by Carol Dunn
LA VETA- Marshal Gerald Bumgarner was released from employment on May 15 by the La Veta Town Board after a short executive session which was also attended by Bumgarner and his attorney, Cathy Mullens. After the motion was made to go into executive session, Mullens stood and addressed the board. She told the board that Bumgarner only found out two hours before that his job was to be discussed at the meeting. “I don’t think my client has been given adequate notice,” she said. “He has been placed on administrative leave because of baseless allegations that have been accepted as truth.”
When the board reconvened after the executive session, Trustee Bill Stark made the motion that Bumgarner, as an at-will employee, be dismissed as an employee of the town. The vote was 5-1 with Trustee David Molyneaux voting no. The board set a personnel meeting for May 17 to discuss a replacement. When asked from the audience about the reason, Trustee Dale Davis replied, “The reason is still under investigation.” Mayor Jerry Fitzgerald said Bumgarner has 80 hours of accrued vacation time, but no other severance was part of the motion.
School Superintendent Bree Lessar and grant writer Gaye Davis spoke to the Board about a potential grant to address the issue of Garland Street, which bisects the school campus. “This is a substantial issue on our campus,” Davis said. She told the board that a preliminary application was submitted to the Colorado Department of Transportation in early May for a transportation enhancement grant. “We tried to make it in the best interest of the school district and the town as a whole,” she added.
The project will address safety and accessibility issues and will require the support of the town, including a long term agreement to maintain long-term improvements and a financial match. Trustee Davis said, “I think it’s a good plan and something the town can work with. It makes parking available all day long. It’s a win-win situation for the school, the community and the kids.” The required financial match will be $63,516, and Trustee Ken Sajdak clarified that the money could be part of the 2013 budget. Molyneaux said, “In 30 years, this is the first time I’ve seen a plan that everyone wanted to jump on the bandwagon in favor of. But it comes down to money.”
Lessar told the board that, if they get the green light from CDOT, then the school board would like to have a joint work session with the town board about commitments and funding. Trustee Davis agreed to coordinate with the school board. Lessar told the Board, “Gaye and I are personally committed to take our students off the street and not have that street be a play place.” Lessar also mentioned revamping the playground and that both projects could possibly be worked on at the same time.
There will be a “visioning” with Heloise Lynn and Two Peaks Transitions on June 2 at the La Veta Community Center. In Lynn’s absence, Kristina Heim described Transitions as a worldwide grassroots movement to encourage self-sufficiency of local communities. This would include things like community gardens, food co-ops and local power generation. The visioning would shed light on what the people of La Veta want to see for the future. Heim said part of this process can involve the responses collected on the 3-mile plan questionnaire that was passed around in 2011 by a workgroup that included former trustee Tracy Webb. Heim and other volunteers have tallied the results and organized them on an Excel spreadsheet, which will be shared with the trustees. Heim said, “This information should be used in the visioning.” In support of the Transitions movement, Sajdak said, “Everybody’s concerned with the economy … This whole transitions movement looks to the future and provides opportunities for the town to go in directions where the Town economy is more self-sustaining.” Mayor Fitzgerald told Heim, “I think you’ve got support. I’m all for it.” But Trustee Davis expressed his confusion. “This started as a comprehensive plan, and now it’s Transitions. I don’t understand what happened.” Trustee Stark answered, “It served its first purpose [the 3-mile plan]. Now it will be used in the Transitions process.” And, Heim added, “ … promoting the local economy.”
The mayor issued a proclamation declaring May 18 Arbor Day. It read, in part, “I urge all citizens to celebrate Arbor day and to support efforts to protect our trees and woodlands, and I urge all citizens to plant trees to gladden the heart and promote the well-being of this and future generations.”
The mayor also read a proclamation recognizing the week of May 20-26 as Emergency Medical Services Week. “It is appropriate to recognize the value and the accomplishments of emergency medical service providers,” he said. He then congratulated the work of the La Veta fire department and medical personnel.
Town Clerk Laurie Erwin reported that Main Street will be closed for the 4th of July parade on June 30 from 10:00 am to 12:20 pm. The use of the park has been authorized for the Two Peaks Transitions Celebration of Local Food, Arts, Music & Crafts on August 18 from 8 am to 4 pm.
Erwin said the Spanish Peaks Cycling Association has donated 100 bicycle helmets to the marshal’s office, and they will be presented to La Veta students in first through fifth grades on May 23. “Everyone gets a new helmet,” she said.
In the Town Talk portion of the meeting, Polly Hill requested that the light to the north of the library be fitted with a shade or dimmed. She also asked that something be done to address the standing water, what she referred to as lakes, on Yvette Lane, which runs behind Charlie’s.
The board approved the commercial development permit for Jonathan and Beth Evans at 107 West Ryus. It also approved the commercial development permit for Snocap Properties for Two Peak Fitness.
Gary M. Vezzani was elected Walsenburg’s mayor in Tuesday’s special mayoral election/recall vote. Preliminary results announced Tuesday night show that both Nick Vigil in Ward