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Don Keairns elected Mayor of La Veta

by Carol Dunn

LA VETA- La Veta’s new mayor is Don Keairns.  Keairns received 230 votes to Mickey Schmidt’s 145 votes.  Trustee Dale Davis, with 149 votes, will be returning to the Board.  Larry Klinke got 175 votes to put him on the Board as a trustee, and Laurie Irwin, with 160 votes, will fill the other vacant seat.  The vote totals for the other candidates were as follows: Tracy Webb, 146; Jesse Yarbrough, 129; Don Lowell, 127; Roger Brunelli, 125; Mac McAnally, 76.

    The museum question passed.  This will allow the Town Board to reallocate the portion of sales taxes that are already collected for Fort Francisco museum improvements in order to hire a director and complete projects that may not be considered maintenance.

    While dozens of people sat in their cars waiting for the election results, the judges took 4 ½ hours to count the ballots Tuesday night at the La Veta Community Center.  “They’re going to be very careful counting,” Election Official Nancy Culbreath told the World Journal earlier in the day.  Results were finally posted on the door of the Community Center at 11:30 pm.

    Keairns told the public at the March 25 candidate forum that he feels the Mayor and Board need to be more proactive with business.  He stated he has “win/win ideas” for the Grandote golf course situation.  At the same forum, Klinke said he wants to build and develop a better town for everyone.  Irwin told the public that she would like to see more community pride and said that it is the Board’s responsibility to promote business.

    An email circulating through La Veta Wednesday morning congratulated Keairns, Klinke and Irwin on their victory and added “thanks to all who worked so hard to make this happen.”    The “old” Board met April 7 to finish its business and turn the reins over to the newly seated Mayor and Board of Trustees, which includes Jim Fowler and Dawn Blanken, whose seats were not up for election.     The election of Keairns as mayor leaves his seat on the Board vacant.  The new Board will take letters of interest for the position and vote on a replacement.  A judge, a Town Attorney and a new mayor pro-tem will also need to be selected.