner with nothing left for a later time. Q. What services do you feel should be available for Saguache County

citizens in the clerk’s office? A. All areas of service should be made available to the citizens of the county. Q. How will you deal with the public? A. I would interact with the public the way I would like to be treated when I would walk through the door.

NEWS New periodical features prize-winning stories BY PENNY BRUCE SAGUACHE — The Saguache Book Club held their monthly meeting in the Library on Tuesday, Nov. 29 and discussed “A Story Like the Wind”, Laurens van der Post’s novel about a boy growing up in Africa in the turbulent times between the World Wars. Although somewhat daunted by the length of the tale and the dense prose used to tell it, members agreed that the story was fascinating and that once again, the group had chosen a book that most would never have discovered, had it not been for Book Club. Their next meeting will be after

Vets Center sponsoring Santa's workshop HOMELAKE — The Colorado State Veterans Center will sponsor Santa’s Workshop from 9 a.m. to noon Dec. 9 and 10, as well as Dec. 16 and 17. The event will include pictures taken with Santa, Mrs. Claus and the elves, as well as goodies and crafts for the kids. For info, call Pam or Melanie at 852-5118.

the holidays, on Jan. 11 at 6 p.m., when they will meet to discuss Rebecca Stead’s Newberry Award-winning book, “When You Reach Me.” Copies will be available at the Library and anyone interested in joining the group is encouraged to do so. Staff would like to highlight a new periodical in their collection, The Colorado Review, published by Colorado State University. Each book-sized edition contains the best of contemporary writings submitted to

their editors in a variety of categories, not only fiction and non-fiction, but poetry, essays, and literary reviews as well. This month’s copy features the latest short story to win the Nelligan Prize, awarded annually for the best short fiction. We invite patrons to look for the latest copies of the Colorado Review in our New Book section and, as they say, “check them out.” They may even be inspired to submit something of their own!


Thursday, December 15, 2011

Center Post-Dispatch

HEALTHY LIVING

BY JOEL FUHRMAN, MD Board Certified Family Physician

Type 2 diabetes: is easily reversible with superior nutrition Over 20 million people in the United States (about 8% of the population) have type 2 diabetes, and diabetes accounted for 6.8% of global deaths in adults (age 20-79) in 2010.1, 2 Excess weight interferes with insulin, and is the primary risk factor for developing type 2 diabetes. Therefore the most effective treatment for type 2 diabetes is significant weight loss. However, the primary mode of treatment by physicians today is glucose-lowering medication. These medications give a false sense of security, providing implicit permission to continue the same disease-causing diet and lifestyle that allowed diabetes to develop in the first place. Many of these medications promote weight gain – making the patient more diabetic; most importantly, these medications do not prevent diabetes from progressing and

causing complications. Type 2 diabetes is associated with serious health consequences. Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States, and 84% of those deaths are due to heart attack and stroke. Diabetes doubles the risk of these cardiovascular events. In addition, diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure and blindness in adults, and a frequent cause of nerve damage. Diabetes even increases the risk of cancer, especially colorectal cancers.1, 3 The good news is that diabetes can be reversed and its tragic complications can be avoided. The key to diabetes reversal is superior nutrition and exercise. It may take a little extra effort, but avoiding the devastating complications of diabetes and a premature death is well worth it. My diabetes-reversal diet is vegetablebased with a high nutrient to calorie ratio, containing lots of greens and beans, other non-starchy vegetables, (such as mushrooms, eggplant, tomatoes and onions), raw nuts and seeds, and limited fresh fruit with no sweeteners or white flour products. When diabetics eat in this style, they lose their excess weight – the cause of their diabetes – quickly and easily, reducing or eliminating their need for medications. They simultaneously flood the body with disease-protective and healing micronutrients and phytochemicals that aid the body’s recovery and self-repair mechanisms. Hundreds of diabetic individuals who have followed my dietary recommendations are no longer diabetic! Here are just a few examples: Charlotte, who lost half her body weight (133 pounds) and Calogero, who lost 100 pounds in just seven months both reversed their diabetes. Richard had been on insulin for 25 years, and was able to stop taking it

after just a few weeks of following a high-nutrient diet. Most of these individuals, who have completely reversed their diabetes, have never seen me as a patient. They merely read my book, Eat To Live, and then received further encouragement and information as members of DrFuhrman.com. The most lifespan enhancing diet-style is also the most effective treatment of diabetes. Diabetics have the right to know this so they can make fully informed decisions that control their health destiny. If you have type 2 diabetes, here are some steps you can take to begin to treat it naturally: 1. Visit DrFuhrman.com to learn more about a high-nutrient diet, and read about the successes of others who have reversed their diabetes at drfuhrman.com/success. 2. Read my book Eat to Live: follow the dietary guidelines and advice for diabetic patients, and try the delicious recipes. Or consider the “Eat to Live Starter Pack,” which includes a “Secrets to Healthy Cooking DVD.” Dr. Fuhrman is a New York Times best-selling author and board certified family physician specializing in lifestyle and nutritional medicine. His new book Super Immunity discusses how to naturally strengthen the immune system against everything from the common cold to cancer. Visit his informative website at DrFuhrman.com. Submit your questions and comments about this column directly to newsquestions@ drfuhrman.com. 1. American Diabetes Association: Diabetes statistics 2. International Diabetes Federation: Morbidity and Mortality 3. Br J Cancer 2010;103:120126.

Recall Melinda Myers group meets in Saguache SAGUACHE — Several members of the Recall Melinda Myers group met in Saguache Monday to continue to prepare themselves to cover all their bases by the time the election rolls around in January. The main topic was the organization

of a public forum in early January to create exposure for candidates and explain the basis for organizing the recall. The forum will be held in Crestone. The group also discussed future plans to be implemented once the

recall election is completed. All those who would like to volunteer to help out with the election are asked to contact Designated Election Official and Saguache County Treasurer Connie Trujillo at 719655-2656.

Page 7A

Recall election timetable announced SAGUACHE — Designated Election Official and Saguache County Treasurer Connie Trujillo has released the timeline for the upcoming 2012 election to recall Saguache County Clerk Melinda Myers. The schedule will proceed as follows: Dec. 9 — All military ballots mailed out Dec. 22 — Mail ballots will start to be mailed. Mail ballots CANNOT be forwarded by the U.S. Postal Service, per Colorado Revised Statue. Dec. 22 — Mail ballots will be available in the office of the Designated Election Official at

the Saguache County Treasurer’s Office. Jan. 12 — Judges Training Class 11a.m.-3 p.m. in the Board of County Commissioner’s Room Jan. 17 — Last day to apply for a mail ballot to be mailed Jan. 20 — Last day to apply for a mail ballot in person Jan. 24 — Election Day 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Anyone interested in serving as either a polling place judge or a counting judge can contact their party chairperson or Connie Trujillo, Designated Election Official, at 719655-2656.

Alamosa


Volume 110, Number 51

Shorts

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Competitive bidding helps Center Schools add construction upgrades

CENTER — A little more than a year after the Center community approved a bond allowing the district to build a new PK-12 facility through the Building Excellent schools Today process, the project is on schedule and under budget, according to a press release issued by Center Schools CENTER — Local merchants last week. As of the end of the year foundations announced last week that the 2011 Center Christmas Parade and Festival will be have been poured, floors have been held on Thursday Dec 22 at 11 a.m. The parade, honoring Grand Marshals Wayne and Alice Phillips, begins on Worth Street. The parade line up will meet in the Center Schools parking lot at 10:45 a.m. There will be parade float prizes of $100, $50, and $25. Kids can enter the Parade Bicycle Decorating Contest for a chance at a $50 prize. Pick up parade entry forms at Family Dollar. There will be a special money award for any band participating and a $25 award for the best musical entry. Tickets for chances on other prize drawings are available from any Center merchant. Ticket holders must bring their tickets to the parade and be present for the prize drawing. After parade events, including a visit by Santa to the Old Town Hall Site, the Center merchant drawing will take place courtesy of Santa’s Little Helpers. Hams, gifts and miscellaneous items will be awarded to winning ticketholders. Center VFW and the Alamosa National Guard will march in the parade. Don’t miss the chance to win great prizes and chat with Santa!

Christmas parade today at 11 a.m.

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laid, steel has been erected, roofs have been installed, an outer brick skin is in place, windows have been installed, and most of the inner walls have been framed and are being sheet-rocked and taped. Because of better than anticipated bidding results the construction team has even been able to add in-floor radiant heating, upgrade from an asphalt parking lot to concrete for

durability, improve the quality and amount of playground structures, and add polished and stained floors to the finished product. It is anticipated that the heating system will be turned on in mid-January and crews will be able to get down to installing finishing surfaces during the rest of winter and early spring. Klipp Architecture of Denver and the GE Johnson Construction

Company of Colorado Springs have been working with Center School District's core construction team on the project since January 2010. Michael Lobato, Center Schools Board President, said the Klipp-GE Johnson team was hired "because of a strong track record in designing and building quality Please see BIDS on Page 7A

BGPOA fails to fund Ho Ho Ho fire district, for now Merry Christmas BY DIANE DUNLAP

CRESTONE — At the Baca Grande Property Owner’s Association (BGPOA) work session last week, the POA Board rejected a proposed fiveyear contract to lease the POA’s fire and ambulance assets and fund the new Crestone Fire Protection District. T The contract agreement was drafted by the District Formation Committee’s attorney and presented to the Board by Crestone Town Manager and Formation Committee Co-Chair Akia Tanara. The POA Board members expressed multiple concerns with various aspects of the contract; however the primary concern was regarding the authority to proffer any contract to the POA. On Nov. 1, the voters approved the formation and the “de-brucing” of the Crestone Fire Protection District, but the voters did not approve the 16-mill levy necessary to fund the District’s $365,000 per year Operating Budget. Thus, although the District is required

HOW'S THE WEATHER? Thursday A 30 percent chance of snow. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 18. Calm wind. Thursday night A 20 percent chance of snow. Mostly cloudy, with a low around -10. Calm wind becoming northwest around 5 mph. Friday Mostly sunny, with a high near 14. West northwest wind around 5 mph becoming calm. Friday night Partly cloudy, with a low around -12. West wind around 5 mph. Saturday Mostly sunny, with a high near 17. West wind around 5 mph becoming calm. Saturday Night Partly cloudy, with a low around -11. Calm wind becoming northwest between 5 and 10 mph. Christmas Day Sunny, with a high near 15. Northwest wind around 5 mph becoming calm.

by statute to begin providing fire and emergency services starting Jan. 1, 2012, the new District has no ability whatsoever to do so. The POAstill has its intact Fire andAmbulance Departments and the rest of the District, including the town of Crestone will be covered by the Northern Saguache County Fire Prottection District. According to the District’s Service Plan, the POA’s transfer of $2 million of fire and ambulance assets was contingent upon two factors: 1) a supermajority vote of approval by the POA membership, and 2) the mill levy being approved — and neither of these two contingencies have occurred. Both the mill levy vote and the POAmembers’approval vote failed. The Service Plan also called for the POA to loan the District $80,000, however, the membership was never allowed to vote on this loan provision as was stipulated in the Service Plan. Once the District was officially formed Nov. 1, the Formation Please see BGPOA on Page 3A

Traceable ballots could sabotage Colorado elections in 2012 BY TERESA L. BENNS

Courtesy Photo

This cool Santa driving a ’57 Chevy was Pedro Gonzalez, a 4th grader, at Haskin Elementary.

SAN LUIS VALLEY — As Colorado shapes up to be a swing state during the 2012 General Election, suggested changes to Secretary of State (SOS) rules governing election integrity and transparency could further endanger Coloradoans’ rights to an anonymous ballot and honest elections. Those hoping for a fair election outcome in a crucial race for the White House will instead probably face relaxed security precautions for already compromised electronic voting devices. They also could be faced with a Colorado Open Records Act (CORA) blackout that would deny access to key election documents for nearly 90 days during the election cycle. The CORA block would prevent poll watchers, media, and ordinary citizens from examining ballots, and would delay and restrict examination of logs, poll books, and other essential election information in the event of

a disputed election. This even after Colorado Sec. of State Scott Gessler won a lawsuit in August 2011 against Saguache County Clerk Melinda Myers, with District Judge Martin Gonzales ruling that ballots are public records and Gessler as well as ordinary citizens have a right to request and inspect them. Judge Gonzales’ decision was later upheld by an appeals court decision granting Aspen election-integrity advocate Marilyn Marks the right to inspect and copy photocopies of ballots cast during her bid as a candidate for mayor of Aspen, Colorado, in 2009. Despite these clear rulings by the courts, for the past several months the Colorado County Clerks and Recorder’s Association (CCCRA) has been lobbying to obstruct CORA requests for ballots, most of them made by Marks, and has openly questioned the Colorado Appeals Court decision. Please see ELECTION on Page 5A


Page 2A

Center Post-Dispatch

PLAN

Continued from Page 1A Donna Ford asked Joseph. “I don’t understand the driving force for it to be done right now.” Joseph mentioned that the Republican caucus is set for Feb. 7 and by law the plan must be approved before then. Pace by phone and Gibbons pointed to the need to align precincts with school district boundaries. Gibbons added that one of the other reasons for changing precinct lines is that it will eliminate small precincts where only four or five ballots are cast. Cyriacks told Gibbons that the current plan will not resolve this problem. Republican Lucky Ford objected that by closing the La Garita and Villa Grove polling places, voters will be forced to go to Center and Saguache to cast their votes and this could potentially discourage some from voting, especially in the winter months. Drake agreed. Joseph commented that eliminating the polling laces in the two locations really isn’t a problem because these voters could always vote by mail. Many county residents, however, have noted that mail-in ballots can be more easily manipulated than those cast physically at polling places, and many of the questions arising from the controversial 2010 election involved the accurate counting and handling of mail-in ballots by the county clerk and office staff. During former Sec. of State Bernie Buescher’s time in office, Myers campaigned to make Saguache County elections all mail-in ballot affairs with Buescher’s blessing, basically eliminating the need for polling place voting. Some believe that the present redistricting plans are geared to compensate for this failure and redraw lines to favor Democrats, especially in Center. Cyriacks, Drake and the Fords demanded to see data proving that the redistricting was being done according to the actual current voter registration records. Joseph sharply and abruptly responded that the data

Roberts charged in burglary shooting STAFF REPORT CENTER – A Center policeman has been charged after a March shooting that injured an alleged burglary suspect. Delman Roberts has been charged with reckless endangerment , a class three misdemeanor. On the night of March 29, 2011 a Center police officer responded to a reported burglary in progress at the St. Francis Jerome Catholic Church, according to a report from the Colorado State Patrol. Republican Chair Richard Drake repeated his contention to the BOCC last week that the redistricting plan they approved is unfair to Saguache County voters, regardless of their political affiliation. would be provided at a later date, after the vote on the plan was held. “But how do you know if you don’t have the data?” Donna Ford asked. “And how many eligible and active electors reside in these new precincts?” Cyriacks questioned Joseph. Drake told the BOCC that he was not at the meeting as a Republican, but to represent “people who need to be able to vote.” Pace said he was assured that the plan “meets statutory requirements.” Joseph indicated that there was “flexibility” in the plan and that those protesting how the new lines were drawn would have an opportunity in the future to challenge the BOCC decision. Following the meeting, Cyriacks commented that the decision was based on a faulty interpretation of statutes, and that only the courts are permitted to determine what the State means in any given statute. She saw the inability of the BOCC to produce the necessary data as a key bargaining point in any future challenge of the plan.

FIRE

been determined but judging by the amount of smoke and fire damage, Norris estimated that the residence would be a complete loss. Four adults and one infant were in the home when the fire broke out. They were able to leave the residence, and neighbors took them in. None of the residents suffered any injuries during the fire.

SHERIFF’S REPORT The following were provided by the Saguache Sheriff's Office for the weeks of Dec. 6-30. Zachary Henk, 27, Sargents, DUI, careless driving Jorge Morales-Garcia, 25, Center, domestic violence, harassment/ stalking, child abuse criminal mischief Miguel Pablo-Cristobal, 39, Center,

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The officer located a suspect hiding under a shed but lost him when he fled on foot. Roberts arrived on the scene to help with the search and located the alleged suspect in the back yard of a residence about three blocks from the scene of the burglary. Roberts shot the suspect in the hip. The suspect was transported to a Rio Grande County hospital, where his injury was listed as non-life threatening. TheCenterPoliceDepartmentasked

the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI)to investigate the shooting. Roberts was on administrative leave until the investigation was complete. Center Police Chief Bill Lucero was hired in April 2011. Lucero said his decision to terminate Roberts' employment with the CPD was based on the investigation report by the CBI. Roberts is scheduled to appear in Saguache County Court January 31 at 9 a.m.

Missing hunters found OK in Saguache County SAGUACHE – Two hunters reported missing in Saguache County last Wednesday night were found the following morning with a broke down vehicle . The Colorado Army National Guard was called in yesterday to assist the Saguache County Sheriff's Office in the search for the missing men. One OH-58 Kiowa helicopter with a two-man COARNG CitizenSolider crew launched at 7:40

a.m. from the High-Altitude Army National Guard Aviation Training Site in Gypsum. An area five miles north of the Saguache County Airport was searched. HAATS performs a critical mission, providing lifesaving combat aviation skills to American pilots serving in mountainous Afghanistan and other austere environments around the world. The unit also assists civil authorities in the high country, with

more than 50 percent of all aviation -supported search and rescues in the United States. Rescue efforts are coordinated through the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center, which notifies the Colorado National Guard's Joint Operation Center in Centennial. AFRCC ties into the Federal Aviation Administration's altering system and the U.S. Mission Control Center.

the Commissioners, County Attorney Ben Gibbons called both the Secretary of State’s Office (SOS) and the El Paso County Clerk’s Office overseeing the recall election to see if the deadline could be extended. Both the SOS and El Paso County told Gibbons that the deadline statute is worded in such a way it leaves no room for extensions. In her article for the Saguache Crescent, Myers blames “unsubstantiated allegations, wild theories and irresponsible journalism” for subjecting her to the recall. The majority of the coverage concerning Myers, however, has been taken from her own “Clerk’s Corner” articles and statements and the observations of those familiar with her duties of office

and responsibilities to the citizens. One of the primary difficulties encountered in reporting about any of the meetings where Myers has addressed election or related issues is that the minutes taken by Myers as clerk do not accurately reflect what is addressed in the meetings. Often crucial conversations discussing the merits of any given proposal are omitted or truncated. Saguache County also has enforced an unofficial information blackout against the Center Post-Dispatch. As of press time, no minutes for the meeting discussing Myers extension of her deadline were available. The last commissioner meeting minutes posted to Saguache County's official website were for Oct. 18.

MYERS

Continued from Page 1A the meeting that the deadline had passed and Myers could not ask for an extension. “What part of the law are you not reading?” Spearman said. “It says 10 days.” Later, Trujillo said, Myers admitted to her that she had received notice of the deadline, sent 10 days before the rebuttal was due. Trujillo said via phone Tuesday that she sent three notifications Nov. 14: one by certified mail, another by regular mail and one by e-mail that same day notifying Myers the other two had been mailed. “This is not Myers’ first recall,” Trujillo pointed out. “She knew about the 10 days and the rule.” Following Myers’ complaint to

SOS dismissed declaratory order requests

Continued from Page 1A ammunition exploded during the blaze, feeding the fire. Firefighters from Saguache Fire Dept., Villa Grove and Moffat responded to the call. The Saguache Ambulance crew also was on standby. The fire was extinguished at about 2:42 a.m. Christmas morning. The extent of the damage has not yet

Thursday, January 5, 2012

criminal impersonation, defective vehicle Robert Schleider, 27, Eden Prairie, Minn., speeding 84 in a 65 MPH zone Jennifer Soderland, 24, Centennial, speeding 80 in a 65 MPH zone Gabriel Salazar, 20, Bloomfield, New Mex., speeding 83 in a 65 MPH zone Ricky Gonzales, 44, Englewood, speeding 77 in a 65 MPH zone Kenrick Pocius, 66, Breckenridge, speeding 79 in a 65 MPH zone

BY TERESA L. BENNS DENVER — In late December, Secretary of State Office officials answered petitions filed by Saguache County citizens requesting a declaratory order concerning issues revolving around the disputed 2010 election in Saguache. The first petition, filed July 12 by Aspen election integrity advocate Marilyn Marks and former commissioner’s candidate, Republican Steve Carlson, requested clarification about “the initiation and timing of the election contest period for the Board of County Commissioners in the Nov. 2, 2010 election and other such elections where this question may arise in the future.” The request hinged on the question of whether the election was ever properly certified and as a result whether candidates were then sworn in on false certificates of election. The SOS responded that an election is considered official before the certification once official results of

the count are issued per a ruling made in 2009 concerning non-certified election results. Therefore any contest period begins at this time and has long since passed. In March of last year, Sec. of State Scott Gessler told Carlson that the election was never properly certified. In declining the request for a declaratory order, Deputy Secretary of State William Hobbs told Marks and Carlson that the official period for Carlson to contest his election ended on Dec. 13, 2010. Hobbs added that if the petitioners disagree, they need to file for remedial action in district court. The letter ended with a paragraph that “although declining to rule formally on this petition, the Secretary of State takes seriously the issues raised by the Saguache County 2010

general election, continues to monitor election activities and may address those issues in the future through the rulemaking and/or legislative process.” The second petition rejected concerned the purchase and use Please see SOS on Page 5A


Volume 111, Number 3

Shorts

Last minute voting instructions SAGUACHE — Designated Election Official Connie Trujillo asks voters to keep in mind that the deadline to request a mail-in ballot expired Tuesday Jan. 17 at 4 p.m. Mail-in ballots can still be requested in person at the Treasurer’s office through Friday Jan. 20. If you have received a mail-in ballot and do not wish to mail it back, you may drop ballots off at the Fyock Library from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on election day, Jan. 24.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Moffat residents register complaints about Myers MOFFAT — At a meeting of the Moffat town board earlier this month, Moffat resident Pam Lord and her son J. W. Matthews, on behalf of other Moffat residents, complained that a fellow resident has been repeatedly harassed by Mayor pro tem Melinda Myers and other board members and they want the harassment to stop. Years ago, Ron Briggs, who has lived in the Moffat area for nearly a decade and whose property sports a host of recall Melinda Myers signs, said he

began having problems with Myers. His experiences included heated runins with her and an attempt by county officials to declare his septic system non-compliant with state standards. In the past, Myers’ friend and companion Chris Hart, who was present with her at the 2010 election, has been paid by the town to collect information on non-compliant systems. One Moffat Town Board member said it would be better to rely on reports from the county inspector for

information on whether the septics were in compliance or not. Many septics in the Moffat area are not in compliance. Lord, also a Moffat resident pointed out to the board, and yet these residents have not been hounded by Myers. More recently, Briggs was ordered to cut down a large tree on his property that the county says interferes with road maintenance. When Briggs tried to document a past run-in with Myers, he said the

HOW'S THE WEATHER? Thursday Mostly sunny, with a high near 34. Southwest wind around 5 mph. Thursday night Partly cloudy, with a low around 2. Southwest wind around 5 mph. Friday Mostly sunny, with a high near 35. West southwest wind around 5 mph. Friday night Partly cloudy, with a low around -2. Southwest wind around 5 mph. Saturday Mostly sunny, with a high near 35. Southwest wind between 5 and 10 mph. Saturday night Mostly cloudy, with a low around 1. South southwest wind between 5 and 10 mph. Sunday Partly sunny, with a high near 35. South southwest wind between 5 and 10 mph.

Saguache Sheriff’s Office was not helpful in accomplishing this. When Myers received a ticket for a domestic violence incident several years ago, the ticket was at first withheld by Sheriff Mike Norris, who later relinquished it on request. A disorderly conduct ticket for a Center official and fellow Democrat also would later disappear even though two Center Police officers swore it Please see MOFFAT on Page 3A

Town board approves cable franchise; gazebo up Myers' influence

a pervasive part of what ails Saguache County

Schedule for landfill and recycling center SAGUACHE – The following is the 2012 scheduled holiday closures and hours of operation for the Saguache County Landfill and Recycling Center. For Question regarding this schedule or other landfill questions please call 719655-2554. Hours of operation: Tuesday 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., Wednesday 12 p.m. to 3 p.m., Thursday-Saturday 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., and Closed Sunday and Monday. 2012 Holiday Closures Tuesday, Feb. 21, Friday, April 6, Tuesday, May 29, Wednesday, July 4, Tuesday, Sept. 4, Tuesday, Oct. 9, Thursday, Nov. 12, Thursday, Nov. 22, Friday Nov. 23, Tuesday, Dec. 25, Wednesday, Dec. 26.

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BY TERESA L. BENNS

Photo by Teresa Benns

Crews erect the framework for a gazebo at the new park on Worth Street in Center at the site where the old White House once stood. Center residents will have a chance to weigh in on the park's development and design during a community forum in March.

BY TERESA L. BENNS CENTER — At a Town Board meeting earlier this month, Center trustees approved a franchise with USA Communications to install service on a previously existing system to offer residents more affordable access to their favorite programs. For the first year residents will receive one gigabyte of free Internet access with the deal while the Town of Center will receive 10 mbps of free access. Eventually the town will earn a three percent franchise fee on the deal. “It’s not a huge benefit, but it helps,” Town Manager Forrest Neuerberg said last week. Once the system is up and running, he explained, the town hopes to offer live town board meeting access to residents. In Wyoming where he worked before, Neuerberg explained,

summary minutes mainly detailing action items were made for board meetings but recorded versions of the meeting also were available. The recording only cost about $5 per DVD, he said. In codifying the town’s ordinances and moving forward in creating personnel and policy manuals, Neuerberg says he hopes to bring greater transparency and some much needed order to Center. “The recordings are about public business taking place in the public eye,” he said. “It’s not anything unusual; we are just following the rules.” The board also approved an intergovernmental agreement (IGA) with the Sanitation Board and restated a few issues that were in question. Neuerberg expected the board to ratify the IGA. He said sanitation is a special district that will help provide manpower for the town,

which he feels will be a mutually beneficial relationship. Neuerberg said that, in March, the town will host a forum to discuss recent accomplishments of the town and present design ideas for the town park where the old White house once sat. The old site is now home to a new gazebo and other plans for the park will be discussed at the forum. The Dept. Of Local Affairs will assist in the planning, and a design team will show residents how the park could look if different elements are added in various locations. Residents will be encouraged to make suggestions and take an active part in designing the park, Neuerberg said. The time and place for the forum will be announced sometime in February. Please see TOWN on Page 3A

SAGUACHE COUNTY — The recall election slated for Saguache County Clerk Melinda Myers Jan. 24 is only one indication of a host of inter-related problems that plague county government and have for some time. The tangled skein of threads crisscrossing each other intersect at both predictable and surprising junctures. Last fall, Assessor Jackie Stephens was ordered by the state to reassess all Saguache residential properties. This after several Saguache residents reported that some county officials ‘ properties were not being assessed at a rate consistent with later development on the properties. Stephens is complying with state officials and has begun the reassessment process, but it is unknown if the state will investigate the situation further. Like the town of Center was at one point, Saguache County employees are largely the friends and relatives of those already working for the county, and this makes it very difficult to deal with any misconduct issues. The county’s own nepotism policy was overridden in 2010 to allow Road and Bridge Supervisor and Democrat Party Chair Randal Arredondo to hire his niece, according to BOCC minutes. This issue was later re-examined that summer after children of courthouse/ county employees and Social Services workers were hired in Saguache and two or three children of Social Services personnel were hired in Center, using funding allotted for all county residents who qualified for the summer hiring program. At a meeting held in August of 2010, Myers noted that the Center students also were supervised by their parents, but another attendee commented after the meeting that this supervision was minimal. “Isn’t that nepotism?” one attendee asked. Myers said that she didn’t feel it was, and Pace weighed in, adding that commissioners had successfully addressed the nepotism issue Please see AILS on Page 7A


Thursday, January 19, 2012

Center Post-Dispatch

AILS

Continued from Page 1A concerning Arredondo earlier in an open session of commissioner’s court. He did agree that employees “are not supposed to be supervised by anyone they are related to. I didn’t know about the people in Center.” Center Consolidated Schools Superintendent George Welsh commented that he had “no knowledge of this job availability. If we had, students would have applied for the jobs,” he said. Arredondo’s niece, Charlene Hammel, later was arrested on suspicion of embezzlement. Her case is currently set for a jury trial to be held March 26-29. A list of county employees obtained in 2011 reveals that nearly half of those working for Saguache County are related in some way to Arredondo, one longtime resident familiar with Hispanic community ties confirmed. Many others in the county’s employ also are related to existing employees, whether proximately or remotely, these records show.And this does not account for those whose relationship is not known, who may be related by marriage or who may be friends of existing employees who were hired on referral. Those close to county government say this happens because positions are not advertised, or are published only in

the Saguache Crescent, which enjoys a limited circulation. Or positions are advertised but qualified applicants, often “outsiders,” are passed over in favor of someone close to a county official or existing employee, as some believe happened in Arredondo’s case. Sometimes these positions are awarded to friends or relatives of county employees who have no experience in performing the duties they are being hired to perform. Another tactic is to appoint someone to act temporarily as an official and then later make that person permanent, promoting those from inside to higher paying or additional jobs. Some claim that this is what happened years ago when former County Administrator Peggy McIntosh resigned and Lyn Zimmer Lambert and Wendi Maez were appointed temporarily as coadministrators until the position could be filled. They remain coadministrators today. Former Center Police Chief LeRoy Torrez was appointed as a temporary or interim chief until a new chief could be hired but remained chief for years until he resigned in December of 2010 in the midst of an investigation. Following the hiring of two interim chiefs, Town of Center residents were invited to a forum to help them select

the new chief and were even allowed to informally vote on their choice. Chief Bill Lucero was subsequently hired. Particularly while former chief Torrez was in office, many Center and other county residents complained that the Sheriff’s Office was unresponsive to their needs and often did not respond to their requests to file complaints. A great deal of unrest still exists over the fact that there are several unsolved murders in the county.Allegations have circulated for years that leads either were not investigated and/or evidence was contaminated in these cases. Citizens agree that destruction of key election videotapes in 2010 that the Sheriff’s Office was bound to preserve owing to a Colorado Open Records Act request further eroded citizen confidence in law enforcement. In the past several months the Sheriff’s Office has seen a large turnover of sheriff’s deputies and little information is now released to the press concerning criminal activities. Questionable practices also have been reported in other county offices but space prevents details of all pertinent events. And the situation in the County seat is only one example of the same type of activity throughout the county.

Page 7A

SolarReserve representative answers questions

Courtesy Photo

A SolarReserve representative listened to questions from Lisa Cyriacks and others in Center last week concerning the safety and feasibility of the solar towers project, proposed for construction in the Moffat area.

For all your advertising needs, call Staci, 852-3531


Thursday, December 22, 2011

Center Post-Dispatch

Page 5A

ELECTION

Continued from Page 1A Further, the City of Aspen has appealed the appellate ruling to the Colorado Supreme Court. According to the general consensus of the clerks, no one should actually be able to verify an election once they have "counted" the ballots, or rather their contractors and voting machines have produced numbers telling the citizenry who "won." Even more worrisome to election integrity activists, however, is the claim by several CCCRA clerks who recently admitted that they know how to trace actual ballots back to the citizens who voted them and that this can be easily done given the right circumstances. It is thought by some involved in preserving election integrity that rules proposed by Sec. Gessler’s staff Dec. 7 in Denver represent a reversal of Gessler’s previous stance that ballots are open records and an adoption of CCCRA’s “sacred ballot” position. In short, citizens would not be able to see the ballots to verify the election results and county clerks and their staff can often tell how citizens voted. “When elections are conducted in a way that complies with the Constitution, it naturally follows that transparency and voter privacy will not be in conflict,” Marks said. “It is very important that the press and the public be allowed to inspect ballots and verify that they are indeed untraceable and anonymous.” Marks added that Saguache County Clerk Melinda Myers tried to batch

ballots in the November election in a way that would make them traceable. Citizens watching the count objected, she pointed out, and the SOS officials supervising the election made Myers comply with the rules governing the batching. But SOS officials are rarely present to see the rules are followed. In October Al Kolwicz, with the Colorado Voter Group, addressed CCCRA’s claims that the ballots could be traced to voters with State legislators. He told them in an e-mail that it is essential for election integrity to correct any “deficiency in the voting system certification process [that] has allowed government officials to know how individual voters have voted.” Kolwicz also advised legislators that they need to investigate whether the clerks’ behavior has violated the federal Help America Vote Act (HAVA) laws and determine, “what has been done with [any] illegal knowledge” they have obtained. Marks noted last week that “Gessler’s office ‘sees no issue’ here,” following a Monday meeting with SOS officials “The question is whether Gessler will step up to solve the problem, or whether the guys in black robes will have to address this.” Another election integrity advocate, Mary Eberle, reported recently that problems continue following her visit to Gilpin County. Eberle spoke with Gilpin County Clerk Colleen Stewart about the

Hart system (used in 43 counties), which prints serial numbers on the ballots. Depending on the county, these marked ballots may be traced back to the voter, in some counties more directly than others. Eberle confirmed that this is indeed a problem in talking with Stewart. “When I spoke with the Gilpin County Clerk and Recorder Dec. 15, she informed me that I would not be allowed to photograph the Hart paper ballots during a review/informal

recount under CORA because they have barcodes and numbers that could be traced to the voter through information held by the printer of the ballot,” Eberle said. She plans to gather more information during a review/ informal recount of the ballots. Marks also reported that this traceability “was confirmed to me in documents and eye-witness accounts of clear traceability of significant numbers of ballots in Mesa County. In fact, it appears to be the majority

of ballots that can be traced back to the voter. Clerk Reiner is publicly acknowledging the ability of the system to do just that.” Marks said she spoke to a group of well-informed Democrats who fear voter intimidation caused by such a system will directly impact their turnout and results. “Apparently this and other systems which can connect the ballot and the voter are being used in dozens of counties across the state in direct violation of the constitution,” Marks observed.

Photo by Teresa Benns

SOS official Ben Schler was watching during the Nov. 1, 2011 election when County Clerk Melinda Myers tried to separate ballots into small batches that could become traceable. Here he demonstrates that the batches were sorted into larger groups.

Everything’s set for a beautiful season And we know your friendship is the reason That we’re filled with joy and cheer At the close of another year So please accept without delay, Our best wishes for a great holiday!

“Thank You for your Support” From all of us at Rio Grande Hospital & Clinics 719-657-2510 Del Norte: 719-657-2418 Monte Vista: 719-852-8827 South Fork: 719-873-5494 Creede: 719-658-0929


Volume 110, Number 52

Shorts

Republicans to meet Jan. 4 SAGUACHE COUNTY — Republicans will meet Jan. 4 at Nielsen Real Estate in Saguache at 7 p.m. to discuss precinct caucuses and general business. Anyone interested in helping with these events is asked to attend. For more information, contact Michael Lobato at 580-9989.

Come meet the recall candidates and register concerns SAGUACHE COUNTY — Recall election candidates Patricia Jenkins (Independent) and Carla Gomez (Republican) will be on hand to answer questions and discuss important issues with county residents beginning Jan. 8 in Crestone. The Crestone meeting will be held at the Baca Grande Property Owners Association Hall on County Road T, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 8. A second meeting will be held in Center at the Kiwanis Hall Saturday, Jan. 14 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. A Saguache meet and greet also is in the works, with the date and time to be announced soon. The recall election will be held on Jan. 24 and mail-in ballots already have been sent out to Saguache voters by the El Paso County Clerk’s Office. For more information, call Steve Carlson at 655-2876, (home), or 850-2920 (cell).

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Snowy Center Christmas parade a rousing success CENTER — Center residents didn’t let the cold and snowy weather keep them from celebrating a community Christmas by participating in the Center Christmas Parade along Worth Street last Thursday. Everyone bundled up and the floats rode in winter wonderland style despite slick streets and breezy conditions. Local merchants and Center Schools worked together to make the parade a success. Santa passed out toys to children at the site of the new park where the old White House once stood. Center School construction contractors G. E. Johnson donated toys for the giveaway. Center Head Start won the firstPhoto by Teresa Benns Grand Marshal Wayne Phillips with his wife Alice waves to Center place prize of $100 for its school bus decorated as Rudolph the Red-nosed residents.

Frosty the Snowman attends Christmas parade

HOW'S THE WEATHER? Thursday Mostly sunny, with a high near 28. Wind chill values between -5 and 5. West wind around 5 mph becoming calm. Thursday night Partly cloudy, with a low around 6. West wind around 5 mph. Friday Sunny, with a high near 35. West northwest wind around 5 mph becoming calm. Friday night Mostly clear, with a low around 6. Calm wind becoming west around 5 mph. Saturday Sunny, with a high near 36. West southwest wind around 5 mph becoming calm. Saturday night Mostly clear, with a low around 5. Calm wind becoming west around 5 mph. New Year’s Day Sunny, with a high near 31. West northwest wind around 5 mph becoming calm.

50¢

Reindeer, with side panels of toys in Santa’s sleigh. The second-place prize of $50 went to the Family Dollar float and the Center Ski Cub won the $25 third-place prize. To pick up prizes, winners can call Betty Skeff at 754-2207. Other prizes awarded included Best Unusual Entry, the Band Award, which went to the Center Schools band, first, second and third place awards to the brave Center Elementary students who rode bikes in the parade, and a prize for the Best Decorated Float. Special thanks go to Wayne and Alice Phillips who were honored as parade marshals for the event; judges Phillip Martinez, Kim Martinez, and Please see PARADE on Page 2A

Myers used a M650 loaner in 2011 election despite SOS advice BY TERESA L. BENNS SAGUACHE — A letter mailed Sept. 16 to Saguache County Clerk Melinda Myers by Secretary of State (SOS) Elections Division Director Judd Choate officially advised Myers not to use the loaned M650 voting device this November to tabulate ballots. Instead Myers was advised to use previous ballot counting equipment still owned by the county in order to avoid any problems with the tabulation. The original M650 that tabulated the 2010 election was unavailable for use in November because its records are potential evidence in a Colorado Open Records Act court case still underway between Myers and Aspen election integrity advocate Marilyn Marks. To use that M650 again, the existing 2010 records would need to be zeroed out. Election Systems and Software (ES&S) out of Nebraska provided a loaner M650 to Myers for the 2011 election, but the SOS felt that Myers would not receive it in time to do testing required by SOS rules.

Choate expressed concern that Myers “would not take possession of the M650 loaner until the middle of October… This means that the Saguache County Clerk’s Office will not test its ballots with the loaner M650 until after most have been mailed to voters. “The [SOS] is concerned that, in light of the difficulty that your office experienced in the 2010 General Election using the M650 that is currently under court seal, adding a loaner M650 at such a late date leaves little room for contingencies should you encounter an equipment issue or a failed logic and accuracy test. They then counseled Myers to “immediately secure equipment for which county personnel have previously trained so as to avoid a repeat of the equipment difficulties you experienced in 2010.” Prior to the purchase of the M650, Myers’ used inexpensive Accuvote equipment to tabulate elections. According to a source close to county government, however, Myers did not properly maintain and service Please see M650 on Page 3A

Myers won't allow Republican input on redistricting plan BY TERESA L. BENNS

Photo by Teresa Benns

Frosty even got in on the Christmas Parade fun.

SAGUACHE —According to a Dec. 21 article in the Valley Courier, Saguache County Commissioners are scheduled to adopt a precinct-redistricting plan Tuesday that would “simplify and financially ease the election process.” The article quotes Saguache County Clerk Melinda Myers as justifying the redistricting plan in an attempt “to match school district boundaries in order to protect voters’privacy and to ensure fair representation in the county.” Myers asked commissioners to adopt the same redistricting plan in October for different reasons. She then claimed that redistricting was necessary because there are “huge issues with the Americans

With Disabilities Act/Help America Vote Act.” The recent controversy over whether ballots are actually public records, as Judge Martin Gonzales and the Colorado Court ofAppeals have both ruled or “secret ballots” that only county clerks and party officials are allowed to review is an issue currently before the Colorado Supreme Court. The court has not yet decided whether it will hear the case. The Colorado County Clerk and Recorders Association (CCCRA) intends to take their claim that individual ballots can be linked to voters and therefore should remain in their sole Please see INPUT on Page 3A


Thursday, December 29, 2011

Center Post-Dispatch

M650

Page 3A

INPUT

Continued from Page 1A

Continued from Page 1A

Photo by Teresa Benns

Melinda Myers the county’s two Accuvote scanning machines. Therefore there was some question as to whether the machines were even in working condition and could be used for tabulating votes. On Sept. 19, Myers asked SOS staffer Jerome Lovato to confirm that SOS officials were coming “to help us install the programming on the loaner M650 and then do the trusted build.” Following her receipt of Choate’s letter, e-mail records CORA requested by Marilyn Marks show that on Sept. 20 Myers contacted ES&S to program the loaner M650 for use. ES&S representative Eric Trout sent Myers a zip file containing 650 files with which to conduct the 2011 election. When she discovered the fact that Myers had ignored SOS advice, Marks told SOS media representative Rich Coolidge in an e-mail that: “It was disappointing to receive the Secretary’s decision not to issue an order regarding the use of the M650, which as you know was the cause of more difficulties in the November 2011 election.

“It was even more disappointing to see that the 9-16-11 letter advising Clerk Myers to use alternative equipment was withheld from the CORA request of 9-20-11. Note that I had asked about any such correspondence and this letter, exactly on point with my request, was not produced.” The SOS is currently proposing that their rules be written to preclude filling any CORA requests presented within a 90-day period covering October, November and December during an election year. While the rules are not yet approved, Myers did propose that they be followed during the November election cycle but it is not clear why the SOS did not answer Marks’ request. “The vulnerabilities of the M650 and the ES&S system have been demonstrated across the country,” Marks said. “The technical talent needed to operate it properly is quite significant. [Although] it is not supposed to be used without the ERM software, it was used without the required software.” USA Today recently reported that a

federal agency responsible for inspecting voting equipment has discovered that another ballot scanner — made by ES&S and used in several key battleground states — can freeze up without warning, fail to log errors and misread ballots, (http://www.usatoday.com/news/ politics/story/2011-12-22/defectivevoting-machines/52172034/1). The U.S. Election Assistance Commission said ES&S’ DS200 optical-scan ballot reader, in the same family as the M650 is not in compliance with federal standards. This step falls just short of decertification, the article states, and could mean that election officials would request states to abandon the machines on the eve of the 2012 presidential primaries. ES&S also is still embroiled in a battle involving touchscreen voting machines in Venango County Pennsylvania. According to the Initial Report from a landmark independent forensic audit of the Venango County touch-screen voting system — the same system used in dozens of counties across the state and country — someone used a computer that was not a part of the county's election network to remotely access the central election tabulator computer, illegally, “on multiple occasions.” (http://www.bradblog.com/?cat=5) Election integrity advocates suspect that a similar incident occurred during the 2010 General Election in Saguache. This Marks’ CORA suit against Myers involves necessary depositions from ES&S concerning the content of election logs and other data downloaded by the county that the company considers proprietary. Marks recently noted that to date, she has spent over $100,000 in legal fees to bring Myers into compliance with CORA and the trial has not even begun. If Myers is found to have violated the CORA statute, the county will be required to reimburse Marks for her legal fees. It is not known how much money County Attorney Ben Gibbons has spent to date defending Myers.

custody before the Colorado State Legislature next year. Myers is a member of CCCRAand the association’s attorney presented an amicus brief in her favor earlier this year when she failed to release ballots cast in the disputed 2010 Saguache General Election to Sec. of State Scott Gessler. Myers refused to honor Sec. Gessler’s request on the grounds that it violated voter privacy and the “sacred” status of the ballots. Judge Gonzales ruled in Gessler’s favor in August and ordered Myers to turn over the ballots. Gessler then allowed Saguache citizens to review the voted ballots and recount them. At the October meeting where Myers first pitched her redistricting plan, Republican Party Chairman Richard Drake presented a letter to commissioners pointing out that Myer’s plan is not acceptable because it violates Colorado law. “First, the proposed map shows at least two precincts that cut across the existing district boundary between House District 60 and 62. This is a violation of CRS 1-5-101 (1) which states: ‘Changes in the precinct boundaries of a county shall be made only within the district boundaries of each representative and senatorial district.’ “Second, we have determined that the proposed precinct boundaries were not based on voter registration data. This is a violation of CRS 1-5-101 (2) ‘In counties that use paper ballots, the county clerk and recorder, subject to approval by the board of county commissioners, shall establish at least one precinct for every 600 active eligible electors, with boundaries that take into consideration municipal and school district boundary lines whenever possible.’ Drake referred commissioners to attached correspondence between Myers and local global imaging technician Pete McGee confirming that voter registration data and the number of eligible voters was not taken into consideration in preparing the maps. He noted that Myers did not follow state law and “apparently drew the proposed

precinct lines to create a political advantage for incumbent Democrats and a local political monopoly.” Former commissioner’s candidate Allen Jones and others attending the meeting opposed the plan because it would eliminate some polling places and make voters drive long distances to vote in person. Some felt that this would discourage certain voters from voting at all. Commissioner Sam Pace agreed with Drake that he and Myers should work together to arrive at a plan agreeable to both parties. Drake renewed a previous offer to help Myers reconcile the precinct regrouping over the next few months. “We can work something out,” he said. “It can be done a whole lot better than it is now.” Following the publication of the article appeared in the Valley Courier last week, Drake commented as follows: “Here is another attempt to set up precinct lines to keep people from making it to the polls. Melinda has never contacted me or Pete McGee to help make up new maps like she said she would. I feel this is strange to have a meeting two days after Christmas hoping no one shows and the commissioners can sneak it through on us. “Remember that the polling places are for the convenience of the voters, not to make the clerk’s job easier,” he concluded. In an e-mail last week, Drake said that he would oppose the changes suggested by Myers at Tuesday’s commissioner’s meeting. In addition to withholding ballots from Sec. Gessler, Myers recently ignored an October Secretary of State’s Office (SOS) directive that instructed her not to use the M650 voting device to count ballots for the Center School District race and the Crestone Fire District race. The SOS’analysis of Myer’s conduct during the 2010 election also documented that Myers failed to comply with many different state rules and statutes in conducting the election. Although Myers was never prosecuted for these violations, they are listed as misdemeanors capable of being prosecuted in the Colorado Revised Statutes.

How Depending on God is Actually the Most Powerful Thing You Can Do I don’t know about you but, occasionally, God has to deal with me to bring me to a new level of dependence on Him. You know, we can do great things in life, but a truly humble person doesn’t wake up in the morning without thinking, I need You, God. If You don’t help me today, I’m going to make a fool out of myself. We need His leadership to succeed. And we can’t grow in humility until we can see our own pride and confront it. So what does pride look like? Often, it shows up in the little things the way we treat people every day: Like interrupting others when they’re talking…giving our opinion when nobody’s asking for it…holding a grudge instead of saying, “I’m sorry”… criticizing people who can’t do things as quickly or as well as we can…not adapting to others around us… A prideful person isn’t a good example of God’s love, but there is hope for all of us to become more humble. We Don’t Have to Stay Where We Started When I first started leading a Bible study, I still had a lot to learn. I’d wear short shorts and smoke cigarettes while I was teaching the Word. Sometimes you could hardly see the people because of the smoke! Beyond that, I had an issue with pride. I would actually listen to other preachers’ sermons and think: I can do better than that! You may be wondering why anyone in their right mind would have gone to that study. I think the reason people showed up was simply because it was part of God’s plan. He gave me a gift for communication, but that wasn’t enough. If I wanted to have a worldwide ministry, I needed to develop the kind of godly character

that would keep me in a position of leadership. Obviously, I’m not still preaching in short shorts and blowing smoke at people when I teach. But I had to start somewhere. We all do. In Due Time, God Lifts Us Up First Peter 5:6 says, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time” (NIV). In other words, there’s a process you go through to get to where you’re going. When God called me, I don’t think there were more than three people who actually thought I was hearing from God. People laughed at me and rejected me because I was in such raw form. But I loved God and I would just step out and try anything. The Bible says God uses the weak and foolish things of the world. Well, that was me. I was a housewife from a small town in Missouri who wanted to preach the Word of God all over the world. And I was doing everything knew to do to make it happen. In those days I spent a lot of time being frustrated with God because I didn’t understand why my ministry wasn’t growing as fast as I thought it should. What I didn’t realize then was that God was doing me a favor by not promoting me to a more public position because I needed time to grow spiritually. Usually when we’re not ready for something we think we are, and when we are ready, we think we’re not. People who wait upon the Lord are wise people. Dependence on God Keeps Us Moving Forward John 15:5 says if we remain in God, we will bear much fruit, but apart from Him we can do nothing. Anything we’re able to do, it’s because God’s given us the ability

to do it. We can’t be a good parent, spouse, employee, friend or whatever we need to be without Him changing us from the inside out. And we don’t ever have to pretend we have it all together because if we’re honest, we don’t. Where do you want to be in five or ten years or at the end of your lifetime? I encourage you to let God do the work in you that will bring you to your place of fulfillment. Don’t worry about tomorrow. Don’t worry about how to get there. Just roll off your mattress every morning, land right on your knees and say, “God, I need You. I can’t get through this day without You. Help me find my way today.” For more on this topic, order Joyce’s four-CD series Why Do I Do the Things I Do? You can also contact us to receive our free magazine, Enjoying Everyday Life, by calling (800) 727-9673 or visiting www. joycemeyer.org. Joyce Meyer is a New York Times bestselling author and founder of Joyce Meyer Ministries, Inc. She has authored more than 90 books, including Battlefield of the Mind and Living Beyond Your Feelings (Hachette). She hosts the Enjoying Everyday Life radio and TV programs, which air on hundreds of stations worldwide. For more information, visit www.joycemeyer.org. Please note: The views and opinions expressed throughout this publication and/or website are those of the respective authors and do not necessarily reflect those of Joyce Meyer Ministries.


Volume 110, Number 52

Shorts

Republicans to meet Jan. 4 SAGUACHE COUNTY — Republicans will meet Jan. 4 at Nielsen Real Estate in Saguache at 7 p.m. to discuss precinct caucuses and general business. Anyone interested in helping with these events is asked to attend. For more information, contact Michael Lobato at 580-9989.

Come meet the recall candidates and register concerns SAGUACHE COUNTY — Recall election candidates Patricia Jenkins (Independent) and Carla Gomez (Republican) will be on hand to answer questions and discuss important issues with county residents beginning Jan. 8 in Crestone. The Crestone meeting will be held at the Baca Grande Property Owners Association Hall on County Road T, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 8. A second meeting will be held in Center at the Kiwanis Hall Saturday, Jan. 14 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. A Saguache meet and greet also is in the works, with the date and time to be announced soon. The recall election will be held on Jan. 24 and mail-in ballots already have been sent out to Saguache voters by the El Paso County Clerk’s Office. For more information, call Steve Carlson at 655-2876, (home), or 850-2920 (cell).

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Snowy Center Christmas parade a rousing success CENTER — Center residents didn’t let the cold and snowy weather keep them from celebrating a community Christmas by participating in the Center Christmas Parade along Worth Street last Thursday. Everyone bundled up and the floats rode in winter wonderland style despite slick streets and breezy conditions. Local merchants and Center Schools worked together to make the parade a success. Santa passed out toys to children at the site of the new park where the old White House once stood. Center School construction contractors G. E. Johnson donated toys for the giveaway. Center Head Start won the firstPhoto by Teresa Benns Grand Marshal Wayne Phillips with his wife Alice waves to Center place prize of $100 for its school bus decorated as Rudolph the Red-nosed residents.

Frosty the Snowman attends Christmas parade

HOW'S THE WEATHER? Thursday Mostly sunny, with a high near 28. Wind chill values between -5 and 5. West wind around 5 mph becoming calm. Thursday night Partly cloudy, with a low around 6. West wind around 5 mph. Friday Sunny, with a high near 35. West northwest wind around 5 mph becoming calm. Friday night Mostly clear, with a low around 6. Calm wind becoming west around 5 mph. Saturday Sunny, with a high near 36. West southwest wind around 5 mph becoming calm. Saturday night Mostly clear, with a low around 5. Calm wind becoming west around 5 mph. New Year’s Day Sunny, with a high near 31. West northwest wind around 5 mph becoming calm.

50¢

Reindeer, with side panels of toys in Santa’s sleigh. The second-place prize of $50 went to the Family Dollar float and the Center Ski Cub won the $25 third-place prize. To pick up prizes, winners can call Betty Skeff at 754-2207. Other prizes awarded included Best Unusual Entry, the Band Award, which went to the Center Schools band, first, second and third place awards to the brave Center Elementary students who rode bikes in the parade, and a prize for the Best Decorated Float. Special thanks go to Wayne and Alice Phillips who were honored as parade marshals for the event; judges Phillip Martinez, Kim Martinez, and Please see PARADE on Page 2A

Myers used a M650 loaner in 2011 election despite SOS advice BY TERESA L. BENNS SAGUACHE — A letter mailed Sept. 16 to Saguache County Clerk Melinda Myers by Secretary of State (SOS) Elections Division Director Judd Choate officially advised Myers not to use the loaned M650 voting device this November to tabulate ballots. Instead Myers was advised to use previous ballot counting equipment still owned by the county in order to avoid any problems with the tabulation. The original M650 that tabulated the 2010 election was unavailable for use in November because its records are potential evidence in a Colorado Open Records Act court case still underway between Myers and Aspen election integrity advocate Marilyn Marks. To use that M650 again, the existing 2010 records would need to be zeroed out. Election Systems and Software (ES&S) out of Nebraska provided a loaner M650 to Myers for the 2011 election, but the SOS felt that Myers would not receive it in time to do testing required by SOS rules.

Choate expressed concern that Myers “would not take possession of the M650 loaner until the middle of October… This means that the Saguache County Clerk’s Office will not test its ballots with the loaner M650 until after most have been mailed to voters. “The [SOS] is concerned that, in light of the difficulty that your office experienced in the 2010 General Election using the M650 that is currently under court seal, adding a loaner M650 at such a late date leaves little room for contingencies should you encounter an equipment issue or a failed logic and accuracy test. They then counseled Myers to “immediately secure equipment for which county personnel have previously trained so as to avoid a repeat of the equipment difficulties you experienced in 2010.” Prior to the purchase of the M650, Myers’ used inexpensive Accuvote equipment to tabulate elections. According to a source close to county government, however, Myers did not properly maintain and service Please see M650 on Page 3A

Myers won't allow Republican input on redistricting plan BY TERESA L. BENNS

Photo by Teresa Benns

Frosty even got in on the Christmas Parade fun.

SAGUACHE —According to a Dec. 21 article in the Valley Courier, Saguache County Commissioners are scheduled to adopt a precinct-redistricting plan Tuesday that would “simplify and financially ease the election process.” The article quotes Saguache County Clerk Melinda Myers as justifying the redistricting plan in an attempt “to match school district boundaries in order to protect voters’privacy and to ensure fair representation in the county.” Myers asked commissioners to adopt the same redistricting plan in October for different reasons. She then claimed that redistricting was necessary because there are “huge issues with the Americans

With Disabilities Act/Help America Vote Act.” The recent controversy over whether ballots are actually public records, as Judge Martin Gonzales and the Colorado Court ofAppeals have both ruled or “secret ballots” that only county clerks and party officials are allowed to review is an issue currently before the Colorado Supreme Court. The court has not yet decided whether it will hear the case. The Colorado County Clerk and Recorders Association (CCCRA) intends to take their claim that individual ballots can be linked to voters and therefore should remain in their sole Please see INPUT on Page 3A


Thursday, December 29, 2011

Center Post-Dispatch

M650

Page 3A

INPUT

Continued from Page 1A

Continued from Page 1A

Photo by Teresa Benns

Melinda Myers the county’s two Accuvote scanning machines. Therefore there was some question as to whether the machines were even in working condition and could be used for tabulating votes. On Sept. 19, Myers asked SOS staffer Jerome Lovato to confirm that SOS officials were coming “to help us install the programming on the loaner M650 and then do the trusted build.” Following her receipt of Choate’s letter, e-mail records CORA requested by Marilyn Marks show that on Sept. 20 Myers contacted ES&S to program the loaner M650 for use. ES&S representative Eric Trout sent Myers a zip file containing 650 files with which to conduct the 2011 election. When she discovered the fact that Myers had ignored SOS advice, Marks told SOS media representative Rich Coolidge in an e-mail that: “It was disappointing to receive the Secretary’s decision not to issue an order regarding the use of the M650, which as you know was the cause of more difficulties in the November 2011 election.

“It was even more disappointing to see that the 9-16-11 letter advising Clerk Myers to use alternative equipment was withheld from the CORA request of 9-20-11. Note that I had asked about any such correspondence and this letter, exactly on point with my request, was not produced.” The SOS is currently proposing that their rules be written to preclude filling any CORA requests presented within a 90-day period covering October, November and December during an election year. While the rules are not yet approved, Myers did propose that they be followed during the November election cycle but it is not clear why the SOS did not answer Marks’ request. “The vulnerabilities of the M650 and the ES&S system have been demonstrated across the country,” Marks said. “The technical talent needed to operate it properly is quite significant. [Although] it is not supposed to be used without the ERM software, it was used without the required software.” USA Today recently reported that a

federal agency responsible for inspecting voting equipment has discovered that another ballot scanner — made by ES&S and used in several key battleground states — can freeze up without warning, fail to log errors and misread ballots, (http://www.usatoday.com/news/ politics/story/2011-12-22/defectivevoting-machines/52172034/1). The U.S. Election Assistance Commission said ES&S’ DS200 optical-scan ballot reader, in the same family as the M650 is not in compliance with federal standards. This step falls just short of decertification, the article states, and could mean that election officials would request states to abandon the machines on the eve of the 2012 presidential primaries. ES&S also is still embroiled in a battle involving touchscreen voting machines in Venango County Pennsylvania. According to the Initial Report from a landmark independent forensic audit of the Venango County touch-screen voting system — the same system used in dozens of counties across the state and country — someone used a computer that was not a part of the county's election network to remotely access the central election tabulator computer, illegally, “on multiple occasions.” (http://www.bradblog.com/?cat=5) Election integrity advocates suspect that a similar incident occurred during the 2010 General Election in Saguache. This Marks’ CORA suit against Myers involves necessary depositions from ES&S concerning the content of election logs and other data downloaded by the county that the company considers proprietary. Marks recently noted that to date, she has spent over $100,000 in legal fees to bring Myers into compliance with CORA and the trial has not even begun. If Myers is found to have violated the CORA statute, the county will be required to reimburse Marks for her legal fees. It is not known how much money County Attorney Ben Gibbons has spent to date defending Myers.

custody before the Colorado State Legislature next year. Myers is a member of CCCRAand the association’s attorney presented an amicus brief in her favor earlier this year when she failed to release ballots cast in the disputed 2010 Saguache General Election to Sec. of State Scott Gessler. Myers refused to honor Sec. Gessler’s request on the grounds that it violated voter privacy and the “sacred” status of the ballots. Judge Gonzales ruled in Gessler’s favor in August and ordered Myers to turn over the ballots. Gessler then allowed Saguache citizens to review the voted ballots and recount them. At the October meeting where Myers first pitched her redistricting plan, Republican Party Chairman Richard Drake presented a letter to commissioners pointing out that Myer’s plan is not acceptable because it violates Colorado law. “First, the proposed map shows at least two precincts that cut across the existing district boundary between House District 60 and 62. This is a violation of CRS 1-5-101 (1) which states: ‘Changes in the precinct boundaries of a county shall be made only within the district boundaries of each representative and senatorial district.’ “Second, we have determined that the proposed precinct boundaries were not based on voter registration data. This is a violation of CRS 1-5-101 (2) ‘In counties that use paper ballots, the county clerk and recorder, subject to approval by the board of county commissioners, shall establish at least one precinct for every 600 active eligible electors, with boundaries that take into consideration municipal and school district boundary lines whenever possible.’ Drake referred commissioners to attached correspondence between Myers and local global imaging technician Pete McGee confirming that voter registration data and the number of eligible voters was not taken into consideration in preparing the maps. He noted that Myers did not follow state law and “apparently drew the proposed

precinct lines to create a political advantage for incumbent Democrats and a local political monopoly.” Former commissioner’s candidate Allen Jones and others attending the meeting opposed the plan because it would eliminate some polling places and make voters drive long distances to vote in person. Some felt that this would discourage certain voters from voting at all. Commissioner Sam Pace agreed with Drake that he and Myers should work together to arrive at a plan agreeable to both parties. Drake renewed a previous offer to help Myers reconcile the precinct regrouping over the next few months. “We can work something out,” he said. “It can be done a whole lot better than it is now.” Following the publication of the article appeared in the Valley Courier last week, Drake commented as follows: “Here is another attempt to set up precinct lines to keep people from making it to the polls. Melinda has never contacted me or Pete McGee to help make up new maps like she said she would. I feel this is strange to have a meeting two days after Christmas hoping no one shows and the commissioners can sneak it through on us. “Remember that the polling places are for the convenience of the voters, not to make the clerk’s job easier,” he concluded. In an e-mail last week, Drake said that he would oppose the changes suggested by Myers at Tuesday’s commissioner’s meeting. In addition to withholding ballots from Sec. Gessler, Myers recently ignored an October Secretary of State’s Office (SOS) directive that instructed her not to use the M650 voting device to count ballots for the Center School District race and the Crestone Fire District race. The SOS’analysis of Myer’s conduct during the 2010 election also documented that Myers failed to comply with many different state rules and statutes in conducting the election. Although Myers was never prosecuted for these violations, they are listed as misdemeanors capable of being prosecuted in the Colorado Revised Statutes.

How Depending on God is Actually the Most Powerful Thing You Can Do I don’t know about you but, occasionally, God has to deal with me to bring me to a new level of dependence on Him. You know, we can do great things in life, but a truly humble person doesn’t wake up in the morning without thinking, I need You, God. If You don’t help me today, I’m going to make a fool out of myself. We need His leadership to succeed. And we can’t grow in humility until we can see our own pride and confront it. So what does pride look like? Often, it shows up in the little things the way we treat people every day: Like interrupting others when they’re talking…giving our opinion when nobody’s asking for it…holding a grudge instead of saying, “I’m sorry”… criticizing people who can’t do things as quickly or as well as we can…not adapting to others around us… A prideful person isn’t a good example of God’s love, but there is hope for all of us to become more humble. We Don’t Have to Stay Where We Started When I first started leading a Bible study, I still had a lot to learn. I’d wear short shorts and smoke cigarettes while I was teaching the Word. Sometimes you could hardly see the people because of the smoke! Beyond that, I had an issue with pride. I would actually listen to other preachers’ sermons and think: I can do better than that! You may be wondering why anyone in their right mind would have gone to that study. I think the reason people showed up was simply because it was part of God’s plan. He gave me a gift for communication, but that wasn’t enough. If I wanted to have a worldwide ministry, I needed to develop the kind of godly character

that would keep me in a position of leadership. Obviously, I’m not still preaching in short shorts and blowing smoke at people when I teach. But I had to start somewhere. We all do. In Due Time, God Lifts Us Up First Peter 5:6 says, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time” (NIV). In other words, there’s a process you go through to get to where you’re going. When God called me, I don’t think there were more than three people who actually thought I was hearing from God. People laughed at me and rejected me because I was in such raw form. But I loved God and I would just step out and try anything. The Bible says God uses the weak and foolish things of the world. Well, that was me. I was a housewife from a small town in Missouri who wanted to preach the Word of God all over the world. And I was doing everything knew to do to make it happen. In those days I spent a lot of time being frustrated with God because I didn’t understand why my ministry wasn’t growing as fast as I thought it should. What I didn’t realize then was that God was doing me a favor by not promoting me to a more public position because I needed time to grow spiritually. Usually when we’re not ready for something we think we are, and when we are ready, we think we’re not. People who wait upon the Lord are wise people. Dependence on God Keeps Us Moving Forward John 15:5 says if we remain in God, we will bear much fruit, but apart from Him we can do nothing. Anything we’re able to do, it’s because God’s given us the ability

to do it. We can’t be a good parent, spouse, employee, friend or whatever we need to be without Him changing us from the inside out. And we don’t ever have to pretend we have it all together because if we’re honest, we don’t. Where do you want to be in five or ten years or at the end of your lifetime? I encourage you to let God do the work in you that will bring you to your place of fulfillment. Don’t worry about tomorrow. Don’t worry about how to get there. Just roll off your mattress every morning, land right on your knees and say, “God, I need You. I can’t get through this day without You. Help me find my way today.” For more on this topic, order Joyce’s four-CD series Why Do I Do the Things I Do? You can also contact us to receive our free magazine, Enjoying Everyday Life, by calling (800) 727-9673 or visiting www. joycemeyer.org. Joyce Meyer is a New York Times bestselling author and founder of Joyce Meyer Ministries, Inc. She has authored more than 90 books, including Battlefield of the Mind and Living Beyond Your Feelings (Hachette). She hosts the Enjoying Everyday Life radio and TV programs, which air on hundreds of stations worldwide. For more information, visit www.joycemeyer.org. Please note: The views and opinions expressed throughout this publication and/or website are those of the respective authors and do not necessarily reflect those of Joyce Meyer Ministries.


Volume 111, Number 1

Shorts Coloring contest winners announced MONTE VISTA– Congratulations to Valley Publishing’s 2011 Christmas Coloring Contest winners. They are Kylie Martinez of Monte Vista and Kendra Sears of Monte Vista. The winners’ gift cards will be mailed to their home addresses. Thank you to all who participated!

Center residents: don't use clerks' office branch for ballots SAGUACHE — Designated recall election official Connie Trujillo would like to remind Center residents that mail-in ballots cannot be dropped off at the Center branch of he County Clerk’s office. Trujillo advises residents to mail their ballots in the specially provided envelopes included with the ballots and addressed personally to her. Those bringing ballots to the Saguache Courthouse are reminded to drop them off at the County Treasurer’s office with Trujillo, not at the County Clerk’s office, since that office is not running this special election.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Commissioners approve redistricting plan despite missing date BY TERESA L. BENNS SAGUACHE —Tuesday Dec. 27 Saguache County Commissioners decided to adopt a redistricting plan as first presented in October, even though the BOCC advised then that the plan required more study and greater input from Republicans. Linda Joseph was the only commissioner in attendance at the meeting, held by consulting with Commissioner Sam Pace by phone. Commissioner Mike Spearman was ill and could not attend. Those in the room agreed they could not hear most of the comments Pace made, as there seemed to be a bad connection. Clerk’s office assistant Renee Hazard sat in for Myers. Party Chair Richard Drake told commissioners that Myers never contacted him, so no work had been done on the plan. He also said he had spoken to local global imaging

Lisa Cyriacks protested the BOCC's recent decision to redistrict because figures were missing that provided registered voters data per precinct. technician Pete McGee last week and Myers never called him either,

even though commissioners agreed in October that she should work with McGee on the plan. McGee could easily have checked mapping data to see if voter registration figures and the number of eligible voters were properly taken into consideration in preparing the maps, those protesting the redistricting plan noted before the meeting. Joseph told Drake she was comfortable with how precinct lines had been redrawn. Election integrity advocate Lisa Cyriacks told Joseph that state statutes demand precincts be redistricted according to CRS 1-5-101 (2), which states: “In counties that use paper ballots, the county clerk and recorder, subject to approval by the board of county commissioners, shall establish at least one precinct for every 600 active eligible electors, with boundaries that take into consideration municipal and school

Winter wonderland

Square dance Sunday SARGENT — Hi Valli Swingers Square Dance Club will host a dance from 3 to 5:30 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 8, at Sargent Elementary School gym, 7090 N. CR2E, Monte Vista. Mike Olivieri will call and a potluck meal will follow the dance. Please bring snacks to enjoy during the dance. Square dancers are invited to join in for an evening of dancing and good fellowship. For info, call Sylvia at 303-517-8199, Larry at 852-3190 or Gail at 850-1303.

HOW'S THE WEATHER? Thursday Sunny, with a high near 39. West wind around 5 mph becoming calm. Thursday night Mostly clear, with a low around 2. West southwest wind around 5 mph. Friday Sunny, with a high near 36. West wind around 5 mph becoming calm. Friday night Partly cloudy, with a low around -1. West northwest wind around 5 mph. Saturday Mostly sunny, with a high near 33. West southwest wind around 5 mph becoming calm. Saturday night Partly cloudy, with a low around -3. Northwest wind around 5 mph. Sunday Mostly sunny, with a high near 29. North northwest wind around 5 mph.

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district boundary lines whenever possible.” Saguache County Attorney Ben Gibbons said this statute does not apply because the county uses electronic means to count some ballots, and the statute specifies paper ballots. He pointed to another statute governing the use of electronic voting devices that allows a larger number of voters in any given precinct. Many in the county do not believe that it is necessary to use electronic devices to count their votes. Cyriacks countered that the only non-paper ballots that are generated are those from the county’s touchscreen voting machines, which only six voters used to cast ballots in 2010. “Why do we really need to make these changes?” Republican Please see PLAN on Page 2A

Myers' last minute attempts to get statement on ballot failed BY TERESA L. BENNS

SAGUACHE — Saguache County Clerk Melinda Myers may be crying foul that her rebuttal statement will not appear on the Jan. 24 recall election ballot, but state officials believe Myers had ample opportunity to submit her rebuttal in timely fashion. Myers published a recent article in the Saguache Crescent that is the equivalent of what she would have written as a rebuttal for the ballot. Letters to the Crescent suggest that Myers was ill at the time the deadline approached and this is why she could not submit her statement on time. Myers was hospitalized last week for an undisclosed ailment, a source close to county government said. But last November Myers complained to commissioners that she had never received a notice from Designated Election Official Connie Trujillo advising her of the deadline for the statement. She demanded that the deadline should be extended and told Trujillo that she was obligated to notify her personally. Trujillo said she tried to do this but Myers was out of the office. “Part of being an elected official is going above and beyond,” Myers Photo by Teresa Benns told Trujillo at the BOCC meeting. Recent snowfall made holidays white throughout the Valley. This photo was taken in the La Garita “You could have let my employees area. know.” Trujillo said she did mention sending the letters to other clerk’s office employees. During the verbal exchange at the meeting, Commissioner Linda Joseph SAGUACHE — A chimney fire at reported last week. flames coming from a wall near the interrupted and told both Myers and the home of former Saguache County The blaze started when Daniel insert and the fire eventually spread Trujillo to “shut up.” Commissioner Clerk Audrey Conley on Christmas Bessey lit a fire in a fireplace insert to the rest of the home. Eve kept area volunteer firemen in the located in the East end of the home to A small propane bottle and some Mike Spearman was emphatic at cold for five hours fighting the blaze, warm that wing for company due to Please see FIRE on Page 2A Please see MYERS on Page 2A Saguache County Sheriff Mike Norris arrive for the holidays. Bessey noticed

Christmas Eve fire burns Conley home


Thursday, January 19, 2012

Center Post-Dispatch

AILS

Continued from Page 1A concerning Arredondo earlier in an open session of commissioner’s court. He did agree that employees “are not supposed to be supervised by anyone they are related to. I didn’t know about the people in Center.” Center Consolidated Schools Superintendent George Welsh commented that he had “no knowledge of this job availability. If we had, students would have applied for the jobs,” he said. Arredondo’s niece, Charlene Hammel, later was arrested on suspicion of embezzlement. Her case is currently set for a jury trial to be held March 26-29. A list of county employees obtained in 2011 reveals that nearly half of those working for Saguache County are related in some way to Arredondo, one longtime resident familiar with Hispanic community ties confirmed. Many others in the county’s employ also are related to existing employees, whether proximately or remotely, these records show.And this does not account for those whose relationship is not known, who may be related by marriage or who may be friends of existing employees who were hired on referral. Those close to county government say this happens because positions are not advertised, or are published only in

the Saguache Crescent, which enjoys a limited circulation. Or positions are advertised but qualified applicants, often “outsiders,” are passed over in favor of someone close to a county official or existing employee, as some believe happened in Arredondo’s case. Sometimes these positions are awarded to friends or relatives of county employees who have no experience in performing the duties they are being hired to perform. Another tactic is to appoint someone to act temporarily as an official and then later make that person permanent, promoting those from inside to higher paying or additional jobs. Some claim that this is what happened years ago when former County Administrator Peggy McIntosh resigned and Lyn Zimmer Lambert and Wendi Maez were appointed temporarily as coadministrators until the position could be filled. They remain coadministrators today. Former Center Police Chief LeRoy Torrez was appointed as a temporary or interim chief until a new chief could be hired but remained chief for years until he resigned in December of 2010 in the midst of an investigation. Following the hiring of two interim chiefs, Town of Center residents were invited to a forum to help them select

the new chief and were even allowed to informally vote on their choice. Chief Bill Lucero was subsequently hired. Particularly while former chief Torrez was in office, many Center and other county residents complained that the Sheriff’s Office was unresponsive to their needs and often did not respond to their requests to file complaints. A great deal of unrest still exists over the fact that there are several unsolved murders in the county.Allegations have circulated for years that leads either were not investigated and/or evidence was contaminated in these cases. Citizens agree that destruction of key election videotapes in 2010 that the Sheriff’s Office was bound to preserve owing to a Colorado Open Records Act request further eroded citizen confidence in law enforcement. In the past several months the Sheriff’s Office has seen a large turnover of sheriff’s deputies and little information is now released to the press concerning criminal activities. Questionable practices also have been reported in other county offices but space prevents details of all pertinent events. And the situation in the County seat is only one example of the same type of activity throughout the county.

Page 7A

SolarReserve representative answers questions

Courtesy Photo

A SolarReserve representative listened to questions from Lisa Cyriacks and others in Center last week concerning the safety and feasibility of the solar towers project, proposed for construction in the Moffat area.

For all your advertising needs, call Staci, 852-3531


Thursday, January 26, 2012

Center Post-Dispatch

Page 9A

Judges training by El Paso County helped assure fair election outcome BY TERESA L. BENNS SAGUACHE — If the election Tuesday went off without a hitch, Saguache County voters can thank the El Paso County Clerk’s Office, who trained local election judge volunteers earlier this month at the county courthouse. The instruction period took three and a half hours, with El Paso County trainers playing to a commissioner’s room packed with volunteers eager to learn how to assure voters a fair and honest election. El Paso County Election Manager Liz Olson conducted the training. According to Olson’s biography on the El Paso County Clerk’s site, she has been with the Clerk and Recorder’s Office since 1996, working in several capacities for the Election Department including Election Services Coordinator and also as the Assistant Election Manager. Olson holds the Certified Elections/ Registration Adminis-trator (CERA) designation from the nationally acclaimed Election Center and she has completed the State of Colorado Election Certification program. Olson gave the presentation using two booklets distributed to volunteers. She carefully went over every possible scenario her listeners could think of in addition to those suggested in the training manuals.

If others are busy at the polls, for example, a floating judge can assist a voter. If a voter cannot get out of his/her car, two judges may go to the car to assist the voter in delivering his ballot. Two judges should always verify any questionable situation, officials added. Anyone electioneering by making comments or wearing T-shirts, buttons, etc., may be asked to leave the polling place if they do not cease and desist. Those who appear to actually be telling voters who to vote for must be deterred and others may instruct the voter on their right to a free choice. Certain questions asked about candidate choices may be answered outside the 100-foot polling place limit but not within that limit. Instances of electioneering and individuals instructing others about voting choices reportedly occurred in Crestone in 2010. Because so many provisional ballots were issued in 2010, trainers went over the procedures carefully to prepare judges. A voter may attempt to fill out only three ballots in the event the others were misplaced, ruined or mismarked. Judges ere advised to check with the designated election official to make sure that provisional ballots are not issued when it is unnecessary. Ballots leaving the polls to be

Saguache county honored SAN LUIS VALLEY — The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) has recognized Conejos, Costilla and Saguache county public health agencies for their ability to respond to public health emergencies. The three agencies met the comprehensive preparedness benchmarks required by Project Public Health Ready (PPHR), a unique partnership between NACCHO and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). “This is by far the biggest project I’ve ever been a part of,” said David Osborn, regional emergency

preparedness and response planner. “It represents an enormous accomplishment for each of the Public Health Directors,” he said, referring to Della Vieira of Saguache County, Connie Edgar of Conejos County, and Vivian Gallegos of Costilla County. “Regarding professional accomplishments, public health Directors leading their agency successfully through the PPHR process may be considered as one of the top three career achievements. This is indeed a remarkable and significant accomplishment.” Please see HONORED on Page 10A

Rotaract is coming to the Valley ALAMOSA — Rotaract is an international program for adults age 18-30 who want to make a difference. It was founded in 1968 for Rotary International, an association of clubs made up of service minded business and professional leaders. TheValley Rotaract will be established asaTSJC/ASCCollegiate&Community Based Club for young professionals as well as students in training. An informational meeting will be held on the ASC campus in the School

of Business at 6 p.m. Monday, Feb. 6, in room 142, which is located on the first floor in the NE corner. Come join us for pizza (pizza is only being ordered for 50, so come early) and learn how Rotaract can be of benefit in world networking, resume building, mentoring, references from mentors, leadership training seminars, scholarships, youth exchange, community service, fellowship and fun. For more info, call 589-2861.

counted are to be sealed with full, tight seals. In 2010 tape seals were used for many applications. While tape seals will still cover some slots, every time any of the seals are removed and replaced they must be initialed. Some attendees from Center compared the instructions issued in the training to the lax practices during the 2008 municipal election in Center. One attendee told Olson that previous judges had never received such comprehensive training and other former election volunteers in the room agreed. “We want to be able to track every ballot and who touched it,” El Paso County Clerk and Recorder Wayne Williams told those at the training. “ He emphasized that all ballots must be protected so that officials can then retrace “every ballot process” and counting procedure. He also cautioned judges to “make sure your colleagues are doing what they are supposed to do.” Attendees enjoyed a luncheon during training. All were attentive Photo by Teresa Benns and many took notes. At the end of El Paso County Elections Manager Liz Olson shows future Saguache the training they thanked El Paso County judges the types of locks to be used for ballot boxes at a County officials for the opportunity comprehensive training session for judges and volunteers shortly before to learn the ropes as judges and volunteers. the recent election.


Volume 111, Number 4

Thursday, January 26, 2012

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Shorts

Myers loses recall by a wide margin

Schedule for landfill and recycling center

Gomez new county clerk

SAGUACHE – The following is the 2012 scheduled holiday closures and hours of operation for the Saguache County Landfill and Recycling Center. For Question regarding this schedule or other landfill questions please call 719655-2554. Hours of operation: Tuesday 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., Wednesday 12 p.m. to 3 p.m., Thursday-Saturday 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., and Closed Sunday and Monday. 2012 Holiday Closures Tuesday, Feb. 21, Friday, April, Tuesday, May 29, Wednesday, July 4, Tuesday, Sept. 4, Tuesday, Oct. 9, Thursday, Nov. 12, Thursday, Nov. 22, Friday, Nov. 23, Tuesday, Dec. 25, Wednesday, Dec. 26.

BGPOA to discuss fire district assests transfer Jan. 26

BY TERESA L. BENNS SAGUACHE — Those waiting Tuesday evening at the Fourth Street Diner, the past gathering place for recall meetings, were surprised when poll watcher Steve Carlson rang in at 8 p.m. with unofficial election results: voters resoundingly decided to unseat Saguache County Clerk and Recorder Melinda Myers in favor of Carla Gomez, the 2010 Republican candidate for county clerk. Although the 2010 race involved far more candidates and ballot questions, the hand count of Tuesday’s race was conducted little by little as votes were delivered to the courthouse from the precincts throughout the day. This helped speed up final tallies. The unofficial results were reported by precinct for the first time since

PRECINCT YES to recall NO to recall

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

138

50

261

87

87

73

53

93

99

941

27

4

42

24

256

17

18

29

36

453

Gomez Jenkins

106 38

13 33

207 74

79 16

50 109

67 13

51 12

93 8

96 16

762 319

2006. As can be seen above, former Myers garnered only 453 votes in the election, most of which were cast from precinct five in Crestone. “Saguache County made history tonight in taking back their elections and their government,” recall organizer Lisa Cyriacks commented Tuesday evening. “Eyes around the nation were watching with interest to see how this small rural county

turned out for hand-counted paper ballots.” Cyriacks, who spoke to election judges as they left the courthouse at 8:30 p.m., said the judges reported that it went smoothly and they felt a real sense of community. “One judge said Carla Gomez she felt honored to have participated in a democratic process based on the head and shoulders above any other principles this nation was founded on. election she had worked.” Another judge stated that the level of Please see GOMEZ on Page 3A professionalism and the training was

History in the making

CRESTONE — A Baca Grande Property Owners Board work session will be held on Jan. 26, 2012 at 5 p.m. at the POA Hall to discuss the transfer of BGPOA assets to the new fire district. Please visit the POA website for further information regarding the work session at www.bacapoa.org. Also go to www.bacapoa.org for more details and to read the contract.

BY TERESA L. BENNS

HOW'S THE WEATHER? Thursday Mostly sunny, with a high near 37. West wind around 5 mph becoming calm. Thursday night Partly cloudy, with a low around 4. West wind around 5 mph. Friday A 20 percent chance of snow. Partly sunny, with a high near 33. Calm wind. Friday night A 20 percent chance of snow. Partly cloudy, with a low around 0. Calm wind becoming northwest around 5 mph. Saturday Mostly sunny, with a high near 34. West wind around 5 mph becoming calm. Saturday night Partly cloudy, with a low around -1. Calm wind becoming southwest around 5 mph. Sunday Partly sunny, with a high near 34. Southwest wind around 5 mph becoming calm.

Legislation to block transparency, limit ballot accessibility said in the works

To p p i c t u r e : Election judges Pete Peterson and Shawn Vollertson bring in a ballot box from the courthouse basement polling place during the recall election Tuesday afternoon. Right picture: Wa t c h e r s J o h n Baker and Steve Carlson look on as election judges hand count recall ballots Tuesday. Photos by Teresa Benns

DENVER — After meeting for three days last week in Pueblo and providing input to two Democrat state legislators, the Colorado County Clerk and Recorders Association (CCCRA) has gained the ear of state officials wishing to limit election transparency. Following the clerks’ meeting, Sen. Rollie Heath (D-Boulder), hosted a meeting Jan. 13 where he laid out plans to submit legislation soon that would effectively blackout Colorado Open Records Act (CORA) laws for months during elections and limit ballot access to citizens and election integrity groups. Mary Eberle, Boulder member of Coloradans for Voting Integrity, participated in both the Dec. 13 and Jan. 13 meetings Heath hosted. Six activists were participants; four county clerks were present, their lobbyists, several other legislators or their aids, and other interested parties. She reports, “In December, we talked about goals, and our major area of agreement was Achieve Anonymity of the ballots. Despite our state's constitutional requirement for anonymously cast ballots, many ballots in Colorado are not anonymous. “But the outcome of the January meeting was driven by the Colorado County Clerks Association (a private, lobbying group), whose immediate goal is to prevent citizens from seeing anonymously cast ballots under the provisions of the Colorado Open Records Act. We want to be able to see ballots 10 days after the close of the polls on Election Day (7 p.m.), as currently provided under CORA. Please see BALLOT on Page 3A


Thursday, January 26, 2012

Center Post-Dispatch

BALLOT

Continued from Page 1A “The clerks would prefer that we never see them; the legislation that Sen. Heath is drafting may allow us to see the ballots — but not before the election is certified. Where is the transparency? In the recent recall election, the voters of Saguache County just gave rousing support for transparency and good election practices. I'm sure these voters — and county and state candidates — agree that with 2012 being such an important election year, we need anonymous ballots statewide and we need to be able to verify our elections.” The Colorado Press Association is reportedly working with Secretary of State Scott Gessler and staff to develop protocols concerning Colorado Open Records Act issues. Gessler recently proposed rules very similar to the legislation Heath intends to sponsor. He also spoke to clerks during their meeting last week. In a recent letter to Heath, Aspen election integrity advocate Marilyn Marks laid out numerous concerns about how Heath and his colleagues intend to present legislation on the clerk’s issues to the Colorado State Legislature. Marks’ objections to this proposed presentation are listed below. Concerns about proposed legislative content • Trust in government and elections cannot be sustained if the legislature upsets the long-standing guarantees of voter privacy (via anonymous ballots) and the resulting ability of the general public to verify their elections. • The legislation may attempt to reverse decades of long-standing fundamental American democratic principles of verifiability of elections and control and oversight of elections by the citizens themselves. • Degrading the already unsatisfactory transparency standards of Colorado elections will further reinforce our reputation as a bottomtier state in election quality. • Concealment of known, acknowledged non-compliance with Colorado’s constitutional absolute guarantees of voter privacy in the form of an anonymous ballot should not be authorized by the legislature. • Access to 46 of 64 counties’ ballots (including Boulder County) because of their illicit serial numbering scheme should not be blocked. • A right to access election records only after election certification becomes almost meaningless access. Access delayed is access denied. (Almost all important investigations of government information are

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GOMEZ performed during periods of high activity for the custodian. Delaying access until the processes are “closed” does harm, not benefit, to the public interest. (County Clerk Melinda Myers, whose case was initially put forward by the clerks as the prime justification for these measures, has now has been recalled by an overwhelming majority in Saguache) • The clerks’ historic legacy central, core duty to provide citizens with access to the public’s records is improperly assumed to be secondary to “running elections.” In fact, the clerks’ primary historic duties are to facilitate the public oversight and operation of their elections and to provide the public with the public’s data, not to force the public into positions of undesired, second-class intruders while clerks control the citizens’ election process. • Reduced transparency in Colorado, given the state’s likely national spotlight in the 2012 presidential and federal elections, may have a national impact and may bring embarrassment and declining voter confidence. • The partisan undemocratic bias in appointments to canvass boards, as watchers, and as election judges further disenfranchises and prevents participation in election oversight by unaffiliated and minor party voters. (Despite their large numbers, such voters have little opportunity to serve during an election.) • It is dangerous to promote the undemocratic notion that the election data is private information for which the clerk and an unidentified group of staff and partisan appointees have an effective monopoly. • If the ballots are not available under CORA before the election is certified, access to election information in a meaningful timeframe will be available only to those who have “insider status,” considerable wealth or campaign war chests dedicated to litigation and court-supervised election contests. • Legislative authorization of concealment of officials’ ability to trace ballots to individual voters will soon lead to voters’ fears of unethical government surveillance. “In short, the measures the clerks are promoting seem partisan, extreme and regressive when considered in the dual perspectives of current public desires for increased government transparency and citizens’ discontent with government in general. Other states have long experienced successful high profile public review of ballots and public verification of elections (Bush/Gore, Coleman/ Franken). Consider the experiences of

public review of ballots in Saguache County, Pitkin County, Gilpin County and others. There have been no reports of public injury from transparency, but many reports of public benefit.” Marks then suggests alternative measures for addressing these problems. Alternative proposal • Insist that the Secretary of State provide oversight to insure that election processes comply with the constitutional requirement of absolute anonymity of the cast ballot, without exceptions for election officials. • Enable initiation of an Open Records Council that has responsibility to administer CORA and provide enforcement subject to judicial review by the courts. (Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, and other states have such bodies. Even Mexico and Bulgaria have such councils for administrative reinforcement of Freedom of Information laws. Colorado has only a very expensive and slow moving judicial system, open only to those with scores of thousands to spend on every case.) • Reinstate statutes allowing fines and penalties to be assessed against custodians who improperly withhold records. • Enact legislation to require clerks who cannot provide absolutely untraceable ballots and cannot meet the constitutional requirements of anonymity to inform voters who may be subject to this data collection and seek a waiver of the voters’ rights to a secret ballot (as fax-in and email-in ballots do now). “This is crucial to protect the voter from unanticipated illicit data collection, and the election from risks of being set aside by the courts. The fact that most voters and legislators would balk at such a proposal should signal the absurdity of the practices currently in effect in dozens of Colorado counties.”

Continued from Page 1A An unofficial review of the demographics shows that more than 50 percent of the votes were cast by Democrats, Cyriacks pointed out, with the balance almost evenly divided between Republicans and Unaffiliated Voters. There are 31 provisional ballots still outstanding, overseas votes that may yet be counted and mail-in ballots that could yet arrive. The votes will be canvassed Feb. 2. “Based on the numbers, I think the will of the voters is clear,” County Clerk-elect Gomez said. “I believe in the message voters sent; I understand it and I get it.” She said

her goal is to “listen to the people and serve the people efficiently and respectfully.” She also commented that, “The courthouse building and all its contents belong to the people; whoever works in that building works for the people.” Gomez already was planning her entry into the clerk’s position following the win. She asked that voters exercise “patience and understanding” during what she anticipates will be a hectic transition period. She will be sworn in on Feb. 7. Myers was not available for comment on Tuesday.

Photo by Teresa Benns

Recall election organizer Lisa Cyriacks and Aspen election integrity advocate Marilyn Marks were allowed to review a sampling of voted ballots counted by an El Paso County official at the recall election in Saguache Jan. 24.

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Saguache County election issues

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