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La Veta beautification efforts underway

by Carol Dunn

LA VETA-The La Veta Town Board heard several presentations at its May 4 meeting about plans to beautify the Town.  Jim Hoobler was back to find out if he can burn a brush pile on his property.  The Board asked La Veta Fire Protection District Chairman Mark Brunner for his opinion.  “If the Board chooses to go against the Town ordinance in place and allow it, I suggest we deal with it sooner than later,” Brunner said.  “There is combustible material near it, and it is a very large pile.”  Mayor Pro-tem Larry Klinke said, “I would like this one time, with fire department approval, to see Jim get this taken care of and be done with it.”   In a 5-2 vote, the Board issued a variance for a one-time burn permit. 

    Town clean-up day in La Veta will be May 14 from 8-5 and May 15 from 7:30-2.  Trustee Dale Davis said Mountain Disposal will not charge for the dumpsters, saving the Town about $1600, because the company “appreciates the business in the Town of La Veta.”

    Liz Henson requested the Town’s help with beautifying Main Street from Ryus to Francisco.  She said the Volunteers for La Veta would like to see a commercial dumpster available from June through October, some new trash bins along Main, help emptying those trash bins, and a new paint job on the Marshal’s office.  The Board agreed to split the cost of a dumpster with the Chamber of Commerce and voted to provide trash can liners.  Trustee Dawn Blanken said the Town didn’t budget for painting the Marshal’s office this year, and Klinke suggested donations may be gathered to pay for the paint.  Davis suggested Henson’s group meet with the Streets and Alleys Committee to discuss flower planters and trash bins, possibly bear-proof.  Trustee Lorry Urwyn (just kidding, Laurie! B) Laurie Erwin also suggested that businesses in Town display the American flag.  Henson said the group will meet at the corner of Main and Ryus on May 27 at 9:30 am to plant flowers and plants which will be purchased locally.   

    Bruce Cantrell presented a proposal to the Board to plant two new Silver Linden trees in Town at his own expense.  The trees would be planted in front of San Isabel Electric and the La Veta Fine Arts Gallery.  The Board approved the proposal on the condition that it is okayed by the Town’s maintenance department and the Tree Board.

    Mayor Don Keairns said the Board had interviewed five people for the Municipal Judge position.  MPT Klinke read part of a State statute on qualifications for Municipal Judge which state that preference shall, when possible, be given to someone licensed to practice law in Colorado.  Afterward, a motion to appoint Mary Ray White failed on a 3-4 vote.  On a subsequent 4-3 vote, Jytte Hale-Helps was appointed, followed by applause from the gallery.  Klinke told the Board, “Understand that before she is seated there is a challenge.” 

    On a recommendation from the Francisco Fort Board of Directors, Rebecca McPhearson was hired as the new Museum Director.    McPhearson will serve for up to 5½ months.  The Town approved Celtic Festival reservations for Town Park, September 25-26, and the Community Center from September 25-26.  The liquor license for the La Veta Inn was renewed, and Scott Medsker said the plan is for the Inn to be open six evenings a week; closed on Tuesdays.

     After a lively discussion and feedback from the audience about merits, circulation, number of advertisers and coverage of both the Signature newspaper and the Huerfano World Journal, the Board decided to keep publishing its legal and non-legal ads in the Signature. The HWJ offered to publish the legals for eight cents a line, while the Signature said they would publish legals at 21 cents a line.

    The dilemma surrounding Tom and Sandy Johnston’s Whistle Stop Café was discussed.  At issue is a building permit issued for a temporary food-service structure which Mr. Johnston says he thought was for a permanent structure.  “There’s nothing in writing,” he pointed out.  To further complicate matters, the building is sitting on a piece of land adjacent to the railroad tracks which is not zoned.  Trustee Blanken referred to it as a “black hole” because it still belongs to the railroad, but will need to be zoned when the title is turned over to the Town.  The Town recently enacted an ordinance that no buildings will be permitted on unzoned land.  Fortunately, former Mayor Mickey Schmidt was in the audience and, after reviewing Title 18 in the Town’s code book, said it’s possible the Board could declare the building a non-conforming structure and vary the requirements to allow the use for the coming season.  At that point the Board tabled the matter until its next meeting.     

    Regarding the April 14 letter from Charles R. Briggs, Grandote Peaks GCC, to the Mayor and Trustees about Trustee Blanken, Mayor Keairns said the Board met and discussed the letter.  The Board agreed there was no reason for any additional action regarding this letter.  It was agreed that the Mayor will send a letter of reply to Briggs.

The Board will have a special meeting on May 6, at 9 am at 229 Colorado Avenue, Pueblo.  The Mayor said this will be a mediation hearing about the 16 EQR court case Grandote GCC filed against the Town, and the Board will primarily be in executive session during this process.