by Darrell Arnold
LA VETA- The late, legendary Leslie Hicks liked to refer to her beloved La Veta as Velveeta. In a way, she was right. Most of the time, Life in La Veta is pretty smooth and mellow. According to La Veta Marshal Harold Willburn, October in La Veta has not presented many law enforcement problems.
"Oktoberfest was our last big hoorah," he says. "That always keeps us busy. We had a nice crowd, a little smaller crowd this year. The beer garden was expanded, but the organizers stuck to their guns about keeping past years’ troublemakers out of there. The only difficulties were the usual parking violations."
As usual, though, the more serious problems take place after the street celebration is over. Says Willburn, "After drinking in the beer garden all day, some people just move to the bars and keep on drinking. We had three different disturbances at the Blue Rooster that required evicting patrons. We also diffused a domestic disturbance outside the bar. In addition, we assisted the State Patrol on a DUI outside of town."
More disturbing than those incidents, however, was an act of vandalism to the passenger train. While patrolling with Deputy Marshal Jason Vaughn, Willburn noticed an unusual crowd of young people in the La Veta Town Park.
"Usually the kids hang out there in separate, small groups. This large group was unusual, so we investigated."
Deputy Vaughn talked to several kids in the group, and then heard banging noises coming from the parked train. He investigated and found two youths using a crowbar to bash in the window in the back door of one of the double-decker cars.
"Those cars have bullet-proof glass in them, but they still managed to shatter it and beat a small hole in it," says Willburn. "We arrested them and called their parents and released them into the custody of their parents on a promise to appear. They’ll be in court in November. They’ll probably have to pay for damages to the train, pay a fine, and do community service."
On the following morning, the marshal’s office investigated a break-in at the Main Street Diner. A small amount of change was taken from the cash register, and a white I-Pod was also stolen.
"We have a couple leads," says Willburn, "but we would appreciate hearing from anyone in the community who might know something about it."
Other than those concerns, things are pretty routine in La Veta.
"Since July, the fine for running a stop sign has gone up from a $35 fine and a $6 surcharge to a $100 fine and an $11 surcharge. Our officers are writing tickets for people running stop signs.
"We¹re also having to crack down on more people playing their music too loud while driving around town. We’ve given some kids breaks on that, but, we¹re going to crack down on them if it happens twice. There will be tickets written for repeat offenders."
Obviously, things are fairly quiet in La Veta.