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2013 Real Estate & Builders Guide

Colorado’s Wet Mountain Valley: A Great Place to Call Home! Situated in Colorado’s south-central mountains, Custer County is one of the most scenic and undiscovered regions in the West. Home to around 4,000 year-round residents, the county retains its strong ranching heritage while Westcliffe, the county seat, offers great restaurants

and shopping, an impressive cultural scene, and an excellent medical center and school district. With tens of thousands of acres of public lands, recreational opportunities abound. So come see for yourself: it’s a great place to visit, and an even greater place to call home!


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Planning to build?

Be sure to pay a visit to the county or town zoning offices

Planning on building a home in the Camper reminds folks that inspechouse at 205 South 6th St. in Westcliffe to Wet Mountain Valley? If that home is tions are required following certain steps get the proper permits filled out. going to be located in either the town during the building process, so making Even though Custer County has not of Silver Cliff or Westcliffe, the first stop prior arrangements for those inspections adopted a building code, a zoning permit should be to the appropriate town hall. are required. “You cannot call me a few is required prior to the excavation of dwellIf that new home is being constructed hours before you want the inspection ings and the construction of additions, in unincorporated Custer County, the first done because I may not be available,” said Hobby. step is a visit to the Custer County Plansaid Camper. “Instead, call in advance to Additionally, said Hobby, the cost of ning and Zoning office located at the schedule an appointment.” the permit varies depending upon the county courthouse. He also reminds folks that electric and type and use of the structure, however, Two Towns plumbing inspections are conducted by those who start digging prior to obtaining Both towns have adopted the 2006 state inspectors. the permit will pay three times the cost of version of the International Building Code, County the permit. and knowing the rules and regulations for Custer County Building and Zoning Permits are also needed when operconstruction, and filling out the required director Jackie Hobby says the first ating a business out of your home, and paperwork before construction gets thing folks wishing to build need to do when installing a well and septic, said underway is a must. is to stop by her office located on the Hobby. She noted well permits are Also, the towns of Silver Cliff and northeast corner of the county courtapplied for through the Colorado DiviWestcliffe are currently sharing a building sion of Water Resources, also known as and zoning officer, Roger Camper. Also the State Engineer’s Office. assisting in Westcliffe is Larry Weber. And, reminded Hobby, applying for Camper can be found at the Silver Cliff the correct permits and requesting the town hall at 612 Main Street on Mondays, inspections at the proper time is the Wednesdays and Thursdays from 8 a.m. homeowner’s responsibility, even when to 4 p.m. On those days, Camper is conusing a professional contractor. ducting Silver Cliff business. Camper can All of the required forms and applicabe reached by calling 783-3034 or via etions are available online, as are a mulmail at silvercliffbandz@centurytel.net. titude of other information, including a On Tuesdays and Thursdays, Camper is homeowner packet, permit applications available by appointment only to conand fee schedule. duct Westcliffe business. Regulatory documents such as the The Westcliffe town hall is at 305 Main St. zoning resolution, septic regulations, subOffice hours are Monday through division regulations and master plan can Building and Zoning Officer Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The phone also be found on the website. Roger Camper number is 783Just go to www. 2282. custercountygov. Westcliffe town com and click clerk/treasurer on planning and Kathy Reis is availzoning. able to answer Those who questions, set up don’t have access appointments to the Internet with the building can stop by the officer and pass county planning out permits and and zoning office other building and Monday through zoning information. Friday from 8 a.m. Westcliffe buildto 4 p.m. or call ing and zoning 783-2669. information can – Nora Drenner also be downloaded online at www.townofwestcliffe.com. Just click on planning See Custer County Building and Zoning director Jackie Hobby and assistant Elizabeth French for and zoning. information about permits to build in unincorporated areas of the county.


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Custer County’s real estate activity showing a rebound Real estate trends in Custer County are looking up, with the home market clearly on the rebound. According to Kyle Brown of Westcliffe Properties, February is historically a good sales month for houses, depending on the weather. December is usually a slow month for real estate, though the fourth quarter of 2012 showed a 30 percent increase compared to a minus-12 percent in the preceding quarter. Brown notes that Westcliffe is always a little behind, with the recession slower to hit and slower to recover here. Brown’s partner, Gene Neiges, indicates that 2012 showed a seven percent uptick in Wet Mountain Valley transactions, making 2012 the best year since 2008 when home sales drastically tumbled. He states, “It is interesting to note that better than eight percent of the transactions were properties sold by banks (foreclosures), a very clear example of the impact of the recession on our local real estate market. We are not out of the woods but there is a definite trend to the plus side and a good indication that things are hopefully turning around.” In other words, land and houses are beginning to sell, a good sign for the regional economy. Neiges also says that Westcliffe has a unique market. For instance, the number of transactions for the year in Custer County is offset by the large amount of inventory, which is approximately five times higher than the number of transactions. Many of these sales occur from “cherry picking,” with sellers significantly reducing prices in order to

remain competitive. Data of home sales show that in 2008 the market dropped 21 percent; in 2009 it plunged 52 percent. The years 2010 and 2011 show slight increases of three percent

Kyle Brown of Westcliffe Properties

and two percent, respectively. With a seven percent rise in 2012, real estate traffic points to an upsurge of sales. Currently, and including in 2012, homes are generally selling for 15 percent less the asking price. In 2009, the number of real estate transactions topped 188; in 2012 the transactions reached 214. The best year for transactions since 2003 occurred in 2005 with 513 home and land sales. Brown also points out another encouraging trend: home sales in Denver are up 18 percent, with the capital city standing as fourth in the nation for home sales. “There are aggressive bidding wars in Denver now, with several offers made at one time on a house,” Brown says. “This bodes well for us in Westcliffe since it shows the market is quickly recovering.” Brown also provided information from CoreLogic, a leading residential property information, analytics and services provider, that shows improvement on the home front. According to the December CoreLogic HPI report, house prices nationwide increased 8.3 percent in December 2012 compared to December 2011. This change represents the largest increase since May 2006. Says Anand Nallathambi, president and CEO of CoreLogic, “We are heading into 2013 with home prices on the rebound…all signals point to a continued improvement in the fundamentals underpinning the U.S. housing market recovery.” -Cyn Williams


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Generators for those off the grid, or as sensible back-up In the mountains, far from the comforts of a city, homeowners face extreme weather conditions. Blizzards, thunderstorms, gullywashers, gale-force winds: any of it can impact power, shutting down appliances, lights, furnaces and hot water heaters. To not get caught with the lights out, home and business owners can install standby home generators. Miller Automotive sells various kinds of generators, including Kohler standby generators and Honda portable generators that help valley dwellers supplement electrical power in case of a blackout. Challenger Electric offers the Generac to help keep the fridge and furnace running if power fails. It also is a licensed dealer for Onan Generators, a new product for them. The Kohler standby generator, which runs on propane or natural gas, is a sophisticated machine and can power a whole house. Offered in various sizes, it provides backup energy within 10 seconds of an outage. Automatic, it senses when the power goes off or on and protects electronics from power surges. Kohler also offers an OnCue feature, which sends text messages or email updates to a homeowner’s computer and/or smart phone. If residents spend winters away from the valley, the OnCue system allows them to monitor Kohler usage. When paired with a Programmable Interface Module (PIM), the Kohler generator allows homeowners to remotely turn on or off appliances and indoor and outdoor lighting. Glenn Miller, an authorized dealer of the Kohler, will install the generator for customers. This includes visiting the home, viewing the site and determining how large a genera-

tor is needed. He will set the generator on a concrete pad, line up an electrician to hook it up and arrange for a propane company employee to connect it to a gas source. Miller will also go onsite to oversee a test start up of the generator and ensure the system is functioning properly. Moreover, Miller will take care of the customer afterward, performing a oneyear check on the generator’s oil and sparkplugs. Kohler comes with a five-year, 2,000 hour warranty. On a much smaller scale, Miller also sells the portable Honda generator of various sizes that can be used as a temporary energy source for homeowners or construction workers. Miller Automotive also sells and services Husquvarna and Dolmar power equipment. “Kohler and Honda are the best generators out there,” Miller says. “Though initially more costly, in the long run both generators are less expensive than the cheap Chinese stuff that breaks down.” John Palermo of Challenger Electric stands by his generator, the Generac, which he describes as “the number one generator in sales…it outsells everyone.” The Generac has residential home standby generators as well as larger commercial and industrial generators. The Gernerac is also the only generator set up for solar PV systems. As a licensed electrical contractor, Challenger does a complete install, and offers main-

tenance and service plans. Located in Florence, Challenge does work all over Custer County. John Palermo has over 30 years experience as an electrical contractor and has served Custer County for 24 years. Residents can contact Challenger Electric at 719-784-6208 or through email at challenger.electric.sci@gmail.com. -Cyn Williams

Glenn Miller of Miller Automotive


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A guide to the county’s taxing entities Every January county treasurer Virginia Trujillo and her staff mail property tax notices to local property owners living here, across much of the U.S., and to many foreign countries. In 2013, a total of 9,221 property tax notices were distributed to collect $5,893,334.94 in taxes this year for several taxing entities. But where do all those property tax dollars go once the county collects them? According to the most recent property tax schedule, 48 percent of the taxes collected goes to two school districts that serve Custer County students -- the C-1 School District in Westcliffe and RE-2 School District in Florence, which serves students in Wetmore and eastern Custer County. Thirty two percent of the property tax dollars collected goes into the county coffers, 19 percent is distributed to several special districts, and one percent is given to the towns of Silver Cliff and Westcliffe. The basic valuation of property is set by the Colorado constitution and statutory requirement. Also, by state statute, property is assessed every two years. It is the duty of the county assessor to list all assessable property in the county, and to make an equitable assessment of the property for distribution to the various taxing entities. The assessor’s office has nothing to do with setting the mill levies. Instead, each individual board sets the mill levy for its entity based on a state formula. Custer County’s overall assessed valuation for residential property in 2012 was $67,057,950 and for agricultural property it was $19,788,150. Commercial property valuation totaled $7,535,980, industrial property valuation totaled $242,540, and natural resources valuation was $605,840. The valuation of public lands was $4,158,200 and the valuation of exempt property was $6,718,230. Here’s a breakdown of the various taxing entities in the county and the tax dollars they receive. In addition to property taxes, other sources of income for the taxing entities include fees, grants, and state and federal assistance. Moreover, not all property owners always pay taxes to all entities. Check with the county assessor’s office to find out which taxing districts your property lies within. **The C-1 School District, which serves Custer County, has a general fund mill levy of 22.9187 mills to generate $2,205,956, and a bonds and interest mill levy totaling 4.100 to collect $394,643. Eastern Custer County, which includes Wetmore, is served by the Florence RE-2 School District. Its general fund mill levy is 17.443 to collect $54,672, and the bonds and interest mill levy is 11.331 for $35,515. **Custer County has a total mill levy equating to 20.245 mills, which is divided among county general, self-insurance, public welfare, road and bridge, and emergency services. The total mill levy generates $2,012,127. **The town of Westcliffe has a levy of 5.366 mills to generate $55,764. **The town of Silver Cliff has a levy of 3.193 mills to collect $23,541. **The Round Mountain Water and Sanitation District, which is a special district that provides water and sewer services to the two towns, has a mill levy totaling 2.499 to collect $43,528. **Another special district is the Upper Arkansas Water Conservancy District, which oversees water matters in Custer, Fremont

and Chaffee counties, as well as a small portion of Saguache and El Paso counties, has a mill levy of .495 mills to generate $47,508. **The Wet Mountain Fire Protection District, also a special district, collects 3.842 mills, which equates to $353,868. **The Rye Fire Protection District, another special district, has a mill levy of 10.036 mills to collect $32,416. **Also a special district, The West Custer County Hospital District that funds the medical clinic and ambulance service has a mill levy totaling 4.908 to collect $452,052. ** The West Custer County Library District, another special district, helps to fund the library in downtown Westcliffe. It collects

1.983 mills, which equates to $182,645. The assessor’s office also completed a breakdown of the total mill levy by each taxing district. San Isabel 01 taxing district’s mill levy is 57.777, San Isabel 011 tax district’s mill levy is 47.741, Westcliffe 026 taxing district’s mill levy is 63.84, Westcliffe 256 taxing district’s mill levy is 66.339, Silver Cliff 036 taxing district’s mill levy is 61.667 mills, Silver Cliff 356 taxing district’s mill levy is 64.166 mills, the county 016 taxing district’s mill levy is 58.474 mills and Wetmore 04 tax district’s mill levy is 49.497 mills. For more information, contact the county assessor’s office located on the second floor inside the courthouse. – Nora Drenner

Custer County Assessor J.D. Henrich at his office in the county courthouse in Westcliffe.


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For your little black book: Important contacts in our county Need to apply for a building permit? Or perhaps you need to obtain a driveway permit for the new home you are building? Here are the locations and phone numbers of the various federal, state, municipal and special district offices in Custer County. (The area code for all phone numbers is 719.) **Board of County Commissioners: The commissioners’ office is located on the main floor in the county courthouse. District one commissioner is Allen Butler; district two commissioner is Lynn Attebery; district three commissioner is Kit Shy; email addresses are allen@custercountygov.com; lynn@custercountygov.com; kit@custercountygov.com.; The office number is 783-2552. **County Assessor: The office of J.D. Henrich and his staff can be found on the second floor of the courthouse. Call 783-2218. **County Clerk and Recorder: Debbie Livengood and her staff can be found on the first floor in the courthouse. The phone number is 783-2441. **County Road and Bridge Department: Dave Trujillo is the supervisor. The shop is located at 213 N. Fourth Street in Westcliffe. Call 783-2281. In Wetmore, the supervisor is Larry Haynes. The shop is located at 25980 Highway 96. Call 784-3455. **County Treasurer: Virginia Trujillo and her staff have an office on the main floor inside the courthouse. The phone number is 798-2341. **County Zoning Office: The office of director Jackie Hobby and her staff can be found on the northeast corner of the courthouse. Call 783-2669. **County Extension Office: Extension agent Robin Young and administrative assistant Beverly Goertz can be found on the second floor of the courthouse. The phone number is 783-2514. **County Cartographer: Charlie French has an office on the second floor of the courthouse. The phone number is 783-2218. **County Social/Human Services: The director of social services is Laura Lockhart. She and her staff are located on the first floor of the courthouse. Call 783-2371. **County Finance/Human Resources: Dawna Hobby has an office on the north side of the courthouse. Her phone number is 783-9067. **Courthouse Annex: Located adjacent to the courthouse, the annex serves as an office for Community Sharing Center administrator Ruth Mitchell, and the facility is available for meetings. Call 783-9475. **Veterans Service Office: Located at 511 Main Street inside the Rocky Mountain Log Homes building, VSO administrative assistant Lorraine Silva is ready and willing to help all Valley veterans. Call 783-9470. **County Landfill: The landfill, under the direction of Rusty Christensen, is located at 2250 County Road 328 (Rosita Road off Highway 69 south).Call 783-2726. **Combined Courts: District and county court offices are adjacent to the courtroom. Call 783-2274. **Emergency Services: In the event of an emergency requiring the services of the sheriff’s department, fire or ambulance, dial 9-1-1. For non-emergency sheriff’s office inquiries, call 783-2270. **Custer County Medical Clinic: The medical clinic is located one block south of the courthouse on the corner of Edwards Avenue and Hermit Road. Call 783-2380. **County Public Health Nursing Agency: The offices of public health nurses Donna McDonnall and Gail Stoltzfus can be found inside the medical center. Call 783-3369.

Kelley Camper of the County Clerk’s Office **C-1 School District: The superintendent office is located in the administration building found west of the school building. Preschool through 12th grade classes are held Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The administration office phone number is 783-2357; the main school office is 783-2291. **RE-2 School District in Florence: Students in eastern Custer County attend classes in Florence. The administration office is located at 415 W. Fifth Street in Florence. The phone number is 784-6312. **Custer County Chamber of Commerce: The office is located inside the All Aboard Westcliffe Museum on Rosita Avenue in Westcliffe. Call 793-9163. **U.S. Post Office: Serving the towns of Silver Cliff and Westcliffe is the post office at 4 Bassick Place; call 783-2453. In Hillside, the post office is located in the township of

Hillside on Highway 69 north; call 783-0800. In Wetmore, the post office is located at 683 County Road 395; call 784-3205. **Westcliffe Town Hall and Zoning Office: The offices are located at 305 Main Street in downtown Westcliffe. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Call 783-2282. **Silver Cliff Town Hall and Zoning Office: The offices are located at 612 Main Street in Silver Cliff. Call the clerk/treasurer at 7832615. Call the zoning office at 783-3034. **Round Mountain Water and Sanitation District: The office is located at 59000 Highway 69 North in Westcliffe. Hours are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Call 783-2604. **West Custer County Library: The library is located at 209 Main Street in downtown Westcliffe. Hours are 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday. Call 783-9138.


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The County Extension Office:

Pick a topic, any topic, and you can bet the Extension Office can give you the details

For new Wet Mountain Valley residents, or even old-timers who want to add livestock or gardens – or learn of a vast array of other topics -- the CSU-Extension has plenty of resources and assistance to offer. The Extension office is located on the second floor of the courthouse; there,

folks can find Robin Young, the cheerful, local county extension agent who possesses the knowledge and resources to assist home and landowners to make improvements to their property. According to Young, the Extension Office offers guidance on land management, garden

CSU-Extension agent Robin Young

creation, livestock setup, home construction and dozens of other topics. Young says, “We offer people suggestions on how to manage a building project without disturbing the land or, if the land is disturbed, ways to restore it.” She also notes that the Extension Office can show people how to create a livestock area and establish grazing rotations. This includes the Extension Office advice on how to house larger animals on smaller acreages. In setting up gardens, residents can visit the CSU-Extension office to learn what species to plant, how to plant and where to plant. Gardeners can also adopt methods to protect gardens from local wildlife and to extend seasonal plant growth. “We also can help property owners identify noxious (and obnoxious) weeds,” Young says, “and teach different techniques to reduce their invasion. We also supply advice on how to establish and encourage native plant species to grow.”

The Extension office also helps homeowners plant trees as windbreaks. Young explains that landowners in the Valley who have thick forests would like to thin out some of the smaller trees. “Instead of buying trees at nurseries in Canon City and Pueblo, people wanting trees can hook up with these landowners and transplant native trees on their properties,” Young says. The Extension office connects forest owners with folks seeking trees. She also notes that the Conservation District holds a tree sale every April. The Extension office also offers classes throughout the year, including a Fire Preparedness Workshop (in conjunction with local firefighters), canning classes and gardening workshops where participants are taught how to compost and create raised beds. These classes will be advertised in the Tribune. Interested parties can also visit Young at the Extension office for more information. -Cyn Williams


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Stamper Construction: From logs to metal In the building trades, Custer County has a new business. Mark Stamper Construction, a custom log homebuilder, now offers quality construction to those residents wanting to add a metal building to their property. Teamed with Sunward Consolidated Group, Stamper is offering discounted pricing and the highest quality metal made in the USA. Stamper Construction can assemble the structure or clients can construct it themselves.

Mark Stamper

Stamper offers many different styles and configurations of metal buildings that can be tailored to fit residential or commercial needs, including horse barns, hay sheds, small shops and garages. – Continued on page 11


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Mark Stamper Construction............................ – Continued from page 10 valley since 2001 and lived here since 2003. Stamper has done almost everything in the construction industry, including building stick-frame and custom log homes. He is delighted to add metal building construction to his resume. “Building with metal is very cost effective, can be erected in a relatively short time, and requires little maintenance,” says Stamper. The Stampers have owned property in the

They look forward to serving the metal building needs of local residents. Please note that the 866/609-4321 phone number in the ad will connect clients with the main office in Denver, and the information will be funneled back to Stamper for local action. If you would like to speak with Stamper directly, please call 719/371-6859.


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Some insights on that deep subject of water wells In rural America, folks depend on wells to provide water that fills the drinking glass, the bathtub or the stock tank. Wells just don’t appear, however, but require drilling, which means if a resident decides to build a home in the area, he or she must find a person who has the skill and equipment to bore a well and procure water. In Westcliffe, that person is Dave Nequette, an experienced well driller who also writes pithy, informative ads about well and pump maintenance for Tribune readers. Nequette was raised in the industry, working with his dad, a well driller, since he was seven years old. His father started his trade in Evergreen, moved to Salida and five years later relocated to Westcliffe. The Nequettes arrived in Westcliffe in 1974; a year later Nequette graduated from high school. He worked around the state for a few years until his dad unexpectedly retired. “So I came home, grabbed the horns and started running the drilling company as a 19 year old,” Nequette says. He now trains young men in the drilling process, though Nequette explains it requires a year to learn basic drilling. “It takes another 10 to 15 years experience to know land forms and where to drill,” Nequette notes. “It takes skill not to seal off water sources or tear up the rig. I look at things geologically and find what I feel is the best spot for water.” When asked about the age-old practice of “witching water,” Nequette smiles and says that for years he watched the old-time witchers find water and, when they died off and became decrepit, he did it himself. However, witching water is not just based on instinct, but an accurate observation of the natural environment. “When looking at the terrain for a potential well site, I look at flowthrough formations and watershed patterns,” Nequette explains. “Plus, it helps to know an area and its potential for water. In Gardner, I often have to drill 10 times before I find water. Westcliffe doesn’t have that problem…it’s 20 times better here for hitting water.” The deepest well Nequette has drilled was 1,000 feet for a home built in Robber’s Roost on top of a mountain. The Valley floor offers shallow drilling, though Nequette will seal off a well at 40 to 60 feet to prevent the water being contaminated by bacteria or fertilizers. After drilling the well, Nequette also offers full pump installation, both residential and commercial. He can also hydro-fracture

Dave Nequette, right, with office staff Brenda Gaide, Debbie Williams and Blue the pooch. to access water and can put in hand pumps and windmills. Nequette, moreover, helps people acquire the basic permits for drilling. Nequette not only finds and caps water, but he tries to keep local realtors up to speed on well drilling. “There’s a lot of misinformation out there,” Nequette says. “I have done some presentations in the surrounding area to help realtors understand issues with wells and drilling.” When asked about the “myths” of well-drilling, he mentions one in particular. “Some people believe if there’s a spring on the property, that’s a good sign for water,” he says. “However, all water seeks to get back into the ground and so a spring could mean that a non-permeable layer exists underground keeping the water on the surface…how thick is that layer? It has to be drilled through.” Nequette also discussed cisterns, which is an option to capture water. A cistern, however, contains more than three times the

working parts that a water well does. It presents an additional problem: storing water in an unpressurized tank makes it susceptible to bacteria growth. “Cisterns that are buried in the ground face this problem,” Nequette says. “They are subject to snow melt and rain and need to be vented, which means the vents are installed with screens, but certain parasites can get through the finest screens.” Instead of interring cisterns, Nequette suggests home owners install them in a basement or crawlspace or a room devoid of natural light, which itself encourages bacteria production. Nequette offers a well testing service for people buying a home. The test reveals if the well is properly designed for the kind of household using the well. If it is a large house with a lot of family members, the well must be adequate to provide water needs. “It’s a bad well if it doesn’t meet the needs of the homeowners or it’s run out of water,” Nequette says. -Cyn Williams


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With wildfires now a norm, fire mitigation makes sense In moving to the Wet Mountain Valley, new residents will find it not so “wet” at times. In fact, wildfires can be a problem here, scorching acres of forests and hundreds of homes. The Wetmore Fire in October 2012 was small compared to last year’s other fires in Colorado Springs and Ft. Collins; 252,000 acres burned in Colorado in 2012, with the Waldo Canyon fire, which destroyed 346 homes, representing the worst fire in the state’s history. The Wetmore Fire, however, was the most destructive in Custer County in recent years. It destroyed 16 homes and 2,000 acres of land (another fire near Wetmore several years ago burned 20,000 acres but no structures were damaged.) Colorado residents can expect more disastrous fires to occur in the years to come, not only due to climate change and drought but to more people building homes in red zone areas. A red zone is prone to fires, usually areas consisting of thick timber. Over the past 20 years, a quarter of a million Colorado residents moved into red zones; now, with that number on the rise, one in four Colorado houses are susceptible to fire destruction. Beside more residents living in the red zones, climate change remains a significant factor in the cause of fires. According to Colorado State Forest records, in the 1960s, Colorado averaged about 460 fires each year that annually burned approximately 8,000 acres. Compare that to the past decade when Colorado experienced an average of 2,500 fires a year, torching nearly 100,000 acres. This dramatic increase in the number of fires is attributed to higher temperatures and longer incidents of drought. According to Climate Central, “In the past 40 years, rising spring and summer temperatures, along with shrinking winter snowpack, have increased the risk of wildfires in most parts of the West.” The National Research Council

indicates that for every degree increase in Celsius (1.8 degree Fahrenheit), the acres torched in the Western U.S. could quadruple. Mark Finney, a federal scientist who studies fire behavior, indicates that fires also occur with more frequency and destruction because of, ironically, the lack of fire. Many of Colorado’s forests are filled with aging, beetle-diseased trees. Smaller, natural fires, which should have been allowed to burn, clear out older, unhealthy woods. For Custer County, the red zone sits in the center of the county and extends north to the Fremont County line. The county’s population has increased 150% since 1990 and 1300 homes, or 24% of residents, are currently situated in the red zone. Residents can do fire mitigation on the properties to help save their houses from wildfire. Barnyards & Backyards indicates homeowners should be aware of the 3 R’s of defensible space: •Remove fallen limbs, excessive vegetation and weeds. •Reduce thick scrub fields and tree cover, prune trees of dead branches, and clear highly flammable native plants. •Replace highly flammable plants with low-growing species from 30 to 100 feet from the house; replace house roofing and siding with non-combustible materials and replace plastic vents with metal ones so that embers cannot pass into the attic or other parts of the house. Residents who live in the forest can also reduce ladder fuels, which occur when foliage of various heights is close enough to trees that a surface fire can blaze into a crown fire – and when a crown fire happens, the flames easily jump from tree to tree, allowing them to spread much more quickly and with more devastation. To mitigate against ladder fuels, homeowners can remove

all dead grasses and weeds and prune the lower branches off of trees. Branches should be removed at least seven feet up the trunk and shrub branches removed at least three feet off the ground. To help residents foot the cost of wildfire mitigation, mountain homeowners can deduct on their Colorado tax return 50 percent of wildfire mitigation costs and up to $2,500 annually, from 2009 through 2013. The write-offs apply to out-ofpocket expenses, including hiring tree-cutting services and buying or renting chainsaws. To

be deducted, the mitigation must also be done according to Community Wildfire Protection Plan, which can be found at http://csfs.colostate.edu/ pages/CommunityWildfireProtectionPlans.html. There, residents can open a pdf file that provides extensive research and information on fire mitigation in Custer County. Wet Mountain Valley residents can also visit the local CSU Extension office on the second floor of the courthouse for materials and guidance. – Cyn Williams

Office of Emergency Management Director Christy Feldmann is honored by Sheriff Fred Jobe for her efforts with the 2012 Wetmore Fire


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BEST BUYS Wapiti Wapiti

Just reduced to $440,000! UC#05052-45475 Log cabin on 59+ acres, 3 bedrooms, 2 bath, no covenants. Horse property, plenty of hunting. Enjoy the solitude from the covered log porch that runs the entire length of this custom log home at 59+- acres overlooking the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Located in Junkins Park, the area is know by the locals as a gathering spot for wildlife, including trophy elk, mule deer and black bear. There are no subdivisions in this valley and homes are very few. Aspen, fir, spruce and pine are found on the property, as are spectacular rock cliffs and outcroppings. Partially fenced. The home was built in 2002 and features 3 bedrooms, 2 baths and attached 2 car garage. A spacious open kitchen, dining, living area with woodburning fireplace and bay windows invites family and friends. Located on a county maintained road. It would make a year-round home, retreat or hunting cabin. Call Jean at 7839052 or 429-5210.

Watson

Colorado Mountain Cabin Now Reduced to $154,900. UC#05052-47144 Find independence from the world in a well built, off the grid, Cody Park cabin sitting on 10 acres with a well and water rights to a developed spring. The cabin, featuring a 2 bedroom loft and 3/4 bath was built in 2004, with construction materials consisting of 2x6 framing, ample insulation, thermopane windows, and fireproof cedar-style siding. A solar/battery system provides power for low-wattage interior wiring while a generator supports larger power requirements such as television, washer/dryer, etc. The woodstove is a back-up for the propane heater. Propane refrigerator included. Great enclosed porch to watch the full range Sangre de Cristo sunsets or just relax in. Several outbuildings including a 12x16 storage barn, an 8x12 tool shed, 4x8 shed, and a 6x8 mini-cabin. Landscaping highlights a stream and pond feature, walking paths and outdoor gathering place. Call Jean at 783-9052 or 429-5210.

Watson

Curly K is a wonderful buy with sweeping vistas of the Sangres, Collegiates and the Wet Mountains providing the perfect setting for this three bedroom, three bath, 2784+/- SF log home in desirable Eagle Peak on 35.2 acres. Live a Colorado lifestyle in comfort and security with a gated log entry, wrap around covered and open decks with Trex decking, post and beam great room with a gas fireplace and floor to ceiling stone and mantle. Entertain from the large kitchen with knotty alder cabinets and 48” Heartland Classic Range. Master bedroom and laundry exiting to the oversized two car garage complete the main level. Downstairs, walk-out level find a large family room and media center with a wood burning fireplace, an office, two bedrooms and storage. Curly K Ranch is conveniently located with easy access to Westcliffe, Arkansas River and Front Range Cities. Offered at $545,000. Call Watson Land Company at 783-2803.

Truly a Best Buy! Handcrafted by the owner/builder this 4 BD, 2 BA, 1588 SF home is nestled amongst towering Ponderosas in Cristo Vista with a view of Horn Peak in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. A true mountain home with its striking beetle kill walls, oak floors and a generous wrap-around deck. The exterior is low maintenance hardy plank cement board with a metal roof. The kitchen is well equipped and has wonderful work areas. With a main level master suite and laundry room behind the kitchen the owner can live on one level and use the upstairs loft and bedrooms for guests and children. There is a large garage/ workshop with a 9’ x 13’ door for a camper or large vehicle. There is also a utility building and a loafing shed for animals. This home has much to offer in quality and comfort at $225,000. Call Watson Land Company at 783-2803.


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BEST BUYS Mattie Burtt Mattie Burtt

Peace Valley Ranch, on the valley-floor, has been lovingly cared for since it was built in 1888 and remodeled in 1997 and 2005. Horse property on less than 80 acres is extremely hard to find on the valley floor. This “grandfathered-in” pastoral property is truly exceptional. The ranch house on 17 acres with its own pond is tucked into giant cottonwoods with outstanding 360 degree views and the country charm is enhanced with white, wooden fencing and carefully restored outbuildings. The 2518 SF home with 4 large bedrooms and 3 baths provides lots of room for family and guests. Outbuildings include a 1260 SF barn with large loft. The barn is sectioned into a 330 SF garage, a 510 SF Barn and a 420 SF feeding room with troughs, and stalls. Other outbuildings include a workshop, a woodshed and a chicken house. Totally fenced and cross fenced. Priced At $390,000. Call Mattie Burtt Realty at 783-4888.

RE/MAX

First Time Ever Offered! Turn key log home with views. This rare opportunity to own 35 acres along with a gorgeous home, totally set up with wind and solar power will allow you to never pay a power bill again! This D log custom build home with cultured stone accents is located close to town but remains very private. Full views of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, in a platted subdivision and close to Lake DeWeese. Four bedrooms, two full baths and one 3/4 bath. Loft area has your master bedroom & bath, bedroom/office & sitting area. The main level is where your entertaining begins with a beautiful kitchen and dining area. This home makes you feel like you’re sitting on top of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains! Call Ken Lankford: 783-0900 MLS#2509710 $389,000 For more information, visit www. westcliffe.com.

Verde Creek’s Best – Come to one of the last hidden ranching valleys in Colorado, discovered and still populated by the descendants of the original homesteading ranching families. This stunning westside 35 acre parcel has a well already drilled, perc test done, power and phone at roughed-in driveway, as well as building sites with big Sangre views and wooded, tucked-in sites. Year ‘round water from Gibson Creek, fed by mountain snowpack, nurtures this wooded lot below Eagle Peak. An abundance of aspen and native pine surrounds hidden meadows and gives you a sense of total privacy. Within walking distance to National Forest and on a county-maintained road. Priced at $299,000. Call Mattie Burtt Realty at 783-4888.

RE/MAX

Fantastic log home on 40 Acres with live water. Here’s a home worth viewing, and we’ll tell you why. This log home with unobstructed views of the gorgeous Sangre de Cristo Mountains borders BLM, sits on 40 acres, has a seasonal creek, trees, rock outcroppings and grazing land all in one. Inside the home are 3 bedrooms and 2.75 baths with a walk out basement to the gazebo. The 5 car garage has room for the ATV’s and a 7500 lb. hoist, just in case you want to work on the cars. This garage/ shop is a dream come true for the mechanic or off road fan. If you are interested in solar, you’ll find it here. The home can be switched to the grid automatically when needed. To top it all off there are no HOA’s, and no covenants. Just absolutely beautiful views and the utmost privacy. Call Ken Lankford: 783.0900 MLS#2509338 $396,500 For more information, visit www.westcliffe.com.


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BEST BUYS Brenda Bosse Brenda Bosse

M&T15X-Small towns always need a great meat shop! This one is exceptional and very successful! This is a great family owned business located in a wonderful, scenic mountain town. The business does start to finish custom meat processing, retail meat and cheese sales, catering, and mobile butchering on site. You could also expand the business for a bakery or any other venture you choose! All the equipment for meat processing and retail sales is included and owners will also train new buyers in the trade if needed. Be your own boss, hire your own employees and live in the mountainsa great combination for sure. Owner financing available to qualified buyers. Listed at $489,900. Great downtown location!! Brenda Bosse, Broker Associate Martin and Tope Real Estate Company 1-800-864-3853, 783-9200, Fax: 783-9206, Cell: 719-371-3270 brenda@martinandtope.com www.martinandtope.com www.brendabosse.com

Martin and Tope

M&TN04-HAWK RIDGE RANCH-This 41 acre ranch is located on pristine, gently rolling hillsides with fabulous mountain views, small ponds, Oak Creek, hay meadows and tall trees. Meticulously landscaped with lots of flowers, rocks, and trees. The home is in excellent condition and is a very warm and welcoming with wood burning fireplace, large country kitchen, and nice dining room area. The master suite is located on the main level and there are two additional bedrooms upstairs and a small loft/office. Watch the ever changing panorama from the nice outdoor decks. The large barn is a warm and safe place for horses or other livestock, complete with heated tack room. Of course, don’t forget the critters that don’t live in the barn -- the wildlife that is abundant in the area. They love the creek and green grassy meadows located just below the home. You will love the privacy this land provides, yet the easy access about a mile from highway 96. Just minutes away are BLM and National forest lands for your riding and hiking adventures. This property will not disappoint the buyer! Very well maintained and very beautiful! Listed at $549,000. Brenda Bosse1-800/864-3853, 783-9200, Fax: 783-9206, Cell: 719/3713270

Martin and Tope

REAL COLORADO MOUNTAIN LIVING - Relish lush alpine forests featuring quaking aspens that turn golden brilliant in autumn, hiking trails, alpine lake and stream fishing, camping, riding -- outdoor adventures limited only by your imagination! Nostalgic cabin features updated interior, private master bedroom/bath in lower level. Guest bedrooms in loft. Located on maintained county road. Wood burning stove to chase the chill on those few cloudy days. Large deck offers comfortable seating for nature’s theater or a quiet supper alfresco. Millions of sparkling stars twinkle in the velvet blackness of the clear night skies just waiting for you to experience! Quiet mountain town is near with all the necessary amenities, plus concerts, live theater, galleries, and shopping. Contact Gary Martin 719/242-7500 or gary@martinandtope.com. Ask for M&T9Q. Offered at $130,000.

LOTS OF CHARACTER HERE! - Searching for a property with real character? Be sure to look closely at this 35 acres. Its notable traits: open grassy meadows, craggy rock outcroppings, venerable old pine trees, views of the Sangre de Cristo mountains and surrounding hills, and gentle terrain offering several build sites. Conspicuous features: partially fenced corner lot, a nice horse property. More attributes: quiet mountain town is just minutes away with all the necessary amenities; extras include music festivals, theater, galleries, fitness center. Now add the close proximity to hiking trails, alpine lake and stream fishing, skiing, riding, etc. Now that’s a lot of character! Contact Gary Martin 719/242-7500 or gary@martinandtope.com. Ask for M&T8Q. Listed at $97,000.


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BEST BUYS Coldwell Banker Kyle Brown

“ECONOMY IN THE SANGRES” CBC8779 - A rare opportunity to purchase a ‘west-side’ cabin in the exclusive gated community of Tanglewood Acres - and at a very reasonable price! Set amid towering ponderosa pine at an estimated 8500 ft. elevation, and within walking distance of the Rainbow Trail/San Isabel National Forest, this solidly constructed home caters to company. Two bedrooms plus loft and 2.5 baths can comfortably accommodate 15 people overnight. Vaulted ceilings overlook the spacious main floor living-dining area attractively accented in beetle kill pine. A galley style kitchen stands ready to serve your favorite entrees to family and friends. A large recreation room is perfect for entertaining and ample decking on three sides guarantees your guests will have an opportunity to study the local wildlife ‘up close’. Just think “multiple beds for the sleepy heads” could apply to you and yours relaxing in the wilds of Westcliffe. An exceptional offering at $215,000... And most furnishings are even included with the cabin purchase. Call Coldwell Banker Colorado Mountain Land & Home at 783-9131.

Coldwell Banker

PRICED BELOW MARKET VALUE! CBC7781 - A 2.11 acre parcel that typifies the essence of Colorado countryside. Picture a natural building site at the edge of a small glade surrounded by a forest of fir, aspen and ponderosa pine. Located in a gated community on the desirable west side of the Wet Mountain Valley this picturesque parcel is surrounded by thousands of acres of Wilderness Area and National Forest. Complete with power and phone in the adjacent roadway and water supplied by community water system, you’ll find no better buy. A definite consideration offered at ‘below market value’ -- $29,900. Call Coldwell Banker Colorado Mountain Land & Home at 783-9131.

You buy the views, we’ll throw in the house. Seller financing for qualified buyer: From your 900 SF deck, you have sweeping views encompassing the Collegiate Mountains, the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and the Spanish Peaks. Excellent southern exposure on 10 acres. 3600 SF multi-level living space, 3 bedrooms, loft and den. 3 1/2 baths, a 2-car attached garage. New kitchen with Silverstone and Soapstone countertops, hickory cabinets, walk-in pantry. Cathedral ceiling great room with large wood stove and custom stone surround. Master bedroom suite, gas stove, 360 degree views includes new master bath, steam shower. A large loft overlooks great room. Entry level with workshop, laundry room, den with gas stove, large guest room and bath, wine cellar and storage room. This property has unique rock outcroppings, mature ponderosa, aspen and pinon pine and some landscaping around the house. Additional 10 acres available: 7.5KW generator; tile, wood flooring, wool carpeting. Mt dream come true. Call Kyle at Westcliffe Properties 719/371-4915.

Kyle Brown

Affordable Mountain Living $129,900. This home has it all, built in 2001, 3 bed 2 bath, eat-in kitchen, vinyl floors and carpet throughout, large master bed with master bath, soaking tub and shower. Large living room with vaulted ceilings adjoined by a large family room with vaulted ceilings as well. Each room has a ceiling fan, 2 with remote and dimmers. Some very nice landscaping, nice tree coverage, ponderosa, pinion, cedar, blue spruce! Circular drive, privacy on this 2.5 acre corner lot. Shed for storage. Well maintained home ready to move in. Great place to spend time exploring, hiking, rafting, just loving mountain living. Call Kyle at Westcliffe Properties 719/371-4915.


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Real Estate and Builder's Guide